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Stuffed Red Peppers

We had too many colored bell peppers so I searched around for something new to do with them. I found some recipes that stuffed them like green bell peppers (marinara, meat, cheese...) but I wanted something different so as usual, I mashed some ideas together. This is what I ended up with.  It's hard to write down a recipe that is not really measured, so much depends on the size of the peppers...but I have done my best with the ballpark amounts.

Slice 2 peppers (any color, I would just never use green) from stem to bottom and remove seeds
Place peppers face up in 1 cm of water in a covered microwave/oven safe dish, cook for five minutes.

Sauté
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 Tb unsalted butter
1 Tb olive oil
1 t garlic, minced
until softened, then add
1/2 c cooked pumpkin, cubed or mashed ( I think any squash would work)
(if you don't have cooked, just steam some before adding to the pan)
salt and pepper to your taste and remove from heat.
Mix in about 1/2 c of cottage cheese
Next, scoop …
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UDON

We tried a new Udon cafe in town.  It was good.  Yes, faint praise.  It was fine.  So Dad came home and read up on it.  Morimoto's recipe was FANTASTIC.  I simplified it and added some variety.  This is a quick version that is just right for 2-3 servings, depending on how hungry you are.  We ate it with a fresh sushi roll and some seaweed salad one night.  The next time, we just chowed down on a big bowl with some sushi ginger and a mochi or two as dessert.
You will likely need to go to an Asian market (or order online) for some of the ingredients.
But if not, Usukuchi is recommended since it is a soy sauce with more intense flavor and a lot more salt, but I think if you use regular soy sauce and add salt, you may still get the depth of flavor in the broth you need.
Bonito soup stock is basically fish bouillon so you might find it at the local store.  It may come in cubes instead of powder.  Don't worry, it smells like fish when you open the jar but the Udon doesn't have a…

Mexetti Squash

So I wanted to use the spaghetti squash but I wasn't in the mood for the usual Italian meatball pseudo-spaghetti. I also wanted something just as quick and easy so I browsed around on the internet and got an idea to use Mexican flavors. Here is what I served everyone tonight so we can remember it. There are no real measurements since every squash is a different size.

Cut a spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds.
In a microwaveable dish, place one half skin side down so it can be filled with:

cooked, cut up chicken
diced Hatch chiles
zucchini, chopped finely
red bell pepper, chopped finely
onion, chopped finely OR onion powder sprinkled on top

Sprinkle it all with a little salt, pepper and cumin
and shredded Jack, Manchego or other cheese
Pour some enchilada sauce over it all.
Add some heat with salsa, chile powder or whatever you like or not.
Cover and cook-
I microwaved a large half for about 15 minutes
The smaller half only took 10 minutes.

I served it with oranges.  It was ju…

Rainy day Farro with chicken

This tasted really good on this cold and rainy March evening.  I still had Farro (an Italian wheat cousin with more nutrition than brown rice) in the cupboard so I searched around for farro recipes and came up with this version. Your dad wants to eat it again (and me, too) so here it goes down on record.  I didn't really measure the ingredients so I will do my best to come up with good estimates.

Sprinkle generously
1/2 - 1lb cooked chicken in large chunks (off a rotisserie chicken works well)
with oregano, salt and pepper
and drizzle about 1 Tb apple cider vinegar & ! Tb canola oil over it & set aside.
I think warming it a bit will help the flavor soak in the chicken but it isn't necessary.

Sauté
1 large colored bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 med onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
until glossy and softened
Add in
1 1/2 c uncooked Farro, rinsed
2 1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 t cumin powder
1/4 c sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
drizzle some of the oil, too.
and the chicken from abov…

Smörgåstårta - Swedish Savory Cake

In Sweden, these sandwich cakes are typically served on special occasions, understandably, as they are a bit labor intensive to make.  They are popular enough to be available at the local supermarket regularly.  I found this the perfect (as in ready to serve when it was time) dinner for many guests.  Plan ahead, it needs to be refrigerated for 12 hours+ before decorating and serving.

The cake can be constructed in any shape you desire.  I made a simple rectangle of 2 x 4 bread slices in four levels.  If you want to go higher or another shape, you may need to double the fillings and buy more bread.  Each layer is quite rich and dense so servings per cake are high, this one fed 25 easily.

Traditional layers in Sweden include liverpaste and smoked salmon.  I put together egg, ham and cheese layers instead to fit the very American palette of my teen guests.  Most cakes are topped with shrimp but if you google smörgåstårta, you will see the many variations and be inspired as to what to p…

Simple apple cinnamon pancakes

Ethan made these during the conference break today.  DE-Licious!

The only work is chopping up the two apples.  
The pancakes by themselves are delicious as well if you don't want to make the topping.

This recipes serves 4

Melt
2 Tb unsalted butter
set aside to let cool

For apple syrup-
In small skillet, put:
2 tart apples, chopped into cubes, (peel optional)
2 Tb unsalted butter
1/2 c maple syrup
2 T brown sugar
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t baking powder (for lighter pancakes, but optional)
Cook over medium heat until apples soften.
Keep warm for serving.

meanwhile for pancakes-
Mix dry ingredients in small bowl:
1 1/2 c flour
3 t baking powder
1 T honey, or agave, etc. 
1 cinnamon
1 t salt

Mix wet ingredients in medium bowl:
1 1/4 c milk
1 egg
1 t vanilla
Mix in 3 T cooled butter (so egg won't cook)

Add dry mix into wet mix, combine well
Cook pancakes (about 1/4 c) on hot griddle
Serve three pancakes with a large spoonful of the apple syrup

They looked great and tasted great.  

28 Sep 2016 Danish Meatloaf

This is the meatloaf recipe everyone liked better than I did.  I still favor my Grandma Anderson's recipe but since the family liked it, here it is.

In a small bowl, combine to soak
1/2 c milk
1 egg
1 c toasted bread, cubed or 1/2 c dried bread crumbs
Let stand 5 minutes.

In hot skillet, sauté
1/2  medium onion, diced
1 T butter
Remove from heat, add
1 t fresh chopped parsley or 1/2 t dried
Allow to cool.

Mix together:
1 lb ground beef
1 T ketchup
1/2 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 t paprika
1 clove garlic, minced or generous sprinkle of garlic powder 
1/4 t thyme
1/2 t Worcestershire sauce
Add in cooled onion & parsley mix
combine well then add in the milk-crumb mixture

Shape meat into a loaf or into a loaf pan
Bake at 350ºF for 1 hour

Turns out if you want, you can shape them into patties and fry in butter until cooked through and have single serving meatloaf burgers instead of one big loaf.