Arroz Con Pollo, the most flavourable dish

As I am sure you are all aware that Don is the “Chef  of Chefs” and this dish is beyond anything.  Arroz Con Pollo has always been my favourite Mexican dish and boy oh boy did he do it up right. This is now on our list for ‘do agains’.

  • 2 cups uncooked instant rice
  • 3 skinless chicken breasts, slice in half lengthwise, then in thirds
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 box of chicken broth (about 26 oz.)
  • 1  8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 3/4 jar of  garlic Classico sauce (secret ingredient here)
  • 1/2 finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup loosely chopped fresh parley
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 3/4 cup Mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray (even a 14 x 10 Le Creuset casserole dish works well).

Add the rice to the baking dish. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with garlic powder, salt and pepper and place evenly over the rice.

In a large bowl, combine the broth, tomato sauce, Classico sauce, onion, parsley, chili and cumin, stirring until well combined. Spoon over the chicken and rice, making sure to cover it all.

Cover with foil and bake until thermometer reads 165 degrees (about 60-70 minutes). Remove the foil, and sprinkle the cheeses over the surface. Bake uncovered until the cheese has melted and is starting to show a dark caramelized colour. this will take about 7 minutes.

Let stand a few minutes and serve.

I promise you, you will roll your eyes in pure delight.

Demi Glace (Au Jus)

Last week Don made the individual Beef Wellington (on site) and this is the Demi Glace that he made to go with it. In a word: YUM!

  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 1/2 cups beef broth, separated
  • 1 tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
  • pinch of salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 bouillon cube (if necessary)

Form a roux with the butter and flour and cook out for 2 minutes, add the red wine and cook for another 3-4 minutes to cook out the alcohol.

Whisk in the 1/2 cup of broth and incorporate with the roux, whisking to avoid any lumps. Gradually add in the 1 1/2 cups of broth, again whisking constantly.

 

Note: Depending on the richness of the wine, you may wish to add part or all of the bouillon cube. or even the rest of the broth.

Seared Scallops with Fresh Corn and Truffle Oil

The other night, for a birthday dinner for Kelly  (#2 by the way) Don made this dish. Let me tell  you from the start, you could just sit down and eat the corn sauce,  it is that great. but it takes all of it to really be special.

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 ears of whole sweet corn, kernels removed (about 1 1/2 cups of kernels)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • pinch of salt and white pepper
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 12 large sea scallops
  • few drops of black truffle oil
  • 1 tbsp. chopped chives
  • Angel hair pasta
  • butter

In a pan, heat the butter and saute the corn for about 2 -3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Now add the cream and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook a further 2-3 minutes until the cream thickens.

In a fresh pan, heat the olive oil, Add the scallops and sear for about 2-3 minutes until they have a nice sear on each side.

Cook the angel hair pasta and fold in a bit of butter.  Place the pasta equally into 3 bowls, add the corn sauce on top and place the scallops over the top. Garnish with a few chopped chives.

Serve with a glass of chilled white wine and treasure each bite. OMGoodness!

 

Squash Carbonara Recipe

This is a very yummy dinner to serve your family and friends. For those eating a gluten free diet, this is one more to add to your list.

  • 2 large Spaghetti squash
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3/4 cup crisp cooked bacon bits
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup sugar snap peas, cut in 1″ widths
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 tbsp. heavy cream (whipping cream)
  • 1 cup Asiago cheese, grated
  • pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the squash in half, lengthwise and remove all the seeds/fibers. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, cut side down and bake for about 35-40 minutes. A fork should pierce the skin easily.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and saute the garlic and bacon bits for about 3 minutes.

Add the peas and cook for about 4 minutes until the colour turns a bright green. Remove from the heat.

Whisk together the cream, eggs and cheese in a bowl until well blended.

When the squash has cooked, pull the strands out with a fork to make your spaghetti. While still hot, stir in the cheese mixture and then the bacon/garlic mixture.

Garnish with more cheese if you can handle it and a sprig of fresh parsley.

Trout With Butter Garlic Mushrooms

I will start off by saying we forgot to take a picture because we ate this dish all up and then declared “hey, we didn’t take a picture”. Sorrrrry! It is delish.

 

  • 1 lb. mushrooms
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 4 – 6 oz. skin on Trout fillets
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter

Clean the mushrooms and cut in quarters. Mince the garlic cloves and strip the leaves off the thyme sprigs. With a paper towel pat the trout dry and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet that has a cover until it starts to shimmer. Add the trout, skin side up, and sear until a golden colour (3 1/2-4 minutes).

Remove the fillets, skin side down, on a plate (we know it is not cooked through yet). Melt the butter in the skillet and add the mushrooms and sear, without touching, until the bottoms are well browned. Now add the garlic and thyme. Sprinkle with a touch of salt and pepper, cook stirring once or twice until the mushrooms are just tender (about 3 minutes).

Reduce the heat to a medium temperature and now return the trout skin-side down in the pan letting them nestle into the mushrooms. Cover and cook until the desired doneness (2 -5 minutes). Use a thermometer to see that it registers between 135 – 145 degrees for a medium rare cook. Longer if you want it more well done.

Serve with a crisp garden salad.

This is so yum!

 

Teriyaki Trout Burgers

Oh my goodness! You gotta love these treats.

This recipe is for 4 burgers, so if you have more mouths to feed, simply adjust the recipe.

  • 4 x 6 oz. Trout fillets
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 cup teriyaki sauce (we use Edo of Japan’s Teriyaki  sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp. grated ginger
  • 1/2 pineapple, cored and cut in 1/2 inch slices
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • 4 Brioche burger buns

Sprinkle the trout with the salt and sugar. Place on a plate and refrigerate for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator and rinse them completely. Pat dry with paper towels.

Heat the teriyaki sauce in a small saucepan over a medium heat until it is reduced by almost half.

Preheat the bbq to a medium temperature and grease the grills with 2 tbsp. of the oil. Rub the remaining 1 tbsp. oil on the pineapple and trout.

Grill the trout for 3-4 minutes each side until you have reached your level of doneness, brushing with the teriyaki sauce.

Grill the pineapple slices 3 minutes each side. Remove the trout and pineapple from the grill.

Heat the buns on the top rack of the bbq.

In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, sesame oil and ginger well.

To assemble these delightful treats, spread the mayonnaise on both insides of the bun, place a fillet on the bottom bun and drizzle with any remaining sauce and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Top each one with a pineapple slice and lettuce leaf. Add the bun top and you are ready to dine. Make sure you have a few napkins handy and, of course, a glass of chilled beverage (your choice).

Hamburger Helper – New Way, Homemade

When my daughter was very young, and I was a single Mom on a limited wage, this was an alternative to meal I used from time to time. but it came in a box.

Don made his own version and it is yummy. You want to have an easy, quick meal to serve, go for it. It is very tasty.

  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • fresh parsley for garnish

Add the oil to a large skillet and heat to a sizzle. Add the ground beef and cook until browned and broken up. This will help in an even browning.

Add the onion and garlic and saute until tender for 2 minutes.

Now add the tomato paste and mix well to incorporate the ingredients and season with salt, pepper and paprika.

Add the milk, broth and macaroni. Stir this well and cover. When it has started to boil reduce the temperature and simmer for 9-10 minutes. The macaroni should be tender but not mushy. Stir this really well so it does not burn or stick to the pan.

Add the cheddar cheese and simply stir until the cheese has melted.

Sprinkle a light touch of chopped fresh parsley and serve.

Potatoes – Greek Style

We all have tried a zillion recipes for potatoes. I bet you haven’t tried this one. Don did these up when we had Souvlakis (from Costco yet) the other night. OMG! These are so yummy, we made him go out and buy more potatoes to make more and then we will remember to take pictures. We ate them all the other night and then realized “oh oh did we take a picture?”

Remember the name: Lemon Greek Style Potatoes

  • 4-5 potatoes, peeled and sliced in wedges
  • 2 tsp. Oregano
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • fresh chopped parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 390 degrees.

In a large roasting pan, place the wedges in an even layer and drizzle the olive oil over them. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano.

Combine the chicken stock, lemon juice and garlic and pour into the pan.

Cook, uncovered, in the oven for 50-60 minutes or until the stock has been absorbed and the potatoes are crisp and golden.

Halfway through the cooking time, gently stir them to ensure an even browning.

Okay, get ready to chow down. I mean it when I said we cooked the Souvlaki from Costco. Easy-peasy and so good. Don, of course, doctors them up a tad to make them really tasty and special. Glass of chilled wine, small side salad and you are going to be happy!

Grilled Shrimp Salad

The nice weather has finally arrived and this is a great way to enjoy a lunch on the deck or a starter for dinner. Your choice…but maybe you’ll want both. A salad with a protein is always welcomed.

Soak wooden skewers in water for about an hour.

  • uncooked pineapple wedges cut into 1 inch chunks 12-15
  • 20-30 large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4-5 cups mixed greens
  • add your favourites such as: green seedless grapes, halved,
  • 4-5 strawberries- hulled, baby tomatoes, toasted pecans or salad toppings, raw mushroom slices
  • The above ingredients will serve 4-5 people.

Marinade

  • 1/2 cup Pear juice
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 5 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • pinch of salt

In a blender, puree all the ingredients until really smooth.

In a small bowl briskly drizzle the olive oil and whisk into all the ingredients to form a dressing type of marinade.  Reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade. Add the shrimp and toss to coat well. Set aside for 30 minutes.

In a separate large bowl, prepare the salad and your toppings.

Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup of the reserved marinade
  • 2 tbsp. wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsps. pear juice
  • 1/2 tsp, Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Preheat your grill to a high heat. Remove the shrimp from the marinade and thread them onto the soaked skewers. Cook each side for 1-1 1/2 minutes until they are opaque throughout.

On separate skewers, thread the pineapple cubes and cook a few minutes longer than the shrimp so the centers become soft.

Serve the salad onto individual plates, add the shrimp and pineapple cubes and drizzle the Vinaigrette over the top. Here you get to use as much as you want on your plate.

Warm rolls and you have a wonderful meal.

Warm Mushroom Salad With Wonderful Additions

Warmer weather is upon us and the mind wanders to salads. Try this one, it is really yummy.

  • 1 tbsp. shallot, finely minced
  • 3 tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • sea salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 9 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 -1 1 /2 lbs. white mushrooms, dusted clean and rough chop
  • 2 tbsp. butter, divided
  • 2 tsp. thyme leaves, divided
  • 6-8 large handfuls of mixed green salad, washed, dried and chilled
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 lb. block Asiago cheese, shaved
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

In a small bowl mix together the shallot, vinegar and a couple of pinches of salt and pepper to  make the vinaigrette. Let this sit for 10-15 minutes, then add 5 tbsp. of the olive oil and set aside.

Heat a large frypan over high heat until hot. Add 2 tbsp. of the olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter to the pan. When the butter begins to foam, add 1/2 the mushrooms. Season with 1 tsp. of the thyme and generous pinches of salt and pepper. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you have to, reduce the heat. The mushrooms should be tender and a little crispy. transfer these to a plate and repeat the procedure with the remaining  oil, butter, mushrooms and thyme.

When this is done, return the first batch of the mushrooms to the pan and stir to combine and heat through. Toss them and cook for about 1 1/2 minutes.

In a large bowl, add the greens and parsley. Spoon the hot mushrooms over this.

Return the pan to the stove and add 3/4 of the vinaigrette, scraping all the bits. When this is hot, pour over the entire salad and toss to coat the salad leaves and mushrooms. Salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, arrange the salad on a platter and, using a vegetable peeler, shave the Asiago cheese over the salad and top with the pecans. Enjoy!

Teriyaki Trout At Its Best

This is sooooo good. Don made this last night and this morning, he wanted to know if we kept the left over sauce. What left-overs I asked. We ate the whole lot up. Try it and you will see. Awesome!

  • 2-3  lbs. trout filets, sliced in 2″ wide pieces

Teriyaki Sauce

This is so good, you will wish it was bottled.

  • 3 tbsp. teriyaki sauce
  • 3 tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

Spray a baking sheet. Cover with oil and spray for easier clean-up.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small saucepan combine all the sauce ingredients and whisk together until the brown sugar is dissolved.

Place the individual trout slices in a mixing bowl and pour half of the sauce over all the trout. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate 20-25 minutes at room temperature.

Transfer the trout to the prepared baking sheet, liberally brush the marinade on the trout slices  and bake for 10-12 minutes until the trout is flaky and cooked through. Your time for baking will depend on how thick your slices are.

While this is baking, bring the sauce in the saucepan to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer until it becomes thicker (3-4 minutes) and remove from the heat.

Now brush the trout with the teriyaki syrup, (spoon it on really), plate with a medley of cooked rice, whole corn and peas, and heritage carrots. This was our choice tonight, and you can make it up as you wish.

Note: Don said to save the remaining sauce for another fish dish. We just laughed and said “oh for sure, tee hee”. There was not a drop left.

Mushrooms In A Lemon Butter Sauce (a la Bordelaise)

This is a simple but amazing appetizer to make and enjoy on your deck this summer. I use the brown and white button mushrooms (the really nice large size) but you can use whatever mushrooms you like. Try to avoid the tiny ones for fear you would over cook them.

  • 1 lb. mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. finely minced shallot
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Artisanal bread, toasted

To begin, brush the mushrooms to remove any debris, remove the stems and cut each mushroom in as equal a size as you can and set aside.

In a large frypan, melt together the butter, lemon zest and juice. Stir in the mushrooms and toss them in the pan to coat. Cover and let cook for about 5 minutes. Remove the lid and add the olive oil. Increase the heat and cook for about 2 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Stir in the shallot, garlic salt and pepper and cook for about 4-5 minutes until they become tender and have softened.

Remove from the heat, add the salt and pepper. Toast your bread and sprinkle the mushrooms with the chopped parsley leaves. Enjoy!

It is truly a different way to serve mushrooms but is truly fantastic to consume.