Category Archives: Go-To Recipes

Some recipes are so simple and loved that I make them over and over. They’re my go-to’s. My go-to motto is: Practice Makes Automatic!

Go-To Clam Chowder

The Go-To Motto is:  Practice Makes Automatic!  This clam chowder is worth practicing, let me tell you.  It’s creamy smooth.  The roux is made by a fool proof method and produces a chowder that is perfection!

Go-To Clam Chowder

8 cups potatoes, 1/2″ dice
3 cups celery, 1/2″ dice
3 cups  onion, 1/2″ dice
2 cups green pepper, 1/2″ dice
3 cans minced clams,  6.5 oz. including juice
2 bottles clam juice
2 cups water
1 tsp. tabasco
2 T. dried thyme
6 bay leaves
2 T. salt and 1 T. pepper

3/4 cups. butter
1 cup flour
2 quarts half and half
chopped parsley

Combine all of the ingredients except butter, flour and half and half, in a large soup pot.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the veggies are tender.  Meanwhile, melt the butter in a cast iron pan or pyrex baking dish, stir in the flour and bake at 325 degrees F. for 30 minutes.  This will eliminate the raw flour flavor, forming a roux, and it will be used to thicken the chowder.

 Stir this roux into the chowder, stirring until thick.  It will be slightly less thick than cookie dough.  Remove the chowder from the heat.  Stir in the half and half until blended.  Heat to serving temperature, stirring frequently so it won’t burn.   Sprinkle with a little chopped parsley and serve.

i use minced clams because clams can be tough.  I want the flavor so if I can only find chopped clams, I mince them myself.  If you have fresh clams, put in the big pieces, wow, they’ll be fabulous!

This recipe was adapted from the one served at the Market Street Grill and the Market Street Broiler in Salt Lake City, Utah.  This is a simple, fool-proof way to make roux.  I  just like more potatoes, onion, green pepper and celery … I added more.  They make the chowder heartier.  Whatever you do, do not leave out the tabasco… makes it!

It’s snowing today here in Utah.  We already have 18″-20″ of snow on the ground left from the last two storms.  It’s a “winter wonderland” day, a perfect day for warm, comforting, satisfying clam chowder…..if not for making, at least for reading about…..bon appetite!

Go-To Chicken Curry

My Go-To Motto:  Practice Makes Automatic!  This is one of those recipes with few ingredients and simple cooking steps.  If you like your curry hot, sprinkle some pepper flakes in during the simmer stage.  I usually keep mine mild to please those in my family not into hot and spicy.  But things have been changing and the vote tonight was throw in more pepper flakes.

Go-To Chicken Curry

6 chicken breasts/thighs
salt, pepper, 2 T. curry powder

2 T. each butter and olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped almonds

2 tsp. cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream
chopped parsley

Cut  chicken into 1/2″ strips and liberally season them with the salt, pepper and curry powder.  In a heavy skillet, heat oil and butter until hot over medium-high heat.   Add the chicken strips and onions and saute both until lightly browned.  Add the broth and almonds, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.

Mix the cornstarch and cream, pour over the chicken, stirring until it comes to a boil and thickens.  Take off the heat and serve with a sprinkle of  chopped parsley.

 It’s great with rice and lots of condiments:  chutney (my favorite is Major Grey’s), shredded coconut, banana slices, peanuts, slivered almonds, finely chopped green and red peppers, raisins, etc.

If you like to play with your rice, try heating a 2 T. coconut oil in your sauce pan on medium heat, then add 2 cups of rice, stir it around til hot, 3 to 4 minutes, and each grain is covered in oil, add 1 cup of chicken stock and 1 cup of coconut milk, bring to a boil and cover…..not tightly, slightly askew.  Turn heat to low and let simmer 15 to 18 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed into the rice.  Fluff with a fork.   I like crunch in my rice, so I toss in a handful of chopped almonds.

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 Now…..if you enjoy something different and absolutely scrumptious, I suggest you try that same rice recipe with Chef Hai Fitzgerald’s Purple Rice Blend.  His menu is written on a chalk board…..a big chalk board.  It’s what’s fresh that day.  His Salmon, Prime Rib, Steaks and Stir Frys are to die for (I left so much out).

He often looks you over, sizes you up and suggests to you what you would like.  Do you want it with the creamiest polenta, the fabulous garlic mashed potatoes or fresh vegetables steamed right in front of you…..that is the question.  In fact, if you are lucky enough to get there when there are empty seats at the counter (I think there are only seven), you can watch him and his sous chefs prepare your food right in front of you.

 His restaurant is the Thymes and Seasons Market Place and Restaurant in Bountiful, Utah.  His phone is (801) 386-0245.  Have him ship you a bag.

Go-To Beef Stew

Every cook should have a few special go-to recipes.  For me, that means recipes that I know so well that a quick look at the ingredients and instructions is enough of a refresher to get me started.  I might need another glance during the process. But Practice Makes Automatic!

This beef stew recipe is so good,  after making it a few times, it will be one of your go-to recipes too.

Utah is cold in January.  Roasts, chilies and stews are such flavorful comfort foods in the cold weather that I make them a lot. This stew is my adaptation…..sort of a  combination of Michael Symon’s and Annemarie Huste’s (chef to Jacqueline Kennedy’s household).

Beef Stew

3  lbs.  beef chuck
salt and pepper
rendered bacon fat or olive oil

1/2 lb. thick sliced bacon

2  red  onions, medium chop
4 or 5 cloves of garlic, minced
3  celery ribs and leaves, 1/2″ pieces
6  carrots, 1/2″ chop
3/4 lb. cremini mushrooms, quartered
4 large potatoes, 1/2″ cubes
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
2-12 0z. bottles lager
2-8 oz. cans beef bullion

Cut beef into 1×1-1/2pieces. Season pieces with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour.  Brown them in a Dutch oven in batches. Put into hot fat (I prefer rendered bacon fat) so they’re not touching in the pan.  As they brown, turn them to brown on all sides, then remove them to a dish, until they’ re all done.  Put them back in the Dutch oven, add bacon, onion, garlic, celery, carrots, mushrooms, potatoes, lager and bullion,  thyme and rosemary plus a good tsp of salt and couple of dashes of pepper.   Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any tasty bits.   If you have fresh herbs, double the amount. Simmer 2 to 2-1/2 hours or til tender.

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I like Wasatch Brewerys’ 1st Amendment Lager.  They’re a local brewery in Park City, Utah You’ve probably got a local brewery near you.  Search it out.  I’m convinced buying local is the way  to go whether it’s beef, chicken, veggies or beer.  Did you chuckle?  I did!

For a nice variation, add a jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, chopped, a sprinkle of mexican oregano, a heaping teaspoon of cumin and a handful of fresh cilantro, chopped…..or parsley.

If you’re looking for a change from ribs and dips for Super Bowl fare or a great savory dish to go along with them, serve this Go-To Beef Stew.  Everyone will love you!