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.

Weeknight Bolognese Sauce with Zoodles

Checking the pantry and freezer, I found I had all of the ingredients for this sauce, including a very nice medium zucchini for spiralizing. I also had a pound of ground veal which I had not put in the freezer since I bought it two days before. You can use beef or whatever…

Zoodle Bolognese…

Weeknight Bolognese Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ cup onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup carrots, finely diced
  • ½ cup celery, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 pinch baking soda
  • Zucchini noodles or the pasta of your choice
  • Romano or Parmesan cheese for serving

Instructions

1. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium high heat.

2. Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pan and sauté until softened stirring often, about 4-5 minutes.

3. Add garlic and sauté stirring often until fragrant, around 1 minute.

4. Add the ground veal and sauté using wooden spoon to break up the meat as it cooks until the veal is fully browned, around 5 minutes.

5. Add salt, crushed red pepper, dried basil, dried Italian seasoning, wine, milk, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and baking soda and stir until well combined.

6. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium.

7. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes stirring periodically.

8. Serve immediately over zucchini noodles or pasta with a sprinkle of Romano or Parmesan cheese.

Egg Roll Ramen Skillet

Just in case you are tired of holiday food…LOL. There are many variations for egg roll this and that. This one intrigued me because it uses ramen noodles, which certainly stretched the normal recipes. All you need to do is to buy a package of any Asian ramen soup and discard the packets of sauce! In lieu of cutting up cabbage, etc., just buy a package of coleslaw mix!

Egg Roll Ramen Skillet

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 (3 oz) packages ramen noodles
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 (16 oz) bag coleslaw mix with carrots
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped

PREPARATION

1 In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch into one tablespoon of the soy sauce until dissolved. Whisk in the remaining soy sauce, ginger, hoisin sauce, vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

2 Discard the seasoning packages from the ramen and cook noodles 1 minute less than package directions call for. Drain and toss with 1 tablespoon sesame oil.

3 In a large skillet or work, heat the remaining oil over high heat. Add the onion and cook about 3 minutes.

4 Reduce heat to medium-high, add garlic, and cook 30 seconds. Push onions and garlic to the side of the pan and add pork to center. Let cook 30 seconds before stirring, then break apart meat with a wooden spoon and stir in onions and garlic. Cook until no longer pink.

5 Add bell pepper and coleslaw mix and cook until cabbage has reduced, 2-3 minutes.

6 Add noodles and sauce and toss thoroughly, cook 2-4 minutes.

7 Adjust seasoning as needed, top with green onions, and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Chelsea’s Messy Apron. [https://www.chelseasmessyapron.com/egg-roll-noodles/]

Garlic Butter Zoodles and Meatballs

If it seems like I am on a zoodles kick these days, it is because I really do love pasta BUT those carbs are my downfall. Okay, we have been doing the KETO diet again since October with great success! That means very limited carbohydrates. Hence, this KETO recipe. OK, you could make this with real pasta!

The recipe calls for making your own meatballs, but it is so much easier to buy them when you come across a brand you like in the grocery store!!! So skip making them and buy a package ready to bake or fry. Don’t be afraid, those are cherry tomatoes in with the zoodles, NOT egg yolks…LOL

Garlic Butter Zoodles and Meatballs

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. ground chicken, turkey beef or JUST BUY THEM!!
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced and divided
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 lb. zoodles

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large bowl mix together ground chicken, 2 garlic cloves, egg, Parmesan, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper then form into tablespoon sized meatballs.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil and cook meatballs until golden on all sides and cooked through, 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and wipe out skillet with a paper towel.
  • Melt butter in skillet then add remaining 3 garlic cloves and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add zoodles to skillet and toss in garlic butter then squeeze in lemon juice. Add meatballs back and heat just until warmed through.
  • Garnish with more Parmesan to serve.

Easy Keto Chili NO Beans

Unheard of, where we are in Mexico, is chili as we know it in our country. Some northern chili has beans and some do not. This is the latter.

Easy Keto Chili NO Beans!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef or turkey
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (10 ounce) can tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (32 ounce) carton beef broth
  • 1 (7 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder*
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

*If you enjoy spicy chili, I would increase this to 3 tablespoons of chili powder.

Instructions

1. Brown the meat over medium heat in a medium size sauce pot or Dutch oven. Drain off any grease.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well.

3. Allow chili to simmer over medium low heat uncovered for approximately 30 minutes until the tomato juice has reduced and thickened.

Serving size is 1.5 cups Calories 301

Carbs 11.1 gm. Net carbs 8.5 gm. Fiber 2.6 gm. Protein 24.3 gm. Sugar 7.6 gm.

Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

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.

Nutrition

Smoked Salmon Carbonara and Spaghetti Squash

Since we now find spaghetti squash very often in our grocery stores, I decided to give this recipe a try. I also happened to always have the Norwegian smoked salmon (Costco) . They went together very well indeed! It actually tasted better than my photo shows.

Smoked Salmon Carbonara

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cooked spaghetti squash, shredded (save the other half for another dinner OR freeze it)
  • 3.5 g smoked salmon cut into ½ inch strips
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1⁄2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1.5 teaspoons cracked black pepper
  • sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons chopped chives

Instructions:

*See instructions below if you are unsure how to bake a spaghetti squash!

While the squash is baking, whisk together the egg, egg yolks and pepper.

Put the cooked, shredded squash into a pan on the stove on LOW heat.

Place the butter along with 1 tablespoon of warm water into the pot with the shredded squash and stir to coat.

Add the egg mixture to the pot and stir vigorously. The goal here is to cook the egg sauce onto the pasta without scrambling it.

The sauce is cooked by the residual heat from the pot bottom. If the sauce is not thickening after 5 minutes of stirring, the pot should be heated again. Place the pot back on to a heated burner (lowest heat) and continue to stir the pot so the egg does not scramble.

When the sauce begins to thicken, add the parmesan cheese and continue to cook until the sauce is heated through and thickened.

Add the salmon strips to the spaghetti squash and stir to combine.

Serve garnished with chopped chives

*How to Cut and Cook a Spaghetti Squash

Instructions

1. Using a paring knife, cut around the middle of the squash making very small cuts with a paring knife. Continue cutting around the middle until you reach your original cut. Go back over the cutting line with your paring knife making your cuts a little deeper. Go all the way around again. The squash should come apart. Scoop out seeds.

BAKING IN OVEN FOR ONE OR MORE SPAGHETTI SQUASH

1. Spritz the cut side of the spaghetti squash with avocado, olive, or coconut oil. Sprinkle with salt and place cut side down in baking pan.

2. Bake at 350° for 60-75 minutes until fork tender.

3. Allow the squash to cool before removing the strands of spaghetti with a fork.

KETO Cashew Chicken Casserole

It is always difficult to choose a new recipe each week, and this time I went with a new KETO recipe, since we are once again back on the Keto track after our recent journey. It really is a great recipe, so don’t be afraid to try it, even if you are not on a KETO diet…

Note that this recipe calls for minced ginger. If you dont normally buy fresh ginger, I suggest buying a small jar of ginger paste (which you can find in the Asian section of many grocery stores).

 Keto Cashew Chicken Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds chicken breast cut into chunks (Can also use thighs).
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tsp avocado oil
  • 1 green pepper cut into chunks
  • 1 white onion cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup roasted cashews
  • Sesame seeds for garnish
  • Chopped green onions for garnish
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp liquid aminos OR soy sauce *

Sauce

  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp ground ginger OR ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce Use only 1/2 tsp for a milder recipe or double if you want it spicier!

Instructions

In a bowl add sauce ingredients (chili garlic sauce, minced garlic, sesame oil, ginger, salt, and pepper to taste). Set aside.

Heat pan on low heat and toast cashews until lightly brown and set aside.

Add avocado oil to the pan and increase heat to high and add chicken and cook through.

Throw in the chopped pepper, onion, and the sauce mixture and cook on high for about 5 minutes.

Add the liquid aminos/soy sauce, cashews, and rice wine vinegar to pan. Cook until sauce has thickened.

Top with sesame seeds and serve!