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Paella

I’ve been to Spain a few times, but never eaten Paella there. That’s to explain I don’t know if this recipe is authentic or not, but I surely do like it. It’s based upon one found at All Recipes. I’ve eaten Paella before here in the US, but never really had a taste for it. Something about canned peas and chicken just doesn’t look very appetizing. I think Paella may have been seen as a dish that could easily be stretched for cost savings and became something most Spaniards would never recognize. This recipe turned my thinking on its head. It’s really, really good. Now I make this all the time. Sometimes, I split the recipe in half because this one will feed 6-8 people. In what you see pictured here today, I only used 1# chicken, yellow onion, and green bell pepper.  I used jumbo prawns and cut them in half before adding to the skillet. The saffron threads . . . well, I use this yellow powder that I bought on Grenada in the Caribbean and it says “saffron powder.” I suspect that it is not the hugely expensive saffron, but don’t have a clue what it really is and I don’t care that much. It makes a lovely yellow color and I’m still alive so far. The original recipe calls for 1 tsp. of crushed red pepper flakes, but I’ve reduced it to 1/2 tsp. One was too spicy for some in my household.

Mix together: 2 Tbsp olive oil; 1Tbsp. paprika; 2 tsp. dried oregano; and Salt and pepper.

Mix together: 2 Tbsp olive oil; 1Tbsp. paprika; 2 tsp. dried oregano; and Salt and pepper.

Stir in 2# boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 2” pieces. Place into refrigerator.

Stir in 2# boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 2” pieces. Place into refrigerator.

 

Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in large skillet. Stir in 3 cloves garlic, crushed; ½ tsp. dried red pepper flakes; and 2 cups short-grain white rice (I always use Jasmine rice). Cook, stirring, to coat rice with oil, about 3 minutes.

Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in large skillet. Stir in 3 cloves garlic, crushed; ½ tsp. dried red pepper flakes; and 2 cups short-grain white rice (I always use Jasmine rice). Cook, stirring, to coat rice with oil, about 3 minutes.

Stir in 1 pinch saffron threads; 1 bay leaf; ½ bunch flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped; 1 qt. chicken stock; and  zest of 1 lemons.

Stir in 1 pinch saffron threads; 1 bay leaf; ½ bunch flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped; 1 qt. chicken stock; and
zest of 2 lemons.

 

Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 20 minutes.

Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a separate large skillet over medium heat. Stir in marinated chicken and 1 Spanish onion; cook 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a separate large skillet over medium heat. Stir in marinated chicken and 1 Spanish onion; cook 5 minutes.

 

Stir in 1 bell pepper, sliced and

Stir in 1 bell pepper, sliced and

 1# Chorizo sausage; cook 5 minutes.

1# Chorizo sausage; cook 5 minutes.

 

Stir in 1# shrimp, peeled and deveined and cook, turning the shrimp, until both sides are pink.

Stir in 1# shrimp, peeled and deveined and cook, turning the shrimp, until both sides are pink.

The rice has finished cooking.

The rice has finished cooking.

 

Now pour the meat and fish over the top of the rice. Enjoy!

Now pour the meat and fish over the top of the rice. Enjoy!

Paella Recipe

2 Tbsp olive oil

1Tbsp. paprika

2 tsp. dried oregano

Salt and pepper

2# boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 2” pieces

2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

3 cloves garlic, crushed

½ tsp. dried red pepper flakes

2 cups short-grain white rice

1 pinch saffron threads

1 bay leaf

½ bunch flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped

1 qt. chicken stock

2 lemons, zested

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Spanish onion, sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1# chorizo sausage, casings removed and crumbled

1# shrimp, peeled and deveined

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons olive oil, paprika, oregano, and salt and pepper. Stir in chicken pieces to coat. Cover, and refrigerate.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes, and rice. Cook, stirring, to coat rice with oil, about 3 minutes. Stir in saffron threads, bay leaf, parsley, chicken stock, and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a separate large skillet over medium heat. Stir in marinated chicken and onion; cook 5 minutes. Stir in bell pepper and sausage; cook 5 minutes. Stir in shrimp; cook, turning the shrimp, until both sides are pink.
  4. Spread rice mixture onto a serving tray. Top with meat and seafood mixture.
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Lasagne

This is what constitutes a fancy meal at my house. It isn’t complicated, but does take time and planning. The recipe is based upon one my mother cut out of a magazine and I’ve eaten it nearly all my life.

Recipe First, in three parts:

1)      Meatballs

1# lean ground beef

2 Tbsp. finely chopped onion

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley

1 tsp. dried oregano leaves

½ tsp. dried basil leaves

¾ tsp. salt

Dash pepper

2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

1 egg

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients; toss lightly to mix well. Shape mixture into ¾” meatballs.  Brown the meatballs in hot olive oil in large skillet. Remove meatballs from pan, set aside.

2)      Sauce

¼ cup finely chopped onion

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley

2 14.5-oz cans chopped tomatoes, undrained

2 6-oz. cans tomato paste

2 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. garlic powder

¼ tsp. pepper

1/8 tsp. cayenne

½ cup red wine

Saute onion, garlic, parsley in olive oil until tender. Add remaining sauce ingredients, stir well. Add meatballs. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

 3)  Remaining Ingredients

8-oz. lasagna pasta

1-lb. Mozzarella cheese, diced

1-lb. ricotta cheese or cottage cheese

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Prepare 10-12 lasagne noodles by boiling as package indicates. Drain and rinse.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13X9” baking dish.

In baking dish, layer half the ingredients, in this order: lasagna, Mozzarella, Ricotta, tomato sauce with meatballs, and Parmesan; then repeat.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, uncovered, or until heated through. Let rest for 10 minutes. Serves 6-8.

The meatballs should be fairly small (no more than 3/4") so the dish as a whole stays fairly flat.

The meatballs should be fairly small (no more than 3/4″) so the dish as a whole stays fairly flat. I used fresh basil today.

I used fresh basil in the sauce, too. I like to cut everything very fine for this recipe.

I used fresh basil in the sauce, too. I like to cut everything very fine for this recipe.

This is all the meatballs.

This is all the meatballs.

Here's a picture of the sauce before it has simmered. It's a very thick sauce. Stir it occasionally.

Here’s a picture of the sauce before it has simmered. It’s a very thick sauce. Stir it occasionally.

As you can see, the sauce is dolloped on, not poured. Here is what it looks like just before going into the oven.

As you can see, the sauce is dolloped on, not poured. Here is what it looks like just before going into the oven.

Finished. Now let it rest for about ten minutes so it's easier to slice and serve.

Finished. Now let it rest for about ten minutes so it’s easier to slice and serve.

Shrimp Etouffee

I really like Shrimp Etouffee. This is a recipe I found at Cooking Melangery, which is a great website with wonderful pictures and unique recipes.

Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven and add the oil and flour. Toast this to a peanut-butter-colored roux. This should take about 10 minutes over medium heat. Be careful not to burn this. Stir often.

Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven and add the oil and flour. Toast this to a peanut-butter-colored roux. This should take about 10 minutes over medium heat. Be careful not to burn this. Stir often.

Add the yellow onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Saute for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Add the yellow onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Saute for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Stir in the tomato paste, followed by the broth and wine. Stir constantly until this mixture thickens.

Stir in the tomato paste, followed by the broth and wine. Stir constantly until this mixture thickens.

. Add the remaining ingredients, except the shrimp, and rice. Simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients, except the shrimp, and rice. Simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.

Add the shrimp and simmer for 15-20 minutes, uncovered.

Add the shrimp and simmer for 15-20 minutes, uncovered.

P1030890

Serve over rice. Yum!

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp. peanut oil
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 green sweet bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. whole basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. whole thyme leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp Tabasco
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and uncooked
  • cooked rice for serving

Smothered Porkchops

The flavor was heavenly. Along with all the stuff going on atop my range, I also made Twice-Baked Cauliflower from Kalyn’s Kitchen and Crash Hot Potatoes from the Pioneer Woman. The meal was awesome!

Cut medium-size mushrooms into quarters and brown in butter and olive oil. Set aside.

Cut medium-size mushrooms into quarters and brown in butter and olive oil. Set aside.

Using the same skillet, brown sliced onions. Add to mushrooms and set aside.

Using the same skillet, brown sliced onions. Add to mushrooms and set aside.

Using same skillet, brown seasoned pork chops. Remove chops from skillet and set aside. Deglaze the skillet with white wine, scraping the crispy bits up from the pan. Let wine simmer and reduce for a few minutes.

Using same skillet, brown seasoned pork chops. Remove chops from skillet and set aside. Deglaze the skillet with white wine, scraping the crispy bits up from the pan. Let wine simmer and reduce for a few minutes.

Add pork chops to pan.

Add pork chops to pan.

and cover all with mushrooms and onions. Let simmer until pork chops are cooked. It won’t take long. Remove chops and set aside.

Add sauteed mushrooms and onions. Let simmer until pork chops are cooked. It won’t take long. Remove chops and set aside.

Add about ½ cup sour cream to skillet and stir until well mixed. Let simmer to reduce a bit.

Add about ½ cup sour cream to skillet and stir until well mixed. Let simmer to reduce a bit.

Add pork chops back into skillet and cover with sauce. Serve.

Add pork chops back into skillet and cover with sauce. Serve.

Here's the quick & easy info on Crash Potatoes . . . 1-Cook small potatoes. 2-Place on baking sheet coated with olive oil. 3-Smash each potato. 4-Sprinkle with salt & pepper 5-Bake high heat till crispy on the top.

Here’s the quick & easy info on Crash Hot Potatoes by Pioneer Woman . . . 1-Cook small potatoes. 2-Place on baking sheet coated with olive oil. 3-Smash each potato. 4-Sprinkle with salt & pepper & olive oil. 5-Bake 450 degrees 20-25 minutes till crispy on the top.

They are really, really yummy.

They are really, really yummy.

Tex-Mex_Cornbread_Cass

This was a standard dish at our house while I was growing up. I’ve tweaked it to make it my own. Many people buy a prepared cornbread mix to use, but it’s so simple to whip up a half-batch of cornbread that I don’t see the point in buying the mix. Also, I’ve started making my own taco seasoning and if you want to do that too, you can find a recipe online.

INGREDIENT LIST

1# lean ground beef

1 cup chopped onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes

1 4-oz. can chopped green chiles

1 14-oz. can kidney beans

1 pkg. (2 Tbsp.) Taco seasoning

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

½ cup flour

½ cup corn meal

2 Tbsp. sugar

1-1/2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

½ cup milk

3 Tbsp. oil

1 egg

Fry ground beef, onion, and garlic together in oven-proof skillet. Stir in tomatoes, chiles, beans, and taco seasoning. Let simmer for a few minutes.

Fry ground beef, onion, and garlic together in oven-proof skillet. Stir in tomatoes, chiles, beans, and taco seasoning. Let simmer for a few minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in a handful of grated cheese.

Remove from heat and stir in a handful of grated cheese.

In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, mix milk, oil, and egg. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture and stir just until blended.

In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, mix milk, oil, and egg. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture and stir just until blended.

Pour this batter over the top of the ground beef mixture as pictured. If you do not have an oven-proof skillet, you can use a greased 9x13” pan to place the cooked ground beef mixture and then pour the corn bread batter over the top.

Pour this batter over the top of the ground beef mixture as pictured. If you do not have an oven-proof skillet, you can use a greased 9×13” pan to place the cooked ground beef mixture and then pour the corn bread batter over the top.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve.

Tex-Mex_Cornbread_Cass2

This is our ultimate comfort food. It is so, so good! This recipe is based upon one found in Betty Crocker’s Cookbook (1969).

This is our ultimate comfort food. It is so, so good! This recipe is based upon one found in Betty Crocker’s Cookbook (1969).

Cut potatoes into 1” dice to make four cups and cook them.

Cut potatoes into 1” dice to make four cups and cook them.

I cover the bowl of diced potatoes and microwave for about 3 minutes, shake them around, microwave another three minutes, shake, and then 3 more minutes. So, microwave for about nine minutes total.

I cover the bowl of diced potatoes and microwave for about 3 minutes, shake them around, microwave another three minutes, shake, and then 3 more minutes. So, microwave for about nine minutes total. But you may cook the potatoes however you choose, just don’t make them too soft.

Dice cooked ham into 1” to make four cups. Mix with potatoes.

Dice cooked ham into 1” to make four cups. Mix with potatoes.

In a small saucepan mix 1 cup cream with 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

In a small saucepan mix 1 cup cream with 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

Heat and stir until cheese is melted and sauce is creamy.

Heat and stir until cheese is melted and sauce is creamy.

Remove from heat and stir into potatoes and ham. Stir in 4 ounces of sliced pimiento.

Remove from heat and stir into potatoes and ham. Stir in 4 ounces of sliced pimiento.

Pour into an ungreased 3-qt. baking dish. I use the same dish to cook the potatoes, mix the casserole, and then bake it. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. I cover with my cute silicon cover which works in the microwave and the oven and then the dishwasher.

Pour into an ungreased 3-qt. baking dish. I use the same dish to cook the potatoes, mix the casserole, and then bake it. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. I cover with my cute silicon cover which works in the microwave and the oven and then the dishwasher.

Serves 4.

Serves 4.

I served today with BLT Salad and Creamed Spinach. Lots of comfort!

I served today with BLT Salad and Creamed Spinach. Lots of comfort!

Ham & Cheese & Potato Casserole Ingredients

4 cups cooked potatoes, diced 1”

4 cups cooked ham, diced 1”

1 cup cream

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated

4-oz. sliced pimientos

Mediterranean Chicken Tonja

This recipe is one I have made for years. The basic recipe called for four cut-up chickens, but I have never served that many people or used cut-up chickens. The beauty of this is that you can easily expand the recipe to serve a lot of people. I’m going to tell you how I do this for three or four of us, but the ingredient amounts are not specific. Eyeballing it will work just fine. The quantity of garlic and oregano seems excessive, but it really works. This is a delicious dish. Start the night before or no later than six hours ahead. Scroll to the bottom for approximate measurements.

6-8 cloves garlic, pureed

6-8 cloves garlic, pureed

Into a 9x13" baking dish, mix together: 2 Tbsp. dried oregano; Salt and pepper; ¼ cup red-wine vinegar; ¼ cup olive oil; Handful pitted prunes; Handful green olives (mine were jumbo-sized, so I cut them in half); 2 Tbsp. capers with a little juice; 3 bay leaves

Into a 9×13″ baking dish, mix together: pureed garlic, dried oregano; Salt and pepper; red-wine vinegar; olive oil; pitted prunes; green olives (mine were jumbo-sized, so I cut them in half); capers with a little juice; bay leaves

Add boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into serving sizes. Turn the chicken so it’s well coated and everything is mixed. Let marinate, refrigerated, overnight.

Remove from refrigeration and sprinkle 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup white wine, and 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley over the top.

Remove from refrigeration and sprinkle brown sugar, white wine, and chopped parsley over the top.

Bake, covered, for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes.

Bake, covered, for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes.

Serve over rice.

Serve over rice.

Mediterranean Chicken Tonja

6-8 cloves garlic, pureed

2 Tbsp. dried oregano

Salt and pepper

¼ cup red-wine vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

Handful pitted prunes

Handful green olives (mine were jumbo-sized, so I cut them in half)

2 Tbsp. capers with a little juice

3 bay leaves

Boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into serving sizes (I used one breast)

1/3 cup brown sugar

½ cup white wine

2 Tbsp. chopped parsley or cilantro

The night before, mix all together, except brown sugar, wine, and parsley in a 9×13″ baking dish. Let marinate overnight in refrigerator. Sprinkle with brown sugar and wine and parsley. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for fifteen minutes more. Serve over rice.

I am exceedingly proud of this dish. The recipe is here: http://www.melangery.com/2012/05/chicken-and-red-currant-pie.html.

I am exceedingly proud of this dish. The recipe is here: http://www.melangery.com/2012/05/chicken-and-red-currant-pie.html.

I made my own "aspic jelly" by rendering chicken bones. I made my own pie crust from scratch!

I made my own “aspic jelly” by rendering chicken bones. I made my own pie crust from scratch! I used ground turkey instead of ground chicken, although ground chicken would have been better.

It came out so beautiful! I just can't believe it.

It came out so beautiful! I just can’t believe it.

I used a lean breakfast sausage (think Jimmy Dean) for the ground sausage or veal component. The flavor was a bit bland and Italian sausage would have been great, or maybe even sage sausage.

I used a lean breakfast sausage (think Jimmy Dean) for the ground sausage or veal component. The overall flavor was a bit bland and Italian sausage would have been great, or maybe even sage sausage.

P1030901

Cook a couple heads of broccoli florets. Drain.

Yes, another recipe with processed food ingredients. My bad. Sorry. There is no doubt that you could substitute any number of things for the processed foods. This originally came from my friend Miriam and I have tweaked it through the years. There are no specific quantities, just eyeball it. For the vegetable component, I like to use cooked broccoli. If you do not like broccoli or do not have it, a can of Veg All will be fine. I also use home-canned salmon, a pint. I like to can salmon with a whole jalapeño pepper in it and then use one of those pints in this recipe. I’m nearly out of the jalapeño salmon so I used regular canned salmon here. My son added Tabasco sauce quite liberally to his plate to compensate. Good idea.

Start by cooking a couple heads of broccoli florets.

Start by cooking a couple heads of broccoli florets.

In addition to broccoli (or Veg All) here are the other ingredients.

In addition to broccoli (or Veg All) here are the other ingredients.

Drain a pint of canned salmon and crumble into a large bowl.

Drain a pint of canned salmon and crumble into a large baking dish. I always grease my dish first, is that wrong? Whatever. It works.

Add a large spoonful (1/3-1/2 cup) of mayonnaise to the crumbled salmon.

Add a large spoonful (1/3-1/2 cup) of mayonnaise to the crumbled salmon.

Add a 10.5 oz can of cream of mushroom soup.

Add a 10.5 oz can of cream of mushroom soup.

Add the cooked broccoli.

Add the cooked broccoli.

Add a couple cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese.

Add a couple cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese.

Stir the ingredients in the bowl together while you wait for the noodles to finish.

Stir the ingredients in the bowl together.

Cook 12 oz. of egg noodles as the package directs.

Cook 12 oz. of egg noodles as the package directs to al dente.

Stir cooked noodles into the bowl.

Stir cooked noodles into the dish.

Cover the dish and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. (Don't you like my snazzy silicone cover?)

Cover the dish and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. (Don’t you like my snazzy silicone cover? It’s completely oven-proof.)

Remove the cover and sprinkle french-fried onion pieces across the top. Bake an additional 5 minutes. Do not overbake-the french-fried onions brown very quickly.

Remove the cover and sprinkle french-fried onion pieces across the top. Bake an additional 5 minutes. Do not over-bake because the french-fried onions brown very quickly.

Remove from the oven and serve while warm. This will feed about four-five hungry people.

Remove from the oven and serve while warm. This will feed about four to five hungry people.

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P1030830

This dish was my son’s favorite when he was a little boy. Based upon his reaction last night while eating our leftovers, it may still be his favorite. Start with a one-cup measure, or other small mixing bowl. In it, mix 1/2 cup honey, 1/4 cup prepared mustard (I use yellow, but I suppose Dijon or brown would be good), and 1 tsp. curry powder. Pour into a greased 9×13″ pan.

In a one-cup measure mix 1/2 cup honey, 1/4 cup prepared mustard (I use yellow), and 1 tsp. curry powder. Pour over chicken in a 9x13" greased baking dish.

Add pieces of chicken to the dish and turn so that they are fully coated. I remove the skin and fat from the chicken as much as possible. You see here I could have added many more pieces of chicken if I were serving more people. No problem.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 50-60 minutes, turning chicken pieces occasionally.

Bake at 375 degrees F, uncovered, for 50-60 minutes, turning chicken pieces occasionally. Make sure chicken is cooked through (when poked with a fork near the bone, juices should run clear).

P1030830

That’s it. Yummy!

What kind?