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.

Vietnamese Noodle Salad

Another hot day in Yucatan and time for a cold dinner of salads. Previously I shared 10 Minute Canned Salmon Salad (May 31,2020) and also Chilled Asparagus Salad (last week). Here I am adding an easy Vietnamese Noodle Salad with garnishes of jicama, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes and black olives. The “noodles” are actually rice vermicelli which is readily available in most grocery stores where pasta or Asian foods are displayed. It made a great looking salad bowl! (I took this photo before I added the tomatoes) LOL.

The “salads” can easily be made ahead and assembled as shown when lunch or dinner calls.

Vietnamese Noodle Salad

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces thin Asian vermicelli noodles
  • 2 carrots shredded
  • 2 cucumbers seeded and shredded
  • 4 green onion chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh bean sprouts OPTIONAL
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro OPTIONAL
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic pressed or minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Lime

1. Soften the vermicelli noodles in a large bowl by covering with boiling water and soaking for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Rinse under cold water, drain, and add to a large bowl. Add the shredded carrots, cucumbers, bean sprouts and chopped cilantro to the noodles.

2. In a glass jar fitted with a lid or a bowl, mix together the fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, garlic and crushed red pepper. Pour 3/4 of the dressing over the noodles and toss to coat. Add more dressing if desired. Sprinkle with more cilantro and green onion and a squeeze of lime if desired. Salad can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight, however if making ahead, add the cilantro just before serving.

Seafood Stew (otherwise known as “Bouillabaisse)

In different parts of the world, this dish is simply called “seafood chowder”. In Belgium we ate a similar dish known as “waterzooi“. I decided that I had small amounts of fish, shrimp and scallops that were not enough to cook separately and once again I turned to Pinterest to see what were the possibilities. The resultant stew/chowder/bouillabaisse/waterzooi was great!

The photo below is from Pinterest, showing oysters, lobster, etc. accompanied the original recipe. Choose whatever seafood you can get at the store…

Feel free to choose whatever seafood you have on hand…

Seafood Bouillabaisse

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 6 small potatoes, chopped
  • 1 small bulb fennel, trimmed and chopped* OPTIONAL
  • pinch saffron
  • 4 cups fish or vegetable broth
  • 1 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-pound fresh cod or another fish of choice, diced
  • 8 raw shrimp, shells on
  • 8 littleneck clams* OPTIONAL
  • 8 mussels* OPTIONAL

Garnishes and accompaniments: Chopped fennel fronds, chopped parsley, slices of toasted baguette.

To make rouille, combine one minced garlic clove, a 1/4 cup of finely minced jarred roasted red pepper, and cayenne pepper with 1/4 cup mayonnaise.

1 Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic, celery, carrots, potatoes, fennel and saffron until translucent. Add tomatoes and fish broth and bring to a boil. Cook stew until thickened, about 20 minutes. If you’re planning to serve the stew immediately, continue to step 2. If serving later, allow stew to cool completely and store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, bring back to a simmer over medium heat before continuing to step 2.

2 Lower heat to simmer and add fish, adjusting heat to keep the liquid bubbling gently. Add cod or other diced fish first. Follow with clams about 5 minutes later. Finally, add the shrimp and mussels. Cover the pot and continue simmering until clams and mussels are open and shrimp is pink.

3 Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Ladle stew into bowls and serve with toasted bread slices and rouille sauce.

Hungarian Goulash

In 2010, we had a great trip to Europe, where we experienced food in several countries. It was in Budapest where we had a wonderful goulash at Paprika Vendeglo restaurant. We had previously been in Prague where we had tasted Czech goulash. Both of us preferred the former for its wonderful goulash, pictured here – served in a small bowl over an open flame with noodles.

Thankfully for Pinterest, I was able to make a tasty Hungarian Goulash recipe which I attempted this week. It brought back memories, sans the noodles/dumplings.

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

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. Stir

Serve with noodles or dumplings or just plain as I did.

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.

10 Minute Canned Salmon Salad

Just in time for summer, maybe…LOL. This is not your traditional salmon salad. I prefer sockeye when I can get it, but you could use whatever you can find. It will last two days in the refrigerator. I am not a canned tuna fan but you could try it…

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10 Minute Canned Salmon Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 package (10 oz) carrot matchsticks* (I used two whole carrots julienned)
  • 3 large bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 3 oz jar capers, drained**
  • 2 cans (8 oz each) wild salmon
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp mayo
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, plain
  • 2 large avocados, diced

Instructions

In a large mixing bowl, add carrots, bell peppers and capers. Mash salmon a bit with a fork inside the can and add to the salad.

Add parsley, salt, pepper, mayo, Greek yogurt and gently toss to coat. Add avocado and give a few more stirs. Serve cold.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Notes

*A few cups of coarsely shredded carrots would work. **Use any pickled goodies like asparagus, beans, olives etc.

Ham and Bean Soup

For those of you serving ham for Christmas here is an easy recipe for leftovers…LOL

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Easy Ham and Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 carrots, small dice
  • 1 small onion, small dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 (14.5 ounce) cans white beans (in Mexico I used a large can of charros)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups diced smoked ham
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley

Instructions

Add olive oil to 5-quart soup pot and set over medium high heat.

When the oil is hot add in the carrots and onions. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions just start to soften and turn translucent.

Add in the garlic and thyme leaves and stir to combine.

To the pot add all the beans with the juice from their cans, chicken stock, diced ham and bay leaves. Stir to combine.

Simmer the soup for 10-15 minutes or until it’s slightly thickened.

Taste and season with desired amount of kosher salt and black pepper.

Stir in parsley and serve hot. I put a dollop of sour cream on top when we had it…

Maple Thyme Roasted Brussel Sprouts,Carrots and Parsnips

Last of the fall vegetable recipes since they are becoming scarce. These were great! Great with the scalloped potatoes…

Maple Thyme Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, and Parsnips

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped, peeled parsnips, cut into ½” chunks (about 3 medium)
  • 2 cups chopped, peeled carrots, cut into ½ ” chunks (about 3 medium)
  • 4 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved or quartered, depending on size
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the oven racks on the lower and upper thirds of the oven.
  2. Divide the vegetables between two large rimmed baking sheets in a single layer.
  3. Place the olive oil, maple syrup, thyme, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Drizzle half of the mixture over each pan of vegetables and toss well to coat. Place one pan on the upper rack and one on the lower rack, and roast for 15 minutes. Switch the pans from upper to lower and vice versa, and roast 10-15 minutes more or until caramelized and softened.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Roasted veggies

Creamy Cauliflower Chowder

Baby its cold outside (in the North, actually here in Mexico too, trust me on this one…). Great time for a hearty chowder – vegan if you leave out the bacon!

It calls for a whole head of cauliflower, but here we can but 1 lb. packages of florets which simplifies the recipe. I think you’ll really like this one my friends…great start to the New Year!

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Creamy cauliflower chowder

Prep Time: 10 minutes         Cook Time: 30 minutes       Yield: 4-5 people

Creamy Cauliflower Chowder is a healthy, easy, comfort food recipe and ready in under 30 minutes. It’s gluten free, low carb and keto friendly.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup diced Onion
  • 5 Garlic Cloves (minced)
  • 1/2 cup diced Carrots
  • 1 Whole Head of Cauliflower (cut into small florets)I bought a one lb. bag of florets
  • 1 1/2 cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • Salt to taste

Olive Oil and cooked bacon (4 strips) for topping

 Instructions

In a Dutch oven or soup pot, heat butter and add onions and garlic. Saute for a few minutes until the onions are soft.

Add carrots, cauliflower, vegetable broth, pepper, oregano and salt to the pot. Bring this to a boil, and slow the heat down to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or so till the cauliflower is tender.

Switch off the flame and using a blender, blend the soup partly in the soup pot. If you don’t have a hand blender, pour half the soup into a blender and pulse a few tips till creamy.

Switch the flame back on and add a cup of water or broth along with the cream cheese. Simmer for 5-10 minutes and switch off the flame. Feel free to thin the soup further if  you like with some more broth or milk. Top with olive oil and bacon and serve hot.

Turmeric and Ginger Chicken Soup

Ok…its a little chilly out there, depending on where you live. Actually it’s chilly in Mexico where the temperature last night dropped to 13 C. Forget Christmas…LOL. It’s chicken soup time! Dig in (to the soup, NOT the snowbanks).

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Turmeric and ginger are excellent additions healthwise BTW.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs , skin removed
  • 12 cups cold water 
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro stems or fresh parsley stems
  • 2 shallots , quartered
  • 2 carrots , coarsely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic , smashed
  • 1 piece (1 inch) fresh turmeric (unpeeled), thinly sliced
  • 1 piece (1/2 inch) fresh ginger (unpeeled), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (approx.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves or fresh parsley leaves
  • OPTIONAL – 1 liter of Campbell’s Chicken Broth

METHOD

In Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine chicken, water and vinegar; cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium; simmer for 30 minutes, skimming and discarding froth.

Stir in cilantro stems, shallots, carrots, garlic, turmeric and ginger; partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 40 minutes.

Remove from heat; using tongs, transfer chicken to cutting board.

Using 2 forks, shred into bite-size pieces; sprinkle with salt.

Strain broth through fine-mesh sieve into separate large saucepan; discard solids.

I prefer my soups chunky, so I used my immersion blender to chop up some of the veggies before I added the chicken back to the pot. At this point I also added the liter of chicken broth.

Return chicken to broth; stir in cilantro leaves. Season with salt to taste.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

Per each of 6 servings:

Sodium 493 mg

Sugars 0 g

Protein 30 g

Calories 171

Total fat 5 g

Potassium 611 mg

Cholesterol 155 mg

Saturated fat 1 g

Total carbohydrate 0.0