Harissa & Lemon Chicken Tray Bake

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Add some sweet potatoes and cauliflower and you have a "winner..." well, you know the rest. 

This was voted one of the favorite meals I've made since I've moved here to Lake Havasu City. This got a resounding all thumbs up from my family. It's one of my favorites also. 
I'm still in transition, living half in and out of boxes. I know I packed my jars of Harissa but couldn't find either one of them so I made my own. 
It turned out to be a good thing because I learned how really easy it is to make. 

I know you won't over-roast your peppers as I did. I tasted the little charred bits and they were tasty, a little bit sweet so I added the whole lot to the food processor and pulsed away. I didn't peel the peppers either. Hummm no wonder I think harissa is so easy to make. 

One variation of the basic harissa recipe (included) is fragrant harissa. While the peppers are roasting toast 1 tablespoon each of fennel, cumin, coriander, and caraway seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat for about 3 minutes until fragrant. Roughly grind the toasted spices, set aside. 


In a large saucepan heat the olive oil and add the roasted pepper mixture. Here is where you are going to add the ground spices. 


After simmering the pepper mixture for about 45 minutes, add fresh lemon juice to taste, and you're done.

See how much darker and richer the peppers are after simmering for a while. 

The recipe calls for red chilis also. Add as many as you like depending on how spicy you want your harissa. Once again, I have a family member that doesn't care for spicy food so I left them out. 

Now that we have the harissa made, on to the marinade for the chicken and veggies. 


You'll need, vegetable broth, olive oil, the zest and juice of lemons, coriander/cilantro, garlic, harissa, and salt. Whisk it all together in a bowl. I used the measuring cup the broth was in. 


The vegetables you need for the chicken are sweet potatoes, onions, lemons, garlic, and cauliflower. 

After getting the chicken seriously coated with the marinade,  it was placed in the roasting pan on a bed of sliced onion, then the potatoes and cauliflower were added and it was all topped with the sliced lemons, popped into a 375*F oven for about an hour. 

A seriously delicious meal. I hope you try it


Harissa & Lemon Chicken Tray Bake

Serves 4 

2 onions (400g), sliced
8 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
4 large chicken legs
1 large sweet potato (250g), cut into large chunks
300g cauliflower florets
2 lemons, sliced


200ml vegetable stock
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 tablespoons Harissa plus extra to serve
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander
3/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste    

koko's note:
I roasted the chicken at 375*F

Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan), Gas Mark 6.   

Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl.    Spread the onions out in a deep roasting tin and scatter the garlic cloves all over. Place the chicken legs, skin-side up, on top with the sweet potato chunks and cauliflower florets. Pour over the marinade and turn the chicken legs several times to ensure that they are fully coated with the marinade. Top the whole dish with the lemon slices.    Bake for about 1 hour or until the chicken is golden and cooked through. Serve the chicken and vegetables immediately with extra harissa.

Harissa Basic Recipe

1kg red peppers (about 8)
1–4 red chillies (any type), depending on how spicy you want your harissa
7 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
olive oil    

koko's note:
I roasted the peppers at 350*F

Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan), Gas Mark 3½.

Line a roasting tray with foil. Cut the red peppers and the chillies into quarters lengthways, then remove and discard the cores, veins and seeds. Place them, skin-side up, in the lined roasting tray. Roast for about 40 minutes or until the skins of the peppers start to look wrinkly.    Remove from the oven and leave the peppers and chillies until cool enough to handle, then remove the skins from the peppers and chop everything finely with a knife or use a food processor to pulse to a coarse purée.    

Heat 5 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the roasted pepper mixture and the garlic, reduce the heat to medium-low and leave to simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 35–45 minutes until the mixture looks darker, all the liquid from the peppers and chillies has evaporated and the mixture has dried out (the only liquid you should see is oil). Taste and season with salt as necessary.    When your harissa is ready, transfer it to a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid that has some room to spare at the top. Pour in enough olive oil to completely cover the harissa – this acts as  natural preservative and allows you to store the harissa for longer – then seal the jar. Store the harissa in the fridge, where it will keep for up to 1 month. Enjoy with everything!

Casablanca: My Moroccan Food Cookbook


And that's that!

Thanks for one hell of a ride

Stanley E Simmons


Love of my life

My husband passed away on December 10, 2019

A lot has changed this past month. I've moved from San Diego CA to Lake Havasu City AZ so I can be closer to my daughter and adult grandsons.
I'm currently living with my daughter while I'm waiting for an apartment in a senior community to become available.

I've been doing some cooking and will post the recipes, I really want to get back on track soon. 


Green Pozole with Zucchini

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A scrumptious base of toasted pumpkin seeds, simmered with poblano chilis and tomatillos, spiked with pork rib meat and topped with cilantro, radishes and a squeeze of lime. 

First things first, gather your ingredients. Then chop up the chilis, tomatillos, onion, and garlic. Add them with some water into a blender and puree until smooth. 
I thought I had some tomatillos on hand but I didn't, and I was making this a couple of days before Thanksgiving so no way I was going to darken the door of any supermarket, so I used a 7 oz can of mild salsa verde that I found in the cupboard, bingo!! the first ingredient, tomatillos. 


The next thing to do is toast the pumpkin seeds, then the oregano. Set aside


While the pumpkin seeds and oregano are cooling, add the green chili puree to a hot but not smoking skillet, add some salt and simmer for about 10 minutes.
While the green chili puree is simmering, place the pumpkin seeds and oregano in the blender with some broth and puree until smooth. Stir the pumpkin seed mixture into the simmering green sauce and simmer for about 8 minutes more. 

By now the aromas are killing you and you can't wait for this to be done. 


Finally, add more broth, pozole, zucchini and simmer for 10 minutes more. 
The "real deal" recipe is vegetarian and features more and some different vegetables than I used and I added some pork. 

I'm still receiving compliments and comments about the soup.
I know you'll make this soup your own and add what you and your family like. Trust me, you'll love it. 

Green Pozole with Zucchini, Chayote, and Mushrooms

Serves 8
Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 45 minutes

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 pound tomatillos (about 6 medium), husked, thoroughly rinsed, and quartered
1 pound poblano chiles (4 or 5), seeded and coarsely chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped white onion
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and upper part of stems
1 garlic clove
1 cup water
3 tablespoons canola or safflower oil
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt or to taste
8 cups vegetable or chicken broth, homemade or store-bought
3 cups cooked hominy (one 29-ounce can) or cooked dried hominy
1 1/4 pounds zucchini (about 3 medium), diced (4 cups)
1 1/4 pounds chayote squash (about 2), peeled and diced (4 cups)
8 ounces mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned, and diced for garnish
2 limes, quartered
Chopped fresh cilantro Chopped white onion
4 radishes, halved and thinly sliced

1. Heat a small skillet or comal over medium heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and toast for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often, until they begin to brown and pop, like popcorn. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Toast the oregano in the same pan for 8 to 10 seconds, just until it goes from green to brown, stirring constantly and taking care not to burn. Immediately transfer to the bowl with the pumpkin seeds.
3. Place the tomatillos, chiles, onion, cilantro, and garlic in a blender, add the water, and puree until smooth.
4. In a large heavy pot or casserole, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the green puree. It will sizzle, sear, and smoke, which is what you want! Add the salt and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken and darken in color and the flavors will intensify.
5. Meanwhile, place the toasted pumpkin seeds and oregano in the blender, along with 3 cups of the broth, and puree until completely smooth.
6. Stir the pumpkin seed mixture into the simmering green sauce and reduce the heat to medium. Cover partially, as the mixture will splutter, and simmer for 8 minutes. Stir from time to time to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot; it will be thicker and pastier on the bottom.
7. Add the remaining 5 cups broth and bring to a simmer. Add the hominy, cover partially, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the zucchini, chayote, and mushrooms, cover partially, and simmer for another 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the soup is thick and olive green. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
8. Ladle the pozole into bowls and serve, passing the garnishes on the side.

Pati Jinich, Mexican Today Cookbook


And that's that!

Braised Beef Rolls (Braciole di Manzo)


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Perhaps I should re-name this "Braciole di Manzo il Frigo" because I wrapped the beef around what I could scrounge up from the fridge.


But don't worry, I'm posting the real recipe here, thank you Lidia Bastianich. 
I've been avoiding gluten but I had to have my pasta fix so I served the beef roll over fettuccine. That should keep me happy for a while. 


I started the filling by cutting up and soaking two pieces of pita bread in just enough milk to cover them and added milk as needed to hydrate them. While the bread was soaking, two ribs of celery and 1/4 of a white onion were diced and sautéed with a minced clove of garlic and set aside to cool before adding to the soaked bread. 
I had some salami slices leftover from a party so that got diced and added to the bread-veggie mix along with some chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese. 

After I laid out the slices of beef I mounded some filling up on the wide end of the meat, then added a half a slice of string cheese, rolled up and secured with toothpicks. 


In a large skillet heat some oil and brown the rolls. Once the rolls are browned add the sauce. I took a short cut and used jarred spaghetti sauce that I jazzed up a little with some red wine and red pepper flakes. 
Spoon the sauce over the rolls, turn down the heat cover and simmer until the meat is fork-tender. 

Can it be more obvious I'm not a recipe writer? Basically, just about anything you have on hand can be used, use your imagination and leftovers. 

It still was a plate of awesomeness. Next time I'd like to use some pepperoni, I think that would be great. 

Here's the real deal recipe. 

Braciole di Manzo


    1 1/2 cups milk
    2 cups 1/2-inch bread cubes, cut from day-old Italian bread with crusts removed
    2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and coarsely chopped
    1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
    1/4 cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    1/4 cup raisins
    1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
    1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    2 pounds beef bottom round, cut into 12 slices each about ½ inch thick
    12 slices imported Italian prosciutto (about 6 ounces)
    1/4 pound imported provola or provolone cheese, cut into ¼-by-¼-by-1-inch sticks
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    One 35-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    2 small onions (about 8 ounces), chopped
    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    1/2 cup dry red wine
    3 tablespoons tomato paste
    2 fresh or dried bay leaves
    Salt and hot red pepper flakes to taste


  1. To make the stuffing:
    Pour the milk into a medium bowl, add the bread cubes, and let soak until the bread is very soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain the bread, squeeze out excess milk from the cubes with your hands, and return bread to the bowl. Stir in the chopped eggs, parsley, Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, raisins, pine nuts, and garlic. Mix well, and set aside.
    With the toothed side of a heavy meat mallet, pound each slice of beef round to a thickness of about ¼ inch. Arrange one of the pounded meat slices in front of you with one of the short sides closest to you. Top with a slice of prosciutto, and tap the prosciutto with the backside of a knife so it adheres to the beef. Spread 2 tablespoons of the stuffing over the beef slice, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges. Place a stick of provolone crosswise over the edge of the stuffing closest to you. Fold the border over the provolone, then fold the side borders in to overlap the edges of the stuffing. Roll into a compact tube. Secure the end flap with a toothpick. Repeat with the remaining beef and stuffing, then season the rolls with salt and pepper.
    Empty the tomatoes into a bowl, and squeeze them with your hands until coarsely crushed, removing the cores as you do. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy casserole over medium heat. Stir in the onions and garlic, and cook until the onions are wilted, about 5 minutes. Add as many of the braciole as will fit in a single layer, and cook, turning the braciole as necessary, until golden on all sides, about 7 minutes. If necessary, repeat with any remaining braciole. Adjust the heat under the pan as necessary to prevent the beef from scorching. Pour the wine into the casserole, bring to a boil, and cook until most of it has evaporated. Stir in the tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Add tomato paste and bay leaves, and stir until the paste is dissolved. Season lightly with salt and red pepper flakes, adjust the heat so the liquid is simmering, and cook, adding water as necessary to keep the braciole completely submerged, until the beef is tender, about 3 hours.

And that's that!

Zucchini Tian, Julia Child's Tian de Courgettes au Riz

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Shredded zucchini with rice in a velvety sauce


You could just cook the shredded zucchini, onions, and garlic in some cream and it would be great but I really liked it baked with rice

All you need is some zucchini, onion, garlic, rice, flour, Parmesan cheese and milk that missed the photo shoot. 

The zucchini gets grated, salted and drained and the rice gets a quick par-boil and set aside. 


In a large frying pan, cook the onions then add the zucchini and garlic. Sprinkle in the flour and stir for a few minutes before adding the heated milk. Stir, stir, mix, mix. until smooth and creamy. 

As if it wasn't good enough already, here's where you add in some grated Parmesan cheese. Here is where I couldn't help but add a few scrapings of fresh nutmeg, just a bit. It was a great addition to the sauce. 


In the casserole ready for a final sprinkling of Parmesan cheese then into the oven. 


Julia Child's Tian de Courgettes au Riz (Zucchini Tian)


  • 2 pounds zucchini (up to 2 1/2 pounds)
    1/2 cup plain, raw, untreated white rice
    1 cup minced onions
    3 tablespoons olive oil (up to 4 tablespoons)
    2 large cloves garlic, mashed or finely minced
    2 tablespoons flour
    2 1/2 cups warm liquid: zucchini juices plus milk, heated in a pan (watch this closely so that it doesn't curdle)
    2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (save 2 tablespoons for later)
    1 pinch Salt and pepper
    2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Shave the stem and the tip off each zucchini (or other summer squash), scrub the vegetable thoroughly but not harshly with a brush under cold running water to remove any clinging sand or dirt. If vegetables are large, halve or quarter them. If seeds are large and at all tough, and surrounding flesh is coarse rather than moist and crisp, which is more often the case with yellow squashes and striped green cocozelles than with zucchini, cut out and discard the cores.

    Rub the squash against the coarse side of a grater, and place grated flesh in a colander set over a bowl.For each 1 pound (2 cups) of grated squash, toss with 1 teaspoon of salt, mixing thoroughly. Let the squash drain 3 or 4 minutes, or until you are ready to proceed.

    Just before cooking, squeeze a handful dry and taste. If by any chance the squash is too salty, rinse in a large bowl of cold water, taste again; rinse and drain again if necessary. Then squeeze gently by handfuls, letting juices run back into bowl. Dry on paper towels. Zucchini will not be fluffy; it is still dampish, but the excess liquid is out. The pale-green, slightly saline juice drained and squeezed out of the zucchini has a certain faint flavor that can find its uses in vegetable soups, canned soups, or vegetable sauces.

    While the shredded zucchini is draining (reserve the juices,) drop the rice into boiling salted water, bring rapidly back to the boil, and boil exactly 5 minutes; drain and set aside.

    In a large (11-inch) frying pan, cook the onions slowly in the oil for 8 to 10 minutes until tender and translucent. Raise heat slightly and stir several minutes until very lightly browned.

    Stir in the grated and dried zucchini and garlic. Toss and turn for 5 to 6 minutes until the zucchini is almost tender.

    Sprinkle in the flour, stir over moderate heat for 2 minutes, and remove from heat.

    Gradually stir in the 2 1/2 cups warm liquid (zucchini juices plus milk, heated gently in a pan -- don't let it get so hot that the milk curdles!). Make sure the flour is well blended and smooth.

    Return over moderately high heat and bring to the simmer, stirring. Remove from the heat again, stir in the blanched rice and all but 2 tablespoons of the cheese. Taste very carefully for seasoning.

    Turn into a heavily buttered 6- to 8-cup, flameproof baking and serving dish about 1 1/2 inches deep, strew remaining cheese on top, and dribble the olive oil over the cheese.

    About half an hour before serving, bring to simmer on top of stove (you can skip this step if your baking dish isn’t flameproof), then set in upper third of a preheated 435-degree F oven until tian is bubbling and top has browned nicely. The rice should absorb all the liquid

And that's that!