CHICKEN PARMESAN SPINACH ARTICHOKE BAKE

Turn your favorite party dip into a hearty casserole meal that will satisfy EVERYONE!

CHICKEN PARMESAN SPINACH ARTICHOKE BAKE serves 8

3 cups chicken rotisserie chicken **
2 shallots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound fusilli pasta, uncooked
12 ounce container spinach artichoke dip
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
16 ounces frozen baby spinach, THAWED & SQUEEZED DRY
3 cups homemade chicken stock
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray 13×9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Mix together the artichoke dip, onions, garlic, spinach, chicken pieces and 1/2 cup of the cheese until well blended.
  • Add chicken stock and blend well.
  • Fold in pasta.
  • Cover with foil and bake 30-35 minutes, stirring a time or two.
  • Remove foil and sprinkle evenly with remaining mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan.
  • Bake 5-10 minutes more until cheese is melted and pasta is tender.
  • Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

NOTES:

  • You can make this more of a side dish by deleting the chicken pieces.
  • Another alternative is to season and grill the chicken first and then shred it. It adds another depth of flavor.

CORN SALSA SALAD

CORN SALSA SALAD
5 ears fresh corn, 1 1/2 cups
2 cups lettuce (optional)
1 SMALL red pepper, diced
2 tomatoes, seeded & diced, or 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup red onion
1/4 cup FRESH chopped cilantro
1 cup bite size pineapple pieces
1 cup bite size watermelon pieces

2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 limes, juiced
6 ounces pineapple juice
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon green Tabasco, to taste
1/4 cup salted & roasted sunflower seeds
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Boil corn 5 minutes JUST until tender.
  • Rinse under cool water.
  • Cut kernels from the cobs.
  • In a large bowl combine all ingredients except the lettuce and sunflower seeds, tossing until well mixed and coated.
  • Whisk together the lime juice, avocado oil, pineapple juice, Tabasco, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  • Adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Chill until ready to serve.
  • Just before serving, add lettuce and sunflower seeds, tossing to mix well.

NOTE: If you are in a hurry, a QUALITY defrosted frozen corn or even cans of Green Giant Mexican corn niblets substitutes easily. AND if you have enough time charring the corn on the grill before hand adds another depth of flavor 😀

TOMATO CUCUMBER SALAD

TOMATO CUCUMBER SALAD

1 cucumber, quartered lengthwise and chopped into pieces
1 LARGE box cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and halved
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup FRESH chopped cilantro
1/4 cup FRESH chopped parsley
2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 tablespoons QUALITY balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Whisk together the oil, vinegars, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Toss the tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, cilantro and parsley together.
  • Pour vinegar mixture over top and toss together.
  • Chill in refrigerator for AT LEAST 2 hours before serving.

CORN STUFFED PORK CHOPS

CORN STUFFED PORK CHOPS
3/4 cup FRESH bread crumbs
1 can Green Giant Mexican corn niblets
1 LARGE shallot, diced
2 mini red peppers, 1 diced, 1 sliced
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped Italian Leaf Parsley
4 thick pork chops (preferably bone in)
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup homemade chicken bone broth

  • In a mixing bowl blend together the bread crumbs, corn, onion, chopped red pepper and parsley.
  • Slice a 3 inch pocket into each pork chop.
  • Fill pork chops with corn mixture.
  • Rub pork chops well with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Melt butter and oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.
  • Add pork chops, browning 2-3 minutes per side.
  • Add broth, cover and reduce heat to low, cooking 45 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Serve with chopped parsley and red pepper rings.

PINEAPPLE BACON BAKED BEANS

PINEAPPLE BACON BAKED BEANS
6 slices bacon, diced
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 – 15 ounce cans small northern cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup dried chopped apricots
1/3 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons – 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup pineapple preserves
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Spray a 2 quart baking dish with non-stick spray.
  • Cook bacon in a skillet until crisp.
  • Remove bacon pieces with a slotted to drain on paper toweling.
  • Add onions to bacon grease and saute’ 5 minutes until tender.
  • In a mixing bowl combine the ketchup, vinegar, preserves, Worcestershire sauce and paprika, stirring until well blended.
  • Fold in rinsed and drained beans, apricot pieces, half the bacon pieces and onions.
  • Bake uncovered 40-50 minutes until heated through.
  • Stir gently to mix well.
  • Top with remaining bacon and serve immediately.

BACON GREEN BEANS

BACON GREEN BEANS

Total: 40 minutes Active: 10 minutes Yield: 6 servings

1 pound green beans, trimmed
3 slices bacon, diced
2 tablespoons bacon grease
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, SMALL chopped
1 cup chicken broth, plus more as needed
1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped mini red bell pepper
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Cooked bacon JUST until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon grease. If you don’t have 2 tablespoons supplement with salted butter.
  • Add garlic and onions, cooking for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the green beans and cook 1 minute until the beans turn bright green.
  • Add chicken broth, chopped red pepper, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Reduce heat to low and cover, leaving the lid cracked to allow steam to escape.
  • Cook 20-30 minutes until the liquid evaporates and the beans are fairly soft, yet still tender crisp. You may need to add more chicken broth during the cooking process, but don’t be afraid to let it all cook away so the onions and peppers can start to caramelize.
  • Stir in bacon pieces.
  • Serve immediately.

BAKED TOMATOES with PARMESAN BROCCOLI STUFFING

BAKED TOMATOES with PARMESAN BROCCOLI STUFFING Serves 4

4 LARGE tomatoes
2 cups minced broccoli florets
¼ cup FINELY shredded mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons FINELY minced onion
2 tablespoons chopped FRESH basil
Juice from 1 LARGE lemon

FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Cut tomatoes in half crosswise.
  • Using a spoon, scoop out pulp.
  • Chop tomato pulp, place in medium bowl and add broccoli, cheeses, garlic, onion, basil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  • Arrange tomato halves, cut sides up, on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt then evenly fill with stuffing mixture.
  • Bake 15 minutes or until tomatoes are tender and heated through.

NOTES & HINTS:

  • Tomatoes can be assembled a day ahead, covered and stored on a baking sheet in refrigerator.
  • A grapefruit spoon with serrated edges works well for cleaning out the tomatoes from their pulp.

MARINATED BEAN SALAD

MARINATED BEAN SALAD
2 – 15 ounce cans green beans
1 – 15 ounce can wax beans
15 ounce can sliced carrots
4 ounce jar pimientos
1 SMALL red onion, halved and sliced thin
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups sugar
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Drain beans, carrots and pimentos REALLY WELL and place into a covered dish with enough room for the liquid.
  • Toss in red onion slices.
  • In a sauce pan dissolve the sugar and salt into the vinegar and bring it to a boil.
  • Let it cool.
  • Pour it over the bean mixture.
  • Marinate at least 24-48 hours for the best flavor.

SWEET CANDIED CARROTS

This is a super simple, yet sweet and flavorful recipe and quite honestly my favorite way to eat carrots.

SWEET CANDIED CARROTS
2 pounds carrots, sliced
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup PACKED brown sugar
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
MINCED parsley

  • Place carrots in a wide saucepan.
  • Cover by 1 inch of water.
  • Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 8-10 minutes until crisp tender.
    Drain and set aside.
  • In the same pan, combine the butter, brown sugar, salt and pepper; stirring to combine until butter is melted.
  • Return carrots to pan; cooking and stirring 5 minutes until well coated and glazed well.
  • Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

ENCHILADA MEATBALLS, RE-FRIED BEANS & TEX MEX RICE

ENCHILADA MEATBALLS, RE-FRIED BEANS & TEX MEX RICE

ENCHILADA MEATBALLS
1 slice sourdough sandwich bread
2 pounds QUALITY ground beef
1 LARGE egg, lightly beaten
1-2 cloves garlic, smashed
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2+ tablespoons avocado oil
2 cups enchilada sauce (see recipe below)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • Pulse bread into fine crumbs.
  • Combine bread crumbs, ground beef, egg, garlic, salt and pepper until well mixed.
  • Shape into small balls.
  • Heat oil in cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  • Work in batches searing the meatballs quickly, but not cooking all the way through.
  • After they are all seared add the enchilada sauce to the pan and nestle meatballs into the sauce.
  • Simmer sauce and meatballs 10 minutes over low heat.
  • Top with grated cheese and serve with re-fried beans and rice.

SAUCE
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 LARGE yellow onion, sliced thin
6 dried Ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
6 dried California chiles, stems and seeds removed
6 dried Guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed
2-3 Arbol chiles, stems and seeds removed (optional – these chiles bring more heat)
3 cloves garlic, minced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
5 cups homemade chicken bone broth
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

  • Heat oil in large sauce pan over medium heat.
  • Add onion slices, sauteing until beginning to caramelize.
  • Add chiles.
  • Add garlic, sauteing 1 minute more until fragrant.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add chicken stock and tomatoes. Bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Turn off heat, cover and let chiles steep 20-30 minutes.
  • After steeping time, use an immersion blender to make smooth.
  • Bring to a SLOW boil again.
  • Adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Add a bit more chicken stock if sauce is too thick.

RE-FRIED BEANS
2 1/2 cups pinto beans
1 small onion, FINELY chopped
4 tablespoons bacon grease
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon each FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cheddar/ Monterey Jack grated cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Rinse beans and pick out any bad ones.
  • In a small stock pot cover the beans with about 3 inches of water. If there are still any bad beans in there they will float to the top.
  • Bring them to a boil, lower heat and simmer 2 hours or until skins break.
  • Drain.
  • In a heavy skillet (cast iron works best), melt the bacon grease and butter.
  • Saute’ onion until translucent.
  • Add beans and stir well.
  • Smash beans continuously until desired texture is reached.
  • Transfer beans into a large mixing bowl.
  • Use hand mixer and beat smooth.
  • Add sour cream, salt, pepper and red pepper.
  • Beat smooth again.
  • Transfer into a 9×9 casserole and top with cheese.
  • Bake 20 minutes.

TEX MEX RICE
1 MEDIUM yellow onion, FINELY diced
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon QUALITY tomato paste
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2 cups jasmine rice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small can chopped green chiles, drained
4 cups homemade bone broth
1 teaspoon Pampered Chef TexMex Chipotle South Western spice
1/2 cup FRESH chopped cilantro
1 LARGE bunch green onions, minced
Juice of 1 LARGE lime

  • Heat the oil in a sauce pot over medium heat.
  • Add diced yellow onion, sauteing 3-4 minutes, but not browning.
  • Add tomato paste, salt, pepper and Tex Mex spice, cooking 2-3 minutes more.
  • Add the rice and garlic, cooking 2-3 minutes more.
  • Add the green chiles and chicken broth. Increase heat to high and bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and cover, simmering 15-20 minutes until rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed.
  • Fold in the cilantro, lime juice and green onions.

BEEF VEGGIE SOUP

This is one of those soups that everyone of a certain age has had! During a simpler, more frugal era this type of soup was a staple on the dinner table, especially in the fall/winter months.

Ground beef was the lesser expensive meat choice and the soup was a great way to use up veggies at the end of the week. Once the flavors meld together no one cares that they were the former beauty queens that were now the  less than pretty wilting ones from the crisper bin.

BEEF VEGGIE SOUP serves 6
1 pound ground beef
1 LARGE Vidalia onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, diced
1 LARGE carrot, diced
1 can Green Giant white shoepeg corn
2 cups frozen green beans
15 ounce can stewed tomatoes, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped Basil
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped Parsley
FRESH ground sea salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup DRY red wine
8 cups beef bone broth**
1 cup diced potatoes, optional
1 cup prepared pasta, optional
1/2 cup raw rice, optional
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced, optional
Grated cheese, as a topping

  • Brown ground beef over medium high heat in a large soup pot.
  • When beef is just about browned, drain off most fat and add onions, carrots and celery, sweating for 4-6 minutes.
  • Add garlic, garlic salt and onion salt, stirring to blend.
  • Add chopped stewed tomatoes with their juice, Basil, Parsley and FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper. Simmer 3-4 minutes.
  • Add broth, wine and potatoes or rice if using.
  • Simmer for 1 hour.
  • Add corn, green beans and mushrooms if using, simmering for 15-20 minutes more.
  • If using pasta add prepared pasta and simmer 5 minutes until heated through.
  • Serve with Honey Beer Bread.

**I made this broth with beef bone marrow bones and end of the season tomatoes.

HONEY & SEA SALT RANCH STEAKS & ROASTED CARROTS

We’re trying a new butcher delivery service, Butcher Box, since good cuts of meat are getting harder to find around here. Even my go to butcher just isn’t what it used to be 🙁

The “RANCH” steak sounded interesting so we added a couple to our order and were pleasantly surprised. Here’s their recipe with very few adjustments.

Just a bit of trvia – The ranch steak is one of the most flavorful and tasty cuts of meat and is very underrated, with many butchers and beef buffs claiming it makes a great alternative to the more expensive cuts such as Sirloin Tip or Flat Iron steak.

It comes from the shoulder area of the cow and is somtimes referred to as an arm steak. Because the muscle is worked a little more it can lack the tenderness of some other cuts. But what it lacks in ease of eating compared to others, it makes up for in its full beefy flavor.

In order to earn the moniker of ‘Ranch’ steak, it needs to be trimmed of all excess fat, silver skin, and connective tissue so that it’s very lean. It must also be free of the strip of gristle running through the middle.

CONCLUSION: The flavor was excellent! BUT, the leftovers have been cut up to use the next time I make chili. The steak just wasn’t tender enough for us, but will make excellent chili parts.

I also LOVED the flavor profile of the carrots, but didn’t want to mess with the oven and the grill so I microwaved the carrots for 5 minutes to cook the centers and then tossed them with everything finishing them off on the grill along side of the steaks. I also minced the thyme leaves directly into the marinade.

HONEY & SEA SALT RANCH STEAKS
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

4 each Ranch Steaks
8 tablespoons QUALITY honey
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt (I added a touch of garlic salt also)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Preheat grill with 2 zones. One high heat and one low heat.
  • Rub steaks with honey, sea salt and black pepper. Set aside and bring to room temperature.
  • Place steaks on hottest part of grill and cook for 4 minutes on one side with a quarter turn after 2 minutes.

  • Flip steaks over, grill for 2 more minutes on the hottest part.
  • Move steaks to the cooler side of the grill and continue to cook until internal temperature reaches 110℉.
  • Remove steaks from heat when finished and let rest 8-10 minutes before slicing steaks against the grain and serving with roasted carrots.
  • Enjoy!

ROASTED CARROTS
12 each carrots, washed and cut into ½” pieces
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 cloves garlic minced
1 each orange, zested
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon raw honey
2 tablespoons avocado oil
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Toss cut carrots with all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • Place seasoned carrots on baking sheet in a single layer and roast in oven for 40 minutes, or until for tender.
  • Discard thyme sprigs before serving.