Roast Beef

My mom makes a killer roast. My roasts are not always as good as hers. My new solution is to brown the roast in a frying pan, deglaze with an onion and then a cup or so of red wine. Then put it all in the crock pot, which is something of a cheat, but judging from last night’s dinner, I’m ok with cheating. 🙂

Kahlua Cake

Today, I am making a sweet treat that has been traveling through our family for a little while now. I think my cousin Joy started it, then my mom picked it up and it has become an instant favorite. It is a chocolate cake with Kahlua, yum! It is so moist and decadent, no frosting is needed. So here is the simple recipe:

KAHLUA CAKE

1 BOX CHOCOLATE CAKE
4 EGGS
2 CUPS SOUR CREAM
1/3 CUP KAHLUA
1 SMALL INSTANT CHOCOLATE PUDDING
3/4 CUP OIL
1 CUP CHOCOLATE CHIPS

Mix the first six ingredients together, then when blended add the chips.

Pour into greased bundt pan. NOTE: I don’t have a bundt pan so I baked mine in loaf pans and a cupcake pan. Both worked well; just take them out a few minutes early.

BAKE @350 FOR 55 MIN.

Props to my mom for posting this recipe on her blog. Once I couldn’t remember all of the ingredients while at the store, but I was able to look it up on my phone on her blog…saved the day!

Anyway, enjoy! (I know I will!)

The Great Meat Experiment

This weekend we conducted a culinary experiment of sorts cooking 6 pieces of tri tip in 6 different sauces. Some of which turned out to be real winners, while other may not have been favorites actually none of them turned out badly. Here are the results:

1. Onion puree – worked very well with the meat, but the onion need to cook a bit longer than the meat. Not for next time, start the onion first.

2. Garlic and olive oil mash – pure magic if you love garlic and we do! Note: take care not to burn the garlic, just carmelize it in the pan…lovely!

3. Chili and sugar rub – several smokey spices, chili powder and sugar, made for a nice sweet and smoky result. Thumbs up!

4. Balsamic with a splash of orange juice – this one got watered down a bit too much, but the overall flavor was great.

5. Citrus saute – orange juice, lemon juice and just a touch of chili powder. It reduced down to a nice dark syrup. Very nice, akin to an asian dish.

6. Serrano puree – this was the only one in the bunch that wasn’t quite as edible (unless you have an iron stomach). The heat did not cook out as we had hoped, it was like a volcano. Next time we will roast the peppers before puree.

Combinations for the future? The garlic and citrus chould marry nicely as should the balsamic and onion.

Anyway, it was quite a fun experiment.

Beer Chicken

I got a wild hair yesterday and decided to create a dinner from things I had in the house. I had some frozen chicken breast and some Bass Pale Ale and thought with a few spices it might be good if cooked the two together in the crockpot.

(Note: I bought the Bass one day when the store was out of Dos Equis and was not able to finish a single bottle. It tasted like soy sauce to me…good for chicken right? Right!)

Anyway in the usual fashion (no measurements), I added the following items to the crock pot:

Chicken
1 Bottle of Bass
Some water
Chopped onion
A few cloves of garlic
Salt
Pepper
Chili Powder
Cumin
Paprika
A bit of sugar

Cooked it on low for about 8 hours, then made a roux (flour and butter in a sauce pan) and added the cooking liquid to make a sauce. I then shredded the chicken and added it into the sauce.

I served it laddled on top of crisp potato wedges. It got a thumbs up from the hubby and Manda. Not bad for a whim!

Smoothie Recipe

I haven’t always been a fan of the “smoothie”, but my dad has recently piqued my interest in this area and I have become a frequnt flyer in the Jamba Juice skies. But as I do with most food matters, I decided that I probably could make something just as good at home and for less money.

Well, the following is my refined smoothie recipe (one 16 oz serving):

Put all of the following ingredients in to a blender and give it a whirl, use more orange juice if it is too stiff.
6 medium strawberries (fresh, cleaned and then frozen)
6 chunks canned pineapple (in juice)
1/2 of a banana
2 tbsp of pineapple juice
1 cup of orange juice

Enjoy!

Chicken Soup

I was inspired to make chicken soup after talking to Manda and learning that neither she nor my husband had homemade chicken soup growing up. Sad. Well, if this is a widespread phenomenon, let me save the world with my quick and easy recipe for homemade chicken soup.

Now…the amounts are up to you depending on how much you want to make and your desired veggies to broth ratio, but here’s what I did.

Chicken thighs (boneless, skinless, cleaned and cut into bite size pieces)
2 cups of water
1 quart chicken broth
1 lg. carrot
1 med. white onion
2 celery stalks
3 small potatos
1 tbsp of Olive Oil
Salt, pepper, paprika

Fry up the chicken in a little olive oil with salt and pepper. Cut up the veggies (I like small pieces) and throw everything into a big pot to cook. Taste the broth to make sure it has a good flavor, adjust the seasoning if necessary. Cook a small pasta in another pot, leaving it slightly underdone and rinsing it with cool water to stop the cooking process. When the veggies are cooked, turn the heat down and serve the soup, adding the desired amount of pasta and sprinkle with parmesan cheese, also grated jack cheese is a nice topping.

Barbacoa

I made a new dish last night…well new to my kitchen not to my mouth 🙂

Hubby and I like to venture to Chipotle restaurant to get a Mexican food fix. It’s great really because you can only get 4 things: burritos, tacos, bowls, and salads; but you have the opportunity to put together many different ingredients to make it however you like. My husband’s meat of choice is barbacoa, which is shredded beef braised in spices and broth. It is very tasty. So yesterday we made it, and dare I say I think it was the bet barbacoa I’ve ever had. I consulted a few recipes online, but if you know me, recipes aren’t my gig. I’m Italian, you gotta feel it! So here’s how I made it:

2 lbs. Sirloin Roast (though I think almost any hunk of beef will do)
2 cups of beef bouillon
Season to taste (I used pepper, lemon pepper and oregano)

Put those ingredients in the crock pot all day until you can shred the meat easily…takes about 8 hours. Save the juice in the crock pot for later.

Then you shred the meat finely, nice small pieces, and take out all the fat and yucky stuff.

Then combine in a sauce pan:

1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 sm can (6 oz, I think) chipotle peppers (puree them first)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
A pinch of cumin
2 tbsp of red wine
Salt to taste

Then add the meat and mix it all together. Strain the juices from the crockpot and add until the meat is very juicy (at least a cup). Simmer the juicy meat for another 20 minutes or so to let all of the flavor soak in…then enjoy!

This is a spicy dish so if you are not into the hot foods, you’ll want to make some adjustments. Email me for suggestions.