Thursday, February 28, 2008

Food For Thought

Once again, I have my friend Andi to thank for another great food find! This time, it's the Ziploc Zip n' Steam bags.

At first I thought, well, that's not very "green" of me to use disposable steaming bags, but I got a free sample in the mail and gave 'em a shot. Turns out, they work perfectly! The veggies aren't overcooked (or undercooked) and you can season them any way you like.

Last night I made some zucchini and carrots and threw in a pat of some butter that I had mixed with fresh, chopped rosemary. good! Josh made broccoli and carrots and then splashed on some soy sauce after they were cooked.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Spanish Beef Daube

This recipe is from the January issue of Cooking Light. I omitted the saffron...mainly because it's $16 for a tiny bottle. I tossed in a little cayenne pepper instead. I really liked how this turned out! The meat was very tender and the gravy/sauce was pretty flavorful. I served it with skin-on mashed potatoes.

Cooking spray
3 pounds bottom round roast, trimmed
2 cups thinly vertically sliced yellow onion
3/4 cup thinly sliced bottled roasted red bell pepper (I used fresh)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads (omitted)
1 cup of dry sherry
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
1 1/2 cups frozen green peas, thawed (I used canned)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef to pan; cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove beef from pan.

Recoat pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add bell pepper and garlic; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add salt and next 5 ingredients (through saffron); cook 30 seconds or until fragrant, stirring constantly. Stir in sherry and hot pepper sauce, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook 4 minutes or until liquid is reduced by about half. Add beef and broth to pan; bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours or until beef is tender.

Remove beef from pan; cool slightly. Cut beef across grain into thin slices; cover and keep warm.

Add peas, parsley, and vinegar to pan; cook 5 minutes. Combine cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl; stir cornstarch mixture into broth mixture. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Add sliced beef; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sloppy Joes

Okay, I know...who needs a recipe for sloppy joes, you say. Well, this is *my* recipe. I have converted Manwich lovers with this recipe, so it must be good. I can't take credit, this is actually my mom's recipe...although, I don't think she uses onion. The choice is yours.

1 pound of lean ground beef
1 small onion (finely diced)
3/4 cup of Heinz Chili Sauce (NO SUBSTITUTIONS!)
1/2 cup of Heinz Ketchup (NO SUBSTITUTIONS!)
olive oil

In a skillet, sautee the onion in about a tabespoon of olive oil until transparent. Add the ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Sautee until beef is fully cooked and browned. Turn the heat to low and add the chili sauce and ketchup and mix. Once sauce is mixed and thoroughly warmed, serve on your favorite roll.

Air Fries

I really hate making french fries. The fat, the grease, the mess. Plus I never buy those frozen fries that you can just throw in the oven...who knows what's in those things, plus they're usually pretty bland. Here is my recipe for "Air Fries".

4-5 medium sized Yukon gold potatoes
olive oil
Old Bay Seasoning

Cut up the potatoes into strips, as thick or as thin as you like. Toss them in the olive oil, salt, pepper, and Old Bay seasoning. Place a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet and place the fries on the cooling rack, to allow the fries to cook on all sides without having to turn them. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minues.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

French Onion Soup

After 7 years of Josh asking, I finally made French Onion Soup. It wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought! The secret is in the simmering....the longer, the better! Definitely restaurant-quality!

2 teaspoons olive oil
3 onions, sliced (I used 2 vidalia onions and 1 white onion)
2 shallots, sliced
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup sherry wine
4 cups of beef broth
2 cups of beef stock (Iused the boxed one)
1/4 teaspoon thyme
2 tablespoons butter

french baguette, sliced
gueryre cheese, sliced

Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven and satuee onions for 5-8 minutes on medium-high heat.
Stir in sugar, pepper, and salt. Reduce heat to medium and cook 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
Increase heat to medium-high and sautee for 5 minutes or until onions are golden brown.
Stir in wine and cook for 1 minute. Add broth/stock and thyme and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1-2 hours. Add butter and allow to melt into soup.

Preheat broiler. Toast baguette slices for 2-3 minutes.

Place soup in oven-safe crocks. Place toasted baguette slices on top of soup. Place a slice of cheese on top of the baguette. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until cheese has melted.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

What's better than a cupcake?

A filled cupcake!! The best part is the top of the cupcake, so why not make the middle as good as the top? I used these recipes:

All you need to do is fill two pastry bags with the frosting and use a star-tip. Poke the tip down into the center of the cupcake and squeeze! Decorate the top and you're done!