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.

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.

Spaghetti with Beef and Chorizo

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!

Spaghetti with Beef and Chorizo

Spaghetti with Chorizo and Beef

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons neutral cooking oil
  • 2 cups white onion, diced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 chorizo sausage, diced
  • 2 cups white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup red or green bell peppers
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 jar passata (tomato puree)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic crema (reduced balsamic vinegar)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 200 grams fresh spaghetti noodles
  • fresh basil leaves, to serve

Method:

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.

Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca

Puttanesca originated in Naples in the mid 19th century and is usually made with pasta, capers, tomatoes, garlic and hot peppers. Since I had a spaghetti squash I need to use up, I made this dish. It turned out wonderfully. Below is my own version of this!!

(Hidden under that luscious sauce is the shredded spaghetti squash!)

Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash cut in half horizontally with seeds removed
  • ½ pound lean ground beef
  • 1 diced jalapeno pepper or red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 2 stems of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¾ cup of whole black olives (optional)
  • 2 cups of Prego pasta sauce
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish

Instructions

Drizzle olive oil over each half of squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut side  down in a Pyrex dish and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven uncovered for 60 to 75 minutes.

Remove squash and let cool before shredding each half with forks. Be careful not to puncture the squash skin! Cover loosely with foil. Let it rest while preparing the sauce.

In a large frypan (or wok – I love using a wok when preparing sauce for spaghetti), brown the beef, stirring frequently. When there is no more pink, add the 2 cups of pasta sauce.

Stir to combine all of the meat, adding the diced jalapenos (optional) or red pepper flakes

Add the pitted black olives and 1 stem of basil LEAVES and stir to combine.

Uncover the bowl of spaghetti squash shreds and pour the sauce the shreds.

Garnish with Parmesan cheese and the leaves from the other basil stem.

Serve.

Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole

With a package of frozen meatballs in the freezer, a jar of marinara sauce, shredded mozzarella and rotini pasta in the pantry, this recipe was so easy to throw together. Best part You dont need to precook the pasta!!!

Just make sure those meatballs are thawed before you start the recipe…

Hidden meatballs…

Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole

Total Time 55 minutes         Servings 6 – 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) package uncooked rotini pasta
  • 1 (24 or 25 ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 (14 ounce) package fully-cooked miniature (cocktail-size) meatballs (if using frozen meatballs, make sure that they are completely thawed before using)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • Optional: Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped herbs (such as basil, oregano, and parsley for garnish)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. In a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, stir together uncooked pasta, marinara sauce, water, and meatballs. Season with salt to taste; stir. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes.

3. Uncover; stir. At this point you should check the pasta to make sure that it is al dente (firm but just about finished cooking). If it’s still too hard, cover the dish and return to the oven until pasta is al dente. Then move on to the next step.

4. Sprinkle mozzarella over the top and bake uncovered for 5-10 more minutes (or until cheese is melted and pasta is tender).

Leftover Steak Stroganoff

As noted last week, here is the recipe for using up leftover steak of any kind. It was extremely great with the Coffee Rubbed Cowboy steak, but you could use any other steak.

Leftover Steak Stroganoff

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1 shallot (minced)
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic (minced)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp ground sage
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp each, salt & pepper (more to taste, if necessary)
  • 1 cup Baby Portabella Mushrooms (stemmed, sliced)
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard (coarse ground)
  • 1 cup leftover prime rib roast (sliced into 2-inch strips)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 8 oz egg noodles (rinsed and drained)
  • 2 Tbsp parsley (chopped, optional garnish)

1 Start with a large, deep frying pan or Dutch oven. Heat the olive oil to medium high heat, then add minced shallot and garlic and cook for 1 minute (just enough to start sweating the shallot). Add butter and melt with the shallot and garlic.

2 Add the all-purpose flour, combine with shallot and garlic until all of the flour is absorbed. Add seasoning (tarragon, ground sage, thyme, salt & pepper) and mushrooms. Stir to combine, then add the beef broth, Worcestershire and Dijon.

3 Stir all of the gravy ingredients, reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer (reducing heat as necessary to maintain a low simmer) for about 10 minutes. Gravy should thicken while simmering.

4 Once gravy has simmered and reduced, slightly thickening, add the sliced leftover prime rib roast meat and cook an additional 2-3 minutes to heat the meat through completely. Remove from heat and add sour cream. Serve immediately over cooked pasta, rice, or potatoes. Top with chopped parsley for garnish, if desired.

Creamy Kielbasa Pasta

Tis the season to be jolly and entertain! NOT! Normally at this time of year we host a “charcuterie” for our snowbird friends. Alas, in these times of COVID, many were not returning to Yucatan. Secondly, we are limited to 4 “guests”in our home at one time. The answer – Host 4 mini charcuteries with our close friends over each weekend with two other couples.

The unfortunate/fortunate part was that with the variety of cold meats and cheeses, etc. I had leftover sliced kielbasa! Pinterest (much better than that Amazon person) – What do I do with the leftover kielbasa which could not be refrozen? The prompt answer – Creamy Kielbasa Pasta IN ONE PAN!

Creamy Kielbasa Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Oil, (canola, olive, vegetable, etc.)
  • 13 Ounces Kielbasa Sausage, (one large link, sliced into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1/2 Cup White Onion, (about 1 medium sized, thinly sliced)
  • ½ red pepper, diced
  • 8 Ounces Penne Pasta, (or any short pasta, dry)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth, (low-sodium)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water
  • 8 Ounces Cream Cheese, (cut into cubes)
  • Shredded Asiago cheese

Instructions

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the oil, sausage, red pepper and onion. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes until the sausage begins to brown and the onions soften.

Add the noodles, broth, and water. Stir to combine.

Bring the ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and continue to cook for 12 to 14 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure the noodles don’t stick together. Don’t let all the liquid cook away. There needs to be a little residual liquid in the bottom of the pan to mix with the cream cheese. After the noodles are cooked to al dente or to your liking, add the cream cheese. Stir until the cream cheese is melted and thoroughly combined. Sprinkle on some of the Asiago cheese.

Serve hot. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Southwest Chicken and Pasta Casserole

Another round of what to do with leftover rotisserie chicken…LOL. Just cannot resist a freshly cooked rotisserie chicken, but it usually lasts for three meals with only two of us. Came across this one, as usual, on Pinterest. It was a great marriage of southwest flavours! The recipe made enough to reheat the second day.

Great way to use up those little bits of dried pasta. If you look carefully, you will see shells and penne.

Southwest Chicken and Pasta Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked spiral pasta
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup salsa ( I love Pace Picante Sauce for this recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 can (15 oz) corn (drained)
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans (drained & rinsed)
  • 2 cups cooked shredded/chunked chicken
  • 2 cups shredded cheese

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9×13 baking dish and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Don’t forget to salt the pasta water. I use about 1 teaspoon salt.

3. While pasta is cooking, combine sour cream, salsa, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder in a large mixing bowl.

4. Drain the pasta when it’s done cooking and add into the sour cream mixture. Stir to combine. Add in the corn, black beans, chicken, and 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Stir together to combine.

5. Pour into the baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Cover with tin foil and cook for 20 minutes.

6. Take the tin foil off and let cook an additional 5 minutes. Garnish with green onions,, sour cream and more Pace Picante Sauce..

Smoked Salmon Carbonara

Some days I just want to be able to throw something together for dinner quickly. Pasta is usually the answer! In this case, I just happened to buy some smoked salmon at Costco to use in salad and I still had some left.

Voila ! Smoked Salmon Carbonara. Bonus – no creams, just fresh eggs and Parmesan for the sauce. Read the recipe carefully, as you don’t want to overcook the eggs and Parmesan. The pasta MUST be a little cool to avoid scrambling the eggs!!! It looked and tasted great. You can skip the capers if it’s not something you like.

NOTE – Capers are immature flower buds from the Capparis spinosa (aka the “caper bush”), which grow all over the Mediterranean, just like olives do. Caper buds are picked before they can bloom into flowers. They are not a fish as some people mistakenly assume, but can be a little salty. Great on pizza, too.

Smoked Salmon Carbonara

Ingredients

  • 14.1 oz (400g) linguine pasta, or similar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 5.2 oz (150g) smoked salmon, sliced thinly
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. of capers (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the linguine or long pasta shape of your choice. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions until al dente.

2. Meanwhile, cut the smoked salmon into thin strips and finely chop some fresh parsley (this is optional).

3. Next, add the eggs to a bowl and whisk together, add the grated parmesan and a good pinch of salt and pepper, stir to combine.

4. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it back into the pot you cooked it in. Sprinkle over the strips of salmon then add the whisked eggs and parmesan mixture, immediately stir the pasta to coat it evenly in egg and to distribute the salmon throughout the pasta evenly.

5. Tip: wait exactly 1 minute before pouring over the egg mixture. If the pasta is too hot the eggs will scramble but if it’s too cool the eggs will remain raw.

6. The pasta should be creamy and evenly coated in sauce. Divide the smoked salmon pasta between bowls and top with a scattering of chopped parsley and an extra grinding of pepper, serve.

Add capers.

Notes

I’ve seen and made many pasta carbonara recipes in my time and I find that using 1 egg less as many servings works best. Does that make sense? For four servings I use 400g/14oz of pasta (100g per portion) and 3 eggs.