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Vive la France! Lemon-Herb Chicken Thighs, Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus, Clafoutis

15 Jul

Hope everyone had a wonderful Bastille Day!

My Mom and Grandmother came up for a quick visit this week while I am in transition.   Currently I am in the process of setting up my office and sorting through several years of paperwork and I needed some motivation/help to keep trucking.  This is not one of my favorite tasks to say the least and I am very good at finding all sorts of ways to get distracted to continue my procrastination.

In honor of my families visit and in celebration on France’s independence day, I created some French inspired grub.

Lemon-Herb Chicken Thighs

Lemon-Herb Marinade

Juice of a lemon
2 tablespoons Herbes de Provence
1 medium shallot, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
salt and pepper

Rub all over the chicken and under skin and let it marinate for several hours in the fridge.

Roast Potatoes

4-5 potatoes (I used while potatoes)
2 tablespoon of EVOO
salt and pepper and a sprinkling of herbes de Provence

Cube potatoes and place in bowl.  Pour in EVOO, seasoning and stir until coated.  Roast in over at 400 until tender.

I cooked the chicken on the charcoal grill and grilled the asparagus on the propane.  Delicious!

We enjoyed this delicious meal outside on a gorgeous day with some chilled white wine.

And for dessert, a most magnificent, amazing French creation: clafoutis!

Clafoutis came to my attention by way of the always inspring Jenna over at Eat Live Run.  I don’t consider myself a baker by any means and desserts are actually my least favorite things to create.  But, I came across this easy recipe (you make it in your blender!) and I had a plethora of cherries so it seemed do-able.

The only real effort with this dish is pitting the cherries…

Sigh, my cuticles are still pink.

Here is the recipe:

From: Eat Live Run


1 lb cherries, pitted

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup milk

4 T melted butter

1 vanilla bean, scraped (I used regular vanilla extract)

4 eggs

1/2 cup flour

1/4th tsp salt


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray a nine inch square pan with cooking spray and scatter your pitted cherries along the bottom. Place all other ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour batter over cherries and bake for 40 minutes until golden brown. Let cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Pouring my blended ingredients over the cherries…

Ready to go into the oven..



The other great thing about clafoutis?  It is also delicious for breakfast! 😉

Bon appetit and Vive la France!


Happy Birthday America!

5 Jul

Happy Fourth of July!!

We were so lucky here in Chicagoland to have a beautiful day for the fourth without a cloud in the sky…

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Country Style BBQ Ribs on the Weber Grill

6 Jun

It all started with a little butt rub and really, shouldn’t every Sunday dinner?

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Easter at the O’Mara’s!

26 Apr

This was my first year hosting Easter and I was definitely feeling up to the task.  I was excited that so many people we invited RSVP’d that they were be joining our festivities.  We had never had this many people in the house at one time (around 20!??) but what the heck.  Bring on the ham!

I picked up this almost 9lb ham at Sam’s club for about $18.  It was incredibly tasty and an economical choice for a big crowd.  It comes fully cooked and you can serve it cold but I prefer it warm.  Heat it up for about 10 minutes per pound in the oven.  It came with a glaze packet that I used as well.

In addition to the ham, I roasted this big hunk of lamb.  I picked this up on sale a little while ago and immediately put it in the deep freeze.   I knew I would use it for something…

For them lamb, I made a simple marinade in the food processor of several garlic cloves, fresh rosemary, a couple tablespoons of softened butter, and salt and pepper.  Smear all over the lamb and place in the oven for about 1.5 hours.

To go with all this meat, I roasted some fingerling potatoes.  For a crowd this size, I checked out Sam’s club and picked up this 5 lb bag.  I cut them in half, added some EVOO and salt and pepper.  Roast at 450 degrees until they are tender (about 45 minutes).

Of course, it isn’t Easter without deviled eggs.  I used this recipe from Cooking Light.  I really liked the addition of smoked salmon and a little sprig of dill made them look pretty.

I picked up this pasta recipe from Ina Garten.  It was easy to make, tasty, and served at room temperature, something to take into consideration for a buffet.  I also liked that it made use of seasonal items, like peas.

Mixed green salad with tomato, red onion, gorgonzola, lemon vinaigrette.

In the crock pot, I made some meat balls using O’Mara grass-fed beef.  I mixed up the ground beef with Worcestershire sauce, breadcrumbs, garlic salt, peppers, and an egg and baked them in the oven.  Then I placed them in the crock pot on low with a jar of Heinz chili sauce.

Our guests brought some pretty tasty items, too!

Desserts were abundant as well, brownies, cookies, Peep vs. Dinosaurs Easter cake…

And, these adorable little nests brought by our friends John and Ryan.

In an effort to conserve space, I set up this drink table.  I used a narrow, shaky table from the basement and covered it with an inexpensive flat sheet from Walmart.

Fresh flowers add a lot.  I set out several small arrangements of colorful flowers rather than a large dramatic centerpiece to get the most bang for my buck.  These poms were $5 dollars from Sam’s and I picked up a couple bunches of daffodils for $2 a piece, placed in vases from the dollar store.  The tablecloth was $5 at TJ Maxx.  It was colorful and water resistant (perfect for clean ups).  Candles from World Market.

Cooking for this many people is a lot of work and takes a great deal of planning but it was a wonderful day filled with friends and we had a blast.  Looking forward to next year!

Happy Easter!

Mostly Meatless Monday

18 Apr

Tonight’s dinner was a sort of hodge-podge.  I wasn’t really sure what to make with the random items in the fridge, one zucchini, a head of cauliflower, various cans of stuff in the pantry.  After finding a little inspiration over at Kath, I decided to make a crock pot vegetarian dish using cannellini beans (because I didn’t have chickpeas) with my random veggies.

In the crockpot I threw in a cup of rice with 2 cups veggie stock, chopped zucchini, cauliflower cut into florets, carrots, can of beans and a whole bunch of spices including: curry, tumeric, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, and a can of tomato paste, garlic salt, salt and pepper.

Hubby came home from work asked what was for dinner.  When I told him what was brewing he promptly asked “where’s the meat?”.  He was less enthusiastic about my meatless Monday.  A request for steak was presented, ultimately we settled on a couple of tilapia fillets.  I put on a light breading and fried them up in a little EVOO on my new cast iron grill from World Market (LOVE this thing!)

Yum!  This was very tasty and very easy.  Plus, plenty for lunch tomorrow!

Hubby named this dinner Indian Awesome.

Beef and Barley

28 Mar

Tonight’s dinner was another slow cooker favorite.  Yesterday evening I placed all the ingredients in the crock pot, put the lid on and put it in the fridge.  This morning before leaving for work I turned it on low and ran out the door.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the O’Mara’s!

15 Mar

St. Patrick’s day blessing upon you!  (or Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh! in Gaelic).

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