Chicken Shepherd’s Pie

1 ½ lb potatoes, peeled (optional) and cut into large chunks
3 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised (mashed, but still in one piece)
¼ cup half & half creamer
¾ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons real butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 ½ lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into small chunks
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup frozen peas
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

In a saucepan of boiling water, cook potatoes and garlic cloves until tender; drain.  With a potato masher, mash potatoes, garlic, cream and ½ teaspoon of the salt until smooth; set aside.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large frying pan, melt butter over low heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 7 minutes, or until soft.  Add carrots and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until tender.  Add chicken and sauté for 4 minutes, or until no longer pink.
Sprinkle flour over chicken mixture and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute, or until no streaks of flour remain.  Gradually add stock and remaining salt – bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened.  Stir in peas and parsley.
Spoon mixture into a deep dish pie dish (9 inch).  Spoon or pipe the mashed potatoes over the top.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until potato topping is golden brown and crusty.  Serve hot.
Serves 4
Prep time 30 minutes
Cooking/baking time 1 hour

Beefy Vegetable Soup

1 to 1.5 pounds lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cans 8 oz each tomato sauce
2 cans 16 oz each kidney beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
1 package 10 oz frozen corn
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1 cup chopped fresh tomato
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips (optional)

In a skillet, cook beef, onion and the garlic over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink; drain all grease from the mixture.
Transfer meat mixture to a slow cooker.  Add the tomato sauce, optional kidney beans, vegetables and seasonings; mix well.
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until thick and bubbly, stirring occasionally.
Serve with cheese, sour cream and chips if desired.
This delicious savory soup would also be excellent with fresh hot bread.
Serves 8-10
This can be frozen and reheated nicely later.

Cajun Grilled Mahi-Mahi

4 fillets of mahi-mahi (approximately 4 to 6 oz each)
1 tablespoon canola or preferred oil
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat grill to medium high heat.  Brush the fillets with the oil and sprinkle both sides with Cajun seasoning.  Allow the fillets to get to room temperature.  Grill for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until the fish is cooked to your desired doneness and nicely browned.
Serves 4
From prep to table  20 to 30 minutes

Slow Cooker Pork Cubano Sandwiches

2 lbs pork tenderloin – remove silver skin and excess fat
2 lbs boneless pork shoulder

7 tablespoons stone-ground mustard, divided
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 lb boneless ham or ham steak (fully cooked) cut into ½ inch cubes
1 jar (16 oz) whole baby dill pickles, undrained, sliced thick – keep juice
2 cups (8 oz) shredded Swiss cheese
8 buns, split

Rub pork with 3 tablespoons mustard, season with pepper and place in a large 5 to 6 quart slow cooker.  Add ham and pickles, including the pickle juice.  Cover and cook on low until tender, turning halfway through, at about 3 hours, finish cooking another 3 hours (6 hours total cooking on low).
If pork shoulder was used, skim off fat and grease before shredding.
Shred pork with two forks.  Sprinkle cheese over meat mixture; cover and cook another 30 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
When ready to serve, slice buns and toast lightly in a toaster oven or broiler or grill.  Spread the remaining mustard evenly over cut sides.  Using a slotted spoon, top buns with meat mixture.
Serve immediately.
Serves 8
Prep time 30 15-20 minutes
Cook time 6 ½ hours

Chicken Garden Medley

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup butter, divided
1 small yellow squash, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
½ cup julienned red pepper
½ cup julienned green pepper
¼ cup thinly sliced onion
2 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¾ cup chicken broth
½ cup half & half creamer
8 oz angel hair pasta, cooked and drained
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

In a skillet, sauté chicken and garlic in 2 tablespoons butter until juices run clear, 10-12 minutes.  Add vegetables.  Cook until crisp-tender; remove.  In same skillet, melt remaining butter.  Stir in flour, salt and pepper to form a paste.  Gradually add broth. Bring to a boil; stir until thickened, 2 minutes.  Stir in cream and heat through.  Add chicken and vegetables; stir until well mixed.
Place pasta in a greased 2 quart baking dish.  Pour chicken mixture over top.  Sprinkle with cheese.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes; uncover and bake 5 minutes longer.
Serves 4
Prep time 25 minutes
Bake time 20 minutes

Grilled Salmon with Bacon & Tomato Salsa

Grilled Salmon with Bacon & Tomato Salsa
4 salmon fillets approximately 6 oz each
10 to 12 sprigs fresh thyme
2 slices thick bacon
½ cup diced red onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
ground coarse salt to taste
ground  black pepper to taste
Canola oil
10 oz mild diced tomatoes with green chilies, well drained

Skin salmon fillets or have your butcher skin them at the time of purchase.
Preheat grill to medium high.  Finely chop thyme and discard stems.
Cut bacon into ¼ inch pieces; lightly brown in a pan; and remove.  Add onions to the bacon drippings and cook until onions are sweated.  Combine onions, bacon and garlic; heat gently.
Season the skinless salmon with salt, pepper and thyme.  Rub salmon with canola oil.  Sear on both sides.
Place salmon in a foil pan on an unheated section of the grill.  Close hood and allow salmon to finish cooking until the fish is opaque in the center which would be internal temperature of 145 degrees F.  Or cook to your desired doneness.
Add tomatoes with green chilies to bacon mixture; simmer 4 to 5 minutes until thick.  Spoon salsa over the salmon.
Serves 4
From prep to table 40 minutes

Cajun Burgers

2 pounds ground beef
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons Cajun spice
¼ teaspoon dried steak seasoning
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
6 to 8 hamburger buns, toasted

Preheat grill to medium high heat.  Combine all ingredients except the buns in a large mixing bowl with ground beef.  Form into patties, 6 to 8 oz each.
Cook until desired doneness, 6 to 8 minutes per side for medium.
Serves 6-8
From prep to table 40 minutes

Lemon & Ginger Grill Salmon

4  1 ½ to 2 inch strips of Atlantic or Black Pearl Salmon
¼ cup canola oil or vegetable oil
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
½ teasopon ground ginger
¼ cup chopped green onion
1 teaspoon lemon peel
Lemon slices (optional – for garnish )

Mix oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, honey, ginger, green onion and lemon peel together in a large, shallow glass dish.  Add salmon strips and coat well.  Marinate 30 minutes minimum or up to 2 hours, turning several times.  Preheat grill to medium high.  Lightly oil grill grates to prevent sticking.  Remove salmon strips from marinade; discard the remaining liquid.
Place salmon, skin side up, on grill for 3 minutes.  Turn carefully and continue to cook, skin side down, for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, or until just done and the center flakes with fork.  To remove strips from grill, run spatula between skin and salmon.  This will provide a plate-ready, skinless strip.
Garnish dish with chopped green onion, lemon peel, and lemon slices.
Serves 4
Prep time 25 minutes
Marinade 30 minutes to 2 hours
Grill time 7 to 10 minutes

Fast & Spicy Grilled Halibut

4 halibut fillets (4 to 6 oz each)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 ½ tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat grill to medium high.  Mix together all dry-seasoning ingredients until well combined.  Rinse halibut filet under cold water; pat dry with paper towel.  Place fish on a spray-coated or foil-lined baking sheet.  Brush butter onto top surfaces of halibut, and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon seasoning mixture.
Grill halibut 5 to 7 inches from heat for 8 minutes.  Cook just until fish is opaque throughout and flakes easily.

Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Grill time about 13 minutes

Easy Southern Fried Chicken

Easy Southern Fried Chicken
1 ½ cups buttermilk
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon  ground black pepper
4 fresh bone-in/skin-on drumsticks and 4 thighs or your preferred chicken parts
1 cup plain flour
½ cup vegetable oil

In a large bowl, stir together buttermilk, pepper and ¼ teaspoon salt.  Add chicken pieces and mix them around to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours, or at least 30 minutes.
In a large shallow bowl, mix together flour and another ¼ teaspoon of the salt.  Lift chicken from marinade and dip into the flour, patting it onto the chicken.  Place chicken on a plate and refrigerate, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours, for the coating to set.
Divide oil among two large, deep frying pans and heat over medium-low heat.  The oil is ready for frying when a piece of bread sizzles as it hits the surface.
Add chicken and cook, carefully turning pieces as they color, for 30 minutes, or until richly browned and cooked through.
Transfer chicken to paper towels to drain.  Sprinkle remaining salt over chicken and serve.
Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes plus at least 30 minutes marinating time and 30 minutes chilling time
Cooking time 30 minutes

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