Zucchini Pizza Boats

Zucchini Pizza Boats

Anyone’s New Year’s resolution involve dieting?  I know at our house it does.  Yes, now that the holidays have been put away it’s time to get back to normal eating and perhaps back to a diet.

To my husband that means eating low-carb and even Keto.  Whenever he went on one of his strict no carb diets I always ended up making 2 different dinners, no or low carb for  him and normal for the grandkids.  Well not this year!  I decided that low-carb or Keto friendly doesn’t mean that those not on diets can’t enjoy the same foods.  Seriously!  So I embarked on a journey to find dishes that would meet my husband’s needs and be tasty enough for the whole family!  I’ll be sharing recipes as I go!

My first keto friendly dish enjoyed by everyone in the house are these Zucchini Pizza Boats.  They are absolutely delicious, even for those who don’t particularly care for zucchini.  (That would be the grandson who refused to eat anything “green”! But he loves these Pizza Boats!)

This is such as easy recipe to make and it is seriously yummy!  It’s a great way to get the kids to eat their veggies!

They’re a meal on their own, but feel free to serve them with Garlic Bread if you feel the need for carbs.  I serve them with a nice crisp salad of mixed greens with Italian dressing.  Very nutritious!

The recipe calls for Marinara Sauce, you can use store bought, your favorite homemade sauce, or try some of my yummy homemade Marinara Sauce.

Zucchini Pizza Boats

Ingredients:

3 Large Zucchini

1 Tbs. Olive OIl

1 Lb. Ground Beef

1 Tbs. Garlic Powder

1 Tbs. Italian Seasoning

2 Cups Marinara Sauce

1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Jack Cheese

1 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

Cooking spray

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Spray 9×13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Heat oil in frying pan.

Place ground beef in pan and add garlic powder and Italian seasoning.

Cook until meat is crumbly.

Add marinara sauce and simmer until most of the liquid evaporates, about 10-15 minutes.

Combine 3 cheeses and stir in half of cheese mixture into beef mixture.  Set aside.

Cut off zucchini stems and cut each zucchini in half lengthwise.

Using a melon baller scoop out insides of zucchini, save the insides for later uses.

Place Zucchini boats on to baking pan.

Spoon meat mixture into each boat making sure each boat is filled to the brim.

Sprinkle remaining cheese over each boat.

Bake in oven for about 30 minutes or until cheese has melted and started to turn brown.

Serve hot with salad or garlic bread.

 

Zucchini Pizza Boats
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Zucchini Pizza Boats
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Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350. Spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray and set aside. Heat oil in frying pan. Place ground beef in pan and add garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Cook until meat is crumbly. Add marinara sauce and simmer until most of the liquid evaporates, about 10-15 minutes. Combine 3 cheeses and stir in half of cheese mixture into beef mixture.  Set aside. Cut off zucchini stems and cut each zucchini in half lengthwise. Using a melon baller scoop out insides of zucchini, save the insides for later uses. Place Zucchini boats on to baking pan. Spoon meat mixture into each boat making sure each boat is filled to the brim. Sprinkle remaining cheese over each boat. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes or until cheese has melted and started to turn brown.  Serve hot with salad or garlic bread.
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Filipino Chicken BBQ on a Stick

Filipino Chicken BBQ on a Stick

Barbecue on a stick is a very popular traditional Filipino dish. It is  a popular street food in the Philippines, and is very similar to the Indonesian Satay . It is usually made from chicken or pork which is then grilled in a slightly sweet sauce on skewers. This version is made with chicken.

The recipe I give here may differ from the way others may make this, as almost everyone has their own version. This instructable will show how my family makes it. After reading it, feel free to make a version of your own!

Also, in my opinion, this is THE tastiest way to grill chicken.

 

Step 1: Find Ingredients

Find Ingredients

You don’t have to stick strictly to the given measurements of each ingredient .

Add as much or as little as you like of each per your personal preferences
( as long as you stick to the general proportions).

Feel free to substitute ingredients

All measurements are approximate.

 

INGREDIENTS :

–  3 lbs of chicken breast or chicken thigh fillets ( used in this recipe)

–  1 to 1 1/3 cups distilled white vinegar

–  1/2 cup tomato ketchup or banana ketchup, or both

–  1/3 to 1/4 cup soy sauce

–  1/3 to 1 cup ginger beer ,ginger ale or  7-UP, Sprite,orange juice,pineapple juice, or any other kind of sweet drink

– 2 to 3 teaspoons garlic powder

 

EQUIPMENT :

-Bamboo skewers

– 1 1-gallon plastic zip-lock bag

Have all the ingredients and equipment? Move on to step 2 to start preparation!

 

Step 2: Cut the Meat

Cut the MeatCut the Meat
 

This is almost self- explanatory.

Cut the chicken breast or thigh fillets into small square-ish pieces, or into small, short strips. Remove any fat or skin, and discard the fat if you don’t like big fat pieces (some people do).  It is OK to leave just a little fat on, as it will cook off in the grill.

If you want a tasty treat, save any chicken skin. You can put on the grill to crisp it up while brushing it with the marinade. It is very tasty.

 

Step 3: Make the Marinade

Make the Marinade

Remember, you can substitute ingredients with similar ones that you may have on hand. For example, you could use rice wine or apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar. You probably got the point by now.

Anyway, combine all the other ingredients ( vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, ginger ale and garlic powder) into the zip-lock bag.

 

Step 4: Marinate the Chicken

Marinate the Chicken

Put the cut chicken pieces into the bag. Seal the bag, and move it around to help mix the marinade around.

Again, make sure the the bag is sealed, or even double bag it. Place bag on a plate or in a large bowl.

let sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.

 

Step 5: Skewer the Chicken

Skewer the ChickenSkewer the Chicken
 

Take out the chicken from the bag. Save the used marinade, as we will make it into sauce later.

Put the marinated chicken on the skewers, and put the pieces close together. Make sure you leave enough room on the ends of each skewer so you can hold them while you eat.

You don’t have to soak the skewers, as the chicken, dripping wet with marinade, will soak the skewers on its own.

 
 
Step 6: Make the Sauce
Make the SauceMake the Sauce
 

This is fairly simple. You can do this while you wait for the charcoal to be ready, or any other time before you start cooking the chicken.

Take the marinade that you saved from the chicken earlier (in step 6) and heat it up in a small saucepan on medium heat until boiling.

This is an extra step to ensure that the marinade is safe enough to use as a glaze and/or dipping sauce.

If you want the sauce to become a glaze on the chicken, then add about a teaspoon or tablespoon of sugar to the the marinade when it is near boiling.

Allow to cool down a little bit.

 

Step 7: Heat Up the Grill

Heat Up the Grill

Heat up the grill to about 300 degrees. While you are grilling the chicken, you will be opening the grill a lot, which means that when you are grilling the gauge will display the temp as about 155- 220 F, although the coals and the grill grate will still be at 300 degrees.

 

Step 8: Start Grilling!

Start Grilling!
Start Grilling!Start Grilling!
 

Put the skewers of chicken on the grill. Flip every 2-4 minutes, or continuously flip. Every so often, brush on some of the sauce you made earlier in step 6. 

Cook until well done ( or however you like them).

 

Step 9: Enjoy!!!

Enjoy!!!
Enjoy!!!Enjoy!!!
 

You now have some delicious Filipino BBQ chicken all ready for you to eat!  Now you can either take the meat off the skewers and eat it that way, or you can eat it traditional style: just hold the skewer and eat!

The best way to eat this is with some grilled vegetables and some steamed white jasmine rice.

Feel free to comment if you have any ideas for improvements, or if you think you can make it better, etc.

Enjoy!


Filipino Chicken BBQ on a Stick
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Filipino Chicken BBQ on a Stick
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Ingredients
1/3 to 1 cup ginger beer ,ginger ale or 7-UP, Sprite,orange juice,pineapple juice, or any other kind of sweet drink
Servings:
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Cashew Chicken

Cashew Chicken

Looking for something quick, easy, and delicious for dinner?  Well nothing’s easier than a stir fry.  Try this Cashew Chicken.  It takes a bit more time than your average stir fry, but it’s so worth it!  Served over a bed of steamed rice or noodles it’s simply delicious.

This was a family favorite which I haven’t made if a very long time.   I don’t know why it was forgotten, but I recently re-discovered this delicious dish and will definitely be making it more often.

This time I used fresh asparagus simply because I had a big bunch of it in the fridge, but it can be made with broccoli, green beans, or any type of fresh veggies you have on hand.  I fry the chicken and cashews separately before adding them to the stir fry, that’s the extra step the recipe requires.  It gives the chicken a bit of crunch which goes great with the crunch from the cashews, baby corn, and water chestnuts, you can find canned baby corn and water chestnuts at any Asian market.   I also don’t over cook the fresh veggies, I like to keep them green and crisp.

Here’s the recipe!  Again it goes great with noodles or steamed rice!

Cashew Chicken

Ingredients:

4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs, cut into bite size cubes

3/4 Cup Corn Starch

1 Tbs. Garlic Powder

1 Tsp. Salt

1/2 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper

1/2 Cup Whole Cashews

Oil for frying

1/4 Cup Sesame Oil

1 Large Onion Sliced

1 Tbs. Fresh Garlic Minced

1 Can Baby Corn, drained and cut each ear in half

1 Can Sliced Water Chestnuts

1 Cup Fresh Asparagus, cut into 2″ pieces (you can use any type of green veggie you have on hand)

1/2 Cup Soy Sauce

1/4 Cup Oyster Sauce

1 Tsp. Cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 Cup of water

Directions:

Heat about 1″ oil in a frying pan.

Combine cornstarch, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish.

Dredge chicken cubes in cornstarch mixture and drop into hot oil.

Fry chicken until done and all sides are browned.

Drain on paper towel and set aside.

Heat about 1 Tbs. oil in a small frying pan and saute cashews until golden brown.

Keep stirring cashews while cooking so they don’t burn.

Place cashews in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat sesame oil in a wok or large skillet.

Cook onions in wok until slices start to soften and become translucent.

Add garlic and cook another minute.

Add asparagus and cook until they are bright green.

Add baby corn and water chestnuts and cook another minute or two.

Add soy and oyster sauces and stir until combined.

Stir in dissolved cornstarch and stir until sauce starts to thicken.

Add in fried chicken and stir to cover in sauce.

Sprinkle cashews over top and slightly stir.

Serve right away.

 

 

Cashew Chicken
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Cashew Chicken
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Ingredients
1 Cup Fresh Asparagus, cut into 2″ pieces (you can use any type of green veggie you have on hand)
Servings:
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Scampi Fra Diavolo with Spaghetti

Scampi Fra Diavolo with Spaghetti

Thanksgiving is next week, so in preparation for the holiday I’m going to share my Scampi Fra Diavolo with Spaghetti recipe.  What?? Have I gone mad? Pasta for Thanksgiving?

No, I haven’t gone mad and no I’m not suggesting you serve pasta for your Thanksgiving meal, although you absolutely can if you want to!  It’s just that with we all know that our kitchens are super busy between now and then (pies, sides dishes, and other things), and that we’ll be eating turkey for days (leftovers!).  So in the days leading to the great feast I like to make easy meals and avoid making anything with poultry.  And one of the easiest things to prepare is pasta, not only is it filling it can feed a crowd!  And what can be farther from roast turkey than a spicy shrimp pasta dish?

So what exactly is Scampi Fra Diavolo? Well that depends on the country you’re in and the language you speak.  In America we often think of Scampi as a shrimp dish, in Italy Scampi usually refers to langoustine which is a type of edible lobster that is found in the Mediterranean and the Northeast Atlantic.  (Shrimp in Italian is gamberetti).  As for the Fra Diavolo it literally means Brother Devil, in culinary terms it’s usually a red tomato based sauce that’s seasoned with spicy peppers and used with pasta and seafood.

So let’s keep it simple and say that Scampi Fra Diavolo is Shrimp in Spicy Tomato Sauce.  That works right?  Of course you can make this dish with prawns, lobster, or even squid.  And you can use any type of pasta you prefer, spaghetti, fettucini, penne, or whatever.  But whatever shellfish and pasta you use this dish is delicious!

To make it easier I use my basic homemade Marinara Sauce as the base.  I always keep jars of it on hand to use whenever I need it.  Click here for my Basic Marinara Sauce recipe, it’s really delicious!  If you have a preferred Marinara Sauce recipe you can use that too and in a pinch, I do mean in a big pinch, you can use a store bought pasta sauce.

This dish is really easy to make and can be done in less than a half an hour.  Perfect when you’re trying to get dinner at on the table while prepping for a big Thanksgiving meal!

Scampi Fra Diavolo

Ingredients:

1 Lb. Large Shrimp (13-15 count) – Peeled with tail on, de-veined

2 Tbs. Olive Oil

1 Tsp. Garlic Powder

2 Tbs. Crushed Red Pepper (you can adjust this to your taste)

2 Tsp. Salt

1 Tbs. Garlic, minced

2 Cups Marinara Sauce

4 Cups cooked pasta

1 Cup reserved pasta water

1 Tbs. Fresh Parsley, chopped

Directions:

Cook Pasta about 1 minute less than the cooking time on the box or if you’re using fresh pasta cook just before it gets to the Al Dente stage.  You want your pasta mostly cooked but firm.

Drain pasta and reserve 1 cup of the water you used to cook it.

As the pasta cooks heat 1 Tbs. Olive Oil in a heavy skillet.

Add Shrimp, garlic powder, and 1 Tbs. Crushed red pepper.  Cook until shrimp turns pink.

Remove shrimp from pan and set aside.

Add remaining Olive Oil to skillet and saute fresh minced garlic until it starts to turn brown.

Add remaining crushed red pepper and Marinara Sauce.

Simmer for about 5 Minutes.

Stir in Pasta Water and combine well.

Add back shrimp and stir until shrimp is heated.

Add pasta and toss with shrimp and sauce until heated thru.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Served with a green salad and some garlic bread this dish is deliciously filling!

Buon Appetito!

Scampi Fra Diavolo with Spaghetti
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Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce

I love Mexican food but Enchiladas were never one of my favorites.  I tried to love it, but something about it just wasn’t working for me.  It took me a while, but I finally realized what wasn’t working was the canned Enchilada Sauces I found at the grocery store.

Sure there are several brands out there, in fact it got quite confusing.  But no matter which sauce I bought it simply didn’t taste good to me or for that matter the rest of the family didn’t find them that great either.  They much preferred the Enchilada Sauce they would order from the Mexican restaurant.  There aren’t that many really good Mexican restaurants in Honolulu so I had to find a way to make homemade Enchiladas just as good as the ones we found at the few restaurants we like.  And since we didn’t care for the canned sauce then clearly the only option was homemade sauce.

So I started trying to figure out just how to make Enchilada Sauce and the first thing I learned is that there are not tomatoes in any way shape or form in Enchilada Sauce.  I  was surprised and so was everyone in the family!  That’s right no tomatoes in Enchilada Sauce!  Of course I’m talking about the RED Enchilada Sauce, I’ve yet to make the green variety.  But I will and once I get it right I’ll share that too!

So what’s in Enchilada Sauce you ask?  Chicken or Veggie Stock (the veggie stock is great if you want a vegan version), Roux, and spices.  That’s it!  And to make it even better it’s super easy to make, it takes less than half an hour!  I make a pot of it and store the sauce in jars in the fridge.  The longer it sits in the fridge the better the sauce tastes.  So now my fridge is always stocked with homemade Enchilada Sauce along with my  Marinara Sauce!  I spend a morning once a month to re-stock, that way I’ll always have my favorite 2 sauces on hand.

You can use this Enchilada Sauce on anything you want.  Pour it over your favorite meats and roll in tortillas for delicious enchiladas or use it in a casserole.  I use it on my Keto friendly Chicken or Steak Enchiladas, they come out great.  Whatever you use it on it will turn out delicious!

Enchilada Sauce

Ingredients:

4 Tbs. Olive Oil

1/4 Cup Flour

1/2 Cup Chili Powder

1 Tbs. Garlic Powder

1 Tbs. Cumin Powder

1 Tbs. Dried Oregano

1 Quart Chicken or Vegetable Stock

Salt to taste

Directions:

Heat Olive Oil in a medium saucepan

Whisk in flour to make a blond roux, be careful not to burn the flour

Whisk in the spices except the salt

Slowly pour in the stock while whisking to blend the spices and roux in to it

Add salt to taste

Simmer for about 10 minutes or until slightly thickened

Use with your favorite meats or veggies or pour into jars and store in the fridge.

This recipe will make enough to fill 1 quart jar and almost 1 pint jar.  If storing sauce pour into jars and cool before covering with a tight lid and placing in the fridge.

 

Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce
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Servings Prep Time
5 Pints 20 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
5 Pints 20 Minutes
Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
5 Pints 20 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
5 Pints 20 Minutes
Ingredients
Servings: Pints
Instructions
  1. Heat Olive Oil in a medium saucepan
  2. Whisk in flour to make a blond roux, be careful not to burn the flour
  3. Whisk in the spices except the salt
  4. Slowly pour in the stock while whisking to blend the spices and roux in to it
  5. Add salt to taste
  6. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until slightly thickened
  7. Use with your favorite meats or veggies or pour into jars and store in the fridge.
Recipe Notes

This recipe will make about 5 pints.  That's enough to fill 1 Quart size jar and almost 1 pint size jar.  Cool before covering tightly and storing in the fridge.

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