Monday, January 24, 2011

Saucy Skirt Steak with Orange-Spiced Sweet Potatoes

Steak & Sauce
  • 2 1/2 to 3-pound skirt steak
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large sweet onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 dried ancho chili peppers, seeded and stemmed
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling

Take the steaks out of the refrigerator to take off the chill.

Heat a medium size skillet over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the onion and cook until caramel in color, about 20 minutes. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Place the anchos in small saucepot with the stock and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat and allow the anchos to steep for 5 minutes.

Heat a grill pan or grill to high.

Put the anchos and onion in a food processor. Turn the processor on and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Season the meat with salt and pepper, to taste, and drizzle with EVOO. Grill over high heat for 5-6 minutes total, turning once, for rare. Remove the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak and arrange on a serving platter. Serve with lots of steak sauce poured over top.

Orange-Spiced Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks or thin slices
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) or vegetable oil
  • 2 slices smoky bacon, finely chopped
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Chicken stock, as needed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • A few dashes of hot sauce, to taste

Put the potatoes in a medium size pot, cover with water, salt the water and bring to boil over medium heat. Cook until tender, then drain and return the potatoes to the pot.

In a medium size sauté pan, heat a little oil over medium heat and add the bacon and cook until it begins to crisp. Stir in the orange zest and juice and the potatoes. Mash to your desired consistency with some chicken stock to thin the potatoes, if desired. Stir in the cumin, cinnamon and hot sauce.

Things I learned from this recipe-
1. my $9 food chopper is not big enough to equal a real food processor... i had to do the sauce in small batches- lol!
2. i actually do like to eat steak...i like it rare?!?
3. i 100% do not like sweet potatoes - at all

Rating: steak & sauce - YUM
sweet potatoes- for me (a non-sweet potato fan) a not-so-yum

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

French Onion & Wild Mushroom Soup

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 3 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • One 1-ounce package mixed dried wild mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup white cooking wine
  • thick slices crusty bread
  • 1 large clove garlic, halved
  • 1/2 pound munster cheese, shredded

In a heavy soup pot, melt the butter with the olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-heat. Stir in the onions and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are softened and browned, 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring the beef broth, mushrooms and 2 cups water to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms and slice.

Preheat the broiler. Pour the wine into the onions and cook over medium heat, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the mushrooms and hot broth.

Toast the bread under the broiler, rub with the garlic and top with the cheese. Broil until melted. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with the toasts.

Things I learned from this recipe-

1. you need to cook the mushrooms & onions a loooooooooonnnnggg time... longer than the recipe says, cook them until they are basically wilted ... and i would say chop the mushrooms up pretty fine too because they are kind of rubbery

2. the little cheese toasts combined with this soup is AWESOME

Rating: YUM-O!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pork Chops Pizzaiola

  • 4 (1 1/2-inch thick) bone-in or boneless pork chops
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup red cooking wine
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock

Season chops with salt and pepper. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the crushed garlic and stir it around to flavor the oil. Add in the chops and caramelize on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove the chops to a plate and reserve. Stir in the onions, red pepper flakes, and oregano. Reduce the heat and cook for 7 to 8 minutes.

Add the tomato paste, and cook for 1 minute, then add the wine, and cook for another minute. Stir in the stock and combine well. Slide the chops back into the pan, cover and simmer to finish cooking the chops, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Things I learned from this recipe-
1. the red pepper flakes made me literally cough while cooking because they were so hot!
2. different & spicy but good

Rating: YUM

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Steakhouse Chili

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 4 slices lean, smoky bacon, finely chopped
  • 2 pounds ground sirloin beef
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • One 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • Sour cream, for topping
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, for topping
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until the fat renders, about 2 minutes. Add the beef and cook, stirring, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chili powder, a little salt and lots of pepper.

In a bowl, stir together the tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and hot sauce. Stir into the chili. Stir in the beef stock and bring to boil, then lower the heat and cook until thickened, 6 to 7 minutes.

Serve the chili in bowls. Top with the sour cream and parsley.

Things I learned from this recipe-
1. super easy, super fast, super hearty & super tasty!
2. worcestershire sauce rocks

Rating: YUM-O!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Chipotle Chicken Chili with Pepper Salsa & Avocado Ranch Dressing

  • 4 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 pounds ground chicken breast
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons pureed chipotle in adobo, depending on preferred heat level
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 avocado, pitted
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • Crushed tortilla chips, for garnish
Place a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of the EVOO. Add the bacon to the pan and brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken to the pot and brown, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the lumps. Add the pureed chipotle, cumin and smoked paprika, then stir for 1 minute. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and cook until tender, 5 minutes more. Add the tomato paste and chicken stock and some salt and pepper to the pot and bring the liquids up to a bubble. Reduce the heat to a simmer.

While the chili is simmering, place a medium skillet over medium-high heat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of EVOO. Add the bell peppers, red onion, and jalapeño to the skillet and cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the lime juice, the cilantro, and some salt to the salsa.

To a food processor bowl add the avocado, chives, lemon juice, and buttermilk. Process until smooth and then season with salt and pepper.

Serve up the chili with some of the pepper salsa and avocado ranch dressing. Garnish with tortilla chips.

Things I learned from this recipe-
1. i would never make it on a food network competition show... it takes me a LONG time to chop lol
2. i really really really LOVE mexican food and hot & spicy food... but warning if you do not like it hot then this soup is probably not for you

Rating: so YUM-O!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Marsala Sauce and Pasta

  • Salt
  • 6 ounces fettuccine (half a box)
  • 1 pork tenderloin (about 1.5 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 pound baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup Marsala cooking wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley

Place a large pot of water over high heat to boil. When the water is boiling, add some salt and cook the pasta to al dente, according to the package directions. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and reserve.

While the pasta is cooking, slice tenderloin into 2 inch pieces. Working with one piece at a time, sandwich each one between two pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper. Pound them out with a skillet or mallet to make into 1/2 inch medallions.

When all of the meat has been pounded out, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with two tablespoons of EVOO. Place about 1/2 cup flour into a large casserole dish or pie plate; season each piece of pork with salt and pepper and lightly coat each piece of pork with flour.

Working in batches, sear the pork until it is golden brown and cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side. As the pork finishes cooking, reserve the medallions on a plate covered with foil to keep them warm.

When the pork is finished cooking, add the butter to the skillet. After it melts, add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook until golden brown, 6 minutes, adding garlic after 3 minutes.

Sprinkle the mushrooms with 1 tablespoons flour and cook for about a minute. Add the Marsala to the pan and cook until reduced by about half. Add the chicken stock to the pan and bring the sauce up to a bubble. Stir the parsley into the finished sauce.

To serve, dip the pork cutlets into the sauce to coat and arrange on a platter. Toss the cooked pasta with the remaining sauce.

Things I learned from this recipe-
1. this marsala mushroom sauce is's as good as any italian restaurant!
2. the pork was good... but i would probably make it with chicken next time

Rating: so YUM-O!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Bocconcini-Stuffed Meatballs with Tomato-Pesto Sauce

  • 4 slices of stale bread, torn up
  • milk (to moisten bread)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese(divided)
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 bocconcini (mini mozzarella balls) or ball cut into 16 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus 1/4 cup for sauce
  • 1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
Pre-heat the oven to 425ºF.

Place the torn bread in a small bowl with the milk (make sure all the bread is submerged) and reserve.

In a large bowl, combine the ground meats, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 tblsp parsley, half of grated Parmigiano Reggiano, egg, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Squeeze out the excess milk from the soaking bread (it should be loose and in small pieces) and add it to the meat mixture. Mix everything with your hands to combine.

Divide the meatball mixture in half and score each half into eight sections with the back of your hand. Take one of the portions of the meatball mix and slightly flatten it out in your hand. Place a ball of mozzarella in the center and evenly wrap the meat around, completely encasing it in the meat, repeating and making 16 meatballs total.

Transfer the stuffed meatballs to a baking sheet as you make them. Coat meatballs in 2 tblsp of olive oil and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and firm to the touch.

While the meatballs are cooking, place a saucepot over medium-high heat add the canned tomatoes and break them up with the back of a spoon. Add a little salt and pepper, bring up to a bubble and simmer while the meatballs are cooking.

Meanwhile combine 1 tablespoon basil, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon parsley, 1 clove minced garlic, salt, pepper & 1/4 cup of olive oil to make pesto.

Once the meatballs are ready, remove the tomato sauce from the heat and stir in the pesto.

Ladle the sauce into shallow bowls and top with meatballs and sprinkle with remaining grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Things I learned from this recipe-
1. this original recipe calls for ground veal too... i left it out because veal is EXPENSIVE!
2. these meatballs are the bomb!

Rating: YUM-O