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.

Baked Salmon with Lemon Butter Garlic Sauce

On the road again and a little late with this week’s recipe. Visiting friends and opted to make dinner for them, as I usually do once or twice…this one looks a little difficult, but not really. The result was well worth it, served with an amazing asparagus with cream cheese and prosciutto (next week’s recipe).

Baked Salmon with Lemon Butter Garlic Sauce

Ingredients

  • Salmon fillets (skinless) – 5, about 150 g/ 5 oz
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice- 2 tbsp.
  • Olive oil- 1 tbsp.
  • Garlic cloves (minced)- 1
  • Old style Dijon mustard- 2 tbsp.
  • Ground black pepper- 1 tsp.
  • Salt- to taste

LEMON BUTTER GARLIC SAUCE

  • ¼ Cup Unsalted butter melted
  • Garlic cloves (minced)-1 1/2 tsp.
  • Heavy cream/ half and half- 1/2 cup
  • Parsley finely chopped
  • Black pepper

In a medium bowl combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and Dijon mustard. Mix well.

Place salmon fillets into the skillet, pour the mixture over salmon fillets and rub. Season with ground black pepper and salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes in the preheated oven.

In the meantime, melt butter in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 20 seconds.

Pour in heavy cream and bring to a boil. The sauce should thicken a little bit.

Take off the heat and stir in parsley and season with black pepper and salt to your liking.

Pour the sauce over the baked salmon and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes

 Preheat your oven to 425°F /220°C with the rack in the center.

In a medium bowl combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and Dijon mustard. Mix well.

Place salmon fillets into the skillet, pour the mixture over salmon fillets and rub. Season with ground black pepper and salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes in the preheated oven, depending on thickness.

In the meantime, melt butter in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 20 seconds.

Pour in heavy cream and bring to a boil. The sauce should thicken a little bit.

Take off the heat and stir in parsley and season with black pepper and salt to your liking.

Pour the sauce over the baked salmon and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes

Creamy Baked Acorn Squash

Amazingly, as I write this I note that is recipe#450! Outside today (August 19) the skies are sunny here in our part of Mexico, but the winds are beginning to howl with the approach of Hurricane Grace. Thankfully, it will pass south of us, but we still expect winds and rain.

Rarely do we see acorn squash in our part of Mexico; for that matter, we rarely see butternut squash or spaghetti squash. Whenever we find them, we grab them up! This latest squash recipe, incorporating sweet potatoes, is awesome!

Creamy Baked Acorn Squash

If you need to feed four people,use two acorn squash…

  • 1 large acorn squash, cut in half and seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons of grass-fed butter, unsalted
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream OR coconut milk with cream
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 5-6 sprigs of thyme
  • 1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil for the sweet potatoes only (optional)
  • 1/4 cup hard cheese like: parmesan, pecorino Romano (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Prepare squash and sweet potatoes.  If using the sweet potatoes, drizzle the olive oil over the tops of them.  Place in baking dish.  Add heavy cream, salt, pepper and thyme to the center of the acorn squash.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Remove and grate cheese over the top.  Bake an additional 20 minutes of until squash is soft.  Bake uncovered.

Buen provecho amigos!

Pork Chops with Caper Sauce

By now you know me well; I am always searching Pinterest for new recipes to try. In this case, it was to do with pork chops which I had already thawed. This one caught my eye as we both love capers. And no, they are NOT fish! They are berries from a bush. It turned out great or else I would not share it with you. I quickly steamed some cauliflower to accompany the chops. The flavour was really good. You could omit the capers but it really adds to the flavour.

Pork Chops with Caper Sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 1-inch thick center-cup, bone-in pork loin chops (allow chops to sit at room temp for 30 mins)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup capers, drained
  • 2 tbsp Sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream

INSTRUCTIONS

Pre-heat oven to 200°F.

Pat chops dry with a paper towel, and then generously sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.

Add the chops and sear on one side for about 4 to 5 minutes, until golden brown on the bottoms.  Flip the chops over and sear the other sides for another 4 to 5 minutes. (The chops should be firm to the touch, but still have a little give).

Transfer the chops to the oven to keep warm while preparing the sauce.

Pour all but about 1 teaspoon of oil from pan and reduce the heat to medium.

Add the shallots and garlic and cook until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the capers and cook for 30 seconds

Add the vinegar and cook until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes.

Add the stock, mustard, a pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook until slightly thickened, about 2 – 3 minutes.

Stir in the cream.

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.

Steak Bites with Creamy Blue Cheese Sauce

Got the urge to BBQ already and realize that the BBQ is probably dirty from its last use, who knows when in this weather? Treat yourself to this recipe from The Spicy Apron (Pinterest).  While it calls for putting the steak on skewers, I modified it and used my frying pan.  With the blue cheese sauce, it was awesome! Throw a salad or bake a potato and you have a complete easy meal! Photo is from The Spicy Apron, since I forgot to take a photo when I made this.

Steak-Bites-Platter-Vertical

 

Steak Bites with Creamy Blue Cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 Pounds Sirloin Cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt Can use Seasoned Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons Fresh Pepper
  • 4 Ounces Cream Cheese Room Temperature
  • 4 Ounces Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 Ounces Crumbled Blue Cheese
  • 2 green onions Sliced crosswise (green parts)

Instructions

  1. Put 6-8 pieces of the beef on each skewer. Liberally salt and pepper all sides of the meat. Heat grill on high. Place skewers on hot grill and sear on each side, 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from heat and cover with foil. OR…
  2. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and place the steak bites in until slightly golden, choosing how well you want them done. Well…definitely NOT!
  3. Combine cream cheese, cream, and butter in a small saucepan. Heat over medium low heat until heated through. Stir well to combine. Remove from heat and add crumbled blue cheese. Drizzle over cooked beef skewers or in a small dish on the side for dipping. Top with sliced green onions.

Cauliflower Jalapeno Mac n Cheese

Who doesn’t like macaroni and cheese, whether it be Canada’s KD (Kraft Dinner) or any number of restaurant style macaroni and cheese dishes? One of our fav restaurants in Merida, Yucatan – Merci, does a wonderful macaroni and cheese with jumbo shrimp! What’s not to love about that? Of course, when you do KETO, you avoid pasta, But, since we are now only KC (Keto conscious) we have a little leeway. Don’t tell your family it is KETO. They do not need to know. This is undoubtedly a new fav recipe, with a touch of jalapeno (optional).

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KETO Cauliflower Jalapeno Mac n Cheese with Bacon

Ingredients (Vegans, omit bacon)

  • 1 large head cauliflower cut into small bites
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese I use a cheddar blend
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 5 strips of uncured bacon cooked and crumbled (bacon grease reserved)*
  • 3 teaspoons bacon grease melted
  • 2 jalapeño peppers minced (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons hot water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: fresh cilantro for garnish

Instructions

  1. Add the cauliflower florets to a microwave safe bowl with a plate (or paper plate) on top Microwave for 7-8 minutes or until slightly tender (or your desired texture). You can steam it instead, if you don’t have or want to use a microwave, but I wouldn’t boil it, it might be too watery.
  2. While the cauliflower is cooking, heat a saucepan over medium. Add in the butter and bacon grease, then sauté the jalapeño peppers until tender, should take just about 2-3 minutes. Add in the cream cheese and stir until melted. Add the remaining ingredients and still until well combined and all the cheese has melted.
  3. Add in 1-2 tablespoons of hot water if needed, to reach your desired consistency.
  4. Once the cauliflower is cooked through, you don’t need to drain it or pat it dry. The small amount of moisture will be perfect with this sauce, which as I mentioned, is on the thicker side. Pour cauliflower in the skillet and mix well to coat each piece, then serve.
  5. Optional: Garnish with fresh cilantro and/or crumbled bacon.
  6. Store leftovers in the fridge for a few days. It reheats beautifully in the microwave or stovetop.

Notes

The amount of jalapeño pepper that you use is entirely up to you, and will depend personal preference. I would recommend using 2 jalapeño peppers for a mild to medium level of heat and flavor. If you’re like me and love a spicy kick and a stronger jalapeño flavor, you’ll want to use a bit more.

 

Low Carb Crustless Taco Pie

Until recently, soft shell tacos were very hard to find here. Yeah, we could have used tortillas which are everywhere!!! It seems lots of people are on low carb diets these days and I was able to find this GREAT recipe on Pinterest. Who needs a crust? The result was awesome, so much so that we couldn’t believe we ate the WHOLE thing at one sitting.

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FYI…. you will notice in the recipe Taco Seasoning. It’s quite simple to make and cheaper. I have included the recipe I use for taco seasoning at the end of the Pie recipe…

 Low Carb Crustless Taco Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef 
  • 1 packet taco seasoning (see recipe below)
  • 3 green onions thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup salsa (I like La Costena brand with added chipotle)
  • 1 cup Mexican blend cheese finely shredded, quantity divided
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream 
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • OPTIONAL – a layer of refried beans on the bottom of the pie shell!

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º Fahrenheit. Prepare a 9″ pie pan by greasing with butter or spraying with coconut oil.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. If your ground beef is low in fat or if your skillet is not well seasoned, you may want to spray the pan with coconut oil to prevent sticking. When skillet is hot, add ground beef, breaking up into small pieces with a spoon or spatula. Cook, stirring occasionally until browned. Drain beef and add taco seasoning and cook according to package instructions. Set aside and allow to cool while continuing with the next step.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and heavy cream. Stir in the green onions, salsa, 3/4 cup of the cheese, and the salt.
  4. Stir prepared taco meat into the egg mixture. Pour this mixture into the prepared pie pan. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. 
  5. Bake pie in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until the top is brown and the pie is set. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with your favorite taco toppings such as salsa, sour cream, guacamole, sliced green onions, or whatever else you like! Maybe add a few sliced radishes…

Taco Seasoning (enough for this recipe)

1/4 tsp Garlic powder

1/4 tsp Onion powder

1/4 tsp Oregano, dried

1 tsp Black pepper

1 tbsp Chili powder

1/2 tsp Paprika

1 tsp Salt

1 1/2 tsp Cumin, ground

 

Thai Style Chicken Pumpkin Soup

Just in time for your Thanksgiving dinner! Make ahead and refrigerate. Serve as your first course!

Thai Style Chicken Pumpkin Soup

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T. minced fresh ginger
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin
  • ½ cup mango nectar
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup peanut butter (or more)
  • 1 liter low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water

Heat oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add chicken and cook about three minutes, stirring frequently. Add onion, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Cook 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Transfer chicken to crock pot. Add celery, carrots, pumpkin, nectar, lime juice, peanut butter, broth and water. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours,

After the time is up, stir in the following –

3 Tablespoons rice vinegar

¼ cup chopped cilantro

Mix ½ cup heavy cream  and 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch together.Stir into soup and turn cooker to HIGH for  10 minutes or less until soup thickens.

Serve over white rice which has been previously cooked. Sprinkle with more chopped cilantro and chopped peanuts.

 Source – Crock-Pot Best Loved Slow Cooker Recipes.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Ice Cream

Been back in Canada and still too early for rhubarb, but fortunately we have been able to find it here for the first time, as I stated in the previous blog. If you thought the pie sounded great you should definitely keep this in mind when rhubarb is in season up north. Of course you need an ice cream machine which our friends Kathie, Holly, Michelle and Dez had previously given to Larry several years ago for his birthday…lucky guy. It is indeed awesome and definitely a flavour for Ben and Jerry to consider!!! Ready, set, go!

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE ICE CREAM Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream

For the Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream Base you will need an ice cream machine, sorry…

  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream or 1  box of Media Crema (Mexico)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2  of your crumbled pie crust (homemade) but you can also just bake a pre-made crust and crumble that. Either way, before baking, brush the crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar.)

First, roast the strawberries. To do so, combine strawberries with 1/4 cup sugar in an 8-inch glass dish (do not spray or oil the glass). Roast at 375 degrees F for 8 minutes, or until just soft. Cool slightly, then puree the berries in a blender. Measure 1/2 cup of the puree and set the rest aside to top the ice cream or for another use. Our preference is not to puree as we like chunky!

In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons milk to form a slurry. Set aside. In another small bowl, mix the cream cheese and salt together. Set aside. Put the rest of the milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a large, heavy bottomed pot (like a stock pot). Bring to a boil and boil for exactly four minutes (I set my phone’s timer to make sure it was accurate). It will boil and foam like crazy.

 

After four minutes, take the pot off the heat and add the cornstarch slurry. Return to a boil for one minute, take off the heat again. Add the cream cheese to the boiled milk and whisk any clumps out.

 

Submerge the pan and its contents in an ice bath. If you’re making the ice cream the same day, just make sure the base is very cold before adding it to the machine. Add the base to your frozen ice cream barrel and spin for 15 minutes. The base should be frozen, a little more liquid than soft serve.

 

At this point, pour in the strawberry puree* and let it mix in completely, until the ice cream is a pretty pink color. Add half of the pie crust crumbles and swirl until incorporated. From here you can assemble the rest of the ice cream.

 

For the Rhubarb Compote Adapted from Epicurious 

  • 2 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Grated ginger (optional to taste)

Combine rhubarb and sugar in a medium saucepan. Simmer over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring every so often, until the rhubarb is syrupy (the sugar will liquefy over the heat and the rhubarb will break down). Strain through a sieve and chill until you are ready to assemble the ice cream. (You don’t want it too thick)

 

To Assemble the Ice Cream

Line a bread pan with parchment (or wax) paper. OR use a silicone loaf pan and skip the parchment/wax paper. Drizzle some rhubarb compote on the bottom, then layer with 1/3 of the Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream Base. Sprinkle with pie crust crumbles and drizzle with more compote. Continue layering, ending with a layer of compote and pie crumbles. Drag a knife through the compote to create a marbling effect.

 

Press some parchment or wax paper onto the ice cream’s surface and freeze for at least four hours. Before serving, let it rest on the counter for 10 minutes. Serve hearty scoops atop (totally optional) mini strawberry rhubarb pies and enjoy! Makes 1 quart.