Tag Archives: quick

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.

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Savory Baked Spinach

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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.

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Low Carb Chicken Broccoli Casserole

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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.

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Savory Sausage and Kraut Skillet

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Sometimes, real life and blogging do not mesh well. In today’s case, I made this recipe for dinner, and it was so delicious that we ate all of it before I realized I’d forgotten to take a “finished” picture :) As problems go, this is one I’m happy to have.

This recipe is not dissimilar to the Apple and Sauerkraut Sausage recipe I posted a while back, but I think I prefer this one: today’s recipe has potatoes, and uses less sugar. In addition, the apple in this recipe is grated, rather than sliced, so it “vanishes” into the kraut, leaving behind only a gentle sweetness. I enjoy the tart taste of sauerkraut, and it’s nice when the recipe doesn’t mask it too much. Definitely a good skillet dinner for those busy weeknights!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored, and grated
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 12 small red potatoes, washed and sliced in half
  • 1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, drained, rinsed, and packed
  • 1 pound smoked beef sausage or kielbasa, sliced into 2-inch pieces

Directions:

2-onions

In a large skillet, sauté the onion and green pepper in the butter over medium heat until tender.

3-kraut

Add the apple, brown sugar, caraway seed, potatoes, and sauerkraut, and mix well.

4-sausage

Place the sausage on top of the sauerkraut mixture.

5-cover

Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 30 minutes.

Serves 4-6.

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Fettuccine Alfredo

1-recipe

We’ve had this recipe in the family for as long as I can remember. I think it’s a safe guess that, since the ingredients feature the Skinner brand of pasta, my mother probably clipped the recipe from a box of their product. I have used this “pattern” as the basis for nearly every white pasta sauce that I make; I simply modify the ingredients to suit whatever I’m cooking (and have on hand).

There is nothing terribly complicated about this dish. The key is to use fresh parsley, rather than dried, for the best depth of flavor. In addition, if you can use real fresh grated Parmesan, rather than the powdered kind one puts on top of pizza, the results will be much better. :) Refrigerated leftovers do not heat up terribly well, so I recommend halving the recipe when necessary to ensure that all the delicious creamy cheesy goodness is consumed when fresh.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12-ounce) package fettuccine noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Directions:

2-melt_butter

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.

3-cheese

Gradually stir in the Parmesan cheese, then add the cream and stir until well blended.

Heat the sauce just to the boiling point, stirring constantly.

4-parsley

Remove sauce from heat, and stir in the parsley and garlic.

Toss the sauce with the pasta.

5-finished

Serves 4-6.

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Chuck Wagon Casserole

1-recipe

Success at last! Today’s recipe is a rework of the Chuck Wagon Skillet that I posted about a month ago. Regular readers may remember that recipe as one of my rare failures. I wrote a few notes on modifications I planned to make in order to improve the end result, and I am pleased to say that they work as expected.

I changed the procedure significantly from the original recipe, and I also modified a few of the ingredients and quantities. The pasta is cooked in advance, the beef and onions are cooked together, and everything is layered together in a 13” x 9” Pyrex casserole dish. I substituted diced tomatoes for stewed tomatoes, as they are easier to spread in an even layer. Half of the cheese goes in the middle, and the other half goes on top to help “glue” everything together. The only change I might make in the future would be to add a thin layer of sour cream somewhere in the dish: I put a dollop on top of some leftover casserole that I heated up, and it was really good!

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (16-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2-onions

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and saute the onion until tender.

3-meat

Add the ground beef, salt, and pepper, and cook until the beef is browned.

4-layer_pasta

In a 13” x 9” Pyrex baking dish, layer the pasta,

5-layer_meat

meat mixture,

6-layer_tomatoes_cheese

tomatoes, half of the cheese,

7-layer_celery

celery,

8-layer_olives

black olives,

9-top_cheese

and remaining half of the cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and casserole is heated through.

10-finished

Serves 6.

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Spiced Potatoes

1-recipe

Ah, to be young again. The lack of responsibility! The freedom from having to pay bills! Being able to run around all day and climb trees! And, of course, the liberty to be absolutely illegible in one’s personal notes. I wrote down today’s recipe when I was about 8 years old, and my handwriting was completely atrocious.

There are two keys to this recipe. The first is slicing the potatoes into small cubes: this helps them to become crispy on the outside and mealy on the inside without burning. The second is adding the onion near the end of cooking. If you add it at the beginning, it will crisp and burn. Cook wisely, cook well, and enjoy the potatoes!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

2-butter

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.

3-potatoes

Add the potatoes and cayenne pepper, and fry until crisp, stirring occasionally.

4-onion

Add the onion, and cook for 1 more minute.

Serve hot and salted.

5-finished

Serves 2-4.

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Favorite Caramel Corn

1-recipe

As promised: I deliver. :)

I haven’t had this particular snack for at least 10 years. My mother used to make it when I was a kid, but somehow I never really got around to making it for myself after I became independent. That’s one of the wonderful things about living with another person: it gives me an excuse to make all sorts of delicious things.

There are a few “secrets” to this recipe. When I’m making popcorn for this, I do it the old-fashioned way. I pop it in a skillet on the stove, using butter-flavored Crisco as the oil. It beats the daylights out of any microwave popcorn I’ve ever had. Also, when heating the sugar mixture, use very low heat and go slowly! Stirring is not allowed, as it will disturb the forming foam, but you can slide the mixture around a bit in the skillet to make sure that it does not stick. Be patient: this may take a few minutes, but the result is absolutely worth it.

The pictures shown in this post are for a double batch, but the quantities listed are from the original recipe, which makes 1 batch. Feel free to scale this recipe up as needed: it works great.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 4 cups popped corn

Directions:

2-butter_corn_syrup

In a large skillet, melt the butter and corn syrup together over medium heat, and stir until well blended.

3-add_sugar

Add the brown sugar, and stir until smooth.

4-foam

Reduce the heat to low, and heat the mixture without stirring until it is all boiling foam.

Allow the foamy mixture to boil for 2 minutes.

5-stir

Add the popped corn all at once, stirring to coat all kernels.

6-cool

Spread the coated corn onto greased cookie sheets, and allow to cool.

7-finished

Enjoy!

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Sesame Chicken

1-recipe

Hooray for weekends! This one couldn’t come too soon… the week has been a little more hectic than I would prefer, and I’m happy to have a small break. Perhaps I’ll make a batch of homemade caramel corn over the weekend to relax. Watch this space. :)

I’m really pleased and impressed with how today’s recipe came out. The original card has a question mark and a note of “T.M.” by the sugar amount. Working on the assumption that this meant “too much”, I added sugar to the sauce slowly, and found that it was really delicious with only half of the recommended amount. I also made a slight change to the chicken: instead of using chicken wings, I cubed a couple of chicken breasts and used them instead. I have nothing against wings, but I didn’t have any in the freezer, and they are less convenient to eat than pre-boned meat.

The flavor of this dish is excellent. The ginger has a fairly strong “bite”, which is well balanced by the honey and sugar. The garlic is less of a flavor than an aromatic, and the sesame seeds are primarily cosmetic. When I make this next, I may try either toasting the sesame seeds or adding a bit of sesame oil to bring out the flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 5 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2-make_sauce

In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce, sugar, water, honey, ginger, sesame seeds, and garlic.

Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 2 minutes.

3-in_pan

Place the cubed chicken in a 13” x 9” Pyrex baking dish, and pour the sauce on top.

Bake for 35 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, basting occasionally.

Serve over white rice.

4-finished

Serves 4.

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Hot Rice

1-recipe

From the style in which the title of this recipe is written, I infer that my grandmother (or perhaps Norma Fowler, the recipe’s listed author) did not have a great tolerance for spicy foods. This dish is not particularly spicy, but it is certainly Southwestern. The green chiles have a wonderful flavor, which is well tempered by the Monterey Jack cheese and sour cream. I made this recipe as a side dish, but I think that it would also make a wonderful enchilada filling. Must remember to add that idea to my ever-growing list of things to try.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 (4-ounce) cans green chiles
  • 8 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2-layer_chiles

Layer in a well-greased 8” x 8” x 2” casserole dish half of the rice, salt and pepper, half of the green chiles,

3-layer_cheese

half of the Monterey Jack cheese,

4-sour_cream

and half of the sour cream.

5-casserole

Repeat, and top the casserole with the Romano cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

6-finished

Serves 4-6.

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