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.

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.

Pork Chop Marinade

There are tons of recipes out there for pork chops! Even though this one seems to have a lot of ingredients, it makes enough for TWO chops, but can easily be doubled. Once they have marinated, it only takes about four minutes a side to fry them. They came out moist and tender.

Pork Chop Marinade

Ingredients

  • 1-2 pork chops
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard (can substitute with Dijon or yellow mustard)
  • 1 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2teaspoon onion salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked sea salt (can substitute with kosher salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (if using fresh thyme, increase amount to 1 T)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes (can substitute with Herbs de Provence)

1. Whisk together marinade ingredients to fully combine.

2. Add marinade to resealable plastic bag and marinade pork for a minimum of 1 hour up to overnight.

3. Discard any excess marinade prior to cooking meat

Baked Chicken Drumsticks

In consideration of buying an air fryer, we had purchased some chicken drumsticks quite a while back. Discovering that there were still 5 in the freezer, I began a Pinterest search. Thankfully there were quite a few recipes for doing them in a regular oven. (We eventually talked ourselves out of the air fryer (too much electricity here in Mexico). I can happily say that both of us thought these were far superior to the AF recipe! AND, so very easy to prep, too.

Baked Chicken Drumsticks

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken drumsticks (I used 5 but six would have been better than sharing the 5th one)
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked pepper

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

2. Add all of the ingredients to a large zip top bag and seal. Smush the chicken around in the bag to coat in the seasoning.

3. Arrange chicken on the baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees.

4. Serve immediately.

Spaghetti Squash and Shrimp Alfredo

Most of you are aware of fettuccini Alfredo with its rich creamy sauce. This version replaces the fettuccini (pasta) with shredded spaghetti squash. The recipe includes directions for baking the squash, but in my case I had baked a whole squash the day before for another spaghetti squash recipe with pesto sauce. Since there are only two of us, one squash is enough for two meals. First night – pesto. Second night, reheated squash with shrimp Alfredo sauce. Since this was prebaked squash, I did not keep the shells, obviously.

To simplify both recipes, I used a jar of pesto sauce the first night, and a jar of Alfredo sauce the second night. In both cases, it simplified the preparation! FYI…I wasn’t too thrilled with my photo…LOL. A few leaves of basil would have been a great improvement, but the garden had none.

Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Alfredo (KETO, depending on your sauce)

  • 2 small spaghetti squash, 1.5 – 2 lb
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb shrimp thawed if frozen, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1.5 cups Alfredo sauce*
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs, such as parsley and/or basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Cut the spaghetti squash in half length-wise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Brush the inside of each half with half the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place on a large baking sheet with the cut side facing up. Season with salt and pepper. Roast the squash at 375F for about 30 minutes, or until the squash flakes easily when pierced with a fork. Set aside to cool for a few minutes, but keep the oven on – you’ll need it in a few minutes.

2. Use a fork to scrape all the spaghetti squash strands out of each squash, taking care not to pierce the squash skin (read the recipe post for tips for flaking the squash, and what to do if you pierce the skin!). Place the spaghetti strands into a large bowl.

3. While the spaghetti squash is roasting, prepare the rest of the ingredients: Chop the herbs.

4. Grate the cheese.

5. In a medium bowl, combine the peeled, thawed shrimp with the salt, garlic powder, paprika, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Mix with a fork.

6. Heat a large skillet, and add the shrimp to the skillet in a single layer. Cook for 2 minutes, then use tongs to flip each shrimp over. Cook for another 2 minutes, or until the shrimp are fully cooked. Remove from heat.

7. In a large bowl, combine the cooked spaghetti squash, cooked shrimp, 1.5 cups Alfredo sauce, ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, and the herbs. Mix well, and place into the 4 spaghetti squash boat shells.

8. OPTIONAL if you are using leftover squash – Arrange the spaghetti squash boats on the same large baking sheet. Top each filled spaghetti squash boat with about a tablespoon of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and about ¼ cup shredded mozzarella. Bake at 375F for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is all melted.

Zoodle Pad Thai

After spiralizing my zucchini, I was ready to prepare the sauce and ready my garnishes. It is a fairly simple cooking process, for which I use my trusty wok. Use less zucchini for two people,but otherwise follow the instructions. A spoonful of real peanut butter isn’t a bad option to the sauce? I am addicted…

Zoodle Pad Thai

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 medium zucchinis (about 10-ounces each), made into zoodles with spiralizer ( I used one larger one for two people)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 green onions, sliced in 1-inch pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup unsalted peanuts, chopped

Sauce

  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons less sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce

Garnish

  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • Bean sprouts
  • Peanuts
  • Lime wedge

Instructions

For the sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients and set aside until needed.

Heat a wok, or large skillet (preferably with high sides) over medium-heat. Add the oil and garlic, and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).

Add the 2 eggs to the pan and lightly scramble for about 30-40 seconds. Add half of the green onions, and peanuts to the skillet, toss for about 30 seconds.

Add the zoodles and the set aside sauce to the skillet. Use tongs to gently toss the zoodles into the sauce to evenly coat all of the zoodles.

Garnish with the remaining uncooked green onions, peanuts, bean sprouts, cilantro and a lime wedge.

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.

Greek Feta and Olive Frittata

Who doesn’t like Greek food? It can also be great for a brunch or just a cozy breakfast. How does a frittata and an omelette differ? How does a frittata differ from a quiche? Since we do not have Alexa I checked on Wikipedia

frittata is cooked slowly over low heat while an omelet is cooked quickly over higher heat. Whereas omelets are served hot straight from the stove, frittatas are often served at room temperature, making them perfect to make ahead for brunches or larger groups.

quiche is an unsweetened custard pie with savory fillings such as as spinach, mushrooms, or ham. It has to have eggs, and it usually has milk (or heavy cream), cheese, vegetables, and/or meat. … A frittata is like a crustless quiche or an unfolded omelet..

No matter, this egg dish was excellent and enough for 4 people. Serve it with a salad for brunch.

Frittata

Greek Feta & Olive Frittata (half the recipe for two people)

Preparation: 10 minutes        Cooking time: 25 to 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 1 1/4 cups feta cheese

Instructions:

Heat a large wok over medium heat. When hot, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, wait a few seconds, then swirl around to coat the pan. Toss in the tomatoes and stir for just 30 seconds or so to blister the skins. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the onions to the hot oil along with the dried herbs. Sauté for 5 minutes until soft, and remove from heat.

Break the eggs into a large bowl, add the paprika, and beat well with a whisk. Add the grape tomatoes, onions and olives. Crumble in 1 cup of the feta cheese, and mix until combined.

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, heat a 10-inch oven-safe frying pan or cast-iron skillet with straight sides over medium heat. When hot, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, wait a few seconds, then swirl around to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Pour in the egg mixture and let cook undisturbed for 4 minutes to let the bottom set.

Transfer the pan to the preheated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the eggs are set in the center, which you can test with a cake tester. As soon as the frittata is set, turn on the broiler and move the oven rack up to the top level. Remove the frittata from the oven, crumble the last 1/4 cup of feta cheese over the top, and return the pan under the broiler for another couple of minutes until the top is nicely browned.

Remove the pan from the oven. Run a rubber spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen the sides, then slide onto a large serving plate.

Cut into wedges and serve hot.

Wrap any leftovers in aluminum foil and reheat later at 350°F for 12 to 15 minutes

 

Fried Cabbage with Bacon, Onions and Garlic

Looking for a great Easter side dish? Buy that half head of cabbage and start frying. This is an excellent side and you can substitute turkey bacon if you prefer. It reheats beautifully.

Cabbage1

Fried Cabbage with Bacon, Onions and Garlic

Serves 4

  • 6 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 1 large brown onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 medium head of white cabbage, trimmed, cored and sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
  • The following to taste:
  • salt, black pepper, onion and garlic powder, paprika
  • a knob of butter (optional)
  • dill weed (to taste)

Heat a skillet and then cook the bacon rashers over medium heat until just crisp. remove and set aside on paper kitchen towelling to drain. Crumble and keep warm.

Add the onion to the bacon drippings. (Over here our bacon is very lean so there wasn’t many. If you find that is the case, add a small splash of olive or rapeseed oil.) 

Cook, stirring to soften. when it begins to caramelize somewhat add the garlic.  Cook and stir until fragrant. Add the diced carrot.

 Add the cabbage.  Cook, tossing and stirring, until the cabbage begins to soften.  Season to taste with the seasonings. 

Add 60ml (1/4 cup) of water and cover. Cook and steam over low heat until the cabbage has softened. Stir in the bacon crumbles.  Taste and adjust seasoning as required. If desired stir in a knob of butter. Serve hot.