Classics, Dinner, Italian, Meat, Savory

Braciole

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This is my take on a classic Italian Braciole or beef-roll ups.  This is an easy and hearty dish that looks extremely elegant.  You can make the filling several days ahead and if you use store-bought marinara sauce, this meal comes together in about a half an hour, elevating any boring weeknight to date night!  Here is how I made this dish.

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Ingredients:

For the roll-up:

2 pieces of flank-steak, pounded thin (the package might say “braciole)

A double batch of Sauteed Mushrooms and Spinach

1 Tbsp of breadcrumbs

Salt and cracked black pepper to season the meat, about a 1tsp of each.

1 Tbsp of olive oil

Kitchen string cut into 6-8 pieces, long enough to wrap around and tie the rolled meat

For the sauce:

1 cup of marinara or tomato-basil sauce

1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes (optional)

1 tsp of Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp of balsamic vinegar

Method:

Cook the spinach and mushrooms (you can find the recipe here).  You will need to double the recipe so that you have enough filling.  The filling can be made several days in advance.

Season the meat with salt and pepper.  Mix the bread crumb with spinach and mushroom filling.

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Divide the filling on to the two pieces of flank steak and spread it on to the meat.  Press the filling down, so that it sticks to the meat–it will stay in place when you go to roll it.

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Starting from the short end, roll the steak up like a jelly-roll, tightly; tucking in any filling that may fall out.

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Using the pre-cut kitchen twine ( I like to cut it ahead of time), tie up the rolls tightly.

Heat oil in a cast-iron skillet and once it is hot, add the beef roll-ups.  I like to add some additional cracked black pepper at this step, makes for a really nice crust!

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Sear on high heat, about 2-3 minutes per side, making sure you get the entire surface of the roll browned–not just top and bottom.  After you get the initial sear, you may lower the heat to medium and continue to cook, rolling the beef to a different surface ever 2 minutes.  The entire process will take about 15- 20 minutes.  It might take longer if your rolls are larger.

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let the beef rolls rest for at least 5 minutes before you cutting the string and slicing the meat.

While the beef is searing, heat all the ingredients for the sauce in a small saucepot.  You are looking to warm up the sauce so that all the ingredients get a chance to blend in and impart their flavor.  You keep the sauce on a low simmer the entire time the beef is cooking.

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To plate dinner, spoon sauce on a plate and arrange two slices of the braciole/beef-roll up.  Pour yourself a glass of red wine and dinner is served!

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Meat, Moroccan, Savory

Pork Chops with Harissa

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The past few days have been hot and humid.  It is too oppressive to turn on the oven and the sudden, thunderous, downpour (providing no relief by the way) makes grilling difficult. Under these circumstances,  I try to make quick, skillet dinners.  I also recently bought a jar of harissa paste, so I decided to make the best of the situation and make this dish.  It was a little experimental but turned out delicious.  If you are not a fan of pork or have dietary restrictions, the sauce will work really well with chicken, shrimp, or mixed vegetables.

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Ingredients:

3, center-cut, boneless pork chops

1/8 cup flour

1/2 tsp each of salt, pepper, coriander, and smoked paprika

1 medium onion, sliced

1/2 tsp of minced garlic

1 tsp of tomato paste

3 tsp of harissa paste (not sauce)

1 tsp of chicken broth concentrate + 1 cup of water OR 1 cup of chicken broth

1/2 tsp of dried parsley

2 Tbsp of olive oil

Additional salt and pepper to taste.

Method:

Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a skillet.  While the oil warms up, mix flour with flour, salt, pepper, coriander, and smoked paprika in a bowl.

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Dredge, pork chops in the flour-spice mixture, and add to the hot oil.

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Fry the pork chops, about 2-3 minutes per side, till folder brown.  Set aside.

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Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil in the same pan.  Coat the sliced onions in the remaining flour mixture and add to the pan.  Sautee on medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes till they soften.

Once the onions start to soften, add the garlic, tomato paste and harissa paste.  Continue to saute for another 3-5 minutes.

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Add chicken stock concentrate and water, dried parsley, and reduce the temperature to medium-low.  Simmer the sauce for 3-5 minutes.

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Return the pork chops to the pan.  Continue to simmer till the sauce thickens. Taste the sauce and adjust salt and pepper as needed.  If the sauce taste too tart, you can add a pinch of sugar to cut through the acid.  This will depend on the harissa paste and tomato paste brand.

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Plate the pork chops with healthy dollops of the harissa sauce.

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Dinner, Indian, Meat, Savory

Gosht jalfrezi

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The word Gosht is a Persian word and loosely refers to any kind of read meat cooked till tender.  It can be mutton, lamb or beef.  This particular version of Jalfrezi is made with beef and is another one of my Simmer Sauce Solutions.  The vegetarian version of this recipe, made with paneer, potatoes, peppers, peas, and cauliflower is equally delicious.  Here is how doctored up a store-bought simmer sauce to make dinner in under an hour.

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Ingredients:

1.5 lbs of cubed stew meat (I used beef)

1 medium red onion, red pepper, and green pepper–diced

1 tsp of olive oil

3/4 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp of chili powder

1/4 tsp of cayenne powder

1 tsp of ground cumin

1/2 tsp of garam masala

1/2 tsp of sugar

1, 15oz jar of Patak’s Jalfrezi simmer sauce

15oz water

Method

Heat olive oil in a heavy bottom pot and add the beef.  Make sure the beef is at room temperature and dry–otherwise it will not brown. Fry on high for about 5 minutes

Once the meat starts to turn light brown, add in all the spices except for the sugar and garam masala.

Sautee the beef on medium-high.  Chop the vegetables during this process.

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Add the veggies, to the beef and continue to saute on medium-high heat till the vegetables are soft.

Add the who jar of the jalfrezi simmer sauce.  Fill the jar with water, rinse our ever last bit of the sauce and add the liquid to the pot.

Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom.

After about 20 minutes, check to see if the beef is fork-tender.  At this point add the sugar and garam masala and simmer for another 10 minutes on low heat.

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Serve hot with basmati rice!

Asian, Meat, Quick Dinner, Savory

Sunday Stir-fry, Part 2: Beef Teriyaki

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In this stir-fry series (refer to part 1 for a more detailed recipe), I decided to change up the sauce and the protein.  I still but the Tsang brand of stir-fry sauces because they have the least amount of sugar in them.  This time, Teriyaki Beef was on the menu.  I like to but the think strips of beef that are cut for “stir-fry” (you can find the same cuts for chicken and pork too).  The trick to a good stir-fry is to have the meat at room temperature, the veggies cut, rinsed and dried, and a wok with hot oil! Start off by frying the 1 pound of beef strips on high heat for 5 minutes, remember, if you over-cook it, it will get tough and chewy.  Next, add the veggies (1 bag of frozen broccoli, 1 can of baby corn, 1 can or water chestnuts), 1tsp of red pepper flakes, 2 tsp of white pepper, and 1 tsp of ginger powder.  “Stir” “fry” the veggies and meat for an additional 2 minutes and then add 1/2 bottle of Teriyaki sauce and 1Tbsp of toasted sesame seeds.  Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes and serve hot over a bed of rice or with ramen noodles.  We devoured it just as it is!!!!

Classics, Comfort food, Meat, Savory

“Winter is Coming” Meat Pie

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I recently jumped on to the “Game of Thrones” bandwagon. Yes, I know I am about 8 years late, but I am here now, completely obsessed and can’t wait to see how the story wraps up.  This past week has been everything “thrones” especially with the HBO marathon going on.  In Season 4, there is an extensive description of a particular “Steak and Kidney Pie” made by the character “Hot Pie” at the “Inn at the Crossroads”.  As Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne hungrily tucked away large bites of the pie, I couldn’t stop thinking about how delicious it must be.  Decision made.  I am was to make a classic English Meat Pie (you can read the “mini” versions of these pies here–slightly different recipe though) to celebrate the premiere of Season 8.  Yes, the weather is warming up, but I hope you choose to make this recipe soon, we only have Game of Thrones on till the middle of May !!!

Ingredients:

1.5 pounds stew meat, cut into small bite-sized pieces

Chopped button mushrooms, carrots and onions – cut them small enough so that they are the same size as the meat.  You can change up the ratio, but I went meat heavy since that is the way my husband likes it.  I would reckon about 1/4-1/3 cup for each veggie would be sufficient.  

1/4tsp of dried rosemary, thyme, and sage

3tbsp of flour

2tbsp of good red wine, you know what to do with the rest of the bottle

1tsp of Worcestershire sauce

1tsp of paprika

1 can of chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil for frying

Store bought pie crust

Method:

In a heavy bottom pan (I like my dutch oven), heat olive oil and brown beef in batches, seasoning it salt and pepper.  Once browned, set aside.

 

 

In the same pan, add a little bit more oil and add all the veggies and saute till pale brown.  Once browned, added dried herbs, salt and pepper and saute for 5 more minutes.

 

Add the beef back in with all the veggies.

Add flour, and saute till all the meat and veggies are coated with the flour and browned (5-7mins)

 

Add 1 can of chicken stock, paprika, wine and Worcestershire sauce.  Cover and simmer on medium low heat till the gravy thickens, the carrots are soft and the meat is fork tender.  This is a pie filling, so it has to be nice and thick.

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Divide the filling into individual “pot pie” dishes (OR one big pie pan) and cool the filling completely.  In the past, I have made a meat and potato version of this in muffin tins, with a double crust.  You can find that recipe here

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Cover the filling with thawed pie crust.  Crimp the edges to seal in the filling, add a slit on the top for steam to escape.

 

 

Brush the top with egg wash–this will ensure a deep golden crust.

 

 

Bake in a 375F oven for 40-45 mins till the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling underneath.

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Serve Hot !!!

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Classics, Dinner, Meat, Quick Dinner

Rosemary Pork Chops with Shallots and Mushrooms

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The inspiration for this dish comse from the classic Yeager Schnitzel.  Our favorite German Restaurant servers it with a rich mushroom sauce.  This is my light version which can be easily whipped up for weeknight dinner.

Ingredients:

Boneless Pork chops

1 Tbsp of dry rosemary

1 shallots, slices

8 oz baby bella mushrooms, slices

2 tsp of flour

1/2 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 Tbsp of olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Heat oil in a caste iron skillet.

Season porch chop with rosemary, salt and pepper.

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Sear the pork chops in a medium high skillet, on both sides, till golden brown.

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Remove seared chops and add shallots and mushrooms to the same skillet.

Saute till golden and add salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and flour.  Cook for another 2-3 mins.  The mixture will look very dry and will stick together.

Stirring continuously, add the chicken stock and the pork chops.

Simmer on medium low till pork 160 F at the center.  Remove chops and continue to thicken the sauce to your liking.

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Serve the chops with a generous smothering of the mushroom sauce.  Sauteed green beans are a wonderful side with this dish !

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Dinner, Meat, Moroccan, Stew

Beef and Sweet Potato Harissa

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As the Beatles said “I get by with a little help from my friends”.  For this recipe, my “friend” was store bought Harissa Simmer sauce.  I keep reading about Harissa in magazines and have always wanted to try it.  However, this past weekend, I was in the mood for something delicious and fast.  So, I used the simmer sauce.  But I did doctor it up.  It turned out delicious! I mean, really delicious! MIND-BLOWING DELICIOUS!  Here is what you will need.

Ingredients:

1.5lbs stew beef

2 sweet potatoes, diced

1 large red onion, diced into large chunks

1 tomato, diced

1 can of red kidney beans

1 packet of Harissa simmer sauce ( I used Saffron Road)

2 tsp of cinnamon

2 tbsp of olive oil

salt, pepper and chilli flakes to taste.

2 tbsp of chopped scallions

Lime wedges for serving (optional)

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Method:

Brown the meat in oil and set aside.

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Add the sweet potatoes, tomatoes, onions, salt pepper and cinnamon and cook till vegetables soften.

Add the meat, beans and pour in the sauce.  I filled the pouch with water to rinse off every last bit of the sauce and poured it into the pot.

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Simmer on medium high heat for 30 40 mins, till meat and vegetables and fork tender. Add scallions at the very end and take off heat.

Serve hot with polenta or couscous.

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Classics, Meat, Mexican

Pulled Pork Tacos

 

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Ingredients:

1 pork loin

1 cup water

2 medium oranges, washed and halved

4 cloves garlic, peeled

½ medium onion, peeled

1 large stick Mexican cinnamon stick or 2 small regular cinnamon sticks

4 bay leaves

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon dried whole Mexican oregano, crushed between palms

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 cup evaporated milk

½ cup beer (nothing too hoppy or it will make the pork bitter)

hard taco shells

For Garnish:

 

salsa

shredded cabbage/lettuce

DIRECTIONS

Add all the ingredients in a crock pot and cook on high for 4-5 hrs will pork is fork tender

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Shred pork with two forks and saute in a pan to create some crispy bits.

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Add to your taco bar and build your way to deliciousness !!!!!!

Classics, Comfort food, Dinner, Meat

Apple Cider Pork Chops and Green Beans

Just because the weather has warmed up does not mean I am going to give up on a classic pairing such as pork chops and apples.  Here is yet again, another speedy dinner recipe that you can have on the table in 1 hr.        

Marinade pork chops with 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup white wine, 2tsp ginger, cinnamon and 1tsp of crushed red pepper flakes.  Add in a bunch of rosemary, toss to combine and let it marinade on the counter for 20 mins.       

After they have marinaded, toss the pork chops in some flour (season with salt and pepper) and fry in some olive oil in a cast iron skillet.  Once the outside is golden brown, set aside.      

In the same skillet, saute 1/2 of an onion with some rosemary, salt and pepper.  Deglaze the pan with either 1/4 cup white wine, water or chicken stock.  Stir in 6oz of apple sauce.  Add the pork chops and allow to simmer till chops cook through.  Adjust salt and pepper.  If the stock tastes to sharp from the vineger, add some baking soda to it.

Serve with green beans and the spoon the sauce over the chops !  

Classics, Comfort food, Dinner, Meat

Steak and Potatoes

This is my super speedy weeknight steak dinner.  ready in  hr.   Marinade a 1.5lbs  round bottom roast or skirt steak with 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup red wine, salt and pepper to taste, 1/2 Tbsp of whole mustard seeds and 3-4 springs of rosmary.  Let the meat marinade at room temperature for 30 mins.

In the meantime, cut up potatoes ( I love red bliss) and put in a shallow pot.  Cover with chicken stock, salt (to taste, some stocks can be very salty), whole peppercorns and some more rosemary.

After 30mins, heat 1tbsp of olive oil in a cast iron skillet and saute 2 sliced shallots and 5-6 springs of thyme.    

Once the shallots become tender, add the steak and the marinade into the skillet.  Sear on each side till desired done-ness.  I like my steak medium rare.  

In the meantime, check the potatoes and if they are done, drain the potatoes and plate them. 

Allow the steak to rest responsibly, about 10-15mins.  

Add a little bit of chicken stock or red wine, to the bottom of the skillet to deglaze the pan and create a quick pan sauce.    

Slice steak.  Plate steak.  Devour !