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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.

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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.

Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa

The salmon recipe was awesome, but I really did not enjoy the salsa. I will search out a different low carb one asap. Try it! You might like it…LOL. I have shown it here with the cauliflower rice. The salmon is buried underneath the salsa…sorry.

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Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa
Ingredients
2 lbs. salmon
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp ancho chili powder (used regular)
1 tsp black pepper

Avocado salsa ingredients:
1 avocado, chopped
½ small red onion, chopped
Juice from 2 limes
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
dash of salt

Instructions
1. In a small mixing bowl combine salt, cumin, paprika, onion powder, ancho chili powder and black pepper.
2. Rub the salmon fillets with the olive oil and rub with the spice mix.
3. Grill the salmon on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes or until desired doneness.
4. Mix the avocado, red onion, chopped cilantro, salt and juice from the limes in a small mixing bowl. Top the salmon with the avocado salsa.
Recipe by The Recipe Critic at https://therecipecritic.com/2014/07/grilled-salmon-avocado-salsa/

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya

There was sausage. There was shrimp. There were Costco Ancient Grains. What can I make? Jambalaya!! What is that you say…

Jambalaya  is a Louisiana origin dish of Spanish and French (especially Provençal cuisine) influence, consisting mainly of meat and vegetables mixed with rice. Traditionally, the meat always includes sausage of some sort, often a smoked sausage such as andouille, along with some other meat or seafood, frequently pork, chicken, crawfish, or shrimp. The vegetables are usually a soffritto-like mixture known as the “holy trinity” in Creole and Cajun cooking, consisting of onion, celery, and green bell pepper, though other vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, chilis, and garlic are also used. After browning and sauteing the meat and vegetables, rice, seasonings, and broth are added and the entire dish is cooked together until the rice is done.

Jambalaya is similar to (but distinct from) other rice-and-meat dishes known in Louisiana cuisine. Gumbo uses similar sausages, meats, seafood, vegetables and seasonings. However, gumbo includes filé powder and okra, which are not common in jambalaya. Gumbo is also usually served over white rice, which is prepared separate from the rest of the dish, unlike jambalaya, where the rice is prepared with the other ingredients. Étouffée is a stew which always includes shellfish such as shrimp or crayfish, but does not have the sausage common to jambalaya and gumbo. Also, like gumbo, étouffée is usually served over separately prepared rice.

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya (for TWO people, half the recipe!)

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces sausage, sliced into 1/4″ slices (Costco Kielbasa works just fine)
  • 2 cups of peeled, deveined shrimp
  • 4 cups of chicken broth or stock
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup of instant rice/ Ancient Grains
  • 2- 14 oz. cans of petite diced tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp of dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp of paprika
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt to taste
  • freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions

In a large stock pot on medium heat, add olive oil, onions, peppers, garlic and the bay leaf. Cook for 5 minutes covered.

Add tomatoes, sausage, chicken broth or stock and remaining seasonings and cook on medium heat for 25 minutes.

Add instant rice (here I used Costco’s Ancient Grains) and shrimp. Stir and cook for 5 minutes or until rice is tender and shrimp turns orange. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

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Tequila Lime Shrimp

One of our favourite restaurants here used to serve tableside this wonderful tequila lime shrimp. Hope you will also enjoy this great recipe I found. Where else? Pinterest...

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Tequila Lime Shrimp

Serves 2-3 | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 5 Minutes

Ingredients:

12 oz. peeled and deveined shrimp* (see note below)_
2 pinches of 
salt
3 dashes 
ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon 
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced

2 or 3 tablespoons tequila
1 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves

Method:

*You can use frozen shrimp for this recipe. Do NOT thaw it. Add directly to the sauteed garlic and stir frequently. Overcooked frozen shrimp turn rubbery. Just two or three minutes should be all it takes to warm the shrimp through. Then proceed with the tequila, etc.

Season the shrimp with salt, pepper and paprika.

Heat up a skillet (cast-iron skillet preferred) and add the olive oil. Saute the garlic for a little bit before adding the shrimp. Continue to cook the shrimp until they turn slightly charred and burned. Drizzle in the tequila, toss the skillet a few times. Add the lime juice, stir to combine well.
Turn off the heat and add the cilantro. Serve the tequila lime shrimp with Mexican rice or wrap with warm tortilla. Avoiding the carbs, I just served them with some steamed broccoli.

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/


Shrimp, Tomato and Spinach Pasta

Eureka! Shrimp in the freezer. What to do? Checked the ingredients I had on hand and found this recipe for dinner. The worst part is cleaning the shrimp, so just cheat and buy them already cleaned and deveined…LOL. Substitute whatever protein you have available. As always, my changes are in red lettering.

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Shrimp, Tomato and Spinach Pasta

Ingredients

  • 5 medium tomatoes, fresh, chopped into large cubes ( one can of diced with juice depending on how much you like tomatoes)
  • 1 cup cooked spinach
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 small lemon
  • salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more)
  • paprika
  • 10 oz fettuccine pasta
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil until melted. Add fresh shrimp and half the minced garlic. Make sure shrimp is not crowded. Cook for 1 minute on one side until pink on that side. While it’s cooking, generously sprinkle paprika and salt over uncooked side of the shrimp. Flip the shrimp over and cook for another 1 or 2 minutes until pink on the other side.
  2. To the skillet with shrimp, add chopped fresh tomatoes, cooked spinach, and remaining amount of minced garlic. Add 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more). Mix everything well, remove from heat while you cook pasta.
  3. In the mean time cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent pasta from cooking and getting mushy.
  4. Add pasta to the skillet with shrimp and vegetables with 1 or 2 tablespoons of butter. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice (depending on the juiciness of your lemon, it could be 1/4 of small lemon or 1/2 lemon). Don’t add too much lemon juice. Season with salt and more crushed red pepper. Warm it up on medium heat until shrimp is cooked through, and all ingredients are heated through.
  5. To serve, top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Lobster Thermidor

Just before I get to the recipe, I want to say thank you to the 6000 visitors as of today, who have checked out this blog. You give me inspiration to keep going just when I think I should move on to something else!!

The following recipe was posted by Rachel Ray who has her own cooking show.  I almost hate to say that I was clearing out the freezer and found small lobster tails asking to be used for dinner…LOL. I know, its a little rich, but consider it for a special dinner, make that ROMANTIC dinner…hope you will have an opportunity to try it.

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Lobster Thermidor (Rachel Ray)

Ingredients

4 (6 to 8-ounce) packaged lobster tails,  jumbo shrimp or prawns can be substituted

  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Splash dry white wine or dry sherry
  • 1/2 cup milk, eyeball it
  • 1/3 cup grated white cheddar
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika or crab boil seasoning, recommended: Old Bay
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish
  • Handful parsley leaves mixed with 2 cups baby greens, for plate garnish

Directions

Bring a pot of water to a boil, 3 or 4 inches deep. Add lobster tails to the water and boil 7 to 8 minutes. Drain and shock under cold water to cool. Use kitchen scissors to cut away soft underside of tails. Remove meat and save the shells*, arranging them in a shallow casserole dish. Chop the cooked meat on an angle into chunks.

Preheat your broiler to high.

Heat a medium skillet and a small saucepot over medium heat. To the small saucepot, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add finely chopped onion and cook 3 to 5 minutes until very soft. To the skillet, add remaining 2 tablespoons butter. When the butter melts, add chopped lobster meat and sauté.

Add flour to sauce pot with onions and cook together another 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in wine or sherry, then milk. Remove sauce from heat and stir in cheddar cheese and paprika or crab boil. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over lobster meat and stir to combine. Pour lobster into and over the shells* in a casserole dish and top with Parmesan and bread crumbs. Broil on high until golden, 2 or 3 minutes. Serve each tail, spilling over with lobster bits in sauce, on a bed of mixed baby greens and parsley with wedges of lemon along side.

  • I did not use the shells…so much for my presentation…