Category Archives: Main Course
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.
Slow Cooker/Crock Pot Swedish Meatballs
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)
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.
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!)
- 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
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.
What to do when you buy a Costco or grocery store rotisserie chicken and have leftovers? SOUP.
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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Until recently, soft shell tacos were very hard to find here. Yeah, we could have used tortillas which are everywhere!!! It seems lots of people are on low carb diets these days and I was able to find this GREAT recipe on Pinterest. Who needs a crust? The result was awesome, so much so that we couldn’t believe we ate the WHOLE thing at one sitting.
FYI…. you will notice in the recipe Taco Seasoning. It’s quite simple to make and cheaper. I have included the recipe I use for taco seasoning at the end of the Pie recipe…
Low Carb Crustless Taco Pie
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 packet taco seasoning (see recipe below)
- 3 green onions thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup salsa (I like La Costena brand with added chipotle)
- 1 cup Mexican blend cheese finely shredded, quantity divided
- 4 large eggs
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- OPTIONAL – a layer of refried beans on the bottom of the pie shell!
- Preheat oven to 350º Fahrenheit. Prepare a 9″ pie pan by greasing with butter or spraying with coconut oil.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. If your ground beef is low in fat or if your skillet is not well seasoned, you may want to spray the pan with coconut oil to prevent sticking. When skillet is hot, add ground beef, breaking up into small pieces with a spoon or spatula. Cook, stirring occasionally until browned. Drain beef and add taco seasoning and cook according to package instructions. Set aside and allow to cool while continuing with the next step.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and heavy cream. Stir in the green onions, salsa, 3/4 cup of the cheese, and the salt.
- Stir prepared taco meat into the egg mixture. Pour this mixture into the prepared pie pan. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
- Bake pie in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until the top is brown and the pie is set. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Serve with your favorite taco toppings such as salsa, sour cream, guacamole, sliced green onions, or whatever else you like! Maybe add a few sliced radishes…
Taco Seasoning (enough for this recipe)
1/4 tsp Garlic powder
1/4 tsp Onion powder
1/4 tsp Oregano, dried
1 tsp Black pepper
1 tbsp Chili powder
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Cumin, ground
Thanks to all of you for getting me past the 14000 views this week! You are all awesome. In return is an awesome Aztec recipe for a soup/stew called pozole. Get out your slow cooker.
Pozole can be prepared in many ways. All variations include a base of cooked hominy in broth. Typically pork, or sometimes chicken, is included in the base.
Vegetarian recipes substitute beans for the meat.
The three main types of pozole are blanco/white, verde/green and rojo/red.
Red Pozole is usually made without the green sauce, instead adding a red sauce made from one or more chiles, such as guajillo, piquin, or ancho.
Slow Cooker Easy Pork Pozole
- 2 – 15 oz. cans hominy (white corn), rinsed and drained (fresh in the deli section) In our grocery store here, this is the brand I buy. I use 3/4 package.
- 1 – 16 oz. jar salsa
- 1 – litre reduced sodium chicken broth (I actually used almost 2 to get it less thick)
- 2 – 4 oz. cans diced green chile peppers undrained (to taste, truthfully, I used two thin slices)
- 1 – cup coarsely chopped onion
- 1 – T ground cumin
- 4 – cloves garlic minced
- 1 – tsp. dried oregano, crushed
- ¼ – tsp. red pepper
- 12 oz. – pork loin, cut into bite sized pieces
- Fresh cilantro snipped
In the removable crock pot liner, combine the first 9 ingredients (through the red pepper). Stir in the pork pieces. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Let the liner stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Place in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 7 hours (depending on your slow cooker)…or on HIGH for 3 to 3.5 hours. Check frequently… mine was done in 5 hours on low!
Sprinkle cilantro onto each serving in large soup bowls. Serve with tortillas if desired.
OPTIONAL – In separate side bowls, provide a few sliced radishes, more chopped onion, oregano, chopped cabbage, avocado, cilantro. Let your guests choose what they want to add. I like to add some sour cream for smoothness.
Makes 6+ servings.
Thought I could Thai one on since it is now summer…LOL. Sorry that there is no photo, but we were travelling and no camera available.
Thai Basil Beef Bowls
Yield: about 4 servings
- 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice or long-grain white rice for serving
- 1 lb. flank steak, sliced against the grain into thin strips
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded, diced into 2-inch strips
- 1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 cup matchstick carrots
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves (roughly chop larger leaves), plus more for garnish
- Sesame seeds (optional)
- 3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 Tbsp Sambal Oleek, or more to taste (optional)
- Cook rice according to directions listed on package.
- For the sauce:
- In a small mixing bowl whisk together soy sauce and cornstarch until smooth. Stir in water, fish sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar, lime juice and Sambal Oleek if using, set aside.
- For the beef and veggies:
- Toss beef with 1 tsp oil and 1 tsp cornstarch. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large skillet or wok over moderately high heat. Add beef and cook until browned on both sides but still slightly under-cooked in the center. Transfer beef to a plate while leaving oil in skillet. Reduce heat slightly, add bell pepper, onions and garlic and sauté until crisp tender, about 2 – 3 minutes (if needed you can add another 1 tsp of oil to the skillet). Add carrots, whisk sauce mixture once more then pour into skillet and allow to simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 1 minute. Return beef to skillet along with basil leaves, toss until basil has just wilted. Serve immediately over cooked rice garnished with small basil leaves and sesame seeds if desired.
- Recipe source: Cooking Classy
Who does not like shepherd’s pie? There are several variations out there. Sometimes it is called Cottage Pie. This one was a snap! The only tricky part was the roux, melting the butter and adding the flour. Make your life easier and use instant potatoes!
Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
- 1 1/2 lb. Ground Beef
- 4 cups Mashed Potatoes
- 1 tbsp Oil
- 1 tsp Minced Garlic
- 1 Onion, diced
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 cup Milk
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 2 tbsp Flour
- 12 oz. Frozen Peas and Carrots, thawed (Use a can of mixed peas and carrots)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and add ground beef, onion and garlic.
- Cook until browned and drain.
- In another skillet or pan, melt putter and add flour.
- Cook roux for 2 minutes.
- Whisk in Worcestershire and milk.
- Cook for 1 minute to thicken.
- Combine beef mixture, gravy and thawed vegetables.
- Place in baking dish.
- Top with mashed potatoes and place in oven for 20-30 minutes until heated through. In the last few minutes sprinkle the cheese on the potatoes.
Eureka! Shrimp in the freezer. What to do? Checked the ingredients I had on hand and found this recipe for dinner. The worst part is cleaning the shrimp, so just cheat and buy them already cleaned and deveined…LOL. Substitute whatever protein you have available. As always, my changes are in red lettering.
Shrimp, Tomato and Spinach Pasta
- 5 medium tomatoes, fresh, chopped into large cubes ( one can of diced with juice depending on how much you like tomatoes)
- 1 cup cooked spinach
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 or 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 small lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more)
- 10 oz fettuccine pasta
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving
- Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil until melted. Add fresh shrimp and half the minced garlic. Make sure shrimp is not crowded. Cook for 1 minute on one side until pink on that side. While it’s cooking, generously sprinkle paprika and salt over uncooked side of the shrimp. Flip the shrimp over and cook for another 1 or 2 minutes until pink on the other side.
- To the skillet with shrimp, add chopped fresh tomatoes, cooked spinach, and remaining amount of minced garlic. Add 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more). Mix everything well, remove from heat while you cook pasta.
- In the mean time cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent pasta from cooking and getting mushy.
- Add pasta to the skillet with shrimp and vegetables with 1 or 2 tablespoons of butter. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice (depending on the juiciness of your lemon, it could be 1/4 of small lemon or 1/2 lemon). Don’t add too much lemon juice. Season with salt and more crushed red pepper. Warm it up on medium heat until shrimp is cooked through, and all ingredients are heated through.
- To serve, top with grated Parmesan cheese.
In the process of cleaning out our freezer and realized I had 500 gm of ground lamb. What to do? I have always liked moussaka in a Greek restaurant, but never made it at home. Good old Pinterest to the rescue, for what appeared to be an easy recipe and without the potatoes on top….less calories. The recipe looks complicated, but I decided to prepare the ground lamb ahead of time and put it in the refrigerator until I was ready to make the complete dish. It gave me time to prepare the eggplant while I was cleaning up from the lamb prep. The dish turned out perfectly, with our guests taking home this recipe! The photo below is from the Pinterest pinner…we got so carried away enjoying the dish that I forgot a photo. Check out Sniff It Out on Pinterest for more tantalizing recipes!
About 500g of lean minced (ground) lamb
2 Aubergines (Eggplants) medium to large in size
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 heaped tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 rounded tablespoons tomato purée
3 fl oz. (75 ml) red wine or more
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the yogurt topping for the Greek Moussaka – I used a large CorningWare casserole dish and ended up doubling the yogurt in order to cover the top.
150ml Greek yogurt (double if necessary)
1 medium egg, beaten
50g feta cheese or more
25g freshly grated parmesan or more
- Preparing the Aubergines
Leave the skins on and slice the Aubergines into approximately 10mm thick slices.
Put the slices into a colander and sprinkle them with about 1 level dessertspoon of salt. Stand the colander on a plate to catch the water which comes out of the Aubergines and put another plate on top of the aubergine slices.
You now need to weigh this plate down with something heavy (I find that a couple of tins of soup works quite well) and leave them for about an hour to let the juice come out.
After an hour, squeeze out any of the excess juice from the aubergines and dry them well in a clean cloth.
Spread the aubergine slices on a baking sheet and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over them tossing them around to get a good coating.
Put the baking sheet in a pre heated oven (around 200 degrees) and roast the aubergines for 30 minutes or until they are browning at the edges.
I usually roast the eggplant simply because the baking tray is much bigger than the frying pan and I can get the slices done all in one go, but, if you would rather sauté the eggplant to use in the moussaka you can do that too.
- Preparing the lamb for the Moussaka recipe (I did this step first)
Because the mince can have quite a lot of fat come out of it I usually dry fry the mince until it is nicely browned then remove it from the pan and put it to one side then discard any of the fat which has come out of it before using it to make the moussaka.
Then heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions, garlic and thyme gently, without colouring, for about 10 minutes.
Stir the minced lamb back in and add the parsley, cinnamon, tomato purée and red wine and stir to combine the ingredients. Season the mixture well and cook gently for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Prepare the topping for the Greek Moussaka recipe
It’s true that Moussaka isn’t the most healthy dish on the planet, that’s why I prefer a yogurt topping for my moussaka recipe because it is a bit lighter than others I have tried but that is purely my preference. Mix the yogurt with half of the cheeses and the beaten egg and season with ground pepper.
- Putting everything together for the Greek Moussaka!
Line the bottom of a casserole dish with slices of aubergine, then spoon over some of the meat mixture. Build the layers of the moussaka up until all the meat and aubergine has been used.
Cover with the topping mixture and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180ºC / 350ºF for about 1 hour until golden and bubbling.
Let the Moussaka stand for about 20 to 30 minutes before cutting and serving and this will ensure that it keeps its shape when you serve it.