Sunday, May 14, 2017

Ropa Vieja

Meaty stew in any culture has to be good. Ropa Vieja is Cuban and one of my favorite Cuban dishes. In fact, it's their national dish, so I hear. I found this recipe in Cook's Country and decided for Mother's Day I'd give it a try.

The story behind Ropa Vieja goes something like this:
A man, too broke to afford meat for his family, stirred some old clothes (ropa vieja in Spanish) into a pot of broth. He then prayed over the pot and later, after some devine assistance, ladled out a rich stew of beef and vegetables.

Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja
Cook's Country June/July 2017
Photo from the Interwebs

Serves 4-6

3 T vegetable oil
2 onions, halved and sliced thin
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and sliced (I didn't put these in because they're gross)
1/4 c tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1/2 c dry white wine
2 T soy sauce
2 bay leaves
1 2 lb flank steak, tremmed (Flank steak wasn't on sale, but chuck roast was, so I used that)
3/4 c pitted green olives, sliced
1 T distilled white vinegar

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and bell peppers and cook, covered, until softened and spotty brown, 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Push vegetables aside and add tomato paste, garlic, cumin, oregano and salt and pepper. Cook until fragrant for about 1 minute.

Stir vegetables and tomato paste together. Add wine and cook until nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Transfer veggies mixture, soy sauce, and bay leaves into slow cooker. Season steak with salt and pepper and put in slow cooker. Cook 6-7 hours on low or 5-6 hours on high.

Transfer steak to cutting board and shred. Discard bay leaves. Return to the slow cooker and stir in olives and vinegar. Season as needed.

Serve over white rice.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Blue Cheese Crusted Sirloin Steak

This was another Home Chef recipe. The beef that I go from them in this recipe box was weird. It had an odd texture to it, so I had maybe 5 bites from the steak.

What I did taste was delicious. The blue cheese mixture on top of the steak was super flavorful and really did add to the deliciousness of this meal.

It was a mostly simple meal if you were going to make it on your own. Very few ingredients and very little prep.

Blue Cheese Crusted Sirloin Steak
Recipe from Home Chef

Serves 2

12 oz fingerling potatoes, sliced in half
6 oz carrots, sliced on the angle
2 green onions, sliced on a diagonal
2 T parsley, chopped
2 sirloin steaks, salt and peppered
1/4 c Panko breadcrumbs
2 oz blue cheese crumbles
2 oz sour cream
1 T horseradish

Preheat oven to 400F. Toss carrots and potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place them on a foil lined cookie sheet and bake for 18-22 minutes. (I left them in when I broiled the steaks and got them real crisp.)

In a small mixing bowl, combine breadcrumbs, blue cheese, and green onions (save some for garnishing). Mash mixture until thoroughly combined, but still a little chunky. Season with salt and pepper.

Warm 2 tsp of olive oil in an oven safe pan over medium high heat. Place steaks in hot pan and cooke until steaks are browned on each side, about 4-5 minutes per side.

Turn on broiler to high. Add blue cheese crust on top of each steak and place in the oven. Brown for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is browned.

While they're broiling, mix sour cream, parsley and horseradish to taste.

Place one steak, half of the carrots and potatoes on a plate. Add a dollop of horseradish to the side of the steak.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Chicken Chili Verde

This is another from Home Chef. I've stopped delivery for the month of April for now. I may add some weeks back, but for now I want to focus on recipes from Mom's recipe book.

This particular recipe was just meh. I usually like "verde" anything. And this may have been better without the beans, but overall it was just meh. I do realize it says "chili" and without beans it would just be Chicken Verde and that would be ok.

Chicken Chili Verde
Recipe from Home Chef
Serves 2

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 T cilantro chopped
1 can cannellini beans (15 oz)
14 fl oz Green Enchilada Sauce
1 oz sour cream

I'm a big fan of preparing your ingredients first. Rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts. Chop your onions, mince your garlic, zest your lime, juice your lime and chop your cilantro.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place a large pot over medium-high heat. Add 2 tsp olive oil and chicken to hot pot. Cook undisturbed until browned, 3-4 minutes. Flip and reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook until chicken reaches a minimum internal temp of 165F, 4-5 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside.

In the same pot, heat to medium heat. Add 1 T olive oil and onion to hot pot. Cook until softened and lightly browned, 4-6 minutes. Add garlic and cook until aromatic, 1 minute.

Add 1/2 c water and beans with their liquid. Bring to a boil and boil for 5-8 minutes. while soup cooks, shred chicken. Add shredded chicken and green enchilada sauce. Return to a boil and immediately remove from the burner. Stir in 1/2 of the cilantro (reserve the rest for garnish).

In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, 1 tsp lime zest and 2 tsp lime juice.

To plate, ladle chili verde into a bowl. Top with dollop of lime crema and remaining cilantro.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos

Home Chef came through again. I've found that I'm enjoying cooking shrimp more now. Not sure why all of a sudden it's on a rotation for me, but I'm sure loving it.

This recipe was easy and delicious...though the bang bang sauce didn't have a huge "bang" in my opinion.

And you all know how I love to change up recipes, right? Well, in this case, I mixed the bang bang sauce, the slaw and the tomatoes all together. It just made sense to me.

Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos
Recipe from Home Chef


Serves 2

1 lime
1 roma tomato, chopped
16 shrimp (medium size shrimp)
1 oz mayonnaise
2 tsp Sriracha sauce
2 eggs, whites only
3/4 c flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
6 small flour tortilla (corn would work well too)
4 oz slaw mix


Zest the lime, and set aside. Juice the lime and set aside. Core the roma tomato and dice.

Rinse the shrimp and pat dry. Season both sides with salt and pepper.

Mix the mayonnaise and Srircha in a small bowl. [JW note: I added some lime juice to this and it really made a difference.]

Place egg whites and flour in separate small mixing bowls. Working with a few shrimp at the time, dredge the shrimp in the egg whites and then dip in flour. Toss to coat completely and transfer to a plate.

Combine slaw mix with 1 T lime juice. [JW note: I put the mayo Sriracha sauce with the slaw mix as well.]. Salt and pepper slaw mix to taste.

Heat 1 T olive oil in a medium non stick pan over medium high heat. Add breaded shrimp and cook until shrimp is golden brown, 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a towel-lined plate and season with salt.

Heat your tortillas. Fill tortilla with dressed slaw and top with shrimp. Drizzle with bang bang sauce if you didn't mix it with the slaw.  Squeeze a lime over the top and devour.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Irish Nachos

These were made for last years Irish Sunday Dinner...and I forgot. This year I thought I was sooo clever to make these.

I made a few modifications to this recipe out of pure laziness.

These are fantastic with my modification and sadly, too easy. I highly recommend making these for any occasion.

My modification consisted of buying Waffle fries instead of slicing potatoes. The rest I did follow.


Irish Nachos
Recipe from KitchMe.com

12 lb potatoes,
2 tbsp olive oil,
12 tsp paprika,
1 tsp sea salt,
1 tsp ground black pepper,
5 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tbsp pickled jalapeno pepper, chopped
5 slice bacon, cooked and chopped
3 tbsp Greek yogurt or sour cream,
1 tbsp tomatoes, diced
12 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
2 tbsp green onion, chopped                             

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Slice potatoes into 1/4 inch thick rounds and place in a bowl. Add olive oil, paprika, sea salt, and black pepper and toss until the potatoes are well coated. Arrange slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes, turn over, and continue baking for an additional 20 minutes or until the potatoes are browned and crisp. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Arrange potato slices in a cast iron skillet, slightly overlapping the edges. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese, jalapeno pepper, and bacon.

Return to the oven and bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Remove the skillet from the oven and top with Greek yogurt or sour cream, tomatoes, cilantro, and green onion.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Guinness Stew

Yesterday was March's Sunday Dinner. Last year I did corned beef and cabbage. This year I decided to do Guinness Stew.

First let me just say I forgot how much I love Guinness. I think I drank more than I should have while cooking. But, I mean, I bought a six pack so I had to test it, right?

FoodNetwork had a recipe that seemed easy and I've not been let down by their recipes before, so we gave it a go. And let me just tell you...it was fantastic. I don't think it had enough of the Guinness flavor so I'd add more of that next time. AND adding tomato paste to a beef stew was magical. I never have done that before and now it's going to be in every stew I ever make.

Guinness Stew
Recipe from FoodNetwork
Serves 6












Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Ginger Steak Salad

If you know me at all, you know I'm a huge Pioneer Woman fan. She got a bit "over sold" for me for a while and I had to walk away. I've since welcomed her and her wonderful recipes back into my life.

This weekend while cleaning out my own recipe pile I stumbled on to this Ginger Steak Salad. I decided that I'd make it for the book club ladies.

It was not only perfect in that it wasn't heavy and yet was fulfilling, but it was PERFECT in every way.

I love Asian flavor salad dressings that include ginger and garlic, and this one does not disappoint. The recipe is easy and delicious. It will see another rotation in this house again.

Ginger Steak Salad
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman

MARINADE INGREDIENTS:
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Sherry
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 teaspoons Brown Sugar
1 whole Rib-eye, Strip, Or Sirloin Steak
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

FOR SALAD DRESSING:
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons White Sugar
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
2 cloves Garlic, Finely Diced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger, Minced
1/2 whole Jalapeno, Seeded And Diced

SALAD INGREDIENTS:
2 whole Green Onions
8 ounces, weight Salad Greens (baby Lettuce, Endive, Radiccio, Etc.)

JW Note: I added cucumber and tomato to the salad as well.

Combine steak marinade ingredients in a Ziploc bag. Mix and place steak into bag. Marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Combine salad dressing ingredients and slice green onion.

When steak is finished marinating, add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a hot skillet. Cook steak about 1 1/2 minutes per side, or until medium rare. Remove from skillet and keep on a plate, allowing to cool slightly.

Toss salad greens in 3/4 of the salad dressing. Place steak on cutting board and slice thinly, then pour juices from the plate over the top. Mound tossed salad on a platter, then place sliced steak on top of salad. Pour remaining salad dressing over the top. Sprinkle green onions over the salad, and add cherry tomatoes if that makes your skirt fly up.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Mardi Gras Shrimp Po'Boy

Home Chef delivered one of the BEST meals yet. This Mardi Gras Shrimp Po'Boy...good heavens it was delicious.

Because this is a Home Chef recipe, I'm guessing on the amounts. Adjust as you see fit.

Mardi Gras Shrimp Po'Boy

Recipe from Home Chef
Serves 2

1 Romaine heart, chopped
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
16 shrimp (16/20 count - average size shrimp), shelled and deveined
2 tsp Cajun Seasoning (I'd add more as it wasn't as full of flavor as I had expected)
1 1/2 oz mayo
1 oz dill pickle relish
2 Italian hoagie rolls
1/2 fl oz seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 oz honey

Olive oil, salt/pepper

Prep your veggies. Chop lettuce coarsely. Core roma tomatoes and cut into 1/2" dice.

Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Combine shrimp with 1 tsp olive oil and half the Cajun Seasoning in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.

Make your remoulade by combining mayo, pickle relish and remaining Cajun seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Warm a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.

Toast the bread. Slice the bread and brush with olive oil and place on the grill. Grill until browned, 1-2 minutes. Set aside.

Using the same pan, lightly coat with cooking spray. Place shrimp on grill pan and grill until shrimp is firm and opaque, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Make the salad. Combine the seasoned rice vinegar, honey and 2 tsp olive oil with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the romaine and tomato and toss to combine.

To plate, Spread remoulade on one side of the Italian rolls. Arrange romaine/tomato salad over remoulade and top with grilled shrimp.

JW note: I'd double the remoulade. I like my po'boy saucy. I'd also add a bit more Cajun seasoning as the flavor was muted.

Oh Henry Bar

I found this recipe in my Mom's recipe book and thought it would be fun to make for my February cookie of the month.

Then I noticed it was a recipe from my St. Louis Sister-in-Law and I KNEW it'd be tasty.

Then I had to look up what an Oh Henry Bar even was...

The website says it has caramel, peanuts and fudge. This recipe has none of those. Still these are tasty bars.

I under cooked them, that's for sure. The recipe warned to not over cook so instead I undercooked. I have no idea what it was supposed to look like so no clue what was over cooked or under cooked. Still, it didn't stop me from tasting them. They were "loose" so I dropped them in the fridge and they hardened up.

Oh Henry Bars
Recipe from Bev Wraspir
Servings 24

4 c rolled oats
1 c packed brown sugar
1 c butter
1/2 c white corn syrup
1 c semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 c peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix the oats, brown sugar, butter and white corn syrup together. Pat into a 10X15 pan. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. DO NOT OVER BAKE!

Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in a small sauce pan. Spread over baked crust while hot. Cut into bars right away.

Jenn Note: I tried to cut into it right away and they were too loose. I instead cut them once they had been in the fridge for 30 minutes or so.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Steak Wellington with roasted carrots and mushroom demi-glace

I'm a fan of steak wellington. I've always felt like it's harder than heck to make successfully - so I never tried. Home Chef delivered a version of steak wellington and I was thrilled to try it. What I mean by "Home Chef delivered" really means I ordered it.

Because the ingredients come already pre-measured, I'm going to make my best guess on a few of these things in this recipe.

Steak Wellington with roasted carrots and mushroom demi-glace
Recipe from Home Chef

3 sprigs of thyme
16 oz carrots, sliced on a diagonal
2 sirloin steaks (about 6 oz each)
6 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 Puff Pastry dough square (it needs to fit slightly around the steak, but not completely. this recipe calls for a strip of puff pastry to go around the steak, not fully covering the steak)
2 tsp beef demi-glace (i have no idea how to replicate this other than I've seen those packets of beef broth that's concentrated. Those might work)
2 pats of butter

Stem and coarsely chop thyme. Peel, trim and cut carrot into 1/2" piecs at an angle. Place a medium oven-safe pan over mediume-high heat. Add 1 tsp olive oil and carrots to a hot pan. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, 3-5 minutes. Place the pan in a 450F oven and bake until golden brown, 15-18 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Remove from oven and season with salt, pepper and half the thyme. While carrots are baking, sear steaks.

Pat dry your steaks and season with salt and pepper. Sear them in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Transfer steaks to a baking sheet with parchment paper on it.

Add 2 tsp of olive oil to the pan you cooked the steaks in and saute the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown 4-6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove puff pastry from refrigerator. Cut into 2" strips to be wrapped around the steak. Use the back of a small knife to draw diagonal lines on puff pastry 1/2" apart. Draw another set of lines in opposite direction to make a crosshatched pattern.

Place steaks on prepared baking sheet. Place 1/3 of the mushrooms on top of each steak. Place the puff pastry over width of mushroom-covered portion of steaks. Place on top rack in oven and bake until pastry is golden brown, 8-12 minutes.

While steaks are in the oven, make the demi-glace. Add 1/4 c water and demi-glace packet to pan with remaining mushrooms. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil until reduced by half, 1-3 minutes (this took me about 10 minutes). Remove from the burner and put 2 pats of butter in the demi-glace.

To plate: Put spoon of mushroom sauce on the plate, and place the steak wellington on top of mushroom sauce. Put carrots on the side.