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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.
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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.

 

Sausage Hash

One of the things I miss a lot is corned beef hash, especially Shopsys in Toronto! Recently I found myself with a couple of sausages left over from my Sausage and Roasted Pepper Bake. You are probably tired of my referencing Pinterest, but really it is an awesome site. The following recipe was straight forward and turned out great for our Sunday breakfast.

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Best of all is that it is a one dish meal!!! Hope you will try it…

Sausage Hash

Ingredients

  • 1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed (pork works well too)
  • 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced (I used two cans of diced potatoes)
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup of Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
  • 4 or 6 large eggs
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a large heavy covered (or oven-proof) skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium high heat. Add the sausage to the pan, using a wooden spoon to break it up. Sauté until brown – around 5 – 7 minutes. Remove the sausage to a plate lined with paper towel.
  2. Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet and add the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and saute until brown – about 10 minutes or so.
  3. Add the onion, bell peppers, minced jalapeno, and the smoked paprika. Saute and cook until soft – about 5 – 7 minutes.
  4. To the potato mixture, add the cooked sausage and the cheese and season to taste. Mix well.
  5. Crack the eggs onto the hash mixture. Cover with a lid and cook until the eggs are set – about 8 – 10 minutes. In the alternative, if you wanted to cook them in the oven, place the skillet under the broiler for about 5 minutes, until the eggs are done to your liking.

 

Chow Chow Relish

Chow-chow (also spelled chow chow or chow chow) is a North American pickled relish made from a combination of vegetables. Mainly green tomato, cabbage, chayote, red tomatoes, onions, carrots, beans, asparagus, cauliflower and peas are used. These ingredients are pickled in a canning jar. After preserving, chow-chow is served cold, most often as a condiment or relish. (Wikipedia)

Tis the season for lots of fresh veggies. While visiting our friend in Waterloo, we sampled her friend’s relish. It was dynamite! She graciously consented to share the recipe, so here it is. Let me know if you make it and liked it! Now that we are home again, I will be making a batch. She tells me it can make 10 to 12 jars…maybe I will sell it…LOL. Thanks again Lorna!!

Seriously, I will cut the recipe in half…

Chow Chow Relish

6 qt basket tomatoes (8-10 large tomatoes)
3 large diced onions
2 cups diced celery
2 green peppers diced
1 red pepper diced
1 or 2 hot peppers
1 ½ cups vinegar
4 cups sugar – I use 2 brown and 2 white
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/3 cup pickling spice tied in cheesecloth

1. Blanch tomatoes in boiling water; peel and chop.
2. Dice celery, onion and peppers – size as desired. (I do quick pulses in food processor for convenience; makes the chili sauce more minced than diced)
3. Tie pickling spice in cheesecloth and add to pot.
4. Stir in vinegar, sugar and spices.
5. Bring to slow boil. Simmer about 3 hours, or until desired consistency is reached.
6. Put into sterilized jars and seal. Keep in a cool place.
7. ENJOY!

Classic Meatloaf and Sauce

I know..comfort food in the spring??? This one is for our friends in Newfoundland where it is still snowing in May…ugh…

Classic Meatloaf & Sauce (modified from Food Network)

Ingredients

1/2 lb.each lean ground beef and pork
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/2 cup chopped Vidalia onion
1/2 cup chopped green or red bell pepper
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, tomato paste, onions, green pepper, oats, egg, salt, and pepper. Shape the mixture into a loaf and place it in a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.

In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard. Slather the glaze on top of the meat loaf and bake until the meat loaf is firm and cooked all the way through, about 1 hour. Serve hot.

From my childhood days I remember how great meatloaf is cold too!
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/aunt-peggys-meat-loaf-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Basil and Whitefish

Unlike in Canada, we tend to eat a lot of fish here, probably because it is so plentiful. Our favourite is, of course, Pacific salmon when we can get it, but we also enjoy many other fish fresh from the Gulf! Mostly, we purchase white fish, which has a variety of types, more common are grouper, bass, pompano and red snapper in our area.

  1. White fish is especially low in fat.
  2. White fish is rich in B vitamins.
  3. White fish is rich in selenium.
  4. White fish is a great source of iodine.
  5. White fish is high in protein.

Source: http://kathrynvercillo.hubpages.com/hub/5-Health-Benefits-of-White-Fish

Having said the above, one also has to be concerned about the source of the fish you are buying. Is it fresh caught or farm-bred? Much of the frozen tilapia is from China. Here is what one doctor had to say about that…

Farm-bred fish have been found to have high concentrations of antibiotics and pesticides – Where do farm-bred fish get their antibiotics? The crowded conditions of fish farms cause the fish to be more susceptible to disease. To keep them alive, farm owners give antibiotics to the fish to stave off disease. Farm-bred fish are also treated with pesticides to combat sea lice.2 The pesticides used to treat these fish are so deadly that they have been caused to kill wild salmon that are accidentally exposed to them. These pesticides are also eventually released in the ocean where they get into the bodies and systems of other marine life.

This is my source…

 http://draxe.com/eating-tilapia-is-worse-than-eating-bacon/

This recipe is not only easy to prepare, it is very tasty and looks so great on a plate. Food Network to the rescue with this one! I hope the preamble does not put you off! Read labels!!! Ask questions.

Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Basil and Whitefish

Total Time: 30 min Prep: 5 min Cook: 25 min   Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 dozen baby peppers in a variety of colours tops only removed – (Costco sells these by the bag here).
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 to 15 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Coarse salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves, torn into halves and thirds 1 to 1 1/4 pounds white fleshed fish  [see note above]

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a 9 by 13-inch baking pan, combine tomatoes, peppers, oil, garlic, salt, pepper and 1/2 the basil. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, gently stir. Nestle fish in pan with tomatoes and peppers, place back in oven and continue roasting 7 to 10 minutes more or until fish is no longer translucent and tomatoes are just beginning to burst. Remove from oven. Divide fish among serving plates. Add remaining basil to tomatoes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Spoon over fish in equal portions.

 

 

 

Shellfish Bouillabaisse

So what can I do for New Year’s Eve? This tried and true recipe is certain to impress your guests. Yeah, I know that seafood can be expensive, but what the heck? Buy cheaper wine…LOL. As always my changes are noted in red….if you follow the recipe it should feed 8 people…

Shellfish Bouillabaisse (Adapted from Food Network’s Emeril Lagasse)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound chorizo, cut into 1-inch pieces (if you can’t find this use a good Italian sausage)
  • 3 cups julienne onions
  • 2 cups diced potatoes, blanched
  • 1 cup julienned red peppers
  • 1 cup julienned yellow peppers
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • Essence, recipe follows or Old Bay Seasoning
  • 4 cups chopped peeled and seeded tomatoes or use 3 cans of chopped
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 pound lobster, split or (I bought four medium lobster tails and split them in half, leaving the shell on)
  • 2 pieces of a good white fish cut into chunks (optional)
  • 1/4 pound shrimp, peeled and tail on (I take the tails off)
  • 1/4 pound mussels or scallops (I used 8 and cut them in half as well)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • Few threads of saffron
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • Small loaf of crusty bread

Directions

In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, render the sausage for 2 minutes. Remove the sausage and set aside. In a mixing bowl, toss all the vegetables with the garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Place one third of the vegetables evenly on the bottom of the pot. Place one third of the tomatoes and 2 of the bay leaves on the vegetables. Lay the lobsters, meat side down and the soft-shells on top of the tomato mixture. Sprinkle 1/2 of the chorizo over the lobster. Layer 1/3 of the vegetables and tomatoes on top of the lobsters and chorizo. Season the shrimp with Essence. Lay the shrimp over the tomatoes. Layer the remaining 1/3 of the vegetables and tomatoes over the shrimp. Layer 1/2 of the chorizo over the shrimp. Lay the mussels or scallops over the tomatoes. Add the fish chunks. Add the wine, saffron and parsley. Cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes. Ladle the bouillabaisse in an over-sized platter. Garnish with the aioli, green onions and crusty bread.

Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning):

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.  Yield about 2/3 cups.

Greek Salad a la Larry

Larry decided to explore several different Greek salad recipes one day – the result was his version below, which turned out to be very good!

Larry’s Greek Salad Recipe

Dressing Ingredients:

1 1/2 TBS  lemon juice

2 TBS     red wine vinegar

6 TBS       olive oil

2              small garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped

1 tsp      white sugar

1 tsp      salt

½ tsp     course ground pepper

1  tsp     Dijon grainy mustard

6 to 8     black / Kalamata olives finely chopped    Note: 15 oz can, the remainder go in the salad.

Mix all ingredients well in a salad dressing mixer or glass jar with lid.  Adjust quantities of ingredients to your individual taste.  The small amount of sugar cuts the acidity and is pleasant on the tongue without being sweet tasting.

Salad ingredients:

1              small red onion, very finely sliced

 Cut into approx.  one inch cubes:  1 green pepper,  1 red pepper,  1  yellow pepper (seeded, etc)

½ c          coarsely chopped flat parsley leaves  (if you like, you can also add some chopped mint leaves)

12 -16    Kalamata / black olives, pitted and halved

4              mini  cucumbers  (Costco), quartered lengthwise, and cut in 1” thick slices

200 gr    feta cheese, cut into small ½” cubes ( in Mexico, I use Apetina brand found at Superama, in brine)

1 cup     Plum tomatoes, halved ( more if you like)

Mix all the ingredients together and toss with some of the dressing.  I like to add the feta cheese to the individual salad bowls.   Guests can add more dressing if they like.

Another option:  let guests add their own dressing and feta.  If there is salad remaining, it will store better without the dressing added.