Archive for the ‘Meat’ Category

Meal Planning

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

Before there are groceries, there are meals.  There’s a plan.  Built on the weather, what’s fresh at the farmer’s market, what’s cheap at the supermarket, and whatever my/my husband’s work schedule looks like this week.  I always try to plan the more complicated meals earlier in the week, because I know I’ll have more energy.  Warm meals should coincide with cold nights.  Grilling with warm nights.  And these days, North Carolina is getting both in the same week.  Plan a salad for Tuesday instead of Thursday, and you might seriously regret it.

Completely unrelated, but I fell asleep while watching Scandal last night, which means I was watching what I had missed this morning, and I just spent the last 5 minutes with my hand covering my mouth, gasping repeatedly as things became more and more intense.  Why did I think this could be a chill watch-as-you-write-a-blog-post show this morning?

And that’s how we ended up with shepherd’s pie planned for this last Monday.  Monday was supposed to be cold.  I had come across a picture of shepherd’s pie on pinterest, and very much wanted to eat it.  Joel has been requesting shepherd’s pie basically since we got married.  I didn’t grow up with it, and thought the whole concept was gross.  But oh, that picture.  I wish I could find it again, but well… you know the internet.

I didn’t even realize Monday was St. Patrick’s Day until I got to school that morning and saw my colleague’s shamrock tie.  But even then, I didn’t put together that shepherd’s pie was a good St. Patrick’s Day dinner.  And if I’m being really honest, Monday was a rough day for me.  I got home and made a huge mistake.  I sat down.  As soon as I sit down in the evenings, I don’t get up.  Knowing this, I sat down anyway.  I browsed instagram.  And whoa… St. Patrick’s Day was happening in a serious way.  It was all soda bread and Guinness.

The coincidence was irresistible.  To the point that I actually got off my hindquarters and made it.

Shepherd's Pie

In the end, it was a whole lot easier than I expected.  Here’s how it went down:

Shepherd’s Pie

Adapted from Alton Brown

For the potato topping:

  • 1 1/2 pounds red skin potatoes, chopped with skin on
  • 3 T. unsalted butter
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 1 t. salt

For the filling:

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 small carrots, diced
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. black pepper
  • 2 T. corn starch
  • 1 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 2 t. tomato paste
  • 1 t. gluten free Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 t. dried thyme
  • 1/2 c. frozen corn
  • 1/2 c. frozen peas

Get the potatoes in boiling water.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large (preferably oven safe) skillet, cook the onion and carrot in olive oil over medium heat until the onion is just barely translucent.  Add in the ground beef.  Cook until browned.  Add salt and pepper.  Stir the cornstarch into the chicken broth until mixed completely.  Set aside.  Add tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and chicken broth mixture to the ground beef mixture.  Continue to cook until just barely thickened.  Add corn and peas.  If your skillet is oven safe, you can use that.  If not, transfer to a casserole dish.

When potatoes are cooked through, drain.  Add butter, milk, salt, and pepper.  Mash.  Spread over the filling, beginning at the edge and working your way to the middle.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until potato topping is just starting to brown.

Beef and Bean Tamale Pie

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

I got this slow cooker cookbook at a yardsale a while back, and now I’m ready to start trying out the recipes.  Winter is the perfect time for crockpot recipes.

The first recipe I tried out was “Beef and Bean Tamale Pie.” Basically, it’s chili with cornbread on top. You cook the whole thing in the crockpot, and the chili juices soak up into the bread. It turned out great!

Beef and Bean Tamale Pie

Beef and Bean Tamale Pie

I changed the recipe around a bit. First of all, they called for cornbread mix, but I made my bread from scratch. Also, I wanted more fresh ingredients than they called for, so I added a pepper and some tomatoes. Also, the recipe was originally for a 3 1/2 to 4 quart cooker. Mine is bigger, so I increased some ingredients. So here goes:

Beef and Bean Tamale Pie

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 15-oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 10-oz can enchilada sauce (I used a “tomato and chiles” sauce)
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes, juice included
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

In large skillet, cook ground beef and onion over medium heat until beef is thoroughly cooked. Drain and place in slow cooker. Stir in beans, enchilada sauce, tomatoes, and bell pepper.

  • 1 1/2 c cornmeal
  • 1/2 c flour (gluten-free folks can probably substitute cornmeal)
  • 1 t sugar
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 c butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 c buttermilk (or milk with vinegar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c cheddar cheese
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (include the seeds if you want it more spicy)

Mix all ingredients except cheese and jalapeno together, beat vigorously for 30 seconds. Stir in cheese and pepper. Pour into slow cooker over top of beef mixture.

Cook on low setting for 5-6 hours, or until bread is done. Cornbread is done when you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean. Serve topped with sour cream and chopped green onions.

Growing Up

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

I’ve been trying to get at least 3 servings of veg into my diet every day.  It’s harder than it sounds.  Maybe it’s not, but it is for me.  That means I have to have 1 serving for lunch, 1 serving for snack, and 1 serving for dinner.  Snack is easy: carrots and hummus.  Lunch is always leftovers from the previous night’s dinner, so… I mostly just have to make sure I eat some veg in my dinners.  I made lettuce wraps early on this week.  I was doing quite well with those.

Then I saw this come up on my google reader.  For starters, I don’t make anything fancy.  I take fancy and make it casual.  It’s what I do.  I’m good at it.  So “Fancy Sloppy Joes” isn’t really my style.  But do you know what is?  Sneaking veg into sloppy joes.  So I ran by the grocery store on my way home from work, all prepared to pick up some carrots and zucchini to put inside of them.

Sloppy Joes

These are a bit on the spicy side of things, but feel free to modify them to your taste.  I wouldn’t at all frown on you if you wanted to use a spice pack, either.  I was going to, but the only brand I could find put all kinds of gluten into it.  Dumb.

I ate it on two slices of Rudi’s multigrain, and while the flavor was great, the texture wasn’t quite right.  The bread fell apart in my hands so I went at it with a fork.  Manageable, though not ideal.

Sneaky, Sloppy Joes:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 zucchini, shredded
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste (I probably used a couple teaspoons)

Cook the ground beef and onions over medium high heat.  Drain off any excess grease.  Mix in veg, water, tomato paste, and the remaining ingredients.  Cook until veg is soft and cooked through and excess liquid has thickened.

I really do have recipes!

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

This meal was made pre-gluten free days, but aside from that little biscuit off to the side it totally fits the bill.  And it was AMAZING.  No joke.

Photo by Nathan Clendenin

Photo by Nathan Clendenin

I have this steak marinade recipe that came from my brother’s roommate’s mom.  Did you follow that?  It’s really good.  But what I realized is that it’s really good even if you’re missing half the ingredients.  So here’s the deal.  You should make steak sometime.  And when you do, use garlic, vinegar of some sort (red wine, white, balsamic, whatever…), brown sugar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and steak sauce (if you have it; I didn’t).  Marinate half an hour.  Then make your roommate grill them to perfection while you finish off the mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus.

Photo by Nathan Clendenin

Photo by Nathan Clendenin

Then eat like a pig.  It’s the only way, really.

Reinvention

Friday, January 21st, 2011

My official least favorite programmer phrase is “no need to reinvent the wheel”.  I’ll let Val explain it to you.

That said, I like reinvention.  It’s fun.  It’s familiar.  But only sort of.  It’s perfect.

Remember the time I made empanadas?  They were really good.  Seriously.  Whoa.  This time, I made them like this…

  • 1 lb. chorizo, casings removed
  • 1 zucchini, shredded
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cups shredded cheese

I roasted the cauliflower, then mashed it up with my potato masher.  It felt good.  While that was roasting, I shredded the zucchini in Lola, and sauteed it just a bit with the onion.  I set aside the onion/zucchini mixture, and cooked up the chorizo.  Now this is very important: I drained the chorizo of all that disgusting greasiness.  Then I mixed it all together.  And into my beautiful little dough it went.  Baked as usual.  Then I totally snarfed it.  All by myself.  That’s a lie.  I ate with other people.  But still… I would have made these even if nobody had told me they were “dank”.