Friday, January 18, 2019

Mexican Zuccini

Our family has made a few dietary changes over the past year or so . . .a little more low-carb than what we used to be.  We've cut out rice, breads and potatoes for the most part.  I'm not saying we never eat any of those anymore . . .but we have cut out most of it.  And when you are going that route - you find more creative ways to cook and serve vegetables.  This is recipe is one of them.  It is sooooooo good.  I really impressed myself with it.  We were making a green chile-type chicken and needed a side dish.  this is what I served and wow  . . .fantastic.

Mexican Zucchini
Serves 4

2-3 Small Zucchini's 
1/2 Cup Red Onion (coarsely chopped) 
1 TB Butter
1 TB Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Powder
1 Teaspoon Lime Juice
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Shredded Mexican Cheese (I used a Kraft blend)
Cilantro for Garnish

Step 1:  Wash the zucchini and remove the ends.  Cut into thick sticks.  I usually cut my zucchini in half.  Then, I cut piece in half again (now I have 4 pieces).  I take one of those pieces and cut it into either 4 or 6 pieces, depending on the size of the zucchini.  Repeat that step with remaining zucchini.

Step 2:  In a small bowl or cup, combine the water and lime juice.  Set aside.

Step 3:  In a medium to large size skillet, add the olive oil and butter.  Heat over medium until butter melts.  Add the zucchini,  chili powder, garlic powder and cayenne.  Stir to combine/coat the zucchini.  Cook until the zucchini begins to brown on the bottom.  Stir again and then add the red onion and diluted lime juice - stir everything in the pan to combine.  Cook for another five minutes or until the water is evaporated.

Step 4:  Remove from heat and sprinkle with the cheese and cilantro.  Serve and enjoy!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Mu Shu Pork

Mu Shu Pork or Moo Shu Pork?  Not sure which is correct, but I'm going with Mu Shu and I give this recipe all-my-thumbs up!  I love a good crockpot meal . . .and this one is pretty dang easy.  Typically, Mu Shu Pork is served with thin pancakes and you fill them with the pork mixture.  In this easy Americanized version, we'll use tortillas instead.  Flavor-wise, this is rich with garlic and uses hoisin sauce.  You can typically buy hoisin sauce in the Asian section of your grocery store and is a staple in many Asian dishes.  Combining that with the mushrooms (which I love) and with cabbage (which I love) and pork = yum.

Mu Shu Pork
Serves 4

1 Pound Boneless Pork Chops
1-8 oz Container of Fresh Mushrooms
1-16oz Bag of Shredded Cabbage 
1/2 Cup Hoisin Sauce
6 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
2 Tablespoons Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
Green Onion, Sliced - for garnish

Step 1:  In a small bowl, mix together the hoisin sauce, garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce and cornstarch.  Set aside.

Step 2:  In a crockpot, add the pork chops.  Place the mushrooms on top of the pork chops.  Pour the sauce from step 1 over the mushrooms.  Now add the cabbage.

Step 3:  Cook on low for 6 hours.  Your pork chops should be tender enough to shred with two forks - give everything in the crockpot a good stir before serving to combine.

Step 4:  Serve with tortillas and green onions to garnish.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Cheesy Polenta with Mushrooms

Here is a side dish that is hearty enough for a meal.  The original recipe is here.  However, we tweaked it a bit to fit our family tastes by adding more seasonings. Please note, it makes a lot.  And by a lot - I mean that we served it as a side dish along with lamb and another veggie dish for 3 people . . .and we ate it for three days as leftovers.  So, please note - it make a lot.  Feel free to cut the recipe in half.   

Cheesy Polenta with Mushrooms
Serves 8

4 and 1/2 Cups Water 
1 and 1/2 Teaspoons Salt 
1 and 1/2 Cups Coarse or Medium Cornmeal 
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil 
1 Teaspoon Dried Sage 
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan 
2 Tablespoons Butter 
1 and 1/2 Pounds Mushrooms, sliced thin 
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder 
6 Oz Fontina Cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)

Step 1:  Heat the oven to 350°. In a medium saucepan, bring the water and 1 teaspoon of the salt to a boil. Add the cornmeal in a slow stream, whisking. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1/2 teaspoon of the sage. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until very thick, about 20 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup of the Parmesan.

Step 2:  Meanwhile, butter an 8-by-12-inch baking dish or a 3-quart baking dish. In a large frying pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter with 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat. Add the mushrooms, the remaining sage, black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are golden and soft, about 5- 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Step 3:  Pour half the polenta into the baking dish and spread in an even layer. Top with half the mushrooms, followed by half of the fontina and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan. Repeat with the remaining polenta, mushrooms, fontina, and Parmesan. Bake until the cheese is bubbling, about 15 minutes.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Shrimp Fritters

This recipe is amazing and is not an original of mine.  It is from here.  Loved these.  These work great as an appetizer or as your protein with a salad for a meal.  Yum.

Shrimp Fritters

1 lb Large Raw Shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 oz. Mozzarella Cheese (about 1 and 1/2 cups shredded)
1 Large Egg
1/4 Cup Mayonaise
2 Tablespoons Parsley
1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Oil (to cook in)

Lemon Aioli Sauce:
1/2 Cup Mayo
1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
2 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Garlic Clove, pressed or finely minced


Step 1:  Pat dry shrimp with paper towels then dice into pea-sized pieces.

Step 2:  Transfer chopped shrimp to a large mixing bowl. Add 4 oz shredded mozzarella, 1 egg, 1/4 cup mayo, 2 Tbsp parsley, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp black pepper. Stir together then add 1/4 cup flour and mix until batter is creamy and well combined.

Step 3:  Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add 1 heaping Tablespoon at a time (or a level ice cream scoop) and flatten out the tops of your fritters as you go so they are about 1/2" thick patties. Saute about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown on the edges and cooked through.

How to Make Lemon Aioli Sauce:
In a small bowl, add mayo and stir to remove any lumps. Add 1 tsp lemon zest, 2 Tbsp lemon juice and pressed garlic clove and stir to combine. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Unstuffed Egg Roll Bowl

A while back a coworker came back upstairs to our cubefarm with a box of food smelling delicious.  She had been down to the cafeteria and I asked what she had retrieved.  Answer:  Unstuffed Egg Roll.  Say what???  All the yummy egg roll fixin's in a bowl?  Yes, please!  This, I knew, was something I could accomplish at home.  Enjoy.

Un-Stuffed Egg Roll Bowl
Serves 4-6

1 to 1.5 Pounds Ground Pork or Chicken
1 Bag Shredded Cabbage with Carrot Blend
8 oz Mushrooms, Fresh/Sliced
2 and 1/2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
1 Teaspoon Fresh Grated Ginger
1 Tablespoon Chinese Rice Wine or Dry Cooking Sherry
1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
Ground Black Pepper to Taste
Optional:  Crispy Wonton Strips, Chinese Mustard and/or Sweet n Sour Sauce

Step 1:  In a large non-stick skillet, add the meat and mushrooms.  Cook over medium high heat until meat is browned.

Step 2:  Add the remaining ingredients to the pan - Cabbage, Soy Sauce, Garlic, Ginger, Rice Wine and Sesame oil.  Continue to cook over medium high heat until the cabbage becomes wilted to your desired consistency.  Add black pepper to taste.

Step 3:  To serve, divide among bowls and top with crispy wonton strips.  Garnish with mustard or sweet and sour sauce as desired.

Note:  You can easily make this dish gluten free and/or vegetarian easily or low-carb.  To make gluten free - be sure to use a gluten free soy sauce and omit the wonton strips.  To make vegetarian, omit the meat and sub either tofu or use additional veggies of choice.  Low Carb?  Omit the wonton strips.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Is there anything more quintessential to Autumn than caramel apple??  Forget the pumpkin - make this cheesecake instead!  It combines all the greatness of cheesecake and apple crisp all into one.  Enjoy!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

1 and 1/4 Cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/4 Cup White Sugar
1/3 Cup Butter

3 Bricks Cream Cheese (24 oz total)
3 Eggs
1 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla

1 Can Apple Pie Filling

Crispy Topping:
1/4 Cup Oatmeal
1/4 Flour
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Butter

1 Jar Prepared Caramel

Step 1: Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: In a medium sized, heat proof bowl - melt the butter in the microwave.  Once melted, add the sugar and graham cracker crumbs.  Press into Cheesecake pan and set aside.

Step 3:  In a clean mixing bowl, add the softened cream cheese, sugar and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed until well combined.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat after each addition until combined.  Pour the cream cheese mixture over the crust.

Step 4:    Bake in oven for 50-55 minutes, or until center is almost set.  Do not turn off oven.

Step 5:   Let cool slightly, about 30 minutes.  

Step 6:  While the cheesecake is cooling, create the crispy crumb filling  by combing the oatmeal, flour, brown sugar and butter in a bowl.  Mix with fork until combined and crumbly.

Step 7:  After the cheesecake has cooled slightly (step 5), top with the prepared apple pie filling.  Top the apple pie filling with the crispy crumb mixture and then return the cheesecake to the oven for about 15 minutes.

Step 8:  Remove from oven.  Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen it;  cool completely before removing the rim.  Refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.

Step 9:  To serve, remove the rim.  Slice into pieces and drizzle with caramel topping to serve.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Italian Spinach and Pesto Soup

We've had a bit of cold weather dip this past week and soup just seemed like the right thing to make. And it turned out so yummy!  One of the things I love about it - is that although it uses fresh spinach in it .. . .you can't really taste the spinach.  It's there.  It's healthy.  But you don't have to taste it!  Win-win!  
During the summers, I always grow an abundance of basil and will make my own pesto.  This one recipe to use up some of that said pesto.  If you don't make your own, you can buy it at the grocery store.  Regardless, this soup is a cinch to make and like most soups - it is fantastic as a leftover.

Italian Spinach & Pesto Soup
Serves 4-6

1 Pound Ground Turkey Italian Sausage
1 Medium Onion, Diced
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Chopped Garlic
1 6-Ounce Bag of Fresh Spinach, Loosely Chopped
2 Tablespoons Pesto
1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 Cup Half and Half
6 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
Fresh Diced Tomatoes (for serving)

Step 1:  In a large pot, add the olive oil and heat over medium high heat.  Add the sausage, onion, garlic and spinach.  Break up the meat as it cooks and cook thoroughly.

Step 2:  Once the meat is browned, add the pesto, Italian seasoning, chicken broth and half 'n' half.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and let cook for 10 - 15 minutes.  

Step 3:  Garnish with fresh diced tomatoes to serve.