Tag Archives: quick meals

Quarantine Cuisine Day #23 – Salmon Croquettes

I previously posted about salmon croquettes made from canned salmon. Today I took advantage of this pantry favorite and made enough patties for dinner today and again tomorrow (with different vegetables as sides).

Equipment used: While the croquettes browned in my large cast iron skillet, I steamed the squash and onions over low heat in my 1 quart stainless steel saucepan. The fresh green beans cooked in my pressure cooker for two minutes. Leftover salmon croquettes will be reheated a couple of minutes in my air fryer oven.

Salmon croquettes make a quick and satisfying meal. The salmon mixture can be prepared up to a day ahead. A 14 3/4 oz. can of salmon yields four servings.

Salmon croquettes

Revisit my original post Here.

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Quarantine Cuisine Day #7 – Meatloaf

I knew this meal would come in handy. It’s from Sam’s Club, a Members Mark Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes meal I had tucked away in the freezer. Although it serves two, we aren’t big eaters and this makes 4 servings for us. I will use the Reheat setting on my air fryer oven for half the (thawed) package, refrigerating the remaining half.

I plan to add a side vegetable (today it’s the last of the carrots) each day. Tomorrow I may add sliced tomatoes because they are ripe and I don’t want to lose them.

Leave a comment and share what you’re doing for quarantine cuisine. Stay safe!

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Quarantine Cuisine Day #2 – Fiesta Salad

Day #1 wasn’t challenging as I had stocked up Tuesday with a pickup order from Walmart. Today I found myself with aging produce and a pound of ground turkey nearing its sell-by date.

Lunch is typically our main meal, so today I used these items to make two large servings of fiesta salad. It may contain Fritos chips, but it’s surprisingly healthful.

Brown and season the ground turkey.

Basically a salad of chopped lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and (optional) cilantro, the only cooking was browning the ground turkey. The cheese sauce was cheddar cheese soup heated in the microwave oven, thinned with 1/4 cup milk.

According to my recipe builder, we each ate 556 calories, including 57 g. protein and 18 g. fat. and 6.2 g fiber. It’s a fun dish as well as a good use-up of produce.

It’s early in the month, so we’ll see how the thirty-day challenge progresses. So how’s your quarantine going?

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Beef and Mushroom Stew

We love all meat yet try to limit our consumption of red meats. So I developed a recipe for beef stew that uses only half a pound of meat. By adding a pound of mushrooms, I boost the umami taste. I sneak in more vegetables, too.

This is a pressure cooker recipe that’s easily adapted to slow cooking. By using the pressure cooker, we get that cooked all day flavor in about half an hour.

Recipe

Beef and Mushroom Stew

Makes 4 one-cup servings

  • 1/2 pound beef (chuck or round works) cut into 1” chunks
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced and cleaned
  • 1 cup broth + 1 Tbsp (reserved for slurry)
  • 2 tsp. Oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 small red or gold potatoes, sliced or cubed
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or sliced
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat cooker pot.
  • Add oil.
  • Generously salt and pepper the beef.
  • Brown the beef on all sides, then remove from pot and set aside.
  • Sauté onions, garlic, and mushrooms 1 minute.
  • Add cup of broth, deglaze bottom of pot, and return the beef to the cooker.
  • Seal and cook under high pressure for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare slurry by combining Worcestershire sauce, reserved broth, and cornstarch.
  • Remove pot from heat (or hit Cancel if using electric) and allow pressure to drop on its own.
  • Carefully open pot and add potatoes and carrots. Reseal.
  • Bring to pressure and cook 1 minute under pressure.
  • Remove from heat, allow pressure to drop 5 minutes on its own, then release remaining pressure.
  • Carefully open the cooker and check vegetables for doneness.
  • Stir slurry again right before adding it to the pot. Return to heat (or use sauté mode on electric models) just until sauce thickens.
  • Remove from heat immediately and check for seasonings. Add salt and pepper if needed and serve.
Beef and Mushroom Stew

Adding fresh chopped parsley before serving adds flavor. Unfortunately, I was out of parsley when I cooked this stew today. Next time …

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Product Review: NuWave Bravo XL Smart Oven

I watch cooking infomercials. I’m a sucker for new cooking gadgets. But my latest purchase, the NuWave Bravo XL Smart Oven, is the best of my purchases. (Full disclosure: I got mine through Amazon* because I wasn’t interested in the “free” premiums. But they’re a good deal if you don’t already have a pizza kit and a pressure cooker.)

I made room for the new oven by re-homing my 6 quart Power Air Fryer Oven to a friend. Much as I liked that product, I much prefer this one for five reasons:

  • It carries a one year warranty vs. a 60 day warranty.
  • It’s stainless steel instead of plastic.
  • It’s wider, accommodating much of my regular bake ware.
  • It’s more multi-functional, with 12 presets.
  • It has a built in temperature probe that automatically shuts off the oven when food reaches the desired temperature.

As an air fryer, it’s great. My first effort was frozen breaded shrimp and frozen crinkle fries. I did not spray with oil, as was suggested. After selecting Air Fry on the menu, I cooked the shrimp and fries ten minutes at 400°. We gave the meal a thumbs-up.

Air fryer shrimp and fries.

Next I baked frozen chicken breasts using the temperature probe. (I had to allow about 30 minutes thawing before I managed inserting the probe, so it works better with unfrozen food). It’s tricky cooking white meat poultry to a safe temperature without drying it out, which is why the temperature probe feature attracted me. When the oven shut off, the meat was perfectly cooked.

Cooking frozen chicken breast

I tried a frozen pizza (it fit!), toast, hash brown patties, burgers, and a dinner plate reheat (worked just like restaurants). I’ve barely scratched the surface of what this appliance can do. I’ve used my Pampered Chef stoneware, my stainless, and my NordicWare pans. If a pan is safe for a regular oven and fits, it can be used in the NuWave Bravo XL.

The capacity is one cubic feet, making it a bit larger than its closest competitor (and the competition carries only a 90 day warranty). Suffice it to say, I am sold on this oven and recommend it without reservation.

*NUWAVE BRAVO XL 1800-watt Air Fry Convection Oven with Flavor Infusion (FIT) Technology with Integrated Temperature Probe for Perfect Results; 12 Pre-Programmed Presets; 3 Fan Speeds; 5-Quartz Heating Elements

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IXBMS6M/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_fpUwDbZ9C945P

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Tilapia

Tilapia is a wonder food. Mild, adaptable, and plentiful, it cooks quickly and can be prepared in a variety of ways. My favorite method (and it’s the quickest) is to steam over low heat in a covered skillet. No oil, no batter, no breading…just a few seasonings like lemon pepper and/or garlic salt. Even frozen, it’s done within 10-15 minutes. Fresh cooks faster. When preparing a meal, I typically cook my tilapia last. I don’t want to risk overcooking it, and I certainly don’t want to serve it cold.

When you shop for tilapia, keep in mind the recommendations of the Monterrey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. Buy farmed-in-USA if available. Aquaculture is suited to the tilapia, making it a sustainable fish. If USA isn’t available, buy from Costa Rica, Equador, Honduras, or Brazil farms. Do not buy tilapia farmed in China or Taiwan! (For more information, consult the Monterrey Bay Aquarium Watch List.)

Tilapia is not a new fish. It’s most plentiful in Africa and the Middle East and is believed to be the fish Saint Peter caught. In the miracle of the loaves and fishes (Matthew 14:15-21) Jesus served the crowd of 5,000 from two tilapia and five loaves of bread. Bible scholars also believe tilapia was abundant in the Sea of Galilee (Lake of Tiberius) and would’ve been the fish Jesus served his disciples when He revealed Himself after the resurrection. That’s why some refer to tilapia as either Jesus’ fish or Saint Peter’s fish. 

All I know is it’s delicious and nutritious, perfect for a Hasty Tasty Meal!

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WEIGHT WATCHERS IN 20 MINUTES

I collect cookbooks, and I picked up one yesterday that fits my hasty tasty meals philosophy: Weight Watchers® in 20 minutes (Wiley Publishing, Inc., Hoboken, NJ ©2009).  It retails for $29.95 USA but I found it on sale.

If you’re a follower of the Weight Watchers® program, you’ll find the Points® value posted for each recipe an added convenience.  It’s printed in my preferred format, a spiral bound book that lies flat for easy reference while cooking.  Weight Watchers® in 20 minutes includes 250 recipes including ten that use the “cooking ahead” method (or what I call creative leftovers) in which you cook one food that pulls double duty. Robin Miller, of Food Network’s Quick Fix Meals would approve, I’ll bet.

For example, a meal of Kielbasa with Peppers and Onions today morphs into Sausage and Red Bean Gumbo tomorrow.  Each recipe serves 4 and can be halved or doubled, as needed.  Plus–and this was, again, right up my ally–several recipes are for the pressure cooker, such as Moroccan-Style Lamb or Honey and Spice Porridge.  These are not your routine recipes, yet they’re simple and fast.

If you’re in the market for a healthful meals cookbook, try Weight Watchers® in 20 minutes.  Tonight we’re having, New Orleans–Style Chicken, my first try from this collection.  I look forward to it!

 

 

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