Irregular posting will contine — sporadically :)

Hello, dear readers,

I haven’t been posting very frequently, or very regularly. This past week, I’ve been at a conference where I did not have reliable internet access.

That’s not why the sporadicity will continue, though.

I am now officially engaged to be married. :) This means that I now have a wedding to plan, which is going to take up a great deal of my time and energy. I will try to post new recipes when I can, but I cannot commit to a regular posting schedule at this time.

All the best to all of you, and we’ll see how things go from here.

10-finished

Vintage Gold Rush Meat Balls

1-recipe-1 2-recipe-2

I found this antique in my box of recipes, hand-typed on a yellowing, partially disintegrated index card. My great-grandmother developed this recipe, and it is no doubt the origin of the Gold Rush Meat Balls that my mom used to make. The original version was quite different from my mother’s recipe, however. Mamaw used pickles as well as cheese in her meat balls, and her gravy was made with evaporated milk and bouillon.

I did make one small alteration to the vintage version of this recipe: I reduced the amount of ground beef used per meat ball. The directions as written would have yielded 8 servings of 1 meat ball each, using about 1/4 pound of beef per meat ball. This is a bit much for me. :) I was able to get about 8 smaller meatballs out of 1 pound of ground beef, which made two fairly hearty servings. I’ve written the recipe below to serve 4.

I chose to serve this with vegetables, rather than following the original suggestion of cooked noodles. The low-carb eating plan is working well, and I’m happy to stick with it for now.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 16 (1-inch) cubes sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 16 (1/2-inch) cubes dill pickle
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Divide the beef into 16 equal portions.

3-meatball

Place 1 cheese cube and 1 pickle cube in the center of each portion, and mold the beef around them into a meat ball.

4-brown

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and pan-fry the meatballs until evenly browned.

Remove the meat balls, and pour off all but 1/4 cup of the residual fat.

5-onion

Add the chopped onion to the skillet, and sauté until clear.

6-flour

Add the flour, and whisk until combined.

7-milk

Add the evaporated milk and bouillon cubes, reduce the heat to low, and whisk until the sauce has thickened.

8-readd_meatballs

Salt and pepper the meat balls lightly, and return them to the sauce.

9-cover

Cover, and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

10-finished

Serves 4.

Click here for a print-friendly version.

7-finished

Low-Carb Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

1-recipe

Today’s dish isn’t much like the original recipe. It is “inspired by” the clipping, but there are several significant differences: I don’t have a Dutch oven, I added strips of chicken, and I substituted spiral-sliced yellow squash and zucchini instead of using actual fettuccine noodles. The “thick” slice produced by my Veggetti slicer makes a pretty good pasta substitute!

Finding ways to make recipes low-carb is a challenge on several fronts. In recipes like this, which have a thick sauce, the biggest issue is water content. Vegetables tend to release liquid, where rice and noodles would absorb it. I’m still working on ways to alleviate this issue. I’ve had decent results with roasting vegetables, and less success with salting them. For this recipe, I chose to blanch the spiral-sliced vegetables in boiling water for 2 minutes, and then drained them onto paper towels. This did reduce the volume of released liquid, but the sauce still became thinner than I wanted. Perhaps next time, I’ll skip the “pasta” altogether and simply toss the alfredo sauce with a selection of primavera vegetables. :)

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 medium yellow squash and zucchini, spiral-sliced and boiled for 2 minutes
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions:

2-chicken

In a medium skillet, combine the sliced chicken, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper, and sauté over medium heat until thoroughly cooked.

3-butter

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.

4-cream

Whisk in the heavy whipping cream, and heat gently to a simmer.

5-parmesan

Add the Parmesan cheese, and whisk until thick and creamy.

6-veggie-pasta

Remove from heat, and toss with the chicken and spiral-sliced vegetables.

7-finished

Serves 4.

Click here for a print-friendly version.

3-finished

Beef Kebabs

Lots of beef recipes on this blog lately. :) No complaints? Then I’ll keep going!

I love to grill. It’s one of the best summertime activities, and a great way to prepare large amounts of food. Unfortunately, where I live, there is a ban on open flame. No grilling, no joy. Enter the George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor Grill! It’s not *quite* the same as propane or charcoal, but for $80 dollars, I can’t complain. It lets me get outside and cook food, which is a major improvement. I’ve been grilling things all week!

Today’s dish is a recreation of something my mother used to make all the time: no-frills shish kebab. The secret to this one is a great little seasoning called Liquid Smoke. This is potent stuff — a little goes a VERY LONG WAY. It makes a great addition to most marinades, especially for grilled items. Most supermarkets will carry the stuff: it’s manufactured by Colgin.

Now go outside and get cooking!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound eye of round or lean beef of choice, sliced into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into large chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into large chunks
  • 8 ounces whole button mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into large chunks

Directions:

1-marinate

In a large bowl, combine the beef cubes, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, garlic, seasoning salt, and Liquid Smoke.

Cover with plastic wrap, and allow the meat to marinate for at least 1-2 hours.

2-skewer

Thread the meat, bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions onto bamboo skewers.

Grill over medium-high heat for 4 minutes, turn, and grill for another 4 minutes.

3-finished

Serves 4.

Click here for a print-friendly version.

5-finished

Forgotten Minestrone (100th Post!)

1-recipe

Yaaaay! I’ve finally hit 100 posts on this blog! I’ve been writing since the end of September last year, and it’s nearly July now. I love the motivation to try new things that this blog has given me; every week is a new adventure. I’ve met some great people along the way, as well… food bloggers, recipe testers, professional chefs, and home cooks. The food is great, too. :) Here’s to another 100 delicious posts!

I’ve been doing a lot of slow cooker recipes lately. They work well with my busy schedule; I love being able to add a bunch of things to a pot, leave it alone, and come back in several hours to food. Today’s recipe is super easy, very nutritious, and yields a huge quantity. My slow cooker was literally full to the brim!

I only made one change to the ingredient list: in respect of the low-carb guidelines I’m trying to follow, I omitted the pasta. Please feel free to include it if you would like.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean beef stew meat
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 2 tablespoons minced dried parsley
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups finely chopped cabbage
  • 1 (16-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to top

Directions:

2-crockpot

In a slow cooker, combine the beef, water, tomatoes, onion, bouillon cube, parsley, salt, thyme, and pepper.

Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours, or until the meat is tender.

3-pull_beef

Remove the meat to a plate, and pull into shreds using two forks.

4-add_veggies

Return the meat to the slow cooker, and add the zucchini, cabbage, and beans.

Cover and cook on high for 30-45 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

5-finished

Serves 8.

Click here for a print-friendly version.

 

3-finished

Pulled Beef

1-recipe

Lately, it seems that it either rains or it pours. I was just released from jury duty in time for several other situations to clamor for my attention. I haven’t been keeping up with this blog as well as I would like, as a result. Still, the goal is to be good, not to be perfect. My hope is that things will settle out over the next few weeks, and I’ll be able to strike some sort of a balance.

Today’s recipe is “inspired by” the original, and adapted for a slow cooker. I imagine that it would make a wonderful pulled beef sandwich (as recommended by the original author). Since we’re eating low-carb, I elected to serve the beef bunless with zucchini fries. The onions self-caramelized during the slow cooking process, and made an excellent garnish. Even without bread and potatoes, this is still a delicious meal!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (2-3 lb.) boneless chuck roast, or other lean beef of your choice
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

2-cooker

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker.

Cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until meat is extremely tender.

Pull meat into chunks, and serve with a generous amount of onions.

3-finished

Serves 4.

Click here for a print-friendly version.

5-finished

Rasta Pasta

1-recipe

In the pursuit of new and better low-carb substitutes, I recently acquired a Veggetti slicer for the tidy sum of $14 plus tax. I am generally suspicious of “As Seen On TV” products, and not without reason. However, the Veggetti has been well worth its price. It’s basically a giant pencil sharpener for vegetables, which can slice them into thick or thin strings depending on which end you use.

Here’s a picture of what the sliced vegetables look like:

4-spiral_squash

For this recipe, I substituted yellow squash for spaghetti. I used the “thin” end of the Veggetti to slice the squash, and then boiled it for 2 minutes. The result was an excellent substitute, and I plan to use this device quite frequently in the future.

I substituted shelled edamame for the black beans in this recipe. I happened to have it on hand, and it fit the color scheme. :) Definitely making this dish again: the flavors are excellent, and it’s remarkably satisfying for a recipe which contains nothing but vegetables and seasoning!

Ingredients:

  • 4 yellow squash, spiral-sliced and boiled for 2 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup shelled cooked edamame
  • 2 cups broccoli flowerets, blanched
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese for topping

Directions:

2-peppers_onions

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onion, bell pepper, and garlic until tender.

3-edamame

Add the edamame and broccoli, and cook for 1 more minute.

5-finished

In a large bowl, toss together the cooked spiral-sliced squash, vegetable mixture, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper.

Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4.

 Click here for a print-friendly version.

3-finished

Savory Baked Spinach

1-recipe

Hooray, another Dr. Matthews recipe! The man who contributed recipes for Salisbury Steak and Sherried Beef is back with a baked spinach dish that will knock your socks off – which isn’t easy to do with frozen spinach. It’s one of the least glamorous ingredients imaginable, in the same class with creamed corn and tinned fruit cocktail. There just isn’t anything good to do with frozen spinach… or so I thought.

This recipe is AMAZING. Seriously. SO GOOD. I try to avoid excessive use of capitalized words, as it is far too easy to overuse their emphasis, but this is an exceptional case. I have never had such good spinach in my entire life. The dish is something like a quiche, but without the “jiggly” texture. The seasonings, cheese, and spinach all combine to create an absolutely scrumptious flavor that neither I nor my SO could get enough of. If you make this, expect to hear cries of “More spinach, please!”. It may be a first. :)

I replaced the rice in this recipe with cauliflower rice, to continue the low-carb trend. Absolutely delicious, I don’t feel that it hurts the finished product at all. The “finished” picture is shown served with Josie’s Crockpot Apple Pork Tenderloin from Clean Eatz, which was super tasty! Full credit to this cool lady for a great recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups cauliflower rice
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2-casserole

Combine all ingredients in an 8” x 8” x 2” Pyrex baking dish.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Slice into squares, and serve.

3-finished

Serves 6.

Click here for a print-friendly version.

7-finished

Low Carb Chicken Broccoli Casserole

1-recipe

Doctor’s orders: it’s time for us to start cutting carbs. This is fine: I want to do what’s necessary to maintain good health. It does pose a challenge with some of these old recipes, however. Nobody cared about carbs when most of these were written. I’m going to have to find ways to adapt the recipes without sacrificing enjoyment or flavor. The basic truth is that if it’s not tasty, we won’t eat it. Health food shouldn’t make you miserable. Life is too short for that.

Ingredients-wise, today’s recipe is pretty similar to the Chicken and Broccoli Casserole I found earlier. This recipe is in my grandmother’s handwriting, so my guess is that she and my mother created a variation of their own and wrote it down. There are no biscuits on top, and this recipe calls for cream of celery rather than cream of chicken soup. The seasonings are the same, but they differ in proportions. For this casserole, I used leftover shredded chicken from a whole chicken I had cooked previously. We never make it through a whole bird in one evening, so I strip the leftover meat from the carcass and freeze it for just such occasions.

In order to make this recipe low-carb, I replaced the rice with “cauliflower rice”. For those unfamiliar with this substance, it is generated by finely chopping raw cauliflower into tiny chunks, which are texturally similar to rice. I highly recommend using a food processor for this, unless you like spending a great deal of time chopping cauliflower. :) The chopped cauliflower is blanched in boiling water for about 5 minutes, to soften it, and is then served in the place of rice. The flavor is not the same, but the texture is good enough for now – especially in a casserole, where everything gets mixed together anyway.

One key factor to be aware of with cauliflower rice is that it does not behave like rice in the presence of liquid. Rice absorbs liquid and increases in volume as a result; cauliflower rice tends to release liquid in small amounts, and may shrink ever so slightly. Note this carefully, and adjust your own recipes accordingly when using this substitute.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cauliflower rice
  • 2 cups shredded chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped broccoli
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon curry powder

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2-caulirice

Grease an 8” x 8” x 2” Pyrex baking dish, and spread the cauliflower rice in the bottom.

3-chicken

Place the chicken on top of the cauliflower rice.

4-broccoli

Sprinkle the broccoli on top.

5-sauce

In a medium bowl, combine the cream of celery soup, egg, mayonnaise, sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, milk, celery seed, salt, and curry powder.

6-in_casserole

Pour this sauce over the casserole.

Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

7-finished

Serves 4.

Click here for a print-friendly version.

4-finished

Southwest White Chili

1-recipe

I played with this recipe a little bit as I was making it. I began by adjusting the quantity of beans: my supermarket didn’t carry 19-ounce cans, and I felt a bit silly leaving half a can of beans sitting in the refrigerator. This led to me increasing the amount of green chiles (wouldn’t want that flavor to be weak), adding more onion, and increasing the amount of spices. I’m very happy with the result, and I think I’ll keep the rewrite. This chili is a win in my book!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 (4-ounce) cans chopped green chiles
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans white kidney beans, drained
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • Sour cream to garnish

Directions:

2-chicken

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the chicken and onion in the olive oil for 4-5 minutes.

3-broth

Add the chicken broth, green chiles, beans, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, cilantro, and red pepper, and reduce the heat to low.

Simmer for 2-3 hours, adding water as necessary.

4-finished

Serve topped with sour cream and green onions.

Serves 4-6.

Click here for a print-friendly version.