Salsa Mac and Cheese with PACE salsa

No pics today, as this recipe was devoured by two hungry men…LOL. I was actually searching for a recipe about dressing up that CANADIAN KD – better known as Kraft Macaroni and Cheese! Thankful that I found this one on the Pace Salsa website! It comes together very quickly once you have prepared the pasta. It should actually feed four people. I skipped the tortilla chips since I was already carb heavy with the macaroni.

Pace* Salsa Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1/2-pound boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium green pepper, cut into 2-inch-long strips (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cups Pace® Chunky Salsa
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fajita seasoning
  • 2 cups water
  • 12 ounces (about 3 cups) uncooked elbow macaroni or cavatelli pasta
  • 1/2 cup coarsely crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Step 1

Heat the oven to 350°F. While the oven is heating, season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until well browned and cooked through. Remove the beef to a plate.

Step 2

Add the green pepper to the skillet and cook for 3 minutes or until tender-crisp. Remove the green pepper to the plate with the beef.

Step 3

Heat the salsa, fajita seasoning and water in the skillet to a boil. Stir in the elbows (press the elbows down to submerge in the salsa mixture). Reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 8 minutes or until the macaroni is tender, stirring occasionally. Return the beef and green pepper to the skillet with the macaroni and cook until the mixture is hot. Season to taste. Sprinkle with the crushed tortilla chips and cheese.

Step 4

Bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle with the cilantro just before serving, if desired.

Lighter Beef and Broccoli

I looked back and saw that I had included other beef and broccoli recipes, but not this one for some reason. It just happened that a friend gave us a small picanha (tri-tip sirloin) which she had mistakenly thawed and wasn’t sure what to do with it. After slicing it up and marinating it, the result was very good.

It may seem complicated,but it really wasn’t!

Lighter Broccoli Beef

Ingredients

serves 4

  • 1-1/4lb flank or sirloin steak, cut very thin against the grain
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons reduced-sodium gluten-free Tamari, divided
  • 2-1/2 Tablespoons gluten-free flour, divided (potato starch)
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes (or more or less)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons water, divided
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 Tablespoon peanut oil, divided
  • cooked rice, for serving

Directions

1. Add sliced steak, 2 Tablespoons gluten-free Tamari, and 1 Tablespoon gluten-free flour to a large Ziplock bag then seal and squish to evenly coat. Place the bag into the refrigerator to marinate while you prepare the rest of the dish.

2. Add remaining 1/2 cup gluten-free Tamari, remaining 1-1/2 Tablespoons gluten-free flour, chicken broth, brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons water, rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, ground ginger, and red chili pepper flakes to a bowl then whisk to combine and set aside.

FYI, I doubled the amount of this part to have more sauce for the rice!

3. Heat a large wok or non-stick skillet over high heat then add remaining 1/4 cup water. Once simmering, add broccoli then stir fry until crisp tender, 2-3 minutes. Remove to a plate then set aside.

4. Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in wok then, once hot, add 1/2 the marinated beef in one layer. Let sit undisturbed until seared, 30 seconds, then stir fry until just barely cooked through (some pink still showing is ok.) Remove to plate with broccoli. Heat remaining Tablespoon oil then stir fry remaining beef and add to plate.

5. Add sauce to wok then simmer until slightly thickened, 2-3 minutes. Add cooked broccoli and beef back into the wok then simmer until everything is heated through, 1 minute. Serve over cooked rice.

Coconut Rice Pudding

Due to my spouse requiring a modified diet for a few days, I decided to make him some rice pudding. Without too much work, this one filled the bill!

Coconut Rice Pudding

Serves/Makes: 4    |   Ready In: 30-60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15-ounce size) coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice (I used Jasmine)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

Combine the coconut milk and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Add the rice and cook until it returns to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pan, and let simmer for 15 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the sugar, vanilla, and nutmeg. Pour into custard cups.

Serve warm or chilled.

Beef and Broccoli

I have always enjoyed this dish in an oriental restaurant, and having found myself with too much broccoli, I searched for how to easily use it up. The ingredients list seems long, but actually it does not take much time as there is no marinating the sliced beef! It gets the flavour from the sauce ingredients. You will obviously notice that there is NO rice. We are trying to cut back on rice these days…

Better-Than-Takeout Beef with Broccoli

  • 1 to 1.25 pounds flank steak, sliced into thin strips, no more than 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or nicely minced
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons ginger, or to taste (fresh or dried is okay, use less dried than you would fresh)
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed (light may be substituted)
  • 4 to 6 cups broccoli florets (dependent on preference for broccoli)
  • 2 to 3 green onions, sliced into 1/4-inch-long segments
  • red pepper flakes, optional and to taste
  • sesame seeds, optional for garnishing

To a large zip top bag, add the steak, cornstarch, seal, and toss to coat. Set aside while preparing the sauce.

1 To a medium saucepan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and heat over medium-high for about 1 minute, or just until garlic is fragrant, taking care not to scorch it.

2 Add the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and allow it to boil for about 2 to 3 minutes. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened and reduced. While it simmers, sear the steak.

3 To a large skillet, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, and the steak. Cook over medium-high or high heat until steak is cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes, flipping the pieces intermittently to ensure even cooking.

4 Add the broccoli.

5 Evenly drizzle in the soy sauce mixture, noting it will bubble up dramatically. Toss the beef and broccoli to coat evenly with the sauce. Simmer for about 3 to 5 minutes at medium-high, or until the broccoli is as crisp tender as desired.

6 Optional — If your sauce hasn’t thickened up as much as you’d like and your broccoli is done or nearly done, and you want a sauce that clings better and isn’t as thin, simply dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1 tablespoon water (called a slurry), add it to the skillet, stir for about 1 minute, or until your sauce has thickened to your desired level. Since I used 6 cups broccoli, the natural water and juices that escaped from it thinned out my sauce, so I needed to use a slurry.

8 Turn off the heat, add the green onions, and stir to incorporate.

Optionally, evenly sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole

With a package of frozen meatballs in the freezer, a jar of marinara sauce, shredded mozzarella and rotini pasta in the pantry, this recipe was so easy to throw together. Best part You dont need to precook the pasta!!!

Just make sure those meatballs are thawed before you start the recipe…

Hidden meatballs…

Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole

Total Time 55 minutes         Servings 6 – 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) package uncooked rotini pasta
  • 1 (24 or 25 ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 (14 ounce) package fully-cooked miniature (cocktail-size) meatballs (if using frozen meatballs, make sure that they are completely thawed before using)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • Optional: Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped herbs (such as basil, oregano, and parsley for garnish)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. In a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, stir together uncooked pasta, marinara sauce, water, and meatballs. Season with salt to taste; stir. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes.

3. Uncover; stir. At this point you should check the pasta to make sure that it is al dente (firm but just about finished cooking). If it’s still too hard, cover the dish and return to the oven until pasta is al dente. Then move on to the next step.

4. Sprinkle mozzarella over the top and bake uncovered for 5-10 more minutes (or until cheese is melted and pasta is tender).

Smorgasbord of Leftovers

Fast approaching the new year...FINALLY! With two holidays in such a short period of time there are bound to be leftovers. Am I right? Indeed we had leftovers from both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at this point. No turkey in this house this year, but we did have hamand roasted duck. I raced to Pinterest as usual and the results were both quick and easy – Classic Split Pea Soup and Duck, Duck Soup. Both were great for the cooler days this holiday season.

  1. Classic Split Pea Soup

Ingredients

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 ribs of celery, diced

3 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

1 to 1-1/2 cups diced ham

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 to 3 cups water

1 lb (about 2-1/4 cups) dried split peas (I used a jar of cooked white beans)

1 bay leaf

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and sauté until soft, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the carrots, ham bone, diced ham, split peas, chicken broth, 2 cups of water and bay leaf to the pot.

Bring the soup mixture to a slow simmer and cover, leaving the lid slightly askew.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas have broken down completely and the soup has thickened, 50 to 60 minutes.

Remove and discard the ham bone and bay leaf.

Stir the soup to blend thoroughly and if necessary, add more water until the thickness of the soup is to your liking.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and ladle into bowls for serving.

2. Rachel Ray’s Duck Duck SouP

Ingredients

Bones from cooked duck

1-quart chicken broth

2 cloves garlic, crushed

4 slices ginger

3/4-pound bok choy, sliced OR spinach

1 1/4 cups shredded duck meat

1 1/2 cups cooked rice

1 scallion, sliced

Preparation

In medium pot, simmer bones, broth, 1 cup water; garlic and ginger for 25 minutes; strain. Remove any residual meat from the bones. Return to pot with remaining ingredients; simmer 5 minutes.

Creamy Kielbasa Pasta

Tis the season to be jolly and entertain! NOT! Normally at this time of year we host a “charcuterie” for our snowbird friends. Alas, in these times of COVID, many were not returning to Yucatan. Secondly, we are limited to 4 “guests”in our home at one time. The answer – Host 4 mini charcuteries with our close friends over each weekend with two other couples.

The unfortunate/fortunate part was that with the variety of cold meats and cheeses, etc. I had leftover sliced kielbasa! Pinterest (much better than that Amazon person) – What do I do with the leftover kielbasa which could not be refrozen? The prompt answer – Creamy Kielbasa Pasta IN ONE PAN!

Creamy Kielbasa Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Oil, (canola, olive, vegetable, etc.)
  • 13 Ounces Kielbasa Sausage, (one large link, sliced into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1/2 Cup White Onion, (about 1 medium sized, thinly sliced)
  • ½ red pepper, diced
  • 8 Ounces Penne Pasta, (or any short pasta, dry)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth, (low-sodium)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water
  • 8 Ounces Cream Cheese, (cut into cubes)
  • Shredded Asiago cheese

Instructions

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the oil, sausage, red pepper and onion. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes until the sausage begins to brown and the onions soften.

Add the noodles, broth, and water. Stir to combine.

Bring the ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and continue to cook for 12 to 14 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure the noodles don’t stick together. Don’t let all the liquid cook away. There needs to be a little residual liquid in the bottom of the pan to mix with the cream cheese. After the noodles are cooked to al dente or to your liking, add the cream cheese. Stir until the cream cheese is melted and thoroughly combined. Sprinkle on some of the Asiago cheese.

Serve hot. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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.

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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

Turmeric and Ginger Chicken Soup

Ok…its a little chilly out there, depending on where you live. Actually it’s chilly in Mexico where the temperature last night dropped to 13 C. Forget Christmas…LOL. It’s chicken soup time! Dig in (to the soup, NOT the snowbanks).

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Turmeric and ginger are excellent additions healthwise BTW.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs , skin removed
  • 12 cups cold water 
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro stems or fresh parsley stems
  • 2 shallots , quartered
  • 2 carrots , coarsely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic , smashed
  • 1 piece (1 inch) fresh turmeric (unpeeled), thinly sliced
  • 1 piece (1/2 inch) fresh ginger (unpeeled), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (approx.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves or fresh parsley leaves
  • OPTIONAL – 1 liter of Campbell’s Chicken Broth

METHOD

In Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine chicken, water and vinegar; cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium; simmer for 30 minutes, skimming and discarding froth.

Stir in cilantro stems, shallots, carrots, garlic, turmeric and ginger; partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 40 minutes.

Remove from heat; using tongs, transfer chicken to cutting board.

Using 2 forks, shred into bite-size pieces; sprinkle with salt.

Strain broth through fine-mesh sieve into separate large saucepan; discard solids.

I prefer my soups chunky, so I used my immersion blender to chop up some of the veggies before I added the chicken back to the pot. At this point I also added the liter of chicken broth.

Return chicken to broth; stir in cilantro leaves. Season with salt to taste.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

Per each of 6 servings:

Sodium 493 mg

Sugars 0 g

Protein 30 g

Calories 171

Total fat 5 g

Potassium 611 mg

Cholesterol 155 mg

Saturated fat 1 g

Total carbohydrate 0.0

 

Keto Salad Dressings – 5 Minute Caesar & Keto Garlic Dressing

Needing a great salad for a change? Both of these dressings are incredible and cheaper than the bottled stuff! Sorry, no photos today…

Keto 5 Minute Caesar Dressing

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons anchovy paste (I substitute equal amount of fish oil when anchovy paste is not available)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about ½ a lemon)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Nutrition  per 2 Tablespoon – Calories 140, Fat 15g, Carbs 0.8 Protein0.1g.

Keto Garlic Dressing

Servings 16 (of 2 tbsp)

INGREDIENTS

  • 4-6 Cloves garlic
  • 1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Cup olive oil
  • 1/3 Cup Water
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Pinch Black Pepper To taste
  • (Optional) Fresh herbs (I used parsley)

INSTRUCTIONS

Making the Keto Garlic Salad Dressing is really simple! – Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until it’s creamy and smooth. You can start with 4 cloves of garlic and add more after you taste the dressing, if you feel like it’s not strong enough.

Nutrition – Calories 123, Fat 13.5g, Carbs 0.5g, Protein 0.1g