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!

Pork Liver and Green Onion Stir Fry

In case you were wondering, we have been away for the last month, visiting family and friends whom we have not seen for over 26 months due to the Pandemic. Back home here now and continuing with new recipes.

If you are NOT a liver fan, you can ignore this one, BUT it turned out very well with being marinated. This is a great option to the standard liver, bacon and caramelized onion recipe which was posted here awhile back.

Pork Liver and Green Onion Stir Fry

INGREDIENTS  

  • 300 grams pork liver
  • ½ teaspoon grated ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon grated garlic
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
  • 10 stalks spring onions (scallions may be substituted), cut into two-inch lengths

1. Rinse the liver and wipe dry with paper towels. Optionally, for easier slicing, freeze the pork liver for an hour or so or until partially firm.

2. Slice the liver into 1/4-inch slices.

3. In a mixing bowl, stir together the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, lime or lemon juice, oyster sauce, pepper and sugar.

4. Add the liver to the marinade and mix well.

5. Cover the bowl and marinate the liver slices in the fridge for at least two hours.

6. Drain the liver slices. Reserve the marinade.

7. Heat the cooking oil and sesame seed oil in a wok or frying pan. Swirl to coat as much of the cooking surface with oil.

8. When the oil starts to smoke, spread the liver slices on the cooking surface. Try to have all pieces in a single layer.

9. Cook without disturbing for about two minutes then flip them over. Cook for another minute.

10. Pour in the marinade and add half of the spring onions to the liver. Stir fry for a minute or just until the liver slices have soaked up the marinade.

11. Turn off the heat. Add the remaining spring onions and toss.

12. Serve immediately over rice of your choice.

Firecracker Salmon with Peach and Avocado Salsa

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

Ingredients

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.

Creamy Baked Acorn Squash

Amazingly, as I write this I note that is recipe#450! Outside today (August 19) the skies are sunny here in our part of Mexico, but the winds are beginning to howl with the approach of Hurricane Grace. Thankfully, it will pass south of us, but we still expect winds and rain.

Rarely do we see acorn squash in our part of Mexico; for that matter, we rarely see butternut squash or spaghetti squash. Whenever we find them, we grab them up! This latest squash recipe, incorporating sweet potatoes, is awesome!

Creamy Baked Acorn Squash

If you need to feed four people,use two acorn squash…

  • 1 large acorn squash, cut in half and seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons of grass-fed butter, unsalted
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream OR coconut milk with cream
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 5-6 sprigs of thyme
  • 1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil for the sweet potatoes only (optional)
  • 1/4 cup hard cheese like: parmesan, pecorino Romano (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Prepare squash and sweet potatoes.  If using the sweet potatoes, drizzle the olive oil over the tops of them.  Place in baking dish.  Add heavy cream, salt, pepper and thyme to the center of the acorn squash.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Remove and grate cheese over the top.  Bake an additional 20 minutes of until squash is soft.  Bake uncovered.

Buen provecho amigos!

Jiffy Mix Cornbread with Jalapeno and Cheese

Until recently, we were unable to find Jiffy cornbread mix here. Having found it, I searched Pinterest to look for an upgrade to the mix. Below is the enhanced recipe…

Jiffy Mix Jalapeno and Cheese Corn Bread

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
  • 2 Tbsp. of melted butter (I use unsalted)
  • 1/3 cup of milk – I used 2%, but you can substitute whatever you have on hand
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 /2 of 15 oz. can of Niblets corn – drained
  • 1 – medium Jalapeno diced (or) 2 Tbsp. of canned jalapeno diced (optional)
  • 1 egg

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Using a large mixing bowl, add the corn muffin mix and all of the other ingredients and mix until the dough is moist

3. Grease an 8×8 pan and pour the mixture into the pan

4. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25-35 minutes – or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean

5. Bread will still be very moist when done, don’t let that confuse you with it not being cooked.

NOTES

*Adjust baking time per baking dish. Muffins will be ready on the earlier side of time frame (around 15-20 min., loaf pan will probably take the full amount of time because of the depth of the batter – maybe longer, use the toothpick method. you can use an 8×8 or 9×9 pan to spread the batter out a little, and you are probably looking at closer to 25 minutes.

Loaded Mashed Potato Mix

What to serve with some beautiful beef filets? Of course, potatoes, but what kind? Since there were no real potatoes in the house, I turned to my fall back potatoes – INSTANT! (I always have a few different kinds of Idaho Instant potatoes in the pantry). For this recipe, I chose the Idaho Baby Reds.

Not wanting to simply whip up according to the package, I found a recipe on Pinterest. (You are NOT surprised.) It was delicious and perfect with the filets and roasted asparagus. So perfect, that I neglected to take a photo…

Loaded Idaho Mashed Potato Mix

Ingredients

  • 6 cups prepared mashed potatoes made with butter and milk (or broth)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix unprepared (I substituted Emeril’s Essence)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese divided
  • 6 slices cooked bacon chopped
  • 6 green onions thinly sliced (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine mashed potatoes, sour cream, ranch dressing mix, 1 cup cheese, bacon and onions.

3. Spread into large casserole dish. Bake for 25 minutes or until heated. Remove from oven and sprinkle top with remaining 1 cup cheese.

4. Return to oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese on top is melted.

5. Garnish if desired with extra bacon and green onions.

6. Serves 6-8

Salmon and Avocado Salad with Japanese Ponzu Dressing

If you have a nearby Costco, they usually carry Norwegian smoked salmon (the one with three rows of different smoked salmon). This comes in handy for pizzas, pastas, quiche, etc. You can buy “ponzu” soy, but I prefer making this dressing as shown. In place of the arugula I used baby romaine as a bed for the salmon.

Smoked salmon and avocado salad with Japanese Ponzu Dressing

Salmon & Avocado Salad with Japanese Ponzu Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. smoked salmon – thinly sliced
  • Large handful of wild arugulas
  • 2 avocados – diced
  • 1 English cucumber – cut in rounds and halved

Homemade Ponzu Dressing:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice or lime juice (or a combination)
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/2 tsp of chili pepper flakes

Method:

1. In a large salad bowl, combine the ingredients for the ponzu dressing, and whisk well.

2. Add in the arugula, avocado, and cucumbers. Give it a good toss. Add in the smoked salmon and lightly toss again. Taste and adjust any seasonings if needed. Enjoy immediately!

More Copycat Recipes

Since the last post of copycat recipes was so well received,here are four more you might like – Emeril’s Essence 2. Everything Bagel Spice 3. Poultry seasoning and 4. Stuffing Mix.

None of the above can normally be found where we live and in desperation I searched Pinterest for more copycats. Not only do I save money on imported originals, but I can also make smaller amounts, I can make fresh amounts as needed.

Emeril’s Essence

  • 2 -1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

    Everything Bagel Spice (mix with cream cheese)

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons dried minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed or whole (optional, but recommended)

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container. You can store the mix on the counter or in a cabinet for a while; I keep it in my refrigerator, to ensure the seeds stay fresher longer (the fats in seeds make them more susceptible to turning rancid).

Copycat Poultry Seasoning

  • 2 tsp. sage
  • 1 ½ tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp. Marjoram
  • ¾ tsp. rosemary
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. black pepper

Mix well. Rub Homemade Poultry Seasoning on the outside of the chicken before roasting. This homemade seasoning can also be used in stuffing and in soups.

Copycat Stuffing Mix

  • 6 cups cubed bread
  • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
  • 3 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1/4 cup dried onion flakes
  • 1/2 cup dried celery flakes
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake bread 8 to 10 minutes, cool. Dump all ingredients in a large bowl (that has a cover!) shake well to blend.

2. To Use: Combine 2 cups stuffing mix, 1/2 cup boiling water, 2 tablespoons melted butter in a saucepan.

Copycat Spice Mix Recipes

Depending on which country you live in, some of those crucial ingredients you need for a recipe can be difficult to find. Spice mixes are one of the most challenging if you are used to walking into your US or Canadian grocery store and always finding the mix you want in the spice section. Such is NOT the case in Mexico! This is where PINTEREST is so helpful! Below are four of the MOST common ones I never find here in Yucatan. Each is actually cheaper than buying the brand name!!

  1. Cajun Spice 2. Dry Ranch Seasoning 3. Onion Soup Mix 4. Taco Seasoning

Cajun Spice Mix

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sea salt
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 4 teaspoons celery salt
  • 4 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 4 teaspoons dried basil
  • 3 teaspoons ground sage
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme

1. Measure out all of your dry spices and seasonings.

2. Stir until well combined.

3. Transfer to a pint-sized mason jar and store with your spices.

Dry Ranch Dressing Seasoning Mix

  • 1 tbsp dry Parsley
  • 1 tbsp Dill
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion flakes or dry minced onion
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Onion Soup Mix

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup dehydrated minced onion flakes
  • 2 tablespoons instant beef bouillon granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Directions

Combine the onion flakes, beef bouillon granules, and onion powder until blended. Store in an airtight container.

This makes the equivalent of 1 package soup mix. Use anywhere that onion soup mix is called for (recipes, mix with sour cream for a dip, etc).

Taco Seasoning

  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • 1/4 cup onion powder
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt or sea salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper

1. Measure all of the ingredients into a lidded jar.

2. Shake until all ingredients are combined.

Notes

This recipe makes about one cup of seasoning.

Before each use, give it a good shake. Makes 3 tbsp. seasoning = 1 packet

For one pound of meat, use 3 tbsp. of seasoning plus about 2/3 cup of water.

Thai Cucumber Salad

Great anyday salad, but perfect for a day of NO COOKING, like Saturday or Sunday! And you know we enjoy Thai food whenever we get to our favourite restaurant in nearby Baca. It is a quick and easy salad that even the kids could make if you supervise their cutting! Personally, I used my mandoline.

This salad tasted so good even with regular cucumbers (seeds and all) and I enjoyed it so much that I forgot to get a real picture before it was GONE!

I replaced the red chile pepper with a bit of finely diced red pepper but still used the red pepper flakes for a little heat.

Thai Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 red Thai chile pepper, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 large cucumber, spiralized or sliced
  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste

1. Combine rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil and red Thai chile pepper in a small bowl. Mix well.

2. In another small bowl, combine cucumber, shallots and red pepper flakes. Mix well.

3. Pour liquid mixture over cucumber mixture. Toss until cucumbers are coated well. Place in fridge until ready to serve.