Scalloped Potatoes & Ham

This is what I made for dinner last night. Talk about comfort food! I remember growing up we used to eat a lot of scalloped potatoes. Brings back memories of my childhood. I’ll be making it again.

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Scalloped Potatoes & Ham

Serves 12

4 Tbs (1/2 stick) butter, plus extra for greasing dish
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 1/2 cups milk
Freshly ground black pepper
2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled
3 cups cooked ham, diced
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
Chopped fresh parsley, for sprinkling, optional

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Add the butter and onions to a large skillet over medium heat and sauté until starting to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and whisk them together. Continue cooking the onion/flour mixture until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the half-and-half and milk and whisk around, allowing the mixture to thicken; this will take 3 to 4 minutes. Add some pepper, stir the sauce, reduce the heat and keep warm.

Slice the potatoes really thin using a mandolin or a really sharp knife, the thinner the better. Generously butter a 2-quart baking dish, then add half the sliced potatoes and half the diced ham. Sprinkle on half the cheese then pour on half the sauce from the skillet. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients, ending with a layer of cheese and sauce. Sprinkle extra pepper on top.

Cover the dish with foil and bake it for 40 minutes, then remove the foil and bake until the cheese is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling, an additional 20 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

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Broccoli & Chickpea Salad

I have to say, this is really delicious. It would be great to pack in your lunch. It’s very light and extremely healthy!
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Broccoli & Chickpea Salad

Serves 4

1 lb broccoli, finely chopped (5 cups)
15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
5 scallions, sliced
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
1 Tbs grated lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Steam broccoli florets until just tender, 3 minutes. Once cool, chop and combine with chickpeas, scallions, and slivered almonds.

In a bowl, combine garlic, mustard, honey, lemon zest and juice. Slowly add oil, whisking to emulsify, and season with salt and pepper.

Drizzle broccoli mixture with dressing and adjust seasoning.

Note
Refrigerate salad in an airtight container up to two days.

Salmon with Roasted Grape Tomatoes & Shallots

Another super easy salmon recipe. This is actually from the Diabetic Living website.

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Salmon with Roasted Grape Tomatoes & Shallots

Serves 4

3 lbs salmon fillet(s), skinned if desired
Nonstick cooking spray
4 cups grape tomatoes
1/2 cup shallots, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs fresh oregano or 1-1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Rinse salmon and pat dry with paper towels. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Lightly coat a 3-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In the baking dish, combine tomatoes, shallots, garlic, oregano, olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Toss to coat. Spread it on top and around the salmon.

Roast, uncovered, for 15 to 18 minutes or until salmon flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Note – Salmon can be covered and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.

Chicken Stuffed with Asparagus & Provolone

This is a great dinner party entrée to impress your guests. It’s super easy and you can make it ahead and put it in the refrigerator without the bread crumbs.

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Chicken Stuffed with Asparagus & Provolone

Seves 4

½ cup mayonnaise
3 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 lemon, juiced and zested
2 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
16 thin spears of asparagus, trimmed
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
4 slices provolone cheese
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a baking dish. In a bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, tarragon, salt, and pepper until the mixture is well combined. Set aside.

Place a chicken breast between two sheets of heavy plastic (resealable freezer bags work well) on a solid, level surface. Firmly pound the chicken breast with the smooth side of a meat mallet to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Repeat with the rest of the chicken breasts.

Place 1 slice of provolone on each chicken breast, and top the cheese with 4 asparagus spears per breast. Roll the chicken breasts around the asparagus and cheese, making a tidy package, and place, seam sides down, in the prepared baking dish. With a pastry brush, apply a coating of the mayonnaise mixture to each chicken breast, and sprinkle each with panko crumbs, pressing the crumbs into the chicken to make a coating.

Bake in the preheated oven until the crumbs are browned and the chicken juices run clear, about 25 minutes.

Hasselback Potatoes UnPlugged

I love Hasselback Potatoes!  Hasselback potatoes cut in such a way as to resemble a fan or accordion when roasted. The name is derived from the restaurant where they were first introduced in the 1940s, Hasselbacken in Stockholm, Sweden which opened in that city in 1748 and where they are called hasselbackspotatis. The outside of the potato becomes crisp and brown while the inside is soft and creamy.  This version is sort of cheating because you cut the potatoes all the way through.

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Hasselback Potatoes UnPlugged

Serves 6 to 8

6 Yukon Gold potatoes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Brush bottom and sides of a baking dish or cast iron skillet with olive oil.

Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, slice potatoes crosswise into desired thickness. Arrange potato slices vertically and loosely in prepared dish or skillet.

Sprinkle garlic and Italian seasoning on top of potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dot potatoes with butter. Cover skillet or dish with foil and bake in a 375 F oven for about 1 hour or until potatoes are tender. Remove foil, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until crisp.

Note
The thinner the slice, the crispier the potatoes get.

Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

I have a client that is on a very restricted diet, which means I have to make almost everything from scratch. All the canned enchilada sauces available have salt in them. I use no salt added tomatoes and tomato paste. It’s actually really easy to make your own and you can make it mild or spicy. Instead of making one big casserole, I made individual servings for the freezer.

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Chicken Enchiladas

Serves 6

12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
Cooking spray
1½ Tbs onion, chopped
1½ Tbs cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded
2 cups enchilada sauce, divided (see recipe below)
1½ cups (6 oz) shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup diced tomato
1/3 cup sliced ripe olives

Preheat oven to 350°

Place the tortillas in the microwave for about 1 minute to soften.Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; place over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion, cilantro, and jalapeño; sauté until onion is tender. Add chicken, diced tomatoes and 1 cup enchilada sauce; cook 5 minutes.

Spoon chicken mixture evenly down centers of tortillas. Roll up tortillas; place, seam sides down, in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over enchiladas, and top with cheese. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until enchiladas are thoroughly heated and cheese melts. Sprinkle evenly with tomato and olives.

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

Makes 2 cups

2 Tbs vegetable oil
2 Tbs flour
2 Tbs chili powder
2 cups water
3 oz tomato paste
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¾ tsp salt

Add the vegetable oil, flour, and chili powder to a medium pot. Turn the heat on to medium and whisk the ingredients together. Continue to whisk as the mixture begins to bubble. Whisk and cook the mixture for one minute once it begins bubbling.

After one minute, whisk in the water, tomato paste, cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper until smooth. Allow the sauce to come up to a simmer. Once it reaches a simmer it will begin to thicken slightly then add the salt. The sauce is now ready to use.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Oranges, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
I have lots of fresh herbs in the garden and decided to create this pork tenderloin recipe using some oranges. It’s very flavorful and tender. I love cooking in cast iron skillets.
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Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Oranges, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme

Serves 6

2 (1 to 1½ lb) pork tenderloins
2 onions, sliced

Marinade
juice and zest of two oranges
2 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbs flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 Tbs sage, chopped
1 Tbs rosemary, chopped
1 Tbs thyme, chopped
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Trim each tenderloin of any silver skin (this can be tough when cooked, just use a small sharp knife and slide the blade under and outward to remove it). Pat pork dry with paper towels.

Make the marinade and pour it into a ziplock bag. Add the pork and squeeze out the air and seal the bag. Marinate the pork in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight.

Take the pork out of the marinade. Pour the left over marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed oven-safe frying pan over medium heat. You will know when the pan is ready when the oil shimmers. Add the pork tenderloins and cook, turning occasionally, until evenly browned all over. This should take about 12 minutes.Transfer the browned pork to a large plate or cutting board.

Check the pan, if it looks dry add 2 to 3 teaspoons of additional oil. Now, add onions then cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned around edges, about 5 minutes.

Then, place pork tenderloins on top of the onions and slide into the oven. Roast 10 to 15 minutes or until an internal thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers between 145 and 150 degrees F (63 and 65 degrees C).

Transfer pork to a large plate and cover with aluminum foil. Let rest about 10 minutes.

Slice pork into 1-inch slices then serve on a bed of the onions with pan sauce drizzled on top.

Pork Chile Verde

The tomatillo is a plant of the nightshade family, related to the Cape gooseberry, bearing small, spherical and green or green-purple fruit of the same name. Tomatillos originated in Mexico, and are a staple of that country’s cuisine.The fruit is surrounded by an inedible, paper-like husk.

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Pork Chile Verde

Serves 6-8

4 lbs pork butt or shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 2-inch cubes
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Flour for dredging
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 yellow onions
2 green bell peppers, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 Anaheim or Poblano chiles, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 -3 jalapeños, seeds removed, and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 1/2 lbs tomatillos, roasted, peeled and chopped – see tips below
1 Tbs dried oregano
2 tsp ground cumin
2 bay leaves
1 bunch cilantro leaves, cleaned and chopped
4 cups chicken stock

Season the pork meat generously with salt and pepper, lightly flour. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium high heat and brown pork chunks well in small batches, on all sides. Lift pork out of pan and place in a wide soup pot. Discard fat and place the onions and peppers in the same skillet and sweat over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until limp, about 5 minutes. Add all of the chiles and cook an additional 3-4 minutes, then add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more.

Add the sautéed vegetables, chopped tomatillos, dried herbs and cilantro to the meat, cover with the chicken stock and bring up to a boil and reduce to a slight simmer. Cook for 2-3 hours uncovered or until the pork is fork tender.

Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with rice.

Preparing Tomatillos
Remove the husks before using, the husks are inedible. Tomatillos are very easy to cook with because they don’t need to be peeled or seeded. Their texture is firm when raw, but soften when cooked. When growing your own fresh tomatillos, they are ready to harvest when the husks burst.

Rinse before using as the tomatillo is covered by a sticky substance. Do not peel the green skin.

Cooking Tomatillos
Tomatillos can by very inconsistent in flavor, with some being sour and others tasting mild and sweet. If the tomatillos are to tart for your taste, try adding a little sugar to balance the taste.

Fire Roasting
Roast under the broiler, with a propane torch, or over an open flame such as a grill. Make sure the heat is quite hot before roasting. If the heat is not hot enough, the tomatillos wil turn mushy before being charred. The charred or slightly blackened skins will enrich your sauces with a smoky flavor.

Dry Roasting
This will produce an earthy, nutty flavor. Place the tomatillos in a heavy fry pan (preferably a cast iron pan). Turn heat to low and roast for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

Spicy Black Bean Quinoa Burger on Baby Kale Salad with Lemon, Parmesan & Crispy Roasted Chickpeas

I can already hear the the ughs! You know who you are! I know Quinoa and kale are a trend, but I happen to like it and this veggie burger got rave reviews.  If you don’t like it, go visit the It’s All About the Bacon blog! (Don’t get me wrong, I love bacon too!)

There are many health benefits in eating high-fiber plant protein sources. A high-fiber diet lowers your risk for colon cancer.  And trust me on this, you don’t want to get colon cancer!
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Spicy Black Bean Quinoa Burger

Serves 5

1 can black beans (16 oz, reduced sodium), rinsed and drained completely
¼ cup uncooked quinoa
½ cup no salt added vegetable or chicken broth
¼ cup chopped bell pepper (variety of colors)
½ cup whole-wheat bread crumbs
2 Tbs chopped onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp hot pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 ½ tsp ground turmeric
¼ cup egg whites or egg substitute
Nonstick cooking spray
Kale salad (recipe below)

In a small sauce pan, combine uncooked quinoa, cumin, turmeric and broth. Bring to boil and reduce heat to low, then cover pan and cook for 15 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes, until all broth is absorbed and quinoa has sprouted.

Roughly mash black beans with a fork to get a paste-like consistency.

Thoroughly mix cooled quinoa, bread crumbs, bell pepper, onion, garlic, hot pepper flakes and egg into black bean mixture.

Make 5 patties.

Coat a large nonstick skillet with spray. Cook patties until heated through, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Baby Kale Salad with Lemon, Parmesan & Crispy Roasted Chickpeas

Serves 2-4

Roasted Chickpeas
15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Salad
1 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one lemon
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
5 oz Baby Kale or Kale/Dark Greens Mix
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Regianno, shaved

Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Place the chickpeas on the prepared baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 10-12 minutes, stirring once, until the chickpeas are slightly shrunken and crispy. Let cool.

In a large bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the greens and toss until evenly coated. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary (I usually add a bit more salt). Arrange on plates and top with Parmigiano-Regianno shavings and crispy roasted chickpeas.

Veal Goulash with Egg Noodles

One of my clients that I personal chef for requested I make this dish. I made this healthy version using non-fat sour cream, no salt, canola oil spray instead of butter and No Yokes Noodles.  It got rave reviews.  Eric wants me to make this for us soon.  I know most people are horrified about using veal, if so, use beef instead.

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Veal Goulash with Egg Noodles

Serves 8

4 Tbs unsalted butter
2 lbs veal, cut into 1½ inch cubes
1½ cups onion, sliced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbs paprika
2 Tbs caraway seed, crushed in a mortar with pestle
3 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped
12 oz flat egg noodles, cooked and tossed with 1 Tbs butter

Heat butter in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Pat dry the cubed veal. Sprinkle with salt and add to pan. Working in batches, sauté the meat until the meat is just beginning to brown.

Add the onions to the pan with the veal, cook for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add a teaspoon of salt, a half teaspoon of black pepper, and the tomatoes. Add enough water to just barely cover the meat, about 2 cups or so, depending on the size and shape of your pan.

Increase the heat to bring the mixture to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain a low simmer, uncovered. Cook until the meat is almost cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the veal from the pan to a bowl to temporarily set aside. Increase the heat to high and let the liquid boil until it is reduced by half. Lower the heat to medium. Add the meat back to the pan.

Add the sour cream, paprika, and crushed caraway seeds, and simmer uncovered for another 20 minutes. Stir in parsley.

Serve over egg noodles.