Stuffed Bell Peppers

Did you like them as a child?

Did they make your heart go wild?
Would you eat them in a box?

Would you eat them with a fox?

No thanks.

I didn’t like eating bell peppers in any way shape or form.

Buuuuttttt, I did like eating out the middle. My sympathetic mom would leave out bell pepper from the stuffing part and that part I would eat. With gusto.

Not much has changed. I still prefer the flavor imparted by bell peppers than eating bell pepepers themselves.

Funnily enough, just when I went searching for stuffed bell pepper recipes (because my one and only bell pepper plant in the garden has given me at least a dozen bells!), I looked on the Pioneer Womans site, which is always a good starting place. Low and behold, what did I find first thing-front page? Stuffed Bell Peppers!

Ree always has your back.

So this is largely thanks to Ree at Pioneer Woman with a little tinkering from me.

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Ready to be popped into a 350 oven. In spite of it being summer…Its just cool enough tonight to get away with it. especially if we eat outside.

Continue reading “Stuffed Bell Peppers”

Pot Roast with Gravy, 2.0

Well, it has been a while since you heard from me, yes?

If you are reading this and it is still summer, and it is getting hot, like it is now, you are probably more concerned with finding cool things to eat, cool meals to cook and cool places to hide, instead of slaving in a hot kitchen to make a hearty batch of pot roast. But then again…if you have AC, or if it is cooling off for you at night, you might just be in the mood for some beef, gravy and potatoes, like my hubby is. Meat and gravy-always sounds good to him.

Yes, there are a million pot roast recipes out there on the web. But if my family wants to make the dish that I serve, this is the only place to find it.

Sadly, I did not get a picture of the finished dish, sorry. We were too busy serving and eating it up. (slurp, slop, burp!)

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You need some raw chunks of beef. I cut up a Chuck roast into several smaller pieces.
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These are my liquids of choice
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There are several things you can include in a recipe that gives it a little something, a mysterious, earthy yumminess. Like mushrooms. Or soy sauce. Or wine. A bit of tomato paste is one of those things. I love the stuff in the tube, dont you? You dont have to deal with leftovers in the can that you put into a little dish, which gets shoved into the back of the fridge and then gets all fuzzy.
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Some herbs from the garden if you have it. Tied up with a string, just to be fancy. But usually by the time I pull the string out, there is perhaps a few little twings clinging to it, sometimes not even that. Then you get to find “the lucky sticks” in your pot roast of beef stew.

Old Fashioned Pot Roast with Homemade  Gravy

  • 1 -3 1/2 pounds or so of Boneless Chuck Roast, cut into 3 or 4 pieces
  • 1 or 2 onions (depending on the size. The Costco onions-the-size-of-a-soccer-ball or the 99 cent store tiny ones)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • herbs of choice (I use garden rosemary and thyme)
  • wine
  • tomato paste
  • beef AND chicken broth, about 1 1/2 cups each, give or take
  • salt and pepper
  • vegetable, coconut or olive oil
  • carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes or other root vegetable of choice

You will need a large sturdy dutch oven pot, preferably an iron one that holds heat in well and is not as likely to burn on the bottom. If you end up baking this, the burning is not as much an issue. I am cooking this stove top this time around, because it is hot out, like I think one of Gods angels in charge of baking heavenly bread went and left the global oven door open! Hello, close the door thank you!

Heat up some oil in your wonderful sturdy Le Creuset , le kirkland or other dutch oven. Salt the meat. When the dutch oven is good and hot, (if you put your hand over it and it shrivels up black, then its hot enough), add the oil and after about 30 seconds, add the meat. It should sizzle and pop. “spizzzz!”

Leave it a good few minutes to brown. Dont crowd the meat. If you are making a lot, brown a couple of pieces and when done, brown the rest. Too much meat in a pan gives you a gray simmered meat instead of a crisp brown meat. When one side is browned, turn it over and brown the other side. I use tongs. When done, remove to a plate and brown any other pieces you might need.

I do not flour the meat before browning. So don’t. It doesn’t need it.

Take the meat out and you will see nice brown bits on the bottom. Its aaaallllll good. Now I add in the onions that are rough chopped. Not diced. Not tiny.Rough, largish pieces. Stir these up a bit. Add in the diced garlic cloves. Now the tomato paste, about a tablespoon. Stir it around and inhale the wonderful magic.

Now some wine. I do not measure but just pour some in. If I were to guess, I’d say about 1/3 of a cup. I use a red, but a white would work too. Whatever you have on hand or in the fridge left over from that great dinner the other night. If you dont use wine, then just dont.

Stir it up again. The wine will reduce a bit and loosen up some of those brown bits.

Broth. This is the time to add the broth. I think all beef is a bit strong so I combine them. Not to mention that I usually have a box of both open in the fridge at any given time. I really should put dates on those things when I open them.I won’t. But I should. How much broth? I don’t cover the meat, but I make sure it is at least half way up the sides of the meat.

Add in the herbs. If not fresh ones, dried ones will do just fine. A bit more salt and pepper. Now…

If you are stove topping it, just set the flame to low, making sure it reaches a simmer, then leave it alone for a couple of hours.

If you are letting the oven do the work, set the oven temperature depending on how much time you have. 325 for 3-4 hours is good. It allows a more all surrounding  heat. You could even set it for 300 degrees. If you are in a hurry, 350 for 2 1/2 to 3. But stove top is fastest.

Now go work in the garden, check your email, do laundry, watch a bread video. (What? You don’t watch bread made videos? Whassup?) Or do something else while your meat relaxes and tenderizes. The wine helps to tenderize the meat. If you are not using wine, add a tablespoon of vinegar of some kind to it. This will have the same effect.

An hour before you calculate the meat to be done (2 1/2-3 1/2 hours, depending on the way you are making it, stove top is fastest, and how large your meat is to begin with), you need to peel the potatoes and carrots. Any other vegetables you want to add? Go ahead and prep it. Celery root? Turnips? Whatever makes you happy.

Lift the lid carefully! Lots of steam will be poofing up. HOT stem. (Is there such a thing as cold steam?) Check the liquids. There may be more of it, coming from the meat. Or less, if the lid allows steam out. If it is dry, add more broth to it, enough to steam the vegetables nicely, about an inch deep or more. But not enough to cover the meat or anything that drastic.

Put the vegetables in and put the lid back on. Let is simmer gently, steaming the vegetables. Check them with a fork after about 1/2 an hour. It may take more depending on how large the pieces are, if they were chilled, and what kind of veggies you added.

When the vegetables are fork tender and the meat is so tender it tears apart as you pull it out to put on a platter, then it is time to make the gravy. Remove all meat and vegetables with a slotted spoon. Put the pot on the stove with a medium heat to bring the broth left in the pot to a simmer. In a small bowl or a measuring cup, put about 2 tablespoons of flour (or cornstarch or tapioca flour or arrowroot powder) and whisk it with enough water to make a paste. Put this paste into the simmering broth and stir it in to make the gravy. If it does not thicken up enough, make some more paste and add that too. It should only take a couple of minutes to thicken.

Perhaps you have a large serving platter Aunt Martha gave you and you want to show it off, not is the time to get it out. Place the pieces of beef in the center, vegetables around the edges. a little gravy drizzled over the meat with a gravy boat on the side. (Or a measuring cup).

And since I did not get a picture of the finished product, here is breakfast….

Figgies for breakfast...
Figgies for breakfast…

Lazy Mans Lasagne (Or Sam Spade Lasagne)

(Here is an old post I thought worth regurgitating to you. I want to make this again and needed a refresher. But it all brings back “The Maltese Falcon”. Do you ever associate movies with foods?)

I told my son that I was making Lazy Mans lasagna.

Hey!” He was offended.

“No, the one making it is lazy, not the ones eating it.” Although I could make a case…nevermind.

notice the browned cheesy part on top and strings of cheese around the plate

Lets get a closer look, shall we?

mmmmmmmmmmmmmm

So much easier than lasagna and just as delish, well in my humble opinion. Not that I’m never making lasagna again. (gasp!)  It’d be like giving up an old faithful dog for a cute new puppy. Sort of. Anyway sweetheart, its like this see…

(I should mention that we just finished watching “The Maltese Falcon” with Sam Spade, Private Eye playing the “I’m not going to play the sap” lead, so it may have colored my vocabulary tonight.)

I don’t even have a recipe for this and you won’t need one either. You see, you have to be too lazy to even have a recipe. Thats how lazy you feel tonight. So you line up your cast of characters…

(Fat Man: Well, sir, what do you suggest? We stand here and shed tears and call each other names… or shall we go to the…” kitchen.)

Pasta. I used some kind of penne, but egg noodles or another fun shape would do. Not spaghetti types though. Sorry Angel.

Get a large pot of water to boiling and cook the pasta. In the meantime…

A favorite spaghetti sauce. I had half a jar of one in the fridge and a Trader Joes can of marinara I mixed with it and of course added “a little bit of this…a little bit of that…a pot, a pan, a broom, a hat” (oops, wrong movie.) I added some seasoning, but not much, ’cause I’m too lazy. I really don’t need to add any. Just heat it up.

Hamburger. I just happened to have some thawed out.  So I fried it up, dicing it and adding it to the sauce. Could have added diced onions. Could have. Didn’t though.

mozzarella cheese. Grated. Some and be ready to grate more. But if you run out, just use what you have ’cause you’re too lazy to run to the store for more. (Your even too lazy to write out the whole word “because”.)

Cottage cheese. I use this instead of the ricotta.

Parmesan, grated. Now this can be fresh grated or the green can for all I care. (“People lose teeth talking like that. If you want to hang around, you’ll be polite”) Sorry Sam. I’ve loved the name Sam ever since my hero, Samwise Gamgee from LOTR.

Lets see, I think that’s it. Get a pot of any size that will fit whatever amount you are making. I used a small round La Cruset baking pan, but almost used the glass Pyrex. But I wanted it to be a little deeper than that to put layers in.

To make it easier on myself (of course) I mixed the pasta with the meat sauce. Then I spooned in a layer of pasta into the pot.

Now a layer of cottage cheese, a layer of parmesan and some mozzarella. More pasta with meat sauce, and the 3 cheeses. Do this as many layers as you have ingredients. I think I ended with 3 layers of saucy-meat-pasta, topping with mozzarella.

Now, under normal circumstances, you would now bake this for, oh, say 30 minutes on 375 oven. But since it was in the high 80’s the day I made it (It was high 90’s today, 90’s!…okay so I’m whining) I decided I had 2 choices.

(“You getting this all right, son, or am I goin’ too fast for ya? )

Get out  my holiday roaster and plug it in on the patio to bake it. But that was too much work for a lazy lady like me. So I put on the broiler, figuring the casserole was all pretty hot to begin with anyway and wouldn’t need much help warming up. A broiler was quicker and I had every fan on.  Then I walked away for a leedle too long, it cooked faster than a woman can think up a lie. I thought I burnt it! (“You… you imbecile. You bloated idiot. You stupid fat-head you”)

As luck would have it, the cheese got nicely browned and crunchy, just the way we like it around here on top of the “lasagna”. In fact that’s the part we usually fight over. We spooned some out into our pasta plate with some salad (and  I pretended not to notice Paul didn’t eat that.) Now Paul had some the next night, since dad and I were having something he didn’t like. And some the next day for lunch. There is one portion left. With narrow eyes we watch to see who is going to try to eat it first.

“You don’t have to trust me as long as you can persuade me to trust you.”

This was lazy, easy, rich and creamy. Enjoy.

“By gad, sir, you are a character”

Maybe I should have called it “Sam Spade Lasagna”. Or “Fat Mans Lasagna.” or even “Effies lasagna”. I bet she was tired at the end of the day and would have made this. (Effie is Sams trusty secretary and all around good Joe.)

Good eating.

“Look at me, Sam. You worry me. You always think you know what you’re doing, but you’re too slick for your own good. Some day you’re going to find it out.”

“Don’t be too sure I’m as crooked as I’m supposed to be.”

“Don’t worry about the story’s goofiness. A sensible one would have had us all in the cooler.”

Happy All Hallows Eve, with a side of beef stewed in wine (and gluten free)

Hello there all. Ready for all the Trick or Treaters to come traipsing to your door? Ready for little angels and ninja turtles and lady bugs and vampires? (And lets not forget the last minute too-cool-to-go-trick-or-treating, but still want that candy older kids coming by with pillow cases to fill)

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What should we name him? Count of Monte Pumpkin? Casanova? Phantom of the pumpkin?

Look at the inside of this huge pumpkin we got from the store. It looks eery with almost spider-web like pumpkin strands inside:

IMG_4359 (1024x765)It’s a biggin! Waiting to be gutted and carved. (and the seeds toasted by yours truly, and eaten by yours truly, with any luck.)

Anyway, I had pulled some stewing beef out of the freezer the other day and it was high time to cook it up before it went to waste. We had just had spaghetti n meatballs a couple of night before and I was trying to stay away from the whole tomato based meal thing.

Side note:

We were supposed to have this last night, but on my way home yesterday, I was bashed into at an intersection by some young idiot who thought texting while driving was a great idea, and ran a red light. So dinner was put on hold. Stew needs time. This punk robbed me of that time and my car and it could have been my life. Or his. (Don’t worry, I am fine. But the car is hopeless).

So what to do? My usual fall-back beef stew was delicious but had tomatoes. If I left those out, I would need something else to um, ‘enhance’ the stew.

So my mind wandered back along those Juila Child flashbacks. Wine, wine and more wine. How about Jacques Pepin, Mr. French cooking with ze wine?

Have you ever cooked with wine? Have you had much success? My experience is more of a ‘win some-lose some’. But last night we won some! And it was still a gluten-free meal. Here is how it went:

Beef Stew with wine

stewing meat or a chuck roast cut into stew size pieces (I had about 2 pounds. You can use however much you need or make enough to freeze for later. I would  say this is even better the next day.)

olive oil

onion, diced

herbs (I picked some rosemary and thyme from garden. Use what is in your pantry if you want, whatever you like best)

garlic cloves, 2

red wine

chicken broth & some beef broth (I use the boxed size from the store. If you have homemade, even better!)

carrots, pearl onions, peas, mushrooms or whatever mix of vegetables your family likes or you have on hand.

potatoes (sweet or white or a combination)

leeks (optional, if you happen to have some looking kind of sad in the fridge, needing a purpose in life other than going in the trash.)

2 Tbsp. tapioca starch (or you could use potato starch or just flour)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

So,  pour some olive oil in the bottom of a heavy dutch oven, enough to fry the meat in, and heat the pan.

Salt the meat and brown in the hot pan, doing it in 2 or 3 batches depending on how much you are making. Remove the meat to a bowl or large plate. (In my old recipe, I would dredge the meat in flour first. I don’t anymore.)

Add the diced onions and garlic to the pan, frying in the meat fat/oil. Add the meat back in. Add the herbs and about 1/2 a bottle of red wine and half a box of chicken broth or enough to barely cover the meat.

Pop into the oven and forget about it for 1 1/2-2 hours. Isn’t that nice?

Now carefully remove the amazingly, ferociously hot pot from the oven and set on the stove.

Peel the potatoes and carrots. Get out the other vegetables you are putting in. I happened to have pearl onions in my freezer (from Trader Joes of course). You could use any kind of onions you have on hand. The previous diced onions are cooked down to nothing, adding to the sauce, but these will be more intact to pick up with a fork and eat. Cut the potatoes into largish chunks, cut the carrots into 1″-2″ pieces. There are really no hard and fast rules here. Add any other vegetables you want. Add more salt and pepper too.

Put all the vegetables into the pot, stirring them in. At this point I added some beef broth because the vegetables where sitting up too high over the meat and sauce that I wanted them to cook with. So add some beef (or more chicken) broth and stir it all in. Put back into the oven for another hour, or cook on the stove top until vegetables are tender.

IMG_4356 (1024x765)I spooned the meat and vegetables out of the pot and into a serving bowl, leaving the sauce behind.

Now take about 2 Tablespoons of tapioca starch and put it into a little prep bowl. Add some water to it to make a mixture, not much, but enough so you can mix it and smooth is out with a mini whisk or fork.

Put the pan of wine/broth on the stove over a high heat to bring it to a boil. Once boiling, add the tapioca mixture with a whisk, stirring it into the broth. It will thicken up pretty quick. I poured this over the meat/veg mix in the bowl. Ooh-ahh. It’s ready to serve! The boys had some toast with it. (We had some homemade peasant bread) while hubby and I abstained.  Everyone thought it turned out great and there is even a little leftover to fight over for lunch the next day.

Mr big dirty pot.
Mr big dirty pot.

And I had roasted pumpkin seeds for dessert.(hee-hee-hee). Here is the recipe for those that I made 2 years ago while out kitchen was being remodeled and I did not have an oven. But ingenuity is the mother of invention, right?

I may be making pumpkin poppers today to give out to adults walking with their kids. You’ve never heard of pumpkin poppers? Where have you been? You must make some quick! Run to the store right now and get a can of pumpkin and a cake mix!! Or maybe you already have this?

It is sooo easy. You take 1 box of spice cake mix and 1 smaller can of pure pumpkin. Thats it! You mix them together (sometimes I add a shake or two of extra cinnamon) until pretty smooth and scoop them out into a mini muffin pan. Bake in a 350 oven for about 12-15 minutes. Take them out and give them the press test. Gently press the muffin. If the indent bounces back it is ready. If it sinks in, it needs more time. When cool you can sprinkle powdered sugar over them. Or what I did for the cooking class was dip the tops in melted butter and sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar. Extra yum points! Sadly I do not have any pictures of the poppers. You will just have to see them to believe them. (of course, I won’t be eating them…but I can still smell them and love seeing other people enjoy them.)

Happy Halloween!

Oh, and beware of people texting and driving. BEWARE!

Mocha braised ribs n shanks

“Oh mummy, what arrrr we havin for supper tonight? Sumpin special for Saint Patricks day?”

“Ah aye wee lass aye, weel be havin ar traditional mocha braised beef with brown rice don’t ya know”.

Hm, alright, there is so many things wrong with this I could not even begin. But t’is true. We had a fine potluck yesterday with corned beef, potatoes, carrots and cabbage, (and lets not forget the Irish soda bread), the traditional American way of celebrating Saint Patrick’s day and being Irish, or wishing we were Irish, or just thinking briefly about the Irish. I did mean to make Shepherds  pie with lamb, but wouldn’t you know, out of the two stores I went in to, neither one had any lamb left that wasn’t a bone in affair, not suitable for Shepherds pie.

So fine, we did the corned beef yesterday, my duty was done, why not go a little wild? I was thinking of some spaghetti and meatballs, when suddenly I remembered this amazingly wonderful dish I made at one of my Pampered Chef parties, a recipe that came with my Rockcrok! (Pampered Chef recipes never steer you wrong.) And since I was there, in front of the lambless meat display, why not pick up some short ribs?
Because they are so freakishly expensive, that’s why!

I bought one pound of short ribs and it only came to 3 ribs! So right next to it and at a considerable savings, were beef shanks. Large round beef thingys with a nice marrow bone in the middle.

My inner gears went to spinning. This recipe lets the meat cook for several hours, surely long enough for shanks as well. The bone marrow will give a wonderful texture and vitamins to the stewy kind of meal it is. I know this recipe tastes wonderful because I made it once before.

I sold myself on the idea and bought the meat before I had time to back out and rethink it. 1 lb. of ribs and 2 beef shanks. Mix and match. (Such is the way  many of my plans come to fruition. A kind of jump-in-and-hope-for-the-best mentality.)

Lucky for you, I have a few minutes to share this recipe. It took no longer than starting any kind of stew. You braise the meat, saute the veggies, add the liquids, put it all together and let it bake away in the oven while you forgetaboutit and sit down to blog, or find some other interesting thing to do, like folding laundry. Or go catch a movie. Or walk the dog who keeps digging holes because he is bored. Or collect eggs, then spy on the hens to see if you can guess which one ate one of the eggs. Or make homemade play-do for the kids and have them model their names with it.

This recipe is a wonderful rich stew to be served over rice, in my opinion. It is a bit spicy, with mocha overtones from the coffee and chocolate. (Yes, you read right, chocolate) I used half the called for chipotle and just over half the amount of chocolate. (Don’t hate me, but I am not a huge chocolate fan.) So do as your conscience allows. Oh and by the way, the beef shanks were even more tender than the ribs as it turns out! Next time I would just use shanks. It looks like Oso bucco, a fab Italian dish. Just make sure you have all your ingredients ready to go as it is a little unusual. Such as a dish with coffee AND chipotle AND chocolate AND tomatoes…

Here is the beef, the sauce, the brown rice all mingling indecently together next to some discreet salad.
Here is the beef, the sauce, the brown rice all mingling indecently together next to some discreet salad.

Mocha Braised Short Ribs

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 4 pounds short ribs (or ?)
  • 1 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 Tbsp. chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped plus 3 Tbsp sauce (I used 1 large Tbsp. of the blended chipotle mixture.)
  • 3 Tbsp. each brown sugar and flour
  • 1 tsp.  ground cumin
  • 1 can (14.5) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups coffee (2 cups hot water mixed with 2 1/2 Tbsp instant coffee granules or your own coffee)
  • 1 cup  beef stock
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I only had dark chocolate, which worked fine, but I used 2.5 oz. Having a kitchen scale is priceless!)
  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat the oil in the Dutch oven Crockpot (Or other dutch oven) and heat for 3-4 minutes or until shimmering. Season ribs or other beef with salt and pepper. Brown half the ribs, uncovered 6-8 minutes, turning once. Remove from Dutch Oven and repeat with remaining ribs. Drain the pan if the drippings are more than 2 Tbsp.
  2. Into the hot drippings add the diced onions, garlic, *chipotle peppers with sauce, brown sugar, flour and cumin. Saute for about 2 minutes (add the mushrooms if using).
  3. Dissolve the coffee in the hot water (if needed). Stir in the coffee, tomatoes and beef broth into the Dutch Oven. Cook uncovered until simmering. Remove from heat and add the meat.
  4. Put the lid on it and put in the oven for 2-2 1/2 hours or until the meat is fork tender and falling off the bone.
  5. Remove ribs.Skim fat from top of the sauce. Stir in chocolate until melted. Divide ribs and sauce among the serving plates, serving over rice.

*A good tip from a friend of mine, she takes the can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and blends the whole thing up then stores it. When she wants it for a recipe, she just  spoons out what she needs. It has been working for me beautifully as well. So I did not worry about the chili and the sauce as though they were two separate things.

Here is the browned meat just starting its incarceration with all the other felons into the Rockcrok and into the oven to think about its life choices.
Here is the browned meat just starting its incarceration with all the other felons into the Rockcrok and into the oven to think about its life choices. (I love this pot, goes on the stovetop, into the oven or microwave and under the broiler, no worries!)
Seems I forgot to braise the mushrooms with the other vegies, so I gave them a quick shake in the skillet and stirred them into the 'stew'.
Seems I forgot to braise the mushrooms with the other veggies, so I gave them a quick shake in the skillet and stirred them into the ‘stew’.
About 3 hours later, give or take, I removed it from the oven and lifted the lid. Oooh..Transformation! Rebirth! Alchemy! Well, no...
About 3 hours later, give or take, I removed it from the oven and lifted the lid. Oooh..Transformation! Rebirth! Alchemy! Well, no…
Here are the bones I removed from the stewiness. They were not attached to anything anymore. Bones-no-more!
Here are the bones I removed from the stewiness. They were not attached to anything anymore. Bones-no-more!

This was a big hit. Just a hint of spiciness, but not too much for my light-weights. All the other flavors mixed together to make it warm and complex. Just wonderful. I started it around 3 pm and we ate at 7. It was done by 6:30, but then there is pulling everything else together. (Like family members from their rooms and getting them to set the table and so on…)

Sorry we didn’t get any pictures of the fab cake we had as a stand by dessert! I would like to share that one. Butter cake with cream cheese icing. So easy too. Darn shame. Well, maybe tomorrow I can get a picture of a little leftover piece. That might do. Because if you like butter cakes, you will want to try this one.

Bavarian Pot Roast

Here is an old favorite of ours that came from an even older Taste of Home recipe. I wore out the little cut out recipe, so only have a written copy as of now. So I am throwing out a ‘thank you’ to whoever it was submitted this one, where ever she may be.

??????????????????????I used beef from Costco and it cooked down most tender and delectable.Considering that I did not even thaw it until about 2:00 pm, that was pretty good. I usually like to cook it a good 3 hours or more, but this one was only about 2 1/2 and it  was still great. I wonder if it might have had to do with the fact that, since I wasn’t sure that it was thawed enough, I cut the roast into several pieces. I then browned them well before putting the sauce on them.

I actually found whole wheat egg noodles! How weird is that? I know it’s a small thing, not really very ‘grainy’ but what the hay. I was serving a salad with it anyway. And since it already had noodles, no bread. Oh wait, I lied. We had some bread still from ‘le Pain Quotidien’ we picked up on a lark at Fashion Island. It was an organic whole wheat sourdough that I sliced thin, spread butter over it, with Parmesan and garlic salt. Oh yeah baby. Since we paid a freaking fortune for that bread, I will not let it just sit here and get stale. In fact there is still some of it double wrapped in the freezer as we speak. The loaf was huge! (Just because I bake it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate someone else’s baking.)

So practice your yodeling and put on your drindles or lederhosen and let’s make some Bavarian Pot roast!

Bavarian Pot Roast

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast
  • 2 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup beef broth or beer (I used beef broth with a splash of apple juice)
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon each pepper and ginger

Cooking Directions

  1. I cut the roast into several pieces with the result that it cooked faster, became very tender and melt in your mouth. Using a large dutch oven, heat the oil and sear the meat on both sides.
  2. Lay the rough chopped onions over the meat.
  3. Mix the rest of the ingredients in something like a batter bowl and pour over the meat.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until the meat is tender, 2 1/2-3 hours.
  5. I made whole wheat egg noodles tonight for this meal. When the meat is tender, remove the meat from the Dutch oven to either a plate or put right on the noodles. Bring the sauce left in the pot to a simmer. If need be, add some beef broth to make a little more (I made about 2 cups, adding a little less than a cup of broth extra). I then whisk some tapioca starch or corn starch with a little water into the sauce to make a gravy. Simmer as it thickens just for a minute or so.
  6. Put noodles in a large serving bowl, add meat/onion mix and pour some of the sauce over the top, putting the rest in a gravy boat.

Yummers!

Steak and Pepper Pasta

Here is a weird recipe. I will tell you that upfront.

I found it years and years ago in some book or other, modified it a bit and weird though it is, I LOVE IT!

I only make it once every year or so. Probably because I eat too much of it.

I stopped shoveling it into my mouth long enough to snap a picture though.

It is pretty simple, if you have some sherry around. Really, you must have sherry. It is a key ingredient.

You need some steak. I usually use a sirloin steak. I used to slice it up and saute it in butter, like the recipe called for, but I found it turned grey and steamed instead of fried. Probably because I tried to saute too much meat at the same time. Better to do it in batches. But instead of that I grill or fry the whole steak, then slice thinly.

You can use whatever meat floats you carnivorous boat.

Steak and Pepper Pasta

1 lb. sirloin steak, slice thin and pat dry

¼ cup butter

2 large cloves garlic, (presses in garlic press. Only 2, really?)

3 large onions, cut in half and sliced thinly

2 small green peppers, chopped

¼ cup (or more) dry sherry

2 tsp salt, some pepper

Parmesan, lots

Olive oil

Start the water for the pasta because it seems to take forever to boil. Cook pasta when boiling. In the meantime, while waiting for the watched pot to boil…

In skillet, melt half the butter and sauté half the steak until still pink. Remove to a platter and keep warm while sautéing the other half of the steak. Remove to platter.

Add the vegetables to the same skillet and cook until crisp tender. (I am thinking about 10 minutes.) Add the garlic and sauté a minute more.

Add sherry and seasoning. (Sometimes I would add some Lawry’s here.) If it seems too dry, add more sherry, then cook off the alcohol for just a minute. I don’t really measure it anymore.

Toss in some- lots- of Parmesan cheese. That and the sherry are the main hero’s here.

Spoon out into a pasta bowl and add more parmesan.

Dig in!

 

Shredded Beef for Tacos or Nachos

“Eat more beef!”

Okay, I don’t  have any pictures of the tacos we ate last night. I was too tired to even think of it. Too hungry to stop eating them as I made them. What a busy whirlwind of a weekend. But these tacos were too good to not share with you.

Anyone who likes Mexican food probably has a good go-to place for what my hubby calls  “a good grease wallet”. Not a fancy place, just a good, crispy taco, beans and rice. Ours is “Toms’ previously known as ‘Titos tacos’. Loooove it! It is located on Beach Blvd and Ball I think. Near Adventure City.

Anyway, I was in the mood for shredded beef for Mexican food this past week. I hardly ever make it because a) hubby prefers hamburger in his tacos and b) hubby and I are the only ones who really like Mexican food. So whats the point. Unless the point is once in a while I deserve to have something my way. Like Hawaiian pizza.  Or watching a chick flick. Or shredded beef nachos and tacos.

I picked up the way of making it from an Hispanic family way back in the old days, when I couldn’t even do toast without burning it. Anything beyond boiling water was a challenge. And no one had  microwave ovens yet. (they were just on the brink of technology. I think I got my first micro in maybe, 1983? This was probably in 1982.)

I went with a friend of mine to visit her parents and sister and kids. It was a nice boisterous atmosphere, friendly and loud. When I went in the kitchen there was a little old couple busy shredding beef with two forks and cooking tortillas. My friend translated the recipe and it has always stayed with me, even though I never wrote it down. I guess it was back when  my brain was still fresh and unused and had room.

Continue reading “Shredded Beef for Tacos or Nachos”

Warrior Womans Meatloaf

Did any of you watch Pioneer Woman on the Food Network a couple of weeks ago when she made meatloaf? I did. In fact it’s the only one I have watched on time and not taped that I can remember. Usually I go to my moms house to watch  it during the week.

I think there must be some subliminal messaging going on. Or blatant obvious messaging even. “Eat this! Make meatloaf now and your life will be complete!” ‘Cause I sure couldn’t rest until I made some for our family. Suddenly making meatloaf consumed me. And we are not even big meatloaf fans. Didn’t matter a bit though. We had to have it and you know what? We all loved it.

I found the recipe was in the Pioneer Woman’s Cookbook (otherwise known around my mom’s house as “Warrior Woman”. Why? It just is). I had all the ingredients too. Whoo-hoo!

So meat and potatoes, green salad. Real he-man food with a side of girly.

Here are some of the ingredients, except for the parmesan, which I had and forgot to use (weep...)

Meatloaf (oven 350)

1 cup milk

6 slices bread

2 pounds ground beef

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (sniff-I forgot this. I am sure it would have made a big difference, even though it turned out great. It would have been greater!)

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp seasoned salt and some pepper

about 1/2 cup minced parsley (it says flat leafed-but I am growing regular and I really can’t tell the diff once it’s in the food.)

4 eggs, beaten (yes, this makes a pretty big batch. I think I made half a batch).

8-12 thin bacon slices

Topping: (Don’t forget-Oven 350)

1 1/2 cups ketchup (I used half spicy ketchup, just because we had it in the fridge.)

6 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. dry mustard

dash or two of hot sauce-more if you like heat

Pour the  milk over the bread in a bowl and let it soak in.

Put everything else in the bowl and squish with clean hands. (they won’t be clean for long, unless you wear gloves).

I use a meatloaf pan, but you can put for the loaf shape on a broiler pan, the bottom of which she lines with aluminum foil and it  will allow the fat from the meat to drain.

Lay the slices of bacon over the top, tucking their little ends in underneath the meatloaf.

All stripy pink and cute. Just needs little eyes and a pig nose. (Oven 350)

Mix together the topping sauce ingredients. Put about 1/3 of it over the top of the meatloaf and pop into the oven (how high?) for 45 minutes.

Then put another third of the sauce over it. Bake another 15 minutes.

The rest of the sauce will be served on the side.

yes, it shrinks. Half a recipe is just right for the 3 of us, with a few leftovers for sandwiches. Jut right for 4 people.

I can just about smell it…Don’t let anyone pick off the saucy-bacony topping. That knife was there as a warning to presumptuous bacon thieves. (not really).

Make mashed potatoes and have a crisp salad with homemade ranch dressing!

French Dip/Philly Cheese Steak

First I make a disclaimer. I am not from Philadelphia. I do not make any claims that this is true Philly cheese steak material. Quite frankly I am not big on authenticity here. I know some people are and get quite excited about the idea. I guess that’s the risk you take when you name food after a city, country or province. For example, why hasn’t Belgium declared war on us over those sadly inferior frozen waffles things we call “Belgium” waffles? Not that I have been there, but I have heard from those that have been how fabulous their waffles really are over there. A waffle stand on every corner, wonderful scents filling the air.

Oops, I better get back on track.

Here is a dilly of a recipe I found on “Just a Pinch” recipe club. I had to adapt it a bit, but it was wonderful and I want to share it with you too. It won a blue ribbon and was submitted by “Cookingdad” Gordon Savell.

But my computer will not copy and paste this for me today. So here goes

Ingredients:

Some“: Garlic Powder

Seasoning Salt

Pepper

Emerils essentials (?)

1 pkg. Lipton Onion Soup Mix

2 boxes Beef Broth

1 Roast, 3 lbs. Good cut like shoulder

16 oz beer

Good french bread, Hoagie rolls, etc.

Grilled onions, peppers

Swiss Cheese

Directions:

Put the roast in the crock pot, adding plenty of seasoning. Put in the beer, the soup mix, the broth. Cook in the crock pot on low/med (?) and it should be done in 4-6 hours. I guess you know your crock pot best to judge the timing.

When the meat is tender, take it out and shred it, adding juice. Toast a roll or bread, fill with meat and veggies then some shredded cheese and serve some ‘juice” on the side. Wonderful stuff!

Now I tend to buy my meat at Costco. I buy roasts, keep some whole for pot roast and cut some up for beef stew. I had taken out meat for stew a couple of days ago, then didn’t feel like making it.  And since I’m the kitchen boss…

That same day I got an email from the “Just a Pinch” recipe club I belong to and there was a french dip recipe. Eureka! Just what I needed. I adapted it just a little.

I browned the meat in a big enameled pot, then added the seasoning, a pack of onion soup mix, half a bottle of beer and 1 box of beef broth.

After it simmered for 3 hours, the meat was tender and the juice was wonderful. I do not often cook with beer. This most definitely worked. It gave it just the right flavor. In the past I have added sherry to make Au jus. That was good too.

Did I mention the bread? I made some home-made hoagie rolls. First time too. They came out pretty ugly (wait, isn’t that an oxy-moron?) but just the right texture and chew.  Not so soft it turned to mush, not so hard that it would seem too bready. I will post that recipe separate.

Grilled some onions, green peppers, mushrooms and threw on a slice of Havarti cheese. (it’s the only white cheese I had. Cheddar just wouldn’t do. It might not be “Philly” enough, whatever that is.)