Scalloped Potatoes

The flavor profile of this dish is that of a baked potato with “the works” (butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and chives). To lighten up the casserole a bit calorie wise, I use all low fat (2%) dairy products.

Five Russet Potatoes (Peeled, Washed, And Cut Into ¼ Inch Thick Disks)
Two Cups Of 2% Greek Yogurt Or Sour Cream
Four Cups Of Skim Milk
Four Tablespoons Of Unsalted Butter
Four Tablespoons Of All Purpose Flour
¼ Cup Of Grated Parmesan Cheese
A Cup Of 2% Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
A Minced Garlic Clove
A Tablespoon Of Finely Chopped Fresh Italian Parsley
A Tablespoon Of Finely Chopped Fresh Chives
¼ Teaspoon Of Ground Black Pepper
A Tablespoon And A Teaspoon Of Sea Salt, Divided

Combine the potatoes and a tablespoon of sea salt in a pot. Add enough cold water to just cover the potatoes. Put the pot on high heat and bring the contents to a boil. Cook the potatoes in the boiling water for five minutes. Drain the potatoes well in a colander.

Whisk together the skim milk with the yogurt until smooth and well incorporated.

Into a saucepot, add the flour and the butter. Put the pot on medium heat. Cook while whisking until the butter melts and a paste like mixture (roux) is formed. Add the yogurt/skim milk mixture. Bring to a slight boil while whisking (to get out any lumps). At this point, switch from a whisk to a wooden spoon for stirring. Add the black pepper, the Parmesan cheese, the cheddar cheese, and a teaspoon of sea salt. Stir while cooking until a cream sauce is formed. It should be able to lightly coat the back of the wooden spoon. Take the pot off the heat and add the parsley and the chives. Stir well to incorporate. Taste and add more sea salt and/or black pepper, to taste.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Coat the bottom and the sides of a casserole dish with cooking spray. Place one third of the potatoes on the bottom of the dish. Place one third of the cheese sauce on top of the potatoes. Continue this process until you have three layers of potatoes finishing with cheese sauce on top of the last layer. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake in the preheated oven for one hour. Remove the aluminum foil for the last 15 minutes of baking time. Let the casserole sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Italian Salad Dressing

You can store this dressing in a cruet in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

A Minced Garlic Clove
Two Teaspoons Of Finely Diced Red Onion
A Teaspoon Of Dried Oregano
½ Teaspoon Of Sea Salt
A Pinch Of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
A Pinch Of Ground Black Pepper
The Juice Of ½ Lemon
A Tablespoon Of Red Wine Vinegar
2/3 Cup Of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A Tablespoon Of Finley Chopped Fresh Basil
A Tablespoon Of Finely Chopped Fresh Italian Parsley

Combine the garlic, the red onion, the oregano, the sea salt, the crushed red pepper flakes, and the black pepper in a mixing bowl. Mash these ingredients with a fork to form a paste. Add the lemon juice and the red wine vinegar. Whisk well. While continuing to whisk, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Whisk until well blended and thickened slightly. Add the basil and the parsley. Whisk again. Taste and add more sea salt and/or pepper, to taste.

Put the dressing in a salad cruet. You can use on salads or as a marinade for meats and seafood.

Basic Chicken Stock

Retain chicken necks, chicken backs, and the giblets after roasting a whole chicken. Place these chicken parts in a zip lock bag and keep them in the freezer until you are ready to use. Use the stock that is made for soups, stews, gumbo, and rice dishes.

Assorted Chicken Necks, Backs, And Giblets
A Tablespoon Of Olive Oil
Ten Whole Black Peppercorns
A Pinch Of Ground Black Pepper
A Tablespoon And ¼ Teaspoon Of Sea Salt, Divided
Cold Water
A Celery Stalk
A Carrot
Two Garlic Cloves Cut In Half
Two Parsley Sprigs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Evenly rub the chicken parts with the olive oil. Place the chicken parts on a baking sheet. Sprinkle them with ¼ teaspoon of the sea salt and the ground black pepper. Roast the chicken parts in the oven for one hour.

Place the chicken parts and the pan juices in a soup pot. Add the peppercorns, a tablespoon of sea salt, the celery, the carrot, the garlic cloves, and the parsley sprigs to the pot. Pour enough cold water into the pot to just cover the ingredients.

Cover the pot with a lid and simmer on low heat for 1 and ½ hours. The stock should never rapidly boil.

Strain the stock through a sieve. For best results, strain the liquid four times. Taste and add more sea salt, if needed. Now you have chicken stock. You can store it in the refrigerator in a plastic container or freeze it for future use.

Cajun Style Roasted Stuffed Peppers

You can prepare these peppers in advance and bake them later.

Six Green Bell Peppers With The Tops Cut Off About ½ Inch From The Stem Bottom And The Seeds Removed (Note: Discard The Seeds And The Stem)
A Chopped Jalapeno Pepper
An Andouille Sausage Link Cut Into About ¼ Inch Cubes
¾ Cup Of Chopped Red Onion
Two Minced Garlic Cloves
½ Cup Of Chopped Celery
A Cup Of Canned Red Beans Rinsed And Drained
Four Cups Of Cooked White Rice
½ Cup Of Your Favorite Barbecue Sauce
Two And One Half Teaspoons Of Sea Salt, Divided
A Pinch Of Ground Black Pepper
½ Teaspoon Of Red Cayenne Pepper
¼ Cup Of Finely Chopped Italian Parsley
A Tablespoon Of Olive Oil

Into a pot about four inches deep, add about ½ inch of water and a ½ teaspoon of sea salt. Place the peppers in the pot (bottom side up). Cover the pot and put it on high heat. Bring the water to a boil and steam the peppers for three minutes.
Remove the peppers and let them cool.

Dice any of the leftover flesh from the tops of the peppers that were cut off. Set aside.

Place the olive oil and the sausage in a 12-14 inch skillet. Put the skillet on medium heat and cook the sausage stirring occasionally for four minutes. Add the jalapeno pepper, the diced green pepper, the garlic, the celery, the red onion, two teaspoons of sea salt, the black pepper, and the cayenne pepper to the skillet. Cook until the vegetables are soft (about 4 minutes) stirring frequently. Add the cooked rice, the red beans, the barbecue sauce, and the parsley. Stir until all of the ingredients are incorporated and cook for an additional minute. Taste and add more sea salt and/or pepper, if desired.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Stuff the peppers equally with the rice mixture and place the peppers in a baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for about 40 minutes. Let cool for five minutes and serve.