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.

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.

Southern Fried Cabbage

I am sure that I am not alone on Pinterest when I find a great recipe, make it, eat it and FORGET TO TAKE A PHOTO!!! Such is the case with me again. Nevertheless, it turned out great! Trust me!!!

Southern Fried Cabbage

Ingredients

  • 6 slices bacon cut in pieces
  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease
  • 1 cup onions chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds cabbage chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic chopped
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt or more to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes optional, to taste

Instructions

Sauté the bacon in a heavy skillet until crispy.

Remove the bacon from the skillet and set aside.

Spoon off all but about 2 tablespoons of bacon grease.

Add the onions to the skillet and sauté until they just begin to become translucent.

Add the cabbage and garlic; sauté, stirring often, for about 10 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and seasoned salt. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until it is as tender as you like and the liquid has mostly evaporated.

Stir in the bacon and serve.

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.

Corned Beef Hash

Whenever I travel back to Ontario , I usually have breakfast in Waterloo where I can have corned beef hash with two poached eggs. The best place for this is Sunset Grill (a chain with several locations in Ontario). I am never disappointed! Here in Mexico, corned beef is rarely, if ever, found. Never have I found corned beef hash on a breakfast menu! Recently, I have found corned beef in Costco, which sent me on a mission to find a recipe for the hash. It really turned out better than my expectations. Hopefully you will try this recipe if you are also a fan? While the hash is cooking, prepare two poached eggs.

Corned Beef Hash

Ingredients

  • 1 cup potato cooked, chopped. If raw, microwave potatoes 3 minutes on high
  • 1 cup corn beef cooked, chopped
  • 0.5 small onion chopped or grated
  • 0.5 tbsp whole grain mustard
  • 0.25 tsp garlic powder
  • 0.13 tsp cayenne pepper optional
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

1. Heat a skillet to medium and add butter

2. When the butter has melted, add chopped onion and saute until translucent.

3. While the onions are sauteing, mix corned beef, potatoes, and spices together in a bowl.

4. When the onions are translucent, add contents of the bowl to the skillet and increase to medium-high heat.

5. Stir to combine fully and cook for about 5 minutes until the hash starts to brown.

6. Using a spatula, pat mixture down firmly and cook for 7-10 minutes until it starts to form a crispy crust.

7. Flip the hash by either cutting into sections and turning each or place a plate upon the hash and holding the plate firmly, flip the pan onto the plate then slide the whole hash back into the pan.

8. Cook the other side for 7-10 minutes until hash has a crispy crust.

9. Remove from the heat to a serving platter. Top with the two eggs.

10. Serve hot, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Baked Pork Tenderloin

Normally when I prepare pork tenderloin, I make a marinade, meaning it needs to sit in the marinade for several hours or overnight. NOT this one, which makes it very simple. The end result was juicy and very flavourful. We like to remove ours from the oven while it is still slightly pink in the middle, so you need to adjust the timing. This one reached 140 F between 15 and 20 minutes and I removed it from the oven and let it sit about 10 minutes. It was perfectly a little pink inside.

Baked Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients

  • 1 or 2 ½ pound pork tenderloins
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon, lime, or orange juice (or 1 tablespoon of each)
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (optional but highly recommended)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a large baking/casserole dish. Pierce tenderloins all over with a fork. Rub oil onto all sides of the meat.

2. Whisk together Italian seasoning, garlic powder, cumin, salt, chili powder, smoked paprika (if using) and black pepper. Sprinkle mixture over tenderloin(s), patting it onto the surface of the meat on all sides. Place in prepared baking dish and drizzle lemon/lime juice over the top.

3. Bake for 25-35 minutes until outside is browned and crispy and centers are cooked through to desired doneness (you can take them out on the early side if you like the centers a little pink).

4. Spoon juices from the dish over the meat. Allow to rest on a cutting board or in the baking dish for 5-10 minutes. Slice into 1-inch pieces. Spoon any remaining juices from the pan over the slices, garnish with fresh chopped cilantro if desired, and serve.

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.

Broccoli with Mushrooms

My apologies for not posting last week, as I was undergoing surgery and was convalescing at home as per doctor’s orders. It fell to my spouse to be the chief cook and bottle washer, among providing nursing care! I am back on my feet and back in the kitchen once again!

This weeks recipe is fairly simple, just broccoli and mushrooms as a side dish for some wonderful sausage with spinach and feta (COSTCO). A simple dish to prepare… If I were to make this again, I would add some chopped cooked bacon!

Brussel Sprouts and Mushrooms

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 500 grams cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed, washed, and halved
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon spicy mustard

4 large eggs, optional*

1. Add the olive oil, butter, mushrooms, onions, salt, and ground black pepper to a heavy-bottomed frying pan or skillet. Over medium heat, cook the mushrooms and onions until the mushrooms have browned -about 15 minutes.

2. Next, add the dried thyme, garlic, sprouts, and mustard. Stir to combine with the mushrooms. Allow the sprouts to sear and caramelize – about 15 minutes.

3. *While the sprouts are cooking, you can fry the eggs, sunnyside-up, if you are adding a fried egg to the top of your serving. Otherwise, skip this step.

Roast Christmas or New Year’s Duck

Traditionally, we always have duck for Christmas Eve due to the reality that most people will have turkey for Christmas Day! This is a new recipe I found in place of the Duck L’orange that I have roasted in the past. The combination of balsamic vinegar, honey and lemon was incredible. It would be great for New Year’s Eve or Day!

Roast Christmas Duck

Ingredients

  • 6 lb whole duck
  • salt
  • 5 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 lemon small or medium, chopped

GLAZE

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lemon, freshly squeezed juice
  • 1/4 cup honey

A. If you purchased frozen duck, make sure to defrost the frozen duck in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Once the duck is completely defrosted (in the refrigerator), take the duck out of the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking to bring it more or less to room temperature.

B. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. You will be roasting the duck for a total of 3 hours (3 hours will be divided into 4-time chunks where you will be flipping the duck, brushing it with glaze, etc. – see the instructions below).

1. Remove the giblets from inside the duck. Rinse the duck, inside and outside, with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.

2. Set the duck on the working surface. Score the duck’s skin on the breast in a diamond pattern, making sure you only cut the skin, without reaching the meat. Poke the other fatty parts of the duck with the tip of the knife all over, to ensure fat release, especially in very fatty parts. You don’t need to poke the duck legs as the skin is pretty thin there (except for where the duck legs connect to the duck body). Season the duck very generously with salt both inside the cavity of the duck and outside on the skin, legs, all over. Place the duck breast side up.

3. Put 5 chopped garlic cloves and lemon slices inside the duck cavity (these are just for flavor, not for eating – you will discard them after cooking). The duck will have flapping skin on both ends – fold that skin inwards, to hold the garlic and lemon inside. Tie up the duck legs with butcher’s twine.

4. Place the bird breast side up on a large roasting pan with a rack (roasting pan should have a roasting rack to lift the duck from the bottom of the pan and allow the fat to drip below the duck). Roast the duck, breast side up, for 1 hour at 350 F.

5. After 1 hour of roasting, flip the duck on its breast and roast it breast side down (roast the other side) for 40 minutes, at 350 F.

6. Remove the roasting pan with the duck from the oven (you now have roasted the duck for 1 hour + 40 minutes), carefully remove the duck to a platter (making sure the lemons and garlic from the cavity do not fall out – keep the skin on both ends of the duck folded), and carefully pour off all the duck fat juices from the roasting pan into a large heat-proof bowl or container.

7. Flip the duck breast side up again on a rack in a roasting pan (the pan will have no fat juices now). In a small bowl, combine ½ cup of balsamic vinegar with the freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon. Brush all of the duck with the balsamic mixture (especially the scored duck breast) and cook the duck breast side up for another 40 minutes at 350 F, brushing every 10 minutes with the mixture.

8. Now, in a separate small bowl, combine ¼ cup honey and 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar lemon mixture that you will have left over from the previous step. Brush the breast side of the duck with this honey-balsamic mixture, and roast for another 40 minutes, brushing the duck breast side every 10 minutes with honey balsamic mixture. You can even carefully broil the duck for the last 10-15 minutes if you like (do it carefully, checking the duck regularly to make sure it doesn’t char too much). Final temperature should be 180 F or 82 Celsius!!!

9. After the duck is cooked, remove it from the oven, let duck stand for 15 minutes. Then, carefully remove and discard the lemon from the cavity (being careful not to get burned).

Carve the duck and serve!

TOTAL COOKING TIME: The duck should be roasted for a total of 3 hours at 350 F. These 3 hours of roasting are divided into 4 distinctive time chunks (1 hour breast side up + 40 minutes breast side down + 40 minutes breast side up brushed with balsamic-lemon mixture + 40 minutes breast side up brushed with honey-balsamic mixture).Calories: 2862kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 79g | Fat: 267g | Saturated Fat: 89g | Cholesterol: 517mg | Sodium: 438mg | Potassium: 1558mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 1145IU | Vitamin C: 48.8mg | Calcium: 104mg | Iron

Easy Keto Chili NO Beans

Unheard of, where we are in Mexico, is chili as we know it in our country. Some northern chili has beans and some do not. This is the latter.

Easy Keto Chili NO Beans!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef or turkey
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (10 ounce) can tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (32 ounce) carton beef broth
  • 1 (7 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder*
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

*If you enjoy spicy chili, I would increase this to 3 tablespoons of chili powder.

Instructions

1. Brown the meat over medium heat in a medium size sauce pot or Dutch oven. Drain off any grease.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well.

3. Allow chili to simmer over medium low heat uncovered for approximately 30 minutes until the tomato juice has reduced and thickened.

Serving size is 1.5 cups Calories 301

Carbs 11.1 gm. Net carbs 8.5 gm. Fiber 2.6 gm. Protein 24.3 gm. Sugar 7.6 gm.