I love Mexican Food.

Authentic, Tex-Mex, fast(ish) food, tacos made at home by someone with red hair, freckles & zero Latin/Hispanic heritage…I’m not picky. I love it all.

If it has beans, salsa, and chilis, I’m pretty much guaranteed to be happy.

Easy Chicken Fajitas are one of my quick go-to weeknight dinners.

Do you remember the Seinfeld episode where Elaine wouldn’t let anyone order fajitas because the steam would give her “fajita hair?”

I can relate!

Here’s what you need:

Chicken Breasts, Onions, Bell Peppers, Olive Oil, Chili Powder, Cumin, Salsa, Salt & Pepper.

You will also need all the fajita fixins (not pictured here) – tortillas, cheese, beans (sometimes black, sometimes refried), guacamole, sour cream, cilantro, etc.

Click here for an Easy Chicken Fajitas Shopping List

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Roasted Carrots with Mint have quickly become my favorite vegetable.

I don’t know why it never occurred to me to put mint on roasted vegetables before, but it is a heavenly idea.

And if you’ve never roasted carrots before, you’re in for a sweet treat!

Here’s what you need:

Carrots, Fresh Mint, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper.

Click here for a Roasted Carrots with Mint Shoping List

This couldn’t be easier…

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Note:  Roasting carrots is pretty flexible so if you’re cooking something else in the oven that is 375 – 425 degrees, the carrots will be fine at those temps too. Just be sure to check in them earlier (about 15 minutes) if you’re cooking at higher temps.

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Shrimp with Green Herbs is a great weeknight meal. 

Shrimp are often my go to ingredient on weeknights because they cook so quickly. 

This recipe is even easier than most because once you’ve combined the herbs & shrimp, it cooks quickly and effortlessly in the oven.

With a few fresh and simple ingredients, shrimp are transformed into little green gems of flavor.

Here’s what you need:

Shrimp, Parsley, Green Onions, Garlic, Chili Flakes, White Wine, and Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper.

Click here for a Shrimp with Green Herbs Shopping List

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. 

We’re cooking these babies fast and hot!

This is the time to spend a little extra on good, big shrimp. I prefer wild caught shrimp and buy one pound of large or extra large shrimp for this recipe.

This is NOT the time for small shrimp – shrimpy shrimp? – they would not stand up to the heat of the oven. Go big.

Peel & devein your shrimp and set them aside while you prepare the herbs.

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Five years ago today I started Idiot’s Kitchen with this recipe.

It’s easily the recipe that I’ve given out the most:

Easy enough to explain it to the person sitting next to you on an airplane.

Easy enough to explain it to your friends during the break of an orchestra rehearsal.

Easy enough to explain to the person standing in front of the pork chops in your grocery store.

Yes, all those things have happened. I’m like a Pork Chops with Tomatoes & Sage evangelist.

Five years later, Pork Chops with Tomatoes & Sage is still one of my favorites so I thought we’d revisit it on this 5th anniversary.

If you do “Throw Back Thursdays” here you go…way back to August 13, 2010 – only now without my arm in the middle of every photo.

Here’s what you need:

Pork Chops, Sage, Diced Tomatoes, Flour, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper

Click here for a Pork Chops with Tomatoes & Sage shopping list

Gosh, remember back in 2010 when I could still eat wheat? Sigh…Happily this works just fine with Gluten Free flour. 

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Greek Green Bean Salad

My love for Funky Salads is well documented here at Idiot’s Kitchen and Greek Green Bean Salad has quickly shot to the top of that list.

Fresh green beans are the star of the show here. Cooked until just tender crisp, they get a nice salty kick in the pants from some crumbled feta cheese.

Let’s get right to it so you can make this today!

Here’s what you need:

Green Beans, Red Bell Pepper, Garlic, Feta Cheese, Fresh or Dried Parsley, Dried Oregano, Dijon Mustard, White Wine Vinegar, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper

Click here for a Greek Green Bean Salad Shopping List

The day I was leaving Minneapolis this summer, my friend Larry came in from his garden with a huge haul of the first fresh beans of the season. I had some serious bean envy and thought briefly about trying to smuggle some out of his house and on the plane back to Florida.

Wash and trim the ends off 1 pound of green beans (about 5 cups). You can do this one bean at a time with a small paring knife or line your beans up in small groups and cut across several beans at the same time.

It’s a bean assembly line. 

Cut the beans in half to make them bite sized. 

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Chicken Shawarma

Chicken Shawarma is a popular restaurant dish that I never thought I would cook at home.

Like gyros, Chicken Shawarma is usually prepared on a big rotisserie with the meat shaved off in thin slices off for each serving.

I’m thinking there’s no way to pull that one off without a major kitchen renovation…

UNTIL oven roasted Chicken Shawarma comes into the picture. This we can do!

This has an abundance of flavor…sweet, smoky, slightly spicy. It looks and tastes exotic but can easily be made with items from the pantry or regular grocery store.

Here’s what you need:  (with a side of orange cat)

Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs, Lemons, Garlic, Red Onion, Parsley (for garnish), Olive Oil, Paprika, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Cumin, Red Pepper Flakes, Salt & Pepper

This chicken is outstanding all on its own. However Chicken Shawarma is traditionally served with a white sauce made from tahini – sesame paste.

This is optional but HIGHLY recommended. It really takes this dish to a whole new level of flavor.

For the white tahini sauce you need:

Plain Yogurt, Lemon, Garlic, Tahini, and Olive Oil (optional depending on how oily your tahini is)

Click here for a Chicken Shawarma Shopping List

Plan Ahead:  The chicken needs to marinate for at least 1 hour (up to 12 hours) for the best flavor.

Garlic. We need lots of garlic. Smash 6 nice big cloves of garlic with the side of your knife to remove the peel and then finely chop.

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Cucumber & Mango Salad

Almost everyone I know is having a hot summer right now. Even my friends up north, many who don’t have AC, are having temps well into the 90s. 

That’s when it’s time to break out foods that are cool & refreshing. 

My friend Larry introduced me to this cool Cucumber & Mango Salad and I can’t get enough.

A few simple ingredients and just a little chopping will take you straight to salad heaven.

Here’s what you need:

Cucumber, Mango, Jalapeño Pepper, Basil, White Balsamic (or White Wine) Vinegar, Salt & Pepper (not pictured)

Click here for a Cucumber & Mango Salad Shopping List

Peel a cucumber, cut it into strips, and then cut it into cubes.

If you have strips that are mostly seeds, I like to just trim off the seedy bits.

If you’re using a garden cucumber, you will probably want to cut it in half & scoop out all of the seeds before you start chopping.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Baked Salmon with Blueberries

Baked Salmon with Blueberries is a recipe you need to make right now.

Sockeye Salmon is in season. Fresh blueberries are in season. It’s meant to be!

You might be thinking, “Blueberries? On fish?”

The answer is yes!

On their own, blueberries are not a very sweet fruit. They’re usually put into pies, tarts, and scones that have ample added sugar.

Pair them with more savory and aromatic ingredients like white wine and shallots, and they go perfectly with the season’s freshest salmon.

As a bonus to its funkiness, this is quite an easy and quick recipe to prepare.

Here’s what you need:

Baked Salmon with Blueberries Ingredients

Salmon, Blueberries, Shallot, Butter, White Wine, White Wine Vinegar, Honey, Cinnamon Stick, Fresh Thyme (not pictured), Salt & Pepper

Click here for a Baked Salmon with Blueberries Shopping List

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

I plan on 6-8 ounces of fish per person and have about 1½ pounds of salmon fillet. (2 servings + a leftover for Jim’s lunch.)

For dishes like this, I prefer to cook the fillet whole so that it doesn’t dry out and then cut it into individual portions when I am ready to serve.

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Warm Mushroom & Arugula Salad

Warm Mushroom & Arugula Salad!

We love having big salads for dinner so I’m always on the lookout for new recipes and ideas other than the standard grilled chicken chopped up over greens.

Boy was I happy to find this one!

So many good things going on – mushrooms, prosciutto, sundried tomatoes, to name a few – but the recipe is simple and easy to put together.

Here’s what you need:

Warm Mushroom & Arugula Salad Ingredients

Baby Arugula, Cremini (Baby Bella) Mushrooms, Prosciutto, Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan), Butter, Olive Oil, Sherry Vinegar, & Sundried Tomatoes.

Click here for a Warm Mushroom & Arugula Salad Shopping List

I love, love, love arugula. It has a peppery bite that really kicks ordinary salad greens up a notch. If you’re unsure, or arugula isn’t your thing, this would also be perfectly good just on a bed of mixed baby greens.

I decided to build one big salad on a platter but you could also assemble this directly on the serving plates.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Roasted Beets


Before you say, “EWWW! Gross, beets” and click away, allow me to try to convince you…

My theory is that most people who hate beets have never had fresh from the garden, into the oven, lightly seasoned, roasted beets.

If your only experience with beets is the pickled kind or heaven forbid, the canned and pickled (often sweet) kind, I really can’t blame you for a big massive “EWWW!”

However, THESE roasted beets are not THOSE gross beets.

You might know that I spend several weeks every summer playing in the orchestra for an awesome opera company in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In addition to playing great music with good friends, I also take in as much of summer in Minnesota as I possibly can.

A lot has changed since I lived here and one of the huge improvements is that it seems that there is a farmer’s market to be found in some neighborhood almost every day of the week. Of course there are the big, formal Minneapolis & St. Paul farmer’s markets in their respective permanent locations downtown, but smaller, more creative markets have popped up all over the Cities.

In fact, the Mill City Museum where the Mill City Summer Opera performs in their courtyard ruins, hosts an organic farmer’s market every Saturday during the summer.


If there’s a cooler performance venue than this, I sure don’t know what it is.

You can see the sets in progress and the platform in the back where the orchestra sits. No putting this orchestra into a pit!

That’s the Mississippi River you see right outside the windows!

Mill City Museum Ruins

Click HERE, there’s more!

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