Penne with Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon is something we have on hand regularly. We use it on pizza with red onions and capers. It is great as an appetizer, etc. If you have any leftovers, this makes a great and fairly easy meal.

Penne with Smoked Salmon

Ingredients

  • 1 1-pound box penne pasta
  • 1 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 8 ounces smoked salmon, or more, cut into ribbons
  • a sprinkle or two sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Cook penne in lots of boiling salted water until al dente cooked through and tender but still retaining some texture and chew.

Scoop out some of the starchy cooking water and reserve. Drain the pasta but not quite all the way. Leave it a bit wet. Put the pasta back into the pot along with a splash or two of the reserved water.

While the pasta is still steaming hot, immediately add the rest of the ingredients except the salmon. Stir with a wooden spoon as the cheese melts and forms a creamy sauce.

At the last second briefly stir in the smoked salmon; this way it won’t break up as much. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Salsa Mac and Cheese with PACE salsa

No pics today, as this recipe was devoured by two hungry men…LOL. I was actually searching for a recipe about dressing up that CANADIAN KD – better known as Kraft Macaroni and Cheese! Thankful that I found this one on the Pace Salsa website! It comes together very quickly once you have prepared the pasta. It should actually feed four people. I skipped the tortilla chips since I was already carb heavy with the macaroni.

Pace* Salsa Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1/2-pound boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium green pepper, cut into 2-inch-long strips (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cups Pace® Chunky Salsa
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fajita seasoning
  • 2 cups water
  • 12 ounces (about 3 cups) uncooked elbow macaroni or cavatelli pasta
  • 1/2 cup coarsely crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Step 1

Heat the oven to 350°F. While the oven is heating, season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until well browned and cooked through. Remove the beef to a plate.

Step 2

Add the green pepper to the skillet and cook for 3 minutes or until tender-crisp. Remove the green pepper to the plate with the beef.

Step 3

Heat the salsa, fajita seasoning and water in the skillet to a boil. Stir in the elbows (press the elbows down to submerge in the salsa mixture). Reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 8 minutes or until the macaroni is tender, stirring occasionally. Return the beef and green pepper to the skillet with the macaroni and cook until the mixture is hot. Season to taste. Sprinkle with the crushed tortilla chips and cheese.

Step 4

Bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle with the cilantro just before serving, if desired.

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Chicken, Spinach and Feta Sausage

Recently, we started to buy Aidell’s Chicken, Spinach and Feta Sausage at our local Costco. It is so very useful in many recipes and the fact that it is neither pork or beef makes it even better. Our local grocery store now carries acorn squash. These two items are a match made in heaven!

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Chicken, Spinach and Feta Sausage

Ingredients

  • 2 Acorn Squash
  • 1 package of Aidell’s chicken with feta and spinach squash cubed
  • 4 tsp olive oil, divided
  • olive oil spray
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of spinach, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup of feta cheese (or sub your favorite cheese)
  • 2 T of pecorino Romano
  • sea or Himalayan salt

1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (optional, but keeps the mess away).

Cut each acorn squash in half, top to bottom OR across the middle, and remove the seeds. Use the first 2 teaspoons of olive oil to brush each squash, then sprinkle with salt. Place squash halves in oven for 40 minutes, or until fork tender, but still retaining their shape.

2 While the squash is roasting, brown the cubed sausage in a skillet until cooked through. Next, add in remaining olive oil, onion and garlic to the pan and cook until veggies are soft. Mix in spinach and sprinkle mixture with a little salt. Cook until spinach wilts.

3 Once squash is finished cooking, use a fork to gently mash the inside. Then divide sausage and veggie mixture evenly among the squash halves. Top each with 2 T of feta cheese and a 1/2 T of pecorino Romano. Place squash back in the oven for a few minutes to melt and brown the cheese.

Mushroom Chowder

The only problem in buying those Costco mushrooms is what do you do with all of those? This recipe will give you reason to use at least a half pound or more!

It may seem like a lot of ingredients, but the flavour is incredible as a result of all of the spices. I did not make this VEGAN! I did use cream cheese in place of the cashew cream. That choice is yours to make…

There is a fair amount of prepping, but mainly due to the spices,cleaning the mushrooms, etc.

Mushroom Chowder

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon oil or vegan butter
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 8 ounces baby Bella mushrooms quartered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme or 1 spring fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 3 cups broth or water
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt depending on the saltiness of your broth
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed potatoes, small cubed (FYI I skipped the potatoes as I wanted to use croutons as a garnish as shown in the photo)
  • 1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup cashew cream, 1/2 cup raw cashews blended with 3/4 cup water or use any other thick non-dairy cream or you can also use 1/3 cup vegan cream cheese
  • green onion for garnish
  • OPTIONAL Old Bay Seasoning for a seafood taste

1. Heat the oil or vegan butter over high-medium heat in a large sauce pan. Once hot, add the garlic, onion, and celery, and a good pinch of salt and cook until the onion is starting to turn golden. 6-9 mins

2. Then add in the mushrooms and another good pinch of salt and cook until the mushrooms are starting to sear on some edges. 4-8 mins

3. Then add in the bay leaves, thyme, sage, onion powder, black pepper, and the flour and mix in for a few seconds

4. Then add in the broth. Add 1 cup broth and mix so the flour doesn’t get lumpy, then slowly add the rest. Add potatoes, vegan Worcestershire sauce, and salt and mix in. Cook partially covered for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked well.

5. Mash some of the potatoes. Add in the cashew cream and bring to a good boil. Taste and adjust salt and flavor.

6. If the chowder has thickened too much, add in more water or broth if needed and bring to a boil. Taste and adjust salt and flavor. Take off heat, remove the bay leaves and serve garnished with black pepper and green onion.

Lighter Beef and Broccoli

I looked back and saw that I had included other beef and broccoli recipes, but not this one for some reason. It just happened that a friend gave us a small picanha (tri-tip sirloin) which she had mistakenly thawed and wasn’t sure what to do with it. After slicing it up and marinating it, the result was very good.

It may seem complicated,but it really wasn’t!

Lighter Broccoli Beef

Ingredients

serves 4

  • 1-1/4lb flank or sirloin steak, cut very thin against the grain
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons reduced-sodium gluten-free Tamari, divided
  • 2-1/2 Tablespoons gluten-free flour, divided (potato starch)
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes (or more or less)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons water, divided
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 Tablespoon peanut oil, divided
  • cooked rice, for serving

Directions

1. Add sliced steak, 2 Tablespoons gluten-free Tamari, and 1 Tablespoon gluten-free flour to a large Ziplock bag then seal and squish to evenly coat. Place the bag into the refrigerator to marinate while you prepare the rest of the dish.

2. Add remaining 1/2 cup gluten-free Tamari, remaining 1-1/2 Tablespoons gluten-free flour, chicken broth, brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons water, rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, ground ginger, and red chili pepper flakes to a bowl then whisk to combine and set aside.

FYI, I doubled the amount of this part to have more sauce for the rice!

3. Heat a large wok or non-stick skillet over high heat then add remaining 1/4 cup water. Once simmering, add broccoli then stir fry until crisp tender, 2-3 minutes. Remove to a plate then set aside.

4. Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in wok then, once hot, add 1/2 the marinated beef in one layer. Let sit undisturbed until seared, 30 seconds, then stir fry until just barely cooked through (some pink still showing is ok.) Remove to plate with broccoli. Heat remaining Tablespoon oil then stir fry remaining beef and add to plate.

5. Add sauce to wok then simmer until slightly thickened, 2-3 minutes. Add cooked broccoli and beef back into the wok then simmer until everything is heated through, 1 minute. Serve over cooked rice.

Carbonara with Shrimp and Scallops

Dinner with friends again, so I opted to make this old recipe again, which it seems I never posted before? I added some shrimp to the original.

Carbonara with Pan Seared Scallops

Ingredients for Scallops

  • 12-16 large scallops 3-4 per person + deveined shrimp
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt and Pepper

Ingredients for Carbonara

  • 8 slices thick cut bacon diced
  • 1 shallot finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic leave whole
  • 4 green onions
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup parmigiana Reggiano grated
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 14 oz (400g) pasta of your choice -I used Linguine

Pasta Carbonara

1. Start cooking pasta in large stainless-steel pot.

2. In small bowl mix together cream, egg yolks and 3/4 of cheese.

3. In large skillet cook bacon until crisp, add shallots and ½ green onions.

4. Smash down garlic clove a bit, add to bacon. (remove prior to adding pasta)

5. When pasta is finished cooking, drain well, then add to skillet of bacon.

6.. Toss well, then transfer to large bowl.

7. Add cream mixture to pasta and combined well. Make sure pasta is still hot in order to cook the eggs and melt the cheese.

Perfect Pan Seared Scallops (+ shrimp)

1. Blot scallops with paper towel to remove any water. Salt and pepper.

2. Heat large non-stick frying pan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil.

3. Make sure frying pan is hot before adding scallops but not smoking.

4. Add scallops leaving plenty of space between. Overcrowding the pan will drop the pan temperature and cause scallops to steam rather than sear. (may have to do in batches)

6.  Sear for about 2-4 minutes or when bottom is a nice golden brown. Don’t move them around in the pan or you will prevent them from forming that nice brown crust. After a couple of minutes have peek under to see if golden brown.

7.Turn to sear other side. (about 1-3 more minutes)

8. Spoon the melted butter over the scallops as the other side finishes cooking.

10. Transfer to paper towel covered plate.

11. Keep warm in oven, if making in batches.

12. Add butter to another frying pan. Cook shrimp until pink flipping once!

13. Add shrimp and scallops to pasta and mix well

14. Serve with more Parmesan cheese.

Baked Salmon with Lemon Butter Garlic Sauce

On the road again and a little late with this week’s recipe. Visiting friends and opted to make dinner for them, as I usually do once or twice…this one looks a little difficult, but not really. The result was well worth it, served with an amazing asparagus with cream cheese and prosciutto (next week’s recipe).

Baked Salmon with Lemon Butter Garlic Sauce

Ingredients

  • Salmon fillets (skinless) – 5, about 150 g/ 5 oz
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice- 2 tbsp.
  • Olive oil- 1 tbsp.
  • Garlic cloves (minced)- 1
  • Old style Dijon mustard- 2 tbsp.
  • Ground black pepper- 1 tsp.
  • Salt- to taste

LEMON BUTTER GARLIC SAUCE

  • ¼ Cup Unsalted butter melted
  • Garlic cloves (minced)-1 1/2 tsp.
  • Heavy cream/ half and half- 1/2 cup
  • Parsley finely chopped
  • Black pepper

In a medium bowl combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and Dijon mustard. Mix well.

Place salmon fillets into the skillet, pour the mixture over salmon fillets and rub. Season with ground black pepper and salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes in the preheated oven.

In the meantime, melt butter in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 20 seconds.

Pour in heavy cream and bring to a boil. The sauce should thicken a little bit.

Take off the heat and stir in parsley and season with black pepper and salt to your liking.

Pour the sauce over the baked salmon and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes

 Preheat your oven to 425°F /220°C with the rack in the center.

In a medium bowl combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and Dijon mustard. Mix well.

Place salmon fillets into the skillet, pour the mixture over salmon fillets and rub. Season with ground black pepper and salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes in the preheated oven, depending on thickness.

In the meantime, melt butter in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 20 seconds.

Pour in heavy cream and bring to a boil. The sauce should thicken a little bit.

Take off the heat and stir in parsley and season with black pepper and salt to your liking.

Pour the sauce over the baked salmon and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes

Loaded Baked Potato and Chicken Casserole

Who does not love a baked potato, especially when it is LOADED??? I must admit that it is one of my favourite things. This recipe is straight forward and comes together in a matter of minutes. You could use frozen potato cubes, but fresh is so easy. I was able to use frozen chicken breast cubes to simplify the preparation. Your toppings are your choice!

Potato and Chicken Casserole (Loaded Baked)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cubed raw chicken breast, marinated* (if you can find frozen, no need to thaw)
  • 1 or 2 potatoes, cubed with skins or cubed frozen potatoes
  • Spice Mix (See below)
  • Lawry’s Lemon Pepper Marinade

Spice Mix

  • 1 T. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. dried rosemary
  • ½ tsp. black pepper

Toppings

  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • ½ cup cooked bacon chopped
  • 3 green onions thinly chopped
  • Sour cream

Instructions

Grease an 8 x 10 Pyrex baking dish with cooking spray.

Place cubed chicken into a bowl and drizzle with lemon pepper marinade (unless pre-marinated). Set aside.

Add cubed potatoes to the Pyrex dish. Sprinkle with spice mix and mix well.

Add the marinated cubed chicken.

Combine the potatoes and chicken.

 Bake at 400 F for 50 minutes, stirring once or twice during baking.

When the potatoes and chicken are done, remove from the oven and top with shredded cheddar cheese and return to oven until cheese is melted.

Serve immediately with the optional toppings.

Seafood Casserole

When you check your freezer and find a small package of shrimp and another one of scallops which still look perfect thanks to our FoodSaver, what else to do but a seafood casserole!

Seafood Casserole

  • 6 oz uncooked spaghetti, broken
  • 1/2 lb fresh scallops, cut in half or quarters if large
  • ½ lb fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined. Smaller ones are best.
  • 6 Tbs butter
  • 4 Tbs flour, divided
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups half and half cream
  • 4 Tbs white wine or sherry
  • ½ cup sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 8 Tbs parmesan cheese, divided

Instructions

Cook spaghetti per directions on package. Drain and rinse with hot water.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter a 2-quart casserole dish, or 4 individual 2 cup ramekins.

Thoroughly rinse scallops and shrimp in cold water, drain, and cut scallops to desired size. I like a bite sized piece.

Melt 3 tbs of butter in a sauté pan.

Add seafood and mushrooms and sauté over medium high heat.

Cook 6-8 minutes, or until scallops are opaque.

Remove from pan and set aside.

 In same pan, melt remaining butter. Add flour, salt and pepper and blend well.

Add half and half all at once.

Cook until mixture thickens. This should take about 5 minutes. Stir constantly with a whisk.

Add 4 T of parmesan cheese.

 Add scallops and mushrooms back to the pan.

Add wine and peas. Continue stirring until heated through.

Place spaghetti into saucepan with seafood mixture, and stir it all together until well mixed.

Place it all in the buttered casserole.

 Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until light brown and bubbly around the edges.

Macaroni and Cheese

No luncheon meats in the house and the cleaning lady is here today. What to give her for lunch? Penne. Large bag of Kirkland cheese blend. Whipping cream. Onion powder. Parmesan. Panko. Milk. Macaroni and cheese!!!

If you do not have gruyere experiment with another shredded cheese…

Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces pasta, I had penne
  • 1½ cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 tablespoons butter melted or olive oil or canola oil
  • ½ cup parmesan grated
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ⅓ cup all purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups cheddar cheese shredded
  • 2 cups gruyere shredded O or whatever shredded cheese you have on hand
  • 1½ teaspoons onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9×12 casserole dish.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta. Prepare noodles al dente. Drain, drizzle with oil to prevent sticking and set aside.

3. In a small bowl, combine panko, butter or oil and parmesan. Set aside.

4. Melt butter in large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute.

5. Whisk in flour. Whisk continuously until golden, about 1 minute.

6. Gradually whisk in milk and heavy cream until smooth. Whisk about 5 minutes.

7. Add onion powder, paprika and pepper.

8. Remove from heat. Gradually whisk in cheeses until smooth.

9. Fold in pasta. Stir until well combined. Transfer to casserole dish or bake in Dutch oven.

10. Spread panko mixture evenly over the top.

11. Bake approximately 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.