Monday, January 28, 2013

Mini Meatloaf with Roasted Cauliflower Mash

Meatloaf is another one our favorite dishes that we have not had in a while. Mainly because we usually have a carb as a side dish (mashed potatoes.) Well, I was browsing on Pinterest one day and found an alternative to the famed mashed potatoes, Cauliflower mash...who knew! So, sticking with the theme of trying new dishes this year, I am embarking on the Cauliflower mash journey today.
Happy Eating!!

Mini Meatloaf
1 lb of ground beef with Italian seasonings
1/2 lb ground pork sausage
1/2 onions, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 clove of garlic, grated
1/4 cup flax seed mill or breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
2 crushed crackers

-->Preheat oven to 350*F.
-->In a large bowl combine onions, peppers, garlic, meats, and flax seed in a large bowl until completely combined.

--> Separate into 4 mini loaf dishes. Sprinkle with cracker crumbs and drizzle ketchup on top.

-->Bake for 30-45 minutes.

Roasted Cauliflower Mash
1 lb Cauliflower florets
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
2 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup of milk
1 Tbsp sour cream
grated cheddar cheese

 -->Spread cauliflower florets in foil with garlic. Sprinkle with Olive oil and season with Salt and Pepper.
-->Tightly wrap the foil and bake at 350*F for 45-55, until tender,

-->Pour the cauliflower mix into the food processor with milk, sour cream; blend until you reach the desired consistency.

 -->Pour into 2 mini loaf pans, top with cheese. Place under the broiler for 5-7 minutes.

-->Serve with the mini meatloaf and Enjoy!!

Ham and Pea Casserole

Growing up in a family who had their own garden in the backyard, one would think that any and all vegetables were her friend. I was a selective child and continue to be a selective adult. The selective-ness has now included many a vegetable that otherwise my 12 year old self would turn her nose up at. I have discovered the joys of onions, peppers, cucumbers, squashes, and now the sweet green pea.
The pea and I have had a violent history, mostly, actually all on my end of the fork. The poor pea has been squished, flicked, tossed, mashed, and thrown at various a younger sibling, in the attempt as not to eat.
All attempts were successful until one day one landed in my Shepherd's Pie by accident. A love affair began when the first squishy pea landed in my mouth. shh ..don't tell my hubby. Since then, the pea has been housed in my freezer as a staple in many a recipe.
I discovered this recipe years ago in a magazine but was apprehensive of trying it because of said squishy pea. Now that my love affair has begun, this dish was on the top of my list to try. So, here it is, with a few changes. Happy Eating!!

Ham and Pea Casserole
1/8 cup Olive Oil
1 Tbsp butter
1/8 cup water
1/2 cup of diced onion
1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced
8 strips of green bell pepper
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 small Ham steak, diced
2 cups of frozen sweet green peas
4 eggs
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
1/2 cup cooked rice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp Italian seasoning

-->Preheat oven to 400*F.
-->In a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat, add olive oil and butter. Heat for 5 minutes.
-->Add onions and diced green bell peppers. Saute for 5 minutes.

-->Add garlic and diced ham. Turn heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes.

-->Add peas, rice, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and water. Simmer for 15 minutes.

-->Make four indentations in pea mixture. Break one egg at a time into a small bowl and carefully slide into the indentation. Frame egg with bell pepper strips, two per egg. Sprinkle cheese on top. Cook in the oven for 12-15 minutes.

-->Enjoy for Breakfast, lunch or dinner with your favorite bread. These directions make 2 servings.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Chicken Stir Fry

My mother-in-law has been cleaning her house out and giving things away lately. Downsizing as it would be. My husband and I live 10 minutes from her lovely house, whereas his brothers live in Ohio. Guess who gets first pick of litter. One of the many things that we have received over the last year was a wok. Loving Chinese food as we do, this was perfect for us.
Working night shift, I have very odd eating and sleeping times. This meal was born out of my odd sleeping/eating times. Quick, easy, and full of good stuff to keep you going all night all. Plus, its Chinese food...Yum.
Happy Eating!

Chicken Stir Fry
1 lb chicken, cubed and salted
1 bag of frozen stir fry vegetables
2 tsp sesame seeds
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Ken's steakhouse Lite Asian Sesame with Ginger and Soy dressing
1 cup of cooked rice

-->Heat the Olive Oil  in wok on Med-Hi heat. The wok has to be very hot before you put in the meat.

-->Once the wok is smoking hot, literally, slowly add the cubed chicken.

-->Once chicken is completely cooked,turn the wok down to medium heat and  add the vegetables, sesame seeds and Asian dressing.* Cook for 10-15 minutes, until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently.

--> Serve over rice. Enjoy!!

*When adding chicken and vegetables to the hot oil, please make sure you defrost chicken and vegetables completely . Otherwise, the oil will splatter and it will hurt.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Steak Salad

Always looking for new low carb meals, I decided to make a steak salad tonight. (Kinda balances the sweet treat I made for us this evening...see Four Great Tastes Blondie) Salads are always a favorite in our house. Surprisingly, they are suggested more often than not by my husband, and not me. This salad combines the great tastes of steak, avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers and sauteed onions and peppers together. Hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does.

Steak Salad

1 lb of beef cubes
7 mini sweet peppers, Julianned
1/2 cup sliced onions
1 small tomato per person, quartered
1 avocado, cubed
1/4 cup sliced cucumbers
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 cup beef broth

4 cups of chopped Romaine lettuce
Your favorite cheese
Red Wine Vinaigrette*

-->Braise# beef cubes in beef broth until tender on medium heat on stove top, around 30 minutes. (This can be made ahead and stored in the fridge up to 2 days.)

-->Remove from heat. In the same pan, add 1 tsp of Olive oil and saute onions and peppers. Saute for 5-10 minutes until the onions are tender.

-->While the onions and peppers are sauteing, plate the lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers, and cheese with the beef cubes.

-->Plate onions and peppers. Dress salad with favorite dressing. Happy Eating!

*Red Wine Vinaigrette
1 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp Italian seasoning
-->Mix together with a fork and pour over your favorite salad.

#See "Cooking Definitions" tab for definition.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Shepherd's Pie

Since I have been on a low carb diet, several of our favorite dishes have been taken off the menu. Recently, my husband stated to me that he missed some of said dishes. One of such dish is the Shepherd's Pie.
This one dish wonder originates in Bonnie ol' England. Borne out of the need to use leftovers in the 1800's (no refrigeration system yet) and not to waste anything, leftover lambs meat and old potatoes found a home. Since then, dozens of variations have sprung from the need to use leftover meat and potatoes; and have hence called themselves Shepherd's pie.
My recipe uses only one leftover-mashed potatoes; and since we never eat lamb, we use beef instead.
Hope your family enjoys this simple Sunday dish as much as we do.

Shepherd's Pie

1 lb ground beef
1 cup diced onions
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup of English peas
1/4 cup beef broth
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tsp Thyme, dried
Leftover mashed potatoes
1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp Flax seed mill or breadcrumbs

-->Brown meat in a cast iron skillet on medium heat; remove from heat and drain meat.

-->Return to heat, add vegetables with S&P and thyme, let sit for 5 minutes, until the vegetables start to get soft.

-->Mix the balsamic vinegar and beef broth together, slowly add Tbsp at a time to the beef mixture. When you pour the last of the broth mix in, bring to a boil and let rest for 5 minutes.**

-->Preheat oven to 350*, remove skillet from heat and let rest for a minute.

-->Layer flax seed (breadcrumbs), cheese, mashed potatoes, flax seed (breadcrumbs), and cheese.

-->Place skillet in oven and bake for 30-45 minutes.
-->Remove from oven and let rest for 15 before serving.

-->Plate and serve with your favorite bread. Happy Eating!!

**Don't be alarmed if the meat mixture looks a little wet, baking this dish in a cast iron skillet requires the mixture to be more wet than usual. The reason being, the cast iron hold heat better and longer. It also cooks at a different rate than a ceramic casserole dish would. If your meat mixture isn't wet enough when placed in the oven, the meat will be dried out when you pull it out of the oven.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Roast Beef and Vegetables

Roast beef and vegetables are a staple for many a family on Sundays. Coming home from church to the great smells of rich meat and roasting vegetables brings back many a memories.
In my own family, this meal has been a great go-to, easy to make meal. Truly, a no-brainer for us. Our favorite way to make it is in a crock pot. I usually come home from the night shift, pile the meat and vegetables in the crock pot and go to sleep. When I wake up, viola! Dinner.
So, grab your crock pot and let's get started.

Roast Beef and Vegetables

3 lb Bottom Round Beef Roast
1 cup sliced onions
2 celery stalks, quartered
3 large carrots, quartered
1 potato per person, quartered
1 clove of garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp of Olive Oil
1 Tbsp of herb d'Provence
1/4 cup table red wine
1/4 cup beef broth

-->Generously salt and pepper the roast and place in the crock pot. Turn the crock pot to "high."

-->Salt and pepper vegetables before placing in the crock pot. Arrange vegetables around and on the roast.

-->Add herb d'Provence, Olive Oil, red wine, and broth.
-->Place the lid on and let it cook for about 5 hours. If you leave the house, turn the setting to "low" or "warm."

-->Plate and serve with a red wine, Merlot is a good choice, and your favorite bread. Happy Eating!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Homemade Vegetable Soup

Winter. Cold. Rain. Wind. Sniffles. Warm fire place. Hot soups and breads. This is what I think about when the weather starts getting cold.
In my part of the woods, our weather has ranged from 20 degrees at night to almost 80 degrees during the day. Pneumonia and flu weather. Several of our dear friends and many of my residents at the nursing home have suffered from the flu and pneumonia this season.Nothing is better, when you are sick, than getting a bowl of homemade soup.  In honor of these wonderful friends, I dedicate this soup to you.

Homemade Vegetable Soup

1 stalk of celery, diced
1/2 cup of diced onions
1 medium potato, diced**
2 cups of cabbage
1 bag of mixed vegetables
1 thick sliced cut of bacon, diced *
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp of Italian seasoning
4 cups of vegetable broth

-->On medium heat in a large sauce pan, render fat from bacon.

-->Add celery, onions, potato and cabbage with salt and pepper: saute for 5 minutes. If the vegetables start to stick to the bottom of the pan, slowly add 1-2 Tbsp of broth.

-->Add mixed vegetables, Italian seasoning and 1/4 cup of broth. Let the vegetables get to know each other for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

-->Once the vegetables have gotten to know each other, slowly add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 30-45 minutes.

-->Serve with your favorite bread to your favorite sick person. Enjoy!!

*For you vegetarians, you can leave the bacon out.
**For you Low Carbers, the potatoes can be left out or replaced with sweet potatoes.