Octoberfest Beer-Braised Chicken Thighs

Today I made dinner for the first time in months.  I must say that in the summer I am super busy and either pick something up for dinner or stop by my parents on the way home for a quick bite to eat.  Now that the fall has arrived, I am able to be back in the kitchen once again. I tried one of Rachel Ray’s recipes as I was inspired by the Octoberfest beer I had in the fridge.  I made a few of my own alterations to the recipe to make it my own.


8 pieces boneless, skinless chicken thighs seasoned with salt and pepper, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 package of your favorite kielbasa, 1 chopped onion, 1 bulb fennel thinly sliced, 1 chopped red pepper, 3 cloves minced garlic, 1 tbsp thyme, 1 tbsp flour, 1 bottle Sam Adams Octoberfest beer, 1 14oz can diced tomatoes, 1 cup chicken stock, 2 tbsp hot sauce


1. Heat a dutch oven with one tbsp olive oil.  Then brown the chicken thighs in two batches.  Remove chicken thighs to a plate and then brown the kielbasa.

2.  Add the onion, fennel, pepper, garlic, and thyme and cook until the vegetables are softened (about 10 minutes).

3. Add the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.  Then pour in the beer and let the foam subside.  Stir in the tomatoes, chicken stock, and hot sauce.  Let the sauce thicken and return the chicken to the dutch oven.  Simmer covered for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.  Let the flavors meld and your meal is ready.

It’s an easy recipe and satisfyingly delicious!  I’ll give you the recipe for the apple cheddar buttermilk biscuits that I served along with it in my next post.  Happy Hump Day everyone!

Apple Fritter Fantasy at the Amish Market

On Thursday, I went to the Amish Market in Vineland for the last time until the fall.  With my work schedule, I will no longer be able to make the market hours in the summer.  I had an afternoon filled with my most wonderful treats.  As they say in the movie, For Richer or Poorer, with Tim Allen, “Good food, good meat, good God, let’s eat.”  I sat at the lunch counter with my mom upon arrival and ordered the Rachel.  They have the best roast turkey layered onto a slice of rye, which they then top with their homemade coleslaw and drizzle with thousand island dressing before placing another slice of rye bread.  Then of course they grill it to perfection.

We then shopped around the market.  They have many different areas of them market: cheese case, deli case, pickled barrels, butcher, specialty salad and soup bar, bakery, nut and candy counter, BBQ station, and produce section.  You can most certainly find anything you want there to satisfy your cravings.  Here’s what I chose to end the day with…a deliciously gooey on the inside, yet crunchy on the outside and still warm apple fritter.

Traveling to Tuscany in a Bowl

During the Lenten season, my church has soup suppers on Wednesday night.  I usually bring a pot of soup to church twice a year for this event.  One of my favorite things to do is to take a recipe and adapt it in order to please the masses.  I went on the Food Network website and found a delicious recipe for Tuscan Bean Soup by Emeril Lagasse.  It sounds delicious but there were a few things that I needed to change.  I didn’t think the general population at my church would enjoy chickpeas and I wanted to cut down the cost by eliminating the pancetta.  I knew I needed to make a larger batch than what the recipe provided so I kept that in mind when I went to the grocery store.  While there, I saw that Bob Evans sage sausage was on sale for $1.99 so I knew that would sub out the pancetta and save me money.  Here’s how I made the soup and it is sure to please.


1 package Bob Evans sage sausage, 2 yellow onions (diced), 3 stalks celery (diced), 3 carrots (diced), 4 cloves garlic (minced), 28oz canned diced tomatoes, 3 15 oz cans cannellini beans,  1 15 oz can kidney beans, 2 1/2 quarts chicken stock, 2 sprigs rosemary (minced), 5 sprigs thyme, 2 bay leaves, sprinkle of crushed pepper, 1 head kale (cut into bite size pieces)


1. Brown sausage in the bottom of a large stock pot. 2.  Add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic and cook until tender. 3. Add diced tomatoes, beans, and stock.  Let it come to a simmer. 4. Add rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, and crushed pepper.  When the soup is complete, be sure to pull out the thyme sprigs and the bay leaves.  Continue cooking until the beans and vegetable are tender. 5.  Add the kale and cook until tender.  Enjoy!