Tag Archives: main dish

Enchilada with South of the Border Spaghetti Squash Filling

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South of the Border Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Left Over or just plain made stuffing for delicious Enchiladas

Maybe you don’t want a stuffed squash and have just made the stuffing and/or maybe you have served the stuffed squash and have some left over stuffing—so here is a delicious enchilada recipe using this stuffing:

Ingredients:

  1. 1 package of hand made thick styled corn tortillas (soft and flexible)—room temp
  2. 1 10-oz. can of medium (or hot if you like) enchilada sauce
  3. 1 C (or more) of shredded Mexican Styled Cheese
  4. 1 C (or more) sour cream

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  2. Oil an oven proof dish (the right size for however many enchiladas you will be making.)
  3. Spread a generous amount of the enchilada sauce on each side of the tortillas before filling them.
  4. Then, fill each tortilla with the cooked spaghetti squash filling, top with a tsp. of sour cream, some more cheese, roll carefully and place rolled side down in your dish.
  5. Do these with as much filling as you have to fill the tortillas.
  6. When your oven proof dish is filled, top the tortillas with more sour cream and cheese.
  7. Bake this dish uncovered in the pre-heated oven for at least 30 minutes but NOT till the enchiladas are dried out so watch carefully.
  8. Serve with a side of chopped green cabbage that has been mixed with white wine vinegar and salt (no oil) and topped with some avocado slices.

Once again, the recipe for the Filled South of the Border Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients:

  1. 1 medium spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded (save those seeds to roast in your oven. So yummy.)
  2. 2 Tsp. olive oil
  3. 1 chopped yellow onion
  4. 1 yellow (red or orange is OK as well) pepper, seeded and chopped
  5. 2 garlic cloves-chopped
  6. One 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed in a colander with water
  7. 1/2 C. corn (I used fresh, but frozen or rinsed canned is OK as well)
  8. 1/3 to 1/2 C. chopped cilantro
  9. 1 Tblsp. lime juice
  10. 6 Tblsp. medium enchilada sauce (or more if you wish—taste it first)
  11. 1/4 to 1/2 C. chunky salsa sauce
  12. 1 tsp. salt
  13. 3/4 to 1 C. of rough shredded 4 blend Mexican cheese (or something similar)
  14. Avocado slices for top garnish (optional)
  15. Sour Cream for top garnish (optional)
  16. Corn Tortilla’s for accompaniment

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375. In an oven proof dish, pour 1 C. of water in the dish and place your squash halves, flesh side down, in it. Place the dish in your pre-heated oven for about 35 minutes or until a sharp knife can pierce the skin easily. Take out of oven and let the squash cool for a little bit before you rake it with a fork to remove the strands—but careful, leave the shell in tack for the stuffing. Place the squash back in your dish (which now has no water) because you will be placing the stuffing in the squash and back into the oven for a bit. Turn the oven down to 350.
  2. I used my food processor to pulse quickly into chopped pieces the items listed in #3 through #5.
  3. In a large pot, over medium heat, place the olive oil and when heated, stir in the items #3 through #5 till softened and glistening (about 5 minutes). Then add the ingredients #6 through #12 and cook till well melded for about 2 minutes more.
  4. Place the stuffing you have just created in your shells and sprinkle each with the cheese.
  5. Place your dish back in the 350F oven for about 20 minutes.
  6. Voila—delicious. If you wish to garnish with the avocado slices and sour cream go ahead and do this now. And of course, some nice warm corn tortillas make for a wonderful accompaniment. As well, I’ve noticed that these two spaghetti squash recipes I have made taste even better the next day.

ss enchiladas 1 ss plated enchiladas

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South of the Border Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

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South of the Border Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Here’s another yummy spaghetti squash dish that is easy to make and healthy to eat. It’s a vegetarian dish and I hope that you will like it as much as I have.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 medium spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded (save those seeds to roast in your oven. So yummy.)
  2. 2 Tsp. olive oil
  3. 1 chopped yellow onion
  4. 1 yellow (red or orange is OK as well) pepper, seeded and chopped
  5. 2 garlic cloves-chopped
  6. One 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed in a colander with water
  7. 1/2 C. corn (I used fresh, but frozen or rinsed canned is OK as well)
  8. 1/3 to 1/2 C. chopped cilantro
  9. 1 Tblsp. lime juice
  10. 6 Tblsp. medium enchilada sauce (or more if you wish—taste it first)
  11. 1/4 to 1/2 C. chunky salsa sauce
  12. 1 tsp. salt
  13. 3/4 to 1 C. of rough shredded 4 blend Mexican cheese (or something similar)
  14. Avocado slices for top garnish (optional)
  15. Sour Cream for top garnish (optional)
  16. Corn Tortilla’s for accompaniment

 

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375. In an oven proof dish, pour 1 C. of water in the dish and place your squash halves, flesh side down, in it. Place the dish in your pre-heated oven for about 35 minutes or until a sharp knife can pierce the skin easily. Take out of oven and let the squash cool for a little bit before you rake it with a fork to remove the strands—but careful, leave the shell in tack for the stuffing. Place the squash back in your dish(which now has no water) because you will be placing the stuffing in the squash and back into the oven for a bit. Turn the oven down to 350.
  2. I used my food processor to pulse quickly into chopped pieces the items listed in #3 through #5.
  3. In a large pot, over medium heat, place the olive oil and when heated, stir in the items #3 through #5 till softened and glistening (about 5 minutes). Then add the ingredients #6 through #12 and cook till well melded for about 2 minutes more.
  4. Place the stuffing you have just created in your shells and sprinkle each with the cheese.
  5. Place your dish back in the 350F oven for about 20 minutes.
  6. Voila—delicious. If you wish to garnish with the avocado slices and sour cream go ahead and do this now. And of course, some nice warm corn tortillas make for a wonderful accompaniment. As well, I’ve noticed that these two spaghetti squash recipes I have made taste even better the next day.

Mediterranean Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

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mediterrean spaghetti squash close up mediterrean spaghetti squash

Mediterranean Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Serves 4

Easy on the belly and good besides—that’s what this dish presents. You don’t have to add the shrimp so it can be a totally vegetarian dish. I also have another recipe that uses this kind of squash, so be on the look out for that. It’s a south of the border version.

Ingredients:

  1. One spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded (I save the seeds to roast in a 400 degree oven. I let the seeds dry and then sprinkle them with olive oil and red pepper flakes. It takes about 20-30 minutes to roast them.)
  2. 2 Tblsp. olive oil
  3. 1 onion-chopped
  4. 2 garlic cloves minced
  5. One 14.5 oz. canned dice tomatoes including its’ juice. (The can I used also included oregano, garlic and basil.)
  6. 1/2 C. chopped artichoke hearts (I used the slightly marinated kind.)
  7. 3 Tblsp. sliced black olives (I used the slightly marinated kind.)
  8. 2 Tbslp. chopped fresh basil
  9. Medium sized cooked deveined shrimp, defrosted, tail taken off—I used about 15 (Optional)
  10. 3/4 to 1 C. crumbled feta cheese

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In an oven proof dish, put in 1/2 to 3/4 C. water and place the 2 squash halves, flesh side down, in your dish. Bake about 35 minutes in the preheated oven. You can check at 30 minutes however the squash is done when you are able to insert a sharp knife with little resistance. When the squash is done take a fork to rake the flesh into your “spaghetti”. Be careful not to rake through the skin because you are going to use that for the stuffing.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large deep pot heat the olive oil and when heated, put in the onion. Sauté till it has softened. (about 5 minutes) Add the garlic and sauté for about 2 more minutes. Stir in ingredients number # 5 through # 8, place a lid on the pot and let the sauce simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. If you are using the shrimp, now’s the time to put them in the sauce for 3 or so minutes or till they are heated through.
  5. Add the feta last and stir it in quickly.
  6. Spoon the sauce into your squash halves. I surrounded mine with some cold marinated hot Italian styled red peppers which I thought tasted quite good with this.
  7. If you wish, you can serve some crusty hot French bread with this. And of course a nice crispy light white wine would be nice to have as well. But even red is good with this dish.

 

 

Roasted Cheese Ratatouille-Versatile, (veggie only or with meat/egg)

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Roasted Ratatouille with Cheese and if you wish, eggs and/or meat

Lots of options here and all quite healthy

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  1. 1 small eggplant cut into 1/2 inch pieces. I left the skin on but if you wish, you can peel it. Also I salted it in a colander and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. After I rinsed it.
  2. 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  3. 1 small zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  4. 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 4 or 5 large mushrooms, sliced.
  6. 1-2 Tblsp. olive oil
  7. 1/4 Tsp. (or more if you wish a more exotic taste) of each of the following: cinnamon & nutmeg and S&P to taste
  8. 1-28 oz. canned chopped tomatoes with juice or whole can tomatoes (w/juice) that you’ve chopped
  9. 2-3 Tblsp. torn fresh basil leaves
  10. 1 Tblsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
  11. Half lb. lamb shoulder which you have ground (minus the bone of course) in your food processor. This I found is the most economical way of getting ground lamb. However, the butcher may have some as well for the same price and/or he also can grind up the shoulder meat for you. If you wish you can have even have up to 1 lb. or none at all if you want to be vegetarian. You can also substitute ground turkey, chicken or beef but lamb is delicious and more traditional. (optional)
  12. Mozarella, part skim, 4-6 ounces, thinly sliced and cut into 1/4 –inch strips
  13. 4 eggs (optional)
  14. Crusty French Bread with which to serve it or something else similar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. In a 9 X 14 inch Pyrex or other oven proof dish place ingredients 1 through 5 and drizzle with the olive oil. Roast until golden brown and tender. (about 45 minutes) About half way through, I stirred the veggies well. In fact, you can stir even more times if you wish.
  3. Brown the optional lamb, etc. in a bit of olive oil in a skillet stove top. Set aside.
  4. When the veggies are roasted, take your dish out and stir in the seasonings in # 7, the tomatoes and their juices in # 8, the basil leaves in #9 and the parsley in #10 and the optional ground meat in #11.
  5. Bake in the 400 F oven with a foil covering for 20 to 30 minutes till hot and bubbling.
  6. Now’s the time to top with the cheese and bake without the foil for another 10 minutes—or at least till the cheese is melted. I actually turned on the broiler for several minutes to get it browned.
  7. Alternative method of serving: If you didn’t add the meat and maybe want to add eggs to this dish, then before you add the cheese, make four indentations in your veggies, break in an egg and layer the cheese over all. Bake uncovered until the eggs are set and the cheese is melted—8-10 minutes.
  8. Another alternative for this dish: If you did use the meat and you’ve layered the cheese, and cooked it that way but still want an egg on top—fry the egg in a separate pan and when you serve the Ratatouille, place the egg on top. Plenty of protein here and it really is good. Remember, you can serve the left over Ratatouille (if you have any) for breakfast topped with an egg.

Margot’s Rainy Day Asian Shrimp Soup for One

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rainy day Asian Shrimp Soup

 

Margot’s Rainy Day Asian Shrimp Soup for One

It was our first blustery rainy day of the fall season and Hugo and I were by out lonesome’s reading a great book, “The Accursed” by Joyce Carol Oates. I had just finished another fabulous book: “A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story” that I hope you all will read. It actually truly is a “Must Read”.

I was a bit hungry so for a late lunch/early dinner, I felt like making something easy and light on the belly and something warm. For some reason, Asian came to my mind. From my freezer, I took out the remainder of my medium sized cooked, tail on shrimp and defrosted them. So, at least I knew what the main protein ingredient was going to be. I also found some rice noodles in the pantry. I’m not really an expert in cooking Asian flavored dishes, but those two ingredients are what came to my mind today. So, below is what the end result was and honestly, it was delicious and quite Asian tasting. It also was quick and easy to fix.

 

Ingredients:

  1. 18 precooked medium frozen shrimp w/o shell but w/tails—defrosted
  2. 1 medium yellow onion
  3. 1 stalk celery
  4. 2 garlic cloves
  5. 1 Tblsp. butter
  6. 1 Tblsp. olive oil
  7. 1/4 tsp. sesame oil
  8. 1/4 tsp. soy sauce
  9. Dash of red pepper flakes (depends how spicy hot you wish it to be)
  10. 1/4 tsp. Chinese 5 spices
  11. 2 cups heated vegetable bouillon
  12. Flat rice noodles—you judge how many but remember, this is just for one
  13. Whole peanuts (optional)
  14. Shredded coconut (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. In your food processor (I used my small one), place onion, celery, garlic cloves and process till finely chopped. Of course, you can do this by hand if you wish.
  2. In a large pot heated over medium heat add the butter, olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, pepper flakes and Chinese five spices till somewhat bubbly. Add the processed celery, garlic, onion and stir for about 3-5 minutes till veggies are softened.
  3. Add the heated vegetable bouillon and bring to a soft boil.
  4. Let simmer for about 3-5 minutes with a lid.
  5. Remove the lid and add the rice noodles. Gently boil for 8 minutes.
  6. Add the shrimp and boil another 2 minutes.
  7. Serve in a large soup bowl and if you wish garnish with whole peanuts, shredded coconut and even parsley or cilantro if you have some of that.

 

 

Avocados Stuffed with Lemon-Tarragon (etc.) Chicken Salad Sided with Pickled Radishes

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Avocados Stuffed with Lemon-Tarragon (etc.) Chicken Salad Sided with Pickled Radishes and Halved Tomatoes   3-6 servings

September is my birthday month so I plan to have lots of friends over for lunches and such to celebrate my longevity on this earth as we know it. Cooking and smoozing are some of my favorite activities therefore to celebrate another year gone by, I plan to do a lot of that this month.

 

To start the month off, I had today a little mid-day lunch for one old friend and one newfound friend.   That’s a nice combination, don’t you think? Avocados were on special at our markets, so this is the recipe that I served. I sided it with a platter containing a bit of goat cheese and antipasto meats, a basket of crusty, fresh French baguette slices, and on the individual serving plates I surrounded the stuffed avocados with fresh halved cherry tomatoes and quickly homemade pickled radishes.   I also shared a bit of wine for those of us who are winos and for my non-alcohol drinking friend, my wonderful homemade lemon/lavender drink.  For desert, I made a bit of coconut/lemon non-churn ice cream and topped it with fresh raspberries—a really wonderful combination. Of course a nice good strong cup of coffee and lots more great conversation followed. Before we knew it, my 1pm lunch turned into a 5:45pm good-bye. Nothing like a long lingering luncheon with good food and great people to help make your birthday month very special indeed!!!!

 

Oh yes, I almost forgot, for the background music, Bandit, my green singing finch, serenaded us with his songs, symphonies and sonatas.   Perfect indeed!!!!!

 

Ingredients for the Chicken Salad Mix:

  1. 1 Tblsp. or a bit more fresh tarragon
  2. 1/3 C. onion
  3. 1 ½ C. diced cooked chicken
  4. 2 celery stalks
  5. 1/4 C. chopped apple
  6. S&P
  7. 2 Tblsp.( or 1 more Tblsp. if you wish a creamier version) mayonnaise
  8. 1 ½ Tblsp. lemon juice plus some to sprinkle over the freshly cut avocados to keep them green
  9. 3 small/medium avocados and one extra to make sure you have enough good ones for your luncheon because I have found that some avocados are decidedly better than others.
  10. Lettuce leaves for serving.

 

Directions for the Chicken Salad Mix:

  1. In a processer, process for just a couple of pulses, so as to make a rough diced mix, ingredients # 1 through # 6.
  2. In the processer bowl (or if you wish, another bowl in which you have added the mix), add the mayonnaise & lemon juice.
  3. Put in the refrigerator for at least an hour or two or better yet, overnight.

 

To Serve:

  1. Halve and pit the avocados. Gently rub some lemon juice over the exposed flesh to prevent them from browning. Scoop 1/4 (more or less) of the chicken salad mix into each of the avocado halves.
  2. I served my stuffed avocado halves on a glass plate which sat on top of a larger white plate that I had lined with fresh large lettuce leaves. Each glass plate had 2 small stuffed avocado halves surrounded by halved cherry tomatoes and quartered pickled radishes.
  3. Below, please see the recipe for the pickled radishes (easy and not time consuming).

 

Pickled Radishes:

Ingredients for the Pickled Radishes:

  1. 1 bunch radishes
  2. 3/4 C. white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or champagne vinegar
  3. 3/4 C. water
  4. 3 Tblsp. honey, maple syrup or agave nectar
  5. 2 Tsp. salt
  6. 1 Tsp. red pepper flakes or less if you prefer less spice
  7. 1/2 Tsp. mustard seeds (optional)
  8. Optional add-ins: garlic cloves, peppercorns, fennel seeds, coriander seeds—use your imagination

 

Instructions for the Pickled Radishes:

  1. Prepare the radishes by slicing off the tops and bottoms; slice or cut into small quarters or eighths.
  2. For the brine, in a small sauce pan, combine ingredients # 2 through #8 and bring mixture to boil, stirring occasionally.
  3. Take pan off heat and place radishes in pan; let mixture cool to room temp; or if you have just an hour to make this, cover the pan and place in frig. till cool.

 

Massouka Margot’s Way

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Massouka Margot’s Way

moussaka,tomato, bread plated

Serves 4-6

 

At the market today eggplant and shoulder lamb chops were on sale—so of course this led me to salivating for a good Massouka. In my estimation, this is not an absolutely gorgeous dish to view, even when plated, and I do like aesthetically pleasing dishes to serve. However, it’s so good to eat, particularly when you make it the time consuming way, that I have forgiven its looks. I prefer it without sliced potatoes, however, it’s good with as well. I add instead of potatoes a yellow, orange or red sliced pepper and 2 zucchini sliced. I also used my processor for most of the chopping, etc. They come in so handy! I serve it sided with a crusty loaf of French bread and a nice light salad. And for desert, it’s fun to have some fresh cut up fruit along with Greek yogurt.  So, when you have a minute to spare, do give it a try. Also remember, you don’t have to follow the amounts of the ingredients exactly—it’s a very versatile dish and you can alter and make it just to your very own taste and liking.

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Ingredients:

  1. 1 large eggplant-slightly peeled—leave strips of peel about 1 inch wide in-between peeled sections and slice in 1/2 inch slices.
  2. 1/4 lb. potatoes, peeled, boiled whole till just barely done, drained, cooled and sliced in 1/4 inch slices (optional)
  3. 1 yellow, orange or red pepper-seeded and thinly sliced (optional)
  4. 2 medium zucchini, sliced in 1/4 inch slices (optional)
  5. 2 egg whites slightly beaten with a dash of water and placed on a plate for primary eggplant dipping –SAVE THE YOLKS FOR THE BECHAMEL SAUCE
  6. 1 C. (or more if needed) plain bread crumbs placed on one plate for secondary eggplant dipping plus save some extra bread crumbs to place on the bottom of your final baking dish.
  1. Some olive oil to moisten your baking dish and also to moisten the aluminum foil on the cookie pan to bake your eggplant
  2. 1C to 1 ½ C. grated Parmesan cheese or grated/crumbled sheep or goat milk cheese

 

Ingredients for the meat filling: 

  1. 1 lb. shoulder lamb chops if you can’t find ground lamb in the store. Remove meat from chop bone and grind in processor. You can use ground beef but honestly, I love the lamb flavor in this dish.
  2. 1/2 to 3/4 large yellow onion—diced
  3. 1 garlic clove, minced
  4. 1 handful of sliced mushrooms
  5. 1/4 C. chopped parsley
  6. 1/4 C. red wine
  7. 1/2 Tsp. ground cinnamon
  8. 1/8 Tsp. ground allspice
  9. 1 C. (divided in two portions) fresh plum tomatoes, crushed in the processor
  10. 1/2 Tsp. sugar
  11. 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  12. S&P to taste

 

Ingredients for the Bechamel Sauce:

  1. 1/4 C. unsalted butter
  2. 1/4 C. flour
  3. 1 C. whole milk, warmed
  4. 2 egg yolks slightly beaten
  5. Dash of ground allspice

 

 

 

Directions:

 

For the Meat Filling

  1. In a large and deep pot (but you can use a sauté pan), brown the lamb until the pink color disappears. Add onion and mushrooms and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute or till fragrant. Add the wine and simmer until it reduces a bit. Add the spices, parsley, tomato paste, 1/2 C. crushed tomatoes and sugar. Allow the sauce to simmer on low uncovered for about 15 minutes so that the excess, if any, liquid disappears. It should look like a chunky tomato sauce. Season to taste with S&P. Now taste some more and see if you want to add some more cinnamon and allspice.

 

For the Eggplants

  1. Liberally salt each eggplant slice on each side and place them in a colander with a plate on top. Then place a heavy can on top of the plate. Let the eggplant slices sit and weep for at least 15 minutes but better if you can wait an hour.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Place aluminum foil on a large cookie sheet and oil it.
  4. When the eggplant slices are ready, wash each slice and pat dry it with a paper towel. Then dip each side of each slice first in the egg whites and then in the bread crumbs and place on the cookie sheet.
  5. Bake the eggplants for 30 minutes but at 15 minutes, turn the egg plants over to the undone side.
  6. When the eggplants are done, turn the oven down to 350 degrees.

 

For the Bechamel Sauce: (If you wish a liberal serving of this sauce, double the recipe)

  1. Melt butter in a skillet over low heat and using a whisk, add the flour to the melted butter whisking continually to make a smooth past. Allow the flour to cook for a minute but do NOT allow it to brown because otherwise it won’t be béchamel sauce; it’ll be brown sauce.
  2. Add the warmed milk to the mixture in a steady stream, whisking continually. Simmer over low heat until it thickens a bit. WATCH CAREFULLY.
  3. Take the skillet off the heat and slowly whisk in the egg yolks and a pinch of nutmeg. Return to low heat and keep whisking until the sauce thickens.

 

Assembling the Moussaka:

  1. In a well oiled large round (10” or 12”) Pyrex dish, sprinkle the bottom with breadcrumbs. You are going to make at least 2 layers but it can be even three—so divide your ingredients accordingly.
  2. Leaving about 1/4″ space around the edges, place a layer of all of the potatoes if you are using them and if not, then start with placing a layer of sliced eggplant, then some of the remainder of the 1/2 C. of crushed tomatoes, and then the zucchini and pepper, then some of the meat sauce, then some cheese and so on except be sure to save some cheese for placing on top of the béchamel sauce.
  3. Then pour the béchamel sauce over the eggplant and be sure to allow the sauce to fill the sides and corners of the dish. Smooth the sauce on top with a spatula and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  4. Bake in the 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until the béchamel sauce is a nice golden brown color. Allow to cool for 15-20 minu8tes before slicing and serving.
  5. This dish can be refrigerated and made ahead up to when you place the béchamel sauce. If you do that, let the dish come up to room temp and make the béchamel sauce right before baking.