Category Archives: Food

A twist on veal parmesan

A new twist on Veal Parmesan.  With trying to keep the carbohydrate count down I’ve been experimenting with other things to replace pasta.  I tried the low carb pasta and really haven’t found one that I like.  The one with the most promise was Dreamfields but there was just something about it.. so.. I turned to spaghetti squash.  I love spaghetti squash for many reasons – mostly because it’s delicious and it looks like spaghetti.

I like Veal Parm but I don’t make it all that often – so when I do, it’s a real treat.  Since I’m replacing pasta with spaghetti squash it took some time to get the timing just right.  I use sauce from the jar most of the time but when I make pasta sauce (which is also, incidentally, delicious with spaghetti squash) this is one of the first things I make with it.  I’m including a simple sauce recipe with a quick turn around.  I do have a pasta sauce that I make that takes all day but for that kind of effort, I require angelhair or linguini.

First, the spaghetti squash:

Cut a firm spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds.  The easiest way I’ve found to do that is to run a fork down the middle and twist it.  The most important part is getting rid of the seeds.  Any of the material in the middle left over can stay.  Put both halves face down on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes to an hour.  The squash will have quite a bit of give if you press on it when it’s ready.  When you remove the squash squeeze each half (with an oven mit) to remove any excess water.  With a fork, scrape the spaghetti out of the squash into a bowl (or plate, if you’re doing veal parm).  Each half should serve one person.

Easy pasta sauce:

  • two 12 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 sm white or sweet onion, chopped
  • olive oil (slutty)
  • basil, oregano, salt and pepper to taste
  • one small can tomato paste

In a medium sized pot, sautee the onion and the garlic in olive oil.  Add the tomato sauce and heat through then put on low.  Add in the spices and stir occasionally.  Right before the veal is ready, add enough paste to thicken as desired.

Veal:

  • 1 pound veal scallopini cut
  • two eggs
  • 2 cups panko
  • tsp balsamic vinegar
  • shredded mozarella cheese
  • olive oil (slutty)

In a bowl, whisk two eggs and the balsamic vinegar together.  Dip the veal in the egg then coat with panko.  In a medium high pan with olive oil, fry the veal on both sides and remove.  Once all the veal pieces are cooked, add a layer of sauce to the bottom of the pan, put the pan on medium, and put one or two veal pieces on the sauce and cover with mozarella.  Cover until the cheese is melted then transfer sauce and meat onto a bed of spaghetti squash.  Serve.

Please note that you can use chicken for this instead.  If you do use chicken, make sure you pound it thin first.

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London Broil (SLAB)

Today’s post won’t be so much a recipe as a how-to.  Once upon a time I was roommate to several people where I began to, as one of them still says, McGuyver in the kitchen.  One Saturday, SLAB was born.  It even had its own theme song – delightfully stolen from Ren and Stimpy.

Our version was a little bit different.. but the idea was the same..

It’s slaaab it’s slaaab, it’s big, it’s heavy it’s meat.  It’s slaaaab it’s slaaaaab, it’s better than bad it’s NEAT.  Everyone wants some slab, you’re gonna love it slab.

We drank.  A lot.

So, the idea was to take a full london broil and marinate it in a 2:1 mixture of worcestershire sauce and soy sauce for about an hour.. hour and a half.  Top with fresh thyme and rosemary then throw it in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes, then finish at 400 for another 5-10. 

The gravy was the best part…

  • 2 cu beef stock
  • 1 1/2 tsp regular yellow mustard
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • slutty olive oil
  • a few capers
  • whatever liquid was left from baking the slab
  • Gravy flour (I use wondra for this recipe)

Take the garlic and shallots and sautee in regular olive oil.  To that, add the liquid from the bottom of the baking dish from the slab and 2 cups of beef stock.  Bring that to a light boil, add the capers and the mustard.  Mix until the mustard was no longer lumpy and thicken by adding a little gravy flour and whisking in until you get the desired thickness.

 

 

Squash Casserole

This is an easy side dish but surprisingly good.  I do call it casserole but there isn’t a scrap of cream of mushroom to be found anywhere.  One thing about this recipe is it takes a little time to do it right.  In order to get the right consistency, the squash has to be cooked until most of the liquid is pulled out of it, or you get a puddle in your baking dish.

  • 5 pieces of yellow squash, sliced thin
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1 tsp capers
  • olive oil
  • 1-2 cups panko
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese

Fry diced onion, garlic, and capers in olive oil until  the onion is mostly clear.  In small batches, add the squash until cooked then set aside.  In a baking dish, put down the squash then top with a layer of panko then another layer of cheddar cheese.  Bake on 350 until the top is melted.  Serve immediately.

Steak and Guinness pie

Mmmm.. pie.  Especially beer pie.  Since this is fairly potato heavy, I haven’t made this in a long time but I do love it.  It’s excellent for cold weather and it is certainly one of those things that gets better the next day in the fridge.  I’ve also been known to make them and freeze them before baking – making it a very easy homemade TV dinner experience.

I actually made this for my parents who wouldn’t touch it because they equate Guinness with bad beer – and to be honest, the stuff we get that doesn’t come in the shotgun cans here in the US is fairly foul, given that it is contract brewed by Molson and has a bit of skunk to it.  Luckily baking manages to fix that.

One final thought.  As with so many of my recipes, this calls for a 40 of Guinness.  You may have noticed a trend.  I don’t drink beer that often anymore so I don’t keep it in the house.  I also like the snazzy feeling of walking out of a grocery store with a huge high end beer in a paper bag.

This recipe will make two pies.  I use these proportions because I like steak and Guinness pie and because the store brand premade pie shells always seem to be buy one get one.  Possibly just my store, but it always works out.

  • 2 pounds stew beef
  • flour for dredging (I use Wondra)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp garlic, chopped
  • 1 40oz Guinness
  • 2 medium red potatoes, cubed small
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 2 pieces of premade pie shell
  • corn starch

Press pie shells into pie pans and set aside.  This works out much better when they are at room temperature.  In a dutch oven, sautee onion slices, capers and garlic in a 1-1 mixture of butter and vegetable oil until the onion is almost clear.  Push the mixture to the edge of the pot.  Dredge the beef in flour and drop the pieces into the pot and brown them.  You may need to do this in batches to keep from overcrowding the meat.  Add the Guinness and potatoes.  Top with the dried spices.  Cook on high until the liquid begins to boil, then bring to a simmer.  Simmer for about 1/2 hour.  Thicken with corn starch and transfer into pie shells.  Top with another pie shell and pinch close.  Cut vent slits in the top and bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until the shells are finished.  If you freeze the pies before baking, make sure they are completely at room temperature before putting in the oven.  Add an additional 10 minutes in the oven.  Nothing kills the love inherent in steak and Guinness pie like a chunk of ice in your meal.

Campfire Meals

Another day, another recipe.  This time, it’s something simple and quick that I learned how to make at – of all places – church camp.  Campfire meals were one of those artsy things everyone’s probably done once but never done again.  The idea was to take ingredients that can be easily stored and transported, then cooked in an open fire (or, in my case now, an oven).  It basically consists of a meat, some sort of vegetable, and a starch that can be sliced.  The original recipe always had ground beef in it but I like to get all fancy schmancy with mine now and I use beef strips instead.

  • Tin foil
  • one pound beef strips or ground beef (low fat content)
  • one small potato, sliced
  • one small onion, sliced
  • one carrot, julienned
  • one celery stalk, julienned
  • one tsp worcestershire sauce per packet
  • dried thyme

Basically take the tin foil and put all the ingredients on it.  Wrap the tin foil into a pouch and toss in a 350 oven for 30-45 minutes or toss in a dying campfire for the same amount of time.  The fat from the beef will extract and cook the other ingredients.  The thicker the sliced potato (I grate mine usually) the longer you’ll want to cook it.  When it’s done, transfer to a bowl and top with a cheese of your choice.  Smells like the camp you didn’t want to go to when you were a kid.. until you got there.. then you didn’t want to leave.

Chicken Salad

Everyone has their own take on chicken salad.  I really didn’t have one until we started on the new food..plan..thing.  Since I work at home generally I make lunches in the morning and was looking for something fairly low carb and low glycemic that would also be sustainable.  I didn’t realize that chicken salad would be such a big part of the lunch experience.

The salad part (as in serve it over salad) is ad hoc.  I always make mine with celery, cucumbers, romaine, tomatoes, and chick peas.  When I do this, it makes enough for one person for one week.  It’s enough of a favorite that I get asked for a salad or chili pretty much every day.

There are two ways to make this and I’m including the long way starting with roasting the chicken.  When I’m not feeling the love with the whole experience, I got to the grocery store and get a rotisserie chicken – preferably a cold one so I can use it right away.

First, the chicken roasting.  In order to not sound like a crazy person, I do actually grab multiple chickens and freeze them.  I generally end up going through a chicken a week.

I coat the chicken in a mixture of olive oil and dark sesame oil, then liberally sprinkle rosemary, thyme, and oregano over the bird before roasting.

Once it comes out of the oven, allow to cool, then I feed the skin to the dog – because by this point he’s expecting something.. anything.. having to do with the bird.  The rest of the chicken gets pulled apart into small pieces.  I find that the mix of dark and white meat makes it unusually good.

Now onto the chicken salad….

  • 1 cup mayonaisse
  • 1 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tbsp curry – I use garam masala from the asian grocery store

Mix all the ingredients, then put them in a container in the fridge for at least an hour to come together.

I normally make the salad, topped with the chicken salad, then a handful of sliced almonds and two sliced dates.

Chicken Paprikash

Here’s an example of a recipe that I ended up modifying and really liked the result much more than the original.  Instead of using dumplings or pasta, I used some riced cauliflower.. but I’m getting head of myself.  I use bone in chicken thighs for this.  It makes all the difference in the world.  I usually pull the bones out right before serving using a pair of tongs.  As with all of my recipes the amounts are approximate.  Sometimes I use a little more, sometimes a little less of something.  In this case I liberally cover the meat with paprika so I will make an educated guess that I use a bit more than a teaspoon.  If you have that odd jar of paprika that you don’t know what to do with.. this is a great place to start.

This is a really good one for winter.  Nice and hearty and it’s one of those things that after sitting in the fridge overnight gets even better.

  • 4 chicken thighs – bone in and leave the skin
  • 2 medium onions julienned
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • ground pepper
  • 1 12oz can tomato sauce
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 package portabello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 whole head of cauliflower, leaves removed
  • sour cream to garnish

In a heavy pan (I use a dutch oven) add enough oil to cover the bottom.  Heat to medium.  Add garlic and oil and begin to sautee.  When the onions are about half one, add the ground pepper and the paprika and allow to bloom.  Push the onions to the side and add the chicken skin side down until you get a good sear on the skin.  Do not move the chicken during this part.  Once the skin has seared, flip the chicken and continue to brown, then cover with the onion.  Add tomato sauce and a half can of water.  Mix, cover, and set to low.  Cook for an hour to an hour and a half.  Cooking it over an hour causes the meat to start to fall off of the bone.  In the last 15 minutes add the mushrooms on top and cover again.

In the meantime, boil the cauliflower whole until al dente.  After draining thoroughly, put the whole thing (in pieces) through the grater attachment on a food processor.  You’ll end up with what looks like mushy rice.  Press and drain any excess water out of the cauliflower and use as a base.  Ladle the paprikash over the cauliflower and top with a dollop of sour cream.