Chicken with 37 Cloves of Garlic

Ugh, it happened. I got it. The dreaded head cold. You know the one–where the only way you find relief is by squinting your eyes, tilting your head back, and relaxing your jaw so your mouth is hanging half open. You do that for awhile and then realize how ridiculous you look. So you try to look normal. But the pressure just builds up and you’re so out of sorts that you don’t realize you’re doing it again until you notice people staring at you.

Or telling you how tired you look. Really? Is that ever ok to say to someone? What are you supposed to say to that? Hey, thanks! Despite my herculean effort to drag my sorry ass out of bed and attempt to put myself together with some sense of normalcy you are so observant that you noticed underneath all of this style and grace over here I am, indeed, in need of a nap. Are you offering to take my kids/workload/chores off my hands so I can have a little snooze? Is that why you mentioned it? No? Then shut your face, thanks.

So, coping. Dan offered to delay his studying so I could relax at home, but I still have some energy I just feel like crap. And we just have to get out of the house. So instead:

A body pump class at the gym turned into sitting in the sauna while the kids still went to the kids club.

At naptime I was going to do a much-needed grocery run. Nope. I need naptime for couchtime. Hey kids, let’s do something extra special today and eat lunch at the grocery store! And if you’re extra good maybe you can pick out your cereal for the week!

For dinner, I wanted something really warming and nourishing and enough flavor to bust through the fog my head is in. Something that isn’t hard to make and lets me be mindless in the kitchen. So, roasted chicken and garlic. I lost count of peeling garlic. Turns out it was 37 cloves. Brilliant.


Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Yield: 6 servings

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic is the perfect comfort food when it's cold outside or you're feeling under the weather. The garlic melts into a sweet silky sauce to coat the braised chicken. Serve over toasted baguette to sop up the delicious sauce.


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 4-lb chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 shallot (approx 1/4 cup), finely diced
  • 40-ish cloves of garlic, whole and peeled (I just smash them slightly with the side of a knife and the skins peel right off)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup brandy or cognac
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • Chopped parsley or celery leaves (optional, for serving)
  • Toasted baguette slices (optional, for serving)


  1. In a large, heavy bottom Dutch oven (this would be the time to bring out your Le Creuset), heat the olive oil over medium hight heat until shimmering.
  2. Meanwhile, season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper.
  3. Put half of the chicken skin side down in the pot and cook without moving until skin is good and brown--7-10 minutes. Turn over and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate and cover loosely with foil. Repeat with remaining chicken.
  4. After all of the chicken is cooked and is resting on a plate, add the diced shallots, cooking until the shallots are tender and you've lifted some of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan--about 2 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and thyme and cook until very fragrant--3 minutes.
  5. Pour in the brandy, stirring vigorously until all of the brown bits are lifted from the pan and the brandy has just about cooked all the way off. Then add the white wine and bring to a simmer.
  6. Add the chicken back into the pan in a single layer, turn the heat down to low, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Check on the chicken once or twice to ensure the liquid is simmering gently. If there is no liquid in the pan add the stock or water and bring it back up to a simmer.
  7. When the chicken is cooked through, remove it to a plate and cover gently. Remove thyme springs. Scoop out about 1/2 cup of the sauce. Put the flour in a separate small bowl. Add a Tablespoon or two of the sauce to the flour and whisk. When smooth, add another tablespoon of sauce again whisking until smooth. Continue to do this until all of the sauce you've pulled from the pan is incorporated with the flour and there are no lumps. Then pour the flour mixture back in the pan and stir to incorporate.
  8. Bring back up to a simmer. The sauce should be the consistency of a very loose gravy. It should just coat the back of a spoon. If it's too thick add more stock or water. At this point you can decide if you want to mash up some of the garlic into the sauce or leave the cloves whole. I usually mash mine up to maximize the garlic flavor but it would be a more dramatic presentation if left whole, so I'll leave that up to you.
  9. Add the chicken back to the pan and just heat through.
  10. Serve over toasted baguette pieces to sop up the sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley or celery leaves.
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I served this with braised kale and pureed turnips for a soul-warming meal that the entire family loved.

Pairing: While I didn’t have a good wine with dinner this time, the perfect pairing would be Chardonnay from the Burgundy region of France.

What is your go-to meal when you’re not feeling well?
chicken 40 cloves 4

Food Lover’s Cleanse Diary Day 11: Golden Globe guilty pleasure

How I feel: Way to wholesome and healthy for watching my guilty pleasure: the Golden Globes. After a long day of working out, swimming with the kids, writing, cooking and prepping for the busy week ahead, this is just what the doctor ordered!

Time in kitchen: 1 hour

Most interesting thing eaten: Actually, the turnips in dinner. I usually overlook them at the market but no more! Sweet and tender, I can’t wait to try them in stews, roasted and pureed this winter.

Total Weight Watchers Points: 25.

Menu in review:

Breakfast: Quinoatmeal with Apples and Toasted Walnuts. 9 Weight Watchers points. [Read more...]

Food Lover’s Cleanse Diary Day 6: warming up for a COLD day

How I feel: COLD. It’s 4 degrees!

One of the things I like about doing the cleanse in real-time is that it’s really well planned across the days of the week. Monday is meatless, seafood on Friday among other days, and meals that are great for entertaining on the weekends. Interestingly, today’s menu was just perfect for a freezing cold day. Warming quinoa oatmeal in the morning, and then an Asian dish that was hearty and also used the stove and oven to help heat up the house!

Time in kitchen: 1 hour, mostly on dinner tonight; tomorrow required very little prep.

Most interesting thing eaten: The quinoa oatmeal. I’ll definitely be making that again. Creamy but with texture, and it has some body from the almond milk, and crisp and crunch from the apples and nuts.

Total Weight Watchers Points: 36 planned based on the menu, but I only ate 29 today.

Menu in review:

Breakfast: Quinoatmeal with Apple and Toasted Walnuts. 9 Weight Watchers points planned, I had 5.

[Read more...]

Food Lover’s Cleanse Diary Day 2

20140103-195417.jpgHow I feel: I was a little sluggish this morning but after lunch I didn’t feel hungry at all! Until 3, when I was starving. But made it till dinner with lots of water.

Time in kitchen: 45 min.

Most interesting thing eaten: Avocado and smoked salmon. Creamy avocado, smoky and salty salmon on a crunchy cracker, hit with a little sweet heat from sriracha. It was the perfect wakeup for my taste buds.

Total Weight Watchers Points: 27, plus wine

Menu in review:

Breakfast: Avocado on Rye Crackers with Smoked Salmon. 5 Weight Watchers points. [Read more...]

Passport to: India

Indian Greens completeI love making an event out of dinner. It’s often the one time of the day that the whole family is together…and my oldest is only 3. I can only imagine how hectic it’s going to get later. But over dinner we can sit and talk and ask each other about our favorite part of our day. Playing with Legos for Nicholas. Walking through the door after work for Dan. Then the dog barks, Katie starts crying, and Nicholas spills his drink. Despite the chaos, the time we spend together at dinner is my favorite part of the day.

I like the idea of passport meals–you know, make an entire theme night out of something a little different than the norm, for us: Indian food. Play Indian music, find India on a map, everyone come to the table with one fun fact about Indian culture…

Ok, seriously, who am I kidding. Like we have time for that. The reality is, we walk past an Indian restaurant  on the way home from Nicholas’ school and it smells so darn good that I was inspired to try to make a couple of our favorite dishes at home. And over dinner we talked about how great it would have been to have done all of that stuff.

I still love the idea of a passport meal–go ahead, try something new. You don’t need to be an expert, just follow a recipe. And if you can do all that other stuff, you are truly inspiring. I’m going to keep it on the list as one of the great ideas that we’ll get to one of these days. Meanwhile, I’m just going to enjoy the fact that we all get to sit at the table and talk for a few minutes every day.


Chicken Tikka Masala (Food & Wine mag recipe)
Indian Spiced Greens–my take on Sag
Steamed Basmati Rice
Kingfisher Beer

Weekly Menu: A week of entertaining

How many holiday parties do you have this week? Tis the season for entertaining friends, family, colleagues…

Nicholas’ birthday falls during this time as well. At this age, it just means figuring out how many pizzas to order at the local bounce house venue, but when he gets older I’m sure it will mean cooking vats of chili for teenage boys who want to watch the game together. Wow, I just leapt ahead 10 years.

Anyway, this week I’m serving up a couple of menus that are great for weekend or weeknight entertaining, plus a great crockpot meal for the night you’re not on the go but too tired to cook!

Menu #1: Open house gathering

Roasted salmon completeEverything here works great at room temperature, so you can put out on the table just before friends arrive, but you don’t have to worry about keeping heat on any of it.

Even if you’re not entertaining, this is a great weekend meal that you can use the leftovers for later in the week.

Roasted Salmon with Mustard Caper Sauce
Roasted Potatoes
Pear, Walnut, & Blue Cheese Salad

Wine: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

Menu #2: Elegant gathering with close friends

Salmon pot pie completeUse the leftovers from the Roasted Salmon to make this easy and elegant dish. You can even make ahead for a great weeknight dinner party for 4.

Salmon Pot Pie
Steamed Green Beans

Wine: Chardonnay

Menu #3: Crock Pot Comfort

After you’ve had your fill of entertaining and just need a comforting crock pot meal, give this one a try. I found it on Recipe Girl’s blog, and it looks amazing.

Slow Cooker Garlic Chicken

Shopping List

1 3-pound filet of salmon, skin on
3 to 4 pounds of bone-in chicken pieces (drumsticks, breasts, thighs)
red onion
yellow onion
fresh or dried thyme
2 pounds assorted potatoes
green beans
mixed greens
Bosc pear
Dijon mustard
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
cracked pepper
walnut halves
frozen peas
puff pastry
cocktail pumpernickel slices
sour cream
blue cheese, crumbled
white wine

Weekly menu: Greens, BBQ chicken, Sloppy Joes

This week at the farmers market there were tons of fall vegetables like greens and sweet potatoes, so I embraced it. I find that it’s a bit easier and economical to get a lot of one or two things and cook those throughout the week, rather than come up with a unique side dish for every meal. Also, I’ll be making some baby food with the sweet potatoes so I needed to get a bunch.

These meals do take some prep, but everything can be done ahead so anything can be a fairly easy weeknight meal.

Dinner Menu #1:Sloppy Joe dinner finished
Sloppy Joes
Curry Sweet Potato Fries

To prep the sweet potatoes ahead, follow the recipe and bake them for only about 30 minutes. Then let them cool and refrigerate. They will still be soft. When you are preparing dinner, just pop them back in the oven for 20 minutes or so. The sloppy joes can be on the table in under 30 minutes, but you could also certainly prep the joe mixture ahead as well. I cook my peas in the microwave, covered tightly in plastic wrap, for 2 minutes, so no time at all for that either.

Dinner Menu #2:
Braised Kale over Parmesan Polenta

I love to cook one vegetarian meal per week, so this is the one. Just a good nourishing weeknight meal.

Dinner Menu #3:

Barbeque Chicken
Collard Greens
Baked Sweet Potato

This is a great one to prep ahead for a Wednesday hump day meal. It feels like a Sunday dinner, but takes very little effort when you get home from a long day. BBQ chicken greens sweet potatoSimply marinate the chicken the night before or in the morning, and throw on the grill when you get home. Set the collard greens in the crock pot in the morning so all you need to do is serve them up in the evening. Put the potatoes in the oven or on the grill when you get home and don’t touch them till dinnertime. Minimal effort, maximum comfort will get you over hump day.

Homemade Baby Food:

Pureed Sweet Potatoes
Sloppy Joes and Sweet Potatoes
Pureed Peas

Shopping List:

1 pound ground beef
1 small chicken
6 ounces bacon
3 onions
green pepper
3 pounds sweet potatoes
1 pound kale
2 pounds collards
curry powder
olive oil
cider vinegar
brown sugar
tomato sauce–8 ounce can
barbeque sauce
coarse ground yellow corn polenta/grits
Parmigiano Reggiano
frozen peas