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Author Archives: reg45

Thai Basil Beef Bowls

Thought I could Thai one on since it is now summer…LOL. Sorry that there is no photo, but we were travelling and no camera available.

Thai Basil Beef Bowls

Yield: about 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice or long-grain white rice for serving
  • 1 lb. flank steak, sliced against the grain into thin strips
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded, diced into 2-inch strips
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup matchstick carrots
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves (roughly chop larger leaves), plus more for garnish
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp Sambal Oleek, or more to taste (optional)

Directions

  • Cook rice according to directions listed on package.
  • For the sauce:
  • In a small mixing bowl whisk together soy sauce and cornstarch until smooth. Stir in water, fish sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar, lime juice and Sambal Oleek if using, set aside.
  • For the beef and veggies:
  • Toss beef with 1 tsp oil and 1 tsp cornstarch. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large skillet or wok over moderately high heat. Add beef and cook until browned on both sides but still slightly under-cooked in the center. Transfer beef to a plate while leaving oil in skillet. Reduce heat slightly, add bell pepper, onions and garlic and sauté until crisp tender, about 2 – 3 minutes (if needed you can add another 1 tsp of oil to the skillet). Add carrots, whisk sauce mixture once more then pour into skillet and allow to simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 1 minute. Return beef to skillet along with basil leaves, toss until basil has just wilted. Serve immediately over cooked rice garnished with small basil leaves and sesame seeds if desired.
  • Recipe source: Cooking Classy
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Croque Monsieur

We first had this in Paris, France at Fouquet on the Champs d’Elysee and subsequently in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico at the wonderful Merci Restaurant. Merci is better with their homemade bread! Trust me! Below is the version I use at home.

Croque Monsieur

 Croque-Monsieur

A Croque-Monsieur is the French answer to the grilled cheese sandwich. Gruyere cheese, ham, and bread are topped with a creamy Béchamel sauce.

Preparation Time: 7 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Total time: 12 minutes
4 sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices whole wheat bread

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 2 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup milk

  • 1/8 teaspoon sweet paprika

  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Dijon mustard for spreading

  • 4 slices ham

  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese (you can also use Emmenthal or other Swiss-style cheese)

  • OPTIONAL – 4 eggs

Instructions:

  1. Toast the bread until lightly browned on one side.

  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk until thick and bubbly. Gradually whisk in the milk, until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Whisk in the paprika. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep the sauce warm while your assemble the sandwiches.

  3. Lay four slices of bread, toasted side down on a broiler pan. Brush each one with Dijon mustard, to taste. Lay one slice of ham on each piece . Divide 1/2 cup cheese among the four sandwiches. Top with the second slice of bread, toastier side up. Divide the sauce among the four sandwiches, spreading it over the top. Add one fried egg per sandwich. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the sandwiches.

  4. Broil until the cheese is melted and the tops are bubbly and brown, five minutes or more in my toaster oven. Watch it carefully; yours may be different. Serve immediately.

I like to serve it with a small salad or grilled asparagus.

Link to recipe: http://goodcheapeats.com/2015/02/how-to-make-a-croque-monsieur/


Sweet Potato, Onion and Blue Cheese Frittata

I want something different for breakfast on Sunday! What do I have?  – sweet potato, red onion and bleu cheese, eggs. Why not? It was a pretty straight forward recipe I found and it turned out well. Mr. L thought it was quite rich with the bleu cheese (secret – I added more than the recipe called for…he was right) Stick to the recipe!

 

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Sweet Potato and Blue Cheese Frittata

Ingredients

2 Red onions, medium

1 Sweet potato, large

6 Eggs, large free-range

1 Nutmeg, whole

3 tbsp Olive oil

100 g Blue cheese crumbled

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
  2. Rub the sweet potato with 1 tablespoon of oil and season with sea salt and black pepper. Bake for 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove and leave to cool.
  3. Peel and finely slice the onions. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a 26cm ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat, add the onion, pop on the lid and cook for 20 minutes, or until soft. Leave to cool.
  4. Whisk the eggs in a bowl. Crumble in the cheese, then add the onion, and scoops of sweet potato flesh, discarding the skin. Add a good grating of nutmeg, then season.
  5. Wipe out the pan and coat with 1 tablespoon of oil, then add the egg mixture and fry over a medium heat until the eggs start to settle and cook.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 3 more minutes, then transfer to the oven for 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
  7. Delicious served with a seasonal salad.

Too vegan for me…LOL…I cooked some bacon….

 

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

I LOVE chicken pot pie! I dont make crusts…LOL. Nor can I buy the store-bought crusts here. With some leftover Costco roasted chicken, I yearned for pie. FYI…Bisquick isn’t available here either. Turning to my trusty Pinterest, I found this recipe. It was awesome!!!! I left out the mushrooms and added chopped red pepper… The diced veggies looked great so I added a photo of them too!

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CHICKEN POT PIE SOUP

COOK TIME: 15 MINS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 Tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 chopped red pepper
  • 4 ounces button or baby Bella mushrooms, diced
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, diced (I used a can of diced potatoes)
  • 1 cup frozen corn (I used a small can )
  • 1 cup frozen peas (I used a small can)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
  • oyster crackers (instead of the crust)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat butter in large stockpot over medium-high heat until melted (or heat the olive oil until it is shimmering).  Add onion, carrots, peppers and celery.  Saute for 6-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent.  Add in the garlic and mushrooms, and sauté for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant.
  2. Stir in the flour until it is completely combined, and saute for an additional 1 minute, stirring occasionally.  Gradually add in the chicken stock and milk, stirring frequently.  Stir in the chicken, potatoes, corn, peas, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper until combined.
  3. Bring the mixture to a simmer (be careful not to bring it to a boil!), stirring occasionally so that the bottom of the soup does not stick to the pan.  Then reduce heat to medium-low, and continue simmering the soup for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are soft and cooked through.
  4. Taste the soup and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  5. Serve immediately, with crackers on top or on the side, if desired.

Easy Shepherd’s Pie

Who does not like shepherd’s pie? There are several variations out there. Sometimes it is called Cottage Pie. This one was a snap! The only tricky part was the roux, melting the butter and adding the flour. Make your life easier and use instant potatoes!

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Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb. Ground Beef
  • 4 cups Mashed Potatoes
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Flour
  • 12 oz. Frozen Peas and Carrots, thawed (Use a can of mixed peas and carrots)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and add ground beef, onion and garlic.
  • Cook until browned and drain.
  • In another skillet or pan, melt putter and add flour.
  • Cook roux for 2 minutes.
  • Whisk in Worcestershire and milk.
  • Cook for 1 minute to thicken.
  • Combine beef mixture, gravy and thawed vegetables.
  • Place in baking dish.
  • Top with mashed potatoes and place in oven for 20-30 minutes until heated through. In the last few minutes sprinkle the cheese on the potatoes.

 

Shrimp, Tomato and Spinach Pasta

Eureka! Shrimp in the freezer. What to do? Checked the ingredients I had on hand and found this recipe for dinner. The worst part is cleaning the shrimp, so just cheat and buy them already cleaned and deveined…LOL. Substitute whatever protein you have available. As always, my changes are in red lettering.

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Shrimp, Tomato and Spinach Pasta

Ingredients

  • 5 medium tomatoes, fresh, chopped into large cubes ( one can of diced with juice depending on how much you like tomatoes)
  • 1 cup cooked spinach
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 small lemon
  • salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more)
  • paprika
  • 10 oz fettuccine pasta
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil until melted. Add fresh shrimp and half the minced garlic. Make sure shrimp is not crowded. Cook for 1 minute on one side until pink on that side. While it’s cooking, generously sprinkle paprika and salt over uncooked side of the shrimp. Flip the shrimp over and cook for another 1 or 2 minutes until pink on the other side.
  2. To the skillet with shrimp, add chopped fresh tomatoes, cooked spinach, and remaining amount of minced garlic. Add 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more). Mix everything well, remove from heat while you cook pasta.
  3. In the mean time cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent pasta from cooking and getting mushy.
  4. Add pasta to the skillet with shrimp and vegetables with 1 or 2 tablespoons of butter. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice (depending on the juiciness of your lemon, it could be 1/4 of small lemon or 1/2 lemon). Don’t add too much lemon juice. Season with salt and more crushed red pepper. Warm it up on medium heat until shrimp is cooked through, and all ingredients are heated through.
  5. To serve, top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Green Beans with Lemon and Feta

This is a great and easy accompaniment to a great steak and maybe a potato! Can you tell this by the photo?

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Great for BBQ season as well…

GREEN BEANS WITH LEMON AND FETA

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 to 1 pound of fresh green beans (stem end snipped off), washed
  • 4 heaping tablespoons feta cheese
  • juice of 1/2 of a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add about 1/2 inch of water to a medium-sized sauté pan. Place over high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Add beans, cover and continue to cook on medium-high for 4-5 minutes or until fork tender but still crispy.
  3. Drain and return to pan. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and toss to coat. Place green beans on a plate and sprinkle with feta, then lemon juice, then pepper (and salt if desired).
  4. Serve immediately. (But they are also pretty great cold!)

 

 

Lemony Chickpea (Garbanzo), Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad

Okay Cousin Bonnie, here is the salad recipe you asked for…it was yummy!

 

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Lemony Chickpea, Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad

Recipe by Michela Chiappa from Michela’s Tuscan Kitchen

Ingredients –

600g ripe tomatoes (I just drained a can of diced tomatoes)

 1 small bunch fresh basil

 extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

small handful walnuts

½ jar good quality chickpeas (about 300g)

pinch of dried cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 lemon

2 good handfuls of arugula

1 small round of crumbly, soft goat’s cheese

 

  1. Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to a serving bowl. Rip in most if the basil leaves, keep the baby leaves to one side. Drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil and season with black pepper and salt.
  2. Place a small frying pan on a low heat, add the walnut halves and cook for 5 minutes until toasted and smelling delicious. When ready tip into a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, drain and the chickpeas. Add the cumin, oregano, lemon zest and half the juice and a drizzle of oil. Toss together with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Add the chickpeas to the tomatoes and toss together. Add the arugula and crumble over the goat’s cheese and walnuts.

Chilled Strawberry Soup

I have always remembered this soup from my adolescent years for some reason. I was looking for something different for dinner with friends in place of a salad. Too warm for regular hot soup and we happened to have a box of strawberries in the fridge. Pinterest showed me this wonderful and simple recipe!

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TIP – Whether it’s a salad or cold soup, I always freeze my bowls before serving time!

Chilled Strawberry Soup

Author: This Mess Is Ours         Prep time:  2 hours 15 mins

Total time:  2 hours 15 mins     Serves: 4 cups

This soup only takes about 15 minutes of time to prepare but be sure to let it chill for 2 hours before serving so that the flavors intensify.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups sliced fresh strawberries, preferably organic
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup white grape juice (or white wine)
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey (one tablespoon was sufficient)

 

To garnish

  • freshly ground black pepper
  • sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 or 2 radishes, cut into thin shreds with a grater or mandoline
  • fresh mint

Instructions

  1. In a food processor or high powered blender process the 3 cups of sliced strawberries, Greek yogurt, white grape juice, and honey until smooth. Stopping periodically to scrape the sides. Cover and chill for 1½- 2 hours. Garnish with freshly ground pepper, sliced strawberries, shredded radishes, and bits of mint. Serve immediately. NB…dont skip the radishes, they were awesome!

 

Greek Moussaka

In the process of cleaning out our freezer and realized I had 500 gm of ground lamb. What to do? I have always liked moussaka in a Greek restaurant, but never made it at home. Good old Pinterest to the rescue, for what appeared to be an easy recipe and without the potatoes on top….less calories. The recipe looks complicated, but I decided to prepare the ground lamb ahead of time and put it in the refrigerator until I was ready to make the complete dish. It gave me time to prepare the eggplant while I was cleaning up from the lamb prep. The dish turned out perfectly, with our guests taking home this recipe! The photo below is from the Pinterest pinner…we got so carried away enjoying the dish that I forgot a photo. Check out Sniff It Out on Pinterest for more tantalizing recipes!

Moussaka

Greek Moussaka

About 500g of lean minced (ground) lamb
2 Aubergines (Eggplants) medium to large in size
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 heaped tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 rounded tablespoons tomato purée
3 fl oz. (75 ml) red wine or more
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the yogurt topping for the Greek Moussaka – I used a large CorningWare casserole dish and ended up doubling the yogurt in order to cover the top.

150ml Greek yogurt (double if necessary)

1 medium egg, beaten

50g feta cheese or more

25g freshly grated parmesan or more

 

  1. Preparing the Aubergines

Leave the skins on and slice the Aubergines into approximately 10mm thick slices.

Put the slices into a colander and sprinkle them with about 1 level dessertspoon of salt. Stand the colander on a plate to catch the water which comes out of the Aubergines and put another plate on top of the aubergine slices.

You now need to weigh this plate down with something heavy (I find that a couple of tins of soup works quite well) and leave them for about an hour to let the juice come out.

After an hour, squeeze out any of the excess juice from the aubergines and dry them well in a clean cloth.

Spread the aubergine slices on a baking sheet and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over them tossing them around to get a good coating.

Put the baking sheet in a pre heated oven (around 200 degrees) and roast the aubergines for 30 minutes or until they are browning at the edges.

I usually roast the eggplant simply because the baking tray is much bigger than the frying pan and I can get the slices done all in one go, but, if you would rather sauté the eggplant to use in the moussaka you can do that too.

 

  1. Preparing the lamb for the Moussaka recipe (I did this step first)

    Because the mince can have quite a lot of fat come out of it I usually dry fry the mince until it is nicely browned then remove it from the pan and put it to one side then discard any of the fat which has come out of it before using it to make the moussaka.

Then heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions, garlic and thyme gently, without colouring, for about 10 minutes.

Stir the minced lamb back in and add the parsley, cinnamon, tomato purée and red wine and stir to combine the ingredients. Season the mixture well and cook gently for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  1. Prepare the topping for the Greek Moussaka recipe

    It’s true that Moussaka isn’t the most healthy dish on the planet, that’s why I prefer a yogurt topping for my moussaka recipe because it is a bit lighter than others I have tried but that is purely my preference. Mix the yogurt with half of the cheeses and the beaten egg and season with ground pepper.

 

  1. Putting everything together for the Greek Moussaka!

    Line the bottom of a casserole dish with slices of aubergine, then spoon over some of the meat mixture. Build the layers of the moussaka up until all the meat and aubergine has been used.

Cover with the topping mixture and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180ºC / 350ºF for about 1 hour until golden and bubbling.

Let the Moussaka stand for about 20 to 30 minutes before cutting and serving and this will ensure that it keeps its shape when you serve it.