Chicken Fajita Casserole

Who doesn’t like fajitas, whether beef or chicken or shrimp? This is a fairly simple recipe which does NOT use tortillas. Say goodbye to some carbs!

Chicken Fajita Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 2 bell peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 packet Fajita seasoning OR make your own SEE Photo below!
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • Sour cream and salsa (Garnish)

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9×13 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium high, drizzle with Olive oil.

3. Add cooked chicken, peppers and onions. Sauté on high heat to get a nice sear on the meat and veg (about 1-2 minutes) for added flavor! Remove from pan.

4. Mix the cream cheese and seasoning packet into skillet until melted, add chicken and veg back to pan, mix well to coat evenly.

5. Add to casserole dish, top with cheese.

6. Bake 20 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: YIELD: 8 SERVING SIZE: 1/8 of pan

Amount Per Serving: CALORIES: 209 TOTAL FAT: 13g TRANS FAT: 0g CARBOHYDRATES: 6g NET CARBOHYDRATES: 4g FIBER: 2g PROTEIN: 17g

Loaded Mashed Potato Mix

What to serve with some beautiful beef filets? Of course, potatoes, but what kind? Since there were no real potatoes in the house, I turned to my fall back potatoes – INSTANT! (I always have a few different kinds of Idaho Instant potatoes in the pantry). For this recipe, I chose the Idaho Baby Reds.

Not wanting to simply whip up according to the package, I found a recipe on Pinterest. (You are NOT surprised.) It was delicious and perfect with the filets and roasted asparagus. So perfect, that I neglected to take a photo…

Loaded Idaho Mashed Potato Mix

Ingredients

  • 6 cups prepared mashed potatoes made with butter and milk (or broth)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix unprepared (I substituted Emeril’s Essence)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese divided
  • 6 slices cooked bacon chopped
  • 6 green onions thinly sliced (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine mashed potatoes, sour cream, ranch dressing mix, 1 cup cheese, bacon and onions.

3. Spread into large casserole dish. Bake for 25 minutes or until heated. Remove from oven and sprinkle top with remaining 1 cup cheese.

4. Return to oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese on top is melted.

5. Garnish if desired with extra bacon and green onions.

6. Serves 6-8

Romaine “Wedge” Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese

You will have noted that I put the word “wedge” in brackets. Actually I dislike it when I see romain served in wedges. It’s difficult to eat without a fork AND knife. I much prefer to have the romaine torn into smaller parts before it is served. This is true of some restaurant Caesar salads as well. Without a doubt, the highlight of this salad is the ranch dressing, which you can use on almost any salad OR as a simple veggie dip. Of course, you can skip the blue cheese, but why would you? LOL

Romaine Wedge Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe Homemade Ranch Dressing*
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 slices sourdough bread cut into ½-inch cube (I did some store-bought croutons in butter and garlic powder)
  • 4 slices thick bacon cut crosswise into thin strips
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce quartered lengthwise into wedges
  • 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • finely chopped chives optional

1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sourdough cubes; cook and stir until cubes are lightly browned on all sides. Remove from skillet and reserve.

2. Add bacon to same skillet; cook and stir until bacon is crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towel to drain.

3. Carefully rinse and dry romaine wedges, doing your best to keep them intact. OR tear them up

4. Arrange romaine wedges on a platter. Drizzle desired amount of dressing on salad and sprinkle with remaining ingredients. Serve.

*Homemade Ranch Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup chives finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley finely chopped
  • milk enough to reach your desired consistency (optional)

Instructions

Whisk together the sour cream, garlic, parsley and chives. Add milk to reach your desired consistency.

Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Enjoy as a salad dressing or a vegetable dip.

Leftover Steak Stroganoff

As noted last week, here is the recipe for using up leftover steak of any kind. It was extremely great with the Coffee Rubbed Cowboy steak, but you could use any other steak.

Leftover Steak Stroganoff

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1 shallot (minced)
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic (minced)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp ground sage
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp each, salt & pepper (more to taste, if necessary)
  • 1 cup Baby Portabella Mushrooms (stemmed, sliced)
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard (coarse ground)
  • 1 cup leftover prime rib roast (sliced into 2-inch strips)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 8 oz egg noodles (rinsed and drained)
  • 2 Tbsp parsley (chopped, optional garnish)

1 Start with a large, deep frying pan or Dutch oven. Heat the olive oil to medium high heat, then add minced shallot and garlic and cook for 1 minute (just enough to start sweating the shallot). Add butter and melt with the shallot and garlic.

2 Add the all-purpose flour, combine with shallot and garlic until all of the flour is absorbed. Add seasoning (tarragon, ground sage, thyme, salt & pepper) and mushrooms. Stir to combine, then add the beef broth, Worcestershire and Dijon.

3 Stir all of the gravy ingredients, reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer (reducing heat as necessary to maintain a low simmer) for about 10 minutes. Gravy should thicken while simmering.

4 Once gravy has simmered and reduced, slightly thickening, add the sliced leftover prime rib roast meat and cook an additional 2-3 minutes to heat the meat through completely. Remove from heat and add sour cream. Serve immediately over cooked pasta, rice, or potatoes. Top with chopped parsley for garnish, if desired.

Southwest Chicken and Pasta Casserole

Another round of what to do with leftover rotisserie chicken…LOL. Just cannot resist a freshly cooked rotisserie chicken, but it usually lasts for three meals with only two of us. Came across this one, as usual, on Pinterest. It was a great marriage of southwest flavours! The recipe made enough to reheat the second day.

Great way to use up those little bits of dried pasta. If you look carefully, you will see shells and penne.

Southwest Chicken and Pasta Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked spiral pasta
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup salsa ( I love Pace Picante Sauce for this recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 can (15 oz) corn (drained)
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans (drained & rinsed)
  • 2 cups cooked shredded/chunked chicken
  • 2 cups shredded cheese

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9×13 baking dish and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Don’t forget to salt the pasta water. I use about 1 teaspoon salt.

3. While pasta is cooking, combine sour cream, salsa, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder in a large mixing bowl.

4. Drain the pasta when it’s done cooking and add into the sour cream mixture. Stir to combine. Add in the corn, black beans, chicken, and 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Stir together to combine.

5. Pour into the baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Cover with tin foil and cook for 20 minutes.

6. Take the tin foil off and let cook an additional 5 minutes. Garnish with green onions,, sour cream and more Pace Picante Sauce..

Quick and Easy Mexican Red Pozole

In January 2017, I posted a similar recipe for this popular Mexican dish made with hominy – essentially a specially dried corn. While we thoroughly enjoyed that recipe, I did find it time consuming. If you are fortunate to have a grocery store which carries Mexican products you can find this on the shelves in a can, as I was fortunate to locate.

La Costena Pozole Rojo

Sometimes one just wants to put a hot meal on the table with a minimum of preparation! Since we had a Costco leftover rotisserie chicken available, this was quick! Shred the chicken. Heat the pozole in a large saucepan over medium heat with the chicken added in.

While it is heating, slice up an avocado, set out some sour cream, slice two or three radishes, chop up a bit of cilantro, some shreds of cabbage if you have some?

When the pozole is thoroughly heated, pour into large soup bowls and garnish with the sour cream, radishes, cilantro and avocado. You can add a few tortilla strips if you have them for some added crunch.

Quick and Easy Mexican Red Pozole

Ingredients

  • 1 large can La Costena pozole rojo
  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken or pork or turkey
  • 2 or three radishes sliced
  • Cilantro chopped
  • Sour cream
  • 1 avocado diced
  • Tortilla strips
  • Shredded cabbage (optional)

Mustardy Pork Chops with Roasted Red Cabbage (and Potatoes)

Mustard and pork chops + red cabbage = great dinner! Another Pinterest find which turned out really well. I omitted the starchy potatoes since I did not have any. Not sure it would have turned out any better?

Mustard

Mustardy Pork Chops with Roasted Red Cabbage and Potatoes (optional)

Ingredients

  • 4-5 medium potatoes, Yukon Gold, scrubbed clean
  • 1 small head of red cabbage (about 1 pound)
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 bone-in pork chops, thick cut (about 1 pound each)
  • 100 g / 3.5 oz. crème fraiche or sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh, chopped dill, plus some for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp. granulated sugar
  • fine sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 230 C / 450°F. Chop the potatoes into bite-sized pieces, leaving the skins on. Spread the potatoes in a single layer in a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp. oil and toss to coat well. Roast for 20 minutes.
  2. Cut the red cabbage into 2.5 cm / 1-inch slices, remove thick core and discard. Brush with 1 Tbsp. oil and add to the roasting potatoes. Reduce heat to 200 C / 400 F and roast for another 25 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl mix crème fraiche, dill, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the pork chops with salt and cook each side until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  5. Remove the baking pan from the oven. Place the pork chops on top of the potatoes and red cabbage and coat evenly with the mustardy crème fraiche.
  6. Transfer the baking pan back into the oven and roast until the pork chops are tender, this takes about 8 to 10 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers at least 65 C / 145 F.
  7. Sprinkle with dill, salt and fresh ground black pepper before serving.

Salt and Pepper Salmon Bites

My dilemma…do I buy a full side salmon filet or just three pieces at the fish counter? With the full side from Costco, there are thick and thin pieces, some cook faster than others.

Resolution, trim off the thinner sides of the piece, along with the tail end. Cut these into cubes or smaller slices and freeze them in a bag to make other salmon dishes not requiring small filets. The result was this recipe which makes a very nice dinner when served with some freshly steamed brussel sprouts and maybe a nice rice dish. Those pieces can also be used in a pasta dish.

20200803_185713

Salt and Pepper Salmon Bites

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2-pound skinless salmon filet
  • 1 tsp coarse black pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp five spice
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • red pepper flakes

INSTRUCTIONS

Slice the salmon into strips about an inch thick.

In a bowl combine the pepper, salt, five spice and cornstarch.

Add the salmon pieces and toss well making sure the salmon is well coated.

In a medium sized pan stick pan heat the oil until hot.

Gently place the salmon into the hot oil and cook for about 2 minutes. Turn the salmon pieces over and repeat with the other side until salmon is fully cooked.

Transfer the salmon to a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.

Serve with rice and garnish with chopped green onions and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and a bit of sour cream if you like.

Keto Taco Zucchini Boats

These really do not have to be labelled as KETO, they are just plain great for everyone, especially kids. I served them with a dollop of sour cream. You could also add guacamole as a garnish. My zucchini were medium size, hence I ended up with 4 halves. If you are using larger zucchini, you could get along with ONE half and a salad alongside.

*In lieu of the cumin, chili powder and salt, I used my homemade taco seasoning.

20200718_183500

Keto Taco Zucchini Boats

Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 4 Zucchini depending on how many people…
  • 1-pound Ground beef
  • ½ cup Bell Peppers mixed Red & Yellow, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ cup Water
  • 8 ounces Cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1/2 cup Salsa

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400°F

Prepare your zucchini by trimming off the stem end. To do this I just gently round the end of the zucchini with a knife, removing the stem. Then cut each zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a measuring spoon (teaspoon)or melon ball scoop, to hollow out the zucchini forming a boat.

Place the zucchini boats in a greased baking dish and sprinkle a small amount of salt over them.

In a skillet over medium high heat brown the ground beef.

Add bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, salt, and ¼ cup of water to the ground beef. Continue to cook until vegetables are softened and water has been absorbed.

Once the beef mixture is ready fill each zucchini boat with the beef and vegetable mixture.

Top the zucchini boats with cheddar cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until zucchini has softened and cheese is melted.

Pour salsa over boats before serving. Optional sour cream and guacamole?

Nutrition

Serving: 1boat | Calories: 242 kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 482mg | Potassium: 301mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 5400IU | Vitamin C: 38.8mg | Calcium: 2180mg | Iron: 1.4mg

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?