Pot Stickers for dinner

Paula and I returned from Texas this morning. She had to work and I didn’t have time to prepare a fancy meal so I just made some pot stickers in a peas and cream sauce. We had some extra pot stickers and peas in the freezer along with heavy cream in the refrigerator that needed to be used up. I cooked the pot stickers in a 12-inch skillet with 1 cup of water for about 8-9 minutes. I brought the water to a boil and cooked the pot stickers, turning occasionally, until all the water evaporated.

Then I added 3/4 cup of heavy cream and the peas to the skillet. I brought the cream to a boil, allowing the dumplings to continue to cook until the cream was slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Then I removed the skillet from the heat and added a few tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and seasoned the sauce with salt and pepper. (Note: I added a teaspoon of flour to the sauce to help it thicken.) Divide the dumplings and sauce among plates. If you have some green onions in the refrigerator, cut a few of them up and sprinkle on top of the dumplings. Enjoy!

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Leftover Meatloaf…always good!

Paula and I are leaving on a trip to Texas and Kansas to visit with her family in a couple of days. As a result, I am trying to avoid leaving food in the refrigerator since we will be gone for almost a week.

Tonight I pulled out half of a meatloaf from the freezer and warmed it up in the toaster oven. We had some tomatoes remaining from another meal and I cut them up for both of us. I also microwaved two potatoes that we cut open and added some butter. It was an easy meal and helped to reduce some of the food that we have in the house. I plan to do something similar tomorrow.

Simple Meal last night

I cooked up some mushroom ravioli for Paula and myself last night. We had some Campari tomatoes on the counter so I cut up some of them. There was also so some Swiss chard in the refrigerator. I cut up the leaves and sauteed them in the skillet with some olive oil. I also wanted to bring out the mushroom flavor in the raviolis so I just put some olive oil on them before I served them up. All in all, it was a fast and very easy meal. We also were able to use up some ingredients that were sitting in the house.

Delicious Fall Soup!

Fall weather is here and this Farro Soup with Italian Sausage and Broccolini seemed like a tasty one to try for Paula and myself. It was relatively easy to make. After cooking the sausage, onions and carrot, you just add the broth and allow the soup to cook for a little bit before adding the farro. At the very end, you just add the broccolini. Paula loves broccolini so I thought that this might be a different way to let her enjoy it.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3-4 links (3/4 pound) of sweet or hot Italian sausage
  • 1 chopped yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 pound of chopped carrots
  • 3 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 2/3 cup of pearled Italian farro
  • 6 cups of beef broth
  • 6 ounces of broccolini (chopped into 1-inch pieces)
  • 1/3 cup of mascarpone cheese

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat until browned and crumbled. Transfer to a medium bowl.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the farro and stir until it is coated. Add the broth and bring to a boil over high heat.

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring often, until the farro is almost tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the broccoli rabe and the sausage with its juices. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender, another 3-4 minutes. Discard the bay leaves.

Serve the soup and top with a spoonful of the mascarpone. Enjoy!

Spaghetti all Vodka…in one pot!

I have never made spaghetti alla vodka and so when I saw this recipe in the October issue of Food Network magazine, I decided to try it. It was not that difficult to make and best of all, you could make it in the same pot that you cooked the spaghetti.

If you want to give this dish a whirl, here are the ingredients that you will need to collect:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

  • 1 bunch of chopped Swiss chard (Note: separate the stems and thinly slice. Chop the leaves)

  • Kosher salt

  • 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic

  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (if desired)

  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste

  • 1/4 cup of vodka

  • 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes

  • 8-12 ounces of spaghetti

  • 1/3 cup of heavy cream

  • 2 tablespoons of shredded parmesan cheese

  • 1 cup of halved cherry or grape tomatoes

Heat the olive oil in a large wide pot over medium-high heat. Add the swiss chard stems, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes (if using) and cook until the garlic is softened, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until slightly darker in color, about 1 minute. Carefully add the vodka and cook 30 seconds to burn off the alcohol but not all the liquid.

Add 4 cups water, the crushed tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the spaghetti to the pot and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Stir in the chard leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender and the sauce is thickened, about 10-12 minutes.

Stir in the heavy cream and parmesan cheese. Cook, tossing, until combined. Remove from the heat and stir in the cherry or grape tomatoes. Let stand a few minutes to allow the sauce to thicken. Season with salt as needed. Divide among bowls and top with more parmesan as desired.

The creamy sauce was really delicious. It clung to the pasta to make a filling dish for a fall evening.

Nachos as a main dish – delicious!

I decided to make some hearty nachos for Paula and I. I saw the recipe in the September issue of Rachael Ray’s magazine and it looked tasty. It was also relatively easy to make. I made a few tweaks to the recipe based on what we had in the refrigerator and Paula’s tastes….like leaving out the jalapeño.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablelspoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 pound of ground beef
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1/2 of a small onion that has been finely chopped
  • 1/2 of a jalapeño chile, finely chopped
  • 1 or 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 can of pinto beans that have been drained
  • Yellow or blue corn tortilla chips, for serving
  • 1 cup of Mexican-blend cheese
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small sprig of fresh oregano, leaves stripped and finely chopped (Note: You can also use 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano)
  • Pickled jalapeño slices
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 avocado, pitted and peeled, then chopped and dressed with the juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 chopped scallions

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Heat a medium cast-iron skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the beef. Cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat with a spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chili powder, cumin and coriander. Cook, stirring often, until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the onion, jalapeno, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water. Cook, stirring often, until absorbed, about 4 minutes. Stir in the beans. Reduce heat to low.

Top the beef and beans with the cheese. Broil until browned and bubbly, about 1-2 minutes. Top with the tomato, oregano, jalapeño slices, cilantro, avocado, and scallions. Serve the dip directly from the skillet with the chips.

Pork Tenderloin and Mushrooms and Onions

Paula and I made a recipe that I had cooked earlier since Paula and I went kayaking and I didn’t have time to buy groceries. It was called Pork Tenderloin with Mushrooms and Onions.

It is quite easy to make and you don’t need a lot of ingredients. Here is the list…

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 (1-lb.) pork tenderloin, trimmed

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided

12 ounces sliced shiitake mushroom caps

(Note: We used cremini mushrooms and it tasted just delicious…)

3 cups frozen pearl onions, thawed

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

First, you need to heat the oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle the pork with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the pork to the pan and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides and a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 145°F. This should take about 15 minutes. Remove pork from pan and cover to keep warm.

Now add the mushrooms, onions, thyme, along with another 1/2 teaspoon salt and another 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the pan. Cook, stirring and scraping the pan to loosen browned bits from bottom of the pan, until vegetables are soft. This should take about 7 minutes. Cut the pork crosswise into thin slices and serve with mushrooms and onions.

We also cooked some fresh broccoli to go with this dish. It was relatively easy to make and that was good since Paula had a meeting with some of her fellow nurses late in the afternoon.

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