Spaghetti Squash Casserole

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I’ve never participated in the Alphabakes Challenge before, but there’s always a time to start new things! Alphabakes, hosted by Ros and Caroline, where each month bloggers are challenged to make a dish that features an ingredient made with the random recipe of the month. This month’s random letter is S. You can find more information about this month’s Alphabakes here.

The cold weather has made an increase in squash consumption in my house. Since squash starts with an S (and so does Spaghetti Squash!) this seemed to be the perfect dish to share with Alphabakes.

I wish I could claim this recipe. It is however not mine. Everyday Maven posted this recipe and I was intrigued, for good reason. I should have roasted the squash the day before and if you do make this recipe, you should also roast your squash earlier than I did. By roasting the squash, prepping the dish, and then baking the casserole all back to back made this a pretty time consuming meal. But it really was worth it.

Spaghetti Squash Casserole
(source)

Ingredients
1 large spaghetti squash (you can prep the spaghetti squash in advance, but the directions to roast it are below)
1 egg
15-oz ricotta cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp Italian seasoning
3 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
1/2 lb ground beef
1 head kale, sliced into thin ribbons
15-oz crushed tomatoes (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Directions

1. First prepare the squash. Preheat your oven to 350. Slice the top end of the squash. Cut the squash longwise so that you have two halves. Remove the seeds from the inside of the squash, scraping clean.

2. Place the squash halves cut side down on the baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes.

3. Once the squash is cooked, remove and let cool. Once the squash is cool enough to touch (but not cold) take a fork and scrape the inside of the squash, to remove the strands of the spaghetti squash. Place them into a bowl.

4. Now you can prepare the rest of the casserole. Combine the egg, ricotta, 1 tsp salt, ground black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning in a small bowl.

5. In another small bowl combine the Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, and 2 tbsp olive oil. Set aside.

6. Turn the heat on the oven up to 425. Spray a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside. Place a large skillet (or a big pot) over medium-high heat. Once hot add 1 tbsp olive oil. Then add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until tender.

7. Add the ground beef and break up with a wooden spoon. Cook until almost all the pink is gone.

8. Add the kale and crushed tomatoes. Stir to combine. Place the lid on the skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the kale is wilted.

9. Remove the lid and add the spaghetti squash. Mix until well combined. Remove the dish from the heat and stir in the ricotta cheese mixture.

10. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish and use a spoon to even out the top. Bake for 40 minutes.

11. Remove from heat and top with the breading. Spray with cooking spray and bake for 10 more minutes.

12. Let the dish sit for 10 minutes before cutting into it.

* serves 8
* besides Alphabakes, I have shared this recipe with Weekend Cooking

By the way, entries for Pantry Party should be entered during this next week!

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Spicy Marinated Pork on top of Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Milk

 

I have a love affair with mashed sweet potatoes. When I was a little girl I LOVED mashed potatoes. I would eat them and eat them and never stop. As I have grown up, I continue to love mashed potatoes. But recently with my discovery of sweet potatoes, I think they may be even better than a standard mash – well, I guess sometimes at least. This was one of those times though. This dish needed these sweet potatoes. A normal person making this dish would have paired the pork with rice. The pork recipe is actually for Dae Ji Bool Goji (Korean Spicy Marinated Pork). The suggested way to serve the dish was with rice and kimchi.

But sweet potatoes? Why not.

The pork is really spicy. The sweet potatoes helped balance the level of spiciness and made it palatable (otherwise I think the pork would have been too spicy.) The flavors of the pork was wonderful paired with the sweet potatoes/coconut milk. This is a dish I’d make again!

Spicy Marinated Pork

Ingredients
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup garlic chili sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tbsp ginger, minced
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 onion, sliced
1 lb pork loin, cut into pieces
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Directions

1. Stir together the vinegar, soy sauce, garlic chili sauce, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, black pepper, green onions, sugar, and yellow onion in a large bowl. Mix in the pork and evenly coat it with the marinade. Put in the refrigerator and marinate for 3 minutes.

2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the pork into the skillet in batches and cook until no longer pink in the center, about 5 minutes.

* serves 4
* 441 calories per serving

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Milk

Ingredients
1 1/2 lb sweet potato, peeled and cubed
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Directions

1. Fill a large pot with water. Place over high heat until boiling. Add the sweet potato and boil until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the sweet potatoes and return to the pot.

2. Add the coconut milk, ginger, and salt to the sweet potatoes. Mash until the consistency of mashed potatoes.

* serves 4
* 157 calories per serving

* Shared with Sweet Treats & Swanky Stuff Saturday & Weekend Cooking

Worcestershire Pork Chops and Vegetable Fried Rice

This was actually intended to be a soy sauce marinated pork chop, but I didn’t realize how low we were on soy sauce and didn’t buy any. Unfortunately by the time pork chop night came, the soy sauce was all gone because the boyfriend dumped it on his rice on Black Pepper Chicken night. I was racking my brain trying to figure out what to use without going to the store and opted for the Worcestershire. I later realized I had teriyaki sauce I could have used, but the Worcestershire worked well and the chops were delicious!

Worcestershire Pork Chops 

Ingredients
2 pork chops
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp sake
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus some more for cooking
1 tsp sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ginger, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp corn starch
1/2 tbsp onion, minced

Directions

1. Combine the ingredients in a ziplock bag. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal. Shake the bag so the pork chops are covered. Put in the fridge for 20 minutes.

2. In a skillet heat up a little bit of oil. Cook long enough for the pork chops to brown on one side. Flip and let brown on the other side.

3. Cover with a lid, lower heat, and cook for 3 minutes.

4. Add any extra marinade to the skillet.  Increase the heat. Once simmering, pour over the chops.

* serves 2
* 261 calories per serving

 The rice was also a hit. I haven’t been very good about eating my veggies. I really need to do something about that, because I obviously need them. This rice dish was a nice way to incorporate veggies in without being a “veggie” dish.

Vegetable Fried Rice

Ingredients
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp uncooked rice
3/4 cups water
1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/4 mushrooms, chopped
2 oz canned bamboo shoots
1 carrot, chopped
3 tbsp snow peas

Directions

1. Cook the rice either in a pot or a rice cooker.

2. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a skillet. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook until tender.

3. In a medium bowl blend the eggs and 1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce. Stir into the skillet and scramble with the garlic and onions. Remove the eggs from the skillet.

4. Heat the remaining oil. Place the mushrooms and celery in the skillet and cook until the mushrooms are tender and release liquid. Add the bamboo shoots, carrots, snow peas, and rice. Heat through. Then add the eggs and stir to combine

* serves 2
*146 calories per serving

* Shared with What’s Cooking Wednesday

Around The World in 52 Weeks: Sarma

Though sarma is traditionally a Serbian dish, Montenegro, my county for the week borders Serbia. Food in Montenegro has both Italian and Serbian influences. These wraps can be made using grape leaves, chard leaves, or cabbage leaves. I opted for the cabbage as I had one in my refrigerator and it didn’t require a trip to a specialty store (as the grape leaves would have.)

The only thing I regret about this dish was not having started it earlier. It takes three hours to cook, so starting dinner at 6PM was just a dumb idea on my part. When dinner was finally read around 9PM I indulged in these delicious wraps. The sauerkraut made them the perfect amount of bitter. I would definitely make these again.

Sarma
(source)

Ingredients
1 head cabbage
1 lb ground turkey
1/4 lb ground pork
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 egg
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 can sauerkraut
1 cup tomato sauce
water, as needed

Directions

1. In a large bowl combine the meat, rice, onion, egg, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Form meat mixture into oblong balls, about 1/2 cup of meat each. Wrap each ball with a cabbage leaf.

2. Spread the sauerkraut on the bottom of a pan. Place the cabbage rolls, seam side down, on top of the sauerkraut. Pour tomato sauce on top and then add enough water so that the cabbage rolls are completely covered.

3. Bring the liquid to a boil. Cover and reduce heat, allowing to simmer. Simmer for 3 hours.

* serves 3
* Shared with KB and Whitesnakes’s Simply Delish Saturdays.

I’d like to see people travel the globe with me.
Every Saturday I will be posting my recipe, as well as pictures to ethnic cuisines you have made and want to share.

– You must mention The Law Student’s Cookbook‘s Around The World In 52 Weeks in the entry you link. You can either use a link or use the banner.
– In your post you must  at least mention what cuisine the dish is.
– Email me your recipe at elizabeth@crabtech.net. Make sure to include:

* Your name or blog name
* The direct link to your post
* A picture of the dish or permission to pull a picture from the post

– Make sure to email me by Saturday at 12noon Pacific Standard Time
– If you enter a recipe you will be automatically entered into my current giveaway.

Around The World in 52 Weeks: Barbecue Limas

This week my kitchen to the Marshall Islands. I was going to make dessert as well as dinner, but I kind of forgot I didn’t have any heavy cream and had to say goodbye to my plans to make a coconut cream macadamia cake, because I was too lazy to go to the grocery store.

While I didn’t make the coconut cream cake, I did use an ingredient I haven’t use before (which by the way is another of my resolutions for the year.) I had no idea until I made last week’s meal plan that butter beans and lima beans were actually the same thing. I had a can of butter beans in my cabinet, for whatever reason, and they have been sitting there forever because I had no idea what a butter bean was. I learned this week that it’s a lima bean! I’d never cooked with butter/lima beans before, but this Marshall Islands dish was delicious.

Of course the American is using canned lima beans.. But if we were actually on the Marshall Islands in the Caribbean we would have fresh beans that grow wild on the island. Cite.

I wasn’t too sure about this recipe. But after it was made and I was eating it, it was so good. And my boyfriend liked it too. We like the Marshall Islands.

Barbecue Limas (adapted from here)

Ingredients
1 can lima beans (or butter beans)
6 oz spicy Italian sausage
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 16-oz can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp mustard
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar

Directions

1. Brown the sausage, onion, and garlic in a skillet. Add the tomato sauce, mustard, and brown sugar and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes.

2. Pour the sausage mixture into a baking dish. Mix with lima beans and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

* serves 2
* I’m sharing this dish with KB and Whitesnake’s Simply Delish Saturdays.

I’d like to see people travel the globe with me.
Every Saturday I will be posting my recipe, as well as pictures to ethnic cuisines you have made and want to share.

– You must mention The Law Student’s Cookbook‘s Around The World In 52 Weeks in the entry you link. You can either use a link or use the banner.
– In your post you must  at least mention what cuisine the dish is.
– Email me your recipe at elizabeth@crabtech.net. Make sure to include:

* Your name or blog name
* The direct link to your post
* A picture of the dish or permission to pull a picture from the post

– Make sure to email me by Saturday at 12noon Pacific Standard Time
– If you enter a recipe you will be automatically entered into my current giveaway.

Chicken Saltimbocca over Noodles with Sauteed Kale and Garlic

Until recently my two favorite vegetables were sweet potato and spinach. Recently a new veggie has made the list: kale. Seeing kale
in the store, I would never suspect that it would be something  I wanted to eat so bad. But having kale for the second time, it’s definitely finding a way into my regular diet.

The chicken saltimbocca required more work than what I would normally put into a weeknight meal, but luckily I still am on break! The sage had such a delicious flavor. And the prosciutto. Basically, the whole dish was YUM!

 

Chicken Saltimbocca

Ingredients
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
8 fresh sage leaves
4 slices prosciutto
1 3/4 cup flour
3 tbsp Brummel&Brown (or other butter replacement or butter)
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth

Directions

1. Lay the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap.  With a mallet pound the meat to 1/4 inch thick. Season each breast with salt and pepper.

2. Arrange 2 sage leaves on top of each chicken breast. Wrap 1 slice prosciutto around the chicken like a belt, covering the sage. Pour 1/4 cup of flour in a pie pan. Dredge the chicken in the flour.

3. In a large frying pan, melt 2 tbsp Brummel&Brown. Add the chicken in the skillet and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until cooked all the way through. Remove from the pan and set aside, covering to keep warm.

4. Reduce heat to medium. In the same pan melt the remaining Brummel&Brown and whisk in the remaining 1 1/2 tbsp of flour and stir for 1 minute. Whisk in the wine and the broth and cook until the sauce has thickened. Serve the sauce over the chicken.

* serves 4
* 318 calories per serving
* the calorie count does not include the pasta

Sauteed Kale and Garlic

Ingredients
1/2 lb fresh kale, stem removed and leaves chopped
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups water

Directions

 1. In the olive oil saute the red onion and garlic, until they begin to turn brown.

2. In the skillet add the kale with 1/2 cup water. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until all the water has evaporated. Add another 1/2 cup of water and cook the water off again. Repeat one more time.

* serves 4
* 62 calories per serving

Slow Cooked Hoisin Pork

I love my slow cooker, but for some reason I don’t give it much use. This doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense, because given the fact that I am considerably busy with school and work and just life in general, the slow cooker would make sure that I had dinner at a reasonable hour without having to rush home from working and going to school to make sure I have time to eat before running to my night class again.

Whenever I use the slow cooker I get the same thoughts, but just as fast as I think it the slow cooker makes its way to the back of the closet where it sleeps until I beckon it again.

This dinner was absolutely delicious. I had this chunk of pork that I had cut into two pieces. Unfortunately the first chunk just turned into a huge fail with another dish I made a few nights before.

Using the slow cooker was definitely the way to make sure this pork was cooked to perfection!

I am only going to share the pork recipe in this post. I served it with white rice and a peanut cabbage slaw. The slaw wasn’t something I’d make again, so it’s not worth sharing.

Slow Cooked Hoisin Pork

Ingredients
3 lbs pork, trimmed of thick fat
Salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 piece of ginger about 2 1/2 inches long, peeled and grated
about 7 1/2 oz hoisin sauce

Directions

 1. Rub the trimmed pork with salt and pepper. Put it in the slow cooker. Add the garlic, tucking the cloves around the pork. Put the grated ginger in the slow cooker. Pour the hoisin sauce over everything. Cook on low for 10 hours.

2. When the 10 hours has passed, with two forks shred the pork and make sure to mix the sauce around.

* serves about 6 – this kind of depends on what sized servings you get
* no calories calculations on this one due to my uncertainty regarding amount of servings

Swedish Cardamom Meatballs over Orange Mashed Potatoes

After having made Swedish meatballs several weeks ago, when I happened upon this other Swedish meatball variation, I was all over it. While I’ve seen Swedish meatballs served over noodles or by themselves, I decided I wanted to serve them over my favorite mashed potatoes ever. Matt also loves these mashed potatoes which is surprising because he’s usually such a traditionalist with food. These orange mashed potatoes are sweeter than your average mashed potato with a hint of surprise.

The cardamom and the orange paired beautifully together.
It was a meal I wish I had more of.

Swedish Cardamom Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 3 egg
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 1 cup Brummel&Brown, divided
  • 6 cups sliced yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons dry gravy maker mix
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

Directions

1. In a large mixing bowl soak the breadcrumbs in milk for 5 minutes. Mix in the meat, eggs, and chopped onion. Season with cardamom, salt, and pepper to taste.  Roll into 1 1/2 inch meatballs.

2. Saute the meatballs in 1/4 cup Brummel&Brown for about 20 minutes.

3. In a separate skillet saute the sliced onions with 1/4 cup Brummel&Brown and sugar, until caramelized about 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Remove the meatballs and onions from both pans and set on separate plates and set aside. Deglaze both pans with the remaining 1/2 cup of Brummel&Brown and beef broth. Cook over high for one minute and then combine the contents of both the pans into one.

5. Stir in the cream and caramelized onions into the pan. Season with gravy seasoning, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves. Bring to a simmer. Mix the water and the cornstarch together and then stir into the sauce. Add meatballs and simmer approximately 20-30 minutes.

* serves 12
* A LOT of calories per serving 😉

Ground Pork and Bacon Wraps

I told you in my last post that after making the Swedish Meatballs I had excess thawed ground beef and ground pork. Rather than get out more meat to use, I decided to alter the recipes I had upcoming in my meal plan to make sure everything got used up. This meal initially was supposed to be chicken and bacon fajita. Since the ground beef was used in the tetrazzini, it only followed that the ground pork was going into the next dish: the fajitas, which I am going to call wraps instead since I did not use fajita sized tortillas.

The flavor of the ground pork plus the… more pork (bacon) was delicious. This was such an easy recipe, but still had a ton of flavor packed into the tortilla.

Ground Pork and Bacon Wraps

Ingredients
12 oz ground pork
3 slices bacon, diced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups mushrooms, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
4 multi-grain tortillas (I used La Tortilla Factory tortillas)

Directions

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-heat. Cook the pork until it is no longer pink in the middle. Set aside.

2. Cook the bacon until the bacon begins to release some oil.  Stir in the onion and bell peppers. Cook until the onions are translucent and the bacon is crispy. Stir in the tomatoes and mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms are soft.

3. Warm the tortillas. Scoop 1/4 of the mixture into each tortilla. Roll and enjoy!

* serves 4
* 1 wrap per serving
* 413 calories per serving

Swedish Meatballs

This was a sparse meal. I should have made a noodle. I did have a vegetable, but it wasn’t worth sharing with you. You know, I only share the best.

Despite the minimalness of this picture and the meatballs, the flavor was so absolutely delicious and despite the fact that it looks like I didn’t have very much to eat, it was very rich and filled me up.

These meatballs weren’t exactly easy to make. They also weren’t exactly hard. But they definitely were time consuming.  This is a dish when you want something yummy, but not for when you’re in a hurry!

Swedish Meatballs

Ingredients

MEATBALLS
1 onion, peeled and grated (through a cheese grater)
2 tbsp Brummel&Brown
2/3 cup skim milk
4 slices of bread, torn into pieces
2 eggs
1 lb ground pork
1 1/2 lb ground beef
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp ground black pepper

SAUCE
6 tbsp Brummel&Brown
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart beef broth
3/4 cup sour cream

Directions

1. Saute the grated onion in the butter spread over medium heat until translucent. Remove from heat and let cool.

2. In a medium bowl soak the bread in the milk. Set aside for 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes pulverize the bread in a food processor and pour into a large bowl.

3.  Add the onions to the bread. Add the rest of the meatball ingredients to the bowl and with clean hands, combine the ingredients into well combined. In 1 tablespoon portions, shape the meat mixture into meatballs with your hands. Set them aside as you go until all the meatballs are formed.

4. Heat the 6 tbsp of Brummel&Brown for sauce in a large saute pan over medium heat. Once melted, reduce the heat and add the meatballs. Brown the meatballs on all sides and remove from the skillet, without cooking all the way through.

5. Slowly whisk the flour into the butter you cooked the meatballs in. Let the flour cook until it is a coffee-with-cream color, mixing regularly.

6. In another pot, heat the beef broth until it simmers. Slowly add the beef stock to the flour a little at a time. Keep stirring, until it becomes loose and silky.

7. Add the meatballs to the sauce, turning the heat to low. Cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes.

8. Remove the meatballs and place in a serving dish. Add the sour cream to the sauce and mix well. Serve over the meatballs.

* serves 8