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Corn with Thyme and a Little Garlic Butter

Corn with Thyme and Garlic Butter

There is nothing better than a great little side dish that adds just a hint of spice, and a bit of filling stuff without messing up that grand presentation you’ve got coming for the main dish. That’s where this little corn with thyme dish comes into play. I haven’t done a lot of side dishes here at Discovery Cooking, but this one, no matter how simple, is one you should always have around.

First off, the corn. When the late summer and early fall are on the line, good fresh corn right from the farmer’s market is definitely in order here. There is nothing quite like good fresh corn, and there is nothing quite like it. Trouble is, for most of us, that’s a pretty small window to hit. If your one of those lucky ones who have corn you’ve actually canned, that’s generally a good substitute. For the rest of us, high-quality frozen corn is often what we’re left with, but guess what? It’s often way better than some of the two and three-day old corn sold as fresh in the super markets. So there.

The second thing to remember is the thyme. If you can’t get fresh thyme, don’t even try this. The thyme is what gives this dish most of the flavor and there is nothing quite like that flavor.  Good news, if you’re growing some thyme in the backyard, but in most days, you can now get fresh thyme in most grocery stores. The main thing is to add the thyme a little bit at a time until you’ve got just the right amount, and that may vary from when and where you’ve got it.

Add in just a little garlic in the butter sauce and you’re on your way.


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Balsamic Chicken Thighs

balsamic chicken thighs

Balsamic chicken thighs are one of those little twists that can make an ordinary meal into something special. They’re relatively cheap, but the balsamic vinegar and the mushrooms turns them into a feast for anyone looking to put a nice fancy dinner on a plate. They’re perfect if company shows up without notice (the sauce and other ingredients can be added to for increased sizes) and they take so little time to make, you can take a few minutes to visit while they’re cooking.

The thighs are browned  and then put aside  while the onions and mushrooms cook, then returned and cooked with a simple balsamic vinegar  sauce that’s easy but adds a flavorful sauce that’s really to die for. This is one of our favorites at Discovery Cooking.

And best of all, they leave plenty of time to get some great side dishes to go with them.


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Lamb with Browned Butter and Garlic

lamb with browned butter

This is another quick way to do something special and nice, but lamb with browned butter needs nothing but some good lamb, browned butter and garlic. You really can’t mess this up.  Perhaps the only trick is to use enough garlic to get it where you want it, and that probably takes more than you think. And just a little fresh basil at the end sends it right to the top. 

If you’ve never worked with browned butter, there is a little quirk that really helps, which is to pay close attention to the temp range. A little too low and nothing much happens, a little too high, it gets brown and what I like to think of as “muddy” in a real hurry. So pay attention to the pan and adjust temps as needed to keep it right in that stage where it browns very nicely and you’ll be just fine.

The lamb chops really take care of themselves — a long blast on either side and you’re done. Maybe the whole dish takes maybe seven minutes or maybe just a bit longer, remove the lamb and add a little basil, then pour the browned butter over the chops and you’re done. Seriously, it takes more time to make the noodles than it does the lamb.


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Chicken Parmigiana

chicken parmigiana

A nice simple way to make chicken parmigiana, without resorting to using the deep fryer. And for sure, this really does work so well, I may never try it another way, ever. I wish I could say this was my idea, but it wasn’t. I’ve got to give Epicurious credit for that. But now that I understand what’s going on here, you can bet I’m going to find one or maybe several ways to use the same trick.

So what’s happening here, is that a baking sheet and a couple of different levels in the oven are used to get the chicken and mozzarella done to just perfection and from there, the rest of the dish is so easy, it’s amazing. In a nutshell, the idea is to pl;ace the baking sheet on a lower oven setting while the oven is heating up. Chicken is breaded and when the oven is hot, the chicken is laid on the baking sheet. When it’s about half cooked, the sheet is raised to the upper levels of the oven, some mozarella is added and the chicken finishes to a nice brown (but not too brown). 

I used my own marinara sauce (which I usually have on hand) but you can even use a bottled marinara (included here) to get the same result. 


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Sausage and Tortellini Soup

sausage and tortellini soup

A good sausage, a little beans and some very good cheesy tortellini are about as much as you could ask for an “Italian style” soup, one that sticks to your ribs and makes you want to go out and tackle the world. Alright fine. Maybe you don’t want to kick the world’s butt this morning, but it does fill you up and does kind of make you want to at least let the world know you’re alive. This sausage and tortellini soup does that, and more.

Better yet, this is another one of those soups that, depending on how you finish it off, you can have most of the soup made, add the tortellini at the end along with some spinach and you’re ready to go as soon as the tortellini is ready. Nice things about good soups is that they’re often flexible like that. You can get them close to finished and then unleash them at just the right second.

This soup uses some good tortellini made with three cheeses and a lovely mild Italian sausage. You can, of course use a hotter sausage and even add a few crushed red peppers to get the spice where you want it.


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Southwest Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

All of a sudden, we’ve gone from 90-plus degrees to 80’s and now we’re barely hitting 70 degrees. It may not last, but I can tell you, it’s starting to feel like soup days are upon us and for my money, that’s a very good thing. We’ll start this week with a great southwestern chicken tortilla soup, and over the next several weeks, we’ll try out a number of other new soups and several that are, well, a bit old, as well. Not everything will be soup, of course, but for now, let’s have some fun with them.

The chicken tortilla soup is one of those “yeah, I probably don’t want this everyday,” but when you really need a real pick me up at the end of a lovely fall day, this is a winner. Oh, and yeah, it’s made in a slow cooker, so you can set it to cook in the morning, go have some fun and come home to a nice warm dinner, with just a little bit of fixin’s on the side. Really, I can’t have this soup without avocado’s but honestly, you can do a lot of stuff to this soup if you really want to do it. 


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Roasted Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Oregano

chicken thighs with lemon and oregano

There are many reasons I really like chicken thighs, but the main fact is they are just a whole lot more tender and juicy than other parts of the chicken. But that’s just one reason I love these chicken thighs. The rest is the lemon and oregano. For some reason, those two things really work well together and give the chicken a nice lemony  taste that’s just fantastic.

The recipe itself is pretty easy to make, although it takes a little bit of time and a careful watch over the thighs themselves, which if you’re not careful can get a little overcooked. Add a little corn with some fresh thyme and a little butter and you’re almost home.

This recipe originally came from  I believe a Bon Appetite recipe I saw a number of years ago and I know we’ve upgraded it a little, but not quite sure exactly how we did that.


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