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.

COPYCAT Texas Roadhouse Cinnamon Honey Butter

Ever since the first TRH opened in our nearby city, we have been enamored with the fresh rolls and butter. After our recent Christmas dinner where we had leftover dinner rolls, I decided to search out that wonderful cinnamon honey butter. Et voila, this one came very close. Elsewhere on Pinterest you can find the Copycat rolls recipe, but the butter is the star for me.

Copycat Texas Roadhouse Cinnamon Honey Butter

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for 30 seconds, or until pale in color. Add the powdered sugar, honey, and cinnamon and beat until well combined, light, and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately or store, covered, in the fridge for up to 5 days. Serve butter at room temperature, on hot rolls.

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

Baked Chicken Drumsticks

In consideration of buying an air fryer, we had purchased some chicken drumsticks quite a while back. Discovering that there were still 5 in the freezer, I began a Pinterest search. Thankfully there were quite a few recipes for doing them in a regular oven. (We eventually talked ourselves out of the air fryer (too much electricity here in Mexico). I can happily say that both of us thought these were far superior to the AF recipe! AND, so very easy to prep, too.

Baked Chicken Drumsticks

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken drumsticks (I used 5 but six would have been better than sharing the 5th one)
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked pepper

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

2. Add all of the ingredients to a large zip top bag and seal. Smush the chicken around in the bag to coat in the seasoning.

3. Arrange chicken on the baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees.

4. Serve immediately.

Italian Romaine Salad and Dressing for Two

Since we are back trying to shed some pre-Christmas pounds/kilos, I find we are eating more salads. This one is very similar to a well known Italian restaurant chain in the US! It’s fresh and very tasty, as well as filling.

Italian Romaine Salad 204 calories per serving

  • 1 head romaine lettuce or 2 small romaine hearts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 Medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Grated, parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Pepperoncini, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Black olives, sliced or whole
  • 1 pint Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Croutons, store bought or homemade OPTIONAL

Italian Dressing

  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Dried oregano
  • 1 tsp Dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp Sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar

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.