Seafood Lasagna

“The time has come”, the chicken said. If you have been following Buen Provecho since the beginning, you have access as of today to 500 of my recipes! A few have been there since the beginning in March 2011, which is incredible. Many of you are “newbies” to the site and may not be aware of all of the recipes herein.

Probably FAKE NEWS, but my stats show viewers in 118 countries around the world, with 8,305 in USA, 8,177 in Canada and 3,350 in Mexico. The rest are an A to Z spread, from Australia to Zimbabwe…Thank You all so much!

Looking back, I have had many delicious recipes of which you may or may not have been aware. I encourage you to use the search feature to continue to enjoy the site. Alas, this is the FINAL recipe, which in fact appeared in October 2013. It is and has always been one of my favourites of the 500!

It’s certainly a special occasion recipe and involves lots of preparation, but it remains a very special one which I prepare on special occasions with special people, who obviously must enjoy seafood!

SEAFOOD LASAGNA

  • 8 tbsp. butter
  • 8 tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 1 c. cream
  • 1 c. milk
  • chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 lb. lasagna, “no boil type”
  • 10 oz. frozen spinach, thaw and drain on paper towels
  • 16 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz. Manchego cheese
  • 8 oz. provolone cheese
  • 1 can sliced mushrooms
  • 2 sliced onions
  • 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tomato, cut and peeled
  • 1 1/2 lb. seafood (shrimp, crabmeat, scallops, white fish)
  • Parsley and rosemary to taste

To make sauce, melt butter and add flour. Take it off the burner, add cream, milk and broth. Put back on burner. Stir constantly. When everything is mixed, take it off the fire. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg. To make lasagna, sauté onions and mushrooms in butter and oil. Add tomato, parsley and rosemary. Add seafood. In a greased lasagna pan, pour some sauce, place some lasagna, seafood, mozzarella, ricotta and chopped spinach mixed, provolone, and press it down before you begin second layer. Follow same order as first layer, ending with lasagna strips and sauce. Be sure to generously cover with sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes.

Buen provecho amigos!!!

Spaghetti Squash Chicken Pot Pie

If you are fortunate to live somewhere where spaghetti squash is available, you probably know that it is a very versatile squash and a great replacement for pasta! Cut it in half horizontally, remove the seeds, spray some olive oil over it and bake cut side down in a pyrex dish in the oven for about 40 minutes at 400 degrees. When it is done, remove it from the oven and turn cut side up. Let it cool a bit and then take a dinner fork and begin to shred it into strands.

While the shreds are resting, prepare the “pot pie” ingredients.

Spaghetti Squash Chicken Pot Pie

  • 5 cups cooked spaghetti squash, *see note below
  • 3/4 cup diced onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded chicken (or turkey)
  • 2 cups frozen peas and carrots (I used a can of Niblets)
  • 10 ounces button mushrooms, sliced OPTIONAL
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 Panko breadcrumbs

1 Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2 Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat.

3 Add the onions, stirring into the butter and cook until the onions have completely softened, about 10 minutes.

4 Stir in the garlic and cook one minute longer.

5 Add the Niblets, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and rosemary then cook about 5 minutes.

6 Add the flour and stir to combine. Cook for a minute while stirring, then slowly pour in the milk.

7 Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the bottom of the skillet and stir the milk into the vegetables. Let the filling come up to a simmer and then let thicken for 3-4 minutes.

8 Stir in the chicken and 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese, then remove the skillet form the heat. Taste for seasonings and adjust if needed.

9 Pour the filling into a large bowl along with the cooked spaghetti squash. Stir gently to combine the filling, then pour into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish that’s been buttered or sprayed with cooking spray.

10 Top the casserole with the remaining parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs then bake for 30 minutes.

11 To brown the topping even more, place the casserole under the broiler for 3-4 minutes.

Macaroni and Cheese

No luncheon meats in the house and the cleaning lady is here today. What to give her for lunch? Penne. Large bag of Kirkland cheese blend. Whipping cream. Onion powder. Parmesan. Panko. Milk. Macaroni and cheese!!!

If you do not have gruyere experiment with another shredded cheese…

Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces pasta, I had penne
  • 1½ cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 tablespoons butter melted or olive oil or canola oil
  • ½ cup parmesan grated
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ⅓ cup all purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups cheddar cheese shredded
  • 2 cups gruyere shredded O or whatever shredded cheese you have on hand
  • 1½ teaspoons onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9×12 casserole dish.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta. Prepare noodles al dente. Drain, drizzle with oil to prevent sticking and set aside.

3. In a small bowl, combine panko, butter or oil and parmesan. Set aside.

4. Melt butter in large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute.

5. Whisk in flour. Whisk continuously until golden, about 1 minute.

6. Gradually whisk in milk and heavy cream until smooth. Whisk about 5 minutes.

7. Add onion powder, paprika and pepper.

8. Remove from heat. Gradually whisk in cheeses until smooth.

9. Fold in pasta. Stir until well combined. Transfer to casserole dish or bake in Dutch oven.

10. Spread panko mixture evenly over the top.

11. Bake approximately 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

Weeknight Bolognese Sauce with Zoodles

Checking the pantry and freezer, I found I had all of the ingredients for this sauce, including a very nice medium zucchini for spiralizing. I also had a pound of ground veal which I had not put in the freezer since I bought it two days before. You can use beef or whatever…

Zoodle Bolognese…

Weeknight Bolognese Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ cup onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup carrots, finely diced
  • ½ cup celery, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 pinch baking soda
  • Zucchini noodles or the pasta of your choice
  • Romano or Parmesan cheese for serving

Instructions

1. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium high heat.

2. Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pan and sauté until softened stirring often, about 4-5 minutes.

3. Add garlic and sauté stirring often until fragrant, around 1 minute.

4. Add the ground veal and sauté using wooden spoon to break up the meat as it cooks until the veal is fully browned, around 5 minutes.

5. Add salt, crushed red pepper, dried basil, dried Italian seasoning, wine, milk, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and baking soda and stir until well combined.

6. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium.

7. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes stirring periodically.

8. Serve immediately over zucchini noodles or pasta with a sprinkle of Romano or Parmesan cheese.

Jiffy Mix Cornbread with Jalapeno and Cheese

Until recently, we were unable to find Jiffy cornbread mix here. Having found it, I searched Pinterest to look for an upgrade to the mix. Below is the enhanced recipe…

Jiffy Mix Jalapeno and Cheese Corn Bread

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
  • 2 Tbsp. of melted butter (I use unsalted)
  • 1/3 cup of milk – I used 2%, but you can substitute whatever you have on hand
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 /2 of 15 oz. can of Niblets corn – drained
  • 1 – medium Jalapeno diced (or) 2 Tbsp. of canned jalapeno diced (optional)
  • 1 egg

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Using a large mixing bowl, add the corn muffin mix and all of the other ingredients and mix until the dough is moist

3. Grease an 8×8 pan and pour the mixture into the pan

4. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25-35 minutes – or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean

5. Bread will still be very moist when done, don’t let that confuse you with it not being cooked.

NOTES

*Adjust baking time per baking dish. Muffins will be ready on the earlier side of time frame (around 15-20 min., loaf pan will probably take the full amount of time because of the depth of the batter – maybe longer, use the toothpick method. you can use an 8×8 or 9×9 pan to spread the batter out a little, and you are probably looking at closer to 25 minutes.

Romaine “Wedge” Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese

You will have noted that I put the word “wedge” in brackets. Actually I dislike it when I see romain served in wedges. It’s difficult to eat without a fork AND knife. I much prefer to have the romaine torn into smaller parts before it is served. This is true of some restaurant Caesar salads as well. Without a doubt, the highlight of this salad is the ranch dressing, which you can use on almost any salad OR as a simple veggie dip. Of course, you can skip the blue cheese, but why would you? LOL

Romaine Wedge Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe Homemade Ranch Dressing*
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 slices sourdough bread cut into ½-inch cube (I did some store-bought croutons in butter and garlic powder)
  • 4 slices thick bacon cut crosswise into thin strips
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce quartered lengthwise into wedges
  • 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • finely chopped chives optional

1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sourdough cubes; cook and stir until cubes are lightly browned on all sides. Remove from skillet and reserve.

2. Add bacon to same skillet; cook and stir until bacon is crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towel to drain.

3. Carefully rinse and dry romaine wedges, doing your best to keep them intact. OR tear them up

4. Arrange romaine wedges on a platter. Drizzle desired amount of dressing on salad and sprinkle with remaining ingredients. Serve.

*Homemade Ranch Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup chives finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley finely chopped
  • milk enough to reach your desired consistency (optional)

Instructions

Whisk together the sour cream, garlic, parsley and chives. Add milk to reach your desired consistency.

Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Enjoy as a salad dressing or a vegetable dip.

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.

Beef Liver with Bacon and Caramelized Onions

First off, I am not including a picture of the finished dish this time? Why? Because it is liver and onions and just the thought of it puts many people off…LOL. BUT… if you love liver and onions you will really like this recipe from Pinterest.

I usually do mine without flour as I am a purist with liver. This recipe was intriguing because it soaked the liver in milk before cooking, supposedly to reduce the strong flavor some people dislike. Let me tell you that this was awesome and my new goto recipe for liver and onions. Here goes…

Beef Liver with Bacon and Caramelized Onions

First, cut the liver into strips and soak them in milk to remove any bitterness.

If you’re following a low-carb diet, you may choose to eliminate the onions for an even lower carb count,but hey… why would you?

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1-pound beef liver cut into strips
  • 3 large onions sliced
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 5 tablespoons butter divided
  • Salt to taste
  1. Add milk to a shallow bowl. Soak liver in the milk for about 20 minutes to remove any bitterness.
  2. Meanwhile, cook your bacon in a large skillet. Drain on paper towels and cut into 1/2″ chunks. Set aside.
  3. Reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons of bacon grease and add 2 tablespoons of the butter to the bacon grease in the same skillet.

Add onions and cook over a medium heat stirring occasionally until caramelized, about 25 minutes. Remove onions to a dish, sprinkle with salt and set aside.

  1. Pat liver dry and discard the milk.

Return skillet to high heat and add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan. When the butter foam subsides, the butter is hot enough.

 Arrange the liver in the pan being certain not to crowd the pan. I worked in two batches. Sauté for 3 minutes regulating the heat so that the butter remains hot, but does not burn. Turn liver over and sauté about 2 minutes more. The inside meat should still be pink.

  1. Serve liver topped with onion and bacon.

Overnight Refrigerator Oatmeal

Do you ever get tired of the same old breakfast? How many days a week can you eat granola, yogurt, bacon and eggs, bagels and cream cheese, toast and peanut butter? I desperately needed a change. PINTEREST…help!!! Overnight refrigerator oatmeal I had never heard of until this week. With Mason jars at hand (found here in Merida) I set out to try something different. Below are three variations… use your imagination to come up with others…

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Overnight Refrigerator Oatmeal

THE BASIC PROCEDURE

Step 1. Assemble these ingredients & supplies:

  • old fashioned rolled oats (not instant, quick, or steel-cut)
  • Greek yogurt (regular yogurt is thinner; if you use it, you’ll need to reduce the amount of milk
  • milk (I used coconut, but any kind will work)
  • chia seeds;
  • half pint (1 cup) mason jars,

Step 2. Add oats, milk, yogurt, and chia seeds to jar, along with desired sweeteners or flavors (see options below).

Step 3. Put a lid on the jar and shake to combine. I use white plastic jar lids sized to fit canning jars–they last longer than the metal tops and rims that come with the jars, and they are easier to screw on.

Step 4. Add fruit and stir gently until combined.

Step 5. Place in fridge overnight and up to 2 days; maybe longer depending on the type and ripeness of the fruit. The non-banana varieties have been good after 4 days for me.

VARIATIONS

Blueberry Maple Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup (more or less to taste)
  • 1/4 cup blueberries (or enough to fill jar)

Directions

In a half pint (1 cup) jar, add oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, and maple syrup. Put lid on jar and shake until well combined. Remove lid, add blueberries and stir until mixed throughout. Return lid to jar and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days. Eat chilled.

Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal

 Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (may substitute PB2 powdered peanut butter)
  • 1 teaspoon honey, optional (or substitute any preferred sweetener)
  • 1/4 cup diced ripe banana, or enough to fill jar (approx. half of a small banana)

Directions

In a half pint (1 cup) jar, add oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, peanut butter (or PB2), and honey. Put lid on jar and shake until well combined. Remove lid, add bananas and stir until mixed throughout. Return lid to jar and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days. Eat chilled.

Raspberry Vanilla Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried chia seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon raspberry jam, preserves, or spread
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup raspberries (cut each berry in half), or enough to fill jar

Directions

In a half pint (1 cup) jar, add oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, vanilla, and raspberry jam. Put lid on jar and shake until well combined. Remove lid, add raspberries and stir until mixed throughout. Return lid to jar and refrigerate overnight or as long as 2-3 days. Eat chilled. 

FYI – I found a set of three  1 cup Mason Jars here for 149 pesos…

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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/