Monthly Archives: November 2012

Slow Cooker Smothered Steak

SlowCookedSmotheredSteak

This recipe is adapted from a Cook’s Country recipe. The method addresses a couple of problems with cooking smothered steaks in a slow cooker, too much liquid and browning. Microwaving the onions gets rid of the moisture and the cornstarch helps with the browning. The first time I made this I was amazed at the depth of flavor and the finished texture of the blade steaks. It was almost like braised short ribs without all the fuss! I love using the slow cooker when I don’t want to come home from work and immediately start cooking. It is such a wonderful feeling to walk in the door and smell the wonderful aroma in the house and know that dinner is moments away without any more work. Paradise!

Slow Cooker Smothered Steak

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium onions, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 (6- to 8-ounce) blade steaks, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, trimmed
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme

Instructions:

  1. Toss onions, sugar, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, and 1/4 tsp salt in large bowl and let sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Combine steaks, remaining 2 Tbsp soy sauce, and 1 1/4 tsp salt in large zipper-lock bag.
  3. Marinate for 30 minutes, turning once.
  4. Microwave onion mixture until onions are softened and beginning to dry around edges.
  5. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring once.
  6. Drain in colander, shaking to release moisture.
  7. Transfer onion mixture to slow cooker.
  8. Stir in 2 Tbsp cornstarch, garlic, thyme, and 1 tsp pepper.
  9. Pat steaks dry with paper towels and rub 1 side with remaining 1 Tbsp cornstarch.
  10. Arrange steaks, cornstarch side up, in single layer on onions.
  11. Cover and cook on low until steaks are completely tender, 7 to 8 hours.
  12. Transfer steaks to platter, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  13. Remove onions and sauce from bottom of slow cooker.
  14. Serve with steaks.

Leave a comment

Filed under What's for Dinner

Baked Ziti

BakedZiti

This was adapted from a recipe from the Pioneer Woman Cooks. This is very similar to many other recipes, the differences being in the assembly. Also, ingredients and ratios can vary between versions. This is an excellent candidate for making ahead and just heating up right before dinner. Leftovers are great too! I did not have ziti, but only rotini. Any short round pasta will do. Lastly, this was last night’s dinner, I forgot to post it before falling asleep.

Baked Ziti

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Large Onion, Diced
  • 1 pound Italian Sausage
  • 1 can Petite Diced Tomatoes, With Juice
  • 1 can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces, weight Ziti, Cooked Until Not Quite Al Dente
  • 8 ounces Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 pound Mozzarella Cheese, Grated
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 whole Egg
  • Fresh Minced Parsley

Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and garlic and saute for several minutes until starting to soften.
  3. Add Italian sausage and cook until browned.
  4. Drain off fat, leaving a bit behind for flavor and moisture.
  5. Add tomatoes, tomato juice, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes.
  6. Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
  7. After that time, remove 2 cups of the sauce to a different bowl to cool down.
  8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  9. In another bowl, mix ricotta cheese, 2 cups mozzarella, parmesan, egg, and salt and pepper.
  10. Stir together just a couple of times (do not mix completely).
  11. Drain the pasta and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking and cool it down.
  12. Pour it into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to combine.
  13. Add the cooled meat sauce and toss to combine.
  14. Add half the coated pasta to a large casserole dish or lasagna dish.
  15. Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the top, then top with half the remaining mozzarella cheese.
  16. Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta, the sauce, and the mozzarella.
  17. Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbling.
  18. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Leave a comment

Filed under What's for Dinner

Skillet Chicken with Chile and Lime

This is another skillet meal that is quite tasty. The lime adds a very bright taste to this dish while the butter gives the sauce a nice richness. Excellent served over rice. Black beans would make a nice side.

Skillet Chicken with Chile and Lime

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and chopped fine
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest from 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice from 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Instructions:

  1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Cook chicken until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.
  4. Add jalapeño and garlic to skillet and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Stir in tomatoes and broth and bring to boil.
  6. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to skillet.
  7. Simmer, covered, over medium heat until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  8. Transfer chicken to serving platter and tent with foil.
  9. Simmer sauce, uncovered, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  10. Off heat, stir in remaining butter, lime zest and juice, and cilantro.
  11. Season with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken. Serve.

Leave a comment

Filed under What's for Dinner

Cuba Libre

Cuba Libre or Rum and Coke, whatever you like to call it, is refreshing. First off, you need to get some Coca-Cola from Mexico. Its distinct taste we remember from our childhood is a must in this drink. And of course, please always use fresh lime juice. The final choice is the rum. I think white rum is the best choice here, but there is still a choice. Sweet or dry. Appleton White Rum from Jamaica is smooth with notes of vanilla, but not too sweet. This rum makes for a very mellow rum and coke. Flor de Cana Extra Dry is just that, and it plays well with the lime juice to make a lighter tasting rum and coke. Whatever your preference, this is a classic cocktail that has stood the test of time.

Cuba Libre

  • 1.5 ounce white rum
  • .75 ounce fresh lime juice
  • ice cubes
  • 4.5 ounce Coca Cola from Mexico
  1. Add rum to a high ball glass
  2. Add lime juice
  3. Add ice cubes
  4. Fill with Coca Cola
  5. Stir

Sip and be refreshed!

Leave a comment

Filed under Cocktails

Pepper Crusted Beef Tenderloin Roast

Since we are going to be eating lots of turkey over the next few days, I thought I would indulge in some beef. This recipe is adapted from Cook’s Illustrated. These recipes are amazing! Sauteing the peppercorns ahead of rubbing them on the roast tames the spiciness. Adding the nutmeg and orange zest adds more flavor back in. The flavors on this tenderloin roast are phenomenal! The pomegranate port reduction adds another layer of flavor that perfectly complements the beefiness. And of course it is so tender you can cut it with a fork. I roasted some red potatoes with rosemary and lemon to go with this. You must try this dish!

Pepper Crusted Beef Tenderloin Roast

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 9 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup coarsely cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp finely grated orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 five to six pound whole beef tenderloin , trimmed

Instructions:

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Combine salt, sugar, and baking soda in bowl.
  3. Heat 6 tablespoons oil and peppercorns in small saucepan over low heat until faint bubbles appear.
  4. Continue to cook at bare simmer, swirling pan occasionally, until pepper is fragrant, 7 to 10 minutes.
  5. Using fine-mesh strainer, drain cooking oil from peppercorns.
  6. Discard cooking oil and mix peppercorns with remaining 3 tablespoons oil, orange zest, and nutmeg.
  7. Set tenderloin on sheet of plastic wrap.
  8. Sprinkle salt mixture evenly over surface of tenderloin and rub into tenderloin until surface is tacky.
  9. Tuck tail end of tenderloin under about 6 inches to create more even shape.
  10. Rub top and side of tenderloin with peppercorn mixture, pressing to make sure peppercorns adhere.
  11. Spray kitchen twine with vegetable oil spray and tie tenderloin, spacing twine at 2-inch intervals.
  12. Transfer prepared tenderloin to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet, keeping tail end tucked under.
  13. Roast until thickest part of meat registers about 125 degrees for medium-rare, 60 to 70 minutes.
  14. Transfer to carving board and let rest for 30 minutes.
  15. Remove twine and slice meat into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
  16. Serve with Pomegranate Port Sauce.

Pomegranate Port Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 1/2cups ruby port
  • 1 shallot , minced
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 4 Tbsp cold unsalted butter

Instructions:

  1. Add pomegranate juice, port, shallot, sugar, vinegar, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt,and thyme to sauce pan.
  2. Simmer over medium-high heat.
  3. Cook until reduced to 1 cup, 30 to 35 minutes.
  4. Strain sauce through fine-mesh strainer and return to saucepan.
  5. Return saucepan to medium heat and whisk in butter, 1 piece at a time.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Leave a comment

Filed under What's for Dinner

White Chili with Chicken

This was originally going to be Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili, but the morning did not go as planned. However, it works just as well being fast cooked. I did modify the recipe to accommodate for the change. At some point in the future I will make the slow cooker version. I had some extra yellow and orange bell pepper that I needed to use so they went in with the onions too. I also used grilled chicken for extra smoky flavor. Serve with your favorite chili condiments; jalapenos, sour cream, cheese, etc.

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 (16-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (16 ounce) can white hominy, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups shredded, sliced, or diced chicken
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and chopped fine
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Puree 1/2 can beans, hominy, broth, and ¾ teaspoon salt in blender until smooth.
  2. Add vegetable oil to medium high heated large pot until shimmering.
  3. Cook onions, chiles, and ½ teaspoon salt until golden brown.
  4. Stir occasionally for about 8 minutes.
  5. Add garlic, cumin, and coriander and cook until fragrant.
  6. Add contents of blender to pot.
  7. Add remaining beans to pot.
  8. Add chicken to pot.
  9. Stir to combine.
  10. Cover and cook on low for about 30 -60 minutes stirring occasionally.

Leave a comment

Filed under What's for Dinner

Gin and Ginger

I am not a big fan of gin. However, on the advice of the folks over at the 12 Bottle Bar, I bought some Leopold’s Gin. Being from Colorado, it seemed the right choice. I first used it in a Singapore sling and then in a Saturn. I was led to both of these cocktails by Beachbum Berry. They are marvelously complex and quite delicious. However, I have been looking for something a little more simple, but not a martini. My daughter is home from college this week for Thanksgiving. She told me about a cocktail she called Gin and Ginger so we made it to go with our Subway sandwiches for dinner. It is fantastic! The lemon juice does wonders for the sweetness of the Barritt’s Ginger Beer, and the Leopold’s Gin gives it all a nice depth of flavor. I highly recommend this cocktail, it is fabulously refreshing!

Build this drink in a highball glass filled with ice cubes. Add these components and stir. Garnish with a lemon wheel.
1.5 ounce Leopold’s Gin
1.0 ounce fresh lemon juice
4.5 ounce Barritt’s Ginger Beer

Enjoy!

Leave a comment

Filed under Cocktails