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!

Tangy Coleslaw

It’s the weekend and BBQ time and or light lunch/dinner. Prepare this tangy coleslaw early, refrigerate and you are all set. Try some of the add-ons to stretch the recipe. For a faster prep, buy the already shredded coleslaw at your favourite market!

Tangy Coleslaw

For the Slaw:

  • 1 head cabbage, shredded; or about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of packaged shredded coleslaw mix
  • 1 medium red onion, quartered and thinly sliced

For the Dressing:

  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar to taste (actually 1/2 cup is sufficient)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds

Instructions

  1. Combine shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix with the sliced onion in a large bowl.
  2. Combine the dressing ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the stove.
  3. Pour the hot dressing over the cabbage and toss well to coat.
  4. Cool the coleslaw slightly, cover, and then refrigerate until serving time.

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

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.

Chilled Asparagus with Citrus Dressing

For a great summer lunch try this chilled asparagus with some salmon poached in wine. I usually do the salmon with cold green beans (blanched), but not having found any at Costco, I went for using asparagus, which I believe you northerners are seeing IN SEASON. We started the meal with a cold strawberry soup ( which is somewhere on this blog if you do a search). The great thing about this meal is that you can easily prepare it all in the morning and just plate it up when company arrives.

Chilled Asparagus with Citrus Dressing

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-pound asparagus, woody ends cut off
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • Juice of an orange
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2. Add in the asparagus and cook for 2 minutes.

3. Immediately remove the asparagus from the boiling water and place it into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

4. Once the asparagus has cooled remove it from the water, blot it dry with a towel, and place it in a large bowl.

5. In a glass measuring cup combine the remaining ingredients (everything from zest down to pepper) and whisk together to form the citrus vinaigrette.

6. Pour the desired amount of vinaigrette over the asparagus and toss to coat.

7. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, then top with a little more salt and pepper.

Greek Salad and Dressing for Two

Tired of the same old green salads? No lettuce in the house? Greek salad is the answer – minus lettuce, which is not even normally found in a true Greek salad.

Start with a freshmade dressing, refrigerated while you chop up the salad ingredientes. This is one of our new favorites, for sure! And it looks beautiful as well.

You won’t find a better Greek salad anywhere…

Greek Salad and Dressing for Two

Ingredients

  • 1 large clove garlic finely minced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Measure all ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until well-blended and emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if necessary.

(Alternatively, you may whisk the ingredients together in a bowl, process the ingredients in a mini food processor, or blend them together in a blender.) Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator; allow to come to room temperature and shake well before using.

Greek Salad

  • 1 Roma tomato diced
  • ¼ red onion diced
  • ½ English seedless cucumber large dice
  • ½ red pepper diced
  • ½ cup whole black olives
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Mix all salad ingredients in a bowl. Toss with dressing and refrigerate 15 minutes.

Roasted Frozen Broccoli Florets

How many times have you realized that the only vegetables in the house were in the freezer? Sure you can sometimes steam them, but often they turn out mushy. Thankfully on Pinterest you can find recipes for using them straight from the freezer without thawing! This recipe is a keeper, along with others I found there for using frozen spinach in a pasta and frozen butternut squash. (more on those another day).

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Roasted Frozen Broccoli

Ingredients

  • 10 oz bag of frozen broccoli florets
  • olive oil spray
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder

Instructions

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Arrange frozen broccoli florets in a single layer on the parchment paper

Spray the frozen broccoli with olive oil spray to coat

Sprinkle on even amounts of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder over the tops of the broccoli (no need to toss or stir)

Roast at 450 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes, checking once or twice, until broccoli is crisped to your liking

Remove from oven and sprinkle on parmesan cheese.

Serve immediately.

Korean Chicken Stir Fry and Zucchini Pancakes

Apologies for not posting sooner, but Internet was down here. Back in action with 2 great Korean recipes! First tried these pancakes at Korean Grill and Ice Cream and they were an awesome appetizer. To upgrade the pancakes to a dinner, I have prepared the Korean Chicken Stir Fry.

 

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Hobak Buchim (Zucchini Pancakes)

Ingredients

  • 1 medium zucchini about 8 ounces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 medium sweet onion thinly sliced
  • 2 green hot chili peppers thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup buchim garu (Korean savory pancake mix) or flour (see note)
  • 1 large egg (omit for a vegan version and add some water)
  • vegetable or canola oil for frying

Dipping Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch gochutgaru (red chili pepper flakes)
  • OPTIONAL baby shrimp and chopped green onions

Instructions

Cut the zucchini into matchsticks. Place them in a bowl, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Let sit for about 10 minutes until wilted and released some liquid. Squeeze the liquid out from the zucchini as much as possible, reserving the liquid in the bowl. Set the zucchini aside.

Add the egg and pancake mix (or flour) to the bowl with the zucchini squeezed mix. Mix everything well with a spoon, and then combine with the zucchini, onion and chili peppers. The zucchini mix may look stiff when mixing, but it will become more liquidy after a few minutes. If it’s still too stiff, mix in some water (2 to 3 tablespoons to start with).

Heat a skillet with two tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. Add about 2 heaping tablespoons of the batter and spread it evenly into a thin round shape. Depending on the size of your pan, you can cook 3 to 4 pancakes at once. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the bottom is light golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Repeat the process with the remaining batter. Serve hot with a dipping sauce.

Notes

Use 5 tablespoons all purpose flour with 3 tablespoons cornstarch if available.

This recipe makes 6 to 8 3-inch round pancakes, or two large pancakes.

Korean Chicken Stir Fry

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs chicken breasts boneless and skinless, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper or to taste

Korean Sauce

  • 3 tbsp butter unsalted
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger minced
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce low sodium
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. Red curry paste or sambal oelek

Garnish

green onions        toasted sesame seeds             red chilis sliced

INSTRUCTIONS

Toss the chicken pieces through the egg first, then dredge through cornstarch.

In a large bowl whisk together all the sauce ingredients. Set aside.

Add about 3 inches of oil to a heavy bottom pan and heat to 375 °F.

Add chicken to the pan and fry in batches about 3 to 4 minutes per batch. Transfer the chicken to a paper towel lined plate and repeat with remaining chicken.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds or until aromatic. Stir in the brown sugar and honey and cook for about 1 minute until the brown butter dissolves. Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and gochujang sauce to the skillet and stir. Cook for 30 seconds then add the chicken to the skillet and toss well with the sauce.

Serve garnished with green onions, toasted sesame seeds and red chilis.

Elevated Campbell’s Tomato Soup

How to dress up a can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup for company? This recipe turned out well, but alas, I did not take a photo. You will just have to trust me…LOL

Elevated  Campbell’s Tomato Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Fresh Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Cup Dried Bread Cubes (I use the ones meant for stuffing)
  • 1 Can Tomato Soup
  • 1 Can of Chicken Broth (I pour my chicken broth into the tomato soup can after pouring the tomato soup out.)
  • 1 teaspoon Fresh Chopped Basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fresh Chopped Thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions

I recommend using 3 or 4 (depending on size) Ramekins

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl toss together bread cubes, 1/3 cup of the shredded cheese, pinch of salt and pepper. Set off to the side.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the tomato soup, chicken broth, basil, thyme, and vinegar until smooth.
  4. Evenly distribute the bread cube mixture among the ramekins or fill the entire bottom of the circular casserole dish you plan on using.
  5. Next you want to evenly distribute the soup mixture among the ramekins or slowly ladle over the bread cubes in a singular casserole dish.
  6. Use the rest of the remaining cheese to float on top of the soup mixture, by slowly sprinkling it onto the soup.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 10minutes, then switch to a low broil and allow to cook until the cheese becomes golden brown and bubbly (about 5 minutes in our oven, but this can happen quickly so watch carefully to be sure).

Fried Cabbage with Bacon, Onions and Garlic

Looking for a great Easter side dish? Buy that half head of cabbage and start frying. This is an excellent side and you can substitute turkey bacon if you prefer. It reheats beautifully.

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Fried Cabbage with Bacon, Onions and Garlic

Serves 4

  • 6 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 1 large brown onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 medium head of white cabbage, trimmed, cored and sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
  • The following to taste:
  • salt, black pepper, onion and garlic powder, paprika
  • a knob of butter (optional)
  • dill weed (to taste)

Heat a skillet and then cook the bacon rashers over medium heat until just crisp. remove and set aside on paper kitchen towelling to drain. Crumble and keep warm.

Add the onion to the bacon drippings. (Over here our bacon is very lean so there wasn’t many. If you find that is the case, add a small splash of olive or rapeseed oil.) 

Cook, stirring to soften. when it begins to caramelize somewhat add the garlic.  Cook and stir until fragrant. Add the diced carrot.

 Add the cabbage.  Cook, tossing and stirring, until the cabbage begins to soften.  Season to taste with the seasonings. 

Add 60ml (1/4 cup) of water and cover. Cook and steam over low heat until the cabbage has softened. Stir in the bacon crumbles.  Taste and adjust seasoning as required. If desired stir in a knob of butter. Serve hot.