Hungarian Goulash

In 2010, we had a great trip to Europe, where we experienced food in several countries. It was in Budapest where we had a wonderful goulash at Paprika Vendeglo restaurant. We had previously been in Prague where we had tasted Czech goulash. Both of us preferred the former for its wonderful goulash, pictured here – served in a small bowl over an open flame with noodles.

Thankfully for Pinterest, I was able to make a tasty Hungarian Goulash recipe which I attempted this week. It brought back memories, sans the noodles/dumplings.

Hungarian Goulash

Ingredients

  • 2 medium onions diced
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 ½ pound stewing beef trimmed and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 cups beef broth or water
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes canned
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 ½ cup carrot diced
  • 3 cups potatoes, diced

1. In a large pot, melt butter and add onion. Cook till translucent. Stir in caraway seeds and paprika and mix well.

2. In a bowl, dredge the stew beef with flour. Add beef to the onion mixture and cook for about 2-3 minutes.

3. Slowly add about ¼ cup of the beef broth to lift the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Then add remaining broth, diced tomatoes (potatoes and carrots if using), salt and pepper.

4. Stir and bring to a boil, cover, then reduce to a simmer for about 1 ½ -2 hours or until tender. Stir

Serve with noodles or dumplings or just plain as I did.

Keto White Chicken Chili

Have leftovers, will whip up something…LOL Have had this recipe for sometime but never made it until this week. It is a great way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken! Great flavours, too!

Keto White Chicken Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 4.5oz can chopped green chiles
  • 1 diced jalapeno (OMIT if you need less heat)
  • 1 diced green pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 oz cream cheese softened
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

In large pot, season chicken with cumin, oregano, cayenne, salt and pepper

Sear both sides over medium heat until golden

Add broth to pot, cover and cook chicken for 15-20 minutes or until fully cooked

While chicken is cooking, melt butter in medium skillet

Add chiles, diced jalapeno, green pepper and onion to skillet and saute until veggies soften

Add minced garlic and sauté additional 30 seconds and turn off heat, set aside

Once chicken is fully cooked, shred with fork and add back into broth

Add sautéed veggies to pot with chicken and broth and simmer for 10 minutes

In medium bowl, soften cream cheese in microwave until you can stir it (~20 sec)

Mix cream cheese with heavy whipping cream

Stirring quickly, add mixture into pot with chicken and veggies

Simmer additional 15 minutes

Serve with favorite toppings such as: pepper jack cheese, avocado slices, cilantro, sour cream

Eggplant and Garbanzos

Happy New Year, wherever in the world you might be this day! Start the year off with this wonderful vegan dish of eggplant and garbanzos (sometimes known as chick peas). I am not a fan of ratatouille, so this came as a surprise from Greece! It seems like a lot of ingredients,but many of them are flavourful spices which really enhance the taste of the dish. Hope you will enjoy it!

Eggplant and Garbanzos Greek Style

1.5 lb eggplant, cut into cubes

Kosher salt

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, diced

1 carrot, chopped

6 large garlic cloves, minced

2 dry bay leaves

1 to 1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika OR smoked paprika

1 tsp organic ground coriander

1 tsp dry oregano

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp organic ground turmeric

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 28-oz can chopped tomato

2 15-oz cans chickpeas, reserve the canning liquid

Fresh herbs such as parsley and mint for garnish

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Place eggplant cubes in a colander over a large bowl or directly over your sink, and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 20 minutes or so to allow eggplant to “sweat out” any bitterness. Rinse with water and pat dry.

3. In a large braiser, heat 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil over medium-high until shimmering but not smoking. Add onions, peppers, and chopped carrot. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly, then add garlic, bay leaf, spices, and a dash of salt. Cook another minute, stirring until fragrant.

4. Now add eggplant, chopped tomato, chickpeas, and reserved chickpea liquid. Stir to combine.

5. Bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes or so. Stir often. Remove from stove top, cover and transfer to oven.

6. Cook in oven for 45 minutes until eggplant is fully cooked through to very tender. (While eggplant is braising, be sure to check once or twice to see if more liquid is needed. If so, remove from oven briefly and stir in about 1/2 cup of water at a time.)

7. When eggplant is ready, remove from oven and add a generous drizzle of EVOO, garnish with fresh herbs (parsley or mint). Serve hot or at room temperature with a side of Greek yogurt or even Tzatziki sauce and pita bread.

Smorgasbord of Leftovers

Fast approaching the new year...FINALLY! With two holidays in such a short period of time there are bound to be leftovers. Am I right? Indeed we had leftovers from both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at this point. No turkey in this house this year, but we did have hamand roasted duck. I raced to Pinterest as usual and the results were both quick and easy – Classic Split Pea Soup and Duck, Duck Soup. Both were great for the cooler days this holiday season.

  1. Classic Split Pea Soup

Ingredients

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 ribs of celery, diced

3 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

1 to 1-1/2 cups diced ham

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 to 3 cups water

1 lb (about 2-1/4 cups) dried split peas (I used a jar of cooked white beans)

1 bay leaf

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and sauté until soft, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the carrots, ham bone, diced ham, split peas, chicken broth, 2 cups of water and bay leaf to the pot.

Bring the soup mixture to a slow simmer and cover, leaving the lid slightly askew.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas have broken down completely and the soup has thickened, 50 to 60 minutes.

Remove and discard the ham bone and bay leaf.

Stir the soup to blend thoroughly and if necessary, add more water until the thickness of the soup is to your liking.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and ladle into bowls for serving.

2. Rachel Ray’s Duck Duck SouP

Ingredients

Bones from cooked duck

1-quart chicken broth

2 cloves garlic, crushed

4 slices ginger

3/4-pound bok choy, sliced OR spinach

1 1/4 cups shredded duck meat

1 1/2 cups cooked rice

1 scallion, sliced

Preparation

In medium pot, simmer bones, broth, 1 cup water; garlic and ginger for 25 minutes; strain. Remove any residual meat from the bones. Return to pot with remaining ingredients; simmer 5 minutes.

Creamy Kielbasa Pasta

Tis the season to be jolly and entertain! NOT! Normally at this time of year we host a “charcuterie” for our snowbird friends. Alas, in these times of COVID, many were not returning to Yucatan. Secondly, we are limited to 4 “guests”in our home at one time. The answer – Host 4 mini charcuteries with our close friends over each weekend with two other couples.

The unfortunate/fortunate part was that with the variety of cold meats and cheeses, etc. I had leftover sliced kielbasa! Pinterest (much better than that Amazon person) – What do I do with the leftover kielbasa which could not be refrozen? The prompt answer – Creamy Kielbasa Pasta IN ONE PAN!

Creamy Kielbasa Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Oil, (canola, olive, vegetable, etc.)
  • 13 Ounces Kielbasa Sausage, (one large link, sliced into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1/2 Cup White Onion, (about 1 medium sized, thinly sliced)
  • ½ red pepper, diced
  • 8 Ounces Penne Pasta, (or any short pasta, dry)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth, (low-sodium)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water
  • 8 Ounces Cream Cheese, (cut into cubes)
  • Shredded Asiago cheese

Instructions

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the oil, sausage, red pepper and onion. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes until the sausage begins to brown and the onions soften.

Add the noodles, broth, and water. Stir to combine.

Bring the ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and continue to cook for 12 to 14 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure the noodles don’t stick together. Don’t let all the liquid cook away. There needs to be a little residual liquid in the bottom of the pan to mix with the cream cheese. After the noodles are cooked to al dente or to your liking, add the cream cheese. Stir until the cream cheese is melted and thoroughly combined. Sprinkle on some of the Asiago cheese.

Serve hot. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Kielbasa Apple Skillet

Thawed a whole package of kielbasa from Costco so that I could slice some up for a little get together with two friends. Needless to say, I di not use the whole package. What to do, Pinterest? Voila…luckily I had some wonderful Granny Smith apples in the crisper. Alas, no apple butter, but I did have some mango chutney to use in its place. The dish was awesome and easy. Oh yeah…this was not turkey kielbasa…LOL

Kielbasa Apple Skillet

Ingredients

  • 14-16 ounces low-fat turkey kielbasa sausage OR pork
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 large Fuji apples, sliced into thin wedges
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil, optional
  • 1/2 cup Musselman’s Apple Butter OR chutney
  • 2 tablespoons Musselman’s Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

Preheat a large skillet to medium heat. Add the butter or oil. (If using a good nonstick skillet, no butter is needed.) Slice the onion and apples. Then cut the kielbasa into 1/2 inch rounds. Remove the rosemary leaves from the stems and roughly chop.

Once the skillet is hot, sear the kielbasa pieces for 2-4 minutes, until brown on both sides. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

Next add the onions to the skillet. Sear for 2 minutes to soften, then add the apples and rosemary. Allow the apples and onions the cook until soft and brown, but not mushy. Stir gently as to not smash the apples, about 5-7 minutes. Salt and pepper liberally.

Add the sausage back to the skillet, along with the Musselman’s Apple Butter, apple cider vinegar, and 1/2 cup water. Simmer and stir to thicken the sauce for 2-3 minutes. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.

Southwest Chicken and Pasta Casserole

Another round of what to do with leftover rotisserie chicken…LOL. Just cannot resist a freshly cooked rotisserie chicken, but it usually lasts for three meals with only two of us. Came across this one, as usual, on Pinterest. It was a great marriage of southwest flavours! The recipe made enough to reheat the second day.

Great way to use up those little bits of dried pasta. If you look carefully, you will see shells and penne.

Southwest Chicken and Pasta Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked spiral pasta
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup salsa ( I love Pace Picante Sauce for this recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 can (15 oz) corn (drained)
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans (drained & rinsed)
  • 2 cups cooked shredded/chunked chicken
  • 2 cups shredded cheese

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9×13 baking dish and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Don’t forget to salt the pasta water. I use about 1 teaspoon salt.

3. While pasta is cooking, combine sour cream, salsa, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder in a large mixing bowl.

4. Drain the pasta when it’s done cooking and add into the sour cream mixture. Stir to combine. Add in the corn, black beans, chicken, and 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Stir together to combine.

5. Pour into the baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Cover with tin foil and cook for 20 minutes.

6. Take the tin foil off and let cook an additional 5 minutes. Garnish with green onions,, sour cream and more Pace Picante Sauce..

Keto Charcuterie Board

My apologies for the late posting, but the holiday season has begun and we had two guests for dinner on Sunday. This got me to thinking about holiday parties and how to cope if you are on Keto and want to host a small party (depending on your local restrictions during COVID 19).

This year in lieu of a larger party which usually sees us having 40 plus guests, we have had to make significant changes in how we entertain. In our region, we can have 6 people together and for the next four December weekends, we will be entertaining four other people beside ourselves each Saturday.

The easiest way to handle this is to avoid cooking!

Charcuterie is a way of entertaining in France which involves presenting a variety of cold meats and cheeses, along with some fresh fruits and nuts and a selection of breads and crackers. Keeping in mind KETO, a charcuterie can easily be assembled on a lovely wooden cutting board or two or just spread out on a layer of butcher block paper on a convenient hard surface, along with paper plates, napkins, etc. Make it finger foods by cutting up your items in bite sized portions in advance. BYOB means you don’t have to supply alcoholic drinks!

The trick is to choose KETO items ONLY , especially with the breads and crackers!!!

FYI… no two are ever alike! It all depends on what items you wish to choose. Vary the amounts depending on the number of guests you are contemplating. Whatever you choose be sure to carefully check the contents label for the total percentages of carbs, protein and fats !!!

A charcuterie can easily be modified for those who are not on a Keto program, by including non-KETO items.

The following is a suggested Keto board I came across on Pinterest. There are many more to view on that site.

INGREDIENTS for 5 servings…

  • 6 ounces sliced prosciutto
  • 6 ounces genoa salami
  • 5 ounces spicy capocollo
  • 4 ounces herbed chevre
  • 6-ounce sliced Manchego cheese
  • 5 ounces sliced peppercorn white cheddar
  • 4 ounces garlic white cheddar
  • ¼ cup Sugar-Free Dried Cranberries
  • 1/2 cup mixed nuts
  • ½ cup fresh blackberries
  • 10 strawberries hulled and halved
  • 5 pepperoncini
  • ½ cup pickled artichoke hearts
  • 10 garlic stuffed green olives
  • ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • ¼ roasted red peppers
  • ½ cup Low Carb Pickled Red Onion
  • 20 pickled asparagus spears
  • ¼ cup stone ground mustard
  • 1 sleeve low carb crackers

INSTRUCTIONS

Select a large platter from the list of options in this post and carefully arrange all of the ingredients on top.

Happy Holidays!

Holiday Recipes

With both American Thanksgiving and Christmas forthcoming, I am noting a few previously posted recipes which newer viewers may not have seen. Amongst these – what to do with leftover turkey? (Turkey Divan), an awesome Cranberry Chutney for either holiday, old-fashioned Hasty Pudding, a Christmas Morning Wife Saver which can be prepared the night before, as well as a few scrumptious cookies, like Biscotti with Ginger, Cranberry, Orange and Cashews for that after dinner coffee, Brandied Fruit and Nut Shortbread, and Cranberry Pistachio Salted Caramel Bars. Simply enter the names in the GO box to find them. Some might even be great for New Years.

Please observe social distancing and limit your dinners to local recommendations. Wear masks in public at all times! There will always be a next year if we observe the prescribed recommendations…

Pork Chops with Caper Sauce

By now you know me well; I am always searching Pinterest for new recipes to try. In this case, it was to do with pork chops which I had already thawed. This one caught my eye as we both love capers. And no, they are NOT fish! They are berries from a bush. It turned out great or else I would not share it with you. I quickly steamed some cauliflower to accompany the chops. The flavour was really good. You could omit the capers but it really adds to the flavour.

Pork Chops with Caper Sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 1-inch thick center-cup, bone-in pork loin chops (allow chops to sit at room temp for 30 mins)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup capers, drained
  • 2 tbsp Sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream

INSTRUCTIONS

Pre-heat oven to 200°F.

Pat chops dry with a paper towel, and then generously sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.

Add the chops and sear on one side for about 4 to 5 minutes, until golden brown on the bottoms.  Flip the chops over and sear the other sides for another 4 to 5 minutes. (The chops should be firm to the touch, but still have a little give).

Transfer the chops to the oven to keep warm while preparing the sauce.

Pour all but about 1 teaspoon of oil from pan and reduce the heat to medium.

Add the shallots and garlic and cook until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the capers and cook for 30 seconds

Add the vinegar and cook until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes.

Add the stock, mustard, a pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook until slightly thickened, about 2 – 3 minutes.

Stir in the cream.