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Author Archives: reg45

Slow Cooker (Crockpot) Swedish Meatballs

What to do without Costco? I have had a bag of turkey meatballs in the freezer for awhile. The truth is we didn’t really like them! Not to waste I found this slow cooker recipe for Swedish meatballs and I got the chance to use them all up, never to buy again. If you have been following for sometime you will know that I had previously made meatballs for use with pasta. This recipe called for frozen ones. Et voila! Actually they tasted awesome…great for a buffet table.

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Slow Cooker/Crock Pot Swedish Meatballs

Ingredients:
1 can cream of mushroom (or chicken) soup, low sodium*
1 can beef broth, low sodium*
1 packet dry onion soup mix
2 tbsp. A1 steak sauce
1 (2 lb.) bag frozen meatballs
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream (1 cup)
1 (16 oz.) package egg noodles

sliced mushrooms (optional)

Directions:
In a 5-6 quart slow cooker, mix undiluted soup with beef broth, onion soup mix and steak sauce. Stir well.

Then add in frozen meatballs.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high 3-5 hours. (My slow cooker is always faster than the recipe calls for, in this case they were done in about 4 1/2 hours.

After meatball mixture is almost cooked, add in the sliced mushrooms and stir in sour cream.

At this time, put a pot of water on the oven to boil for your egg noodles (make according to package directions.) Drain noodles well when done.

Mix noodles and meatballs together. Or serve meatballs on top of noodles.

Note: Low sodium is my personal preference for this to keep it from being too salty. If I’m serving for a crowd, I will mix together noodles and meatballs and keep my crock pot on the ‘warm’ or ‘buffet’ setting. But when it’s just my family, everyone can serve themselves and grab as many meatballs, noodles and sauce as they like.

http://www.thecountrycook.net

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Peanut Butter Cookies

We are back! Sorry for being a little late, but we were in Mexico City for a short visit last week. We stayed in the Condesa area which had been damaged by the earthquake. The B and B was not damaged, but two buildings nearby collapsed and others sustained major damage. Restaurant and museums were closed until this past Sunday, including the world famous Ballet Folklorico at the magnificent Bellas Artes theater. Yellow tape prevailed on many streets with red tape where buildings were unable to be lived in. Everywhere though, the neighbors were pitching in to help each other. It was wonderful to see so many young people pitching in!!! So now I am back in Progreso. My husband is in Canada and I am free to bake (normally he does it all). So here goes one of my favourites. LOL…I believe this was one of his grandmother’s favourite plates…

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World’s Greatest Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (I only use JIFF crunchy)
  • 1 1/3 cups packed light-brown sugar (i would recommend cutting back)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Lightly coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  • Mix flour and baking soda in a small bowl; set aside.
  • With a spoon, mix butter, peanut butter and brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth.
  • Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth.
  • Add flour mixture and stir until combined.
  • Cover dough and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
  • Roll dough into 1-inch balls and bake for 8-10 minutes. (8 was adequate in our oven)
  • Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes; allow to cool in the refrigerator for another 20-30 minutes.

Honey Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Honey Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

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Prep Time 5 mins   Cook Time 20 mins   Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs. Brussel sprouts
  • 3 tbsp olive oil separated
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or use a Silpat silicone baking mat.

  • Trim off the outer, dry leaves, cut the bottom off and slice sprouts lengthwise.
  • In a large bowl, toss Brussel sprouts with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to coat thoroughly.
  • Transfer the Brussel sprouts to baking sheet and roast until tender and caramelized, about 20 minutes.
  • Place Brussel sprouts back in bowl. Add remaining tablespoon olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey and toss to coat evenly. Taste and season with kosher salt if necessary and serve

Chinese Pork Meatballs/Chinese Fried Rice

You just can’t have one without the other, as the old song used to say! Oh, that was love and marriage….for those old enough to remember. I had purchased ground pork and ground beef to make Low Carb Crustless Taco Pie. Since I did not use all of the pork I had fresh ground pork to use up. Pinterest again! There was also some leftover chicken breast from the rotisserie chicken I had purchased. Clean out the fridge!!! Today you are getting both recipes…..

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Chinese Pork Meatballs

Ingredients

∙ Makes 20 meatballs

  • 1 lb. Ground pork
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp Ginger
  • 2 tsp Soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 tsp Five-spice powder
  • 2 pinches White pepper, ground
  • 3 tbsp Peanut oil

Instructions

In a large bowl, combine the pork, cornstarch, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce, five-spice powder, and pepper, and mix well.

Roll 1 heaping tablespoon of pork mixture into a ball and continue until all the pork mixture is used.

In a wok over medium heat, heat the peanut oil. Using a wok spatula, spread the oil to coat enough of the wok surface to fry about 10 meatballs at a time. Lower the meatballs into the wok in batches.

 Cook without moving for about 2 minutes, or until the bottoms are cooked through. Use the spatula to carefully rotate the meatballs to cook on the other sides.

Keep rotating the meatballs gently until cooked through.

Serving Tip

For a heavenly dipping sauce, combine equal parts low-sodium soy sauce and honey.

Chinese Fried Rice  Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked brown or white rice
  • 1 cup frozen peas and diced carrots
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
  • 3 green onions, diced

Instructions

  1. Add veggies and oil to a large pan or skillet and sauté for 3-4 minutes until cooked through. Scoot all of the veggies to one half of the pan. Add egg and allow to cook for 1 minute, then scramble it with a spoon or spatula and stir in with veggies.
  2. Add rice to pan. Add soy sauce and stir over medium heat for 6-8 minutes until browned. Sprinkle remaining seasonings over the rice and stir another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in green onions.

 

No Bake Key Lime Pie in a Jar

Now that I have sufficient Mason Jars, I wanted to experiment with other uses besides breakfast foods. Our friends, Joanne and Chuck had us for a wonderful dinner and served this No Bake Key Lime Pie in a Jar. WOW! Below is her recipe. Warning – making it in the Mason jam jars shown is quite a large serving. I found those 1 cup jars locally and that would be just enough! Yeah, it is sweet…surprise!!!

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NO BAKE KEY LIME PIE IN A JAR

This recipe is super easy to whip up and makes around 4 small jar servings.  Here is what you need:

  • 1 package of graham crackers (or Emperador lime filled cookies)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 (8oz) package of cream cheese (softened)
  • 2/3 can condensed milk (around 7oz)
  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup key lime juice to taste – this is up to you! Some people like more tart, some people don’t. Just pour until you get it right!
  • whipped topping – the amount will depend on your jars.
  • limes to garnish
  • 4 small glass jars (depending on the size)

She added zest of a lime as well in order to punch up the flavour.

The first thing you want to do is crush up your Emperador or graham crackers and mix them with 2 tbsp of butter.  There are tons of ways to do this but I like putting my graham crackers in a large Ziploc bag and crushing with my hands, then pouring into a bowl to mix with the butter.  Once you have done that set it aside.  

For the pie filling combine your cream cheese, condensed milk, Greek yogurt and key lime juice in a stand mixer and mix on medium speed for about 5 minutes.  If you don’t have a stand mixer, whip vigorously with a whisk until you have a smooth, creamy texture.  If you find your filling isn’t as green as you like add in a drop or two of green gel coloring.  Once mixed, pop it into the fridge for about 10 minutes while you get your jars ready.

Now pour about 1/3 cup of crushed graham crackers into the bottom of your jar and lightly pack them down.  You don’t want it to be too hard, so make sure it is just enough to stay in place.

After that take your filling mixture out of the fridge and pour about 2/3 cup into your jar and sprinkle on some more graham crackers.  Now top it with some whipped topping and a slice of lime and serve!

 

 

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya

There was sausage. There was shrimp. There were Costco Ancient Grains. What can I make? Jambalaya!! What is that you say…

Jambalaya  is a Louisiana origin dish of Spanish and French (especially Provençal cuisine) influence, consisting mainly of meat and vegetables mixed with rice. Traditionally, the meat always includes sausage of some sort, often a smoked sausage such as andouille, along with some other meat or seafood, frequently pork, chicken, crawfish, or shrimp. The vegetables are usually a soffritto-like mixture known as the “holy trinity” in Creole and Cajun cooking, consisting of onion, celery, and green bell pepper, though other vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, chilis, and garlic are also used. After browning and sauteing the meat and vegetables, rice, seasonings, and broth are added and the entire dish is cooked together until the rice is done.

Jambalaya is similar to (but distinct from) other rice-and-meat dishes known in Louisiana cuisine. Gumbo uses similar sausages, meats, seafood, vegetables and seasonings. However, gumbo includes filé powder and okra, which are not common in jambalaya. Gumbo is also usually served over white rice, which is prepared separate from the rest of the dish, unlike jambalaya, where the rice is prepared with the other ingredients. Étouffée is a stew which always includes shellfish such as shrimp or crayfish, but does not have the sausage common to jambalaya and gumbo. Also, like gumbo, étouffée is usually served over separately prepared rice.

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya (for TWO people, half the recipe!)

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces sausage, sliced into 1/4″ slices (Costco Kielbasa works just fine)
  • 2 cups of peeled, deveined shrimp
  • 4 cups of chicken broth or stock
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup of instant rice/ Ancient Grains
  • 2- 14 oz. cans of petite diced tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp of dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp of paprika
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt to taste
  • freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions

In a large stock pot on medium heat, add olive oil, onions, peppers, garlic and the bay leaf. Cook for 5 minutes covered.

Add tomatoes, sausage, chicken broth or stock and remaining seasonings and cook on medium heat for 25 minutes.

Add instant rice (here I used Costco’s Ancient Grains) and shrimp. Stir and cook for 5 minutes or until rice is tender and shrimp turns orange. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

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Green Mango Salad

Our neighbours introduced us to Green Papaya Salad, a favourite Thai salad with crisp vegetables. Alas, no green papayas to be found. Why not Green Mango Salad? The green refers to the unripeness, not the outside colour. Stefano Faita, one of my fav Canadian chefs and CBC personality had published this recipe…great colour! FYI…you could use firm nectarines in place of the mango.

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As always, my changes are shown in red.

Green Mango Salad

INGREDIENTS

2 large to 3 small green or under ripe mangoes, julienned

1 carrot, julienned (substitute 3 red radishes)

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

1 cup each mint leaves and Thai basil

1 tbsp. sweet spicy chili sauce

1/4 cup lime juice

2 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. fish sauce, or to taste

3 tbsp. vegetable oil

Mint or Thai Basil, for garnish (optional)

PREPARATION

Add green mangoes, carrot or radishes, red onion, red pepper, mint, Thai basil and chili sauce to bowl. Toss to combine.

Combine lime juice, sugar, and fish sauce and vegetable oil in small bowl. Stir to combine. Toss with salad. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

What to do when you buy a Costco or grocery store rotisserie chicken and have leftovers? SOUP.

DSC_0003-2  This will easily feed 4 to 6 people as a main course. The ingredients list seems long, but it can be simplified by making the changes noted in red.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Rotisserie chicken (half chicken is enough)
  • 1 15-ounce can Black beans (drained)
  • 2 Carrots
  • 2 Celery stalks
  • 3 tbsp Cilantro, fresh
  • 2 cups Corn, frozen (1 small can or corn or more)
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • 1 Lime, wedges
  • 1 cups Peas, frozen (1 small can of peas)
  • 1 Poblano peppers (Optional)
  • 1 Red onion
  • 1 Reserved red onion
  • 28-ounce can Tomatoes
  • 4 cups Chicken broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp Taco seasoning (see elsewhere o the blog for homemade taco seasoning)
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil, extra-virgin
  • Crispy tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery, and sauté until the vegetables start to become tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the Poblano peppers and cook until the vegetables are very tender, 6 to 7 minutes more. Add the jalapeño and garlic, and continue to cook until fragrant, 1 minute more.
  2. Season the vegetables with the taco seasoning, then stir in the tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until a good flavor develops, 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chicken, black beans, corn and peas. Return the soup to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with tortilla strips and just maybe, a touch of sour cream.

Tequila Lime Shrimp

One of our favourite restaurants here used to serve tableside this wonderful tequila lime shrimp. Hope you will also enjoy this great recipe I found. Where else? Pinterest...

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Tequila Lime Shrimp

Serves 2-3 | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 5 Minutes

Ingredients:

12 oz. peeled and deveined shrimp* (see note below)_
2 pinches of 
salt
3 dashes 
ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon 
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced

2 or 3 tablespoons tequila
1 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves

Method:

*You can use frozen shrimp for this recipe. Do NOT thaw it. Add directly to the sauteed garlic and stir frequently. Overcooked frozen shrimp turn rubbery. Just two or three minutes should be all it takes to warm the shrimp through. Then proceed with the tequila, etc.

Season the shrimp with salt, pepper and paprika.

Heat up a skillet (cast-iron skillet preferred) and add the olive oil. Saute the garlic for a little bit before adding the shrimp. Continue to cook the shrimp until they turn slightly charred and burned. Drizzle in the tequila, toss the skillet a few times. Add the lime juice, stir to combine well.
Turn off the heat and add the cilantro. Serve the tequila lime shrimp with Mexican rice or wrap with warm tortilla. Avoiding the carbs, I just served them with some steamed broccoli.

Overnight Refrigerator Oatmeal

Do you ever get tired of the same old breakfast? How many days a week can you eat granola, yogurt, bacon and eggs, bagels and cream cheese, toast and peanut butter? I desperately needed a change. PINTEREST…help!!! Overnight refrigerator oatmeal I had never heard of until this week. With Mason jars at hand (found here in Merida) I set out to try something different. Below are three variations… use your imagination to come up with others…

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Overnight Refrigerator Oatmeal

THE BASIC PROCEDURE

Step 1. Assemble these ingredients & supplies:

  • old fashioned rolled oats (not instant, quick, or steel-cut)
  • Greek yogurt (regular yogurt is thinner; if you use it, you’ll need to reduce the amount of milk
  • milk (I used coconut, but any kind will work)
  • chia seeds;
  • half pint (1 cup) mason jars,

Step 2. Add oats, milk, yogurt, and chia seeds to jar, along with desired sweeteners or flavors (see options below).

Step 3. Put a lid on the jar and shake to combine. I use white plastic jar lids sized to fit canning jars–they last longer than the metal tops and rims that come with the jars, and they are easier to screw on.

Step 4. Add fruit and stir gently until combined.

Step 5. Place in fridge overnight and up to 2 days; maybe longer depending on the type and ripeness of the fruit. The non-banana varieties have been good after 4 days for me.

VARIATIONS

Blueberry Maple Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup (more or less to taste)
  • 1/4 cup blueberries (or enough to fill jar)

Directions

In a half pint (1 cup) jar, add oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, and maple syrup. Put lid on jar and shake until well combined. Remove lid, add blueberries and stir until mixed throughout. Return lid to jar and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days. Eat chilled.

Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal

 Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (may substitute PB2 powdered peanut butter)
  • 1 teaspoon honey, optional (or substitute any preferred sweetener)
  • 1/4 cup diced ripe banana, or enough to fill jar (approx. half of a small banana)

Directions

In a half pint (1 cup) jar, add oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, peanut butter (or PB2), and honey. Put lid on jar and shake until well combined. Remove lid, add bananas and stir until mixed throughout. Return lid to jar and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days. Eat chilled.

Raspberry Vanilla Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried chia seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon raspberry jam, preserves, or spread
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup raspberries (cut each berry in half), or enough to fill jar

Directions

In a half pint (1 cup) jar, add oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, vanilla, and raspberry jam. Put lid on jar and shake until well combined. Remove lid, add raspberries and stir until mixed throughout. Return lid to jar and refrigerate overnight or as long as 2-3 days. Eat chilled. 

FYI – I found a set of three  1 cup Mason Jars here for 149 pesos…

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