Category Archives: Brunch

Ham and Bean Soup

For those of you serving ham for Christmas here is an easy recipe for leftovers…LOL

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Easy Ham and Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 carrots, small dice
  • 1 small onion, small dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 (14.5 ounce) cans white beans (in Mexico I used a large can of charros)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups diced smoked ham
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley

Instructions

Add olive oil to 5-quart soup pot and set over medium high heat.

When the oil is hot add in the carrots and onions. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions just start to soften and turn translucent.

Add in the garlic and thyme leaves and stir to combine.

To the pot add all the beans with the juice from their cans, chicken stock, diced ham and bay leaves. Stir to combine.

Simmer the soup for 10-15 minutes or until it’s slightly thickened.

Taste and season with desired amount of kosher salt and black pepper.

Stir in parsley and serve hot. I put a dollop of sour cream on top when we had it…

Shrimp and Sausage Skillet

Quick and easy dinner using only a skillet, cutting board and a knife! And it looks spectacular too!

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Shrimp & Sausage Skillet

  • 1/4 cup avocado oil divided
  • 1-pound shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 tsp Cajun Seasoning or Old Bay seasoning
  • 12 ounces sausage cut into 1/2-inch slices (I used Argentinian chorizo)
  • 1 jalapeno minced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 lb green beans cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium red pepper cut into 2-inch slices
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat 2 tbsp of the avocado oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once shimmering, add the shrimp in a single layer. Cook about 2 minutes, and then flip the shrimp over and sprinkle with the seasoning. Cook another minute or two, until no longer pink, then transfer to a plate.
  1. Add the remaining oil to the pan. Once shimmering, add the sausage and sauté until starting to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the jalapeño and garlic and sauté until fragrant, 30 seconds.
  2. Add the vegetables and continue to sauté until just tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp back to the pan and warm through before serving.

Biscotti with Ginger, Orange and Cashews

Calling all coffee lovers! Found this recipe for a great biscotti cookie for dipping in that morning or evening coffee. Or, just nibbling away whenever…NOT just for Christmas!!

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Biscotti with Ginger, Cranberries, Orange, and Cashews

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted cashews, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • zest from one orange
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 large eggs or 4 medium
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
  2. Mix together flours, sugar, baking powder, cashews, ginger, and cranberries.
  3. In separate bowl, mix together eggs, orange zest, and vanilla.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  5. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Form the dough into two flat logs on the parchment paper. It spreads a little, but not much, so make these slightly smaller than the width that you would like your biscotti to be.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let the biscotti cool completely before slicing into ~1/4-inch-thick slices.
  8. Lay the slices flat on a baking sheet (you can use the same one, with the parchment), and bake for 7-10 minutes, flip each one over, and then continue to bake for an additional 7-10 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 24 pieces.

Bacon Mushroom Spinach Frittata

When you wake up an hour or so before your spouse you might as well make a nice breakfast, right? If you have too many eggs and spinach you might as well put them to use. “Alexa, what can I make?” Oops, I forgot I don’t use Alexa. “Pinterest, what can I make?”

Firstly if you did not already know it, a frittata is essentially an omelette which you prepare in an ovenproof skillet and finish in the oven. This can be used for breakfast, lunch or dinner…so give it a try!

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I N G RE D I E N T S:

  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Dash of hot sauce (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms or whatever you have on hand, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups baby spinach fresh or a small package of frozen unthawed
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • small red pepper chopped for colour

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, basil, oregano, thyme and hot sauce; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes, reserving 1 tablespoon excess fat. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. (OR cheat and use precooked bacon)
  4. Add garlic and mushrooms to the skillet (adding a little oil if using precooked bacon), and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned, about 3-4 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Stir in spinach and tomato until the spinach begins to wilt, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in egg mixture and bacon, reserving 2 tablespoons, until well combined. Cook, undisturbed, until edges are set, about 2 minutes. Top with remaining bacon.
  6. Place into oven and bake until top is set and golden brown, about 14-15 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately.

 

Roasted Summer Squash with Sweet Peppers and Onions

 You are probably wondering why I am using summer squash now that it is Fall. Well, the truth is that northern type squash, which I love, are not normally available in Yucatan. What is “normal” are patty pan squash which are quite small but are available most of the year here. Recently I found a package of these so-called summer squash at a local grocery chain. So, here goes…

Roasted Summer Squash with Sweet Peppers and Onion

This recipe can be easily doubled, using 2 baking sheets and rotating the pans to allow for even cooking. And, yes, we eat the rinds, since there are lots of nutrients..

  • 1 large yellow squash  or smaller summer squash [about 2 cups] unpeeled
  • 1 large zucchini squash [about 2 cups] unpeeled
  • 1 medium purple onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced sweet red pepper
  • 1/2 cup sliced sweet orange pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • 3/4-1 tsp garlic salt
  • black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Spray a baking sheet liberally with cooking spray.
  2. Cut the yellow squash and zucchini into 1/2-inch-thick pieces.
  3. Thinly slice the onion and cut the peppers into strips.
  4. Place all of the veggies into a medium size mixing bowl.
  5. Drizzle the veggies add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  6. Sprinkle with the seasonings, add 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, 3/4-1 teaspoon of garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Mix well.
  7. Spread the vegetables in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  8. Place the pan into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Stir. In the first 20 minutes, the vegetables will release a lot of moisture.
  9. Bake for another 15 minutes, then stir again.
  10. Increase the oven temperature to 475°F and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until golden.

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Baked Feta Cheese with Olives and Lemon

If you should get invited to a Spanish ‘tapas’ party, this makes a perfect dish to bring. Okay, in English we might say appetizer, in French hors d’oeuvres ??? No matter it was another great find on Pinterest. It was also quick to prepare.

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Baked Feta Cheese with Olives and Lemons

Ingredients

  • one block of sheep’s milk feta (sold in the brine) about 10-14 ounces
  • 1/3 cup good extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 large lemon
  • 1 – 2 cups mixed olives* (recipe calls for whole and pitted) see below
  • a few sundried tomatoes chopped
  • 3 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • a few coarse grindings of black pepper

Instructions

  1. Set oven to 350F
  2. Put the feta in a gratin dish or other small ovenproof dish that you will also serve out of.
  3. Pour the olive oil into the dish, followed by the lemon juice. Arrange the olives* (I would suggest using ONLY sliced olives as they whole ones fall off when you lay them on the cheese when serving) around the cheese, with the rosemary.  I quarter the squeezed lemon half and throw that in as well. Sprinkle the red and black pepper over all. I also added some slices of sundried tomatoes.
  4. Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbling. I loosely laid a sheet of foil over mine. You can finish under the broiler if you like for a little charring effect.
  5. Serve hot with toasted bread

Shrimp Stuffed Avocados

This used to be one of our favorite salads at a local restaurant. This recipe beats theirs! Yeah, there are two halves there!

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Shrimp stuffed avocado                        Author: Layla Pujol

Yield: 8-10 stuffed avocado halves

Ingredients

  • 4-5 firm ripe avocados
  • 1 lb medium sized cooked shrimp (OR 2 cans of tiny Shrimp uncut)
  • ½ medium red onion, diced finely
  • 2 radishes, diced finely
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced finely
  • 2 celery stalks, diced finely
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
  • 5 tbs. mayonnaise
  • Lime juice from 1 lime
  • Salt/pepper to taste (I like cracked peppercorns)
  • Cilantro chopped for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chop the cooked shrimp in half, if desired keep a few whole to garnish OR use whole if small)
  2. Combine diced onions, radishes, bell pepper, celery, eggs, shrimp, ½ of the lime juice and aioli or mayonnaise in a bowl, mix well. Can be kept refrigerated until ready to use.
  3. Taste and salt/pepper if necessary.
  4. Cut avocados in half, remove seed and peel carefully.
  5. Drizzle remaining lime juice over avocados, this help keep them from darkening too quickly.
  6. Use a spoon to stuff avocados with shrimp salad filling.
  7. Add any garnishes and serve immediately.

 

Blue Cheese, Bacon and Green Onion Cheese Ball

The holidays are always full of social events. What would it be without a cheese ball rolled in crunchy walnuts? Usually I make mine with Imperial Cheddar from Canada, some softened blue cheese and a package of Philly. This year, something a little different… did I mention it is Keto friendly, if you dip bacon rinds?

Blue Cheese, Bacon, And Scallion Cheeseball

Serves 10

Ingredients

  • 4 pieces bacon, chopped and fried and drained to make bacon bits
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 scallions (green onions), minced
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped and divided
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free blue cheese crumbles (or more, depending on taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped unsalted walnuts, raw or lightly toasted

Instructions

1 In a medium bowl, combine the bacon bits, cream cheese, scallions, 1 tablespoon parsley, blue cheese crumbles, pepper, and salt. Stir together to mix.

2 Using hands or a spatula, form the mixture into a ball. Wrap with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

3 Place the walnuts and reserved tablespoon of parsley in a small bowl. Stir to combine.

4 Unwrap the cheeseball and roll it in the walnut mixture to coat all sides. Press the walnut coating gently to help it stay on if necessary.

5 Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

For 1/10th Of The Cheeseball

Calories: 197

Fat (g): 12.9

Carbs (g): 2.2

Fiber (g): 1.3

Protein (g): 7

Net Carbs (g) .9

simply so healthy http://simplysohealthy.com/

 

Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja (Cuban Shredded Beef)

Ropa vieja (Spanish for “old clothes”) is one of the national dishes of Cuba, but is also popular in other areas of the Caribbean such as Puerto Rico and Panama. It consists of shredded or pulled stewed beef with vegetables. This was a dish we had in Havana in 2014. The beauty is that it is done in a slow cooker.

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You can omit the olives, but trust me on this one. Serve with your favorite rice or use it with fresh tortillas.

Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja (Cuban Beef)

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. beef flank steak (or substitute Mexican arrachera)
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
  • 1 (14-oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1.5 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 small white onion diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced ( I used red for contrast)
  • 1 cup Spanish olives – green
  • 3 whole garlic cloves, peeled

Cooked yellow rice for serving*

Slow Cooker Size:4-quart or larger

Instructions

  1. Add the beef broth, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, turmeric and apple cider vinegar to the slow cooker. Stir.
  2. Add the flank steak and flip it around in the sauce so it gets coated. Add the bell pepper, onion, olives and garlic cloves, mix those items together to combine on top of the meat.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 9 hours on LOW without opening the lid during the cooking time. Shred the meat with 2 forks right in the slow cooker.

If you have been following me you know that our slow cooker cooks faster for some unknown reason. When I looked up cooking on HIGH (because I was short of time) it suggested 5 hours as the equivalent. Guess what? It was done in a little over 2.5 hours using an arrachera of 1.3 kilos.

LESSON—-dont let it cook while you are away at work unless you know your cooker very well. Keep checking  for doneness.

 

Easy Cranberry Chutney

No photo for this one as it is all blended together in a jar and then refrigerated. Great for using during the upcoming holidays…

Easy Cranberry Chutney

From inthekitchenwithkath.com

(Adapted from a recipe in Yumana’s Table by Yumana Devi)

Makes about 3 cups, and doubles easily if you’re serving a crowd.

1 (12-ounce) bag of cranberries

2 large apples

2 large oranges or limes

1 cup pure maple syrup (I used ½ cup)

  1. Zest the oranges.
  2. Wash and drain the cranberries and put them in a pot. (My 3 quart pot is the perfect size.)
  3. Peel, core, and chop the apples, and add them to the pot.
  4. Juice the oranges. Add the juice and the orange zest to the pot.
  5. Add the maple syrup.
  6. Bring the chutney to a boil over medium-high heat.
  7. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, uncovered, for about 30 – 45 minutes, until the cranberries have popped, the apples have cooked down, and the chutney has thickened a bit. Stir it occasionally while it’s cooking.
  1. Cool and transfer to a bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve OR put it in an airtight jar, ready for use. Would be great over cream cheese as an appetizer or with roast beef…not just turkey!