Confinement Cooking – Make the weekend special!

Hello out there!

Start of week 3 for me! How are you guys hanging in there? For the most part, I’m doing pretty well and staying positive but I’ll admit, I had a day or 2 where I felt a little anxious about this confinement thing.  So I regrouped and decided to make the best of the weekend.  I cooked and baked, ate and drank, took a walk to clear my head, listened to lots of records and I even learned how to hem my own pants!

I try to eat pretty clean during the week so that on the weekend I can make it feel a little more special.

Saturday’s menu

Steamed Artichoke with Garlic Aioli

Cote de Boeuf with a simple green salad 

Sunday’s menu

Chicken Marbella with creamy polenta and green salad.  It’s so easy and delicious.

Hot Chocolate Cakes

I love dessert but try to watch my sugar intake, and I’m probably maxing that out already with all the wine) but weekends need to feel different.  We need something to look forward to. 🙂

For an extra special treat, I made individual Hot Chocolate Fudge Cakes.  (Mi-Cuit au Chocolate)

I use a recipe from Cooking Light I found years ago.  They are so decadent and you can make individual portions that you can freeze for later too! (Great make-ahead dessert) It’s easy to make, a little time consuming, but considering that I have nowhere to go… it’s perfect for this moment!

Here we go :

Steamed Artichokes with Aioli

  • Cut the stem from artichokes and discard, making sure the bottom of each artichoke is flat. Cut top 1 inch (or so) of the artichoke and discard. Snip the thorny ends from each artichoke leaf with a pair of kitchen scissors.
  • Fill the bottom of a pot with a couple of inches of water, adding garlic, lemon juice, and bay leaf to the water. Place a steamer basket in the pot, making sure that the water does not flow over the bottom of the steamer basket.
  • Place the artichokes in the basket, resting on the flattened bottoms.
  • Bring water to a boil, cover the pot, and cook until the leaves can be easily pulled from the artichoke, 20 to 30 minutes.

I used store-bought Aioli but you can easily make it yourself :

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon or more if desired
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 large clove of garlic minced
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper taste]
  • Whisk until well combined then place into the refrigerator to allow flavors to come together

Cote de Boeuf (Bone-in Rib Eye)

Treat yourself to a good quality aged steak if can afford it.  The flavor is amazing!

Let meat rest at room temp about 2 hours before cooking

Brush with olive oil and liberally salt and pepper

Heat a grill pan on stovetop to high heat.

It’s gonna be messy – but worth it! And we’ve got the time for clean up these days

Sear each side and don’t be afraid to get a nice brown crust.

I like my beef on the rare side so I just kept it on the grill until the desired level of doneness.

I kind of know at this point when to remove from the grill but here is a guide.  Use a meat thermometer!

It’s worth it and especially if you splurge on a great piece of meat!  You don’t want to risk overcooking it!

Remove from grill and let rest a few minutes!  Slice it up and enjoy with some good red wine!  I had a

Haut Medoc with this.  One of my favorites!

Grill Times & Temperatures for Steak


Steak Doneness Remove from Grill at this Temperature Final Cooked Temperature
Rare 130 to 135°F 130 to 140°F
Medium Rare 140°F 145°F
Medium 155°F 160°F



Chicken Marbella

I love this recipe and I make it a few times a year. Originally, I got the recipe from a friend years ago and

it’s been one of my go-to chicken dishes ever since! The flavors are so delicious and make a delicious sauce you can mop up with bread or serve over polenta or mashed potatoes!

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Marinating time: 3 hours
  • Yield: Serves 5-8

Although the original recipe calls for 2 small chickens to be quartered, you could easily do this recipe with 5 pounds of chicken pieces, thighs, and breasts.


  • 2 chickens, 2 1/2 lbs each, quartered, bone-in, skin-on (I used 1 whole chicken cut into 8ths)
  • Cloves from 1/2 head of garlic, peeled and finely puréed
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes
  • 8 large pitted Spanish green olives, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup capers with a bit of juice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

1 Marinate the chicken: In a large bowl combine garlic, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers with caper juice, and bay leaves. Add the chicken pieces and coat completely with the marinade. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, several hours or overnight.

2 Place chicken in a baking pan, top with marinade, brown sugar, wine: Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle brown sugar over the chicken pieces and pour white wine around them.

3 Bake until done: Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with the pan juices. Chicken is done when a sharp knife inserted into the thigh pieces, at their thickest point, run with clear yellow juices (not pink).

4 Serve with pan juices: With a slotted spoon, move the chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Pour some of the pan juices over the chicken and sprinkle generously with parsley. Serve remaining juices in a gravy boat.

Hot Chocolate Fudge Cakes


3.4 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup) 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup egg substitute  (I used 4 eggs)

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 (2.6-ounce) bar dark (71% cocoa) chocolate (such as Valrhona Le Noir Amer), finely chopped

2 tablespoons powdered sugar


  1. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Sift together flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt.
2. Place butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 1 minute. Add granulated and brown sugars, beating until well blended (about 5 minutes and be patient, it will come together) Add egg substitute and vanilla, beating until well blended. Fold flour mixture into sugar mixture; fold in chocolate.

Divide batter evenly among 4-6 ramekins; arrange ramekins on a jelly-roll pan. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or up to 2 days.

3. Preheat oven to 350°.

4. Let ramekins stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Uncover and bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until cakes are puffy and slightly crusty on top. Sprinkle evenly with powdered sugar; serve immediately.

I have frozen these to use at a later date!  Just remove from the freezer and thaw before baking!

*also, if you wanna get crazy, serve with some vanilla ice cream… but you didn’t hear that from me 😉 lol


The stage and the kitchen are my happy place.  I have always loved to feed people with food and music!   I am so thankful to have a passion for cooking especially in these difficult times.  I hope that some of these recipes inspire you to get into the kitchen and get cooking and help to heal your hearts and feed your souls!

Wishing you a bon appetit!

Stay Home, Stay healthy!




Copyright © 2020 Robin McKelle All rights reserved