Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Crockpot: Creamy Spaghetti Squash with Peas and Bacon

Spaghetti squash is a fun squash to cook and eat.  When the squash is cooked these veggie strands of spaghetti are scooped out.  Usually, I just put my normal sauce over the squash, toss and serve.  Today's recipe is different.  It is a "cousin" to one of my favorite recipes of "Pasta With Peas and Ham."

This recipe is very easy to make.  Start by washing a spaghetti squash.  Poke it a few times with a fork and cook on high in a crockpot for 3 hours with a cup of water.  When the squash is done, scoop the spaghetti out.  In a bowl combine some bacon, peas, cream cheese, salt, and pepper.  Mix it well with the squash and place back in the crockpot for about 45 minutes.  After about 20 minutes, stir in the Parmesan cheese and cook for the remaining 25 minutes.  When done, serve with additional Parmesan cheese.

This is a delicious side dish or a main dish.  Enjoy.


Creamy Spaghetti Squash With Peas and Bacon
From Cooktop Cove

Special Equipment:  Crockpot

Ingredients:
1 (about 5 pounds) spaghetti squash
1 cup water
5 slices of bacon - diced
2 cups fresh or frozen petite peas
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup  powdered Parmesan cheese plus extra for topping


Directions:
1. Clean squash and poke with a fork throughout the skin.  Place the spaghetti squash and the cup of water in the crock pot. Cover and set on high and cook for 3 hours.
2. Add the bacon to a skillet and cook until soft.  Set aside.
3. Remove the squash from the crockpot when it is cooked.  Cut open with a knife lengthwise.  Carefully remove the seeds.  Scoop out the spaghetti strands.  Place the squash back in the crockpot.
4. Stir together the bacon, peas, cream cheese, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Add to the crockpot.  Stir and mix well.
5. Cover and cook for 20 minutes on high.  Add the Parmesan cheese, stir, cover and cook for another 25 minutes.  Serve and top with additional cheese if desired.  

Serves 6 main servings






Sunday, March 5, 2017

Skillet Chili Mac

I love Chili Mac.  Macaroni cooked in a nice semi spicy sauce with ground beef and beans.  A great meal for the family or for a pot luck.  It is one of my favorite quick meals to prepare.

Start by browning your ground beef in a large skillet.  Stir in the green chile and spices.  Be sure the meat is covered with the spices.  Add the liquids and bring to a boil.  Then add the pasta and cover.  Cook until the pasta is tender.  Add the beans and cook until heated through.  Top the chile mixture with cheese and cover skillet for a couple of minutes or until the cheese has melted.  Remove from the stove and serve.

Your family is in for a delicious and hearty meal that they will enjoy.


Skillet Chili Mac
From Our Best Bites adapted by From My Southwest Kitchen

Ingredients
1 lb. extra-lean (93%) ground beef
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chile
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups V8 juice
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup water
8 ounces  dry  elbow macaroni
1 can pinto beans, drained
4 ounces shredded Mexican Cheese

Instructions
1. Heat a 12" skillet that has a lid over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook, stirring frequently. Stir in  the green chile and cook for about 30 seconds. Add in the chili powder, onion powder,  cumin, coriander, salt and pepper.  Mix well until the meat is throughly coated. a

2. Add the V8 juice, tomato sauce, and water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and stir to combine and then cover, reduce heat, and cook for 15-ish minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Add the beans and heat through. Remove from heat, sprinkle with cheese, and replace the lid for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Serve.

Makes 6 servings



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Biscuits

Who can resist nice flaky tender biscuits?  I sure can't.  I love eating  them for breakfast with butter and jam,  or when I am eating a rich and hearty soup/stew.  They are great for getting the last bite of that good broth.  And how could I forget that delicious dish biscuits with gravy.  Biscuits are just great and so easy to make.

I found this easy biscuit recipe on the NYT Cooking website.  Instead of using a food processor, I combined the butter and the flour with my fingertips until the mixture resembled corn flakes.


Biscuits
From NYT COOKING

INGREDIENTS
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 scant tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, preferably European style
1 cup whole milk

PREPARATION

1. Preheat oven to 425. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Transfer to a food processor. Cut butter into pats and add to flour, then pulse 5 or 6 times until the mixture resembles rough crumbs. (Alternatively, cut butter into flour in the mixing bowl using a fork or a pastry cutter.) Return dough to bowl, add milk and stir with a fork until it forms a rough ball.
2. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and pat it down into a rough rectangle, about an inch thick. Fold it over and gently pat it down again. Repeat. Cover the dough loosely with a kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
3. Gently pat out the dough some more, so that the rectangle is roughly 10 inches by 6 inches. Cut dough into biscuits using a floured glass or biscuit cutter. Do not twist cutter when cutting; this crimps the edges of the biscuit and impedes its rise.
4. Place biscuits on a cookie sheet and bake until golden brown, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Serves 6-8




Thursday, February 23, 2017

Instant Pot Beef Stew

Another great Instant Pot recipe - Beef Stew.   Beef Stew is your classic Comfort Food.  It is great for chilly days or when you are feeding a crowd.
Tender beef, carrots, potatoes, and an assortment of veggies cooked in a delicious broth flavored with wine, thyme, and spices.   A rich, delicious, and hearty meal for your family or guest to enjoy.  I served mine with biscuits to get every drop.

Instant Pot Beef Stew
Ingredients:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound boneless beef short ribs cut into bite-size pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 ounces sliced  white mushrooms
1 cup sliced carrots
1 stalk sliced celery
1 cup red wine
2 cups beef broth
1 cup green beans cut into 1 1/2-inch length
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Optional Thickening:
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water


Directions:
1. Combine the flour, pepper, and salt in a Ziploc bag.  Add the meat a small amount at a time to the flour mixture and shake until the meat is coated.  Shake off excess flour mixture and place meat in a bowl.  Repeat until all the meat is coated.
2. Press the saute button on your Instant Pot.  Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  When the oil is hot add the beef and brown on all sides.
3. Remove the beef to a bowl.  Add the remaining oil and saute the mushrooms for about 2 minutes.  Add the carrots and celery.  Saute for 2 minutes.  Remove the vegetables from the Instant Pot and place in the bowl with the beef.
4. Deglaze the bottom of the pot with the red wine.  Add the meat and vegetables, the beef broth, green beans, potatoes, Worcestershire Sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, dried thyme, salt and pepper. Stir well.
5. Place the top on the Instant Pot.  Be sure the valve is set to sealing.  Select the Meat/Stew setting.  When the stew is done let it rest for 10 minutes.
6. Move valve to venting.  When done venting open the lid carefully and away from you.  Stir the stew.  If the stew broth is too thin set the Instant Pot to the saute setting.   In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and the water.  Be sure it is mixed well.   Add the cornstarch mixture  to the stew and cook until thickened.
7. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Makes 4-6 servings






Sunday, February 12, 2017

Slow Cooker Carne Asada

Carne Asada is my favorite meat for making burritos and tacos. It is very flavorful and tender.  When making Carne Asada, I usually use flank steak and marinade it.  You can also use skirt steak.  This is the first time I have made it in a slow cooker and it was delicious.  The meat was tender, moist, and had a wonderful flavor.  I usually serve the Carne Asada with tortillas, sliced radishes, cilantro, avocados, and lime wedges.

Slow Cooker Carne Asada
From Slow Cooker Gourmet Adapted Slightly by From My Southwest Kitchen

Ingredients:
1 (2.5-3) pound flank steak
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup orange juice
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Flour or corn tortillas
Garnishes: Cilantro,  lime wedges, sliced radishes, avocado chunks

Directions:
1. Place flank steak in the bottom of the slow cooker.
2. Add the olive oil, orange juice, garlic, lime juice, honey, cilantro, salt, chili powder, and cumin in a small mixing bowl and whisk together.
3. Pour the marinade over the flank steak.  Cover and set the slow cooker to low.  Cook for 8 hours.
4. Remove the meat from the slow cooker and shred with 2 forks.  Place the meat back in the slow cooker and coat with the juices.
5. Serve on tortillas and garnish with lime wedges, sliced radishes, and avocado chunks.

Serves 6







Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Instant Pot: Roast Beef

Another great Instant Pot recipe.  I know I have said it before but I will say it again - I love my Instant Pot.

The other night, we had a very moist and flavorful roast for dinner cooked in my Instant Pot.  I first browned the roast on the sauté setting  and sautéed some mushrooms.  Deglazed the pan with some red wine and then added some broth and spices to the pot.  I placed the roast in the pot and scatted the mushroom, potatoes and carrots over the roast.  Locked the top and cooked for 50 minutes.   I let the pot do a natural release for about 20 minutes then unlocked the lid very carefully.

I placed the roast on a platter with the veggies and covered loosely with foil.  I added some cornstarch and water the the juices in the pot to thicken up the natural sauce a bit.  I served the sauce with the beef.



Roast Beef
Special Equipment:  Instant Pot

Ingredients:

1 (2 1/2 - 3) pound beef eye of round roast
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 ounces sliced crimini mushrooms
1/3 cup red wine
2 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 carrots cut in chunks
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 1/2 tablespoons water

Directions:

1. Mix the kosher salt and pepper together in a small bowl.  Pat the roast dry and rub the salt and pepper mixture over the roast.  Set aside.
2. Set the Instant Pot on the Saute setting.  Add one tablespoon olive oil to the pot.  When hot brown the roast on all sides.  When brown remove the roast to a platter.
3. Add the remaining oil - 2 tablespoons to the pot.  Sauté the mushrooms.  Cook for about 2 minutes.  Remove the mushrooms to the platter with the beef.
4. Deglaze the pot with the red wine.  Add the broth, onion powder, thyme, parsley flakes, salt and pepper to the pot.  Stir well.  Add the roast, mushrooms, potatoes, and carrots.
5. Lock the lid on the Instant Pot.  Be sure the valve is set to the sealing position. Cook on high pressure for 50 minutes.
6. Naturally release the pressure for 25 minutes.  Move the valve to the venting position   to release remaining pressure.  Open the lid carefully.
7. Remove the roast and vegetables to a platter.  Cover with foil.  Set the Instant Pot to the Saute setting.
8. In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and the water.  Stir well.  Add  to the the Instant Pot and stir.  Continue cooking until the gravy reaches the desired thickness. Taste and season if necessary.
9. Slice the roast crosswise and serve with gravy and the vegetables.

Makes 6 servings






Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Pasta e Fagioli Soup

I love a nice bowl of hot soup on chilly days.  Not only does soup warm you up but it is a nice hearty meal for a light dinner or to go with your favorite sandwich at lunch.  This soup has a wonderful flavored broth loaded with beans,veggies and pasta.  Top it off with some grated Parmesan cheese and you have a great tasting bowl of soup.    This is a very easy  soup to make.  Start by browning the pancetta in some olive oil.  Next add the onion, salt, carrots, and celery.  Cook for about 10 minutes and then add the garlic and cook until fragrant.  Add the chicken broth, tomato sauce, both types of beans, pepper, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, Parmesan cheese rind, (if using), and crushed red pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil and cook for about 30 minutes. Add pasta and cook.  Ladle the soup into some bowls, top with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.



              
Pasta e Fagioli Soup
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, chopped
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1 rib of celery, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 large cloves of garlic minced
1 1/2 quarts chicken broth 
1 (15- ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15-ounce) can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1(15-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
Rind of Parmesan cheese - optional
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup dry  Ditalini pasta
Salt and pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
1. In a Dutch oven heat the oil and add the pancetta.
2. Brown the pancetta and then add the onion, carrots, celery, and salt.  Cook for 10 minutes.
3.  Add the celery and cook until fragrant.  Next place the chicken broth, tomato sauce, both types of beans, pepper, Italian seasoning bay leaf and rind of Parmesan cheese if using. Stir well, cover and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the pasta and cook until pasta is cooked.
5. Remove the Parmesan cheese rind. Taste and season if  necessary and ladle soup into the bowls.  Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Serves 8