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Beef Marinade
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons Shao Hsing rice wine
11 ∕2 teaspoons cornstarch
1∕2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 pound boneless steak, all fat removed and cut diagonally across the grain into thin slices

Stir-fry Sauce
1 tablespoon Shao Hsing rice wine
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha (hot chili sauce)
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cup lower-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Stir-fry
8 dried Shiitake Mushrooms
4 cups chopped broccoli florets (3 stalks)
Water
3 sliced green onions
1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons peanut oil

Directions

In a medium bowl combine the beef, ginger, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons rice wine, cornstarch, salt, and sesame oil. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
Pour boiling water to cover over the shiitake mushrooms and let them sit for 30 minutes. Drain and slice into thin strips. Set aside.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the broccoli. Blanch for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a small bowl combine the stir-fry sauce ingredients.

Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch skillet over high heat. Swirl in 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil and carefully add the beef, and spread it evenly in one layer in the pan. Cook undisturbed 1 minute, letting the beef begin to sear. Then stir-fry 1 minute, or until the beef is lightly browned but not cooked through. Transfer the beef to a plate.

 

Swirl the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil into the wok, add the green onions and broccoli and stir-fry 15 seconds or until just combined.

Return the beef with any juices that have accumulated to the pan. Add the mushrooms and swirl in the stir-fry sauce mixture into the pan. Cook until the beef is just cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Stir in walnuts.

Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with rice or cauliflower rice, if desired.


Most people know Rick Bayless from Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, his Public Television series, Mexico–One Plate at a Time and his many cookbooks. He is also the owner of multiple restaurants, including the outstanding Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, where my family ate numerous times when we lived in Chicago. I recently discovered that he developed a line of Mexican cooking sauces that are sold in most supermarkets. While the sauces have been available for a while, I just recently discovered them and find them to be delicious, authentic and so very convenient. I especially like these sauces because they are made from fresh ingredients with no preservatives, are gluten-free, and low in carbohydrates. They also come in convenient, easy to use pouches.
These sauces are so convenient when you are busy and want a good tasting dinner fast. I used one of the taco sauces for my recipe below. There are quite a few made by his company, Frontera Foods, and you can check out the rest with this link.

Key Lime Shrimp Tacos

Serves 4. Since I only wanted two servings, I made half the recipe. I also used half of the sauce and froze the unused portion for another occasion. I also changed the directions from the one listed on the package in making this dish.

Serve this entree with a salad and ranch dressing.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon avocado or vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
1 Poblano pepper, diced
1 pound peeled, deveined medium shrimp;
1 pouch Frontera Key Lime Shrimp Taco Skillet Sauce
8 tortillas (crispy or soft), warmed
Toppings: cheese, jalapenos, shredded cabbage or lettuce, tomato, avocado, etc

Directions

Heat the oil in a nonstick 10 or 12-inch skillet over high heat. Add the onion and poblano pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and tender, about 4 minutes. Add the sauce and let it sizzle for a minute or two and then add the shrimp. Cook and stir over medium heat until the shrimp turn pink and are just cooked through about 4 minutes.


Serve in warm tortillas with your choice of toppings.
Variations: Substitute 1 pound sea scallops or cubed firm fish for the shrimp.


Baked Halibut

4 servings

Ingredients

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, very soft
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 dash hot pepper sauce
2 pounds skinless halibut fillets

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a baking dish.
In a bowl, mix the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise, lemon juice, green onions, salt, and hot pepper sauce.
Arrange the halibut fillets in the prepared baking dish. Spread with the sauce.
Bake the halibut fillets 15-20 minutes or until easily flaked with a fork.
For a brown topping broil for 2-3 minutes. Place the fillets on individual plates and pour any sauce left in the pan over the fish. Serve immediately.

Simple Roasted Carrots

The carrots and the fish can be baked at the same temperature.

4 servings

Ingredients

6 carrots, cut into 2-inch diagonal lengths
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 375ºF.
On a baking sheet lined with foil, toss carrots with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
Roast until tender and lightly caramelized, 45 minutes. Serve with the fish.

Onions and Swiss Chard

4 servings

Ingredients

2 large bunches green Swiss chard
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large sweet onion, diced (about 2 cups)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
½ teaspoon black pepper, divided

Directions

Wash the chard in several changes of water. Cut the stems and center ribs from the chard leaves and reserve them for soup. Stack the chard leaves and roll them lengthwise into cylinders. Cut the cylinders crosswise to make 1-inch-wide strips.
Heat oil and butter in a large heavy skillet with a cover over medium heat until foam subsides, then cook onions and garlic with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, covered, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Add chard leaves in batches, stirring until wilted before adding the next batch, and add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.


Thanksgiving Sausage Stuffing

Ingredients

8 cups Italian bread, cut into ½ inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 large onion, diced
2 large ribs celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped sage
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup chicken broth

Directions

Place the bread cubes into a very large bowl and set aside. Place a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the olive oil and the sausage.

Cook, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon or spatula, cook until light brown, about 5 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to the bowl of cubed bread.

In the fat left in the pan, sauté the onions, celery, and garlic until the onions are soft, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the thyme, sage, salt, and peppers, cook 1 minute and, then, add the mixture to the cubed bread.

Add the broth to the bread mixture; stir until well combined.

Place the stuffing in a large baking dish and bake in the oven for the last hour that the turkey cooks.

Pumpkin Pie

Pat-in-the-Pan Pie Crust

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons water

Directions

Whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a 9-inch pie plate. Whisk together the oil and water, then pour over the dry ingredients.

Stir with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened. Pat the dough across the bottom of the pie pan and up the sides.

A flat-bottomed measuring cup can help make the bottom even. Press the dough up the sides of the pan with your fingers, and flute the top.

Chill in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

Pumpkin Pie Filling

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or a mix of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Filling Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Add all the pie filling ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.

Pour the filling into the chilled pie crust and bake for about 60 minutes.

The crust should be light golden brown and the filling should be set.

Remove the pie from the oven and let cool completely before loosely covering and transferring to the refrigerator to fully set overnight.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Directions for preparing the squash:

Cut a thin slice off from the top & bottom of one acorn squash (just enough to leave a flat edge, so the squash can stand up on both ends).

Cut the squash in half, horizontally, so you have two bowl shapes. Scoop out the membranes and seeds and discard them.

Place the squash in a greased baking dish cut-side up. Brush the inside with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast the squash halves for 30 minutes.

Squash Filling

Combine the following:

2 tablespoons minced onion
2 tablespoons diced celery
1/4 cup diced, peeled pear
1/4 cup diced, peeled apple
2 tablespoons fresh cranberries
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup cooked brown rice

Place the filling mixture in the partially cooked squash halves. Place the filled squash in the oven and bake 30 minutes.

Cipollini Onions

Cipollini means little onion in Italian.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
16 cipollini onions, trimmed and peeled
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, crushed

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat olive oil in a medium ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add onions, stem side down, and cook until lightly browned 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and continue browning on the opposite side, about 2 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.

Add vinegar and honey; cook, until slightly syrupy, about 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, thyme, and garlic; bring to a boil. Transfer skillet to oven and roast until onions are easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, 15 to 20 minutes.

Roasted Broccoli Florets

Ingredients

1 large head of broccoli
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Wash the broccoli and cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalk, leaving some of the stalk attached. Pull the florets apart. You don’t want the pieces too small.

Place the broccoli florets in a single layer in an oiled baking pan. Toss the garlic and broccoli together and drizzle with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes.

Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.

Remove the broccoli from the oven and sprinkle with the cheese. Toss and serve.


Speedy Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

I used the last of my roasted chicken in this recipe. Here is a link to the post:

https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2019/11/13/mediterranean-style-roast-chicken/

Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup bell pepper, chopped
One (8 oz) container enchilada sauce (I use Frontera brand), divided
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (about 8 ounces)
1 ½ cups shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground chili powder
8 tortillas
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the oil, onion, and bell pepper; sauté 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add 1/4cup of the enchilada sauce, chili powder, and the chicken. Hest over low heat until warm. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Wrap tortillas in paper towels; microwave at high 30 seconds or until warm. Spoon 1/4 cup chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla; roll up tightly and place tortillas, seam side down, in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the tortillas, and sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese.

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Serve with sour cream mixed with the cilantro.


Most of the ingredients in this pie are leftovers from my roast chicken dinner that I shared last week.  Here is a link to the post: https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2019/11/13/mediterranean-style-roast-chicken/

Roasting a whole chicken is a delicious and economical way to give you several meals over the next week. Here is the recipe for one of them. Later in the week, I will share the Chicken Enchilada recipe I made with the remainder of the chicken.

Shepherd’s Pie

2 servings

Ingredients

2 carrots, diced
2 cups cubed leftover roasted chicken
2 cups diced leftover green beans with mushrooms and onions
11/2 cups leftover sauce from roasting the chicken
2 cups leftover olive oil mashed potatoes
Butter-flavored cooking spray

Directions

Partially cook the carrots either in the microwave or by boiling. Set aside.
Reduce the chicken sauce down to 1 cup in a small saucepan.
In each of 2 individual ovenproof casserole dishes, place half the carrots, half the chicken, half the green beans and ½ cup chicken sauce. Mix well.
Spread 1 cup of mashed potatoes over the top of each pie bringing the potatoes to the edges of each dish.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Lightly spray the mashed potato topping with butter-flavored cooking spray.
Bake for 45 minutes. Turn the broiler on for a minute or two to brown the topping if it doesn’t brown during the baking.


Roast Chicken

Ingredients

4 lb organic chicken
1 medium onion quartered
1 celery stalk cut into 4 pieces
A handful of fresh garden herbs (Sage, Rosemary, Oregano & Parsley)
2 cloves garlic
Juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup chicken broth

RUB

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425F
Rinse the chicken thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.
Place fresh herbs, garlic, onion, and celery inside the chicken cavity,
Mix together the rub ingredients and coat the chicken with it.
Pour the chicken broth into the bottom of the baking dish. Mix the melted butter with the lemon juice and pour over the chicken.

Roast for 30 minutes. reduce the temperature to 375F and roast for 30 minutes or until a digital meat thermometer registers 165 F. Baste the chicken several times during the roasting time.

Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest 15 minutes before carving. Serve the juices in the bottom of the baking pan poured over the sliced chicken.

Mashed Potatoes with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

The better the oil, the better the flavor in the potatoes.

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into cubes
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Directions

Place potatoes in a heavy large pot. Cover with cold water. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Boil over medium-high heat until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 40 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups potato cooking liquid.

Return the potatoes to the dry pot. Stir over medium heat until any excess liquid evaporates. Add 6 tablespoons of olive oil and mash until almost smooth. Mix in enough potato cooking liquid as needed to moisten. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon olive oil and serve.

Florida Green Beans with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms

Ingredients

1 pound Florida green beans, stems trimmed
8 oz sliced button mushrooms
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the preheated pan. Add sliced onions to the pan and cook them for 3 to 5 minutes until almost caramelized. Add the green beans and garlic to the pan and continue to cook ingredients for another 3 to 4 minutes until the green beans are almost to the desired tenderness. Add mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, and butter. Cook another 4 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and serve.



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