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Peanut Butter Cookies

We are back! Sorry for being a little late, but we were in Mexico City for a short visit last week. We stayed in the Condesa area which had been damaged by the earthquake. The B and B was not damaged, but two buildings nearby collapsed and others sustained major damage. Restaurant and museums were closed until this past Sunday, including the world famous Ballet Folklorico at the magnificent Bellas Artes theater. Yellow tape prevailed on many streets with red tape where buildings were unable to be lived in. Everywhere though, the neighbors were pitching in to help each other. It was wonderful to see so many young people pitching in!!! So now I am back in Progreso. My husband is in Canada and I am free to bake (normally he does it all). So here goes one of my favourites. LOL…I believe this was one of his grandmother’s favourite plates…

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World’s Greatest Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (I only use JIFF crunchy)
  • 1 1/3 cups packed light-brown sugar (i would recommend cutting back)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Lightly coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  • Mix flour and baking soda in a small bowl; set aside.
  • With a spoon, mix butter, peanut butter and brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth.
  • Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth.
  • Add flour mixture and stir until combined.
  • Cover dough and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
  • Roll dough into 1-inch balls and bake for 8-10 minutes. (8 was adequate in our oven)
  • Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes; allow to cool in the refrigerator for another 20-30 minutes.
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Chinese Pork Meatballs/Chinese Fried Rice

You just can’t have one without the other, as the old song used to say! Oh, that was love and marriage….for those old enough to remember. I had purchased ground pork and ground beef to make Low Carb Crustless Taco Pie. Since I did not use all of the pork I had fresh ground pork to use up. Pinterest again! There was also some leftover chicken breast from the rotisserie chicken I had purchased. Clean out the fridge!!! Today you are getting both recipes…..

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Chinese Pork Meatballs

Ingredients

∙ Makes 20 meatballs

  • 1 lb. Ground pork
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp Ginger
  • 2 tsp Soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 tsp Five-spice powder
  • 2 pinches White pepper, ground
  • 3 tbsp Peanut oil

Instructions

In a large bowl, combine the pork, cornstarch, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce, five-spice powder, and pepper, and mix well.

Roll 1 heaping tablespoon of pork mixture into a ball and continue until all the pork mixture is used.

In a wok over medium heat, heat the peanut oil. Using a wok spatula, spread the oil to coat enough of the wok surface to fry about 10 meatballs at a time. Lower the meatballs into the wok in batches.

 Cook without moving for about 2 minutes, or until the bottoms are cooked through. Use the spatula to carefully rotate the meatballs to cook on the other sides.

Keep rotating the meatballs gently until cooked through.

Serving Tip

For a heavenly dipping sauce, combine equal parts low-sodium soy sauce and honey.

Chinese Fried Rice  Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked brown or white rice
  • 1 cup frozen peas and diced carrots
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
  • 3 green onions, diced

Instructions

  1. Add veggies and oil to a large pan or skillet and sauté for 3-4 minutes until cooked through. Scoot all of the veggies to one half of the pan. Add egg and allow to cook for 1 minute, then scramble it with a spoon or spatula and stir in with veggies.
  2. Add rice to pan. Add soy sauce and stir over medium heat for 6-8 minutes until browned. Sprinkle remaining seasonings over the rice and stir another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in green onions.

 

Greek Moussaka

In the process of cleaning out our freezer and realized I had 500 gm of ground lamb. What to do? I have always liked moussaka in a Greek restaurant, but never made it at home. Good old Pinterest to the rescue, for what appeared to be an easy recipe and without the potatoes on top….less calories. The recipe looks complicated, but I decided to prepare the ground lamb ahead of time and put it in the refrigerator until I was ready to make the complete dish. It gave me time to prepare the eggplant while I was cleaning up from the lamb prep. The dish turned out perfectly, with our guests taking home this recipe! The photo below is from the Pinterest pinner…we got so carried away enjoying the dish that I forgot a photo. Check out Sniff It Out on Pinterest for more tantalizing recipes!

Moussaka

Greek Moussaka

About 500g of lean minced (ground) lamb
2 Aubergines (Eggplants) medium to large in size
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 heaped tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 rounded tablespoons tomato purée
3 fl oz. (75 ml) red wine or more
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the yogurt topping for the Greek Moussaka – I used a large CorningWare casserole dish and ended up doubling the yogurt in order to cover the top.

150ml Greek yogurt (double if necessary)

1 medium egg, beaten

50g feta cheese or more

25g freshly grated parmesan or more

 

  1. Preparing the Aubergines

Leave the skins on and slice the Aubergines into approximately 10mm thick slices.

Put the slices into a colander and sprinkle them with about 1 level dessertspoon of salt. Stand the colander on a plate to catch the water which comes out of the Aubergines and put another plate on top of the aubergine slices.

You now need to weigh this plate down with something heavy (I find that a couple of tins of soup works quite well) and leave them for about an hour to let the juice come out.

After an hour, squeeze out any of the excess juice from the aubergines and dry them well in a clean cloth.

Spread the aubergine slices on a baking sheet and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over them tossing them around to get a good coating.

Put the baking sheet in a pre heated oven (around 200 degrees) and roast the aubergines for 30 minutes or until they are browning at the edges.

I usually roast the eggplant simply because the baking tray is much bigger than the frying pan and I can get the slices done all in one go, but, if you would rather sauté the eggplant to use in the moussaka you can do that too.

 

  1. Preparing the lamb for the Moussaka recipe (I did this step first)

    Because the mince can have quite a lot of fat come out of it I usually dry fry the mince until it is nicely browned then remove it from the pan and put it to one side then discard any of the fat which has come out of it before using it to make the moussaka.

Then heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions, garlic and thyme gently, without colouring, for about 10 minutes.

Stir the minced lamb back in and add the parsley, cinnamon, tomato purée and red wine and stir to combine the ingredients. Season the mixture well and cook gently for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  1. Prepare the topping for the Greek Moussaka recipe

    It’s true that Moussaka isn’t the most healthy dish on the planet, that’s why I prefer a yogurt topping for my moussaka recipe because it is a bit lighter than others I have tried but that is purely my preference. Mix the yogurt with half of the cheeses and the beaten egg and season with ground pepper.

 

  1. Putting everything together for the Greek Moussaka!

    Line the bottom of a casserole dish with slices of aubergine, then spoon over some of the meat mixture. Build the layers of the moussaka up until all the meat and aubergine has been used.

Cover with the topping mixture and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180ºC / 350ºF for about 1 hour until golden and bubbling.

Let the Moussaka stand for about 20 to 30 minutes before cutting and serving and this will ensure that it keeps its shape when you serve it.

 

 

 

Not So Secret Family Meatloaf

So I was in the need for some comfort food! Ground meat was in the freezer and I wanted something simple, something my granddaughters could make for their families. Pinterest to the rescue as always. Erica’s recipe was perfect except for one slight change I made since spouse doesn’t like sauces too sweet.  Let me know how you like this one…

Not-So-Secret Family Meatloaf      Author: Erica DeSpain

Prep time:  15 mins  Cook time:  1 hour 10 mins

Total time:  1 hour 25 mins Serves: approx. 6 servings

Ingredients

  • FOR THE MEATLOAF:
  • 1.25 lb. ground beef or ground turkey (we usually do ground turkey and never taste the difference!)
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 4 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • FOR THE SAUCE:
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar (cut back the sugar unless you like it very sweet)
  • 3 tbsp vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • ⅓ cup ketchup

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine meatloaf ingredients well and then shape in meatloaf pan.
  3. Combine sauce ingredients and pour over meatloaf.
  4. Bake uncovered for 50 minutes if using ground BEEF and 65 minutes if using ground TURKEY.
  5. Enjoy immensely!

Broccoli Casserole from Scratch!

Must be the cold season down here as I realize I am posting another casserole. I have always enjoyed broccoli casserole but was never quite happy with the mushroom soup. Et voila? Pinterest to the rescue. Served this to company with a lite salad and baked potatoes. All agreed it was really good. Hope you will try it…Easter is coming and this would be great for a buffet.

Broccoli Casserole From Scratch
Serves: 8 servings

Made completely from scratch, this broccoli casserole is filled with fresh broccoli, mushrooms, cheddar cheese, and a homemade cream sauce. A buttery, cheesy breadcrumb topping adds a crispy finishing touch to this classic dish.
Ingredients
• 2 ½ lbs. broccoli florets, cut into bite-size pieces (about 8 cups)
• 6 tbsp. butter, divided
• 1 cup finely chopped button mushrooms
• ¼ cup flour
• 1 cup milk (whole or 2% preferred)
• ½ cup half-n-half (I omitted with no appreciable difference)
• ½ tsp. salt
• ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• ½ cup Greek yogurt
• 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• 1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese, divided ( I used old white cheddar)
• 1 ¼ cups whole-wheat breadcrumbs (homemade* or store-bought), divided
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add broccoli and boil for 4 minutes. Transfer to a colander, rinse with cold water, and drain. Place broccoli in a large bowl.
3. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft, about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer mushrooms to the bowl with the broccoli.
4. In the same saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth; cook, whisking constantly, 30 seconds. Whisk in the milk and half-n-half. Bring to a low simmer and continue to whisk constantly until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, and Greek yogurt.
5. Pour sauce into the bowl with the broccoli and mushrooms. Add the onion, egg, 1 cup of the cheddar cheese, and ½ cup of the breadcrumbs. Stir to combine. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
6. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and stir into the remaining ¾ cup breadcrumbs. Stir in the remaining ½ cup cheddar. Sprinkle breadcrumb topping over the casserole.
7. Bake for 45 minutes, until filling is hot and bubbly. Check after 30 minutes and cover with foil if topping is browning too quickly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Acknowledgments to Kristine’s Kitchen – kristineskitchenblog.com