Asian Zucchini Zoodles

For those of you trying to avoid regular pastas, “zoodles” are a fun and tasty way to replace them with extra nutrition. Many grocery stores now sell already “zoodled” vegetables, like cucumbers, zucchini and beets! My favourite are the zucchini zoodles, made easier with a proper “spiralizer”.

Zoodle away with this simple dinner or lunch option!

Asian Zucchini Zoodles

Ingredients

For the sauce:

  • 1/4 cup dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Thai sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar use honey (I preferred honey)

Preparing the zoodles.

  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 large zucchinis spiralized (yellow and green)
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes to taste

1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, and brown sugar; set aside.

2. To a large skillet, add 1 teaspoon oil (any type) and onions. Cook onions down for 2 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Next, add the sauce to the skillet and cook for about 1 minute then add the spiralized zucchini noodles and cook just for 1-2 minutes or until fully coated with sauce. Add pepper flakes. Serve immediately!

Coconut Rice Pudding

Due to my spouse requiring a modified diet for a few days, I decided to make him some rice pudding. Without too much work, this one filled the bill!

Coconut Rice Pudding

Serves/Makes: 4    |   Ready In: 30-60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15-ounce size) coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice (I used Jasmine)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

Combine the coconut milk and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Add the rice and cook until it returns to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pan, and let simmer for 15 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the sugar, vanilla, and nutmeg. Pour into custard cups.

Serve warm or chilled.

A Blast from the Past

So many of you have joined this blog since it was begun back since 10 years ago, that I thought you might enjoy a flashback from the past, more or less the recipe that started it all! Hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as myself and many others have turned to so many times… Thanks for hanging in there my friends! Originally posted March 19, 2011

Rose and Thistle Salad Dressing

Technically, this recipe was stolen from a little restaurant in Kingsville, Ontario, Canada. The restaurant is/was The Rose and Thistle.  As a special request was made, I decided to post this one early…let me know how it turns out Bev…

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup salad oil (NOT Olive)
  • crushed garlic to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 T honey
  • Dash Worcestershire
  • Dash pepper

Put into a blender for 1 to 2 minutes. I cheat and pout it in a shaker and shake hard.

Make it ahead as it keeps in the refrigerator for several weeks. It is great on almost any salad, including spinach!

Romaine “Wedge” Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese

You will have noted that I put the word “wedge” in brackets. Actually I dislike it when I see romain served in wedges. It’s difficult to eat without a fork AND knife. I much prefer to have the romaine torn into smaller parts before it is served. This is true of some restaurant Caesar salads as well. Without a doubt, the highlight of this salad is the ranch dressing, which you can use on almost any salad OR as a simple veggie dip. Of course, you can skip the blue cheese, but why would you? LOL

Romaine Wedge Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe Homemade Ranch Dressing*
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 slices sourdough bread cut into ½-inch cube (I did some store-bought croutons in butter and garlic powder)
  • 4 slices thick bacon cut crosswise into thin strips
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce quartered lengthwise into wedges
  • 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • finely chopped chives optional

1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sourdough cubes; cook and stir until cubes are lightly browned on all sides. Remove from skillet and reserve.

2. Add bacon to same skillet; cook and stir until bacon is crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towel to drain.

3. Carefully rinse and dry romaine wedges, doing your best to keep them intact. OR tear them up

4. Arrange romaine wedges on a platter. Drizzle desired amount of dressing on salad and sprinkle with remaining ingredients. Serve.

*Homemade Ranch Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup chives finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley finely chopped
  • milk enough to reach your desired consistency (optional)

Instructions

Whisk together the sour cream, garlic, parsley and chives. Add milk to reach your desired consistency.

Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Enjoy as a salad dressing or a vegetable dip.

Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca

Puttanesca originated in Naples in the mid 19th century and is usually made with pasta, capers, tomatoes, garlic and hot peppers. Since I had a spaghetti squash I need to use up, I made this dish. It turned out wonderfully. Below is my own version of this!!

(Hidden under that luscious sauce is the shredded spaghetti squash!)

Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash cut in half horizontally with seeds removed
  • ½ pound lean ground beef
  • 1 diced jalapeno pepper or red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 2 stems of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¾ cup of whole black olives (optional)
  • 2 cups of Prego pasta sauce
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish

Instructions

Drizzle olive oil over each half of squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut side  down in a Pyrex dish and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven uncovered for 60 to 75 minutes.

Remove squash and let cool before shredding each half with forks. Be careful not to puncture the squash skin! Cover loosely with foil. Let it rest while preparing the sauce.

In a large frypan (or wok – I love using a wok when preparing sauce for spaghetti), brown the beef, stirring frequently. When there is no more pink, add the 2 cups of pasta sauce.

Stir to combine all of the meat, adding the diced jalapenos (optional) or red pepper flakes

Add the pitted black olives and 1 stem of basil LEAVES and stir to combine.

Uncover the bowl of spaghetti squash shreds and pour the sauce the shreds.

Garnish with Parmesan cheese and the leaves from the other basil stem.

Serve.

Zucchini Noodle Pesto for Two

My spouse bought three medium sized zucchini at the grocery store with which I made this wonderful pesto dish. Meatless! Unlike most pesto dishes, this one I made with no pesto sauce, as you will see below. It was all his idea and turned out perfectly!

Zucchini Noodle ‘Pesto” for Two

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchinis (ends trimmed) unpeeled
  • 2 cups fresh packed basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 T. cooking oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese+
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for garnishing

Instructions

  1. Use a spiralizer to make strands of zucchini noodles(zoodles). I chose the thinner setting.
  2. Shred the basil leaves by rolling them together like a cigar and slicing across the roll. This is called chiffonading.
  3. Toast the pine nuts in a small pan until slightly brown and remove from heat.
  4. Sauté the zucchini noodles in 1 tablespoon of cooking olive oil in a wok or deep frying pan for two minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Add the fresh basil leaves to the noodles and stir to mix well.
  6. Add pine nuts and cherry tomatoes. Salt and pepper to preference.
  7. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over the noodles and serve.
  8. Top with shaved Parmesan cheese. Garnish with more basil leaves.

Greek Salad and Dressing for Two

Tired of the same old green salads? No lettuce in the house? Greek salad is the answer – minus lettuce, which is not even normally found in a true Greek salad.

Start with a freshmade dressing, refrigerated while you chop up the salad ingredientes. This is one of our new favorites, for sure! And it looks beautiful as well.

You won’t find a better Greek salad anywhere…

Greek Salad and Dressing for Two

Ingredients

  • 1 large clove garlic finely minced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Measure all ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until well-blended and emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if necessary.

(Alternatively, you may whisk the ingredients together in a bowl, process the ingredients in a mini food processor, or blend them together in a blender.) Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator; allow to come to room temperature and shake well before using.

Greek Salad

  • 1 Roma tomato diced
  • ¼ red onion diced
  • ½ English seedless cucumber large dice
  • ½ red pepper diced
  • ½ cup whole black olives
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Mix all salad ingredients in a bowl. Toss with dressing and refrigerate 15 minutes.

Muffin Tin Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

My spouse’s mother always made him pineapple upside down cake for his birthday when he was young. Waking up early on his birthday, I decided that was what I would make him also. I had previously found a recipe and purchased all of the ingredients. It doesn’t get much easier than this recipe! PS…It would be great for Easter Sunday!!!

Muffin Tin Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

Ingredients…

  • 1/4 C Butter
  • 1 C Packed Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 Can (20 Oz) Pineapple slices in juice, drained, reserve juice
  • 1 Jar (6 oz) Maraschino cherries without stems – drained
  • 1 Box Betty Crocker Supermoist yellow cake mix
    • oil and eggs called for on box –

1 – Preheat oven – 350 degrees.  In a 13 x 9 x2 pan, melt butter in oven.  Here is where I made a change – I sprayed the pan first with PAM – just a precaution I wanted to take.  Sprinkle brown sugar over melted butter.  Arrange pineapple slices on brown sugar.  Place cherries in centers and around the slices – press gently into the sugar/butter.

2 – Add enough water to reserved pineapple juice to make 1 cup.  Make cake batter as directed on box, substituting pineapple juice mixture for the water.  Pour batter over pineapple and cherries.

3 – Bake about 40 or so minutes – or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Immediately run a knife around the edges of pan to loosen cake.  I let mine sit in the pan for about 10 minutes then turned it out onto a serving platter leaving the pan on top for an additional 15 to 20 minutes… This lets the brown sugar drizzle over the cake – remove pan.  Cool for about 30 minutes.  Serve warm or cool.  Store covered in the refrigerator.

Ahi Salmon Avocado Poke Bowl

In the last couple of years,”poke” bowls seem to be cropping up everywhere. Normally it is served with sashimi-grade salmon or tuna (both RAW). We first had these at a local Italian restaurant in the city and came to order it many times. I did find a recipe, where else but Pinterest, but finding the sashimi-grade salmon (raw and safe) proved more difficult until recently. Eureka! It turned out beautifully, well almost…details later.

Ahi Salmon Poke Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound Sashimi-grade salmon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes or pieces
  • 1/4 Sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 1 or 2 thinly sliced radishes
  • 1/4 English Cucumber, halved and sliced thin
  • 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame oil
  • Black sesame seeds and sliced scallions for garnish
  • Steamed Cauliflower rice for serving OR Basmati rice

1. In a large bowl, combine the tuna or salmon, onion, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, Sriracha, and sesame oil.

2. Serve topped with black sesame seeds, sliced cucumber* , sliced scallions, and sliced radish in bowls with cauliflower or Basmati rice.

Putting the cucumbers in at Step one resulted in a greenish gray cucumber as you can see in the foto.

Slow Cooker Sausage and Peppers

Normally, when I do sausage and peppers, it is in the oven. Since I had time this week I found a slow cooker/crockpot recipe on Pinterest for this method. Come to find out, I liked it much better without having to use the oven. The texture of the sausage was so very different and the peppers were great. Served this with a little side of steamed broccoli. Perfect dish!

FYI…the sausages I prefer are Obertal Argentinian Chorizos, but that is your choice.

Crockpot Sausage and Peppers

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg Italian sausages (5) My preference is Obertal Argentinian Chorizo
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup chunky marinara sauce I substituted a small jar of PACE Medium Salsa
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2-3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Instructions

1. Heat a skillet on medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan.

2. Sear the Italian sausages 2-3 mins on each side until starting to brown. You aren’t trying to cook them all the way through, you’re just browning the outside a bit which always increases the flavor while slow cooking.

3. Lay the seared Italian sausages in the bottom of a slow cooker/crockpot.

4. Add the uncooked sliced onions and peppers on top of the sausages.

5. Sprinkle the garlic salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning over the top.

6. Spread the marinara sauce or PACE salsa over the onion and pepper mixture.

7. Cook the crock pot sausage and peppers recipe on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7 hours until the peppers are soft and the Italian sausage is cook through. FYI…mine was done at 4 hours on low!

8. The crockpot Italian sausage and peppers are seriously SO delicious as is, but to take it up a notch, take the sausage and peppers out of the slow cooker and spread into a broiler-safe pan and follow the cheese steps in the optional section.

Optional – Add Cheese

1. Sprinkle 1/2 – 3/4 cups of your favorite shredded white cheese, like mozzarella, Monterey Jack, an Italian blend, or Colby Jack would all be great choices.

2. Broil the Italian sausage and peppers mix for 1-2 minutes 4″ from the heat source until the cheese is melted.