Penne with Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon is something we have on hand regularly. We use it on pizza with red onions and capers. It is great as an appetizer, etc. If you have any leftovers, this makes a great and fairly easy meal.

Penne with Smoked Salmon

Ingredients

  • 1 1-pound box penne pasta
  • 1 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 8 ounces smoked salmon, or more, cut into ribbons
  • a sprinkle or two sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Cook penne in lots of boiling salted water until al dente cooked through and tender but still retaining some texture and chew.

Scoop out some of the starchy cooking water and reserve. Drain the pasta but not quite all the way. Leave it a bit wet. Put the pasta back into the pot along with a splash or two of the reserved water.

While the pasta is still steaming hot, immediately add the rest of the ingredients except the salmon. Stir with a wooden spoon as the cheese melts and forms a creamy sauce.

At the last second briefly stir in the smoked salmon; this way it won’t break up as much. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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.

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.

Wonderful Spring Salad!

When you feel like a salad and check the refrigerator for ingredients…

Ingredients

  • Chopped fried bacon (3 strips)
  • Feta cheese crumbles
  • Mushrooms of your choice
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Fried croutons
  • Baby spinach leaves
  • Brianna’s Poppy Seed dressing
  • 2 Green onions sliced
  • 4 hard boiled eggs (optional) chopped

Fry up the bacon and remove from pan. Add some croutons into the bacon fat!

Assemble all of the ingredients and mix with Brianna’s Poppy Seed Dressing!

Egg Roll Ramen Skillet

Just in case you are tired of holiday food…LOL. There are many variations for egg roll this and that. This one intrigued me because it uses ramen noodles, which certainly stretched the normal recipes. All you need to do is to buy a package of any Asian ramen soup and discard the packets of sauce! In lieu of cutting up cabbage, etc., just buy a package of coleslaw mix!

Egg Roll Ramen Skillet

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 (3 oz) packages ramen noodles
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 (16 oz) bag coleslaw mix with carrots
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped

PREPARATION

1 In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch into one tablespoon of the soy sauce until dissolved. Whisk in the remaining soy sauce, ginger, hoisin sauce, vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

2 Discard the seasoning packages from the ramen and cook noodles 1 minute less than package directions call for. Drain and toss with 1 tablespoon sesame oil.

3 In a large skillet or work, heat the remaining oil over high heat. Add the onion and cook about 3 minutes.

4 Reduce heat to medium-high, add garlic, and cook 30 seconds. Push onions and garlic to the side of the pan and add pork to center. Let cook 30 seconds before stirring, then break apart meat with a wooden spoon and stir in onions and garlic. Cook until no longer pink.

5 Add bell pepper and coleslaw mix and cook until cabbage has reduced, 2-3 minutes.

6 Add noodles and sauce and toss thoroughly, cook 2-4 minutes.

7 Adjust seasoning as needed, top with green onions, and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Chelsea’s Messy Apron. [https://www.chelseasmessyapron.com/egg-roll-noodles/]

Zucchini Noodle (Zoodles) Pad Thai

Affirming that all of our followers in USA had a thankful Thanksgiving! For us Canadians, we celebrated Thanksgiving way back in October. Anyways, this is a great recipe using “zoodles” in a slightly more exotic way. Think you Asian food fans might enjoy it. I have included the nutrition info at the end of the recipe.

Zucchini Noodle Pad Thai

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil (divided)
  • 1 pound (454 g) chicken breast, cut into small chunks
  • 2-3 large cloves garlic minced or crushed
  • 1 small red bell pepper seeded and sliced thin (I used yellow as I had no red)
  • 3-4 green onions sliced in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups (480 ml) bean sprouts
  • 1/3 cup (50 g) roasted peanuts
  • chopped cilantro for garnish
  • lime wedges optional

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) fish sauce (or more to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) brown sugar (I used Sukrin Gold substitute)
  • ½ teaspoon (3 ml) cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) chili garlic sauce or more to taste

1. Cut zucchini into spirals or noodle strands using the vegetable spiralizer or julienne peeler. Set aside noodles.

2. Make the Sauce: in a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients (rice vinegar, fish sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, and chili garlic sauce), set aside. If you want to use sriracha hot sauce, add as much as you like or you can add it afterwards.

3. Heat a large pan on medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon of olive oil (reserve the other half for later). Then add zucchini noodles and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until the zucchini noodles are tender. Don’t overcook the noodles. The zucchini noodles should be slightly crunchy with a tender bite.

4. Let the noodles rest for about 3 minutes to allow all the moisture to release. Remove the noodles from the pan and drain the excess water.

5. Carefully wipe the same pan remove the excess water, and then re-heat the pan on medium-high heat. Add the remaining olive oil and garlic. Cook the garlic until soft and translucent, about 1 minute. Add the chicken and cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until cooked through.

Add the bell peppers and green onions. Cook for about 1-2 minutes or until tender. Add the egg and stir in with the vegetables until the egg is cooked.

6. Add the zucchini noodles back into the same pan, and then add the sauce. Cook for about 1 more minute or until the zucchini noodles are heated through. Then stir in the bean sprouts.

7. Serve with roasted peanuts and cilantro. If you want to add lime wedges, squeeze some fresh lime juice on the noodles right before serving.

Calories: 624kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 60g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 238mg | Sodium: 2149mg | Potassium: 1312mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1865IU | Vitamin C: 54.3mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 2.5mg

https://bestrecipebox.com/zucchini-noodle-pad-thai-chicken/ 2/2

Pork Liver and Green Onion Stir Fry

In case you were wondering, we have been away for the last month, visiting family and friends whom we have not seen for over 26 months due to the Pandemic. Back home here now and continuing with new recipes.

If you are NOT a liver fan, you can ignore this one, BUT it turned out very well with being marinated. This is a great option to the standard liver, bacon and caramelized onion recipe which was posted here awhile back.

Pork Liver and Green Onion Stir Fry

INGREDIENTS  

  • 300 grams pork liver
  • ½ teaspoon grated ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon grated garlic
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
  • 10 stalks spring onions (scallions may be substituted), cut into two-inch lengths

1. Rinse the liver and wipe dry with paper towels. Optionally, for easier slicing, freeze the pork liver for an hour or so or until partially firm.

2. Slice the liver into 1/4-inch slices.

3. In a mixing bowl, stir together the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, lime or lemon juice, oyster sauce, pepper and sugar.

4. Add the liver to the marinade and mix well.

5. Cover the bowl and marinate the liver slices in the fridge for at least two hours.

6. Drain the liver slices. Reserve the marinade.

7. Heat the cooking oil and sesame seed oil in a wok or frying pan. Swirl to coat as much of the cooking surface with oil.

8. When the oil starts to smoke, spread the liver slices on the cooking surface. Try to have all pieces in a single layer.

9. Cook without disturbing for about two minutes then flip them over. Cook for another minute.

10. Pour in the marinade and add half of the spring onions to the liver. Stir fry for a minute or just until the liver slices have soaked up the marinade.

11. Turn off the heat. Add the remaining spring onions and toss.

12. Serve immediately over rice of your choice.

Korean BBQ Meatballs with Zoodles

By now you know how much we prefer zoodles over pasta. Here is a different take on the zoodles with a great sauce!

Korean BBQ Meatballs with Zoodles

Ingredients

  • 2-3 large zucchini (400 g)
  • 4 Spring Onions
  • 1 large Carrot
  • 1/2 Red Pepper
  • 1/2 Small Onion
  • 1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Dressing

  • 1.5 T Soy Sauce
  • 1 T Sesame Oil
  • 1 T Honey
  • 1 tsp Minced Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • Sesame Seeds
  • 1 package fresh meatballs*

*Prepare meatballs according to your preference. I made mine in the microwave and then added them to the skillet and it worked well!

1. Wash and prepare vegetables. Spiralize zucchini and set aside. Slice red onion into thin strips. Julienne carrot, roughly chop small onion. For the Spring onion I chopped the white part small and then cut the green portion into 1/2-inch strips. I used about 2 full spring onions and only the white portion of the other two.

2. Prepare a large wok or frying pan add olive oil and heat oil through. Add carrot and onion, let soften and heat through for 3-5 minutes. Add chopped onion, Spring onion, and red pepper cook for another 3 minutes. Add salt to taste while preparing vegetables.

3. Prepare meatballs. IF using frozen you can put them on a plate in the microwave covered with Saran wrap, leaving a corner for the steam to escape. Three minutes should do it as they will cook in the sauce…

4. Add prepared zoodles. In a separate bowl mix all of the dressing ingredients together and then add them to the wok with all of the vegetables together. You want to heat the zoodles

5. Add meatballs to the vegetables and serve immediately.

Loaded Mashed Potato Mix

What to serve with some beautiful beef filets? Of course, potatoes, but what kind? Since there were no real potatoes in the house, I turned to my fall back potatoes – INSTANT! (I always have a few different kinds of Idaho Instant potatoes in the pantry). For this recipe, I chose the Idaho Baby Reds.

Not wanting to simply whip up according to the package, I found a recipe on Pinterest. (You are NOT surprised.) It was delicious and perfect with the filets and roasted asparagus. So perfect, that I neglected to take a photo…

Loaded Idaho Mashed Potato Mix

Ingredients

  • 6 cups prepared mashed potatoes made with butter and milk (or broth)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix unprepared (I substituted Emeril’s Essence)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese divided
  • 6 slices cooked bacon chopped
  • 6 green onions thinly sliced (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine mashed potatoes, sour cream, ranch dressing mix, 1 cup cheese, bacon and onions.

3. Spread into large casserole dish. Bake for 25 minutes or until heated. Remove from oven and sprinkle top with remaining 1 cup cheese.

4. Return to oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese on top is melted.

5. Garnish if desired with extra bacon and green onions.

6. Serves 6-8

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.