Home Cooking: Bold flavors to brighten winter dinners in 30 minutes | SummitDaily.com

Home Cooking: Bold flavors to brighten winter dinners in 30 minutes

You’ve made it through Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts, you’ve hosted the Super Bowl party, and by now you’re tired of cooking. Which is why this week’s recipes are perfect.

They feature briny green and black olives, bright acids from big chunks of lemon, and deep, earthy flavors from rosemary, thyme and aged blue cheese. So while we head into the snowiest season, you can enjoy Mediterranean flavors that will remind you of sunbaked summer days.

Best of all, these dishes come together in 30 minutes, in most cases using one baking dish or cast iron skillet in the oven. 

Courtesy Suzanne Anderson

Roasted tomatoes, shrimp, feta and Kalamata olives

Serves 4

This is a one-dish supper that you eat with torn chunks of warm bread, dipped into the sauce that’s created from the roasted tomatoes and olive oil. This dish is so delicious it was devoured as soon as it came out of the oven. It’s really that good!


  • 1 pound of frozen extra-large uncooked shrimp, preferably wild caught with shells and tails  
  • 2-3 ounces of feta cheese, preferably from a block of feta (I find it has better flavor than feta crumbles)
  • 1 large lemon, cut into half-inch slices
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 quart of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 cup of pitted Kalamata olives
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch of parsley


Heat oven to 450.

Place the tomatoes and Kalamata olives into a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 20 minutes.

Remove the baking dish from oven to add the frozen shrimp, crumbled chunks of feta cheese, four or five slices of lemon, and half of the bunch of parsley diced and sprinkled over the dish. Return dish to the oven for another 10-15 minutes until the shrimp is cooked through.

Remove from oven and top with the remaining chopped parsley and squeeze the slices of roasted lemon over the dish.

Serve immediately with a loaf of warm bread.  

Courtesy Suzanne Anderson

Steak frites and green beans with blue cheese rosemary butter

A classic French bistro meal that is simplified and ready in less than 30 minutes.


  • 1 steak per person (or share a large steak)
  • 1/4 pound green beans per person
  • 1/2 pound fingerling potatoes per person, cut in half
  • 4-6 ounces of a runny blue cheese such as St. Agure
  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary, stemmed and diced
  • Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt to taste


Heat oven to 425. On a baking sheet, spread the fingerling potatoes, sprinkle with extra-virgin olive oil, a teaspoon of seasoning salt and half a tablespoon of finely diced rosemary leaves. Roast the potatoes for 20-25 minutes until they are tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.

While the potatoes are roasting, heat a cast-iron grill pan or skillet to high on your stovetop. Sprinkle both sides of each steak with salt and pepper, then quickly sear each side of the steak for 1-2 minutes. Then place the cast iron skillet in the oven for five minutes or until the steak reaches the desired doneness. Check frequently to make sure the steak is not overcooked.

While the steak and potatoes are in the oven, cook the green beans for 5-10 minutes in a saucepan with salted water. Drain and return the beans to the pan to keep warm.

Remove the steak from the oven and place on a plate to rest for 5 minutes. Plate the steak with the steak fries and green beans.

For the blue cheese butter, combine the blue cheese, rosemary, a generous scraping of black pepper (to taste) and butter into a paste. Top the steak and green beans with the blue cheese butter.

Note: For a more intense flavor, top the steak and beans with blue cheese alone, skipping the butter.

Courtesy Suzanne Anderson

Pesto chicken breasts with green olive tapenade and herby couscous

Another simple oven dish that is loaded with bright Mediterranean flavors and ready in 30 minutes.


  • 1 chicken breast per person
  • 2-3 tablespoons pesto
  • 1 large lemon, cut into half-inch slices
  • 1 cup of green olives stuffed with pimentos
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch parsley (or cilantro)
  • 1 box five-minute garlic couscous


Slather chicken breasts with pesto and marinate in the fridge for one hour or overnight.

Heat oven to 425. Place chicken breasts in cast-iron skillet or baking dish. Top with lemon slices, spread olives around the skillet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove from oven and allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes.

For the couscous, prepare according the box directions with the addition of adding half the bunch of parsley or cilantro leaves and a tablespoon of olive oil when the couscous is added to the boiling water.

For the tapenade, combine roasted olives, walnuts, the juice of a couple of the roasted lemon slices and half bunch of parsley or cilantro leaves. Chop roughly using an immersion blender in a small bowl or in a food processor. Top each chicken breast with the green olive tapenade and serve with the herby couscous.

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Home Cooking” publishes biweekly on Thursdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson taught herself to cook after college when she discovered dinner parties were a cure for loneliness. Her latest cookbook is “A Year in the Mountains Cookbook.” She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at suzanne@suzanneelizabeths.com.

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