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.

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.

Roast Christmas or New Year’s Duck

Traditionally, we always have duck for Christmas Eve due to the reality that most people will have turkey for Christmas Day! This is a new recipe I found in place of the Duck L’orange that I have roasted in the past. The combination of balsamic vinegar, honey and lemon was incredible. It would be great for New Year’s Eve or Day!

Roast Christmas Duck

Ingredients

  • 6 lb whole duck
  • salt
  • 5 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 lemon small or medium, chopped

GLAZE

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lemon, freshly squeezed juice
  • 1/4 cup honey

A. If you purchased frozen duck, make sure to defrost the frozen duck in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Once the duck is completely defrosted (in the refrigerator), take the duck out of the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking to bring it more or less to room temperature.

B. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. You will be roasting the duck for a total of 3 hours (3 hours will be divided into 4-time chunks where you will be flipping the duck, brushing it with glaze, etc. – see the instructions below).

1. Remove the giblets from inside the duck. Rinse the duck, inside and outside, with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.

2. Set the duck on the working surface. Score the duck’s skin on the breast in a diamond pattern, making sure you only cut the skin, without reaching the meat. Poke the other fatty parts of the duck with the tip of the knife all over, to ensure fat release, especially in very fatty parts. You don’t need to poke the duck legs as the skin is pretty thin there (except for where the duck legs connect to the duck body). Season the duck very generously with salt both inside the cavity of the duck and outside on the skin, legs, all over. Place the duck breast side up.

3. Put 5 chopped garlic cloves and lemon slices inside the duck cavity (these are just for flavor, not for eating – you will discard them after cooking). The duck will have flapping skin on both ends – fold that skin inwards, to hold the garlic and lemon inside. Tie up the duck legs with butcher’s twine.

4. Place the bird breast side up on a large roasting pan with a rack (roasting pan should have a roasting rack to lift the duck from the bottom of the pan and allow the fat to drip below the duck). Roast the duck, breast side up, for 1 hour at 350 F.

5. After 1 hour of roasting, flip the duck on its breast and roast it breast side down (roast the other side) for 40 minutes, at 350 F.

6. Remove the roasting pan with the duck from the oven (you now have roasted the duck for 1 hour + 40 minutes), carefully remove the duck to a platter (making sure the lemons and garlic from the cavity do not fall out – keep the skin on both ends of the duck folded), and carefully pour off all the duck fat juices from the roasting pan into a large heat-proof bowl or container.

7. Flip the duck breast side up again on a rack in a roasting pan (the pan will have no fat juices now). In a small bowl, combine ½ cup of balsamic vinegar with the freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon. Brush all of the duck with the balsamic mixture (especially the scored duck breast) and cook the duck breast side up for another 40 minutes at 350 F, brushing every 10 minutes with the mixture.

8. Now, in a separate small bowl, combine ¼ cup honey and 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar lemon mixture that you will have left over from the previous step. Brush the breast side of the duck with this honey-balsamic mixture, and roast for another 40 minutes, brushing the duck breast side every 10 minutes with honey balsamic mixture. You can even carefully broil the duck for the last 10-15 minutes if you like (do it carefully, checking the duck regularly to make sure it doesn’t char too much). Final temperature should be 180 F or 82 Celsius!!!

9. After the duck is cooked, remove it from the oven, let duck stand for 15 minutes. Then, carefully remove and discard the lemon from the cavity (being careful not to get burned).

Carve the duck and serve!

TOTAL COOKING TIME: The duck should be roasted for a total of 3 hours at 350 F. These 3 hours of roasting are divided into 4 distinctive time chunks (1 hour breast side up + 40 minutes breast side down + 40 minutes breast side up brushed with balsamic-lemon mixture + 40 minutes breast side up brushed with honey-balsamic mixture).Calories: 2862kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 79g | Fat: 267g | Saturated Fat: 89g | Cholesterol: 517mg | Sodium: 438mg | Potassium: 1558mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 1145IU | Vitamin C: 48.8mg | Calcium: 104mg | Iron

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.

Keto White Chicken Chili

Have leftovers, will whip up something…LOL Have had this recipe for sometime but never made it until this week. It is a great way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken! Great flavours, too!

Keto White Chicken Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 4.5oz can chopped green chiles
  • 1 diced jalapeno (OMIT if you need less heat)
  • 1 diced green pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 oz cream cheese softened
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

In large pot, season chicken with cumin, oregano, cayenne, salt and pepper

Sear both sides over medium heat until golden

Add broth to pot, cover and cook chicken for 15-20 minutes or until fully cooked

While chicken is cooking, melt butter in medium skillet

Add chiles, diced jalapeno, green pepper and onion to skillet and saute until veggies soften

Add minced garlic and sauté additional 30 seconds and turn off heat, set aside

Once chicken is fully cooked, shred with fork and add back into broth

Add sautéed veggies to pot with chicken and broth and simmer for 10 minutes

In medium bowl, soften cream cheese in microwave until you can stir it (~20 sec)

Mix cream cheese with heavy whipping cream

Stirring quickly, add mixture into pot with chicken and veggies

Simmer additional 15 minutes

Serve with favorite toppings such as: pepper jack cheese, avocado slices, cilantro, sour cream

Smorgasbord of Leftovers

Fast approaching the new year...FINALLY! With two holidays in such a short period of time there are bound to be leftovers. Am I right? Indeed we had leftovers from both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at this point. No turkey in this house this year, but we did have hamand roasted duck. I raced to Pinterest as usual and the results were both quick and easy – Classic Split Pea Soup and Duck, Duck Soup. Both were great for the cooler days this holiday season.

  1. Classic Split Pea Soup

Ingredients

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 ribs of celery, diced

3 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

1 to 1-1/2 cups diced ham

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 to 3 cups water

1 lb (about 2-1/4 cups) dried split peas (I used a jar of cooked white beans)

1 bay leaf

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and sauté until soft, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the carrots, ham bone, diced ham, split peas, chicken broth, 2 cups of water and bay leaf to the pot.

Bring the soup mixture to a slow simmer and cover, leaving the lid slightly askew.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas have broken down completely and the soup has thickened, 50 to 60 minutes.

Remove and discard the ham bone and bay leaf.

Stir the soup to blend thoroughly and if necessary, add more water until the thickness of the soup is to your liking.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and ladle into bowls for serving.

2. Rachel Ray’s Duck Duck SouP

Ingredients

Bones from cooked duck

1-quart chicken broth

2 cloves garlic, crushed

4 slices ginger

3/4-pound bok choy, sliced OR spinach

1 1/4 cups shredded duck meat

1 1/2 cups cooked rice

1 scallion, sliced

Preparation

In medium pot, simmer bones, broth, 1 cup water; garlic and ginger for 25 minutes; strain. Remove any residual meat from the bones. Return to pot with remaining ingredients; simmer 5 minutes.

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..

Chicken and Spinach in Creamy Paprika Sauce

Hope you will love this recipe as much as we did! Our spinach was not looking good, so I needed to cook it up! Pinterest to the rescue AGAIN! Fortuitously, we had purchased some smoked paprika when we were in Budapest years back and I had never used it. Since I only had chicken breasts I used them and it turned out fine. as you can see below. I cooked up some wonderful Parmesan and garlic green beans with pine nuts to accompany the dish.

Chicken and Spinach in Creamy Paprika Sauce

Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken Breasts (boneless & skinless)
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika (for seasoning chicken)
  • 1/4 tsp Salt and Pepper (each for seasoning chicken)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

Creamy Paprika Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp flour (sifted)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (sodium free)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice (juice of squeezed lemon)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp paprika

1. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and paprika, rubbing it evenly over both sides.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet (I used cast iron skillet) over medium high heat and cook on the first side for about 3 minutes. Flip, and turn the heat down to medium and cook for another three minutes. Remove and set chicken aside on separate plate.

Making Creamy Sauce:

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the now empty skillet. Add garlic and cook stirring frequently about 2 minutes. Add flour using a sifter until well mixed. Add wine next and cook for 1-2 minutes to allow alcohol to evaporate.

 Stir in chicken broth, heavy cream and lemon juice. Add salt and paprika. Mix well. Simmer for 2 minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning (if necessary) at this point.

Spinach:

Add in the spinach and cook for additional 2 minutes until the spinach has wilted.

Return the chicken to the skillet and cook covered for 2-3 minutes if your chicken breasts are thin; or for 5-7 minutes, if they are thick.

Serve immediately.

Zucchini Chicken Stir Fry

Must say that this recipe turned out very well. The sauce was great. Be very carefulnot toovercook the zucchini or it will get mushy!

Zucchini Chicken Stir Fry

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless – skinless chicken breasts (or thighs or tenders), thinly sliced then cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce – divided
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar – divided
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar – divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves minced garlic – about 1 tablespoon
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 medium zucchini – yellow squash, or a mix
  • 1 large red or yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Sesame seeds – optional for garnish
  • Chopped green onion – for garnish

1 In a large bowl, combine the chicken, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Set aside while you prep the remaining ingredients.

2 In a small bowl or large liquid measuring cup, stir together the remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce, remaining 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, remaining 1 teaspoon sugar, the ginger, garlic, water, cornstarch, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

3 Trim off the ends of the zucchini. Cut in half lengthwise, then place the flat, cut sides on the counter. Slice crosswise into ¼-inch thick half moons. Thinly slice the onion.

4 In a wide skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and its marinating liquid. Sauté until the chicken is golden brown on the outsides and fully cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove to a plate.

5 Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the onion. Cook until tender and beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes.

6 Give the sauce one more stir, then add it to the pan. Let cook 30 seconds, then add the sliced zucchini. Cook just until the zucchini begins to soften, about 3 minutes more.

7 Remove from the heat, then stir in the reserved chicken. Serve hot with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and green onion as desired.

Skillet Chicken and Mushroom Wine Sauce

Really enjoyed this recipe even though it looks kinda blah in my photo. Ran out of thyme for garnish…LOL.

Skillet Chicken and Mushroom Wine Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut diagonally into cutlets
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 12 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and thick sliced
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large shallots, sliced thin
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth, low sodium
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 large springs of fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water or broth

1. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels. Cut each breast in half diagonally into 2 thinner cutlets. Alternately, place the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound to an even thickness.

2. In a shallow bowl combine the flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Set aside.

3. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large skillet. Heat over medium until the butter is melted. Dredge 3 chicken cutlets in the flour mixture, coating both sides, shaking off the excess flour. Add the coated chicken to the skillet and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Turn and cook another 3-5 minutes. Remove the cooked chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm. Repeat until all chicken is browned.

4. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the pan and heat until melted. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook, undisturbed, until the mushrooms are well browned on one side. Stir and turn the mushrooms and continue cooking until the moisture is released and evaporated, and the mushrooms are all well browned.

5. Add the sliced shallots to the pan and cook until softened. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Pour the wine into the pan and scrape the bottom to deglaze.

Add the thyme sprigs, chicken broth, mustard and cream. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the dissolved cornstarch. Bring the sauce back to a light simmer and add the chicken. Heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce is thickened and the chicken warmed through. Remove the thyme sprigs, and season the dish with salt and pepper to taste.

6. Garnish with parsley or additional thyme and serve with rice, potatoes or noodles