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!

Spaghetti with Beef and Chorizo

By now you know me well enough that I shop at Costco, which means I always buy bulk. Chorizo (Argentinian sausage) is raw when purchased. It must be cooked! Leftover sausages can be easily frozen, which was the case here. Finding that I had all of the ingredients, this recipe went together quickly. Enjoy!

Spaghetti with Beef and Chorizo

Spaghetti with Chorizo and Beef

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons neutral cooking oil
  • 2 cups white onion, diced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 chorizo sausage, diced
  • 2 cups white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup red or green bell peppers
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 jar passata (tomato puree)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic crema (reduced balsamic vinegar)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 200 grams fresh spaghetti noodles
  • fresh basil leaves, to serve

Method:

Add oil to a large pot on medium heat. Cook onions for 5-7 minutes, until they begin to become translucent. Add salt, garlic and chorizo, and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and bell peppers. Season with dried basil, oregano, parsley and chili flakes.

In a separate pan on medium heat, cook the ground beef. Once cooked through, add to the pot with everything else. Add passata, balsamic crema, water, and combine well. Cover with lid and lower heat to medium-low, and let simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add fresh spaghetti noodles, and cook for 2 minutes before draining, reserving a little of the pasta water. Add sauce to the pot, combine well, and serve with fresh basil.

Hot and Sour Soup

Recently bought 2 fresh leeks for potato and leek soup, but had too many leftover from the recipe. They were just sitting in the fridge ready to use up. Coincidentally, I had leftover cooked pork loin. “Alexa, what can I do with leeks and pork?” NOT REALLY…you know by now I am a big fan of Pinterest in these situations. She/he never fails me. This recipe looks long, but only because of the seasonings. It called for sweet corn (unusual for hot and sour soup); I substituted a small can of corn, but I would omit next time…As you can see in the photo, I omitted the Ramen noodles to cut carbs.

P.S. If you have never used fresh leeks they MUST be sliced down the middle first and thoroughly washed as they contain sand or dirt from where they were grown.

Hot and Sour Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Oil
  • 1 leek roughly sliced (after thorough washing)
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet corn (OPTIONAL)
  • 2 mushrooms sliced
  • 4 cups chicken Stock
  • 1/8 Teaspoon nutmeg grated
  • 1/8 Teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 cup chopped pork loin cooked
  • 2.65 ounces Ramen noodles (OPTIONAL)*
  •  Juice of 1 lime
  • Cilantro garnish

1. Heat up a shallow pan, add the oil.

2. Throw in the sliced leeks and fry soft for 2 minutes.

3. Add the sweet corn and mushroom. Stir and mix well.

4. Pour in the broth mixed with water.

5. Season with nutmeg, black pepper, chili flakes, brown sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, vinegar. Add in the chopped cooked pork loin.

6. Mix the whole content well and let it cook covered until the sweet corn is getting soft. This might take 10 minutes.

7. At the end add the noodles and cook those soft for another 5 minutes uncovered.*

8. Remove from heat and pour in the lime juice. Mix the soup well and serve hot.

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

Bacon Mushroom Spinach Frittata

When you wake up an hour or so before your spouse you might as well make a nice breakfast, right? If you have too many eggs and spinach you might as well put them to use. “Alexa, what can I make?” Oops, I forgot I don’t use Alexa. “Pinterest, what can I make?”

Firstly if you did not already know it, a frittata is essentially an omelette which you prepare in an ovenproof skillet and finish in the oven. This can be used for breakfast, lunch or dinner…so give it a try!

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I N G RE D I E N T S:

  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Dash of hot sauce (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms or whatever you have on hand, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups baby spinach fresh or a small package of frozen unthawed
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • small red pepper chopped for colour

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, basil, oregano, thyme and hot sauce; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes, reserving 1 tablespoon excess fat. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. (OR cheat and use precooked bacon)
  4. Add garlic and mushrooms to the skillet (adding a little oil if using precooked bacon), and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned, about 3-4 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Stir in spinach and tomato until the spinach begins to wilt, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in egg mixture and bacon, reserving 2 tablespoons, until well combined. Cook, undisturbed, until edges are set, about 2 minutes. Top with remaining bacon.
  6. Place into oven and bake until top is set and golden brown, about 14-15 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately.

 

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.

Spicy Shrimp Pho

First had this Vietnamese noodle soup in San Francisco, The portions they served were a little large, but awesome.

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Spicy Shrimp Pho (http://chefsavvy.com/spicy-shrimp-pho/)

Prep time 10 mins Cook time 20 mins Total time 30 mins  Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces whole wheat thin spaghetti (I substituted rice noodles for a less heavy Pho)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon jalapeno, minced
  • 2 tablespoons green onion, sliced thin
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (or soy sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces large shrimp, uncooked
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

Instructions

  1. Cook spaghetti until al dente (or prepare rice noodles according to package)
  2. Meanwhile add oil to a large pot or dutch oven.
  3. Add garlic, jalapeno and green onions. Saute for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Pour in chicken stock, fish sauce and sesame oil. Bring to a simmer.
  5. Stir in mushrooms and shrimp. Simmer until the mushrooms are tender and the shrimp is fully cooked.
  6. Take off of the heat and stir in pepper, lime juice, and cilantro.
  7. Divide the noodles among the 4 bowls and pour the soup on top.
  8. Garnish with extra lime wedges and cilantro if desired.

 

Mediterranean Caesar Salad

Thanks to all of you who follow and view my blog. As of today I have reached 13000 VIEWS and over 5400 Visitors!!!  Hope you will continue to spread the word…hope you still have time to try this wonderful salad…

Today’s Caesar salad is tomorrows Mediterranean Caesar Salad if you have left over homemade dressing…which I always do. I just substituted the Parmesan and sliced mushrooms for feta cheese and black olives. You could even add a few garbanzo beans for added protein and texture. We actually liked it better tha the original Caesar!

Mediterranean Caesar Salad

The Dressing –

  • 1 ½ teaspoons fish sauce or use the traditional anchovy paste (TIP)
  • 3 or 4 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 T. lemon or lime juice
  • 1 T. red wine vinegar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¾ cup oil (NOT olive oil) vegetable oil

Blend all ingredients in a shaker,. Shake and refrigerate until needed…

The Salad –

  •  Romaine lettuce torn in pieces
  • 2 or 3 sliced green onions
  • 3 or 4 strips crisp bacon crumbled
  • Black olives halved (to taste)
  • Feta cheese (to taste…I like lots)
  • Caesar bread crouton
  • mushrooms sliced

*For more protein throw in a few canned garbanzo beans

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.

Broccoli Casserole from Scratch!

Must be the cold season down here as I realize I am posting another casserole. I have always enjoyed broccoli casserole but was never quite happy with the mushroom soup. Et voila? Pinterest to the rescue. Served this to company with a lite salad and baked potatoes. All agreed it was really good. Hope you will try it…Easter is coming and this would be great for a buffet.

Broccoli Casserole From Scratch
Serves: 8 servings

Made completely from scratch, this broccoli casserole is filled with fresh broccoli, mushrooms, cheddar cheese, and a homemade cream sauce. A buttery, cheesy breadcrumb topping adds a crispy finishing touch to this classic dish.
Ingredients
• 2 ½ lbs. broccoli florets, cut into bite-size pieces (about 8 cups)
• 6 tbsp. butter, divided
• 1 cup finely chopped button mushrooms
• ¼ cup flour
• 1 cup milk (whole or 2% preferred)
• ½ cup half-n-half (I omitted with no appreciable difference)
• ½ tsp. salt
• ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• ½ cup Greek yogurt
• 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• 1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese, divided ( I used old white cheddar)
• 1 ¼ cups whole-wheat breadcrumbs (homemade* or store-bought), divided
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add broccoli and boil for 4 minutes. Transfer to a colander, rinse with cold water, and drain. Place broccoli in a large bowl.
3. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft, about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer mushrooms to the bowl with the broccoli.
4. In the same saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth; cook, whisking constantly, 30 seconds. Whisk in the milk and half-n-half. Bring to a low simmer and continue to whisk constantly until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, and Greek yogurt.
5. Pour sauce into the bowl with the broccoli and mushrooms. Add the onion, egg, 1 cup of the cheddar cheese, and ½ cup of the breadcrumbs. Stir to combine. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
6. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and stir into the remaining ¾ cup breadcrumbs. Stir in the remaining ½ cup cheddar. Sprinkle breadcrumb topping over the casserole.
7. Bake for 45 minutes, until filling is hot and bubbly. Check after 30 minutes and cover with foil if topping is browning too quickly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Acknowledgments to Kristine’s Kitchen – kristineskitchenblog.com