Fennel, Date and Lemon Spatchcock Chicken


I did it! I spatchcocked a chicken. I’ve cooked a spatchcock chicken once before, but today was the first time I actually took a whole chicken and spatchcocked it myself. It wasn’t hard at all. You just need a sharp pair of kitchen shears. Mine are by the Pioneer Woman. I have a couple of her knives, as well as her kitchen shears. They are not expensive at all and they stay sharp. I buy them at Walmart. Her Nakiri Knife is my favorite, I’ve recommended it for several people because it is the one I go to most often.

To spatchcock a chicken, you cut out the backbone. If you google this, you will find excellent instructions that are really easy to follow. I used my kitchen shears to cut on both sides of the backbone out of the chicken.


Once the backbone was out, I turned the chicken over and pressed down to break the wishbone and make sure my chicken was flat.


I sprinkled the underside of the chicken with kosher salt and pepper and turned it over. Once it was turned over, as you see in the above picture, I patted the chicken dry with a paper towel. Next, I drizzled olive oil over the skin and rubbed it all over, before sprinkling the skin with kosher salt and pepper.


I then minced the leaves of four stems of fresh rosemary and removed the leaves from four sprigs of fresh thyme and sprinkled it over the chicken.


I let my chicken sit for a minute while I sliced and sautéd one onion and two bulbs of fennel in olive oil, salt and pepper. While the onion and fennel were sautéing, I removed the pits from 16 ounces of dates and sliced three lemons. When I felt the onion and fennel were softened and starting to caramelize, I poured a half cup of white wine (I chose Pinot Grigio) into the cast iron skillet and then added the dates and lemons. Oh my gosh, the wine smelled so good when it hit the heat, wow!

Next, I placed my chicken on top of the vegetables and fruits and placed it in a preheated 450 degree oven for an hour. Depending on the size of your chicken, this could take just 45 minutes. I had a pretty good size chicken, however, so mine took a little longer. You want to make sure the dark meat reaches 165 degrees. That’s when you know your chicken is done. The great thing about spatchcocking your chicken vs. cooking it whole, is that it cooks much faster.

I have to say that the sweetness of the dates provided a great flavoring for the “sauce”. I was very pleased with how much flavor there was in this dish. I’m totally patting myself on the back on this one … can you tell?

I served the chicken over the fennel, onion and dates, and spooned some of the juices over my chicken. Nothing but a piece of crusty bread was needed to complete this meal. I sopped up my bread with the juices from the sauce, no butter needed for that bread!


Oh wow! Please try this recipe, I promise you will love it! I would definitely make this for my Dinner Club, it was that good.


1 whole chicken, spatchcocked

1 medium onion, sliced in half rounds

2 fennel bulbs, sliced

16 ounces fresh dates, pits removed

3 lemons, sliced thin

1/2 cup white wine

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus a drizzle

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling on the chicken

1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus more for sprinkling on the chicken

4 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed from stems and minced

4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed (no need to mince)


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Sprinkle under side of spatchcocked chicken with salt and pepper and turn over. Pat chicken skin dry with paper towel and rub with a drizzle of olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper over skin. Add rosemary and thyme to chicken and set aside.
  3. Remove pits from dates and slice lemons. Set aside.
  4. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in cast iron skillet. Add onions and fennel and cook until they start to caramelize.
  5. Add wine to skillet. Next add dates and lemon slices.
  6. Place chicken on top of vegetables and fruit, sticking a few lemon slices on top of chicken.
  7. Place in oven for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken. Start checking the temperature of the meat after 45 minutes.


Until next time, Kris



Olive Balls



Last night was my annual Christmas party that I host each and every December. I look forward to this party as it starts my holiday season off with much happiness and good cheer.

I love to cook a nice dinner for my friends, along with having an array of appetizers and sweet treats. Sometimes, I order Bundtinis from Nothing Bundt Cakes as my dessert, but last night some of my friends offered to bring treats ranging from brownies (thank you, Pam!), snickerdoodle cookies (thank you, Sandy – and thank you, also, for the chicken sausages … yum!), lemon bars (thank you, Jen!), and array of chocolates and caramels – so yummy! My friend, Marie, brought a wonderful salad (thank you, Marie!) and my friend, JoAnne brought an amazing vegetable platter with asparagus, mushrooms, etc. It was divine (thank you, JoAnne!). My friend, Ethel, brought two wonderful puff pastry shell appetizers … one was stuffed with cheese and a little tiny meatball and the other had caramelized onion jam and cheese, OMG – yum (thank you, Ethel!)

One of the appetizers I make each year is my olive balls. My friend and neighbor, Lauren, loves my olive balls. The first time I made them is when I hosted our Neighborhood Book Club for the first time … this was also our inaugural meeting – and also the very first time some of us met. I remember walking through Trader Joe’s a few days before that first meeting deciding on what I’d make to serve my friends and new friends. I saw puff pastry in the freezer aisle and spotted stuffed olives in the olive aisle. I figured I’d buy them both and come up with a plan …. that turned out to be one of the best plans ever! Not only does Lauren love the olive balls, but my daughter, Kylie does as well. She looks forward to the leftover olive balls each time I make them.

To make the olive balls, I thawed my puff pastry, per the package directions. Once the puff pastry was thawed enough that I could unfold it without it breaking (about 40 minutes), I drained my jar of olives. The olives I chose to use for yesterday were the blue cheese stuffed olives.  I cut my puff pastry into squares (about 3 inches each) and place an olive in the middle of each square. I then wrap the pastry around the olive and roll it in my hands to form a ball. I then place them on baking sheets (I usually need two) that I sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Once the olives are on my baking sheet, I brush them with a little olive oil and sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on each one. After that, I sprinkle fresh minced rosemary and grated parmesan on each olive ball. I then bake them at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, until they are lightly browned.

Note: Feel free to use garlic stuffed olives if you’d like or any other type of stuffed olive that appeals to you. If I use the garlic stuffed olives, I add crumbled blue cheese to the “package”. I place a little on top of the olive before rolling it together into a ball.

Once again, my olive balls did not disappoint. I’m sure they will make an appearance at my next gathering … perhaps the Ugly Christmas Party I’m hosting on December 22nd!



  • 1 package puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 jar stuffed olives
  • 5 sprigs rosemary, minced
  • parmesan cheese, grated
  • sea salt, a pinch per olive ball
  • olive oil, for brushing


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Thaw puff pastry per package directions.
  3. Drain olives.
  4. Cut puff pastry like you would cut a pan of brownies (make them about 2-1/2 – 3  inches square).
  5. Place olive in the middle of each square and fold pastry around olive. Roll in your hands until the pastry looks like a small ball.
  6. Place on a baking sheet.
  7. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
  8. Sprinkle each olive ball with rosemary and parmesan.
  9. Bake 20 minutes, or until browned nicely.


Until next time, Kris



Rosemary Burger (Bun free) with Blue Cheese


I love the taste of rosemary, as well as the smell of rosemary. If I am out and about and spot a rosemary scented candle, I can’t seem to pass it up. Rosemary makes me think of fall, and as we know, fall is here. I decided to season my hamburgers tonight with fresh rosemary and top it with blue cheese. I wanted nothing more on the side of my burger than a simple arugula salad and sliced tomato for tonight’s meal. The flavoring in this burger is so good, I wanted to forego the bun.

I mixed 1 pound of extra lean ground beef together with kosher salt, pepper, ground mustard, onion powder and fresh, minced rosemary. I cooked my burgers on the stovetop in a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter that I melted together.

Once the burgers were done, I served it with arugula dressed with a slight drizzle of olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. I also enjoyed sliced tomato as a side to my burger.


  • 1 pound extra lean (93%) ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • blue cheese
  • Directions
  1. Mix ground beef together with salt, pepper, ground mustard, onion powder and rosemary.
  2. Form into 3 patties.
  3. Melt butter into olive oil.
  4. Place burgers into hot oil and cook on first side 3-4 minutes, flipping and cooking 3-5 minutes on the second side.


Until next time, Kris


Parmesan Popcorn with Rosemary Butter


It’s Saturday night, which equals movie night at our house. We love going to the theater to watch movies and as well as watching them at home. Dennis and I have enjoyed going to the movies since we started dating. For our first date, we went to see Friday the 13th, Part 3 in 3D. I am not one for scary movies, but I went because I thought Dennis was so handsome and I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to go out with him when he asked. He told me it was his strategy to take me to a scary movie so I would snuggle up closely to him and hold his hand. That first date was almost 35 years ago.

I am someone who needs a bowl of popcorn when I’m watching a good movie. Tonight, I decided to make popcorn with rosemary butter drizzled in and freshly grated parmesan sprinkled over the top. I also added about two teaspoons of sea salt to the popcorn.


Tonight, we’re going to watch Shot Caller. Looks like an action/suspense flick. It’s a pre-theater release on DirecTV. Last night we enjoyed going to the Arclight Theater to see Atomic Blonde staring Charlize Theron. She was fabulous, and did all of her own stunts. I highly recommend heading to the theater to check that one out.


  • 1 cup popcorn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons shredded parmesan
  • 1-2 teaspoons sea salt


  1. Heat oil in large kettle.
  2. Pour kernels into pot, put the lid on and cook on high until the kernels have all popped.
  3. Place popped corn into a large bowl.
  4. Melt butter and rosemary together in small saucepan and pour over popcorn.
  5. Add salt.
  6. Grate parmesan and add to popcorn.
  7. Mix together.


Until next time, Kris