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.

Beef and Broccoli

I have always enjoyed this dish in an oriental restaurant, and having found myself with too much broccoli, I searched for how to easily use it up. The ingredients list seems long, but actually it does not take much time as there is no marinating the sliced beef! It gets the flavour from the sauce ingredients. You will obviously notice that there is NO rice. We are trying to cut back on rice these days…

Better-Than-Takeout Beef with Broccoli

  • 1 to 1.25 pounds flank steak, sliced into thin strips, no more than 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or nicely minced
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons ginger, or to taste (fresh or dried is okay, use less dried than you would fresh)
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed (light may be substituted)
  • 4 to 6 cups broccoli florets (dependent on preference for broccoli)
  • 2 to 3 green onions, sliced into 1/4-inch-long segments
  • red pepper flakes, optional and to taste
  • sesame seeds, optional for garnishing

To a large zip top bag, add the steak, cornstarch, seal, and toss to coat. Set aside while preparing the sauce.

1 To a medium saucepan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and heat over medium-high for about 1 minute, or just until garlic is fragrant, taking care not to scorch it.

2 Add the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and allow it to boil for about 2 to 3 minutes. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened and reduced. While it simmers, sear the steak.

3 To a large skillet, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, and the steak. Cook over medium-high or high heat until steak is cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes, flipping the pieces intermittently to ensure even cooking.

4 Add the broccoli.

5 Evenly drizzle in the soy sauce mixture, noting it will bubble up dramatically. Toss the beef and broccoli to coat evenly with the sauce. Simmer for about 3 to 5 minutes at medium-high, or until the broccoli is as crisp tender as desired.

6 Optional — If your sauce hasn’t thickened up as much as you’d like and your broccoli is done or nearly done, and you want a sauce that clings better and isn’t as thin, simply dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1 tablespoon water (called a slurry), add it to the skillet, stir for about 1 minute, or until your sauce has thickened to your desired level. Since I used 6 cups broccoli, the natural water and juices that escaped from it thinned out my sauce, so I needed to use a slurry.

8 Turn off the heat, add the green onions, and stir to incorporate.

Optionally, evenly sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole

With a package of frozen meatballs in the freezer, a jar of marinara sauce, shredded mozzarella and rotini pasta in the pantry, this recipe was so easy to throw together. Best part You dont need to precook the pasta!!!

Just make sure those meatballs are thawed before you start the recipe…

Hidden meatballs…

Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole

Total Time 55 minutes         Servings 6 – 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) package uncooked rotini pasta
  • 1 (24 or 25 ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 (14 ounce) package fully-cooked miniature (cocktail-size) meatballs (if using frozen meatballs, make sure that they are completely thawed before using)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • Optional: Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped herbs (such as basil, oregano, and parsley for garnish)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. In a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, stir together uncooked pasta, marinara sauce, water, and meatballs. Season with salt to taste; stir. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes.

3. Uncover; stir. At this point you should check the pasta to make sure that it is al dente (firm but just about finished cooking). If it’s still too hard, cover the dish and return to the oven until pasta is al dente. Then move on to the next step.

4. Sprinkle mozzarella over the top and bake uncovered for 5-10 more minutes (or until cheese is melted and pasta is tender).

Leftover Steak Stroganoff

As noted last week, here is the recipe for using up leftover steak of any kind. It was extremely great with the Coffee Rubbed Cowboy steak, but you could use any other steak.

Leftover Steak Stroganoff

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1 shallot (minced)
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic (minced)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp ground sage
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp each, salt & pepper (more to taste, if necessary)
  • 1 cup Baby Portabella Mushrooms (stemmed, sliced)
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard (coarse ground)
  • 1 cup leftover prime rib roast (sliced into 2-inch strips)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 8 oz egg noodles (rinsed and drained)
  • 2 Tbsp parsley (chopped, optional garnish)

1 Start with a large, deep frying pan or Dutch oven. Heat the olive oil to medium high heat, then add minced shallot and garlic and cook for 1 minute (just enough to start sweating the shallot). Add butter and melt with the shallot and garlic.

2 Add the all-purpose flour, combine with shallot and garlic until all of the flour is absorbed. Add seasoning (tarragon, ground sage, thyme, salt & pepper) and mushrooms. Stir to combine, then add the beef broth, Worcestershire and Dijon.

3 Stir all of the gravy ingredients, reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer (reducing heat as necessary to maintain a low simmer) for about 10 minutes. Gravy should thicken while simmering.

4 Once gravy has simmered and reduced, slightly thickening, add the sliced leftover prime rib roast meat and cook an additional 2-3 minutes to heat the meat through completely. Remove from heat and add sour cream. Serve immediately over cooked pasta, rice, or potatoes. Top with chopped parsley for garnish, if desired.

Coffee Rubbed Cowboy Steak

What is a cowboy steak you ask? I am psychic and a former Scout leader, thus I am prepared. LOL.

cowboy steak is a thick (2 ½”-3”) bone-in ribeye cut between the ribs and feeds 1-2 easily. … Many companies cut all the meat away from the rib bone (Frenching), but at The Butcher’s Market, we leave that rib meat attached for additional flavor.

(Google to the rescue, again). As the definition states, one of these should easily feed two guys.) We purchased this one a week or so ago and let it age in our refrigerator in the sealed bag.

With COVID and self isolation, we do not always have traditional meals on certain days of the week. It was a weeknight, not Sunday. No overnight marinating for this recipe and it came out as per the directions!!! Tender, juicy and, no, it did not taste like coffee after it was taken out of the oven. Itis a guaranteed winner. Bonus – there was enough left for a leftover meal of Cowboy Steak Stroganoff, tonight. More on that next week, my friends.

Coffee Rubbed Cowboy Steak

1 cowboy steak, 2-2 1/2 pounds, roughly 2.5 inches thick

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons ground coffee
  • 1 sprig rosemary, leaves removed from sprig. minced
  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

FOR THE ROSEMARY BUTTER

Soften the butter in a microwave safe bowl until malleable, 10-15 seconds. Stir in fresh rosemary until fully mixed. Spoon the butter onto tin foil doing your best to reshape it to resemble a round stick of butter. Place in refrigerator for about 10 minutes and remove 5 minutes before adding to the steak.

1 Preheat the oven to 425 °F. Remove steak from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking, this is to bring the steak to room temperature and ensure your cooking times are more accurate. Season both sides generously with salt and pepper. Rub with ground coffee on all sides, but mainly the top and bottom.

1 Add oil to an oven safe cast iron skillet and turn up to medium high heat, allow the skillet to become hot first. Place the cowboy steak face down and sear undisturbed for 2 minutes. Flip and sear for an additional 2 minutes. This will give your steak a nice seared edge.

2 Transfer your skillet directly to the oven. [WARNING] skillet may be hot, handle with oven mitts.

For medium rare, bake for 20-25 minutes. For medium, 25-30 minutes. Well done, 30-35 minutes. Just to note, a digital thermometer is critical to ensure accurate temps. Take the steak out of the oven roughly 5° cooler than your desired final temp. Steak will continue to cook after it’s taken off the heat. I took mine out at 120°F. And voila!

Come back next week for the Leftover Cowboy Steak Stroganoff…

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 Taco Zucchini Boats

These really do not have to be labelled as KETO, they are just plain great for everyone, especially kids. I served them with a dollop of sour cream. You could also add guacamole as a garnish. My zucchini were medium size, hence I ended up with 4 halves. If you are using larger zucchini, you could get along with ONE half and a salad alongside.

*In lieu of the cumin, chili powder and salt, I used my homemade taco seasoning.

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Keto Taco Zucchini Boats

Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 4 Zucchini depending on how many people…
  • 1-pound Ground beef
  • ½ cup Bell Peppers mixed Red & Yellow, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ cup Water
  • 8 ounces Cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1/2 cup Salsa

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400°F

Prepare your zucchini by trimming off the stem end. To do this I just gently round the end of the zucchini with a knife, removing the stem. Then cut each zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a measuring spoon (teaspoon)or melon ball scoop, to hollow out the zucchini forming a boat.

Place the zucchini boats in a greased baking dish and sprinkle a small amount of salt over them.

In a skillet over medium high heat brown the ground beef.

Add bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, salt, and ¼ cup of water to the ground beef. Continue to cook until vegetables are softened and water has been absorbed.

Once the beef mixture is ready fill each zucchini boat with the beef and vegetable mixture.

Top the zucchini boats with cheddar cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until zucchini has softened and cheese is melted.

Pour salsa over boats before serving. Optional sour cream and guacamole?

Nutrition

Serving: 1boat | Calories: 242 kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 482mg | Potassium: 301mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 5400IU | Vitamin C: 38.8mg | Calcium: 2180mg | Iron: 1.4mg

Black and Blue Steak Salad

Throw another steak on the BBQ and make this salad tomorrow! This is what you can do when you have a leftover steak.  Black refers to the blackened steak and blue refers to the blue cheese dressing which accompanied the finished salad. (Actually we love putting blue cheese on our steaks along with fresh sage.) So here goes…

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Black and Blue Steak Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 beef Top Sirloin Steak Boneless cut 3/4-inch-thick (about 1 pound)
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 cups spring mix greens
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles*
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 avocado thinly sliced
  • 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dressing of choice OR blue cheese dressing in lieu of the crumbles*
  1. Place beef in plastic bag with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Turn steak to coat evenly. Marinate for at least 1 hour in refrigerator.
  2. Remove beef from marinade. Place beef on grill, on medium heat. Grill, covered, for 7 to 11 minutes. for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally.
  3. Remove from grill and slice steaks across the grain.
  4. Add cherry tomatoes to grill for 2-3 minutes or until burst.
  5. Fill platter or large salad bowl with mixed greens. Top with burst tomatoes, avocado slices, sliced red onion, and blue cheese crumbles. Top with steak and serve with dressing of your choice.

Beef Liver with Bacon and Caramelized Onions

First off, I am not including a picture of the finished dish this time? Why? Because it is liver and onions and just the thought of it puts many people off…LOL. BUT… if you love liver and onions you will really like this recipe from Pinterest.

I usually do mine without flour as I am a purist with liver. This recipe was intriguing because it soaked the liver in milk before cooking, supposedly to reduce the strong flavor some people dislike. Let me tell you that this was awesome and my new goto recipe for liver and onions. Here goes…

Beef Liver with Bacon and Caramelized Onions

First, cut the liver into strips and soak them in milk to remove any bitterness.

If you’re following a low-carb diet, you may choose to eliminate the onions for an even lower carb count,but hey… why would you?

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1-pound beef liver cut into strips
  • 3 large onions sliced
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 5 tablespoons butter divided
  • Salt to taste
  1. Add milk to a shallow bowl. Soak liver in the milk for about 20 minutes to remove any bitterness.
  2. Meanwhile, cook your bacon in a large skillet. Drain on paper towels and cut into 1/2″ chunks. Set aside.
  3. Reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons of bacon grease and add 2 tablespoons of the butter to the bacon grease in the same skillet.

Add onions and cook over a medium heat stirring occasionally until caramelized, about 25 minutes. Remove onions to a dish, sprinkle with salt and set aside.

  1. Pat liver dry and discard the milk.

Return skillet to high heat and add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan. When the butter foam subsides, the butter is hot enough.

 Arrange the liver in the pan being certain not to crowd the pan. I worked in two batches. Sauté for 3 minutes regulating the heat so that the butter remains hot, but does not burn. Turn liver over and sauté about 2 minutes more. The inside meat should still be pink.

  1. Serve liver topped with onion and bacon.

Zucchini Lasagna

Quite a while back I had posted a KETO lasagna recipe using zucchini zoodles. Now that we are Keto Conscious I have given myself a little more leeway with what we eat. But…this recipe is really still Keto but assembled in a little different manner, for those who do not own a spiralizer! It was great with a few different ingredients.

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Oven Ready in 9 x 13 pan

Zucchini Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 3 large zucchinis
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1-pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup onion finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic minced
  • 24-ounce jar marinara or Bolognese sauce
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooking spray
  • fresh basil garnish
  1. Trim both ends off the zucchini.
  2. Use a mandolin to cut the zucchini into 1/8-inch slices. Sprinkle salt over the zucchini slices, then lay them out on a layer of paper towels to drain. Let sit for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Pat the tops of the zucchini slices with paper towels until dry.
  4. While the zucchini is resting, prepare the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  5. Add the ground beef and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Cook for 5-6 minutes, breaking the meat up with a spatula, until beef is browned and cooked through.
  7. Add the onion and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  8. Add the marinara sauce and bring to a simmer; cook for 5 minutes.
  9. Place the ricotta cheese, chopped spinach, Italian seasoning, egg, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix until well combined.
  10. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 2- or 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
  11. Place 1/4 of the sauce in the bottom of the dish. Add 1/3 of the zucchini slices on top. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the zucchini then top with 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers, ending with the mozzarella cheese.
  12. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, then let stand for 5-7 minutes. Cut into slices, then serve.

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