Talk Takeaway: Cooking with Melissa d’Arabian

Posted on Jun 4, 2013 10:45am

Host and author, Melissa d'Arabian, visited "The Talk" for a Talk Takeaway: Cooking segment.  She showed the ladies how to make a delicious dinner that won't cost a fortune. Here are the recipes!

"Reprinted from the book Ten Dollar Dinners by Melissa d'Arabian.  Copyright © 2012 by Melissa d'Arabian.  Photographs copyright © 2012 by Ben Fink.  Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc."



Reprinted from the book Ten Dollar Dinners. Copyright © 2012 by Melissa d'Arabian. 
Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes


3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 pound white button mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced

1/4 cup dry white wine

Juice of 2 lemons

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed

2 tablespoons unsalted butter


1. Place a chicken breast on a cutting board and set your palm on top of it. Use a sharp knife to slice the chicken into 2 or 3 cutlets. Repeat with the other 2 breasts. Blot dry with paper towels and season with the salt and pepper. Place the flour in a shallow dish and dredge the chicken through it, evenly coating the chicken on both sides. Place on a plate and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Set the chicken in the pan and cook on each side until browned, 6 to 8 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to a platter.

2. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring often, until they are browned, about 5 minutes.

3. Pour the wine and lemon juice into the pan, using a wooden spoon to stir and scrape up any browned bits from the pan bottom.

4. Add the capers and then stir in the butter until it is melted and the sauce comes together. Turn off the heat and pour over the chicken before serving.


Reprinted from the book Ten Dollar Dinners. Copyright © 2012 by Melissa d'Arabian. 
Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.


Master this four-step method for making chicken and you'll never be in a chicken rut again. The recipe is infinitely adjustable to suit your tastes or to work with whatever you happen to have in the fridge (see the following recipe variations).

1. Dredge and brown the chicken.

2. Brown the veggies and aromatics.

3. Deglaze the pan to make a quick sauce.

4. Add some final flavorings and finishing touches.

Four steps, many ways

While the steps remain the same, here are some ideas for switching up flavor. Try other combinations to create your own four-step recipe. You can also make four-step chicken using bone-in breasts—after browning, just transfer them to a 375°F. oven until cooked through.



(use about 3/4 cup)


(plus 2 tablespoons butter)

Yellow onions

Chicken broth and lemon juice

Chopped fresh basil

Red onions

Orange juice concentrate or fresh orange juice

Chopped fresh cilantro and lime

Leeks and garlic

Vermouth and chicken broth

Heavy cream (or sour cream with burner turned off), about 2 TB


White wine

Spoonful of pesto


Red Wine

Crumbled blue cheese

Bacon and yellow onions

Cider vinegar and water

Chopped scallions

Yellow onions and garlic

Chicken broth

Grated Parmesan cheese

Red onions and oregano

White wine

Black olives and feta cheese

Yellow onions and green or

red bell peppers


Barbecue sauce

Shallots and dried thyme

Red wine vinegar and water

Parsley and grainy mustard


Reprinted from the book Ten Dollar Dinners. Copyright © 2012 by Melissa d'Arabian. 
Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.


1 cup bulgur

1 1/4 cups chicken broth

2 bell peppers (preferably 1 red and 1 yellow)

2 zucchini (or 1 zucchini and

1 yellow summer squash)

2 large tomatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1/4 pound white button mushrooms, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, finely chopped

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the bulgur in a large heatproof bowl. Pour the broth into a medium saucepan, add 1 1/2 cups water, bring to a boil, and then pour over the bulgur. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until the bulgur is tender, about 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. Slice off the top third of the bell peppers, cut out the stems, and then finely chop the flesh; set aside for later. Use your fingers or a paring knife to remove the ribs and seeds from the bottom of each pepper to make a cup that will hold the stuffing.

3. Halve the zucchini crosswise. Finely chop half of the zucchini and slice the other half lengthwise, then use a teaspoon to scoop out the seeds so you have a boat. Halve the tomatoes crosswise and use a spoon to remove the seeds from the bottom and top to make 4 cups. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it softens and becomes translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the reserved chopped bell peppers and zucchini, mushrooms, and garlic to the pan, season with 3/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. If there is a lot of liquid in the pan, drain the vegetables in a fine-mesh sieve before proceeding. If there is remaining liquid in the bowl with the bulgur, drain the bulgur in a fine-mesh sieve and return to the bowl along with the sautéed vegetables. Stir in the tarragon.

4. Place the pepper and tomato cups and zucchini boats on a cutting board. Season the inside of the vegetables with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper and then stuff the vegetables with the bulgur mixture until filled to their rims. Carefully transfer the vegetables to a 13 × 9-inch baking dish, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the Parmesan, and bake until the cheese is browned, about 10 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Reprinted from the book Ten Dollar Dinners. Copyright © 2012 by Melissa d'Arabian. 
Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.


Makes one 9- or 9½-inch tart

Preparation time: 20 minutes (plus 15 minutes to chill the dough and 5 minutes to cool)

Cooking time: 1 hour


1 stick unsalted butter, cut into1-inch cubes, plus

1 tablespoon, melted

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons sugar

3 Granny Smith apples

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. Set the cubed butter on a plate and place it in the freezer for 15 minutes. Fill a cup with ice and water and set aside. Place 1 1/2 of the flour, 1⁄ 8 teaspoon of the salt, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Take the butter out of the freezer and add it to the flour. Pulse the mixture until it looks like wet sand, about 10 seconds. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the ice water and pulse until the dough comes together into a ball.

2. Lightly flour your work surface and place the dough on top. Then lightly flour the top of the dough and roll to about a 10- to 11-inch circle, sprinkling more flour under and on top of the dough as necessary. Gently drape the dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to a 9- or 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan (ideally one with a removable bottom). Fit the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan as evenly as possible and press off excess dough from the fluted rim. Set the tart pan on a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Peel, core, and quarter the apples and then thinly slice them lengthwise. Place the apples in a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice, the cinnamon, and the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and 1⁄ 8 teaspoon salt. Remove the baking sheet with the tart shell from the refrigerator. Arrange the apples in concentric circles so they overlap slightly. Brush the edges of the crust with the melted butter and then bake until the edges are golden and the apples have cooked down, about 1 hour. Cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.


Reprinted from the book Ten Dollar Dinners. Copyright © 2012 by Melissa d'Arabian. 
Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.

Take sugar, simmer with water, and finish with a little butter and cream and you have a swoon-worthy caramel sauce in minutes. I add some cardamom for an exotic warm note. The possibilities for caramel sauce are limited only by your imagination—you can drizzle it over ice cream or baked fruit, or portion it into small ramekins and serve fondue-style with fresh fruit or cubes of pound cake. This is an inexpensive way to dress up even the plainest pound cake or vanilla ice cream for company.

makes about 3/4 cup

preparation time: 3 minutes

cooking time: 10 minutes


2/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and half

1 teaspoon cardamom seeds, gently crushed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Place the sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed, tall-sided saucepan and cover with . cup water. Give it a gentle stir, trying not to splash any water or sugar up on the sides of the pan. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat until it comes to a strong simmer (don't stir, though you can swirl the pan if it looks like the syrup is coloring more on one side). Continue to simmer until the sugar mixture is golden brown, about 7 minutes.

2. Watch the mixture closely, as sugar syrup can turn from deep brown to burned very quickly (once the sugar looks like ginger ale, you have about 1 minute to go).

3. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter and cream (the mixture will hiss and bubble violently), whisking until smooth. Stir in the cardamom seeds and bring the mixture back to a boil over high heat. Turn off the heat and cool for 2 minutes before stirring in the vanilla and straining the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve. Cool slightly before serving. The caramel sauce keeps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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