Seafood Casserole

When you check your freezer and find a small package of shrimp and another one of scallops which still look perfect thanks to our FoodSaver, what else to do but a seafood casserole!

Seafood Casserole

  • 6 oz uncooked spaghetti, broken
  • 1/2 lb fresh scallops, cut in half or quarters if large
  • ½ lb fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined. Smaller ones are best.
  • 6 Tbs butter
  • 4 Tbs flour, divided
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups half and half cream
  • 4 Tbs white wine or sherry
  • ½ cup sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 8 Tbs parmesan cheese, divided

Instructions

Cook spaghetti per directions on package. Drain and rinse with hot water.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter a 2-quart casserole dish, or 4 individual 2 cup ramekins.

Thoroughly rinse scallops and shrimp in cold water, drain, and cut scallops to desired size. I like a bite sized piece.

Melt 3 tbs of butter in a sauté pan.

Add seafood and mushrooms and sauté over medium high heat.

Cook 6-8 minutes, or until scallops are opaque.

Remove from pan and set aside.

 In same pan, melt remaining butter. Add flour, salt and pepper and blend well.

Add half and half all at once.

Cook until mixture thickens. This should take about 5 minutes. Stir constantly with a whisk.

Add 4 T of parmesan cheese.

 Add scallops and mushrooms back to the pan.

Add wine and peas. Continue stirring until heated through.

Place spaghetti into saucepan with seafood mixture, and stir it all together until well mixed.

Place it all in the buttered casserole.

 Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until light brown and bubbly around the edges.

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.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

What to do when you buy a Costco or grocery store rotisserie chicken and have leftovers? SOUP.

DSC_0003-2  This will easily feed 4 to 6 people as a main course. The ingredients list seems long, but it can be simplified by making the changes noted in red.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Rotisserie chicken (half chicken is enough)
  • 1 15-ounce can Black beans (drained)
  • 2 Carrots
  • 2 Celery stalks
  • 3 tbsp Cilantro, fresh
  • 2 cups Corn, frozen (1 small can or corn or more)
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • 1 Lime, wedges
  • 1 cups Peas, frozen (1 small can of peas)
  • 1 Poblano peppers (Optional)
  • 1 Red onion
  • 1 Reserved red onion
  • 28-ounce can Tomatoes
  • 4 cups Chicken broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp Taco seasoning (see elsewhere o the blog for homemade taco seasoning)
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil, extra-virgin
  • Crispy tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery, and sauté until the vegetables start to become tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the Poblano peppers and cook until the vegetables are very tender, 6 to 7 minutes more. Add the jalapeño and garlic, and continue to cook until fragrant, 1 minute more.
  2. Season the vegetables with the taco seasoning, then stir in the tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until a good flavor develops, 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chicken, black beans, corn and peas. Return the soup to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with tortilla strips and just maybe, a touch of sour cream.

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.

Easy Shepherd’s Pie

Who does not like shepherd’s pie? There are several variations out there. Sometimes it is called Cottage Pie. This one was a snap! The only tricky part was the roux, melting the butter and adding the flour. Make your life easier and use instant potatoes!

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Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb. Ground Beef
  • 4 cups Mashed Potatoes
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Flour
  • 12 oz. Frozen Peas and Carrots, thawed (Use a can of mixed peas and carrots)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and add ground beef, onion and garlic.
  • Cook until browned and drain.
  • In another skillet or pan, melt putter and add flour.
  • Cook roux for 2 minutes.
  • Whisk in Worcestershire and milk.
  • Cook for 1 minute to thicken.
  • Combine beef mixture, gravy and thawed vegetables.
  • Place in baking dish.
  • Top with mashed potatoes and place in oven for 20-30 minutes until heated through. In the last few minutes sprinkle the cheese on the potatoes.

 

Classic Fried Rice

I know this should  not be something new to most folks, but I tried this one out a week ago and it was every bit as good as was stated. I do believe like the writer, that butter makes a difference. The most important thing is to cook and chill the rice beforehand! Trust me on this unless you want a sticky mess…

Fried Rice (www.gimmesomeoven.com)
Learn how to make fried rice with this classic fried rice recipe. It tastes even better than the restaurant version!
Prep: 5 mins Cook: 10 mins Total: 15 mins
Ingredients:
• 3 Tbsp. butter, divided
• 2 eggs, whisked
• 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced*
• 1 small white onion, diced
• 1/2 cup frozen peas*
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• salt and pepper
• 4 cups cooked and chilled rice (I prefer short-grain white rice)
• 3 green onions, thinly sliced
• 3-4 Tbsp. soy sauce, or more to taste
• 2 tsp. oyster sauce (optional) I used hoisin since I was out of oyster
• 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil

* Since I was out of fresh peas and carrots, I substituted  a cup or so of frozen veggies which included broccoli, cauliflower and carrots//it worked.
Directions:
Heat 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Add egg, and cook until scrambled, stirring occasionally. Remove egg, and transfer to a separate plate.
Add an additional 1 tablespoon butter to the pan and heat until melted. Add carrots, onion, peas and garlic, and season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes or until the onion and carrots are soft. Increase heat to high, add in the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter, and stir until melted. Immediately add the rice, green onions, soy sauce and oyster sauce (if using), and stir until combined. Continue stirring for an additional 3 minutes to fry the rice. Then add in the eggs and stir to combine. Add the sesame oil, stir to combine, and remove from heat.
Serve warm.

Thai Curry Meatballs

Keeping with the Thai theme from last week, here is another you might like. Since we buy meatballs in bulk at Costco they are a staple in our freezer. I came across this recipe in Canadian Living.
THAI CURRY MEATBALLS

Ingredients
• 1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
• 2 carrots, grated
• 1 onion, thinly sliced
• 1 tbsp (15 mL) grated ginger-root
• 1/2 tbsp (15 mL) mild Thai red curry paste (or more if you like it hotter)
• 1 can (398 ml) coconut milk
• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
• 20 prepared meatballs, (frozen)
• 1 cup (250 mL) frozen peas
• 1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh coriander/cilantro
• 1 tbsp (15 mL) lime juice or lemon juice
Preparation
In heavy saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; fry carrots, onion, ginger and curry paste, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 3 minutes.
Add coconut milk and salt ; reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
Add meatballs; simmer, stirring often, until hot, 20 minutes. Add peas, coriander and lime juice; heat through.

Chicken Stew

Tired of boring beef stew? Me too! This chicken stew was great even without the prerequisite dumplings…

  • Chicken Stew
    Ingredients
    5 cups (1.25 L) chicken stock
    4 lb (1.8 kg) skinned chicken thighs
    7 small carrots, peeled (WHY?) and cut in half diagonally
    4 potatoes, peeled and cubed I used yams peeled and cubed
    2 cups (500 mL) peeled pearl onions or 1 chopped white onion
  • 1 red pepper diced
    3 tbsp (45 mL) butter
    3 chopped celery stalks
    2 cups (500 mL) button mushrooms or 1 small can
    1/3 cup (75 mL) all-purpose flour
    1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
    1/2 cup (125 mL) peas, frozen or 1 small can
  • 1 platano chopped coarsely
    1/4 cup (60 mL) whipping cream I omitted this and used the chopped platano to thicken it. Can you tell I am into platanos?

Preparation
In a large Dutch oven, bring chicken stock to boil. Add chicken; cover and simmer over medium-low heat until juices run clear when chicken is pierced, about 30 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to plate; let cool. Remove meat from bones; cut into bite-size chunks.Better still start with boneless thighs and save some time.

Add carrots, pepper, celery and potatoes to stock; cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add (pearl) onions; simmer, covered, just until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to plate. If necessary, add more chicken stock to make 5 cups (1.25 L). OR just add more water…

In same pan, melt butter over medium-high heat; cook celery, onion and mushrooms, stirring often, until softened, about 8 minutes. Truthfully I just threw them into the pot with the stock and veggies. Add flour, thyme, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Bring to boil, stirring. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until thick enough to coat back of spoon. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan. Add carrot mixture, peas and cream* (if using), or the chopped platano stirring to combine.

If you are ambitious make up a batch of dumplings. They really are not necessary…This makes great leftovers!

Jack’s Icebox Salad

My mom used to belong to the Women’s Institute when I lived on the farm. This salad often appeared at family functions with different variations. I was surprised to see it again at a recent birthday party, brought along by our friends Jack and Carlos. This was Jack’s version. If you leave out the bacon it is VEGAN!

Chop up romaine lettuce and spinach and place in the bottom of a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish.

Add the following in layers –
1 cup shredded celery
6 hard boiled eggs chopped
10 oz. frozen peas
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
8 green onions sliced
6 oz. sliced water chestnuts
8 slices of cooked and crumbled bacon

Dressing – 1 cup mayonnaise + 1 cup sour cream + 2 Tablespoons sugar. Spread the dressing over the bacon layer!

Top with –

1 cup grated medium cheddar
8 slices cooked and crumbled bacon.

Cover with Saran wrap and place in refrigerator for 24 hours!! Trust me on this one…it sets better…

When ready to serve cut into squares and place on chilled salad plates.