Now that Halloween is behind us it’s time to think about the holidays ahead. I always feel that Halloween kicks off the holiday season, it does it my house. Once trick or treating is done and the Halloween decor has been put away I turn my attention to planning our Thanksgiving dinner and getting ready for Christmas. It’s a very busy time for me!
I think the weeks leading up to the holidays are busy for everyone, we need to shop, cook, bake, clean, decorate, and more along with all the daily work that we do. One this is certain holiday planning or not we still have to eat. Cooking and planning daily meals can be challenging during this season. I know many times we end up grabbing fast food on the way home or ordering in pizza just to have something to eat for dinner, but I really hate doing this. I get tired of eating out and I really do like my home cooking! So to make my life a bit easier I like to stock my freezer with pre-made dishes that we can pop in the oven on the days I don’t have time to cook.
One of the easiest things to work with are meatballs. I know, you can buy pre-made frozen meatballs at the grocery store, but my family hates them! I don’t like the spongy consistency, I find them very unappetizing. They don’t taste too good either. So I spend about 30 minutes one day and make my own meatballs which I freeze in ziplock freezer bags. They just need re-heating when I need them. Meatballs are great because they are very versatile; you can turn them into different dishes by adding just a few ingredients. I like to make meatball subs, Swedish meatballs, teriyaki meatballs, meatball soup, and of course spaghetti and meatballs. My grandkids love them with mac n’ cheese!
1 1/2 pound ground beef – don’t use the one that’s too lean, you need a bit of fat to hold it together and also give it a good flavor. I use ground sirloin or sometimes ground chuck which is a bit fattier.
1 tbls. minced garlic
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbls. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese – use the fresh cheese not the one in the green cardboard shaker
1. Place meat and spices in a mixing bowl.
2. Mix it all together using your hands. Make sure the spices are distributed through out the meat, but don’t over mix as it will get spongy.
3. Mix in cheese and bread crumbs.
4. Shape into ball. You can make any size ball you want, but don’t make them too big, they won’t cook in the middle. Try to make balls the same size so they cook evenly.
5. Place balls on a parchment covered baking sheet and bake in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.
6. Remove from from oven and cool before place in ziplock freezer bags to freeze.
One of my favorite Chinese seafood dishes is Salted Pepper Shrimp, we used to order it every time we dined at a Chinese restaurant. Since I found a recipe for it we can enjoy it at home. I modified it to fit our tastes and I think made it a bit simpler to make. Served over steamed white rice it’s yummy!
1 lb. Medium to Large shrimp – peeled and deveined
1 tbls. sea salt
1/2 cup corn starch
2 tbls. ground white pepper
2 tbls. ground black pepper
1 tbls. garlic powder
3 tbls. chopped green onions
2 tbls. minced garlic
1/4 + cup peanut oil
Place shrimp in a small bowl and cover with warm water
Add sea salt and let soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour
In a shallow bowl mix together corn starch, 1 tbls. each of white and black peppers, and garlic powder
Drain shrimp and lightly pat dry with a paper towel
Heat peanut oil in wok or large frying pan on medium heat until hot
Coat each shrimp in cornstarch mixture and place in wok
Cook until shrimp turns pink – turn halfway for even cooking – you may need to add more peanut oil if it gets too dry
Place cooked shrimp on paper towel to drain – Do not turn stove off
If pan is dry add a tbls. more peanut oil – add mince garlic and stir until it starts turning golden
Add fried shrimp back into pan
Add chopped green onions and stir til green onions turn bright green and starts to soften
Roasted Cashews are one of my husband’s favorite snacks, specially when he’s on his “keto diet”. Although cashews have some carbs they are also high in fat, so when consumed moderately they can be part of a keto diet as long as you count their carb content as part of your carb consumption for the day.
I’m not really an expert on all things keto so I’ll leave that up to you. But I digress. Recently I purchased a tub of roasted cashews from Costco, the brand we usually buy, and when my husband snacked on it he insisted that the cashews were not roasted nor were they salted. I can’t imagine what happened but after tasting them myself I had to agree. Perhaps this was part of a weird batch, who knows! But I do know that unless I did something with them we’d end up tossing the container away and that’s a waste! So I decided to roast and flavor them myself. I can’t be that hard. Anyway I tossed some in my cast iron skillet and sprinkled a bit of this and a bit of that over them and lo and behold they came out delicious!
Everyone in the family loved my latest creation, this one I’m calling Chipotle Flavored Roasted Cashews! I’ve had to make it several more times since then, it disappears that fast! I’m also thinking of using different seasonings. I’ll let you know how that goes!
But in the mean time here’s my recipe for Chipotle Flavored Roasted Cashews. A quick tip, when roasting cashews or any type of nut be sure you keep stirring the pan because they tend to burn quickly and you do not want burnt cashews!
Anyway make up a batch or two of these Chipotle Flavored Roasted Cashews and see how quickly they disappear! You can serve them hot from the pan, that’s really delish! Left overs can be stored in airtight containers in a cool dry place. But I doubt you’ll be storing them for long. Yes they’re that good!
By the way you can double or triple this recipe. I just prefer to make it in small batches because we really love them warm and in Hawaii the humidity makes it hard to keep them crunchy.
Ever wonder how those barbecue joints make such delicious barbecued brisket and ribs? If you’re trying to make it at home by slathering your meat with barbecue sauce it’s not going to be the same. Yes sauce matters, but the secret’s in the rub; the BBQ beef rub!
Of course you can buy all sorts of meat rubs from the supermarket, some are even pretty good. But if you want something outstanding nothing beats homemade. Oh and if you you’ve been rubbing dry spices on your meats try this little trick. Stir 2 tablespoons of rub into a tablespoon of olive oil then rub it on your meat. It makes a world of difference!
With summer in full swing it’s time to step up your grilling with this yummy BBQ Beef Rub! Use it on brisket, ribs, or even steaks!
Couple more tips before I give you my BBQ Beef Rub recipe.
Rub the olive oil mixture onto your meat and let it rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Remove seasoned meat from fridge and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes before grilling this brings meat temperature down to room temperature.
Grill covered until it almost reaches desired “doneness” then brush on BBQ Sauce. Grill until it’s almost to your desired doneness and place in covered pot. You see even if you remove the meat from the grill or oven the meat continues to cook for about 5 minutes. That’s why you want to remove the meat from the grill BEFORE it reaches the doneness you want. If you don’t remove the meat until it reaches the doneness you want you end up with over cooked dry meat.
Let meat rest in pot for 5 minutes before serving. The resting period seals in the juices and allows the meat to reach the desired doneness.
Having said that scroll down for my BBQ Beef Rub recipe! Happy Grilling!
I have been in search of the perfect Chicken Marsala for years. I think one of the best ones I’ve had was at the Trevi Italian Restaurant in the Forum Shops in Las Vegas. I’ve yet to find something similar and believe me I’ve tried it at many different restaurants.
Since I can’t exactly fly off to Vegas every time I’ve a yen for Chicken Marsala I did the next best thing. I wend in search of the best Chicken Marsala recipe I could find. I’ve actually found several that were pretty good, but with a bit of tweaking here and there I was able to come up with this delicious recipe which everyone in my family loves. In fact it’s good enough to serve company which is what I did when my daughter’s in-laws came to visit. They loved it too!
First of all a little background on Chicken Marsala. I know it’s a classic Italian dish offered at many chain Italian restaurants like Magiano’s, Carabba’s, and Olive Garden. Like I said everyone seems to have their own version of this dish! But if you go to a local restaurant in Italy and asked for Chicken Marsala I’m pretty sure they won’t know what that is. I can’t recall seeing this dish at any of the restaurants in Italy, sort of like asking for Fettucine Alfedo, they don’t have that there!
Chicken Marsala is actually an Italian-American dish that is more than likely a variation of the traditional Italian Scaloppina dishes of which there are many versions in Italy. Chicken Marsala dates back from the 19th. Century and originated with English families who lived in Italy where Marsala wine is produced.
The dish is composed of thin slices of chicken breasts that are lightly floured and sauteed in a pan. It is then covered with a sauce made from a Marsala wine reduction. Some recipes call for the addition of mushrooms, herbs, and tomatoes. Really the variations are many, but I prefer the simplest variation with just mushrooms so that I can savor the lovely Marsala sauce.
When I make it at home I prefer to serve it with a simple garlic mashed potato side dish, but you can also serve it with a side of Poor Man’s pasta; a simple yet tasty pasta dish.