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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.

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

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.

Biscotti with Ginger, Orange and Cashews

Calling all coffee lovers! Found this recipe for a great biscotti cookie for dipping in that morning or evening coffee. Or, just nibbling away whenever…NOT just for Christmas!!

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Biscotti with Ginger, Cranberries, Orange, and Cashews

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted cashews, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • zest from one orange
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 large eggs or 4 medium
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
  2. Mix together flours, sugar, baking powder, cashews, ginger, and cranberries.
  3. In separate bowl, mix together eggs, orange zest, and vanilla.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  5. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Form the dough into two flat logs on the parchment paper. It spreads a little, but not much, so make these slightly smaller than the width that you would like your biscotti to be.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let the biscotti cool completely before slicing into ~1/4-inch-thick slices.
  8. Lay the slices flat on a baking sheet (you can use the same one, with the parchment), and bake for 7-10 minutes, flip each one over, and then continue to bake for an additional 7-10 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 24 pieces.

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.

Croque Monsieur

We first had this in Paris, France at Fouquet on the Champs d’Elysee and subsequently in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico at the wonderful Merci Restaurant. Merci is better with their homemade bread! Trust me! Below is the version I use at home.

Croque Monsieur

 Croque-Monsieur

A Croque-Monsieur is the French answer to the grilled cheese sandwich. Gruyere cheese, ham, and bread are topped with a creamy Béchamel sauce.

Preparation Time: 7 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Total time: 12 minutes
4 sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices whole wheat bread

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 2 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup milk

  • 1/8 teaspoon sweet paprika

  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Dijon mustard for spreading

  • 4 slices ham

  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese (you can also use Emmenthal or other Swiss-style cheese)

  • OPTIONAL – 4 eggs

Instructions:

  1. Toast the bread until lightly browned on one side.

  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk until thick and bubbly. Gradually whisk in the milk, until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Whisk in the paprika. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep the sauce warm while your assemble the sandwiches.

  3. Lay four slices of bread, toasted side down on a broiler pan. Brush each one with Dijon mustard, to taste. Lay one slice of ham on each piece . Divide 1/2 cup cheese among the four sandwiches. Top with the second slice of bread, toastier side up. Divide the sauce among the four sandwiches, spreading it over the top. Add one fried egg per sandwich. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the sandwiches.

  4. Broil until the cheese is melted and the tops are bubbly and brown, five minutes or more in my toaster oven. Watch it carefully; yours may be different. Serve immediately.

I like to serve it with a small salad or grilled asparagus.

Link to recipe: http://goodcheapeats.com/2015/02/how-to-make-a-croque-monsieur/


Chicken Pot Pie Soup

I LOVE chicken pot pie! I dont make crusts…LOL. Nor can I buy the store-bought crusts here. With some leftover Costco roasted chicken, I yearned for pie. FYI…Bisquick isn’t available here either. Turning to my trusty Pinterest, I found this recipe. It was awesome!!!! I left out the mushrooms and added chopped red pepper… The diced veggies looked great so I added a photo of them too!

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CHICKEN POT PIE SOUP

COOK TIME: 15 MINS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 Tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 chopped red pepper
  • 4 ounces button or baby Bella mushrooms, diced
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, diced (I used a can of diced potatoes)
  • 1 cup frozen corn (I used a small can )
  • 1 cup frozen peas (I used a small can)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
  • oyster crackers (instead of the crust)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat butter in large stockpot over medium-high heat until melted (or heat the olive oil until it is shimmering).  Add onion, carrots, peppers and celery.  Saute for 6-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent.  Add in the garlic and mushrooms, and sauté for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant.
  2. Stir in the flour until it is completely combined, and saute for an additional 1 minute, stirring occasionally.  Gradually add in the chicken stock and milk, stirring frequently.  Stir in the chicken, potatoes, corn, peas, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper until combined.
  3. Bring the mixture to a simmer (be careful not to bring it to a boil!), stirring occasionally so that the bottom of the soup does not stick to the pan.  Then reduce heat to medium-low, and continue simmering the soup for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are soft and cooked through.
  4. Taste the soup and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  5. Serve immediately, with crackers on top or on the side, if desired.

Easy Shepherd’s Pie

Who does not like shepherd’s pie? There are several variations out there. Sometimes it is called Cottage Pie. This one was a snap! The only tricky part was the roux, melting the butter and adding the flour. Make your life easier and use instant potatoes!

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Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb. Ground Beef
  • 4 cups Mashed Potatoes
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Flour
  • 12 oz. Frozen Peas and Carrots, thawed (Use a can of mixed peas and carrots)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and add ground beef, onion and garlic.
  • Cook until browned and drain.
  • In another skillet or pan, melt putter and add flour.
  • Cook roux for 2 minutes.
  • Whisk in Worcestershire and milk.
  • Cook for 1 minute to thicken.
  • Combine beef mixture, gravy and thawed vegetables.
  • Place in baking dish.
  • Top with mashed potatoes and place in oven for 20-30 minutes until heated through. In the last few minutes sprinkle the cheese on the potatoes.

 

Lobster Thermidor

Just before I get to the recipe, I want to say thank you to the 6000 visitors as of today, who have checked out this blog. You give me inspiration to keep going just when I think I should move on to something else!!

The following recipe was posted by Rachel Ray who has her own cooking show.  I almost hate to say that I was clearing out the freezer and found small lobster tails asking to be used for dinner…LOL. I know, its a little rich, but consider it for a special dinner, make that ROMANTIC dinner…hope you will have an opportunity to try it.

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Lobster Thermidor (Rachel Ray)

Ingredients

4 (6 to 8-ounce) packaged lobster tails,  jumbo shrimp or prawns can be substituted

  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Splash dry white wine or dry sherry
  • 1/2 cup milk, eyeball it
  • 1/3 cup grated white cheddar
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika or crab boil seasoning, recommended: Old Bay
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish
  • Handful parsley leaves mixed with 2 cups baby greens, for plate garnish

Directions

Bring a pot of water to a boil, 3 or 4 inches deep. Add lobster tails to the water and boil 7 to 8 minutes. Drain and shock under cold water to cool. Use kitchen scissors to cut away soft underside of tails. Remove meat and save the shells*, arranging them in a shallow casserole dish. Chop the cooked meat on an angle into chunks.

Preheat your broiler to high.

Heat a medium skillet and a small saucepot over medium heat. To the small saucepot, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add finely chopped onion and cook 3 to 5 minutes until very soft. To the skillet, add remaining 2 tablespoons butter. When the butter melts, add chopped lobster meat and sauté.

Add flour to sauce pot with onions and cook together another 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in wine or sherry, then milk. Remove sauce from heat and stir in cheddar cheese and paprika or crab boil. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over lobster meat and stir to combine. Pour lobster into and over the shells* in a casserole dish and top with Parmesan and bread crumbs. Broil on high until golden, 2 or 3 minutes. Serve each tail, spilling over with lobster bits in sauce, on a bed of mixed baby greens and parsley with wedges of lemon along side.

  • I did not use the shells…so much for my presentation…

Lamb Liver and Bacon Casserole

Before you even get started on me, yes I love liver, but not the way my mother overcooked it after dredging it in flour! Quite a few months back we found a lamb store here and we purchased this lamb liver to try. Where else would I turn but Pinterest? The recipe could be made with any liver…well maybe not chicken…cluck cluck. Leftovers were great for breakfast with  fried eggs on the top. Trust me!! Let me know if you try it…Chuck? LOL

Lamb Liver and Bacon Casserole

Ingredients:
– 500 g lamb’s liver, trimmed and cut into small pieces ( try baby beef)
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 230 g rind less smoked bacon rashes, cut into pieces
– 2 small onions, chopped
– 2 cups mushrooms, cut into quarters
– 2 tablespoons plain flour
– 150 ml hot water
– 1 teaspoon smoke sweet paprika powder
– 1 tablespoon soy sauce
– salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a casserole dish and stir-fry the bacon until crisp. Add the onion and continue frying until the onion is soft. Add the mushrooms and fry for another 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon (to make sure that oil and bacon fat will stay in the casserole dish), remove the bacon and vegetables and put aside.
Add the liver to the remaining fat and cook over a medium heat for about 4 minutes, turning so it’s seared and cook all around. Remove from the dish and keep warm.