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Chorizo Cornbread

Storms came rolling into the area today and dropped the temperatures to the low to mid-eighties. That means, in Texas, that you can use the oven…. perhaps even wear a light jacket.

At the store, the shelves were emptied of the hot cocoa and marshmallows… In Texas, there are very few times that we will empty the shelves. First, at the whiff of a tropical storm, the water will be gone. Second, when Blue Bell stopped production, I offered $50 a spoonful of some contraband Homemade Vanilla to anyone willing to play listeria roulette. Lastly, when the temperatures fall below the eighties, we take full advantage of pretending that both Fall and Winter exist here. Sure, I may be sweating bullets… but we really need to take these adorable Winter wonderland photos for our greeting cards that I found on Pinterest.

What was I talking about? Oh… oven-cooking…

I had a hankerin’ for some cornbread and a pound of veal chorizo that needed to get cooked… so, chorizo cornbread it is!

It’s spicy, flavorful, and…. best of all…. a one-pot wonder!

It’s almost like a Texas version of shepherd’s pie… but with cornmeal and BIG Texas flavor.

Before I go off on another tangent, I’ll share this recipe with you.

For the Cornbread:

3/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup quinoa
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 fresno pepper, sliced
1 pound of chorizo (I use organic veal chorizo)

Preheat your oven to 400°

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the milk, egg, and grapeseed oil.
  3. Slowly pour the milk mixture into the dry mix. Stir in the peppers, onion, and cheese. Set aside.
  4. In your cast iron skillet, brown the chorizo but do not cook through.
  5. Pour the batter over the chorizo, top with the sliced fresno peppers.
  6. Place your cast iron skillet on the middle shelf and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before slicing into wedges.
  8. Serve with your favorite condiments. I love serving my cornbread with fresh guacamole, black bean and corn pico de gallo, and salsa.

Fresno PepperBefore CornbreadAfter Cornbread

Chorizo Cornbread

And there you have it! Delicious Chorizo Cornbread with black bean & corn pico and guacamole!

Enjoy!

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In Texas, we love to to coordinate. When the first day of Fall hits, we are all usually ready to put away the swimsuits and pull out our Autumn garb. It’s not like we’re pulling out mittens, sweaters, or exactly throwing out our flip-flops. It’s Texas, y’all. It’s still H-O-T. However, the first day of Fall, this year, turned out to be pretty wonderful. Low to mid 70s. SHUT UP!

I decided to run into my closet and pull out my 70s orange blouse and go all out!

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HOWDY, FALL!

Whenever the weather first gets that little crisp feeling, every single Texan has ONE thing on their mind. Chili! So, why go against the norm? Wait… why not go against the norm?

Time to do a new spin on chili, people! Get a little healthy…. add some bold flavors… get adventurous!

So, after going through my refrigerator, I decided to use up some kale, a poblano, zucchini, red onion, and some vibrant red bell peppers.

Roughly diced, charbroiled for a few minutes with a little garlic and EVOO…. YUMMY!

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Hello, semi-burned, roasty, sweet, yumminess!

I seriously could eat that tray all day, everyday. *Hint* This combo of veggies, minus the poblano, also go into my Quinoa Salad with Lemon-Herb Dressing… I haven’t shared that yet…and that is coming 🙂

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes! Let’s keep going with this chili. So, I go ahead and brown some lean ground beef with plenty of salt, pepper, a little garlic, and a little red pepper flake. I like to add a little splash of chicken stock to the pot in order to get those stuck little brown bits… those bits are sacred! FLAVOR!

Those charred veggies go into the pot and then I add my tomatoes (diced and tomato sauce), a pinch of sugar (cuts down acidity), chili seasoning (chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper) and my beans. I love black beans. So, here I added about three cups of prepared black beans.

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In the picture, see that cute little cup and saucer. I found a set of these at a cute antique store in Mobile. Sadly, I lost 6/8 of the plates during our move…. *sigh*. But I have two left and they are pretty! I do have all of the cups though. Perfect for healthy portions of this yummy chili!

You may start to wonder what’s in that measuring cup…. we’ll it’s time to tell you! I placed 2 cups of chicken broth into a blender and added a jalapeno and a whole bunch of cilantro. I blended that and it’s about to go into the pot to add a fresh pop of flavor. Makes a HUGE difference to this chili! Everyone always asks “What is that?!” and I get a huge sneaky smile on my face. Cilantro is a wonderful thing.

So, then I add the rest of my chicken stock and toss in a few handfuls of kale to the mix and allow that to simmer for hours until everything marries together.

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So, while that simmers… I made some yummy Texas cornbread to go with my chili. I was going to do some jalapeno cornbread, but decided to use up some green onions I had instead. Don’t want to kill people with spice…we love it, but I think the less-spicy version of the cornbread would be appreciated here. Not sharing that recipe…gotta keep some secrets. It is gluten-free though, by default. That’s all I will say there and I will post a picture….

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See what I did there? Literal Texas cornbread.

Grab a piece, throw into your chili bowl, ladle on that delicious chili, add about a pound of cheese, and you’re golden.

Charbroiled Chili with Kale

2 pounds of ground beef (I like to use venison too)
3 cups of black beans, prepared
16 oz of diced tomatoes
10 oz of tomato sauce
3 cups of chicken broth
2 cups of chicken stock
1 zucchini diced
1 red bell pepper diced
1 poblano pepper diced
1/2 red onion diced
EVOO
1 jalapeno
1 bunch cilantro
2 cups kale
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
Pinch of red chili flake (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. On a baking sheet, arrange diced veggies, drizzle EVOO, and sprinkle a tsp of garlic powder and salt and pepper. Place under broiler until veggies char nicely, but do not burn.
2. In a pot, add ground beef and brown with a little salt and pepper. Add your minced garlic, veggies, and splash about 1/4 cup of your chicken stock to deglaze the pan.
3. Add the remainder of the seasoning (minus sugar), and add tomatoes. Now add the sugar.
4. In a blender, add 2 cups of chicken broth, cilantro, and jalapeno. Blend until smooth. Add to the pot.
5. Add beans, kale, and remaining liquid. Simmer until ready to serve.

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So, I was all set to make Taco Soup yesterday….. until I realized that I didn’t have corn or ranch style beans. So, I had to scrap it and try something different. I had a can of adobe chipotle peppers and a can of my favorite enchilada sauce sitting there all lonely and desiring to be used. So, I tried something new…. and boy did it hit the spot! This is REALLY spicy…. so diner beware!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 1 cup each of dried black, red, and kidney beans
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium can of tomato sauce
  • 1 can of hot rotel tomatoes
  • 1 package of hot taco seasoning (or 2 tbsp each of chili powder, cumin, paprika, pepper, and cayenne)
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 3 chipotle peppers from a can of chipotle peppers with adobe
  • 1 small can of your favorite enchilada sauce (Mine is Old El Paso)
  • 2 cup of water
  • salt and pepper to taste

– First, you need to prepare the beans. Clean, place in a pot of 4 quarts of water, season with salt, and boil for 10 mins. Turn off, let sit overnight, and drain. Set aside.
– Using a small blender or food processor. Mix a half cup of the diced tomatoes and the chipotle peppers until smooth.
– In your pot, add the beef and onions. Brown the meat, add the spices and garlic. Add the rotel and enchilada sauce. Add the beans, chipotle/tomato mix, and tomatoes. Add the water, stir and add whatever spices you believe needs to be added for taste.
– Allow to simmer for hours for best results. Add homemade flour tortilla chips, cheese, guacamole, or any other condiment you desire.

 

 

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I love spaghetti and meatballs! I mean, who doesn’t?! I was inspired by Rachel Ray this week, her new show where she cooks a week’s worth of meals in one day. She made spaghetti and meatballs and I just knew that I needed to make it. I will admit, I have never tried making spaghetti and meatballs myself. I have made spaghetti and meat sauce plenty of times. However, I decided it was time to tackle this task. So, I made my own version of this dish and I think that I hit the nail on the head!

What you need:

Meatballs:

  • 1 pound each of ground beef and pork
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of soaked (and drained) bread crumbs
  • 1 egg lightly scrambled
  • 2 tbsp each of marjoram, basil, parsley
  • 1 tsp of cayenne
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesean

Sauce:

  • 2 cans of San Marzano tomatoes crushed
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 large can of tomato puree
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 4 slices of bacon/prosciutto/mortadella diced (try to steer clear of maple flavored varieties)
  • 1/2 cup red onion diced
  • 1/4 cup of red bell pepper diced
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp of cayenne
  • 2 tsbp each of marjoram/oregano, basil and parsley
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 carton of chicken stock

For Sauce:

In a large sauce pan, add the olive oil, onions and bell pepper. Allow them to sweat for about 2 mins. Add the bacon (or whatever you chose) and allow it to almost brown. Add the garlic and other herbs (minus the cayenne, salt, pepper, sugar, nutmeg, and bay leaf). Cook for about 30 seconds and then add the tomatoes.  Let simmer for about 2 mins and then add the bay leaf, cayenne, and bay leaf. Add sugar and nutmeg. Add salt and pepper to taste and let simmer on low for hours.
For Meatballs:

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs. Mix until combined. Roll into walnut (about 2 inches) sized balls. Pan fry them until crispy all around but not cooked through. Place meatballs into the sauce and let cook for hours for best tasting results!

Enjoy!

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Last month, at Cooking Club, my friend Ericka taught us the absolutely best stir-fry recipe I have ever had. It was spicy and just oh so delicious. It also taught me that cabbage can be really good. haha. But in all seriousness, this is THE BEST stir-fry EVER MADE! I made this for my husband last week and he raved about it for days. I’m making it again tonight and even though I am not feeling too good right now, it is still making my mouth water. I hope that you sincerely enjoy this recipe as I do! Thank you Ericka Porrazza for this gem of a recipe! My tummy thanks you!

Expect some beads of sweat!

  • 1 ½ – 2 pounds flank steak or chicken
  • 2 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 4 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons minced green onions (optional)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha hot chili sauce
  • ½ head cabbage (thinly sliced)
  • 2 carrots (thinly julienned)
  • 1 white onion (cut in thin strips)

Mix marinade ingredients together well then add meat and coat well. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Saute the garlic in the sesame oil in a wok or large pot, then fry meat. Remove the meat and keep warm.
Add the veggies to liquid in the pot, stir and put a lid on it until veggies are as soft as you like. (I put carrots first for a few minutes, then the onions for a minute or so, then add the cabbage.)
Add meat and stir. Eat over rice!

Tips:
If you want to make it a combo meat like steak and chicken, make a marinade in a ziploc bag for the chicken and one in another ziploc bag for the steak. Cook the steak and remove, then cook the chicken. I don’t feel the need to double the veggies except maybe add 1 more carrot.
Just remember it means fire meat! If you feel like you can’t stand spicy, watch out and don’t use quite so much of the chili garlic sauce and Sriracha to marinade. Maybe 3/4 the amount of each. If it is still way too hot, add some water to the the pot when everything is done cooking. It will help tone down the heat and you will have some sauce for your rice.

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Taco Soup

I know this isn’t something a cook should really say… but the other night I ruined 12 quarts of Taco Soup! Somehow, I managed to burn soup! Which is why there will be no picture for this recipe. How did I manage to burn soup, you may ask? Well, I put my beans in the pot, covered with water, left the house…. and was gone longer than I thought we’d be gone. *face palm* I came home to the pot still hot and NO WATER! *gasp* The smell of burned beans (think scorched coffee) permeated the entire house. I was so upset! I had even promised a few people they could have some. I felt like such a failure. But, every chef has a bad day right? I know mine was the other day! But, oh well. This recipe, when done right, really hits the spot and is really delicious. I hope that you learn by my mistake and watch your beans! lol.

Taco Soup

  • 5 cups of dry beans (I use kidney, black, and red beans)
  • 2 cans of Ranch Style Beans
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of Rotel
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 2 pounds of ground beef
  • 1 packet of McCormick taco seasoning (Or just use chili powder, paprika, cayenne, cumin, salt, and pepper)
  • water to cover the beans, plus 3 inches
  • 1 extra cup of water

– First, you need to cook your beans. Wash and make sure that there aren’t any foreign bodies in those beans! Place into a large 12 quart stock pot, cover with water (plus 3 inches), add 2 tbsp each of Chili Powder, Paprika, Cayenne, Cumin, Salt and pepper) Let simmer on medium for about 3 hours.
– In another pot, brown the meat and soften the onions. Add the McCormick taco seasoning or one tbsp each of  Chili Powder, Paprika, Cayenne, Cumin, Salt and pepper).
– Add mixture to the pot of beans and then add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Simmer for about an hour.
-Serve with grated cheese, chips or whatever else you desire!

Enjoy!

Note: Makes about 15 servings

Cost:              Beans (3 packages @ 1.19)= $3.57
Tomatoes= $1.09
Rotel= $.79
Corn= $.79
Ranch Style Beans= $1.29 x 2= $2.58
2 lbs ground beef= $1.89 x 2= $3.78
1 large yellow onion= $.40
1 packet of McCormick= $.79

Total: $13.79 / 15 servings = $0.92 per serving!

 

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Spicy Sloppy Joes

Spicy Sloppy Joes

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup of Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup of water

– Brown the beef with the onions in a large skillet
– Add all other ingredients
– Allow to simmer for about 10-20 minutes
– Serve on toasted buns!

Had these with my hubby the other night and they were so yummy!

I served them with homemade potato chips!

Oven Baked Potato Chips

  • 4 medium potatoes of any variety
  • salt and pepper
  • Cajun seasoning

– Preheat oven to 450*
– Using a mandolin, slice the potatoes thinly
– Sprinkle potatoes with salt, pepper and cajun seasoning to taste
– Bake approx 15-20 minutes. Make sure you keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Time really varies by thickness of potato.

 

Note: Makes 4 servings

Cost:
Ground Beef= $1.79
Onion- $0.30
Garlic= $.10
Seasonings= $.75
Potatoes= $0.80
Buns: $0.99

Total: $4.73 / 4 servings = $1.18 per serving

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