Chicken with Balsamic Blueberry Sauce

Chicken with Balsamic Blueberry Sauce

One of the blueberry bushes in my yard is heavy with blueberries right now. Being a fan of savory fruit sauces, I used some of the fresh berries to make this dish for dinner tonight. It was really, really good. Served alongside some roasted fingerling potatoes, this was a meal worthy of a special occasion.

Fresh Blueberries sm

This recipe makes enough sauce for four generous servings. If you are cooking 2 chicken breasts, only use half of the sauce and save the remainder for another time. I think it would be excellent on salmon.

Chicken with Balsamic Blueberry Sauce

2 – 4 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup finely chopped Vidalia onion (or favorite sweet onion)
1 cup fresh blueberries (frozen should be a fine too)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey (you may want to add an additional tablespoon of honey if your blueberries are not very sweet – taste the sauce and adjust as necessary)
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400º F.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Add to the skillet. Brown the chicken breasts on both sides. Place the seared breasts in a baking dish and place in the oven.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet the chicken was seared in (no need to clean it out). When the butter is melted, add the finely chopped onion. Cook, stirring, until softened and starting to caramelize. Add the blueberries and cook for 1 minute. Add the balsamic vinegar and honey. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Keep warm.

Spoon some of the sauce over the chicken breasts and return them to the oven until cooked through, about 10 more minutes.

Serves 2 – 4.


Peach and Blueberry Crumble

Peach and Blueberry Crumble

I picked up 3 pounds of locally grown South Carolina peaches this week at Aldi for only $1.38! I used some of those peaches and some blueberries from our blueberry bush to make this crumble. We ate the crumble with a dollop of whipped cream, but vanilla ice cream or even just a splash of cream is delicious too.

Peach and Blueberry Crumble

4 peaches
1/2 cup blueberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter (or substitute coconut oil)

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Cut the peaches in half and remove the pit. Slice or chop the peaches and place in a small baking dish. Add the blueberries to the peaches and sprinkle with the sugar (you can skip the sugar or adjust the amount to suit your taste) and gently stir to combine.

In a bowl, combine the oats, flour, sliced almonds, and brown sugar. Work the butter into the mixture with a fork, pastry cutter, or your hands. Spread evenly over the fruit in the baking dish. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the crumble is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Pineapple Crumble

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I had not initially planned on making a dessert for our Easter meal. I had some fresh pineapple I wanted to use. The pineapple wasn’t ripe enough to just eat and since I’m doing this gluten-free diet for my thyroid, I couldn’t go to my stand-by quick bread recipe or make a cake. I’m a big fan of fruit crumbles and decided to go that route. I have made all kinds of fruit crumbles, but this is the first time making one with pineapple. I thought the pineapple would compliment the coconut ingredients I planned on using. I was right. There is a reason why pineapple and coconut are a classic combination.

The crumble turned out well. It was especially good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The pineapple I used wasn’t ripe, so it didn’t release very many juices. The addition of a tablespoon of pineapple or orange juice would have probably helped. I also think I should have added some shredded coconut. Not much, perhaps just a tablespoon of shredded coconut with the pineapple (or in the crumble topping).

Pineapple Crumble

1 1/2 to 2 cups of fresh pineapple, chopped
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/8 cup coconut flour
2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or brown sugar), plus 1 tablespoon more if fruit needs more sweetness
2 tablespoons sliced almonds (or other type of nuts), optional
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (or butter)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. F.

Place chopped pineapple in a small baking dish. If the pineapple is not very sweet, you can sprinkle the fruit with a tablespoon of coconut sugar.

To make the crumble topping, combine oats, coconut flour, and 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar in a small bowl. Drizzle in the melted coconut oil and mix the ingredients until the oil is well incorporated and the mixture is crumbly. Top the pineapple with the crumble topping and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the crumble topping is golden brown.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Vanilla ice cream makes a great accompaniment.

Strawberry Muffins

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The strawberries are starting to ripen here in South Carolina and in a couple of weeks the kids and I will be heading to Cottle Strawberry Farms in the Columbia area for our annual tradition of strawberry picking. Until then, we are getting a pretty good deal on  fresh strawberries from Florida at the Publix. My kids love strawberries and are always open to new ways to consume them. They never turn down muffins.

My 3-year-old helped me mix up this batch of Strawberry Muffins. His help is not always helpful. He tried to add a tablespoon of kosher salt to the muffin batter. Luckily, I was able to grab the bowl before he tipped the measuring spoon. The salt went on the floor, but the muffins were spared. He did manage to add a bit of cinnamon to the batter. At least that addition had delicious results. I added chopped pecans to half of the batter. I think strawberries and pecans compliment each other quite well. This recipe yielded 12 regular sized muffins and 7 mini muffins.

Strawberry Muffins

1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh strawberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Spray muffin tins with non-stick spray and set aside.

Combine the flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, combine milk, oil, egg, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently stir in the strawberries and pecans (if using).

Divide the batter between muffin tins. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 – 20 minutes, until muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. For me, the mini muffins were slightly overdone at 15 minutes and the regular sized muffins were perfect at 17 minutes. Ovens vary, so use your best judgement. Remove the muffins from the oven and let cool.

Strawberry Muffins - dm

Easy Pluot Crisp

A pluot is a cross between a plum and an apricot.  There are many varieties of pluots, each one varying in color, sweetness, and size. I got a good deal on a 2 pound bag of Dinosaur Brand pluots this week, but they were not very sweet and more tart than I like. Noone in my family would eat them, so I decided to make a super easy pluot crisp using granola I made last month as the topping. Crisps are a perfect way to utilize summer fruits like peaches, cherries, and berries and using granola is a great shortcut.

Easy Pluot Crisp

6 – 8 pluots (about 1 1/2 pounds of fruit)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1 cup granola (or more, if needed)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Wash pluots, remove pits and cut into quarters. Toss the pluots in a bowl with the brown sugar, flour, and vanilla. Pour mixture into a 1.5 quart baking dish.

Dot with butter. Top with granola. Bake at 350 degrees until granola is browned and the pluot juices are bubbly, about 30 – 40 minutes.

White Wine Sangria

I made this sangria last weekend and it was delicious and refreshing. I loved nibbling on the alcohol-soaked fruit. It’s a perfect drink for hot summer nights.  You can use any fruit you like for your sangria (except for bananas. I don’t think those would work. Ha!). Citrus is very traditional. Melons, grapes, strawberries, or raspberries would be good too. I’ve even seen sangria recipes with serrano chiles in the mix. Herbs like basil or mint can be added as well. Other alcohol fortifiers, like vodka, can be added to bump up the alcohol content. The variations are limitless.

White Wine Sangria

1 (750 mL) bottle dry white wine (I like to use Pinot Grigio)
1/4 cup triple sec
1/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup sugar
fresh fruit *
club soda or seltzer water

*For my sangria, I used 1 lime – thinly sliced, 1 green apple – cored and thinly sliced, 1 peach- pit removed and thinly sliced, 1 pint of blueberries, fresh thinly sliced pineapple (about 1/4 of a whole pineapple).

 In a large pitcher, combine white wine, triple sec, vodka, and sugar. Add fresh cut-up fruit. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Right before serving add chilled club soda or seltzer water (I used about half of a 1 liter bottle).

 This recipe is easily doubled!

Apple Salad

From October 28, 2006:  I’m still looking for ways to use up all the apples in my house.  This nice little sweet salad is a twist on Waldorf Salad.  I used fresh pineapple instead of canned crushed and put in about 1 cup.  This salad keeps well.  I think I took it in my lunch everyday this past week and it was as crunchy on Friday as it was on Monday (the marshmallows didn’t hold up that well though).

Apple Salad


1/4 c. sugar
2 tbsp. vinegar
2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. water
1 tbsp. butter

Mix all ingredients for dressing in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool.

3 red apples, cored, diced but not peeled
1/2 c. chopped nuts
1/2 c. drained crushed pineapple
1/2 c. chopped celery

When dressing is cool, pour over fruit mixture and toss lightly. Refrigerate overnight. Will keep for several days in airtight container.