I am going to have to up my game:
Just a little holiday humor…now on to the recipes:
This year we were warned that with smaller family gatherings, small turkeys would be scarce. So when I went turkey shopping, I was not surprised the smallest turkey I could find was about sixteen pounds.
I know for many, that IS a small turkey, but I’m used to buying a couple of twelve-pound turkeys, cooking one if Thanksgiving is going to be small, or both if it’s a larger crowd. I think they cook up better and are less likely to get dried out.
What to do with this large bird? I decided to slice it in half and cook it two separate ways. They cook up similar to a spatchcock bird.
Ropa Vieja is one of my favorite items on a local Mexican restaurant’s menu. I almost always have it in a salad in a tortilla bowl. So of course I had to figure out how to replicate it at home.
Now to up my game with some tasty ropa vieja.
- 3 lbs of Chuck, London Broil/Top Round, Brisket or Flank*
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large red pepper, seeded and chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 28 oz of diced tomatoes – I had freshly frozen. Canned is fine.
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar (or wine vinegar – white or red)
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- 3 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne (depending on your desired heat)
- pinch of red pepper flakes (or to your desired heat)
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper to taste (I like lots of black pepper, so I’m hesitant to give my measurements, LOL)
- green olives (so very optional! I HATE olives, so you will not find them in mine)
instant pot or slow cooker
Heat oil and brown meat on both sides, add onions, and saute until translucent. Then add peppers and garlic, stirring for a minute before adding remaining ingredients.
Instant pot: Cook for 45 to 50 minutes on soup or meat setting (or pressure cooker high setting). Check meat after depressurizing. If it doesn’t shred easily, make sure there is enough sauce (add water if needed) and repressurize for an additional 10 minutes.
Slow-cooker: Cook on low for 8-10 hours, add water if the liquid gets too thick too soon.
Whichever method you use, you want the meat to shred easily when done.
When I depressurized mine, the sauce was thin, so I cooked it an additional 20 minutes on the slow-cooker setting until it had reduced to a thick sauce.
Serve with rice and black bean or in salad.
*this cooks until it’s shreddable, so cut doesn’t matter much. I used London Broil because it was at a super sale price. So I stocked up for several recipes that will simmer forever.
Anyone have favorite restaurant items they’ve recreated at home? What’s on your plate this weekend? Don’t forget to share your special recipes!
Recipe open thread
It’s been unseasonably warm here after our early snow in September, so grilling is on the menu.
On the board:
- Spicy Lime Cilantro Chicken
- Mexican Rice Medley
- Green Beans
- Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe here)
Spicy Lime Cilantro Chicken:
- 4 boneless chicken breasts
- ½ cup lime juice
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup sliced pickled jalapenos and juice
Place ingredients in a zip-lock bag and marinate 1 hour or overnight. Broil or grill for 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, until breasts are cooked to 165 degrees.
Mexican Rice Medley:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ small yellow onion, chopped
- 6 oz can chopped green chilies
- ½ tsp crushed garlic
- 1 small tomato, chopped
- 1 cup Jasmine rice
- 1 ¼ cup water
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 tsp chili powder
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
large saucepan and bowl
In saucepan, heat oil, add onion, chilies, garlic and tomatoes, sauté until onions are golden. Remove to bowl. In the saucepan add rice, water, tomato sauce and chili powder, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer 20 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Add onion mixture. Finish with salt and pepper to taste and cilantro. Fluff with a fork and serve.
Dinner menu serves 4
Cooking Tips: If a recipe has meat or poultry that is marinated, a great timesaver is to make the marinades when you purchase the meats. Mix meat and marinades together into a freezer bag and freeze. All that’s left to do is thaw and cook. 10-minute meals are easy with a variety of marinades and meats or poultry, then stir-fry, grill or broil and serve.
What’s on your menu this weekend?
JeffreyW makes mouths water with this photo of his Beef and Barley Soup (with bonus Foccacia recipe here)
I’ve updated the basic soup recipe for Instant Pot style cooking. For the stovetop version, click here.
It has been unseasonably warm here, but I still wanted soup. Checked the freezer and I had a cross-rib roast, that would do since there was not a secret stash of chuck roast tucked away in there. All the other ingredients were handy, so Beef and Barley soup was it.
I added a potato, diced small, just because.
Beef & Barley Vegetable Soup
- olive oil
- 1 lb chuck, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 2 tsp crushed garlic
- 14 oz of tomatoes (fresh or canned)
- 8 cups of water (or water and vegetable broth**)
- 12 oz sliced carrots (frozen ok)
- 12 oz green beans (frozen ok)
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup barley
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 1/2 to 1 tsp salt (more as desired)
- 2 bay leaves (remove before serving)
Heat oil in the instant pot on the sauté setting. Sauté onions for 1 minute, add beef and brown on all sides, add garlic and sauté for 1 minute making sure not to burn the garlic. Add remaining ingredients. Set the pot to Soup/Stew setting and cook for 35 to 40 minutes, until barley is tender. Use natural release method.
Serve with biscuits or cornbread.
**For vegetable broth, I blend the tomatoes, and an additional 6 oz of carrots, 6 oz of green beans, 2 stalks of the celery, 1 cup water into a smooth puree, to make a hearty base for the soup. I like the hearty stock.
I get gifts! One I got this year was a box of assorted large bottles of spice mixes. I’ve enjoyed each unique blend, especially the Peruvian one, because it’s been a while since we have been able to frequent our favorite Peruvian restaurant here.
Tonight’s menu features the Cantanzaro spice mix. Cantanzaro is a city in Italy. So there are a lot of herbs this Italian girl recognizes: marjoram, basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano. And garlic, lots of garlic. But the kicker is the lemon and lemon peel.
It’s all very fresh for summer and great for grilling.
On the board tonight:
- Grilled Cantanzaro Herbed Chicken Breasts
- Grilled peppers and onions (toss sliced onions and favorite mix of peppers with olive oil, salt, pepper and grill in a grilling pan)
- Cucumber-Tomato Salad (recipe here)
- Gelato (recipes here)
Grilled Cantanzaro Herbed Chicken Breast
- 1 to 1-1/2 lb boneless chicken breasts
- 2 tsp each: garlic powder, dried marjoram, basil, oregano, thyme and rosemary,
- 1 tbsp lemon peel
- 1 cup lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
grill, marinade container
Butterfly chicken breasts (slicing them open down the center so they lie flat like butterfly wings). Place them in between two pieces of plastic wrap, and pound until they are about 1/2 inch thick – you don’t want them much thinner because they will dry out on the grill.
Crush together the dry herbs. You can do it with your fingers or use a mortar and pestle. Combine with the lemon peel.
Place chicken breasts in a shallow container with a lid (I love my pyrex containers for this). Sprinkle 1/2 the herbs over the chicken, flip and sprinkle the remaining over the other side. Cover with lemon juice (start with 1/2 cup and use up to a cup to get coverage).
Marinate for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
Grill quickly over high heat to get a good sear on both sides, reduce heat (or remove the chicken from directly over a coal fire, to the side of the grill) and grill over low heat until the internal temperature is about 160 degrees F. Once removed from the grill, tent loosely with foil and it will quickly reach an internal temperature of 165 without drying out.
Serve with grilled peppers and onions and a cucumber-tomato salad.
BTW, if you’re buying spice mixes, skip the salt. You’ll get more spices for your dollar and adding your own salt gives you more control.
I’m happily overrun with tomatoes and besides eating them, I’m freezing bags of tomato juice for cooking later this winter. Great for making sauces, soups and quick dinners – I freeze the juice fresh, blended with seeds and skin – and then popped in freezer bags and frozen flat. Easy to store and the easy prep, so I’m not overwhelmed with processing as the tomatoes pile up. I do something similar with peppers, usually cut them into large chunks, quick freeze on a baking sheet and then portioning into freezer bags. Easy to chop them to smaller pieces before they are fully thawed and toss them into soups and sauces.
What’s on your menu this week? Share some favorite end of summer recipes.
Somehow, I made an extremely spicy Green Chile. The peppers were marked as hot, so I should have suspected because normally they just assume you know green chiles are on the hot side. These were on the super-hot side.
A jackal sent me this recipe when I was asking for recommendations (and I only have her real name, so I’ll leave off the identification, if she’s around tonight, she can wave). It’s simple and turned out great. The only substitution I made was beef for pork. I’m not a big pork fan. Bacon, sausage and pepperoni are about it.
I used a boneless blade steak, which worked perfectly. I kinda wished I would have popped it on the grill when I roasted the chiles.
- 2 lbs cubed pork shoulder
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 3 tbsp flour
- 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes (or canned)
- 1 can chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 2 1/2 cups diced, roasted green chiles, skinned (seeded if desired)*
- 2 cups diced onion (I used 1 cup, 2 seemed overwhelming)
- salt and pepper to taste
Brown the pork, add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add flour, stir and cook for 2 more minutes. Add all remaining ingredients and mix together well.
Slowcooker times: Cook for 2-3 hours on low
Instant Pot/Multipot times: Cook on meat setting (or high) for 1 hour, depressurize. Meat should shred easily, if not seal and cook another 15 minutes.
*If you want to roast your own chiles, instructions are here.
There are lots of ways to use Green Chile, but I like to just dish some up and eat it with fresh tortillas. Recipe for making your own tortillas is here.
It’s been a busy day here, what with the Chameleon rescue and all, so I’ll check back in if I haven’t fallen asleep.
OT: a friend of mine, who is Japanese, just turned me onto this Netflix show Duty/Shame. It’s a British-Japanese hybrid from the BBC and the visuals (as well as the leads) are stunning. Story is pretty good, too.
What’s on your menu tonight?