June 25, 2020

Rosemary Garlic Lamb Chops

I read some recipes where they blast garlic, herbs, and salt in a food processor and slather it over the chops before searing. But doesn’t that just result in burnt garlic? And under-seared-over-steamed meat? Meat should be simple. I watched a Gordon Ramsay youtube video and winged it. Thanks Gordon Ramsay.

Extra Garlicky Tip: Not only did I pan sear some whole cloves with the chops, I roasted (skin on) a handful in the oven on 425F with my veggies, then smothered the buttery creamy roasted garlic all over the cooked chops before serving.

Costco had these huge 2.5 inch lamb chops for sale. I love Costco almost as much as I love Gordon Ramsay.

INGREDIENTS:

  • bone in lamb chops
  • salt
  • pepper
  • herbs, dried or fresh (I used dried rosemary and fresh parsley. ‘Cause that’s what we have at home)
  • garlic
  • butter
  • cooking oil
  • lots of paper towels
  • tongs help.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Thoroughly dry chops with paper towel.
  2. Salt generously on all sides. Sprinkle over dried herbs if you don’t have fresh. Optional: pepper as well. (Our kids don’t like pepper)
  3. Heat up large skillet over medium high heat. Add a generous pour of oil. When shimmering, evenly place chops in pan and avoid crowding. Toss in whole peeled and smashed garlic.
  4. Turn every 2-4 min. I like turning often. I think it sears more evenly. Make sure garlic doesn’t burn. Turn them often and place on top of chops if browning too quickly.
  5. Once all sides have been browned once, reduce heat to medium and add a large pat of butter and swirl pan, coating chops. Add fresh herbs if you have them. Continue to pan fry chops until center bounce is like the fat pad under your thumb. Turn and tilt pan as needed to brown more evenly. We had super thick chops so this took another good ~7 min. For thin chops, I would add butter and herbs earlier.
  6. Remove herbs (or put them on the bottom of the serving pan), plate chops. If you roasted veggies and garlic, peel garlic and smother chops in their buttery goodness.

 

 

 

June 3, 2020

Chicken Pozole

Very easy soup, especially with a multicooker. I haven’t made pozole in a decade. I use to use pork butt, but chicken is what we had in the freezer. I also never use to blend the hominy, but whole kernels are a choking hazard for our one year old.  I now prefer the thicker consistency! I think I shall blend the hominy from here on out. Feel free to preserve half the can if you like the whole kernel texture.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 bone in chicken thighs
  • 2 cups chicken broth and/or water (I did 1 cup each)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, halved
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbs chili seasoning (chili powder, garlic, cumin, paprika, etc)
  • salt
  • 1 16oz can hominy, drained
  • lime juice
  • toppings: avocados, radishes, cabbage, cilantro, raw onions etc

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Saute onions in a bit of oil in multicooker pot. (Or heat dutch oven over medium high heat and add oil, then saute). Salt. Add garlic and saute another 1 min.
  2. Add chicken, sprinkle over salt, then seasonings, and top with broth and or water until almost covered. Cover and pressure cook on high for 15min. (or simmer 30-40min)
  3. In blender, blend a 1/4 cup of water and all (or half)  of the hominy until creamy.
  4. Slow release pressure and take out chicken. Shred chicken. Salt to taste if needed.
  5. Replace bones, shredded chicken, and pureed hominy and pressure cook another 10 min (or stove top 20min). Turn off machine and wait for natural release ~10min.
  6. Serve with sliced avocados, a sprinkle of lime juice, and whatever other toppings you’d like.

 

June 3, 2020

Hamburger Helper from Scratch

ONE POT LUNCH. Took about half an hour. Made it up as I went along so sorry for lack of precision.

Now that the baby is mostly over her milk allergy, she’s been running around shaking her fist demanding “CHEEEEEZE!!!” all day. Super easy to disguise veggies in here. Also super easy to make vegetarian or dairy free.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb ground beef or beef substitute
  • 1.5 cups chicken or beef broth
  • 1 large carrot, small dice
  • 1 onion, small dice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1-2 tsp paprika, sweet
  • 2 tbs tomato paste (or 1/4 cup tomato sauce? Ketchup?)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbs+ Worcestershire sauce
  • chopped spinach or other veggies
  • 8-10 oz dried pasta (~ half a 1lb box)
  • 1 cup milk/milk substitute
  • 4 slices American Cheese (’cause it melts so easily and is super creamy)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In large dutch oven, heat over medium heat. Add a bit of cooking oil. Coat pan. Add beef, salt generously, and mix in Worcestershire sauce. Mix and brown until most of the pink is gone. Remove and set aside.
  2. Add onions and carrots (because no one wants crunchy carrots, we add it early). Salt and season with bay leaf, parsley, thyme, paprika. Saute for 5 min. Add garlic and continue to saute 1-2 min until fragrant.
  3. Add chopped spinach (I always have frozen spinach in stash), cooked beef, tomato paste, and chicken broth. Salt to taste. Adjust taste: Red wine vinegar if too sweet, sugar or ketchup if too acidic.
  4. Reduce heat to low, stir in milk, then pasta. (We used oatmilk. With regular milk you dont want to heat too much or it’ll curdle. So keep it to a simmer). Pasta wont be completely submerged nor should it. COVER and simmer for 2-3 min more than what the pasta box says. I would use pot gripper and swirl the pot a bit every once in a while to make sure the pasta cooks evenly without opening the cover.
  5. Remove cover and test for al dente. Cover and add more liquid if the pasta is too hard and or dry.
  6. Remove cover and turn off heat. Stir in cheese. Feel free to add more, but 4 slices was perfect for us.

May 19, 2020

Chicken Tagine: multipot version

This whole thing took about 45 min beginning to end, with an 18m old in one arm. I feel like I leveled up in parenting today, chopping one handed. I love stews because there’s a large margin for error. Also why I dislike baking.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3-4lb bone in chicken
  • 1 onion (or pearl onion, or shallots) large dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced (it will melt anyway)
  • pat of butter
  • 1 can diced tomato
  • 1 can chicken broth (or less)
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup dried apricots and or dates (medjool dates are my go to)
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tbs + honey
  • roasted almonds, chopped
  • fresh parsley for serving (I dont use fresh parsley for stews. Turns brown and mushy)
  • salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Set multicooker to saute. (or heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat). Add a pat of butter. Saute garlic and onions until aromatic.
  2. Add chicken and spices (I eyeballed the spices…) Salt generously. Mix and saute a bit. Add tomatoes, honey, and enough chicken broth to almost cover the chicken. Cover. (You will probably have left over chicken broth)
  3. Pressure cook on high for 20 min. (stove top: turn heat to simmer and simmer for 45-60min).
  4. Release pressure. Mix rinsed chickpeas into stew. Carefully taste (super hot!) and salt if needed. Cover, set valve to pressure again, and pressure cook on high for 7min. (for stove top, ~15 min)
  5. Release pressure, add dried fruit and cover. Let it sit in the cooker with the power off if you’re not eating immediately. (I let it sit for 30min) Or pressure cook 3 min. Avoid over cooking fruit or it’ll disintegrate. (stove top: ~10 min simmer)
  6. Top with fresh parsley and chopped roasted almonds. Serve with rice, couscous, left over bread, whatever floats your boat.
May 8, 2020

Salisbury Steak

Craving Luby’s. And maybe missing Texas. Just a little. Mostly the space. And food. And people. Ok I miss Texas a lot right now.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbs Worcester sauce
  • 1-2 tbs Butter
  • 1 large shallot or small onion, sliced
  • 4oz Mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • Parsley
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1tbs flour
  • Sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix beef, 3/4 tsp salt, some pepper, half of the ketchup, 1 tbs Worcester sauce, breadcrumbs, and egg. Mix with hands and form into four flat ovals.
  2. Heat large frying pan over med high. Add cooking oil. When shimmering, add beef patties and brown, 4min each side. Should have a nice dark crust. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add butter. Sauté shallots for 1 min, add mushrooms and garlic. Sauté 4-5min until mushrooms reduce in size. More butter if dry. Add rest of Worcester sauce. Sprinkle flour over mixture, mix, then add beef broth and stir in ketchup. Salt to taste, add sugar if too acidic.
  4. Place patties back in, top with parsley, spoon over some mushrooms sauce, then cover and braise for 10min.
  5. Remove and discard parsley. Serve and top with fresh parsley.

May 2, 2020

Swedish Meatballs

Based off Alton Brown’s recipe. Because he is my hero.

Some notes:

  • I love the texture of milk soaked bread instead of breadcrumbs. Will do this with my meatloaf next time.
  • Sweating vs sautéing: Also trying this with my meatloaf next time. No browning = Plumper and sweeter onions.
  • Enlist family to help scoop and roll the meatballs. Most time consuming step.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2.5 slices fresh white bread
  • 1/3 cup half and half or milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 heaping cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1lb ground pork
  • 3 egg yolks (2.5 large)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 cup half and half or milk
  • optional: parsley
  • serve over: egg noodles, pasta, rice, or roasted veggies.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven 200F.
  2. Shred bread and soak in 1/3 cup of half and half. Set aside. (Shred first then soak. Done the other way around it becomes a sticky mess…oops)
  3. Heat a large pan over med heat, melt 1tbs butter. Add onions and a pinch of salt and sweat them: Cover with lid, lower heat and soften for a few min. NOT a saute, which is higher heat and browning.
  4. In a large bowl, mix meat, seasonings, egg yolks, onions, bread/milk mixture. Mix for a good minute or two until well blended.
  5. With a tbs measuring spoon, form even small mounds of meat mixture and set on a large baking pan. Roll each of the mounds into meatballs.
  6. Heat pan back up, add another tbs of butter. Place meatballs in pan and brown evenly, turning as needed. 2-3 batches to avoid crowding and steaming. ~8 min each batch. Add more butter if needed. Remove cooked meatballs as they finish and set on baking sheet in oven to keep warm. **now’s a good time to make noodles*
  7. In left over pan grease, make roux: reduce heat to medium low and slowly mix in flour and stir until slightly browned, 1-2min. Then slowly stir in beef broth. Salt to taste. Stir in milk/cream until sauce becomes desired consistency.
  8. Plate noodles. Top with meatballs. Pour over sauce. Add some parsley if you want to be fancy.
April 21, 2020

Pressure cooker carnitas

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lb pork shoulder, chopped in 2 inch cubes
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • Oregano
  • Cumin
  • Chili powder
  • Squeeze of OJ and lime juice
  • Salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix everything in multicooker bowl.
  2. Pressure cook on high 35min. Natural release 10min+ No need for extra liquid! It’ll be fine!
  3. Dump everything on a large baking sheet. Shred meat with two forks. Broil for 5-10 min until edges charred.
  4. Serve with pickled onions, avocados, radishes, whatever floats your boat.
April 10, 2020

Quarantine Dinner: Gochujang Tacos

Back when life was simpler and our family smaller, I tried Blue Apron for a bit. One of the recipes that I still think about five years later is their spicy pork tacos with Gochujang. And I just happen to always keep a tub in my fridge. The original recipe calls for a spicy cabbage slaw and sour cream. But seeing as we’re short on all sorts of ingredients these days, I improvised. We also had a lot of left over tortillas from our Babybel quesadillas earlier this week. So tacos it is!

The small bowl shown in the photo is a kid friendly version I made that substituted Gochujang for doubanjiang (sweet fermented bean paste)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1lb ground pork
  • 2 cloves garlic minced into paste
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1+ tbs Gochujang
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • Optional: sliced apples
  • Optional: sour cream

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat wok/large frying pan over med high heat. When pan is smoking hot, add a few tsp cooking oil.
  2. Add ground pork and smoosh it flat into the pan with your spatula. Let it brown for a minute or so. Salt generously. Add scallions. ginger and garlic and start mixing and breaking up the meat. Stab downward with edge of spatula to break it up. Cook 3 min or so until pink mostly gone.
  3. Add 3/4 cup of water and Gochujang to your preferred level of spicy. I used about a tablespoon. Stir and mix until water absorbed. Meanwhile:
  4. Toast tortillas until just puffing. Slice apples.
  5. Remove and serve meat with tortillas and toppings. Or on rice. Or with noodles (mung bean glass noodles with be great with this).
April 8, 2020

Chicken Quesadillas

Quarantine style. We had an old package of frozen tortillas from my last trip to Texas (HEB ftw), some American cheese and babybel snack cheeses, frozen spinach, and left over bell pepper from a stir fry two days ago.

Forgiving recipe. Rather hard to mess up, especially if you don’t bother to flip your quesadilla. Makes four.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 medium wheat tortillas
  • 5-6 chicken thighs, diced small
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  • spinach, chopped (frozen works)
  • cheese
  • oregano
  • garlic salt
  • paprika
  • cumin
  • lime juice
  • butter

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Toss chicken in seasoning and a few squeezes of lime juice. Set aside for a 30+ min or a few hours.
  2. Heat large frying pan, add a bit of cooking oil, and cook chicken until no longer pink. Remove.
  3. Sauté onions, bell peppers, lightly salt, 3 min. Add spinach and sauté until wilted (or thawed) and add chicken back. Mix and set aside.
  4. Heat up large skillet over medium heat. Add a pat of butter once hot. Toast four of the tortillas (non cheese) until just puffing up. Remove and set aside.
  5. Add more butter as needed. Place an untoasted tortilla and layer cheese ( I used 1 chopped babybel and two slices of American cheese each) top with chicken mix, then second tortilla. Smash down with hand or spatula. Heat until cheese melted and bottom is golden brown. Plate.

Note: Do one layer of cheese on the bottom if you’re scared of flipping. I like to do cheese, chicken, then more cheese so the whole thing sticks together better. But then you have to flip to melt the top layer of cheese. Either way, doesn’t change the way it tastes, so lazy way = one layer of cheese only and no flip.

 

January 12, 2020

Butternut Squash Pasta with Sage and Bacon

I first made this pasta four years ago. Two kids and a bunch of new appliances later, here’s the better and faster version! This use to take over an hour. Now it’s under 30min.

I’m almost too embarrassed to share this, but look at how ugly this dish use to be: old version.

Four years ago, I had a crappy Nutribullet blender which required working in batches. That’s why everything came out chunky. Today, my Vitamix took a few seconds. Pasta also use to take forever. Rental property stoves take 20 minutes to just boil a damn pot of water, then another 10 or so to cook the pasta. So that was another bottle neck. My new multicooker takes 5 minutes to cook pasta. Beginning to end.

Now I have more time for all of life’s other demands! More time to wipe noses and butts and step on legos. And of course, my lovely, appreciative, angel of a son takes one look at his plate and goes “I dont like this dinner, mommy. Cook me something else. How about a lot of bacon?”

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Some notes:

  • Toys that will make your life easier:
    • multicooker with a steamer basket,
    • vitamix blender,
    • veggie spiraler
  • I roasted half the squash (or whatever fits on the toaster oven tray) and steamed the rest. I find the steamed half lends a creamier texture while the roasted half gives it a nice caramelized flavor. Feel free to pick one or the other. I prefer using both.
  • I use zoodles for half my pasta for health reasons. We also use barilla veggie pasta that’s 1/4 veggies. Also, maybe my kids are dumb, but they dont notice they’re eating veggies when it’s zoodles. Big leafs of spinach? Much less appealing to toddlers.
  • Timing is everything. Roasting veggies takes the longest. Do that first. Everything else can be done while roasting. Then start up pasta when veggies are done. While pasta is cooking, blend the sauce together. 30 min meal, y’all.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 package spaghetti
  • 2 large shallots, thick sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • fresh sage
  • 3-4 slices of bacon
  • ~1 cup chicken stock
  • salt
  • optional: zucchini for zoodles
  • optional: grated parmesan  (I save the little containers that come with Italian take out and keep them in the freezer. Fresh is obviously better but we dont use parmesan often)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. PREP SQUASH: Peel and chop off ends. Cut squash in half, where the skinny end and the fat bulb meet. Slice the skinny half into <1/2 cm thick slices. Thinner slices roast faster! Cut bulb end in half again. Scoop out seeds. Chop into large chunks.
  3. Lightly spray aluminum lined pan and place sliced squash, whole garlic, and shallots on pan. Avoid crowding. Place shallots and garlic in center so they dont burn. Roast for ~15- 20 min.
  4. Dump squash chunks into steamer basket of multi cooker. Add 1-2 cups of water to inner pot, insert steamer rack trivet then steamer basket, making sure squash isn’t sitting in water. Steam 7 min. Drain and dump squash into blender.
  5. COOK BACON: Place slices of bacon in a cold frying pan. Turn heat on to medium. Render fat and fry bacon, turning as needed, until brown and crispy. Remove and set aside on paper towel. Chop into pieces. Use fat to fry sage–>
  6. FRY SAGE: Pick off the large pretty leaves from your sage stem. Reserve ugly or small ones and set aside. Place pretty leaves in hot bacon fat over medium high heat. Fry until each side is dark and crisp. I used a chopstick to turn them as they crumble easily when fried.  Remove and set aside on paper towel.
  7. COOK ZOODLES: Dump out most of the bacon fat. In remaining thin coat, heat pan on medium high again, then add zoodles. stir and salt to taste. Remove and later mix with pasta.
  8. COOK PASTA: (multicooker)
    • Unfortunately for spaghetti you need to break the dried pasta in half.
    • Dump pasta in inner pot.
    • Pour in just enough water to cover pasta. Salt.
    • Pressure cook on high for a little under half the time the box says. 9min pasta? Cook for 4. 11 min pasta? Try 5.
    • Drain in steamer basket used earlier for squash.
  9. BLEND SAUCE: Add chicken stock then roasted veggies and several small ugly sage leaves. Blend until smooth, adding chicken stock if too thick. (Honestly I didn’t’t bother to heat the chicken stock as everything else is plenty hot.)
  10. Mix zoodles and pasta, pour over some sauce, mix. Top with parmesan bacon and sage leaves.