Apple Cranberry Stuffing

Apple Cranberry Stuffing

When you have a big family dinner planned it’s hard to give all your dishes your full attention. So take help where you can, and go the semi homade route. This quick recipe is an excellent side dish and if you substitute the chicken stock for vegetable stock it can be vegetarian too.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 stick of butter or 3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red or yellow onion, chooped
  • 1 package  (6 ounces) Ocean Spray Craisins® (dried cranberries)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 package (14 ounces) Pepperidge Farm® Herb Seasoned Stuffing mix
  • Poultry seasoning optional

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 350°F degrees.
  2. Heat the butter or oil in a 3 quart sauce pan over medium heat.
  3.  Add the apples, celery and onion and cook for 5 minutes or until tender-crisp, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the stock to the saucepan and heat to a boil.
  5. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  6. Add the stuffing and dried cranberries and mix lightly.
  7. Add additional poultry seasoning to taste. (This is optional, as the stuffing mix is already seasoned.)  Spoon the stuffing mixture into a greased 9×13 inch baking dish.  Cover the baking dish with foil.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until the stuffing mixture is hot. (For crunchier stuffing, bake uncovered.)

One Pot Swedish Meatballs and Noodles

Swedish Meatballs 2

I remember when my dad  was in the hospital, he used to say how much he liked their food. And I would think to myself, “Must be the drugs they gave him.” I recently spent four days in the same hospital my dad stayed. So I got to eat quite a few of the same meals there myself. None of my meals were outstanding or deserved rave reviews like my dad gave them. But the one thing they had in common was they were comforting. Comfort foods, like meatloaf and mashed potatoes or roasted chicken.  Foods that made you feel better being alone in a strange place and stuck in a strange bed for whatever scary health reason you are there.  So maybe that’s why my dad raved so much.  I have no idea what this has to do with my Swedish meatballs and noodles recipe, but I do consider it a comfort meal. And being in the hospital made me think of my dad.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef (Use 1/2 a pound, if you like smaller meatballs)
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 cup seasoned panko or breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pepper for meatballs
  • 1 teaspoon salt for meatballs
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups heavy cream or milk
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cups uncooked egg noodles
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1.  In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, onion, breadcrumbs, eggs, salt and pepper. Shape your meatballs into 1-2 tablespoons sized balls.
  2. Heat your oil in a pot over medium high heat. Place your meatballs into the pot. Cook meatballs for 1 -2 minutes and flip.
  3. Add the beef broth and heavy cream (or milk) and worcestershire sauce and stir well.
  4. Bring the liquid to a boil, then add the egg noodles. Stir every minute, until the pasta is cooked and the liquid has reduced to a sauce that coats the noodles. 6-8 minutes.
  5. Add the parmesan cheese and stir until cheese is melted.
  6. Garnish with chopped parsley and add salt and pepper to taste.

Swedish Meatballs 1

Pork Carnitas

Carnitas 4

Growing up, my parents made Chinese food at least 90% of the time. So you would think my blog would be mostly Chinese food recipes. Nope. Once I moved out and was left to cook on my own I enjoyed trying all sorts of new food types and trying new recipes. If you ask my kids, they will tell you I can eat Mexican food everyday of the week. It’s true. Pork carnitas is one recipe I love as it is not particularly hard to make. And if you get a large pork shoulder, it makes enough for a crowd or you have leftovers for days. This recipe makes at least 12 servings!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3-4 pounds pork shoulder
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 bulb garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken broth

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Season the pork shoulder with salt, then arrange the pork in the Dutch oven. Cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, lime juice, chili powder, oregano, and cumin. Pour in the chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and continue to simmer until pork is very tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  4. Transfer the pork shoulder to a large baking sheet, reserving the cooking liquid. Drizzle with a small amount of the reserved cooking liquid.Carnitas 1
  5. Bake the pork in the preheated oven until browned, about 30 minutes. Drizzle more of the cooking liquid on the meat every 10 minutes, and use two forks to shred the meat as it browns. (Keep in mind, the objective of the final step is to get slightly crispy outside with a moist, tender inside.)
  6. Carnitas 2
  7. Serve the carnitas with warm, fresh tortillas and pico de gallo or whatever you like! I like to make mine into tacos. Carnitas 3

Creamy Wild Rice Soup

Creamy Wild Rice Soup 2

It’s finally getting chilly around here. Soup is my favorite “go to” meal when the weather gets colder. This soup is really decadent since it’s creamy and full of vegetables.  Don’t be deceived by my picture, there is wild rice in this soup. For my strictly vegetarian friends, substitute the chicken stock with vegetable stock. And for my friends who want an even heartier soup, feel free to add diced, cooked chicken.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon crushed rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups cooked, diced chicken (OPTIONAL)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the rice, oil and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, cook the carrots, celery, onion, and potatoes in butter until vegetables are almost tender. Stir in flour until blended; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Slowly stir in broth and undrained rice.
  3. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Reduce heat; stir in the cream, rosemary and poultry seasoning. Simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until rice is tender.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste. If adding in chicken, do so the last 5 minutes to warm through.

Creamy Wild Rice Soup 1

Japanese Curry Beef

Japanese Curry Beef (1)

Tired of the same old beef stew recipe? Then change it up by making Japanese curry beef instead. It’s basically a beef stew with a curry kick. I stuck with the medium hot S&B Golden Curry brand. If I had brought home the “hot” level one, my son would have protested. Japanese curry roux is not all that spicy compared to the Indian curry powders I have used in my chicken curry.  For my vegetarian friends like Sue T., skip the beef and just add more potatoes, carrots and onions to make a hearty vegetable curry. Serve with a side of rice and your tummy will be thanking you.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound beef (cut for stew)
  • 2 white or yellow onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 box curry roux (4 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon apricot jam
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon lite soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder (optional)

Japanese Curry Beef 3

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut vegetables into bite size pieces. (About the same size as your beef stew meat.)
  2. Heat oil and brown meat in a Dutch Oven or large lidded pot over high heat. Take meat out when the sides of the beef are seared, but not cooked through.
  3. In the same pot, lower heat to medium high and fry the onions for 5 minutes. Add carrots and potatoes, then the beef.
  4. Add water to the pot. After the water boils, skim the fat and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 45-50 minutes until the meat becomes tender.
  5. Now add the curry roux blocks into the pot. Stir well so the pieces of the roux dissolves.
  6. Once the roux has dissolved, stir in apricot jam, ketchup, soy sauce, Worcestershire  sauce and optional curry powder.
  7. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
  8. Serve with a side of rice.

This recipe makes 4 to 6 servings.

Japanese Curry Beef 2

 

Asparagus Beef in Black Bean Garlic Sauce

Asparagus beef in black bean and garlic sauce

It’s asparagus season here in California. I find myself buying asparagus every shopping trip now. But instead of  making my usual grilled asparagus as a side dish, I wanted to add it into the main dish. If you love making quick dinners like I do then you are going to love this.  Also, this recipe only requires a few ingredients which makes this even simpler.  I have another variation of this dish ( Asparagus Beef ) where you make your own sauce, however this one is using a premade black bean garlic sauce which cuts the time in half and does the work for you.  This serves 2-4 depending on your portions.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 ounce sirloin or flank steak, sliced into thin strips
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil for cooking, separated into 2 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon grated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 pound of asparagus, sliced into thirds
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons black bean and garlic sauce (found at local grocery stores in your international aisle or Asian markets)  Black bean and garlic sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (this offsets the sharpness of the black bean sauce)
  • 1/2 cup beef or chicken stock

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add beef strips to a bowl. Then add cornstarch, grated garlic and ginger. Mix well and set aside. Asparagus beef in black bean sauce 1
  2. Heat up wok or skillet on high heat.  Swirl in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to coat wok or skillet.
  3. Quickly spread the beef slices around the pan in an even layer. Let it sear for 15-30 seconds without stirring. Then give it a quick stir to sear the other side. The meat should be browned and no sticking should happen if you got the pan hot enough. Take the meat out of the pan and set aside.
  4. Keep the wok/skillet on high heat and add one tablespoon oil.
  5. Add in asparagus and onions.
  6. Stir for about 10 seconds and cover, leaving the heat on high. Let it cook for 20 to 30 seconds. Remove the cover. Add the beef back to the pan.
  7. Add the black bean and garlic sauce paste, sugar and beef stock. Stir to mix well.
  8. Let beef and vegetables continue to cook with the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until asparagus is cooked tender. Asparagus beef in black bean sauce 10
  9. Plate with jasmine rice and serve immediately.

Asparagus beef in black bean sauce

 

 

Mexican Vegetable Soup

Mexican Vegetable Soup 1

If you took a quick glance at my most recent posts, you might think I’m all about sweets and chicken. While I’m not going to confirm or deny that may be true, I do make other recipes as well. You might even say somewhat healthy ones every once in a while too.  So for my vegetarian friends out there, I have not forsaken you. (Yes, I’m looking at you Sue T.!)

This soup recipe can be altered to whichever vegetables you have or that are in season. It is called vegetable soup afterall. I used what I had on hand. The flavor of the soup was reminiscent of a chicken tortilla soup without the chicken or tortillas. And be forewarned, this recipe makes a lot of servings (6-8) for you to share on a cold winter’s day.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 bell peppers, diced (I used 1/2  each of an orange, red and yellow bell peppers)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons  ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups diced roma tomatoes
  • 2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen or 1 can of corn)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can (4 ounce) diced green chile peppers
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1-2 zucchinis,  sliced

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:

  • avocado slices
  • cilantro
  • lime wedges or lime juice
  • Mexican crema or sour cream
  • shredded cheese
  • tortilla chips

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.
  2. Add bell peppers, carrots and onions to pot. Cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir occasionally.
  3. Add in minced garlic, cumin and cayenne. Stir and cook for a minute.
  4. Add in tomatoes, corn, black beans, diced green chiles and vegetable stock.
  5. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil.
  6. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Add in zucchini.
  8. Re-cover and simmer for another 10 more minutes, or until the zucchini is tender.
  9. Serve immediately with optional toppings. Mexican Vegetable Soup 2