Adzuki Bean Bolognese Lasagna

Ordering a lasagna Bolognese in Italy might leave some North Americans a bit surprised by the dish placed before them. The traditional recipe layers lasagna noodles with a meaty ragù and creamy, white béchamel sauce, a very different recipe than the lasagna Bolognese served in North America where the layers of noodles alternate with tomato sauce, meat, mozzarella, and ricotta cheese. 

A while back Brion and I were in an Asian Supermarket, and I became very interested in some of the desserts made with sweet red adzuki bean paste. In October (2023), I used it in some ‘Anpan Buns’ that I posted on the blog. We really enjoyed them so I wanted to explore the savory side of this bean.

Adzuki beans have a unique and distinct taste that can be described as mildly sweet and nutty with a slightly earthy undertone. The flavor is not overpowering and is often described as more delicate compared to other beans like black beans or kidney beans. The sweetness is subtle, making adzuki beans particularly suitable for both sweet and savory dishes.

In North America they often are put to savory use, mixed into salads, cooked with rice and dropped into soups. Like other beans, adzuki are a good source of protein. Unlike many other dried legumes, they don’t have to be soaked before cooking.

Getting back to today’s lasagna, I thought if I added some cooked adzuki beans to the Bolognese sauce might just make this classic dish even better.

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Beef & Adzuki Bean Lasagna
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine Asia
Servings
Ingredients
Bolognese Sauce
Béchamel Sauce
Other Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Asia
Servings
Ingredients
Bolognese Sauce
Béchamel Sauce
Other Ingredients
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Bolognese Sauce
  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add oil, garlic & onions. Sauté until fragrant, for a minute or two, avoid browning. Then add ground meat.
  2. Sauté the ground meat until it is no longer pink. Add carrot & celery & sauté for about one minute.
  3. Add the liquids – seasoned, diced tomatoes & tomato paste & cooked adzuki beans. Stir to combine. Heat it on medium high heat & let it come to a boil.
  4. Add the rest of the seasonings – basil, oregano, beef bouillon, salt & pepper. Stir to combine. Lower heat to medium heat & let it cook for another ~10 minutes, or until sauce thickens.
  5. Remove from heat & set aside.
Béchamel Sauce
  1. Add butter to a medium pot & heat over medium heat. Once butter is melted (avoid browning butter), add flour to pot. Using a whisk, whisk to combine. Mixture will be slightly clumpy.
  2. Immediately add milk into the pot and bring to medium high heat so that it comes to a boil. Whisk continuously until mixture is smooth & thickens.
  3. Once mixture reaches desired thick consistency, add salt & pepper. Stir to combine, then remove from heat.
Assembly/Bake
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Place a thin layer of Bolognese sauce on the bottom of a deep 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  3. Start layering with 2 of the rectangular lasagna sheets, then add 1/4 of the Bolognese sauce, and then 1/4 of the béchamel sauce & cheese.
  4. Repeat 3 more times. There should be a total of four sets of lasagna sheets/Bolognese sauce/béchamel sauce & cheese layers. Sprinkle it with remaining cheese to top it off.
  5. Place casserole dish in the oven & place a cookie sheet under the casserole dish to catch any potential drippings. Bake for 45 minutes, then (optional) broil for 2 minutes to brown the top.
  6. Remove dish from oven and let it sit for 20 minutes before cutting into lasagna. Garnish with parsley & serve!
Recipe Notes
  • This recipe will easily serve 8-10 people. With just 2 of us, I still like to make the full recipe so I can freeze the rest for future meals.
  • On the other hand, the recipe can be easily halved if you wish.
  • To cook the adzuki beans:
  • Use a strainer to rinse the dried beans under cold water. Remove any debris, stones or deformed beans from the mix and thoroughly drain the beans afterward.
  • Fill a pot with water, add the beans and bring it to a boil. After the water has started to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and continue cooking the beans for about 45-60 minutes. The adzuki beans will be ready once the beans are fork tender. Drain.

Garlic Bread Meatball Bombs

HAPPY LABOR DAY!

Although, we have not officially reached the first day of fall (Sept. 23), this part of the year often begins with a tinge of melancholy. Even so, there are many ways to appreciate Canada’s most sentimental season.

Part of our country’s appeal is its four season’s: Winter, Spring, Summer & Fall. We are entering the season of the fall harvest and the leaves on the trees begin their transformation to stunning shades of orange, red and yellow.

Labor day week-end gives us an opportunity to enjoy family and friends before summer is officially over. I remember as a kid, once we arrived at the Labor Day week-end all those ‘lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer were gone’. Back to school for another year. So, whatever your choice of relaxation is, you know good food will play a big part in the week-end gatherings.

Meatball bombs are a round homemade ‘hot pocket’. They have everything in them you need to make a great tasting meal. Serve two bombs per person. That means each person gets two meatballs, two dinner rolls, lots of sauce, and some gooey, cheesy goodness. Serve these with a simple side salad to round out the entire meal.

Speaking of Hot Pockets, I’m sure most everyone has tried them at some time since they have been around for over 40 years.

Probably the one lasting memory if you have,  is you know that the first bite of the microwavable, molten-in-the-middle meal will burn at least three layers clean off the roof of your mouth.

The frozen creations known as Hot Pockets were created by two Jewish Iranian brothers Paul and David Merage, who immigrated to the United States from Tehran. In 1977, the Merage brothers founded Chef America Inc. and set out to create a portable sandwich whose dough would actually retain its crispness after a few minutes in the microwave. Their creation, which debuted in 1980, was called the Tastywich, but it didn’t last long with its original name. By 1983, after some recipe tweaking, the Tastywich had a new name and Hot Pockets officially hit the market.

History aside, if you’re looking for some flavorful garlic bread meatball bombs, this is just the dish for you! And, you have the choice to use a lot of prepared ingredients from your grocery store, or you can make them all from scratch. There are options for both types in this recipe.

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Garlic Bread Meatball Bombs
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Servings
Ingredients
Dinner Rolls
Garlic Butter
White Sauce
Servings
Ingredients
Dinner Rolls
Garlic Butter
White Sauce
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Dinner Rolls
  1. Dissolve yeast & sugar in lukewarm water & allow to sit a few minutes until frothy. Add oil, salt, & 2 1/2 cups flour, beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining 1/2 cup flour to form a stiff dough..
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover: let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.
  3. Punch down the dough. Divide the dough into 18 pieces. Pinch the ends of each dough piece together in the center. Place seam side down. Use the palm of your hand to gently roll each dough ball until smooth and round.
  4. Place the dough balls in a parchment lined baking dish. Cover & allow rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  6. Lightly brush with egg wash. Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Remove rolls to a wire rack.
Meatballs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the meatballs & mix well. Divide mixture into 18 meatballs & place on a foil lined baking tray. Bake 35 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through. Remove from oven & set aside.
White Sauce
  1. In a saucepan, cook butter & flour until bubbly. Slowly add broth & cream; boil for a FEW minutes, add soy, salt & pepper. Set aside.
Assemble & Bake
  1. Hollow out the top of each roll with a sharp knife. The hole will need to be slightly bigger than the meatballs, but not so deep that you puncture the bottom.
  2. Set the rolls into a 9×13" baking pan which has been coated with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together garlic butter ingredients. Using the back of a teaspoon, liberally smear the holes of the dinner rolls with the garlic butter. Use all of the butter evenly into each dinner roll.
  4. Spoon about a tablespoon of the prepared sauce into each of the hollowed out dinner rolls. Place a cooked meatball into each hole. Top each meatball with the remaining sauce mixture. Evenly distribute the cheese over each of the dinner rolls. Sprinkle on the Italian seasoning.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven.
  6. Using a sharp knife, slice between each dinner roll. Garnish with parsley if you wish.
Recipe Notes
  • For a QUICK & EASY meal use:
  • 12 (store bought) dinner rolls
  • 12 frozen meatballs, cooked
  • FOR SAUCE: 
  • 1/2 cup dried tomato paste
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • NOTE: I found for the original recipe it was easier to make the meatballs & sauce first, then the rolls. Just a suggestion!

Zesty Chicken Wraps

People in Mexico, the Mediterranean, and South Asia  have been eating wraps since around the 1900’s. The wrap in its Western form probably comes from California, as a generalization of the Mexican/Tex-Mex burrito and became popular in the 1990’s.

Wraps have become a popular option in sandwich shops and restaurants, and for good reason. Like all sandwiches, wraps are an outlet for culinary creativity. A wrap can be anything you want it to be – breakfast, lunch, dinner, even a snack!

Wraps offer the same flexibility and creative options as a sandwich, but in a more convenient format all rolled up in a tasty tortilla or flatbread. The usual flatbreads are wheat tortillas, lavash or pita; the filling may include cold sliced meat, poultry, or fish, shredded lettuce, diced tomato, guacamole, sautéed mushrooms, bacon, grilled onions, cheese, and a sauce, such as Ranch dressing or honey mustard.

They are the perfect on-the-go meal. Most wraps can be eaten one-handed, leaving the rest of you free to continue about your day. They’re the perfect meal solution for a busy schedule.

It is remarkably easy to create your own personalized wrap: choose a bread, pick your condiments, layer your fillings, decide whether you want to grill it or not and enjoy. Does it get any better than that!

I have to admit, I absolutely love wraps so I like to fit them in to our meals whenever I can. These zesty chicken wraps are so good !

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Zesty Chicken Wraps
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Course Lunch
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
Course Lunch
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Chicken
  1. In a large bowl, combine 2 Tbsp oil, lemon juice & seasonings; add chicken & turn to coat. Cover & refrigerate for 1-4 hours.
Filling
  1. In a heavy skillet, heat 2 Tbsp oil & sauté zucchini & onions until tender crisp. Remove & keep warm. Drain marinade from chicken & cook in the same skillet until no longer pink, about 5-6 minutes. Return zucchini/onion to pan, heat through.
Assembly
  1. Lightly spread 4 tortillas with a bit of guacamole or sour cream. Spoon filling down the center of tortillas. Add toppings saving a good bit of the cheese for sprinkling over them after they are rolled.
  2. Roll up & place on a microwave safe dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese & microwave only until cheese is melted. Top with sliced green onions & tiny grape tomatoes. Serve extra toppings on the side if you like.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust w/ Barbecued Chicken

According to writer Mark Twain, ‘cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education’. This uniquely versatile veggie has graduated above its many cousins, …. broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, kale and kohlrabi to become the sophisticate darling of the species. Delicious raw, fried, grilled, pickled, riced, roasted, steamed or sautéed.

Cauliflower ‘rice’ came on the scene as a popular grain-free alternative to rice. As with many food trends, the ‘riced’ craze has continued using other veggies like sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrots, onions, and peas.

The grocery stores have jumped on the bandwagon with fresh and frozen products and in a variety of plain and flavored versions.

Making your own riced vegetables is even easier than in days gone by. Just trim, chop and pulse your veggies in a food processor. Cook with a quick steam or sauté and flavor with some fresh herbs and spices. Of course, you can always change it up with other chopped veggies, nuts, or a sprinkle of cheese.

Riced cauliflower makes an interesting pizza crust. A different texture than the traditional bread dough crust but loaded with flavor. It’s sort of firm, chewy and soft all at the same time. I had tried this idea some years ago and we quite liked it so why not try it with a different topping and have it again!

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Cauliflower Pizza Crust w/ Barbecued Chicken
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Instructions
Cauliflower Crust
  1. In food processor or blender, pulse cauliflower until it reaches consistency of coarse crumbs.
  2. Place cauliflower and 3 tbsp water in microwaveable dish and cover with plastic wrap, leaving one edge lifted. Microwave on high, stirring once or twice during cooking time, until cauliflower is tender, 5 to 7 minutes; let cool. Drain cauliflower in colander lined with cheesecloth or thin, clean tea towel. Wrap cauliflower in cheesecloth and twist while pressing to remove all liquid (this step is essential).
  3. Place pizza pan or baking sheet in oven and preheat oven to 425°F.
  4. In bowl, combine cauliflower, egg, mozzarella, Parmesan, garlic powder and oregano, season with salt and pepper. Using your fingers, transfer cauliflower mixture to piece of parchment paper and press into 12-inch circle. Slide parchment paper with cauliflower crust onto hot baking sheet from preheated oven. Bake until crust is golden brown, 13 to 15 minutes.
Toppings
  1. In a saucepan, sauté red onion & mushrooms until tender and moisture has evaporated.
  2. Evenly spread half of the barbecue sauce over baked cauliflower crust, leaving 1/2-inch border. Top with half of the mozzarella cheese & all of the onion & mushrooms . In bowl, toss chicken with remaining barbecue sauce; evenly arrange over crust and top with remaining mozzarella. Bake until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with green onion.

Scalloped Potatoes w/ Mushrooms

Every person who makes a homemade version of scalloped potatoes usually has had that recipe passed down to them from their mother, their mother’s mother or even further in their history, so the emotional attachment to the recipe immediately precludes any other scalloped potatoes from contention.

At an early age, I remember my mother ‘teaching‘ me the art of making scalloped potatoes. It came down to very thinly sliced potatoes sprinkled with flour, salt & pepper then covered with scalded milk and baked. I think it was dotted with butter and quite possibly topped with bread crumbs. For that matter, there might have even been a few thinly sliced onions involved but I have to admit, I’m a bit fuzzy on that. As plain and simple as it was, it tasted glorious to us.

This scalloped potato recipe starts with Yukon Gold potatoes. They have loads of great flavor and are a beautiful color both when they are raw as well as when they are cooked. For this particular recipe, keep the skin on the potato as it will add loads of fiber to the dish.

Food trends come and go and nothing highlights this more than looking up old recipes. Still eaten today, scalloped potatoes were the prolific side dish of the 1920s. Dairy was no longer rationed and the rich casserole took full advantage of this.

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Scalloped Potatoes w/ Mushrooms
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Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, place potatoes & cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, uncovered until tender, 8-12 minutes. Drain.
  2. In another saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms & onion; cook & stir 6-8 minutes or until tender. Stir in garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish; set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk flour, broth & seasonings until smooth; stir into mushroom mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook & stir until sauce is thickened, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream.
  5. Thinly slice potatoes. Arrange half of the potatoes in baking dish. Spread half of the hot mushroom sauce over top; sprinkle with 1/2 of the cheese. Layer remaining potatoes , sauce & cheese & sprinkle with French Fried Onion Toppers if using.
  6. Bake, uncovered, until heated through & cheese is melted, 12-15 minutes. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving. Top with sliced green onions to garnish.

Salmon Leek Pelmeni ‘Rose’

Classic pelmeni are dumplings of Russian cuisine that consist of a filling wrapped in thin, unleavened dough. There is debate about the exact place of origin with Ural and Siberia both maintaining strong claims. This Russian comfort food is part of the group of Eastern European dumplings like ‘vareniki, pierogis and uszka’. The word “pelmeni” describes the ear-shaped appearance of these dumplings. Fillings generally consist of ground meat such as pork, lamb, beef or mushrooms as well as salt, pepper and sometimes herbs and onions.

In Russia’s Far East the locals replace meats with salmon to make a native version of this common national dish. This is an exotic region with a unique climate, landscape, flora and fauna. Basic fruits and vegetables that grow in most Russian home gardens must be shipped to this region because of its harsh climate does not allow much to grow. Dairy products are also imported at high cost so they rarely are found in the local diet.

Fish and seafood are the basic staples in the Far Eastern diet and are not delicacies for special occasions as is the case in Russia’s European and Siberian regions. Fish is often used instead of meat in cooking common Russian dishes such as cutlets, cabbage rolls and pelmeni.

Back in March of this year (2021), I had posted a blog about traditional pelmeni containing beef filling. We enjoyed that meal a lot and have since had it numerous times with various fillings. After doing some research, I realized that fish pelmeni was a ‘real thing’. I had also seen an idea from the internet about using salmon and pastry to form a ‘salmon rose’. I thought, why couldn’t that tender pelmeni dough be used along with fresh salmon & leeks to make something special? I realize I have strayed a long way from the classic ear shaped pelmeni but the flavor is just as wonderful.

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Salmon Leek Pelmeni 'Rose'
Votes: 1
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine European
Servings
Ingredients
Pelmeni Dough
Leek & Salmon Fillings
Veggies
Course Main Dish
Cuisine European
Servings
Ingredients
Pelmeni Dough
Leek & Salmon Fillings
Veggies
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Dough
  1. In a bowl, combine all dough ingredients & knead until a smooth dough ball forms, about 10 minutes. Wrap in plastic wrap & set aside to allow dough to rest until the filling is prepared.
Leek & Salmon Fillings
  1. In a sauce pan, sauté garlic, leeks & mushrooms in 1 Tbsp olive oil until tender. Remove from heat & place in a dish to cool until needed later.
  2. Prepare fresh salmon (skin, debone & slice thinly); refrigerate until ready to assemble. In a small bowl, combine all remaining filling ingredients. Set aside
Soya Broth & Veggies
  1. In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté onion until it starts to soften. Add mushrooms, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini & oregano. Cook for about 2 minutes; remove veggies to a dish & set aside.
  2. In the NON-STICK saucepan, bring all broth ingredients to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes; turn off heat.
Assembly & Cooking
  1. On a LIGHTLY oiled work surface, roll out dough as thin as possible. Cut (20) 4-inch discs from pastry with a fluted, circular pastry cutter. Align the discs in 2 lines, making them overlap slightly. One line should consist of 12 circles & other other line the remaining 8. With your rolling pin, slightly roll over each line to help press the circles together a bit.
  2. On the shorter line of dough, distribute cooled leek/mushroom filling. Roll up to form the center of the salmon 'rose'. The roll should hold together but not be tightly rolled so it will steam properly. On the longer line of dough circles, distribute the thinly sliced salmon. Top salmon with Panko crumb 'filling' & press with a spatula to flatten slightly.
  3. Carefully place the rolled leek/mushroom 'center' at one end of the salmon 'line'. Roll up to form the outside rings of the 'rose'. Using a large heavy spatula, gently lift the 'rose' pastry into the center of the broth in the saucepan.
  4. Turn on heat & bring soya broth to a gentle simmer. Cover & steam salmon/leek 'pelmeni' for about 35 minutes or until both salmon & dough are cooked. Remove to a serving plate & keep warm.
  5. To the remaining broth in saucepan, add 1/4 cup milk & the previously sautéed veggies. Gently stir together then drizzle sauce & veggies over salmon/leek pelmeni 'rose'. Serve.

Shrimp Pierogis w/ Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

Like many recipes with folk origins, pierogi dough can be made in a variety of ways with some people using eggs & sour cream & others don’t. Making your own pierogis is actually an easier job than you might expect (just a little time consuming).

Like all ‘dumplings’, pierogis can pretty much do no wrong. They’re great as a side, as the main event or you guessed it ….. in a casserole or even dessert.

What makes it even better is that the filling possibilities are endless ….. the pierogi knows no boundaries!

Brion & I always enjoy a seafood meal. On a quest to come up with something different it occurred to me I had never put shrimp in a pierogi filling before. If it works in seafood lasagna why not a pierogis?!

Last summer I had posted a meal using a sun-dried tomato sauce. The once, incredibly popular, sun-dried tomatoes have become an underrated, ingredient that few people stock in their pantries anymore.

Sun-dried tomatoes are very versatile & can be used in unlimited ways, Because they’re dried, the flavors of the tomatoes are intensified. This sauce, with its bold & rich garlic & herb flavors was the perfect accompaniment for these shrimp pierogis. Definitely a keeper!

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Shrimp Pierogis w/ Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
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Servings
Ingredients
Pierogi Dough
Shrimp Filling
Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
Servings
Ingredients
Pierogi Dough
Shrimp Filling
Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
Votes: 1
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Instructions
Pierogi Dough ( Yield = 18)
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, beaten egg, butter & sour cream. Mix until dough comes together. On a work surface, knead dough for 3-4 minutes until elastic. Place in a plastic container with a lid & refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
Shrimp Filling
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat melt 1 Tbsp each, oil & butter. Saute leeks, mushrooms & garlic until tender.
  2. Stir in half of the bottle of clam juice & the 1/4 cup chicken broth; bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, add shrimp & 1/8 tsp pepper. Return to a boil, then reduce heat & let simmer for 4-5 minutes. Drain the filling, reserving liquid. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the remaining 1/4 cup butter. Stir in flour & mix until smooth. Gradually add in the milk & reserved liquid (from filling), while stirring constantly. Sprinkle in the rest of the salt & pepper. Bring sauce to a boil & cook for about 2 minutes until thickened, continuing to stir.
  4. Remove the sauce from heat & mix in the heavy cream & Parmesan cheese. Take about 1/3 cup of the sauce & mix it with the shrimp filling. Place remaining sauce in a bowl & set aside to be added to the SUN-DRIED TOMATO SAUCE later.
Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
  1. Add oil to skillet & heat on a medium heat. Add onion & saute until it starts to soften. Add mushrooms, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini, oregano & smoked paprika.
  2. Cook for 2 minutes, while stirring, then add remaining clam juice, sea salt & RESERVED sauce. Gently combine. Set aside until pierogis are cooked & ready to serve.
Roll & Fill Pierogis
  1. Remove pierogi dough from refrigerator & cut into 18 equal pieces (about 30 gm each). Roll each piece into about a 3 1/2-inch round. Place a heaping Tbsp of shrimp filling (about 30 gm) in the middle of pierogi. Dip your finger in a bowl of water & run it along the edge of the dough. Fold pierogi in half, carefully pinching together edges to seal it completely.
Cook & Serve
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Carefully drop pierogis in & boil until all the pierogis float to the surface & dough becomes somewhat translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Remove pierogis with a slotted spoon, making sure to let as much of the excess water drip off as possible.
  2. In a large skillet, heat a Tbsp of butter. Place drained pierogis in skillet. Do not over-crowd so that they can all lightly brown on both sides. Reheat sun-dried tomato sauce & place in a serving dish. When pierogis have fried a bit, (blot on paper towel if you wish), then add to sauce on serving dish.
Recipe Notes
  • When making the pierogis, nothing wrong with rolling out all the dough at the same time & cutting your circles with a cookie cutter. I just personally like dividing the dough so I don't have to do any re-rolling with the scraps. Just personal preference.
  • If you happened to have any filling leftover, just add it to you sun-dried tomato sauce.

Stuffed Mushrooms in Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

Stuffed mushrooms are one of those items that can be an appetizer as well as a main course. They are as versatile as you can get. The number of different fillings are endless and can be anything from a simple bread stuffing to seafood, veggies or any kind of meat.

Portobello mushrooms are big, meaty and the ideal vessel for stuffing, creating a dish that is a meal unto itself. Few things can match the flavor of stuffed mushrooms.

Depending on the source, this unique dish has been around since the late 19th century or early 20th century. The fact that they resemble stuffed zucchini, it is likely that the Italians should receive credit for their creation.

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Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms in Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
Instructions
Mushrooms
  1. Trim stems from mushrooms & finely chop them; reserve for sauce. Whisk the egg lightly in a shallow bowl. In a separate shallow bowl, combine flour, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, paprika & garlic salt.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high. Dip the mushrooms in the egg then in the flour mixture. Coat the outside of the mushrooms, trying not to get too much flour inside the 'cap'.
  3. In a skillet, fry mushrooms on both sides until lightly golden. Use a tongs to help fry the sides as well. Remove mushrooms to a plate. To the skillet, add a splash of water & Swiss chard leaves. Sprinkle with salt & pepper & saute until leaves are wilted, about 1 minute.
  4. Divide cream cheese between the 4 mushroom caps. Top with wilted Swiss chard; sprinkle with grated Parmesan & paprika. Set aside, keeping warm.
Sauce
  1. In a skillet , heat oil. Add onion & cook for 2 minutes until it starts to soften. Add reserved mushroom stems, garlic, oregano, paprika, sun-dried tomatoes, red peppers & zucchini. Cook for 2 minutes while stirring with a spatula. Add wine (or chicken broth) & allow to bubble for 2 minutes then add vegetable broth, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil & simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir the cream & Parmesan cheese into the sauce, then nestle the mushrooms on top. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley. Nice to serve with pasta or potatoes and/or a meat item.

Fajita Chicken w/ Zucchini Noodles

Despite having a fairly short history, Mexican fajitas are one of the most popular dishes in the world today. Apart from the fact that fajitas are incredibly tasty, they are actually very healthy not to mention the ease in cooking and assembling them.

As with many foods, time has changed the contents of the fajita and has evolved slightly from the original simplicity of the ranch worker’s dish, with different cuts of meat being chosen such as chicken or seafood. The vegetables have not changed as much as the meat, with peppers, onions & chilies still being predominant ingredients in the dish.

Probably, the most important thing when making fajitas is the marinade. It not only makes the ingredients incredibly tender but very flavorful.

Fajitas usually require some tortillas. While they are wonderful tasting, using zucchini noodles (or zoodles) as a base for the fajita chicken gives this meal an amazing flavor. Zucchini is perhaps the most popular choice for vegetable noodles. It’s long, thin shape makes it easy to spiralize and its neutral flavor allows it to pair well with almost any sauce or topping. This meal has such eye appeal along with a great taste.

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Fajita Chicken w/ Zucchini Noodles
Instructions
  1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine oil, lemon juice & seasonings (RESERVE a small bit of seasoning for zucchini noodles); add chicken, seal & turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  2. Wash zucchini & trim off ends. Using a spiralizer, cut zucchini into 'noodles'. Set aside. Prepare peppers & green onion.
  3. When chicken has finished marinating, Add 1 Tbsp oil to a griddle & saute peppers & onion until just tender crisp. set aside & keep warm. Add another Tbsp oil to griddle. Saute zucchini noodles for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, sprinkle with reserved seasoning & keep warm.
  4. Grill marinated chicken strips until cooked through. Divide zucchini between serving plates. Top with peppers, onions & grilled chicken. Sprinkle with grated cheese.

Roasted Beef Stuffed Cauliflower

You know the saying, ‘what’s old is new again‘ is one that seems to fit cauliflower. What used to be considered a boring vegetable, less colorful and less delicious than its cousin broccoli, is now an ‘it’ vegetable. I mean, its everywhere — cauliflower rice, pizza crust, roasted, in sandwiches, main entrees, etc. etc. The versatility of this humble veggie has boosted its popularity to become big business for growers and grocers.

Whole roasted cauliflower is an unusual presentation. Cauliflower’s inherent earthy sweetness becomes more pronounced as the moisture inside is drawn out.

January is always a good month to get creative with oven meals. I love the idea of a whole roasted cauliflower with cheese sauce drizzled over it. Although, stuffing it with meat is not a new concept, I, myself have not made it this way. So today’s meal is a nicely seasoned ground beef filling baked inside of a whole cauliflower and topped with a Parmesan cheese sauce. The result is real good! 


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Roasted Stuffed Cauliflower with Beef

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Rate this recipe!

Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, European

Servings


Ingredients
Beef Stuffing

Parmigiano-Reggiano Sauce

Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, European

Servings


Ingredients
Beef Stuffing

Parmigiano-Reggiano Sauce

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!


Instructions
Stuffed Cauliflower
  1. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, onion, garlic, tomato paste, tomato, egg, pepper flakes, oregano, basil, sage, pepper & salt until well incorporated. Set aside.

  2. Remove the whole stem from the cauliflower making sure to leave the head fully intact. In a large pot, boil cauliflower for 8-10 minutes until fork tender. Remove from the boiling water & place on paper towels to drain for a few minutes then carefully remove any remaining stem to make space for the filling.

  3. Preheat oven to 400 F. Fill the head of cauliflower with ground beef mixture making sure to press the filling into the head. Place inverted head of cauliflower on a buttered, foil lined baking sheet; cover with another sheet of foil & bake about 30 minutes or until beef is cooked through.

Cheese Sauce
  1. In a saucepan, melt butter add flour, stirring until light brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in milk & allow to thicken, about 5 minutes. Add grated cheese, salt & pepper & mix until fully incorporated & thickened.

  2. Adjust heat to broil. Remove foil from stuffed cauliflower & cover with cheese sauce. Broil about 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Garnish with fresh parsley.