Blog Archives

Penne alla Vodka

No doubt you have had this dish at any one of thousands of Italian restaurants around the world. It really is quite simple once you have prepared the sauce. You can use canned tomatoes, but in this case I used 2 larger fresh tomatoes, NOT plum. I simply chopped them up. One thing of note – do NOT use more than 3 – 4 tablespoons of vodka, as it will leave the dish bitter…

Penne Vodka

Penne alla Vodka

Ingredients

  • 28 oz. whole plum tomatoes, undrained OR 2 large fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 Tablespoons vodka
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons cold butter
  • Salt/Pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. Penne
  • Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Instructions

Puree the tomatoes in a blender, food mill, or an immersion blender and set aside. You can decide how chunky or uniform you’d like the tomatoes to be. I simply chopped them up!

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced garlic and the basil. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant and softened.

Turn off the heat.

Add the vodka to the pan and let it sizzle. Turn the heat back to medium and reduce the vodka until there is about a Tablespoon left.

Add the pureed tomatoes and let it simmer for 45 minutes or so, allowing it to reduce and become quite thick.

During the last 12 minutes or so, cook the penne according to package instructions. For saucier pasta, use ¾ lb. instead of the full pound. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water.

Add the heavy cream and the red pepper flakes to the sauce.

Add 2 Tablespoons cold butter to the sauce, along with 1/4 cup pasta water. Stir to combine.

Season with salt/pepper if desired.

Add in the drained pasta.

Garnish with roughly chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese and serve!

 

 

Seared Scallops in a Cajun Mustard Cream Sauce

Just in time for News Year’s Eve! As a change this year I decided to have Oysters Rockefeller in place of the usual escargots. Alas, they were impossible to find as fresh and on second thought I did not want to have to shuck them. Third choice was either mussels or scallops. NO mussels to be found. I had to settle on frozen scallops. This recipe from Closet Cooking was not only simple, but really awesome with the mustard sauce. Since I neglected to take a photo, this is the photo which accompanied the recipe.

SearedScallopsinaCajunMustardCreamSauce8006532

It was perfect with the broiled asparagus AND very perfect with the leftover mustard sauce, so much so that |I had an idea for using this sauce on Eggs Benedict some time.

Let me know if you try it! It made a great and simple romantic dinner for two.

Seared Scallops in a Cajun Mustard Cream Sauce

Prep Time:5 minutes Cook Time:10 minutes

Total Time:15 minutes Servings: 2

  • 1-pound sea scallops (about 1 inch thick) I used ten scallops
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun mustard (or grainy mustard)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  1. Pat the scallops dry and press on the Cajun seasoning.
  2. Met the butter into the oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add the scallops and sear until lightly golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side, before setting aside.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  4. Add the heavy cream, mustards and lemon juice, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens a bit, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste and serve the scallops in the sauce garnished with the chopped parsley.

Option: Replace the butter and oil with bacon grease or butter yet, start by cooking 4 strips bacon, use the grease to cook the scallops in and sprinkle the crumbled bacon onto the scallops just before serving!

Option: Add 1/4 cup chicken broth or seafood broth or white wine to the pan before adding the cream and deglaze the plan by scrapping all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon while the broth simmers.

Option: Add 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese to the sauce!

I chose not to use any of the options this time around!!

Happy New Year!!

Creamy Slow Cooker Chicken with Bacon and Cheese

Just another slow cooker recipe…LOL. This one tastes incredible AND its Keto friendly as part of my new JOURNEY to eat healthier this year. As always I was touring around Pinterest and came across this one by Kasey Trenum. It was so great I forgot to photograph it. It was on Kasey’s Pinterest page.

 

creamy-chicken-3

Creamy Slow Cooker Chicken with Bacon & Cheese {low carb & keto}

Ingredients

  • 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ tsp poultry seasoning
  • ½ tsp rosemary
  • ¼ tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • 3 pieces of cooked bacon, crumbled
  • cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 cup cheese
  • 3 pieces of bacon, crumbled
  • ¾ tsp Xanthan Gum (for thickening – available at higher end grocery stores)
  • salt/pepper to taste

 

Instructions

Add chicken and next 6 ingredients to slow cooker.

Crumble 3 pieces of cooked bacon on the top of the chicken.

Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 to 3½. (Watch your cooker – it was done sooner than I expected)

Add heavy whipping cream to slow cooker.

Dollop cream cheese on top and stir to combine all ingredients.

Using 2 forks, shred chicken in slow cooker.

Sprinkle ¾ tsp Xanthan Gum and allow to simmer with the top off for a few minutes while the mixture thickens.

Spray a casserole dish generously and dump contents of slow cooker into dish.

Add 1 cup of cheddar cheese (or more if you’d like) then crumble 3 pieces of bacon on top.

Place in oven on broil for 2-4 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly and bacon is extra crisp.

Enjoy!

Nutritional Information based on MyFitnessPal app (8 servings) – Calories 302, Fat 24.7, Protein 17.2, Carbs 3.3 -Fiber .8 = Net Carbs 2.5

Keto Parmesan Garlic Pork Chops

Do NOT be afraid to try these Keto recipes. Yes, they are low in carbs, medium in fat and high in protein BUT they really do taste great! Keto likes things like cream cheese, oil, whipping cream, cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. There are very little pasta or grain foods in Keto, which aids in trying to shed some pounds. Most spices are allowed.

Once you try this recipe you will LOVE it!

DSC_0060

Keto Parmesan Garlic Pork Chops

Ingredients

1.5 lb. center cut boneless pork chops

½ medium onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 oz. cream cheese

cup chicken broth

cup parmesan cheese

½ cup cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

½ teaspoon pepper

salt to taste

 

Instructions

Brown pork chops, onion, and garlic cloves in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet on medium/high (approx. 3-5 minutes each side).

Remove pork chops from skillet.

Add the rest of the ingredients, and cook on medium until sauce thickens. Make sure to use a whisk and stir continuously.

Add pork chops back to sauce mixture and simmer on low for 5 minutes or until done.

Serve with cauliflower rice or broccoli (the latter is a little high in carbs)

Nutritional Information based on MyFitnessPal app (6 servings) – 529 calories,

36.5 g fat, 48.9g protein, 2.7g carbs – .2g fiber = 2.5g Net Carbs

Cheesy Ranch Chicken and Broccoli Bake (KETO)

Alas, we have succumbed to the Keto Diet which requires us to eat very few carbs, lots of protein, veggies and some fruits. Beginning today you will see Keto friendly recipes. This is not to say they aren’t tasty!! I am a novice here and still in the early stages of figuring out what is good and bad. Help me!! If I post a recipe which you know is not KETO please let me know. I need your help… You know if I post it, it must have at least tasted good…LOL. Here we go….

DSC_0064

 

Cheesy Ranch Chicken & Broccoli {Keto & Low Carb Friendly}
Ingredients
• 2 cups cooked chicken breast (3 small breasts)
• 2 tablespoon of butter
• ½ pack ranch seasoning mix (see below )
• 4 oz. cream cheese, softened.
• ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
• Broccoli (Costco pieces – steamed
• ⅔ cup chicken broth
• ¼ cup crumbled bacon
• ½ cup cheese
For the Topping
• 2 cups cheese
• ½ cup crumbled bacon
Instructions
1. Kasey* cooked her chicken first in a slow cooker on high for 3.5 hrs. (Boiled mine for 10 minutes)
2. Remove from slow cooker (or the pot) and shred.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
4. In an oven-safe skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter.
5. Add ranch seasoning, cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, chicken broth, ¼ cup crumbled bacon and ½ cup cheese.
6. Use a whisk to combine ingredients and cook on low for 5 minutes.
7. Steam broccoli in the microwave while the ranch mixture is cooking.
8. Add chicken and cooked broccoli to ranch mixture and stir to combine.
9. Sprinkle 2 cups cheese and ½ cup crumbled bacon on top.
10. Cook in oven for 25 minutes then move to top rack.
11. Cook on broil 2-3 minutes until cheese is bubbly and bacon is browned. (I skipped this)
*Recipe by Kasey Trenum at https://kaseytrenum.com/cheesy-ranch-chicken-broccoli-keto-low-carb-friendly/

Dry Ranch Dressing Seasoning Mix (I used the whole recipe)

  • 1 tbsp dry Parsley
  • 1 tbsp Dill
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion flakes or dry minced onion
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Chicken Marsala with Portobellos and Gorgonzola

Ok…there are probably many of you who do not like Gorgonzola or any blue cheese. Its okay to skip this and use another cheese like Parmesan or mozzarella, but you will miss the great flavour of the blue cheese in the sauce…LOL. It is fairly quick and goes well with mashed potatoes and steamed carrots!

Chicken Marsala with Portobellos and Gorgonzola Cheese
Ingredients
• 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)
• 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt, divided
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
• 1/2 pound sliced baby Portobello mushrooms
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 cup Marsala wine or sherry or Port wine
• 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
• 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, divided (optional) (try Mozzarella or Parmesan_
• 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Directions
1. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. In a large skillet, cook chicken in 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat 6-8 minutes on each side or until a thermometer reads 165°. Remove and keep warm.
2. In same skillet, sauté mushrooms in remaining oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute.
3. Add wine, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by a third. Stir in cream and remaining salt. Return to a boil; cook until slightly thickened.
4. Return chicken to pan; add 1/3 cup cheese. Cook until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with remaining cheese; garnish with parsley. Yield: 4 servings.

Creamy Mushroom and Bacon Soup

Thanks again to Costco for selling those huge packages of sliced mushrooms…what to do? Make soup…and it was awesome! Thanks also to Taste of Home website…link at bottom. BONUS…it makes a great sauce for chicken if you have leftovers. I also added some to some rice after it was cooked…

Creamy Mushroom and Bacon Soup
Ingredients
• 10 bacon strips, diced
• 1 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 quart heavy whipping cream (or Media Crema if you live in Mexico)
• 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) chicken broth
• 1-1/4 cups shredded Swiss (or Provolone) cheese
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon pepper
• 3 tablespoons cold water
Directions
• 1. In a large saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels; drain, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings. In the drippings, saute mushrooms and onion until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in cream and broth. Gradually stir in cheese until melted.
• 2. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, salt, pepper and water until smooth. Stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Garnish with bacon. Yield: 8 servings (2 quarts).

Read more: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/creamy-bacon-mushroom-soup#ixzz3YX0QN79F

Read more: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/creamy-bacon-mushroom-soup#ixzz3YX0QNAV9

French Florentine Cookies

These crunchy chocolate coated cookies are popular in France at Christmas. They were also great when our friend Kathy made them while we were visiting in December.

1 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
3/4 cup candied orange peel* (see note below)
1/3 cup all purpose flour
3 T butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup chocolate chips of your choice

Combine almonds, peel and flour. Set aside.
In heavy saucepan combine butter, cream and sugar. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in floured fruit.
Grease and flour 2 baking sheets. Drop batter by spoonfuls (1 T) at least 3 inches apart,
Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Let cool slightly and then remove to cooling rack.

Spread or brush with melted chocolate on the underside of each cookie.
Makes about 24 cookies.

* Since peel isn’t always available, you might want to check the Internet for an easy homemade recipe.

Garlicky Mashed Potatoes with Baby Spinach or Chaya

This is an old favourite. In Mexico we sometimes substitute chaya for the spinach. Chaya is a very versatile item which can also be used as a substitute in your lasagna, I also add it to stir fries! As a breakfast drink you can use it mixed with pineapple drink and some yogurt to make a great smoothie too…

Garlicky Mashed Potatoes with Baby Spinach

What you need

  • 4 c. peeled and diced white potatoes (2 lb.)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. whipping cream
  • 1/4 c. butter cubed
  • 1 head roasted garlic
  • 2 c. baby spinach leaves washed or CHAYA (Mexican version)
  • 1/4 tsp.pepper

Make it

Cook potatoes in salted water about 20 minutes. Drain. Return to pan over low heat. Stir with a fork to slightly
mash. Add cream, butter, garlic and baby spinach leaves or chaya (more or less). Mix well. Add salt and pepper. Serve
immediately or refrigerate. If refrigerated, reheat with main meal.

Notes

Roasted Garlic
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut garlic head crosswise. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Wrap in foil. Roast

Cajun Bread Pudding with Warm Praline Sauce

Larry adapted this from Taste of Home and it was incredible with the addition of the rum and peel! The secret is in the dried French bread cubes!!!

Cajun Bread Pudding Recipe (Taste of Home)

Adapted by Larry with the red ingredients….

  • Prep: 20 min. + soaking Bake: 45 min.   Yield: 12 Servings

Ingredients

  • 4-3/4 cups milk, divided OR 2 cups whipping cream + 2 cups evaporated milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 11 cups cubed French bread (1-inch cubes) baked in 250 degree oven until dry!
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, pinch of ground clove and nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup golden raisins, optional
  • 2/3 cup toasted chopped pecans, optional
  • 1 cup of candied citrus peel

PRALINE SAUCE:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Dash salt

Directions

  • In a large saucepan, heat 4 cups of ‘milk’ until warm; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt and remaining milk. Gradually add warmed milk, stirring constantly. Stir in butter. Add bread cubes; let soak 10 minutes. Add cinnamon, and raisins and/or pecans if desired.
  • Pour into a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 45-60 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.
  • For sauce, bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add brown sugar; stir to dissolve. Add corn syrup and cream. Bring to boil; cook 15-20 seconds. Remove from the heat. Stir in the pecans, vanilla, butter and salt. Cut pudding into squares and serve with sauce. Yield: 12 servings.