New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Baked Stuffed Avocados…yummo!

Baked Avocado…a new adventure for me and I loved it. The idea of using avocado as the binding ingredient for quinoa, tomato, cheese was great and included all ingredients I love. This recipe is worth experimenting with and can easily be adapted for a vegan or vegetarian diet.

BAKED STUFFED AVOCADOS

2 large ripe avocados
2 cups cooked quinoa (I used a mix of plain and Tri-Colored Quinoa from Trader Joe’s)
1 medium-sized tomato, diced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Slice avocados lengthwise and remove the pit by gently tapping it with a large sturdy knife.
  • Scoop the avocado from the shell with a spoon and place in a mixing bowl.  Add quinoa, tomatoes, feta, salt and pepper.  Mix to combine, but leaving hunks of avocado.
  • Place the hollow avocado shells on a baking sheet and carefully fill each with the mixture.  (I found that I had more filling that the shells would hold and baked the remainder in a small greased casserole dish).
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until cheese is sufficiently melted.

recipe slightly adapted from P&G Everday

New Traditions

Baked Risotto with Bacon and Kale…comfort food

Baked Risotto with Bacon and Kale (and many other yummy ingredients) is a comfort dish to love. My gal pal, Jan, told me about this dish and I had to try it.  It also helped that I had many of the ingredients on the ready.

I rarely make Risotto because I don’t enjoy standing over the stove, constantly stirring and adding liquid to the Arborio rice. This recipe eliminates that hassle. There is some prep work chopping, roasting, grating, etc. but I did that early in the day which made the final preparation a breeze.

Add this is the list…comfort food!

RISOTTO WITH BACON AND KALE

4 slices bacon, chopped coarsely
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Arborio rice
3 cups low-salt chicken broth (plus 1/2 cup+ to add later in preparation)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
3 medium curly kale leaves, stemmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 roasted carrot
1 roasted parsnip
1 roasted shallot
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Peel and chop the carrot, parsnip and shallot. Place on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Roast for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside.
  • Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.
  • In a large, heavy saucepan or braising pan, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp.  Drain on paper towels.
  • Add the chopped onions, salt and pepper.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the rice and stir for 2 minutes.  Add 3 cups broth and the lemon juice. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Cover with a tight lid and bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.  (Note: my dish was done at 20 minutes so watch closely.)
  • Remove the pan from the oven and return it to the stove, over medium-low heat. Remove the lid and stir in the chicken, kale, roasted vegetables and 1/2 cup chicken broth.  Stir until the kale is wilted, about 5 minutes, adding extra broth, as needed, until the Risotto is creamy.  Stir in the cooked bacon and cheese.  Ladle into bowls and serve.

Recipe slightly adapted from Giada De Laurentiis Risotto with Bacon and Kale

 

Family Favorites · Holidays · New Traditions

Baked Ham…Crockpot Style

Easter and Christmas holidays call for a baked ham.  Easy-peasy recipes allow the host/hostess to enjoy their family and friends and this recipe, coupled with the crunchy potato casserole (March 29, 2013 post), make preparation easy.

My family doesn’t enjoy spiral sliced hams, honey-baked hams, but they LOVE this recipe.  The leftover ham makes wonderful sandwiches, too.  Typically I purchase a Butt Portion Ham, often available for $.99-$1.39 a pound, a true friend of the family budget.

BAKED HAM CROCKPOT STYLE

Pour 1/2 up water in Crock Pot. Wrap precooked 3-4 pound ham in foil; place in Crock Pot. Cover and cook on High 1 hour then turn to low for 6-7 hours or until ham is hot. If cooking a larger ham, cook 1 hour on high and 8-10 hours on low.

Cathy’s method: I follow the instructions above put typically have to cut a few slices off the ham to make it fit in the Crock Pot and . I start the process about an hour before bedtime and then turn to low and cook 12-14 hours. The ham is juicy, tender and delicious.

Adapted from Rival Crock Pot Cooking

Family Favorites · New Traditions

Brie and Honey; Brie and Jam, Brie any way!

Brie is truly my favorite cheese or all time.  I love it plain, baked in pastry with jam or simply topped with honey or jam. It is a simple, elegant, crowd-pleaser every time.

Happy New Year! Wishing all a wonderful year creating new traditions for your friends and family.

New Favorite · Vegetarian

Baked Zucchini Rounds…another zucchini bites the dust!

The zucchini continue to produce and multiply and I continue to seek new ways to use it. I found this recipe at Health.com and really liked it. The rounds are very good hot from the oven, but also very good at room temperature. I served them plain but know they would be great dipped in ranch dressing!

ZUCCHINI ROUNDS

1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons milk
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced (1/4″) zucchini rounds
Cooking Spray

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, salt, garlic powder and pepper in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  • Place milk in separate, shallow bowl.
  • Dip the zucchini rounds in the milk and dredge in the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Place the prepared slices on an ovenproof wire rack coated with cooking spray. Place rack on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes until browned and crisp.

Adapted from Health.com:  Zucchini Oven Chips

New Traditions

Mini Red Peppers stuffed with herbed goat cheese

 

to die for!
Mini Peppers stuffed with herbed goat cheese

Recently I discovered this recipe on the bag of mini peppers I bought at Costco.  I’ve experimented with the recipe and love a variation of this recipe, combining goat cheese with the Savory Seasoning of Tarragon Shallot Citrus.   The sweetness of the red peppers combined with the goat cheese and citrus blend is scrumptious. When the peppers come out of the oven, you can also top with half of pecan (or walnut).  A very simple appetizer for your holiday parties.

Mini Red Peppers stuffed with herbed goat cheese

Mini Red Peppers
Softened goat cheese (or cream cheese)
1/4 cup snipped fresh herbs (chives, parsley, thyme, basil) or Savory Seasoning Tarragon Shallot Citrus Seasoning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Rinse red peppers and cut a slit down the side of the pepper.  Remove seeds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Combine softened cheese and herbs.  Place a heaping teaspoon of the goat cheese mixture in each pepper.  Bake for 20 minutes until peppers are soft-crisp and goat cheese is hot.
  • Optional: Serve with pecan or walnut half (or basil leaf) on each pepper.