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Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Once a year, we seem to be able to find spaghetti squash in Yucatan. This was it! If you have never baked a spaghetti squash it is so simple. When it is done baking you take a large fork and shred it et voila – spaghetti! The simple version is to bake it and the add your favorite spaghetti sauces (commercial or homemade) and lots of Parmesan cheese,

This version is a little more time consuming but well worth it. Take a look –

Spaghetti SquashThe original recipe called for the filling to be baked inside the upturned squash. It was very difficult to shred the squash with the filling in it and thus I adapted the version and filled the shredded squash, mixing the filling into it.

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Cut the spaghetti squash in half horizontally and remove the seeds. Put squash cut sides down in a baking dish with a half inch or so of water. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Cover with foil and bake in 350-degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes. Test with a fork for tenderness.

While it is baking, prepare the stuffing as shown below.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 lb. Ground beef
  • 5 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1 large cooking onion
  • Salt and pepper
  • Seasoning to suit your taste
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of salsa (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

Heat oil in pan.  (I like to use my wok) Throw in the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds. Throw in the onion and continue to sauté until tender.

Add ground beef and brown thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper.

Add other seasoning such as Italian as you wish*

Mix in the cheese. Mix in the salsa.

Keep warm until the squash is tender.

Turn the squash over on a plate leaving on the outer shell, shred with a fork being careful not to break the shell.Fill with the ‘stuffing”.

Top with sour cream, more salsa? BBQ sauce?

 

 

 

 

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Slow Cooker (Crockpot) Swedish Meatballs

What to do without Costco? I have had a bag of turkey meatballs in the freezer for awhile. The truth is we didn’t really like them! Not to waste I found this slow cooker recipe for Swedish meatballs and I got the chance to use them all up, never to buy again. If you have been following for sometime you will know that I had previously made meatballs for use with pasta. This recipe called for frozen ones. Et voila! Actually they tasted awesome…great for a buffet table.

DSC_0056

Slow Cooker/Crock Pot Swedish Meatballs

Ingredients:
1 can cream of mushroom (or chicken) soup, low sodium*
1 can beef broth, low sodium*
1 packet dry onion soup mix
2 tbsp. A1 steak sauce
1 (2 lb.) bag frozen meatballs
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream (1 cup)
1 (16 oz.) package egg noodles

sliced mushrooms (optional)

Directions:
In a 5-6 quart slow cooker, mix undiluted soup with beef broth, onion soup mix and steak sauce. Stir well.

Then add in frozen meatballs.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high 3-5 hours. (My slow cooker is always faster than the recipe calls for, in this case they were done in about 4 1/2 hours.

After meatball mixture is almost cooked, add in the sliced mushrooms and stir in sour cream.

At this time, put a pot of water on the oven to boil for your egg noodles (make according to package directions.) Drain noodles well when done.

Mix noodles and meatballs together. Or serve meatballs on top of noodles.

Note: Low sodium is my personal preference for this to keep it from being too salty. If I’m serving for a crowd, I will mix together noodles and meatballs and keep my crock pot on the ‘warm’ or ‘buffet’ setting. But when it’s just my family, everyone can serve themselves and grab as many meatballs, noodles and sauce as they like.

http://www.thecountrycook.net

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 Divan

Chicken Divan is a chicken casserole usually served with broccoli, almonds, and Mornay sauce. It was named after the place of its invention, the Divan Parisiennne Restaurant in the New York Chatham Hotel where it was served as the signature dish in the early twentieth century. Its creator, a chef named Lagasi, created it as part of a contest, winning a small amount of money and creating their signature dish. Source – Wikipedia

I actually really like chicken or turkey divan and it is pretty straightforward to prepare. If I don’t want to cook my own chicken or turkey I sometimes buy a roast chicken or turkey breast at the deli counter and chunk it up for this recipe since it starts with cooked chicken.

Chicken Divan Prep time 45 mins Cook time 30 mins Total time 1 hour 15 mins

Ingredients • 4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (or head to the Deli)

• 2 to 3 heads broccoli (while at the deli grab some florets too)

• 2 cans cream of chicken soup (any cream soup will do except cheddar)

• 1½ cup mayonnaise

• ⅓ cup sour cream

• ⅓ cup chicken broth

• 2 teaspoons lemon juice

• ¼ teaspoon curry (or up to 2 teaspoons, to taste)

• 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

• bread crumbs, or Ritz crackers, crumbled

• cooked rice, for serving

Instructions

Cut broccoli into florets and steam until just tender, about 2-3 minutes. place broccoli in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. in a large bowl, combine cream of chicken soup, mayo, sour cream, chicken broth, lemon juice, curry, cheese and shredded chicken. pour chicken mixture over broccoli and top with a sprinkle of bread crumbs or crushed Ritz crackers. bake at 400 for 30 minutes. serve over rice.

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

The History of Butter Chicken

http://butterchicken.ca/the-history-of-butter-chicken/

Butter chicken (or murgh makhani) is part of Indian cuisine, popular in countries all over the world. The origins of butter chicken can be traced back to New Delhi. Butter chicken is regarded to have been first introduced by a restaurant called Moti Mahal, located in Daryaganj . Butter chicken is usually served with naan, roti, parathas or steamed rice.

It is thought that butter chicken was hastily prepared by a Delhi eatery chef post dinner time for a harried VIP customer who wanted “some” chicken dish. A chef named Simon Mahli Chahal first prepared this when he only had half of a Tandoori chicken which he tossed with liberal amounts of butter, tomato, and garam masalas to improvise for an delicious delicacy he was supposed to make for the ruler of Mareelun. He forgot to buy enough ingredients so he ended up with this dish.

Though various versions exists for the recipe, typically dressed chicken (with or without bones) is marinated overnight in a yogurt and spice mixture usually including garam masala, ginger, garlic paste, lemon or lime, pepper, coriander, cumin, turmeric and chili. The chicken is traditionally cooked in a tandoor, but can also be grilled, roasted or pan fried. The sauce, is made by heating and mixing butter, tomato puree, and various spices, often including cumin, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, pepper, fenugreek and fresh cream. Cashew paste can also be added, and will make the gravy thicker. Of all the spices added to the dish it is dried fenugreek leaves (Urdu/Hindi: Qasuri Methi) that makes the greatest contribution to the characteristic flavour of the dish. Once the sauce is prepared, the prepared chicken is chopped and cooked until the gravy and chicken have blended. The dish may be garnished with white butter, fresh cream, sliced green chillies and Qasuri Methi.

While I love butter chicken, sometimes I want to do something simpler. Here is the Canadian Living recipe using a slow cooker!

This can easily be left to simmer away in a slow cooker for eight hours prior to adding the chicken. It yields a large quantity of sauce that freezes well if you’re feeding a smaller group.
Ingredients
• 2 onions, diced
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 3 tbsp (45 mL) butter
• 2 tbsp (30 mL) grated fresh ginger
• 2 tbsp (30 mL) packed brown sugar
• 2 tsp (10 mL) chili powder
• 3/4 tsp (4 mL) ground coriander
• 3/4 tsp (4 mL) ground turmeric
• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cumin
• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
• 1 can (28 oz/796 mL) diced tomatoes
• 1 cup (250 mL) sodium-reduced chicken broth
• 1/4 cup (60 mL) almond butter or cashew butter
• 3 lb (1.4 kg) boneless skinless chicken thighs, quartered
• 1 cup (250 mL) sour cream
• 2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh cilantro
Preparation
In slow cooker, combine onions, garlic, butter, ginger, brown sugar, chili powder, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, salt, pepper and tomatoes. Whisk broth with almond butter; pour into slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low for 5 to 8 hours. (Actually, it was ready in about 4 hours…must be our altitude)

With immersion blender, puree sauce until smooth. (I choose not to puree sauces as I like the chunkiness of the ingredients!) Add chicken; cook, covered, on high until juices run clear when chicken is pierced, 30 to 40 minutes.

Stir in sour cream. Serve sprinkled with cilantro.

Salmon Crunch Pie

Before getting into this recipe, here is a little background I found on the Pacific Salmon official site –

Pink salmon is inexpensive; red salmon costs more. Red salmon flesh is actually red, and pink salmon looks more like tuna. When red and pink salmon are pulled fresh from the sea their flesh is, in fact, distinctly red or pink. The cooking process of canning reduces coloration in both. Red salmon gets its enhanced color from eating krill, a type of small shrimp. Pinks are the most abundant salmon, followed by reds.

Supply and demand and a historic bias for red salmon account for the cost differential. We have done blind taste tests, and when people don’t know which fish they are eating, statistically they report a slight preference for pink over red.

Wild Pacific Salmon of Farmed Atlantic Salmon?

In the marketplace: If it isn’t labeled, you can’t always be certain without asking the retailer or restaurant. It is always best to ask. However, there are some clues. If the label reads “Atlantic” salmon then it is farmed. In Canada, there are no legal commercial fisheries for Atlantic salmon and virtually all Atlantic salmon served in restaurants or sold in stores are farmed fish. If the label simply reads “fresh salmon”, there is a good chance it is farmed. Most wild salmon will be identified by species – pink, coho, sockeye, spring/chinook or chum salmon. But Chinook (also called spring) salmon are farmed as well so the name is not a guarantee. Always ask. If it’s farmed, don’t buy it and tell the store to stop selling it until the industry adopts better practices.

Having shared all of that my preference is still for Wild Pacific Salmon, which I buy in cans identified as such! The recipe I am sharing today comes from a dear friend, Ellie, who served this to us along with a great salad…. I think you’ll like it!

 Salmon Crunch Pie
Ingredients
1 (15 1/2 oz) can salmon
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon grated onion
3 drops hot pepper sauce (Tabasco)
1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed

***Whole Wheat Crust***
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup finely chopped almonds
Directions
Whole Wheat Crust: Combine whole wheat flour, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, salt and paprika. Cut in butter making crumbs. Add finely chopped almonds. Reserve 1 cup crumbs for topping and press remaining crumbs into a deep 9″ pie plate.

***

Drain and flake salmon, reserving liquid. Mix the beaten eggs, salmon liquid, sour cream, mayonnaise, cheese and seasonings and mix well. Add to the flaked salmon, mixing thoroughly. Turn into deep dish pie plate lined with the whole wheat crust. Sprinkle with crumbs reserved from crust. Bake in preheated 400F oven for about 45 minutes or until filling is set.

Honeymoon Salad ’cause that’s what my mother called it!

Mix the following ingredients. To me it’s more like dessert…LOL

Honeymoon Salad

  • 2 cans of drained mandarin oranges or fresh if available
  • 1 can pineapple chunks or fresh
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup coconut…consider toasting!
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • red Maraschino cherries
Mix it all together and refrigerate until ready to use.

Madison’s Banana Bread

On our recent visit to my daughters, my granddaughter made this great banana bread for us. It is very easy and tasty too!

Madison’s Banana Bread

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 bananas mashed

1/2 cup butter

1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cream together butter and sugar. Mix in 1 egg (2) at a time to the butter. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix flour and baking soda. Slowly mix flour mixture into the butter mixture.

Add vanilla.

When all mixed well, add sour cream and cinnamon. Set aside. Mash the peeled bananas into the mixture until well combined.

Spray your 9 x 5 baking pan. Pour in batter.

Bake for about 1 hour, checking periodically. Edges will be golden brown.

N.B. Papa’s suggestion…add chopped nuts….

Oriental Pork OR Chicken Stroganoff

This recipe was another I picked up from my daughter. It has always been a favourite because of its simplicity.

Oriental Stroganoff

what you need

  • 2 pork tenderloins cut into 1/2 inch rounds or chicken strips
  • 2 tsp sambal oleek (found in the imported foods section of most grocery stores)
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 small onion cut in half horizontally and in strips
  • 1 green pepper cut into strips
  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 c white wine
  • 3 green onions thinly sliced
  • 1/3 c sour cream
make it
Stir sambal, ginger, soy, sesame into large bowl. Add pork or chicken. Heat 2 tsp oil. Add half ‘meat’ Cook 2-3 minutes and remove. Cook second half. Heat 1 tsp oil. Add peppers and white onion. Stir 1 – 2 minutes. Add white wine. Return ‘meat’ to pan. Boil, then simmer 3 minutes. Stir in sour cream and some green onions. Serve over rice or noodles.

Parmesan Baked Potato Halves

Parmesan Baked Potato Halves

Ingredients :

6-8 small potatoes scrubbed and cut in half

1/4 cup melted butter

grated Parmesan cheese (NOT shredded*)

garlic powder and/or other seasonings to your liking

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter and pour into a 9 x 13 inch pan and spread evenly across the bottom. Generously sprinkle Parmesan cheese and seasonings all over the butter. Place potato halves face down on the butter and seasonings. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan. Serve with sour cream.

NB…do NOT use shredded cheese unless you want a sticky mess of ‘fried’ cheese in your pan!