Dinner By Dagny

Not just food, food with flavor

Barbacoa Beef

I have a crockpot and a stove top pressure cooker, but my mother-in-law got me a new One Pot combined pressure cooker/crockpot electric with sautéing functionality too. At first I couldn’t figure out how it would fit into my kitchen tools, but after figuring out that I could brown the meat in the same pot as I slow or fast cook the meal, it became more clear in my mind. I stumbled across this barbacoa beef recipe online and decided I would use it.

I got a bit of a late start this morning so used the One Pot. The chuck roast I had was only 3.5 lbs so I had to modify the recipe and would actually modify it a bit further so I’ve included my notes below.

Ingredients:

3.5 lb beef roast

1 onion

1 medium bunch cilantro

1/2 head of garlic

1/2 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 tablespoon salt

Juice of 2 limes

1-2 cups beef stock (I used 3 cups and it was too much. Next time I will use 1-2 cups beef stock)

3 bay leaves

Adobo

Tools:

Blender

Crock pot or pressure cooker or One Pot, depending on availability and time

Directions:

  1. Rough chop onions and blend (in blender) with cilantro, garlic, chipotle peppers, vinegar, cloves, salt & limes
  2. Cut meat into a few pieces to fit best in pot
  3. Season meat with Adobo
  4. Coat meat with blended ingredients by pouring blended ingredients over meat in pot, or rotating meat through ingredients
  5. Pour in beef stock
  6. Toss in bay leaves
  7. Cook on low in crock pot for 10 hours (I cooked it on low for 7 hours but it needed more time so I pressure cooked it for 20 minutes additional minutes on high.)
  8. Serve in tacos, or over rice

Results:

I was too busy cooking and eating to take pictures on this one. I liked this as an alternative to Ropa Vieja and Green Chili Pork. It had the flavors of chipotle and acid. My younger daughter didn’t like this, but she doesn’t like anything with Chili powder or chipotle. I’m still waiting for the opinion of my husband and older daughter so the verdict is still out as to whether I’ll make it again.

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Pan Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Garlic Scapes

Our garden is a sad state of affairs this year, but my husband still managed to get his garlic  in the ground on time. This means that it is that time where I need to figure out what to do with the garlic scapes. Garlic scapes are the flowering part of the garlic plant, that if left on will sap all the strength from the plant and prevent your garlic bulbs from getting plump. In prior years, I have only thrown the scapes into pesto.

But yesterday I decided that my fresh brussel sprouts from the farmer’s market and the garlic scapes would make a nice side dish. I didn’t have a particular inspiration although I think I have seen them being used on Chopped.

Ingredients:

  • pint of brussel sprouts
  • pint of garlic scapes
  • olive oil
  • splash of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • pat of butter
  • Adobo & pepper to taste
  • finish salt

Directions:

1. Clean brussel sprouts by removing outer leaves as needed

2. Cut brussel sprouts in half

3. Remove any brown fibrous pieces from garlic scapes

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4. Heat olive oil up in frying pan over medium high heat

5. drop in brussel sprouts and garlic scapes

6. Season with Adobo & pepper

 

7. Let veggies brown, but stir so they don’t burn

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8. Once nicely browned, splash with lemon juice

9. Add water and cover

10. Turn temperature to medium low

11. Let steam until veggies are tender (about 5-10 mins)

12. Remove cover, add wine and pat of butter

13. Continue cooking until sauce thickens

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14. Sprinkle a bit of salt over all the veggies

Results:

My husband really liked this. My kids are a bit more finicky about brussel sprouts. My older daughter doesn’t really like them, but she did try a bit and say “it’s not bad.” The younger daughter loves brussel sprouts but only steamed. I showed the picture to a friend and they said I should add some shrimp next time. Sadly, there weren’t any leftovers. This was very disappointing to my husband when I was making today’s frittata with all the leftover goodies.

 

Southwestern Pasta

I like black beans. I like pasta very much. I wanted to combine them together to make a delicious meal for my family. It turned being my family’s favorite meal. I even thought I had some delicious food and a nice meal to cook.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of pasta
  • 1 can  of black beans
  • 1 pack of smoked sausage
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 jars of salsa
  • corn
  • cilantro/avocado for garnish
  • queso fresco
  • salt/olive oil for pasta

Directions: Pasta

1. Cook pasta according to pasta box

2. Add salt and olive oil to water when boiling

 

Directions: Sauce

1. Cut sausage about equal sizes

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2. Cut peppers about the same size as sausage

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3. Add sausage and pepper to pan

4. Saute sausage and pepper until brown

5. Rinse beans

6. Add beans

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7. Add salsa

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8. Stir and heat through

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9. Serve

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Results

We did a bit of a pick your own assembly.  Ana served her pasta and sauce separately, while I added cheese, cilantro, avocado and corn to top it off. This was a win from a dinner perspective.  There were even secondary uses applied – you can use it to stuff mini sweet pepper and bake with some more cheese.  Cait liked that version even better.

 

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Chicken Parmesan

This week Ana asked to make chicken parmesan.  I took the easy way out and suggested we use already breaded chicken cutlets. I figured it would be easier for Ana to manage with those, given the risk of hot oil and multiple pans.  Although I did give her the option in the grocery store to get chicken breasts and carefully slice them in half.  She opted not to do it.

Ingredients

  • chicken cutlets (we had 12 cutlets for 5 people)
  • crushed tomatoes (2 28oz cans)
  • cheese (mozzarella, parmesan)
  • basil
  • oregano
  • garlic
  • pepper
  • adobo
  • spagetti
  • olive oil

 

Directions (Sauce)

1.  open crushed tomatoes

2.  pour in pot

3. heat sauce over medium heat

4. crush 4 garlic cloves into sauce

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5.add basil & oregano (cup hand to measure)

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6. heat & taste

 

Directions (Chicken)

1. open chicken

2. season chicken with adobo & pepper

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3. cook chicken on olive oil (so it doesn’t stick) until golden brown (each side)

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4. flip chicken

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5. put in pan (do not stack)

6. add sauce & cheese (we mixed the parmesan and mozzarella together)

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7. put in oven

8. broil 2-3 minutes

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Directions (Pasta)

1. add water to pot

2. add olive oil

3. wait until boiling

4. add salt & pasta

5. stir pasta 3 minutes

6. wait 3 more minutes

7. drain & eat

 

Results

We served it with a nice salad and good bread.  Ana did a really good job.  Everybody really enjoyed it and said she could make it again.  Ana was incredibly proud of herself (as she should be) and gave herself a round of applause.  She wouldn’t let me post that picture.

Lasagna Biscuits

Hi Everyone! It’s been a while since I posted anything yummy I have been cooking. It’s not because I haven’t been cooking, but rather I’ve been using the rest of my time for other things. That said I’m back at least for the summer. My daughter Ana has decided she wants to learn to cook and has chosen to cook every Thursday night. She can think up whatever she wants (within reason) and I will help find or define a recipe and guide her along. Also, I’ll be the sous chef and picture taker, but she’ll do the work and do most of the write-up. I hope you like my guest blogger.

I wanted to make lasagna biscuits because I wanted to try something new. Another reason I wanted to make lasagna biscuits is because I thought it was a meal my family would enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • mozzarella to eaters preference
  • 1 package sausage
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 jar tomato sauce
  • spices

 

Directions: Biscuits:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degres

2. Mix together dry ingredients

3. Cut butter in flour mixture until crumbly

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4. Mix milk & egg into mixture

5. Stir with fork until mixture holds together

6. Knead dough 10 times on floured board

7. Roll out out dough about 2 1/2 ” thick

8. Cut out biscuits

9. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet 10-15 minutes 12-15 biscuits

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Directions: Stuffing or Topping

1. Cut sausage

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2. Cut peppers into pieces or strips

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3.  Saute peppers & sausages

4. Stir into tomato sauce

5. Heat sauce through

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6. Add spices (basil, oregano)

7. Stuff or top biscuits

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Ana made awesome biscuits.  They were probably some of the best biscuits we’ve had in a while.  The sausages & peppers turned out fine as well.  I wouldn’t say this was the best combination of food together.  However, this is Ana’s cooking day.  I will not squash her creativity, but let her create her meal and we’ll decide if it’s a “do again” meal.

Korean Beef

My husband has been on a paleo diet for a little over a month now. I’ve been trying to introduce variety into our dinner options. That said, we have periodically been getting into lulls with chicken or pork. A couple of nights ago I decided that we were going to have something with ground beef. Preferably not chili, or hamburgers or tacos. So I turned to my handy browser and sought out alternatives. I found this recipe for “simple and quick” Korean Beef. It looked easy enough and I had most of the ingredients on hand.

Ingredients

1 lb ground beef

1 red pepper, diced (added by me)

5-6 pepperadew peppers, diced (added by me)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar (substituted 1/4 cup honey plus some regular white sugar as I didn’t have brown sugar to desired level of sweetness)

1 tablespoon sesame oil

3 cloves garlic

ginger, crushed red pepper and Adobo to taste (note that the original recipe suggested using fresh ginger. I didn’t have any so I substituted ground ginger)

Directions

1. Brown ground meat in large skillet over medium heat in sesame oil

2. Dice peppers and add them

3. Add garlic, soy sauce, sugar/honey and spices

4. Simmer a few minutes to blend

Note: check the level of sauce. If you want more sauce, add additional soy sauce and sugar/honey in same ratio as above

Results

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This was tasty. My husband voluntarily ate the leftovers multiple times. I think it was a good way to use ground meat for something a little more creative than chili or tacos.

Chicken Scarpiello

I like the Food Network. I often get inspired by what those chefs are cooking, and continue to be amazed by how bad some people are at cooking. This season’s “Worst Cooks in America” introduced me to Chicken Scarpiello. I mostly followed the recipe on this and it was really good. It definitely hit the make again list, and the flavor to spice was perfectly balanced.

Ingredients

2-3 strips thick cut bacon

2-3 lbs chicken breasts

1 onion

3 garlic cloves

3/4 cup wine (I used leftover Mead – which carmelized the onions perfectly)

1 cup quartered cherry peppers (pepperadews)

1/2 cup hot pepper juice from the jar

1 cup chicken stock (1 used 1/2 cup pan drippings plus 1/2 cup water)

Adobo, Pepper & Oregano to taste

Directions

1. Chop bacon in to lardons (little pieces) and cook in large frying pan

2. After about 10 mins, bacon should be crispy. Remove from pan

3. Season chicken with Adobo and pepper

4. Brown chicken breasts on both sides in bacon fat (~5 mins/side)

5. Remove chicken from pan

6. Chop onion and garlic and saute in pan

7. Add wine to deglaze pan. Reduce by half.

8. Add chicken, bacon, cherry peppers, cherry pepper juice, stock and oregano to pot

9. Bring to boil

10. Put in preheated 300 degree oven for 40 minutes (You could simmer on stove for 15 mins per pound or put in oven for 15 mins per pound at 350 degrees. This allowed me to run out on an errand while it was cooking).

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Look how rich and delicious that sauce looks! I saved that too.

Kale Guacamole

I had the opportunity to taste kale guacamole last week and really enjoyed it. The texture is a little different than I normally make my guacamole but it kept the dip green and added some extra vegetables. I first found this recipe for plumped up kale guacamole and it was ok. I ended up using for citrus, another avocado and wished for onion and jalapeño heat (next time). My friend who made the version I tried used this super bowl recipe as her base.

Ingredients

2 ripe avocados
4 kale leaves
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lemon
Large handful cilantro
2 garlic cloves
1/2-3/4 cup water
1 jalapeño
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 onion

Directions

1. In blender combine, 1 avocado, kale, cilantro, juice of lemon and lime, garlic
2. Start blending and add water to loosen mixture up
3. Dice onion, jalapeño and extra avocado
4. Mix spices, onion, jalapeño and avocado into dip
5. Let sit for 3-4 hrs or better overnight

Results

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The initial taste is pretty veggie like, but once you get over that and let all the flavors blend it is really good. It needed some spice that wasn’t in the originally recipes. We’ve been using it for dip, and serving it with everything from frittatas to stuffed peppers.

Mixed Berry Baked Oatmeal

I don’t like oatmeal for breakfast. I don’t know if it is a carryover from growing up in a hot place or if it’s a texture thing – i don’t really like grits or polenta either. Anyway, I do like oatmeal in crumbles, or cookies. I was intrigued by this recipe to for strawberry-rhubarb baked oatmeal. It sounded like a good breakfast alternative with lots of fruit.

I did make about half the recipe and used previously purchased frozen mixed berries. I gussied it up with a dash of cinnamon and vanilla extract as well. The flavor was good but mine took a about 20 minutes longer to cook. I think it was partially due to the larger size strawberries and blackberries.  This recipe is forgiving as well.  I made a mistake when adjusting the recipe and added the original amount of applesauce, but then reduced the vegetable oil.  Also, I had leftover cinnamon sugar and used that instead of the brown sugar for sprinkling.

Ingredients

cooking spray

2-2 1/2 cups frozen fruit

1 egg

1/8 cup applesauce

1/8 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup milk

1 1/2 cups quick oats

1/4 whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup brown sugar for sprinkling

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray pan with cooking spray

2.  Layer in frozen fruit

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3.  Mix all the other ingredients together except the brown sugar for sprinkling

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4.  Pour oatmeal mix on top of fruit and mix in fruit

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5.  Sprinkle with brown sugar

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6.  Bake for about 50 minutes, checking every 5-10 minutes starting at 30 minutes.  Toothpick inserted in center should come out clean

Results

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I served my serving with a dollop of greek yogurt.  The tanginess balanced out the sweetness of the fruit.  I liked it and would definitely make it again as a breakfast alternative.

Homemade Soup

Why is it that people are a little afraid of making homemade soup? It doesn’t make much sense to me. Homemade soup is extremely nutritious and you can customize it to your liking without any real effort. It is also a really good vessel for using leftovers, things from the freezer or fresh ingredients. You can make it over a couple of days, overnight in a crockpot, in a couple of hours or really quick if you have ready ingredients on hand.

Chicken soup is the most common for me, but that’s because I tend to cook chicken regularly and keep the pan drippings and chicken carcasses. I tend to add the pan drippings to a container with other pan drippings. One thing to note here though it that you really need to be careful about how much pan drippings you add to your soup stock. It is very easy to go from perfectly flavored to almost too rich.

For today’s soup I used two small chicken carcasses. The first thing I did was pull as much meat off the bones as I could. This allows you to use that meat for the soup later, plus any additional meat that you were not able to liberate until after the stock making process. I added a quartered onion (skin and all), 3 carrots, 3 celery hearts (leaves and all), a couple of slices of ginger, the rest of an open bottle of white wine and covered it all with water. I let it simmer for 3-4 hours and put it in the fridge overnight. I strained the stock into another pot, and picked off any additional chicken. I then let the stock reduce for about an hour and tasted it for flavor (at this point, I have added no additional seasoning). My tastings led me to add about a cup of pan drippings and let that simmer as well. Now it’s ready for all the goodies we want – we’re doing chicken, carrots, celery, kidney beans, peas and corn, maybe some cous cous. I’ll let you know in the directions below.

Directions

1. Bring 6-8 cups prepared (or purchased) stock to a boil

2. Chop raw veggies you plan on adding – carrots and celery for us

3. Plan what else you are adding. We are adding kidney beans, frozen peas and corn, frozen turnips, and some cous cous. There is a little orchestration going on here as you need to make sure everything gets the proper cooking time, without overcooking anything. For me, this was adding the carrots and celery and simmer for 20 mins, add beans and cous cous (3 scoops – about 1/2 cup) simmer for 2 more mins, add peas and corn and chicken.

4. Based on the relative cooking time of your goodies, add them to the pot

5. Taste and season constantly (using my standard Adobo, pepper, oregano, thyme)

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Results

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My daughters gave me Chopped style running commentary on my soup. It even won Chopped! That’s so exciting. But it definitely made us warm on this cold winter day.

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