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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.

Butternut Squash Coconut Curry

Imagine my surprise at finding more butternut squash at our Favourite supermarket, Superama, here in Mexico. It is highly unusual, so much so that I bought all seven of them! They were hidden among the pumpkins which had just arrived. Those of you who live in northern climates will easily find these everywhere this time of year. Pinterest to the rescue with this recipe…

Butternut Squash Coconut Curry

Ingredients

  • 4 cups butternut squash, peeled, deseed and diced
  • 1-2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 cup vegetable broth, or 1 vegetable bouillon plus 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves

Instructions

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium-high. Add onion, garlic and ginger.

2. Cook until onion is soft, about 3 minutes.

3. Stir in curry powder, paprika and thyme. Cook for 1 minute.

4. Stir in squash, coconut milk, vegetable broth.

5. Bring to boil, Cover and reduce to a simmer on low heat.

6. Cook for 15 minutes until squash cubes are tender but not mushy

7. Stir in pepper, salt and cilantro.

Delicious served with rice.

Salmon Pasta with Sundried Tomato Cream Sauce

Quite often when I purchase a salmon filet there are little pieces which I cut off and freeze separately to use to make salmon poke, etc. Searching Pinterest for more ideas, I came across this great pasta dish!

Salmon Pasta with Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-pound salmon fillets
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
  • 5 oz spinach fresh
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 8 oz penne

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat.

2. Season salmon fillets with salt.

3. When the oil is hot, add salmon fillets flesh side down (skin side up). Sear for about 4 minutes on medium-high heat.

4. Reduce heat to medium.

5. Flip the salmon fillets to the other side (skin side down). Sear for another 4 or 5 minutes on medium heat until salmon is flaky.

6. Remove salmon from the skillet.

Pasta Sauce

1. To the same, now empty, skillet, add chopped sun-dried tomatoes and minced garlic. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

2. Add fresh spinach, and continue cooking and stirring until the spinach wilts, for a couple of minutes.

3. To the skillet with sautéed vegetables, add 1 cup of heavy cream, paprika, red pepper flakes. Bring to simmer. Simmer for about 1 minute, stirring. Season with salt. Add more paprika, if you like.

Pasta

1. Cook penne according to package instructions. Drain.

1. Add cooked and drained pasta to the skillet with the cream sauce. Stir in.

2. Remove skin from the salmon by sliding the fork between the salmon fillet and the skin.

3. Slice salmon into large chunks.

4. Add salmon chunks to the creamy pasta. Stir to combine. Simmer for a minute or more, until the salmon is warmed up and cooked through. The salmon should be flaky.

5. Season with salt, if needed.

Egg Roll in a Bowl #2

Second version of this recipe… we both liked the finer chopped vegetables.

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Egg Roll in a Bowl

  • 1-pound ground pork or chicken
  • 4 green onions whites/greens separated
  • 2 teaspoons ginger grated
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1-pound coleslaw mix (Mrt. Lucky Broccoli, Cauliflower and Carrot )
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil or to taste
  • cilantro & sesame seeds for garnish
  1. Brown pork in a pan until no pink remains. Drain fat
  2. Add the whites of the green onions, ginger, garlic, and coleslaw mix.
  3. Cook until slaw is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in soy sauce and sesame oil and stir until coated.
  4. Garnish with cilantro, greens of green onions, and sesame seeds and serve.

Optional additions:

  • Chopped mushrooms, water chestnuts or other vegetables
  • Sriracha or hot sauce to taste

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Egg Roll in a Bowl #1

I made this version of Egg Roll in a Bowl last year and have been using it ever since while we were on the Keto Diet. It is great, but I have recently come across this one which uses a Mr. Lucky Mini Flakes of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. It’s far easier than chopping up all that cabbage…LOL.

The original recipe from Tasha Metcalf with the cabbage is below.

Keto Egg Roll in a Bowl   Tasha Metcalf

Prep Time 5 minutes     Cook Time 15 minutes    Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1-pound ground pork OR chicken
  • 1 head cabbage thinly sliced
  • ½ onion medium, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ¼ cup soy sauce or liquid aminos
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 stalks of green onion

Instructions

Brown ground pork in a large pan or wok over medium heat.

Ensure cabbage and onion is thinly sliced into long strands. Use a spiralizer to cut the vegetables for quickest results.

Add sesame oil and onion to pan with browned ground pork. Mix together and continue cooking over medium heat.

Mix soy sauce, garlic, and ground ginger together in a small bowl. Once onions have browned, add the sauce mixture to the pan.

Immediately add the cabbage mixture to the pan and toss to coat the vegetable and evenly distribute ingredients. Add chicken broth to the pan and mix. Continue cooking over medium heat for three minutes, stirring frequently.

Garnish with salt, pepper, and green onion.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories 268
  • % Daily Value*
  • Total Fat 18g 28%
  • Total Carbohydrates 10g 3%
  • Protein 15g 30%
  • * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Brown Sugar Carnitas

Carnitas, literally meaning “little meats”, is a dish of Mexican cuisine that originated in the state of Michoacán. Carnitas are made by braising or simmering pork in oil or preferably lard until tender. The process takes three to four hours, and the result is very tender and juicy meat, which is then typically served with chopped coriander leaves (cilantro), diced onion, salsa, guacamole, tortillas, and refried beans (frijoles refritos).

Pork carnitas are traditionally made using the heavily marbled, rich boston butt or picnic ham cuts of pork. The 6–16 lb (3–7 kg) sections are usually cut down to a workable (6–10 lb) size and seasoned heavily before slow braising or deep frying.

The traditional way to cook carnitas is in a copper pot (or any thick-bottomed pot), which disperses the heat evenly in a process similar to confit. Lard is used to cover the dish in proportion to the amount of meat being cooked. Once the lard has melted, pork and flavorings are added (usually salt, chili, cumin, oregano or Mexican oregano, marjoram, thyme, bay leaf, and crushed garlic cloves). Traditional carnitas are then made by a process of simmering the meat in the lard until tender over a very low heat. Once appropriate tenderness is achieved, the heat is turned up and the outside of the pork begins to crisp. At this stage, the collagen in the meat has broken down sufficiently to allow it to be pulled apart by hand or fork or chopped with a cleaver. (WIKIPEDIA)

Having read that, you are probably thinking TOO MUCH WORK! Indeed, my spouse made carnitas the traditional way, complete with the copper pan we bought in Quiroga when we visited that area of Mexico. It took hours and was incredible BUT….too time consuming and messy!

One of my favorite Mexican TV cooks is Pati Jinich, who has a program on PBS and on YouTube (Pati’s Mexican Table). The following recipe is her version and done on the stovetop in a Dutch oven. It was PERFECT and a lot less onerous.

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Brown Sugar Carnitas

Ingredients

  • 1 cup lard, vegetable shortening, or oil (I used oil)
  • 3 to 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder or butt, fat on, cut into 3” chunks
  • 4 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups milk, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar or brown sugar substitute.

Heat the lard in a large Dutch oven or heavy casserole over medium-high heat. Season the meat with 2 teaspoons of the salt and the black pepper. Once the lard has melted, add the meat, brown on all sides, stirring and flipping as it does, for about 10 to 12 minutes.

In the jar of a blender, pour 1 ½ cups of the milk and add the garlic, onion and remaining 2 teaspoons of salt. Puree until smooth. Pour over the meat and let it come to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low, drop in the bay leaves, and cover. Cook covered for 1 hour and 15 minutes, flipping the chunks of meat a couple times in between.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining ½ cup milk with the sugar. Pour over the carnitas, stir, and let them continue to cook, uncovered, for another 4 to 5 minutes.

Turn off the heat.

With a slotted spoon, remove the meat and place in a bowl. Shred with a couple forks, add a couple tablespoons of the seasoned fat remaining in the casserole and toss.

This is normally eaten in  tacos with toppings like sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo salsa, etc. As you can see we skipped the tacos/tortillas and simply plated it with some rice and green beans.

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.

Zucchini Lasagna

Quite a while back I had posted a KETO lasagna recipe using zucchini zoodles. Now that we are Keto Conscious I have given myself a little more leeway with what we eat. But…this recipe is really still Keto but assembled in a little different manner, for those who do not own a spiralizer! It was great with a few different ingredients.

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Oven Ready in 9 x 13 pan

Zucchini Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 3 large zucchinis
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1-pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup onion finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic minced
  • 24-ounce jar marinara or Bolognese sauce
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooking spray
  • fresh basil garnish
  1. Trim both ends off the zucchini.
  2. Use a mandolin to cut the zucchini into 1/8-inch slices. Sprinkle salt over the zucchini slices, then lay them out on a layer of paper towels to drain. Let sit for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Pat the tops of the zucchini slices with paper towels until dry.
  4. While the zucchini is resting, prepare the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  5. Add the ground beef and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Cook for 5-6 minutes, breaking the meat up with a spatula, until beef is browned and cooked through.
  7. Add the onion and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  8. Add the marinara sauce and bring to a simmer; cook for 5 minutes.
  9. Place the ricotta cheese, chopped spinach, Italian seasoning, egg, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix until well combined.
  10. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 2- or 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
  11. Place 1/4 of the sauce in the bottom of the dish. Add 1/3 of the zucchini slices on top. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the zucchini then top with 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers, ending with the mozzarella cheese.
  12. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, then let stand for 5-7 minutes. Cut into slices, then serve.

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Penne alla Vodka

No doubt you have had this dish at any one of thousands of Italian restaurants around the world. It really is quite simple once you have prepared the sauce. You can use canned tomatoes, but in this case I used 2 larger fresh tomatoes, NOT plum. I simply chopped them up. One thing of note – do NOT use more than 3 – 4 tablespoons of vodka, as it will leave the dish bitter…

Penne Vodka

Penne alla Vodka

Ingredients

  • 28 oz. whole plum tomatoes, undrained OR 2 large fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 Tablespoons vodka
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons cold butter
  • Salt/Pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. Penne
  • Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Instructions

Puree the tomatoes in a blender, food mill, or an immersion blender and set aside. You can decide how chunky or uniform you’d like the tomatoes to be. I simply chopped them up!

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced garlic and the basil. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant and softened.

Turn off the heat.

Add the vodka to the pan and let it sizzle. Turn the heat back to medium and reduce the vodka until there is about a Tablespoon left.

Add the pureed tomatoes and let it simmer for 45 minutes or so, allowing it to reduce and become quite thick.

During the last 12 minutes or so, cook the penne according to package instructions. For saucier pasta, use ¾ lb. instead of the full pound. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water.

Add the heavy cream and the red pepper flakes to the sauce.

Add 2 Tablespoons cold butter to the sauce, along with 1/4 cup pasta water. Stir to combine.

Season with salt/pepper if desired.

Add in the drained pasta.

Garnish with roughly chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese and serve!

 

 

Classic Cobb Salad + Dressing

Just in case you are wondering about the difference between  a Chef’s Salad and a Cobb Salad, here is what I found in Wikipedia

A Chef Salad and Cobb Salad both have lettuce, cheese and meats such as bacon, chicken breast, and ham, plus hard boiled eggs. But a Cobb salad usually has a mixture of lettuces, and also has avocado and tomatoes. It was named after Robert Cobb who was the owner of the famous Hollywood Brown Derby and created by his chef in 1937.

This is the Pinterest version I was able to locate. Cobb Salad Dressing.

Cobb Salad

Classic Cobb Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 strips bacon
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast or leftover baked ham, chopped
  • 3/4 head iceberg lettuce (or salad greens blend)
  • 8 grape tomatoes (I chopped up a Roma tomato)
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 1/2 ounces blue cheese crumbled
  • 3 ounces ranch dressing (or blue cheese dressing) OR Cobb Dressing below*
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lay out bacon strips on a foil-lined baking sheet. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until is crispy. Removed from oven and transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  2. Heat grill or a skillet over medium-high heat). Cook chicken, flipping once, for about 3-4 minute per side. Make sure chicken reaches 165 degrees F internal temp and is no longer pink. Remove to a plate to rest. (Substitute chopped ham in place of chicken).
  3. Rinse and dry lettuce, then remove outer leaves and core. Cut into bite-sized pieces and place on a platter or shallow serving bowl.
  4. Rinse and halve tomatoes. Place on top of the lettuce to one side of the bowl. Slice eggs and place next to the tomatoes in a line. Cut avocado in half, remove from skin and then chop or slice. Add next to eggs.
  5. Slice or dice chicken and place on salad next to avocado. Crumble bacon and place next to the chicken/ham. Crumble blue cheese and place next to bacon.
  6. Serve with the ORIGINAL dressing! 

Cobb Salad Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup salad oil
  1. Place all ingredients in a blend and blend together until well mixed.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use.