Chili Shrimp and Coconut Risotto

We got this recipe from Real Simple and as we were in the south decided to try it. All the ingredients were easy to find.  While in Hilton Head we had it couple of times and we really enjoyed it. At home ingredients especially the chili paste and shrimp deveined and peeled were a little harder to find but the meal was just as tasty. A note for preparation I generally do the rice earlier in the day and store in the fridge.




  • 2 Tbsps of olive oil
  • 1 pound of shrimp deveined and peeled
  • 2 cloves of garlic ( if chili paste has garlic omit this ingredient)
  • 1 Tsp kosher salt ( I used sea salt)
  • 1 14 ounce can of coconut milk ( I used lite coconut milk)
  • 4 cups of jasmine rice. ( on one occasion I used sticky rice)
  • 1 cup of bean sprouts
  • 1 scallion thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp of fresh lime juice
  • fresh basil leaves for garnish


  1. Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the shrimp, garlic and salt and cook until the shrimp is pink and just cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove shrimp and set aside.
  3. Add chili paste and coconut milk to the pan and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add rice, bean sprouts, scallion, lime juice and shrimp and cook until heated through, 3 – 4 minutes, Serve garnished with basil leaves
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Hearty Salisbury Steak

We got this recipe from a Taste of Home magazine. We really enjoy it and it is easy to make. Here is a picture of the Taste of Home version.

Hearty Salisbury Steaks Recipe


  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup crushed saltines ( 15 crackers) (I substitute 1/2cup of Panko bread crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup egg substitute ( I substitute 1 egg beaten)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 envelope of reduced sodium onion soup mix
  • 2 tbsps. all-purpose flour
  • (I also add 1 tbsp. of creamy horseradish sauce sometimes)


  1. In a large bowl combine onion, saltines or Panko, egg substitute or beaten egg, pepper, horseradish if using and beef, mix lightly and form into 5 patties.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil medium heat. Add patties; cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove patties and keep warm; discard drippings. (if using extra lean this step may not be necessary).
  3. In a bowl combine water, soup mix and flour and blend. Add mixture to skillet bring to a boil. Return patties to the skillet if they were removed cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.
  4. Serve with mashed potatoes and favourite vegetable for a delicious meal. (Also good with scalloped potatoes)
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Steak Pizzaiola With Arugula

We found this recipe in the Rachel Ray magazine, and cut it down to serve the two of us, instead of 4 people.

It smelled wonderful, as it was cooking, and tasted delicious. There were lots of steps in the preparation, so Mr. D was a bit tired by the time he finished cooking it. The effort was worthwhile though, and he promises to make it again.

To give you the big picture, here’s a summary of the steps:

  • Cook the pasta
  • While it’s cooking, cook the steak in the frying pan
  • Put the steak in a broiler pan
  • Prepare the tomato sauce, and pour over the steak
  • Top with cheese, and broil
  • Add parmesan and arugula to pasta
  • Serve the pasta and steak

Steak Pizzaiola With Arugula


  • 4 ounces linguine
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 boneless sirloin or rib-eye steaks (about 6 oz. each)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 can (10 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 bunch arugula (2 oz.)


  1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook linguine according to package instructions. Drain; return to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium-low heat.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until golden, 5 minutes; transfer to a cutting board and finely chop.
  4. Season the steaks with salt. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the steaks and cook, turning once, for 5 minutes for medium-rare; transfer to a broiler-safe pan and reserve the skillet.
  5. Preheat the broiler. Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, their juices and the garlic; season with salt and pepper.
  6. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  7. Pour the sauce over the steaks and top with the mozzarella.
  8. Broil until the cheese is melted and browned in spots, about 3 minutes.
  9. Place the pasta pot over the medium heat and add the remaining 2 tbsp. oil, the parmesan and arugula.
  10. Cook until the arugula is wilted; season with salt and pepper. Serve the steaks with the pasta.


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Empanada Night: Turkey or Spiced Beef

realsimpleThe Chef got adventurous last week, and cooked up two kinds of empanadas – Turkey, and Spiced Beef.

It was his first attempt at empanadas, and it was a great success.

He found the recipes on the Real Simple magazine website, and followed the instructions, with just a few tweaks.

Large and Small

The beef recipe created 24 mini empanadas, and the turkey recipe created 4 large ones. The chef split the filling, so we ended up with 12 minis and 2 large empanadas of each type.

The empanadas were brushed with an egg wash, and then baked, and they came out of the oven looking golden brown. We had an arugula and spinach salad on the side, to balance out the richness of the empanadas.

Ideas for Next Time

For sauces, we used sour cream and salsa, but ketchup and/or mustard might have been good too. There is plenty of flavour in the fillings, so you don’t need much else.

I don’t even want to think about the calorie count of this meal, but it delicious, and you can see the results in the picture below. If you’re watching your calories, you could make one of the fillings, with a bit more liquid, and serve over brown rice.

Freezing the Empanadas

The recipes each serve four, so we froze the large empanadas, and 12 of the small ones, unbaked. A few days later, we took a few small ones out of the freezer, then thawed and baked them. They were just as delicious as the original ones.

Our Baked Empanadas

Here is a picture of our tasty mini empanadas, and the side salad. The recipes are shown below.


Turkey Empanadas


  • 3  tbsp  olive oil
  • 3/4  pound  ground turkey
  • 1  onion, chopped
  • 1  clove garlic, chopped
  • 1  tsp  cumin
  • 1/3  cup  raisins
  • 1/2  cup  pitted olives
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2  refrigerated rolled piecrusts, halved


  1. Heat oven to 375° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the turkey, onion, garlic, and cumin and cook, breaking the meat up with a spoon, until browned, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the raisins and olives; season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  5. Top the 4 piecrust halves with the turkey mixture; fold in half and seal the edges.
  6. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Serves 4

Spiced Beef Empanadas


  • 1  tbsp  olive oil
  • 1  small onion, chopped
  • 1/2  pound extra lean ground beef
  • 1/3  cup  golden raisins
  • 2  tbsp  ketchup
  • 1/4  tsp  ground cinnamon
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2  refrigerated rolled piecrusts
  • 1  large egg, beaten


  1. Heat oven to 375º F.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 6 minutes.
  4. Add the beef and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Stir in the raisins, ketchup, cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  6. Using a 2½-inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles from the piecrusts.
  7. Divide the beef mixture among the circles, brush the edges with water, fold in half, and press with a fork to seal.
  8. Transfer to a baking sheet and brush with the egg. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Makes 24


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Honey Mustard Chicken With Arugula Plum Salad

For dinner tonight, the Chef made this delicious honey mustard chicken, and arugula salad. The original recipe, from Real Simple, serves 4, and we reduced the amounts, so it would serve the 2 of us.

The thyme was a little strong, so instead of 1/2 tablespoon, we’ll use 1 teaspoon next time. If you love thyme, use 1/2 tablespoon.

We added blueberries to the salad, and they tasted great, and added a nice touch of colour to the salad, contrasting with the orange flesh of the plums. You can see a picture of our salad, below the recipe.

Honey Mustard Chicken With Arugula Plum Salad

  • 1.5  tbsp honey
  • 1  tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1  tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2.5  tbsp olive oil
  • 4  bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1.25 pounds)
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1  tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1  bunch arugula, thick stems removed (3 cups)
  • 1  plum, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, mustard, thyme, and 1 tablespoon oil.
  2. Heat grill to medium-low. Season the chicken with a dash of salt and pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon of each).
  3. Grill, covered, turning occasionally, until cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes; brush frequently with the honey mixture during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, the remaining 1.5 tablespoons of oil, and a dash of salt and pepper.
  5. Add the arugula, plums and blueberries, and toss to combine. Serve with the chicken.



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Quick Bean and Spam Pie

spamThis recipe comes from a mid-70′s government cookbook, "Your Money’s Worth in Food". Over the years, we’ve enjoyed many of the recipes from this sensible cookbook, like the Swiss Steak that I made again tonight.

We’ve never tried this bean and Spam pie recipe though. It doesn’t sound appealing to me, but The Chef, who enjoys fried baloney (yuck!) might like it. What do you think? Would you eat this hearty Spam pie?

Quick Bean and Spam Pie

  • 1 12-oz can luncheon meat (Spam)
  • 1 19-oz can baked beans
  • 1/4 cup chopped pickle or pickle relish
  • 1 tbsp prepared mustard
  • 4 oz nippy process cheese, grated or cut into small cubes
  1. Cut the Spam into thin slices, and arrange around the inner edge of a 9" pie plate, overlapping the slices, like petals. (This makes it pretty, as well as delicious!)
  2. Combine the beans, pickles and mustard, and pour into the centre of the pie plate.
  3. Sprinkle the cheese on top.
  4. Bake at 350°F, for 30 minutes, or until bubbly (the pie, not you)

Serves 4.



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Slow Cooker Beef With Tomato-Wine Sauce

Yesterday, the Chef was busy all day, and company was coming for dinner, so I was left in charge of dinner. Fortunately, there was a good-sized blade roast in the freezer, and vegetables in the fridge, so it was easy to put something together.

This beef dish took a few minutes to prepare in the morning, then simmered all day, until dinnertime. The roast almost fell apart, when I tried to slice it, so we had small pieces on the serving platter, rather than thin, elegant slices.

I served it with mashed potatoes, and we ladled the sauce over the meat and potatoes. Delicious! You can see a couple of pictures, below the recipe.

Slow Cooker Beef With Tomato Wine Sauce

  • 1 beef blade roast – 2-1/2 to 3 pounds
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 14 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine or beef broth


  1. In a shallow bowl, mix the flour, salt and pepper, then dredge the beef on all sides, to coat lightly.
  2. In a large frying pan, on medium-high, add 1 tbsp of the oil, and cook the onions, carrots, and celery, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until slightly browned. Put the vegetables into the slow cooker.
  3. Add more oil to the frying pan, if necessary, then brown the roast on all sides, in the oil.
  4. Add beef to slow cooker, on top of vegetables
  5. Add the bay leaf, tomato sauce and wine
  6. Cover, and cook on high for 5-6 hours, or on low for 10-12 hours.
  7. Remove beef and vegetables to serving platter, and slice the beef.

Note: If the sauce is too thin, stir in 1/4 cup of mashed potatoes, or other thickener.

Serve with mashed potatoes and the tomato-wine sauce.

Makes 6 servings.

Browning the Beef and vegetables


Into the Slow Cooker


This recipe was inspired by "Roast with Tomato-Wine Gravy" in Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes (Better Homes & Gardens).

slow cooker recipes


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