Spaghetti Squash Taco Casserole

SS taco casserole

So before you lovely readers see the word squash and run away let me say that not all squash were created equal!  I mean so you like tacos? Do you like casserole?  Do you like noodles? Then this is the meal for you!

The squash is naturally slightly sweet which works really well with the spicy meat.  Also, spaghetti squash does NOT have the mushy squishy texture that make some squash hard to eat.  It literally is the same consistency as noodles!

OK now I have a confession to make.  My husband recently started a new diet… and I am totally supportive… and love hime to bits… but he decided to go grain and potato free.

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Grain and potato FREE.

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To be clear that means no bread, no rice, no noodles, no chips, no tortillas, almost no starch or carbs at all! None of the things in these pictures are allowed when I cook.

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Interesting….

So I have been playing with veggies!!  Cauliflower, squash, jicama, and other starchy veggies that can be turned into mashes, noodles, crusts and breading.  So far it has been a lot of fun!

So for this meal we played with spaghetti squash.  I love tacos. Well lets be honest I love most Mexican inspired cooking.  The spices and flavors of that culture are so much fun to play with and easy to find in anyone’s local grocery store. And all this is basically a giant taco! Who doesn’t like the sound of that?

The trick\ is to make all the separate things that you love on your taco.  If they differ from what I love, no problem!  Change and twist this however you choose.

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I used corn salsa, taco seasoned beef, fajita veggies, re-fried beans, cheese, sour cream, and of course spaghetti squash.  Each of these is cooked separately same as you would if you were making a taco bar and at the very end you assemble everything the way you would assemble a lasagna.

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I did meat, veggies, beans, corn, squash, cheese, repeat!

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Also I assembled the entire casserole inside of the shell as an added pizzazz and because lets face it, that is one less dish to wash!

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So with no further ado lets get cooking!

Spaghetti Squash Taco Casserole

1 large spaghetti squash

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 tsp salt

1 lb ground beef

1 Tbsp chili powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp paprika

2 tsp cumin

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup water

1 can re-fried beans (you can use black beans if you prefer)

1 can whole curnal sweet corn

2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (or 1 Tbsp dried cilantro)

1 fresh lemon

1 1/2 tsp ground chili pepper

1 tsp salt

1/2 yellow onion

1 bell pepper (pick your favorite color!)

1 clove fresh garlic

Sour cream and fresh cilantro to garnish (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Rinse off the outside of the squash.  Chop off the top of the squash and then in half the long way.  Scoop out the seeds and innards.  Rub the inside of each half the cleaned squash with a Tbs of vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt.  Place them flesh side down on a baking sheet with sides and bake for 50 minutes.  To test if it is done try to scrape the insides with a fork.  If the squash easily falls apart andl ooks like noodles then it is perfect.
  2. While the squash is cooking start the beef.  Brown the ground beef in a skillet.  When the beef has no more pink, drain the excess fat out of the pan.  Add the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin, salt, black pepper, and water.  Lower the heat and simmer for about 8 minutes or until most of the water has simmered off.
  3. Open up the beans and heat on low just till hot.
  4. Place the corn in a bowl. Squeeze the juice of the lemon over top and add the tsp salt and chili powder.  Toss and set aside.
  5. Chop the pepper and onion into long thin strips and fine dice the garlic.  Heat vegetable oil in a skillet till it is hot.  Add the veggies and quickly saute for about 2 or 3 minutes.  Just cook till the peppers seem brighter in color and the onions are starting to look slightly more translucent.  Set aside
  6. Once the squash is finished cooking let it cool for a few minutes.  scrape the squash out until there is only about a 1/4 inch left in the shell.
  7. Now it is time to layer.  I did meat, veggies, beans, corn, squash, cheese, repeat till both shells were full.  If you are using other ingredients like salsa, guacamole, or even a different kind of meat, feel free to mix up the order, as long as you end with cheese on the top.
  8. Turn the oven on to broil.  Place the two casseroles back on the baking sheet and place in the oven just until the cheese melts
  9. Top with sour cream and cilantro, serve hot!  Makes 6-8 serving
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Green Curry Steak

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So I am not gone for good!

My life has been crazy busy and I have not made time to blog about anything for far too long.  My sister has been bugging me to get back in the saddle and write about something delicious though so here it goes!

Something I love about cooking is all the different cultures you can experience right in the comfort of your home.  You can experience the smells and tastes of somewhere oceans away from you!  And the best part is most grocery stores are beginning to sell much wider varieties of culturally authentic ingredients.

And here is where we introduce you to curry!  Curry comes in three basic, easy to find in your grocery store, forms: curry powder, green curry paste, and red curry paste.  While each of these has its own set of delicious uses I am a huge fan of green curry.  The biggest difference between green and red curry is just the pepper color.  most of the other ingredients are about the same.  Green curry also has some green herbs in it however which is why I like it more.

So I had some steak and some green curry and some free time on my hands and decided to cook up something fun!

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To make really good curry you really only need three ingredients you miiiiight not already have on hand: curry, coconut milk, and fish sauce.  However, if your grocery store has an Asian food section, even a tiny tiny one, it probably has all of these things. Then, along with chopping up lots of fresh veggies you are set to cook something wonderful.

Green Curry Steak

 

White rice (however much you want!)

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp fine chopped ginger

2-3 green chilies (depending on how spicy you want)

3 cloves garlic

1/2 onion

3-4 Tbsp green curry paste

1 can coconut milk

juice from 1/2 lime

2 Tbsp fish sauce

2 tsp sugar

2 delicious juicy steaks of your choosing

salt and pepper

fresh cilantro or basil to garnish (optional)

 

First start the rice cooking so it will be finished on time.

In a large sauce pan or wok heat oil.  Add ginger, chilies, garlic, onion, and curry paste.  Saute on high heat but only till aromatic, 1-2 minutes.  Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering prepare the steak. trim off any extra fat and rub salt and pepper on both sides.  Next rub a small amount of curry paste on all sides. pan fry to desired doneness. Slice into thin pieces.

When the curry is done simmering add the fish sauce, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over rice and and top with steak pieces and.

Enjoy!

Apple Brown Butter Tart

So one of my bad habits is buying too much fruit.  I love fruit.  And I almost always buy way more then Dan and I could ever hope to eat before it goes bad. And then when the food starts to look, well, not great, that is when I bake with it.  Bananas that are too brown to be delicious, Apples that have sat in the fridge a couple of weeks.  Strawberrys that are starting to be very dark in color. That is when I get to bake up a storm.

Now I am not talking about BAD food mind you.  No mold. No bad spots. Nothing like that. Just food that you don’t really want to put in your lunchbox and eat by itself. Just kind of old. Not gross.

So the other day I realized that some of the apples I had in the fridge were getting to that “not-quite-so-crunchy-and-fresh” stage. And I found a recipe for a delicious tart. Yay!

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The link to the original recipe is in the photos caption.  It is by Anne Burrell who is an amazing chef who I greatly admire.  This is kind of her recipe with some changes of my own.

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The first change is the crust. I used a one I got from a good family friend named Gail.  She is not only the worlds greatest pie baker but she is also the woman who made my dress!

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You didn’t really think I would have NO wedding pictures did you?

Anyway Gail gave me a wonderful pie crust recipe that not only tastes delicious but also can be split into balls, wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen! So when you want it just pull it out of the freezer, thaw, and use as you wish.

The only other thing about this recipe is browning the butter.  If you have never done this before it sounds kind of weird. You don’t want the butter to burn, but browning it gives a wonderful flavor to many different dishes from pies to pancakes and everything in between.  The butter will boil and froth and foam up and go through a few stages before it is brown but stick with it!  Eventually you will suddenly smell a a nutty scent and the foam will die down and you butter will look like caramel. That is when it is finished and you need to remove it instantly from the heat or it WILL burn.

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Brown butter

Otherwise this is a rather simple recipe and very caramely and delicious! I hope you enjoy!

Gail’s Pie Crust

4 cups flour

1 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1  1/2 cups butter

1 egg

1/2 cup cold water

1 tsp vinegar

Combine all your dry ingredients. Cut in the butter until you form an even mixture. In a separate bowl beat the eggs in with the water and vinegar.  Combine the wet and dry ingredients and knead till an even mixture is found.  Split into six balls and wrap with plastic wrap. These can be stored in the fridge for 2 weeks or placed in the freezer till desired.

Makes 6 full sized pie crusts

Apple Brown Butter Tart

Filling: 

1  1/2 sticks butter

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup flour

3 eggs

1  1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Apple Mixture:

2 Tbsp butter

6 medium sized apples, cored and cut into 1 inch slices

2 Tbsp sugar

1/4 cup brandy

flour

1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water

First remove dough from fridge and allow to rest on the counter for about 15 minutes while you make the fillings.  This will bring it to room temperature and make it easier to work with.

preheat the oven to 350 degrees

For the filling: In a small sauce pan brown the butter by cooking it on a medium heat, stirring constantly, until the butter looks the color of caramel and smells lightly nutty.  Immediately remove from the heat and place in a mixing bowl.mix in the sugar and then gradually add the flour.  Mix in the eggs one at a time and lastly add the vanilla and stir till everything is smooth and equally combined.

For the apple mixture:  Melt butter in a large skillet.  Add the apples and sugar.  Cook over medium heat until the apples start to soften, about 6 minutes.  Add the brandy and cook till the alcohol burns off, just a couple of minutes is necessary.

Now it is time to put it all together.  Grease a 9 inch tart pan or a 9 inch pie dish (I used the pie dish) dust a clean work surface with flour and roll the dirt out evenly. turning regularly and dusting with more flour whenever necessary until it is about an 1/8 inch thick and much larger then the size of your dish so you can make the folds on top.  Place in pie or tart dish.  Spread the filling in the bottom and place the apples on top.  Fold the extra dough over the top.

Bake 45-50 minutes or until golden brown.

Deliciously Simple Crock-pot Beef Stroganoff

So I have not blogged in a long time.

Mostly because I was crazy busy for about a week and then I got very sick right after that.

Boo sad.

However as I start to feel better I will try and write about some of the deliciousness I have made. I forgot to take delicious photos however if I remember I will post those the next time I make this.

Beef stroganoff in a crock-pot is one of the easiest things to make.  I had a break in the middle of work for an hour so I drove home, threw this in the crock-pot and was back in plenty of time for work even though I had to shop for the ingredients as well.

One thing that is wonderful about this dish is you can make it in the morning for either lunch or super, just depending on the crock-pot setting you use. the higher the setting the faster the beef will become tender and fall apart.  That is how you know this dish is ready.  If the beef is still in cubes then you need to cook it longer.

Over all this is magically delicious and ridiculously simple so I hope you enjoy!

Crock-pot Beef Stroganoff

2 pounds beef roast chopped into 1 inch cubes

1 whole onion diced

1 large can or 2 normal sized cans cream of mushroom soup

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

3 cloves garlic chopped

salt and pepper to taste

4 oz. cream cheese

4 oz. sour cream

1 package egg noodles

2 Tbsp butter

Place the beef cubes, diced onion, cream of mushroom, garlic, salt, and pepper into the crock pot.  mix everything up.

Now for a choice.  Either place the crock-pot on low and cook for about 8-10 hours OR place your crock-pot on hi and cook 4-6 hours.  Stir occasional.

Once the meat starts to fall apart in the crock-pot you are ready to add the finishing touches.

Turn the crock-pot down to the lowest setting and add in the cream cheese and sour cream.  Allow the cheese to melt.

Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Toss in the butter and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Top the pasta with the beef mixture and enjoy!

Shrimp Eggrolls

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There are many delicious eggrolls out there but the ones with shrimp are my favorite. the light buttery flavor of the seafood is delicious with boiled cabbage and soft veggies.

These might look complicated but they are not nearly as hard as you might think.

Simply saute the shrimp in butter and lemon and saute the veggies till soft.

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Make sure to only cook the shrimp till done.  then once everything is all mixed up you can spread it on the eggrolls and wrap them.

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Fry in about a half inch of oil until golden brown.

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And serve with soy sauce!

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Shrimp Eggrolls

4 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger

2 cloves garlic finely chopped

2 green onions thinly sliced

8 baby carrots roughly grated

1/2 red pepper thin sliced into fine strips

1  1/2 cups shredded Chinese cabbage

1/2 cup broth

1 tsp white pepper

3 Tbsp soy sauce

I package eggroll wrappers

15 raw shrimp

4 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp lemon juice

In a large skillet cook the ginger and garlic in oil just till hot. Be careful not to burn.

Add the green onion, carrots, red pepper and fry on high about 5 minutes.  Then lower the heat and allow to simmer.

While the veggies cook, boil the cabbage in about 1 cup of water until soft.  strain the cabbage and add to the veggies with the broth, white pepper, and soy sauce.  continue to simmer till all the veggies are soft.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

While it is cooling cook the shrimp in the butter and lemon juice just till pink on all sides.  remove from the heat and chop up finely.  mix into the cooled veggies and place everything in a bowl with a paper towel to allow much of the grease to run out of it.

Take a deep skillet and add enough oil to have about a half inch in the bottom.  Heat to medium heat.  Take the wrappers and add a heaping teaspoon full to the center of each wrapper.  Fold three of the corners over the filling. Use an egg wash to cover the remaining fold and roll the final side up.

Place in the skillet and fry till golden brown. Serve hot.

A New Year and a New Blog

Well as I said in my very first blog post, this blog is a big part of Amanda and my New Year Resolution.  We are so excited to be entering the blogging community!

Now all the blogs I follow post fun things like “most popular recipes” or “best post of the year” as soon as the year ends… and…

Well… We don’t have much to go off of.

But!  Amanda and I want to say

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

It has been an eventful year!  I got married to my darling hubby Daniel

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Amanda and I with our little brothers Josh and Caleb at the wedding

Amanda got engaged to her boyfriend Matt!!

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Dan and I with Matt and Amanda (our momma is in the center)

And last but not least, Clash of Pans was born!

Looking forward to a great NEW YEAR!!!

Cheers!  Erica

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas from Clash of Pans!!!

So My sissy and I were TOGETHER and cooking this Christmas.  And let me tell you, magic is what happened.

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It was delicious.

My sister and Mom spent an ENTIRE day just baking and when I rolled into town My sister and I made a Christmas Eve feast of appetizers.  8 different ones.  We had more fun than could possibly fit in one blog post.

Salsa

Mango Cranberry Salsa

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Baked Mac n Cheese

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Cheese Sauce

Blender

Green Blender Smoothie

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Shrimp Scampi Eggrolls

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Fried Rice Stuffed Mini Peppers

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Bruschetta

And yes.  It was wonderful.  The recipes we used should be coming soon.

But till then

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

and have a splendid New Year!

Erica