If you are fortunate to live somewhere where spaghetti squash is available, you probably know that it is a very versatile squash and a great replacement for pasta! Cut it in half horizontally, remove the seeds, spray some olive oil over it and bake cut side down in a pyrex dish in the oven for about 40 minutes at 400 degrees. When it is done, remove it from the oven and turn cut side up. Let it cool a bit and then take a dinner fork and begin to shred it into strands.
While the shreds are resting, prepare the “pot pie” ingredients.
Spaghetti Squash Chicken Pot Pie
5 cups cooked spaghetti squash, *see note below
3/4 cup diced onion
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups shredded chicken (or turkey)
2 cups frozen peas and carrots(I used a can of Niblets)
10 ounces button mushrooms, sliced OPTIONAL
4 tablespoons of butter
4 tablespoons of flour
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 Panko breadcrumbs
1 Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2 Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat.
3 Add the onions, stirring into the butter and cook until the onions have completely softened, about 10 minutes.
4 Stir in the garlic and cook one minute longer.
5 Add the Niblets, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and rosemary then cook about 5 minutes.
6 Add the flour and stir to combine. Cook for a minute while stirring, then slowly pour in the milk.
7 Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the bottom of the skillet and stir the milk into the vegetables. Let the filling come up to a simmer and then let thicken for 3-4 minutes.
8 Stir in the chicken and 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese, then remove the skillet form the heat. Taste for seasonings and adjust if needed.
9 Pour the filling into a large bowl along with the cooked spaghetti squash. Stir gently to combine the filling, then pour into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish that’s been buttered or sprayed with cooking spray.
10 Top the casserole with the remaining parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs then bake for 30 minutes.
11 To brown the topping even more, place the casserole under the broiler for 3-4 minutes.
Traditionally, we always have duck for Christmas Eve due to the reality that most people will have turkey for Christmas Day! This is a new recipe I found in place of the Duck L’orange that I have roasted in the past. The combination of balsamic vinegar, honey and lemon was incredible. It would be great for New Year’s Eve or Day!
Roast Christmas Duck
6 lb whole duck
5 garlic cloves chopped
1 lemon small or medium, chopped
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 lemon, freshly squeezed juice
1/4 cup honey
A. If you purchased frozen duck, make sure to defrost the frozen duck in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Once the duck is completely defrosted (in the refrigerator), take the duck out of the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking to bring it more or less to room temperature.
B. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. You will be roasting the duck for a total of 3 hours (3 hours will be divided into 4-time chunks where you will be flipping the duck, brushing it with glaze, etc. – see the instructions below).
1. Remove the giblets from inside the duck. Rinse the duck, inside and outside, with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.
2. Set the duck on the working surface. Score the duck’s skin on the breast in a diamond pattern, making sure you only cut the skin, without reaching the meat. Poke the other fatty parts of the duck with the tip of the knife all over, to ensure fat release, especially in very fatty parts. You don’t need to poke the duck legs as the skin is pretty thin there (except for where the duck legs connect to the duck body). Season the duck very generously with salt both inside the cavity of the duck and outside on the skin, legs, all over. Place the duck breast side up.
3. Put 5 chopped garlic cloves and lemon slices inside the duck cavity (these are just for flavor, not for eating – you will discard them after cooking). The duck will have flapping skin on both ends – fold that skin inwards, to hold the garlic and lemon inside. Tie up the duck legs with butcher’s twine.
4. Place the bird breast side up on a large roasting pan with a rack (roasting pan should have a roasting rack to lift the duck from the bottom of the pan and allow the fat to drip below the duck). Roast the duck, breast side up, for 1 hour at 350 F.
5. After 1 hour of roasting, flip the duck on its breast and roast it breast side down (roast the other side) for 40 minutes, at 350 F.
6. Remove the roasting pan with the duck from the oven (you now have roasted the duck for 1 hour + 40 minutes), carefully remove the duck to a platter (making sure the lemons and garlic from the cavity do not fall out – keep the skin on both ends of the duck folded), and carefully pour off all the duck fat juices from the roasting pan into a large heat-proof bowl or container.
7. Flip the duck breast side up again on a rack in a roasting pan (the pan will have no fat juices now). In a small bowl, combine ½ cup of balsamic vinegar with the freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon. Brush all of the duck with the balsamic mixture (especially the scored duck breast) and cook the duck breast side up for another 40 minutes at 350 F, brushing every 10 minutes with the mixture.
8. Now, in a separate small bowl, combine ¼ cup honey and 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar lemon mixture that you will have left over from the previous step. Brush the breast side of the duck with this honey-balsamic mixture, and roast for another 40 minutes, brushing the duck breast side every 10 minutes with honey balsamic mixture. You can even carefully broil the duck for the last 10-15 minutes if you like (do it carefully, checking the duck regularly to make sure it doesn’t char too much). Final temperature should be 180 F or 82 Celsius!!!
9. After the duck is cooked, remove it from the oven, let duck stand for 15 minutes. Then, carefully remove and discard the lemon from the cavity (being careful not to get burned).
Carve the duck and serve!
TOTAL COOKING TIME: The duck should be roasted for a total of 3 hours at 350 F. These 3 hours of roasting are divided into 4 distinctive time chunks (1 hour breast side up + 40 minutes breast side down + 40 minutes breast side up brushed with balsamic-lemon mixture + 40 minutes breast side up brushed with honey-balsamic mixture).Calories: 2862kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 79g | Fat: 267g | Saturated Fat: 89g | Cholesterol: 517mg | Sodium: 438mg | Potassium: 1558mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 1145IU | Vitamin C: 48.8mg | Calcium: 104mg | Iron
Affirming that all of our followers in USA had a thankful Thanksgiving! For us Canadians, we celebrated Thanksgiving way back in October. Anyways, this is a great recipe using “zoodles” in a slightly more exotic way. Think you Asian food fans might enjoy it. I have included the nutrition info at the end of the recipe.
Zucchini Noodle Pad Thai
2 medium zucchini
2 Tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil (divided)
1 pound (454 g) chicken breast, cut into small chunks
2-3 large cloves garlic minced or crushed
1 small red bell pepper seeded and sliced thin(I used yellow as I had no red)
3-4 green onions sliced in 1-inch pieces
1 large egg
2 cups (480 ml) bean sprouts
1/3 cup (50 g) roasted peanuts
chopped cilantro for garnish
lime wedges optional
2 tablespoons (30 ml) rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) fish sauce (or more to taste)
3 tablespoons (45 ml) ketchup
1 teaspoon (5 ml) brown sugar(I used Sukrin Gold substitute)
½ teaspoon (3 ml) cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon (5 ml) chili garlic sauce or more to taste
1. Cut zucchini into spirals or noodle strands using the vegetable spiralizer or julienne peeler. Set aside noodles.
2. Make the Sauce: in a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients (rice vinegar, fish sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, and chili garlic sauce), set aside. If you want to use sriracha hot sauce, add as much as you like or you can add it afterwards.
3. Heat a large pan on medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon of olive oil (reserve the other half for later). Then add zucchini noodles and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until the zucchini noodles are tender. Don’t overcook the noodles. The zucchini noodles should be slightly crunchy with a tender bite.
4. Let the noodles rest for about 3 minutes to allow all the moisture to release. Remove the noodles from the pan and drain the excess water.
5. Carefully wipe the same pan remove the excess water, and then re-heat the pan on medium-high heat. Add the remaining olive oil and garlic. Cook the garlic until soft and translucent, about 1 minute. Add the chicken and cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until cooked through.
Add the bell peppers and green onions. Cook for about 1-2 minutes or until tender. Add the egg and stir in with the vegetables until the egg is cooked.
6. Add the zucchini noodles back into the same pan, and then add the sauce. Cook for about 1 more minute or until the zucchini noodles are heated through. Then stir in the bean sprouts.
7. Serve with roasted peanuts and cilantro. If you want to add lime wedges, squeeze some fresh lime juice on the noodles right before serving.
Thanksgiving has passed for us Canadians. American Thanksgiving is coming up very soon. I have been viewing an interview with the president of Butterball who was stating that this year in particular, turkeys would be much larger birds as a result of a shortage of workers to process turkeys during COVID, which resulted in turkeys growing much larger before they were sent to the processors. Small turkeys between 10 and 12 pounds will be extremely hard to find this year! And it definitely is squash season.
If you are not into a traditional Thanksgiving with turkey and all of the trimmings OR if you are not a large family but just a couple, then this could be perfect as a smaller dinner. You could make it vegan using no protein at all!
Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash 4 servings
2 medium acorn squash
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing onto the squash
1 yellow onion, small dice
1 red bell pepper, small dice
2 stalks celery, small dice
salt and pepper
1-2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or half a teaspoon dried
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb mild or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
2 cups torn curly kale
¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided
1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Slice a small piece off the top and bottom of the squash so it can sit upright, then slice the acorn squash in half width-wise (not through the stem). This will result in a pretty scalloped edge. Scrape out the seeds.
3. Place the squash halves on the baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Turn upside down (seed side down) and roast for 25 minutes or until the squash is fork tender.
4. Meanwhile, make the filling. Over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery and sauté until onion is softened and turning translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Stir in the chopped fresh thyme, then add the minced garlic and sausage. Continue to sauté for another 8 minutes, or until the sausage is fully cooked.
6. Place the torn kale on top of the sausage mixture and cover the skillet to steam for 1-2 minutes. Stir and re-cover to continue steaming the kale, if necessary. Once the kale is wilted, stir in half the parmesan cheese and remove the pan from heat.
7. Once the squash is done roasting, remove them from the oven and turn the heat up to broil. Flip the squash bowl side up and divide the filling evenly among them (pile it high, they’ll be overfull), then sprinkle on the remaining the parmesan cheese.
8. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted, making sure not to over-brown the squash.
Serve immediately and store any leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Eat within4 days.
Time certainly brings out the essence of these ribs, even if you do not follow up with the BBQ sauce. I actually prefer them without the sauce, but that is a personal choice. If you follow the recipe to a T, you cannot go wrong one way or the other. FYI…they were so tasty we ate them all before I remembered a photo. Serve with a great coleslaw…
Oven Baked Dry Rub Ribs
For the dry rub
1/2 a cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
Take your ribs and trim off any excess fat, then place them in a baking dish or you could use the disposable foil baking dish.
Preheat your oven to 130°C/266°F
Take your rub mixture and rub it on the pork ribs one by one ensuring that you coat every piece of meat.
Once you have finished rubbing each and every rib, place them in your baking tray and cover it up with aluminium foil and place it into the oven.
OPTIONALAfter 2 and 1/2 hours, remove them from the oven, apply your fav BBQ sauce.Coat each rib with the sauce using a spoon or brush then put them back in the oven but this time don’t cover them.
Let them continue cooking for the last 30 minutes brushing them frequently with the sauce.
Just came across this recipe in my DropBox and seemingly it was never shared here. In actuality, it is pretty straight forward, including the potatoes.
Fortunately I was able to buy local lamb, rather than the usual New Zealand. Enjoy!
Grilled Lamb Chops
8 lamb chops
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. of Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. of chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. of fresh thyme
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp. of fresh ground pepper
sea salt & fresh ground pepper
dried Greek oregano
1. In a shallow glass baking dish, add all the marinade ingredients (olive oil, garlic, mustard, parsley, thyme, lemon juice and black pepper) and stir to blend. Pour off and reserve about 1/3 of the marinade (for finishing the lamb chops). Add the lamb chops and ensure all of the meat is coated with the marinade. Cover and place in the fridge for 2 – 4 hours.
2. Return your lamb chops back to room temperature before grilling and pre-heat your gas or charcoal grill to a high heat (you want the meat to sizzle when it hits the heat). Ensure your grill surface is clean by brushing it and wipe it with vegetable oil. Season your lamb chops with salt and pepper.
3. Grill your lamb chops for 3 minutes a side (medium/pink inside) and brush on the reserved marinade on by sides when cooked.
4. Squeeze some lemon juice over the chops, sprinkle some fleur de sel and finish with some dried Greek oregano.
Easy Garlic Butter Potatoes
1 Tbsp. garlic powder or fresh garlic
4 Tbsp. butter
2 pinches Maldon Sea salt
2 pinches black pepper
24 oz. baby potatoes
fresh parsley optional, to taste
Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut creamer potatoes into halves and add them to a bowl.
Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. garlic powder, 4 Tbsp. melted butter, 2 pinches Maldon sea salt, and 2 pinches black pepper on the potatoes.
Mix potatoes with seasoning until fully coated.
Add seasoned creamer potatoes to an oven-ready cast iron skillet. Spread out evenly. Sprinkle with fresh parsley if desired.
Roast for approximately 1 hour for crispy potatoes. Enjoy!
Travelling this week, so this posting is a little late! Our hostess had some salmon in the freezer and some nice fresh peaches. Surprisingly she also had avocados which we always have on hand in Mexico. Both the salmon and the salmon were awesome! Pinterest never fails me…We served this with some sauteed Brussel sprouts to round out the meal. We chose to grill the salmon, but the directions for making it in the oven are included.
Firecracker Salmon with Peach and Avocado Salsa
For the salmon:
1 ½ pounds salmon
2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 tablespoon honey
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
For the peach salsa:
1 avocado, diced
1 peach, diced
3 tablespoons finely diced red onion
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons finely diced cilantro
1 lime, juiced
Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Make your salmon marinade: In a small bowl whisk together avocado oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, crushed red pepper, and ginger.
2. Add your salmon to a large bowl skin side up (so that the salmon sits in the sauce) and pour marinade over the top. Cover and place salmon in the fridge for no more than 1 hour.
3. While your salmon is marinating, make your peach salsa. Add avocado, peach, red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper to a medium sized bowl and mix until well-combined. Refrigerate.
4. Once ready to bake salmon, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Place salmon on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and place marinated salmon skin side down. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until salmon easily flakes with fork.
5. Top salmon with peach avocado salsa and serve with brown rice, black rice quinoa, or extra veggies for a fullmeal. Serves 4
Directions for grilling the salmon: Preheat a gas grill over medium-high heat. I would also lightly brush both sides of the salmon (including the skin) with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking. Be sure to also generous oil your grill.
Place salmon skin side down first on grill, close grill lid and grill about 6-8 minutes. Carefully flip salmon and cook 6-8 more minutes or until cooked well. Salmon is tricky, but it’s best to undercook rather than overcook your filets.The salmon was perfectly cooked at 6 minutes per side on medium heat.
By now you know me well enough that I shop at Costco, which means I always buy bulk. Chorizo (Argentinian sausage) is raw when purchased. It must be cooked! Leftover sausages can be easily frozen, which was the case here. Finding that I had all of the ingredients, this recipe went together quickly. Enjoy!
Add oil to a large pot on medium heat. Cook onions for 5-7 minutes, until they begin to become translucent. Add salt, garlic and chorizo, and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and bell peppers. Season with dried basil, oregano, parsley and chili flakes.
In a separate pan on medium heat, cook the ground beef. Once cooked through, add to the pot with everything else. Add passata, balsamic crema, water, and combine well. Cover with lid and lower heat to medium-low, and let simmer for 30-40 minutes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add fresh spaghetti noodles, and cook for 2 minutes before draining, reserving a little of the pasta water. Add sauce to the pot, combine well, and serve with fresh basil.
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
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
Use a spiralizer to make strands of zucchini noodles(zoodles).I chose the thinner setting.
Shred the basil leaves by rolling them together like a cigar and slicing across the roll. This is called chiffonading.
Toast the pine nuts in a small pan until slightly brown and remove from heat.
Sauté the zucchini noodles in 1 tablespoon of cooking olive oil in a wok or deep frying pan for two minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the fresh basil leaves to the noodles and stir to mix well.
Add pine nuts and cherry tomatoes. Salt and pepper to preference.
Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over the noodles and serve.
Top with shaved Parmesan cheese. Garnish with more basil leaves.
Happy New Year, wherever in the world you might be this day! Start the year off with this wonderful vegan dish of eggplant and garbanzos (sometimes known as chick peas). I am not a fan of ratatouille, so this came as a surprise from Greece! It seems like a lot of ingredients,but many of them are flavourful spices which really enhance the taste of the dish. Hope you will enjoy it!
Eggplant and Garbanzos Greek Style
1.5 lb eggplant, cut into cubes
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, diced
1 carrot, chopped
6 large garlic cloves, minced
2 dry bay leaves
1 to 1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika OR smoked paprika
1 tsp organic ground coriander
1 tsp dry oregano
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp organic ground turmeric
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 28-oz can chopped tomato
2 15-oz cans chickpeas, reserve the canning liquid
Fresh herbs such as parsley and mint for garnish
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Place eggplant cubes in a colander over a large bowl or directly over your sink, and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 20 minutes or so to allow eggplant to “sweat out” any bitterness. Rinse with water and pat dry.
3. In a large braiser, heat 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil over medium-high until shimmering but not smoking. Add onions, peppers, and chopped carrot. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly, then add garlic, bay leaf, spices, and a dash of salt. Cook another minute, stirring until fragrant.
4. Now add eggplant, chopped tomato, chickpeas, and reserved chickpea liquid. Stir to combine.
5. Bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes or so. Stir often. Remove from stove top, cover and transfer to oven.
6. Cook in oven for 45 minutes until eggplant is fully cooked through to very tender. (While eggplant is braising, be sure to check once or twice to see if more liquid is needed. If so, remove from oven briefly and stir in about 1/2 cup of water at a time.)
7. When eggplant is ready, remove from oven and add a generous drizzle of EVOO, garnish with fresh herbs (parsley or mint). Serve hot or at room temperature with a side of Greek yogurt or even Tzatziki sauce and pita bread.