Hungarian Goulash

“The hurrier I go, the behinder I get!” LOL. Where did the week go? In actuality, we are still catching up after returning from a month’s vacation. Some of you know how that is after almost two years of no travelling. While in Europe years back, we had the opportunity of trying both Czech and Hungarian goulash. Our preference was the Hungarian, which we had in Budapest. This recipe is fairly straight forward once everything is prepped.

Hungarian Goulash

Ingredients

  • 2 medium onions diced
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 ½ pound stewing beef trimmed and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 cups beef broth or water
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes canned
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 ½ cup carrot diced
  • 3 cups potatoes, diced or less

1. In a large pot, melt butter and add onion. Cook till translucent. Stir in caraway seeds and paprika and mix well.

2. In a bowl, dredge the stew beef with flour. Add beef to the onion mixture and cook for about 2-3 minutes.

3. Slowly add about ¼ cup of the beef broth to lift the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Then add remaining broth, diced tomatoes (potatoes and carrots if using), salt and pepper.

4. Stir and bring to a boil, cover, then reduce to a simmer for about 1 ½ -2 hours or until tender.

Shopska Salad

A day late this week, as we just returned from vacation in Ontario, Canada. While there we had this wonderful salad in a Serbian restaurant. In researching, I came to see the same recipe listed as Croatian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, etc. Nevertheless, it was great. It is important to dice the vegetables as indicated. If not, you may think you are making a Greek salad as the ingredients are very similar without the black olives!

Shopska Salad

Servings 6

  • 1 large beefsteak tomato about or the same amount of regular tomatoes
  • 3 mini cucumbers each about 15 cm/ 6 inches long or a regular long cucumber
  • 3 bell peppers red, yellow and green
  • 1 medium onion red or white
  • 1 handful fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar to taste
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Chop the tomatoes into cubes. Halve and chop the mini cucumbers. If using a large cucumber, remove the seeds with a tablespoon. Chop the bell peppers. Finely chop the onion and the parsley.

2. Mix all the vegetables in a large bowl.

3. Dressing: whisk together the sunflower oil, red wine vinegar, fine sea salt, and pepper. Add to the salad and stir.

4. Crumble the creamy feta on top of the salad. Sprinkle cheese on the salad or mash it with a fork and smear on top of the salad. You can also crumble it and stir it into the salad.

5. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper and more vinegar, if you like it.

Carbonara with Shrimp and Scallops

Dinner with friends again, so I opted to make this old recipe again, which it seems I never posted before? I added some shrimp to the original.

Carbonara with Pan Seared Scallops

Ingredients for Scallops

  • 12-16 large scallops 3-4 per person + deveined shrimp
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt and Pepper

Ingredients for Carbonara

  • 8 slices thick cut bacon diced
  • 1 shallot finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic leave whole
  • 4 green onions
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup parmigiana Reggiano grated
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 14 oz (400g) pasta of your choice -I used Linguine

Pasta Carbonara

1. Start cooking pasta in large stainless-steel pot.

2. In small bowl mix together cream, egg yolks and 3/4 of cheese.

3. In large skillet cook bacon until crisp, add shallots and ½ green onions.

4. Smash down garlic clove a bit, add to bacon. (remove prior to adding pasta)

5. When pasta is finished cooking, drain well, then add to skillet of bacon.

6.. Toss well, then transfer to large bowl.

7. Add cream mixture to pasta and combined well. Make sure pasta is still hot in order to cook the eggs and melt the cheese.

Perfect Pan Seared Scallops (+ shrimp)

1. Blot scallops with paper towel to remove any water. Salt and pepper.

2. Heat large non-stick frying pan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil.

3. Make sure frying pan is hot before adding scallops but not smoking.

4. Add scallops leaving plenty of space between. Overcrowding the pan will drop the pan temperature and cause scallops to steam rather than sear. (may have to do in batches)

6.  Sear for about 2-4 minutes or when bottom is a nice golden brown. Don’t move them around in the pan or you will prevent them from forming that nice brown crust. After a couple of minutes have peek under to see if golden brown.

7.Turn to sear other side. (about 1-3 more minutes)

8. Spoon the melted butter over the scallops as the other side finishes cooking.

10. Transfer to paper towel covered plate.

11. Keep warm in oven, if making in batches.

12. Add butter to another frying pan. Cook shrimp until pink flipping once!

13. Add shrimp and scallops to pasta and mix well

14. Serve with more Parmesan cheese.

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

We enjoyed this recipe at our daughter-in-laws as an appetizer, so much so that I served it as a side with the previous blog – Baked Salmon. It is definitely a keeper! Once the asparagus is blanched, the recipe is K.I.S.S. So simple that even a child could prepare it up to the point of baking! Great for BBQ season, too. Unfortunately, I ran out of the prosciutto so I just put the extra on the pan and drizzled it with more extra virgin olive oil.

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

  • 8-ounce asparagus fresh
  • 10 slices dry-cured ham prosciutto
  • 6 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 clove of garlic chopped
  • olive oil

1. Cut each prosciutto slice in half crosswise.

2. Spread cream cheese and garlic onto each half slice of prosciutto.

3. Wrap cream cheese topped prosciutto around each asparagus spear.

4. Place wrapped asparagus onto a parchment paper lined baking pan.

5. Bake at 400°F for about 15 minutes or until meat has browned

NOTES

If you want to use multiple slices of prosciutto, go ahead. Since they are cured, using more than one won’t affect the cooking time.

Sprinkle pepper on the cream cheese. This will give the roasted recipe a bolder flavor.

Brush the prosciutto with olive oil. This is optional, but it will make the prosciutto crispier.

Soften the cream cheese. It is so much easier to spread when you let it sit at room temperature for a bit first.

Baked Salmon with Lemon Butter Garlic Sauce

On the road again and a little late with this week’s recipe. Visiting friends and opted to make dinner for them, as I usually do once or twice…this one looks a little difficult, but not really. The result was well worth it, served with an amazing asparagus with cream cheese and prosciutto (next week’s recipe).

Baked Salmon with Lemon Butter Garlic Sauce

Ingredients

  • Salmon fillets (skinless) – 5, about 150 g/ 5 oz
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice- 2 tbsp.
  • Olive oil- 1 tbsp.
  • Garlic cloves (minced)- 1
  • Old style Dijon mustard- 2 tbsp.
  • Ground black pepper- 1 tsp.
  • Salt- to taste

LEMON BUTTER GARLIC SAUCE

  • ¼ Cup Unsalted butter melted
  • Garlic cloves (minced)-1 1/2 tsp.
  • Heavy cream/ half and half- 1/2 cup
  • Parsley finely chopped
  • Black pepper

In a medium bowl combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and Dijon mustard. Mix well.

Place salmon fillets into the skillet, pour the mixture over salmon fillets and rub. Season with ground black pepper and salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes in the preheated oven.

In the meantime, melt butter in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 20 seconds.

Pour in heavy cream and bring to a boil. The sauce should thicken a little bit.

Take off the heat and stir in parsley and season with black pepper and salt to your liking.

Pour the sauce over the baked salmon and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes

 Preheat your oven to 425°F /220°C with the rack in the center.

In a medium bowl combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and Dijon mustard. Mix well.

Place salmon fillets into the skillet, pour the mixture over salmon fillets and rub. Season with ground black pepper and salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes in the preheated oven, depending on thickness.

In the meantime, melt butter in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 20 seconds.

Pour in heavy cream and bring to a boil. The sauce should thicken a little bit.

Take off the heat and stir in parsley and season with black pepper and salt to your liking.

Pour the sauce over the baked salmon and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes

Crabmeat Salad

Many restaurants offer crabmeat dishes, but in reality, what they are calling crabmeat is actually Alaskan pollock, aka surimi.. “So what is surimi?”, you ask.

Surimi is a minced fish paste, made from a cheap fish in abundant supply, usually Alaskan pollock, frequently mixed with sugar and sorbitol, a sweetener.

I actually like using surimi due to the fact that it is much cheaper than the real crab meat! I recently bought a large package of surimi sticks at Costco. I sometimes eat a stick just because it tastes so great. Having bought so much of it, I decided to make this salad for lunch.

Crab Salad (Surimi)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound imitation crab meat flaked style, or sticks cut into slices
  • 1/2 cup celery finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons red onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh dill chopped, plus more for garnish

Instructions

Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl. Stir gently to combine.

Serve immediately, or cover and chill for up to 2 days.

Sprinkle with additional chopped dill for garnish if desired.

Sheet Pan Nachos

Last minute company for lunch? This is simple and tasted great using Costco’s Tostados Multigrano . The only real prep was in cooking the meat. Other than that this comes together quickly. I used ground beef, but turkey would work too.

Sheet Pan Nachos

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp. garlic-infused olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped green onion leaves (green tops only)
  • 1 Tbsp. minced jalapeno (optional)
  • 1 (16 oz.) package ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1 Tbsp. taco seasoning
  • 1 (11 oz.) multigrain tostados
  • ⅔ cup shredded cheddar cheese (or dairy-free cheese)

Optional Toppings

  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
  • ⅓ cup sliced green onion (green parts only)
  • ⅓ cup sliced black olives
  • 1–2 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
  • sour cream
  • SalsaI prefer Pace brands

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion leaves and optional jalapeno. Sauté until leaves are bright green, fragrant, and soft. Add ground beef and brown, breaking apart into crumbles, until cooked. Once cooked, add taco seasoning, stir mixture, and adjust seasoning to taste. Remove skillet from heat and set aside.

3. Place tostados onto a rimmed baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Top with cooked beef mixture and sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake for 5 minutes until cheese is slightly melted.

4. Remove pan from oven. Top with your favorite optional toppings and serve warm.

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.

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.

Shrimp Cocktail Sauce

I was very tempted to buy a store-bought shrimp ring as an appetizer while Easter dinner was readying in the oven this year. After seeing the price this year, I opted to buy a package of shrimp and make my own sauce. Fortunately, I already had a shrimp ring type of platter with a dish for the sauce. Actual savings was about TEN DOLLARS!

Knowing that most of you are aware of what a shrimp ring looks like I have not included any photos. Below is the great sauce recipe I incorporated!

Shrimp Cocktail Sauce with Sriracha

  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup Sriracha (Chili Garlic Sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon horseradish
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

Feel free to double the sauce depending on how many shrimp you are using.