Beef and Eggplant Stew

Beef and Eggplant Stew6
Meltingly tender cubes of eggplant in a rich beef and tomato sauce.

This recipe will fill your home with the aromas of Mediterranean comfort food. Remarkably simple to prepare, from easily acquired ingredients, your friends and family will think you have an Italian grandmother visiting. Athough it can be finished in well under 2 hours, this stew improves from being refrigerated overnight. Just reheat gently before serving. This is especially delicious with a green salad and a glass of red wine for an al fresco dinner. A perfect dessert would be fresh figs.


1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound eggplant — peeled and cubed
1 cup onion — chopped
1 tablespoon garlic — minced
1/2 cup red bell pepper — thinly sliced
1/2 cup green bell pepper — thinly sliced
1/4 cup black olives — thinly sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon oregano — dried
1 teaspoon basil — dried
1 teaspoon marjoram — dried
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup water
1 pound ground beef

Beef and Eggplant Stew

In a large stovetop casserole, heat the olive oil to medium high, but not smoking. Add the eggplant, garlic, onion, and bell peppers.

Saute until translucent and very fragrant. Stir in the spices, black, olives, tomato paste, and the water. Bring to a simmer.

Transfer to a bowl and keep warm.

In the same casserole, saute the ground beef until no longer pink. Drain any fat.

Return the eggplant mixture to the pan and stir well.

Cover and simmer for at least 45 minutes, longer if you have the time. It’s even better the next day.

Beef and Eggplant Stew2

Recipe By:Glyn Ruppe Melnyk
Serving Size: 4 Preparation Time:0:45
Categories : Beef, Gluten Free,Italian,Main Course, Mediterranean, Vegetable
Copyright: Glyn Ruppe Melnyk, All Good Gifts 2020″
Start to Finish Time: 1:30
Ratings: easy

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 459 Calories; 33g Fat (62.8% calories from fat); 24g Protein; 19g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 77mg Cholesterol; 492mg Sodium; 10g Total Sugars; trace Vitamin D; 76mg Calcium; 5mg Iron; 937mg Potassium; 265mg Phosphorus. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch).

Suggested Wine: Chianti, Sangovese or Red Zinfandel

Serving Ideas : Serve alone as a stew, or over steamed rice.
If your diet allows, top with freshly grated parmesan.

Five Cheese Creamy Squash Casserole

Nearly everyone has their favorite family or personal recipe for preparing summer squash. My dad loved it cooked in butter and onions. Mom preferred adding crisped bacon. My brother-in law wants his grilled, and my sister fries it up with a crumb crust. As for me, ever since my days as a young cook in the 1970’s I have adored a cheesey, custard like casserole. Those casseroles are often heavy on the mayonnaise, and while I loved that when I was younger, these days I prefer something that has less oil and a bit more finesse. This is my latest iteration of a timeless Southern dish. Use more or less or alternate cheeses as you desire, and adjust the baking time to produce your preferred degree of brownness. In any case, it’s delicious!

Recipe By :Glyn Ruppe Melnyk
Serving Size : 6 Preparation Time :0:30
Categories : Dairy Gluten Free
Low Carb Side Dish

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
1 cup yellow onion — diced
1 tablespoon garlic — minced
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup red bell pepper — fincely diced
4 cups yellow squash — diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 large eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 ounces cream cheese — softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup parmesan cheese — grated
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 Cup shredded Swiss cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly grease an oven proof casserole.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper and saute until translucent.

Add the diced squash and continue to saute until all the veggies are tender. (about 5 minutes) Season with the basil, oregano, salt and peppers.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the two eggs with the softened cream cheese. Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, parmesan, cheddar, swiss and mozzarella and stir to combine.

Combine the sauteed vegetables with the sauce and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole.

Bake for 30 to 45 minutes at 350, depending upon the degree of brownness you prefer.

Serve hot or warm. Refrigerate leftovers and reheat another day.

“A very cheesy way to enjoy an overabundance of summer squash.”
Copyright: “Glyn Ruppe Melnyk, All Good Gifts 2020”
Start to Finish Time: “1:15”

Per Serving: 434 Calories; 34g Fat (69.9% calories from fat); 20g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 149mg Cholesterol; 746mg Sodium; 7g Total Sugars; 1mcg Vitamin D; 528mg Calcium; 1mg Iron; 394mg Potassium; 399mg Phosphorus. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch).

Suggested Wine: Chardonnay

Serving Ideas : Serve with roasted or grilled meats and a crisp green salad, sweet tea is a great accompaniement if you don’t want wine. Chardonnay is great if you do.

Roast Chicken for Shabbat

Succulent whole roast chicken with rich stock for gravy or soup.

Ours is an interfaith marriage. Will is Jewish, I’m Christian. But we celebrate every Sabbath and I always cook a festive meal. Normally we also entertain on Shabbat, an activity which has been put on hold during the Covid19 pandemic. But even, or perhaps because it is just the two of us, I bake Challah and make a fancy meal, often chicken. Lately, it’s been challenging to find poultry, so I take whatever the local grocer has and will deliver. For the past couple of weeks, that has been a whole chicken, weighing in at over five pounds. It feeds us through the entire weekend.

This is my go-to method for preparing a whole chicken for Shabbat, and includes a wonderful method for making truly delicious stock. It smells heavenly, and has on at least two occasions, elicited facetious proposals of marriage from guys who were in the house on the day I was cooking. The only challenging part of the recipe is spatchcocking (removing the backbone and flattening the chicken) and a pair of poultry or sturdy kitchen shears makes that very manageable.   

This is easily done in one day, but I try to work ahead, so I kosher, spatchcock and start the dry brine on the chicken on Thursday morning while I make the stock. Then on Friday, I know that the chicken in well under way while I bake Challah and prepare the rest of the meal.

The calorie counts are a bit wonky because they combine the roast chicken, the chicken thighs, and the chicken stock. But if you care about limiting carbs, this is a great option with only 6 grams per serving.

5 pounds Chicken — whole, spatchcocked
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 pound chicken thighs
2 quarts water
1 medium onion — unpeeled, quartered
1 large carrot — unpeeled, cut into three inch pieces
5 stalks celery — with leaves, if present
1 large clove garlic — unpeeled, cut in half
6 whole cloves
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Rinse drain the whole chicken. Place in a large bowl and generously salt. Add cold water to cover and refrigerate for one hour. Drain.

To spatchcock the chicken. Using a sharp knife of kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbone and remove. Spread the chicken open and flatten, using the heel of your hand to break the breastbone.

Hint: If you are making stock, just toss the backbone into the pot with the rest of the ingredients.

Line a roasting pan or deep cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Generously season the underside of the spatchcocked chicken with salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and crushed rosemary.

Place the spatchcocked chicken, skin side up, on the baking sheet. Season very generously with additional salt, poultry seasoning and rosemary. Refrigerate, UNCOVERED, for at least 8 hours or up to two days.

For instructions on how to dry brine, see:

When ready to cook, drain off any accumulated liquid. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices from the thigh run clear.

Garnish as desired and serve.


In a stock pot or dutch oven, place the chicken thighs, any giblets that may have been with the chicken and the remaining ingredients. (onion, carrot, celery, garlic, cloves, bouillon and seasonings).

Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer.

Cook for one hour, and if desired, remove any giblets and the chicken thighs to be used for another purpose.

Continue to simmer the vegetables and herbs for up to four hours.

Drain, discarding the solids. Taste and adjust seasoning. Use at once or refrigerate or freeze.

Start to Finish Time: 30 minutes prep. At least two hours to “kosher” and let rest in refrigerator. 1:30 to roast.

Ratings : moderately difficult 5
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Nutrition Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 761 Calories; 53g Fat (63.3% calories from fat); 63g Protein; 6g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 268mg Cholesterol; 1331mg Sodium; 2g Total Sugars; 1mcg Vitamin D; 89mg Calcium; 3mg Iron; 884mg Potassium; 532mg Phosphorus. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch).

Suggested Wine: pinot noir, shiraz, or cabernet sauvignon

Serving Ideas : Use the stock to make a rich and flavorful gravy. Simply thicken with cornstarch and cold water, or a butter and flour roux. Will especially loves it served with stove top dressing.

“Glyn Ruppe Melnyk, All Good Gifts 2020”

Stir Fried Chicken with Zucchini and Yellow Squash

stir fried chicken with vegetables13

This quick and easy recipe begins with cubes of chicken breast marinated in Asian spices and stir fried with spring vegetables. Once you’ve taken the time to marinate the chicken (and that is very easily done before breakfast)the rest of the dish comes together in time for a quick meal. The chicken is tender and savory, and the vegetables are crisp tender and bursting with flavor.

Serving Ideas : Serve with steamed rice.
Optional: Include chopped brocolli florets, sliced carrots, and or diced eggplant.

Start to Finish Time:45 minutes (plus time for marinating)
Level of Difficulty: 2-Easy
Serves 2 but is easily doubled or tripled

8 ounces chicken breast — boneless, skinless, cubed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil — divided
2 tablespoons soy sauce — divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder*
1 cup asparagus spears — cut in 1″ pieces
1 cup onion — thinly sliced
2 cups zucchini — thinly sliced
1 cup yellow squash — thinly sliced
1/2 cup red bell pepper — thinly sliced
1 cup mushrooms — thinly sliced
1/4 cup scallions — thinly sliced for garnish
1 teaspoon garlic — minced

stir fried chicken with vegetables8


Earlier in the day, make a marinade with half the sesame oil, half the soy sauce, and the salt, pepper, ginger, mustard and five spice blend. Mix with the cubed chicken and marinate at least one hour.

At cooking time, drain the marinated chicken and discard the marinade.

Heat the reserved oil in a wok or large skillet and saute the chicken until very nearly done (about 5 minutes)

stir fried chicken with vegetables9

Remove the chicken and keep warm. Saute the veggies until crisp tender. Season with the remaining soy sauce.

Return the chicken to the pan, and heat through. Garnish with the sliced scallions and serve immediately.

stir fried chicken with vegetables12

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 391 Calories; 23g Fat (51.0% calories from fat); 26g Protein; 23g Carbohydrate; 7g Dietary Fiber; 58mg Cholesterol; 1366mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 2 1/2 Lean Meat; 4 1/2 Vegetable; 2 1/2 Fat.

* NOTES : Chinese Five Spice Powder is a mixture of Cinnamon, star anise, anise seed, ginger and cloves. Available in Asian markets and online shops. (Try Penzey’s)
Optional: Include chopped brocolli florets, sliced carrots, and or diced eggplant.

“All Good Gifts”
“Glyn Ruppe Melnyk (All Good Gifts) 2020”

Chicken Patties 2020

Exported from my Master Cook Account
Servings: 4
Start to finish: 1 hour 30 minutes

Notes: I remember making and enjoying chicken croquettes as a young cook in the 1970’s. That recipe was fun even though it was labor and time intensive. This 21st century recipe has more chicken and very little filler or binder, but a lovely savory taste. Note that the uncooked mixture is quite soft, but cooks up very moist and tender. If you prefer a more solid patty, feel free to add more bread crumbs. These would also work very well on a bun as chicken burgers.

Serving Ideas: Serve with a simple sauce such as a mixture of 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup stone ground sweet mustard, and 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice.
Goes well with creamed spinach.

Categories: Main Dish, Poultry Entrees, Poultry Mains


1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon powdered chicken stock base
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon olive oil


1. Cut the chicken into one inch cubes. Using a food processor, grind coarsely until no large pieces remain.

2. In a large bowl, combine the chicken and the remaining ingredients. Mix well. Chill for at least one hour.

3. When ready to cook, heat 1/8 inch vegetable oil to medium in a nonstick skillet. With wet hands, form the mixture into four patties and place into the hot oil.

4. Cook slowly until browned and crisp (about 10-12 minutes per side).

5. If desired, serve with your favorite sauce. I like a mixture of 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice and 1/4 cup stone ground sweet mustard.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 476 Calories; 22g Fat (42.5% calories from fat); 56g Protein; 10g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 266mg Cholesterol; 520mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 8 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 Fat.

Source: All Good Gifts, Glyn Ruppe Melnyk
Copyright: All Good Gifts 2020

Creamy Apricot Baked Chicken Breasts

main dish apricot baked chicken

Because this chicken needs to marinate for eight hours to overnight, you’ll need to plan ahead. But the prep and the cooking are very simple and the dish is well worth the effort. Serve it with a rice pilaf and roasted asparagus for a lovely al fresco dinner. Goes very well with a crisp dry chardonnay. Serves: 4


1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 tbsp sweet paprika
2 tbsp apricot jam
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp orange peel, dried
1/2 tsp pico fruta spice blend
1/4 tsp salt


Cut chicken breasts into halves. Pound into 1 inch thick cutlets.

Place flattened cutlets into a lightly greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Season generously with the paprika.

Combine the apricot jam, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, garlic powder, orange peel, and pico fruta to make a thick sauce.

Spread sauce over the cutlets.

Creamy Apricot Baked Chicken Breasts

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Marinate: 8:00 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 8:30
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 410 Calories; 26g Fat (55.2% calories from fat); 40g Protein; 7g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 108mg Cholesterol; 404mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 5 1/2 Lean Meat; 2 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

Suggested Wine: French Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc

Serving Ideas : Serve with a rice pilaf and roasted asparagus.

Coq Au Vin


I first ate Coq au Vin at a French restaurant in Washington, DC. It was 1965 and I was on a Junior High field trip. My jokester parents had solemnly warned me not to eat it because it was “made with blood not wine”. I ignored them of course, but it wasn’t until another ten years had passed that I began cooking it myself. Yay, Julia Child!!

Using her recipe these days of Covid 19 when my groceries are being delivered requires access to ingredients that are not readily available through InstaCart. So this rendering, while deeply indebted to Julia Child, is my own free wheeling, what’s-on-hand version.

I use the rendered bacon fat for all the sauteing, but feel free to substitute butter, olive oil, or a mixture thereof, as you prefer.

I’m cooking for two in a household that tends to avoid leftovers, but this recipe is easily multiplied.

Note: I don’t thicken the sauce because I don’t want the starch and the carbs, but suit yourself! A simple roux, or a cornstarch/water slurry will do the trick

2 oz thick slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 lb chicken thighs, with bones and skin
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped onion
2 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp garlic, chopped
1 cup carrot, thinly sliced
1 cube beef bouillon cube
1/2 cup dry red wine ( I used Pinot Noir)
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp dried Herbes de Provence
salt and white pepper to taste


1. In the wine, marinate the chicken pieces for one hour.

2. Reserving the red wine, remove the chicken thighs, and pat dry.

3. Lightly brown the bacon. Remove the bacon pieces, reserving the fat.

4. In the same pan, lightly brown both sides of the chicken. Set aside with the bacon.

5. In the same pan, saute the onion, garlic and mushrooms until all are golden.

6. Return the chicken and bacon to the pan with the vegetables.

7. Add the carrot, the spices, the crushed bouillon cube and the wine.

8. Bring to a simmer and cover.

9. Continue to cook, covered, for 30 minutes on the stove top on low, or for an hour in a 275 degree oven,

Servings: 2

Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/2 of a recipe (10.9 ounces).
Percent daily values based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.

nutrition coq au vin

Recipe Type: Main Dish

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