Beef · Main Courses · Pasta · Pork

Bolognese Sauce

BologneseA family favourite in our house, and so easy to put together.  It does take time, so its a good ‘Sunday afternoon when there is nothing much to do’ project.  The good news is that the flavours are even better the next day, so make on Sunday to enjoy later in the week.  After a long day at the office, dinner will be a snap!  Just boil your favourite pasta and you have a quick and easy mid-week dinner.  This serves 8 generously, and freezes very well.

 

Bolognese Sauce

 

3 Tablespoons oil

2 yellow onions, diced

5 celery ribs, diced

3 medium carrots, shredded

6 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 lb bacon finely chopped

1 lb lean ground beef

1 lb lean ground pork

1 can tomato paste (6 oz)

14 oz can tomato puree

1 cup dry red wine

1/2 cup water

1 cup milk (whole milk is best, but skim will work too, if that’s what you have)

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Get your big pot out… not that one, the bigger one – 6 – 8 quarts.   There is lots of stirring and simmering involved here and you will want the extra room a larger pot gives you.

Heat oil in pot over medium heat.   Add onion, celery, carrot and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until onion is translucent and vegetables are slightly soft.  Do not let them brown.  About 15 minutes.

Increase heat to medium- high, add bacon, beef and pork and cook, stirring to break up  any chunks until meat is no longer pink.  About 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium and stir in tomato paste  until well combined with meat and vegetables.  About 2 minutes.

Stir in tomato puree, wine, water, milk, salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered until liquids reduce and sauce is thickened.  About 2 hours.  Remember to stir occasionally while sauce simmers.

Spoon over cooked pasta and serve immediately or cool sauce uncovered, at room temperature.  Once sauce has cooled, cover and refrigerate.  Will keep  3 days in the fridge or frozen up to 3 months.

 

 

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Chicken · Main Courses

Green Curry-Coconut Chicken

Green Curry-Coconut Chicken

Very simple to make, and on the table in under an hour.

The original recipe can be found in “The Pretty Dish” by Jessica Merchant. I have modified the recipe for stove top instead of baking it in the oven.

2 Tablespoons canola or coconut oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1' cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, put thru garlic press
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 red or green bell pepper, stem & seeds removed, thinly sliced
2  Tablespoons green curry paste 
1 can (14 oz) full fat coconut milk, well shaken

cooked white rice, for serving
shredded unsweetened coconut, for garnish (optional)
fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in large deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring another minute. Add chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is no longer pink – 3 – 4 minutes. Chicken will not be fully cooked at this point.

Reduce heat to medium low, push chicken and onions to one side and add curry paste. Stir for just a minute, until curry paste becomes fragrant, then incorporate into the chicken/onion mixture.

Slowly stir in coconut milk, increase heat to medium and let simmer until chicken is cooked through and sauce is slightly reduced. About 10 minutes.

Transfer to serving bowl, garnish with coconut and cilantro leaves and serve with cooked white rice.




Main Courses · Rice and Beans · Sides

Smokehouse Beans

This makes a lot of beans. Enough for a side for 6 people plus a second dinner for Kevin and I. These are wonderful alongside steak or ribs and for a quick dinner, they go well on toast. So, if you are expecting a crowd, or even if your not, these are a wonderful addition to your summer BBQ.

Soak the beans overnight for a more even cook. Whole Foods also suggests that soaking beans helps rid them of the sugars that cause flatulence, incase you were interested.

Smokehouse Beans
Smokehouse Beans

1 lb dried pinto beans, cleaned, rinsed and soaked overnight
12 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
3 teaspoons kosher salt (or to taste)
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
cotija cheese

Drain beans and place in large pot with 10 cups of water. Add garlic and salt, and bring to a simmer, cooking until beans are just tender. 35 minutes to 1 hour, depending on age of your beans.

Stir in salt, coriander, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne and cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Taste and season with more salt if desired.

Stir in onion and tomato, cook 5 minutes more. Transfer to serving bowl, top with cilantro and cotija cheese, if using ,and serve hot. Will keep, refrigerated up to 5 days.

Beef · Main Courses

Korean BBQ Beef (Bulgogi)

Beef Bulgogi

One thing we do not have here in the Bahia de Banderas is a good Korean restaurant. Many times in the 10 years we have lived here, I have longed for a seat in those plastic tables and chairs that grace the Bulgogi House in Edmonton. The memories of meals enjoyed there are still with me.

So, when Tasting Table published this recipe by Chris Oh, the chef of L.A.’s Hanjip restaurant, I thought I would give it a try. This is easy to put together, the marinade time is short and the results are tasty.

I did this in a cast iron pan on the stove, but next time, I will toss it on the grill for even more flavour.

Korean BBQ Beef (Bulgogi)

1 cup water
2/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon Korean red pepper flakes
2 lbs sirloin, thinly sliced crosswise 1/8" thick 
2 Tablespoons oil for frying
thinly sliced scallions for garnish (optional)
toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
steamed white rice for serving (optional)
kimchi for serving (optional)

In a large bowl, whisk together the water, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic and onion powders, and Korean red pepper flakes until the sugar has dissolved. Add the sliced rib eye and let marinate for 1 hour.

In a large cast-iron pan, heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Drain the meat, discarding the marinade. Working in batches, cook the meat, flipping once, until caramelized and golden, 1 minute per side. Transfer to a platter.

Garnish the bulgogi with the scallions, sesame seeds and more pepper flakes, then serve with steamed rice and kimchi.

Chicken · Main Courses · Rice and Beans · Soups and Stews

Quinoa Corn Chowder

Quinoa Corn Chowder

Quinoa is high in protein compared to most plants and grains. It also contains essential amino acids that our bodies need, making it an excellent protein source. That means we can have our “Mostly Meatless Mondays” and still get the protein we need. If you are interested in the benefits this grain, you can read more here.

This is a chowder, so of course there is still some meat here, in the form of BACON, and we are using chicken stock, so its not really meatless, but sorta close. If you want to go meatless, sub in vegetable stock and leave out the bacon.

1 Tablespoon oil
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 small potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup quinoa
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
parsley, finely chopped - for garnish
1 scallion, finely chopped - for garnish
 
Heat the oil and butter in large stockpot over medium heat.  Add onions and potatoes, garlic, a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper and cook, stirring often until onions are soft and potatoes begin to brown. About 7 minutes.

Add chicken stock and quinoa. Increase heat to high, bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender and quinoa is cooked. About 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook bacon until crisp and transfer to paper towel to drain. Set aside.
Add Corn to the simmering soup and cook another 10 minutes.
Add cream, stir well to combine and heat through.
Spoon soup into bowls, garnish with bacon, parsley and scallions. Serve hot.
Dairy · Sides

Ranch Sour Cream

Ranch Sour Cream

We rarely buy commercially made salad dressing, but I will admit to a weakness for Ranch and every once in awhile, I cave and buy a bottle of it.  But, after a salad or two, the nearly full bottle ends up getting pushed further and further towards the back of the fridge until it passes its expiry date and eventually gets tossed.

This is a great solution!  We always have sour cream in the house, and with a little doctoring, I can have that  ranch taste whenever I want it.   It is a small batch so it is quickly used which means I have a little more fridge space.

Serve this with baked or campfire potatoes or to top off your chili.  Also great as a dip for fresh veggies (or potato chips, I wont tell).

 

IMG_1653
Ranch Sour Cream

Ranch Sour Cream

1/2 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon dried dill

1/8 teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper

1 – 2 Tablespoons milk, if needed

Stir first 7 ingredients together.  If you find mix is too thick, thin with a little milk, adding one teaspoon at a time.    Let stand 30 minutes for flavours to blend.

Chicken · Main Courses

Hoisin Glazed Chicken Legs

Only 3 ingredients, including the chicken legs. What’s not to love.

6-8  chicken legs
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon 5 spice powder
1 Tablespoon water
sesame seeds for garnish

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray shallow oven proof with non-stick cooking spray and put chicken legs in single layer in pan. Stir together 5-spice powder, water and hoisin sauce. Brush mixture onto all sides of chicken legs.

Bake 45 – 50 minutes, until legs are completely cooked. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with white rice and stir fried vegetables.

Sides

Quick Pickled Cucumbers

These have a nice freshness to them.  They go great with a sandwich at lunch, as a side dish for dinner or set them out as an appetizer at your next party. 

Dried dill can be substituted if you cant find the fresh stuff. 

Quick Pickled Cucumbers

Quick Pickled Cucumbers

3 long english cucumbers

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon fresh dill, torn

juice from 1/2 lemon

 Dissolve sugar and salt in vinegar in large non-reactive bowl.   Add red pepper flakes.  Cut cucumbers in half, then cut the halves lengthwise into spears.  Add to vinegar mixture and toss to combine.

Cover and chill, tossing once or twice more 1 – 6 hours.  Just before serving add fresh dill and  the lemon juice.  Toss to combine.  Taste and add more salt if needed.  Serve cold

Original recipe here.