Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Yes, it's been awhile

Haven't done much blogging lately, but I still know how to cook.

Also, I'm dong Atkins, so the notation "low-carb" will come up in a lot of the new stuff I'm posting.

If you have never tried spaghetti squash, it's time you did. Try these:

Spaghetti Squash
Take one large spaghetti squash, wash it up real good. Poke holes in it all around (so it won’t explode in the oven). Bake at 375 for one hour or so, depending on the size of the squash. It’s done when you can poke it easily with a fork. Remove from oven and let cool awhile until it’s easy to handle. Slice it in half lengthwise and carefully remove the seeds. Scrape the rest of the “spaghetti” from the two halves into a serving bowl. Serve hot with butter, salt and pepper as the vegetable side to any meat & potatoes meal.

It’s also good served with your favorite spag sauce or use as a layer #1 in Cincinnati Five Way Chili.

In fact; these sweet strings make a great low-carb substitute for any pasta or rice dish like a stir-fry such as:
Beef-Tomato-Basil Stir Fry: Slice up a good 10-14 ounce cut of steak into strips, sprinkle with tenderizer if necessary. Toss with a couple of Tbslp each oil and corn starch and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, coarsely cut up 1 small white onion, mince one large clove garlic and cut 2 medium tomatoes into wedges. Set aside. Mix 1 Tblsp corn starch with 2 Tblsp cooled beef broth. Add a dash of Kitchen Bouquet to this if desired. Heat oil in a heavy skillet; add beef, onion and garlic and stir fry until done as desired (i.e. rare, medium or well). Stir in ½ cup beef stock, 2 Tblsp hoisin sauce and the corn starch mixture. Stir, and as mixture thickens stir in the tomato wedges and 12 leaves of fresh basil. Stir fry for about one minute. Serve over rice or noodles or cooked spaghetti squash.

OR for breakfast:

Spaghetti Squash Pancakes: Cook one spaghetti squash as directed above. Mix 6 cups cooked squash with 4 eggs, a couple tablespoons each minced onion and mined garlic, 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, ½ cup finely shredded cheese, salt & pepper to taste. Heat oil in a non stick skillet. Drop mixture into skillet in about ¼ cup measures – an ice cream scoop works well. Fry til golden on one side, turn and fry til crispy.

Dealing with Leftovers

Pork & Mushroom Soup (2 servings)

Melt 2 Tblsp butter with 2 Tblsp canola oil in a saucepan. Add 2 cloves minced garlic, 3 Tblsp minced onion and ¾ - 1 cup sliced mushrooms. Saute until mushrooms are done. Add ½ cup shredded cabbage and ¾ to 1 cup shredded and chopped leftover pork loin roast. Stir well to combine. Add 2 cups chicken, turkey or beef stock. (Or, if you were planning ahead, you’ll have saved some cooking juices when you roasted the pork loin. Add that and round out the two cups liquid with the stock.) Salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of thyme. Simmer 15 minutes or so to let flavors blend.

Could also be made with leftover roasted chicken or turkey. And could easily doubled or increased to any amount.


Frittata: I’m not sure if this is an omelet or a giant pancake. Either way, it’s easier than you might think. And delicious. And low carb. They can be slipped out onto a serving plate and cut into wedges like a pizza, hot for breakfast; or cut into sticks and squares served at room temp for appetizers.

The basic procedure: Beat four eggs, adding ¼ tsp pepper and ½ tsp kosher salt. Saute something (see my faves below) in a non-stick skillet, pour the eggs over and cook until eggs are set. Sprinkle with cheese and broil until cheese melts. That’s pretty much it. One skillet full serves 3-4 people for breakfast. I’ve included some bread suggestions if you’re not counting carbs. Here are some of my faves:

Pizza-tata: Cover bottom of skillet with canola oil. Saute a few Tblsp each of finely chopped red and green peppers, diced pepperoni, and red onion, until veggies are soft. Pour in the 4 eggs. Place thin slices of tomato in one layer all over the top, sprinkle with dried or fresh oregano and add a few pepperoni slices. Cook until eggs are set, sprinkle with a 50-50 mozzarella-parmesan mixture and broil. Serve with fresh, warm bread sticks. (Feel free to use any of your favorite pizza toppings in place of or in addition to the pepperoni: black olives, mushrooms, sausage or beef crumbles, etc.)

Mushroom: In ¼ stick butter, saute ¾ cup of your favorite mushrooms (button, Portobello, babybellas, etc.), thinly sliced, with diced onion and garlic. Sprinkle with a little thyme and oregano. Pour the 4 eggs over and cook until set. Sprinkle with shredded Swiss cheese and broil until cheese melts. Toasted English muffins with honey make a nice side.

Taco-tata: Cover bottom of skillet with canola oil. Saute 2 Tblsp each diced onions, red & green peppers and 1 or 2 chopped jalopenos (or to taste). Stir in some leftover taco meat (up to one cup) or carnita and spread mixture evenly over the skillet. Pour in the 4 eggs, cook until set. Sprinkle with cheese. If desired, add a few dollops of refried beans. Broil to melt cheese, serve hot and pass the salsa and sour cream along with warmed tortillas. OR: cut two flour tortillas into strips, fry in batches in 1 inch hot oil and drain on paper towels.

French Onion: To ½ stick melted butter, add one small or medium onion, coarsely sliced, ¼ tsp dried thyme and one clove minced garlic. Sprinkle with ¾ tsp sugar, ¼ tsp beef granules and simmer, stirring occasionally, until onions are limp and slightly browned. Pour in the 4 eggs, scatter liberally with Texas toast croutons, and press them down into the eggs and onions. Cook until eggs are set, sprinkle with Swiss and broil. Since the croutons are in the dish, no need for toast on the side.

Ham & Broccoli: Cover bottom of skillet with canola. Saute 2 Tblsp each finely chopped celery and onion and ½ cup chopped, cooked broccoli. Stir in ½ cup cubed ham. Pour over the 4 eggs. Sprinkle with shredded Monterey Jack cheese and broil.

Seafood: In 3 Tblsp melted butter, sauté 2 Tblsp finely chopped onion and red pepper until soft. Add a mixture of shrimp, scallop and crabmeat to equal 1 cup and stir well to combine. Pour the four eggs over and cook til set. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and broil.

Tomato-Basil: Cover bottom of skillet with canola. Pour in the 4 eggs. Arrange thin slices of tomato and fresh, uncut basil leaves. Sprinkle with a small amount of oregano, if desired. Cook until eggs are set. Sprinkle with Parmesan and broil. Corn bread muffins on the side.

Buffalo Chicken: To 4 Tblsp melted butter, add 4 Tblsp Louisiana hot sauce and ½ cup shredded chicken. Pour the 4 eggs over and dot with 4 oz cubed cream cheese and 4 oz crumbled blue cheese. Cook til eggs are set, sprinkle with shredded cheddar and broil. Garnish with freshly chopped celery, if desired. Sweet cinnamon rolls on the side and chilled tomato juice will help put out the fire.

Potato (Great for breakfast): Saute one large shredded potato (to equal about 1 ½ cup, raw or precooked, 3 Tblsp minced onion and 3 slices chopped bacon until raw potatoes are cooked. If using pre-cooked potatoes, add them after the bacon & veggies are cooked. Pour in the 4 eggs, cook til the eggs are set. Sprinkle with shredded 4-cheese mix and broil until cheese is melted. Serve with cinnamon toast.