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July 21, 2014

Mexican Shredded Beef (Slow Cooker)


I've been holding out. I'm not sure why it's taken me a little over a year to share this recipe, so I apologize! I first made this recipe about a year ago to feed a small crowd (well, a crowd compared to my normal 3 people, but 8 may not be a crowd to many!), and I've made it many MANY times since, but never got around to taking pictures of it. If you like tacos, enchiladas, eating shredded beef just with a fork from te Tupperware container then you need this recipe in your life.

I generally just do ground beef when I make tacos because it's quick and a taco is always delicious, but the moment I tried this, nothing really compares. I probably make this beef about half the time and ground beef the other half, and we eat tacos quite often in our house.

What I love about this recipe is that it's easy to modify how hot or spicy you want it, but as is, it has a bit of a kick but isn't overly spicy. And you spend like 10 minutes prepping it before throwing it in the slow cooker to do the rest of the work for you!




Mexican Shredded Beef for the Slow Cooker
Ingredients: 
2lb. boneless beef road
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 cup beef broth
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons chili powder (more for a little extra heat, or use a hot version)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (again, a little more for a little extra heat!)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions:
Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Liberally season the roast with salt and pepper. Add the roast to the skillet and brown all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Put in your slow cooker.

Add onion to the pan and cook about 2 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste and cook for about another minute. Stir in broth and spices, scrapping up browned bits. Pour the "sauce" over the top of the roast.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Shred with two forks and allow to cook a few minutes longer. If you need to soak up any of the extra liquid you can put the slow cooker on high for a little bit after shredding the beef.

Source: Elly Says Opa

July 15, 2014

One-Pot Chicken Mudega Skillet Dinner (Chicken with Prosciutto and a Lemon Wine Sauce)


While many people take the opportunity to grill as much as possible during the summer months, personally it's not my favorite. Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of food from the grill, but I'm just not a fan of being outside grilling. I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to hot temperatures, and this summer I'm in my 3rd trimester with my baby girl, so I'm really not digging extreme heat. However, I've discovered my love of one-pot and skillet dinners.

One-pot and skillet dinners are quick to prepare, and only require one pot and a few prep utensils, which are easy to clean while the dish is cooking away on the stove. What's not to love?

While menu planning for the week, I was looking through one of my favorite cookbooks, that I've neglected for far too long - The Pasta Revolution by the wonderful people at America's Test Kitchen. I saw a recipe for a Chicken Saltimbocca skillet (one pot dish) that catches my eye every time I open the book. As I was reading it for the 100th time probably, I started thinking about a local favorite of mine - Chicken Mudega, and thought I could easily adapt the recipe in to a chicken mudega dish. Chicken Mudega is a St. Louis based dish, as far as I know, that is a breaded chicken breast topped with Provel Cheese and a madeira wine butter lemon sauce with prosciutto. Delicious! (There's usually mushrooms as well, which I omit because I do not like mushrooms!)

Rob and I were fans, and well, Ty preferred to play with his food. Apparently we've approached the phase where pasta = snakes. This snake fearing mom is not impressed. Plus, I'm the one that cleans the table during bath time, so I'm doubly unimpressed! But what he did eat he liked! But, as for Rob and I, we were fans enough that I'm already planning on making this pretty soon!



One-Pot Chicken Mudega Skillet Dinner (Chicken with Prosciutto and a Lemon Wine Sauce)
Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped in to 1/2" pieces
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and sliced thin or cubed
Salt and Pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons flour
1 cup dry white wine (for a more authentic "Mudega" profile, use Maderia, but I prefer drier wines in pasta dishes)
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
12 ounces thin spaghetti, broken in half
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup Provel cheese (or a combination of White American and Mozzarella if you are not in the St. Louis area and don't have access to Provel)

Directions:
Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.; Add prosciutto and cook until crisp, about 4-5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon or tongs and set aside on a paper towel-lined.
plate.

Heat remaining olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken in a single layer and cook without moving for about 1 minute to brown. Stir the chicken and continue to cook until cooked through, about 2-4 minutes depending how thickly you sliced or cubed your chicken. Transfer to a bowl and cover to keep warm.

Add onion to the skillet with the fat from the meats and oil still in it. Cook over medium heat about 8 minutes until softened and transluscent. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in wine and simmer about a minute until thickend.

Stir in broth, water and pasta. Increase heat to medium-high and cook at a high simmer for about 12-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the pasta is tender.

Transfer the entire contents of the chicken bowl, including juices, to the skillet, along with butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, cheese and half of the prosciutto. Stir well to incorporate everything and melt the chicken. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper as desired. Top individual portions with remaining prosciutto.

Source: Heavily adapted from The Pasta Revolution by the editors of America's Test Kitchen

May 1, 2014

Family Recipe Sour Cream Sheet Cake


There are some recipes that automatically take you back to childhood.  This cake is one of them!  Growing up, my Nana Ethel used to make this for many many family get-togethers. We call it sour cream cake, and I remember as a kid thinking that was weird.  I mean, sour cream in a cake?  And how come I liked it, since I don't like sour cream?  That's the good thing about kids though; all you have to do is tell them it's cake and they'll eat.  Unless they're my nearly 3-year-old on Easter who said he doesn't like cake.  But, he's also going through a phase where he says he doesn't like his favorite things, and then proceeds to eat more than ever only minutes later.

I've been wanting this recipe for years, and after many failed Google attempts to find it, I finally caved and ask my mom and aunt if they have it.  My aunt immediately called me with the recipe spouted off from memory.  Not only did my cousins, brother and I grow up with this cake, I never thought about the fact that my mom and aunt did also, as well as my grandma and Great Aunt Sally as I was lucky enough to have my great-grandma in my life for longer than a lot of children are.

This recipe is very easy, with very few ingredients, so I'm not surprised my aunt was able to immediately call me with the memorized recipe.  The sour cream, FOUR eggs and boiling water definitely make this a moist and decadent cake.  And you top something with cinnamon sugar and I'm in love.  Since I always have 2 cake mixes in the pantry (yellow and chocolate), I always have the ingredients on hand for this recipe, and now I'm so happy I have the recipe, should the need ever arise for a quick cake!

One day I may try to make it from scratch, but for now I'm more than happy eating the leftovers of this quick easy cake that immediately takes me back to family gatherings as a child.  I just wish the clothes were better :)




Family Recipe Sour Cream Sheet Cake
Ingredients:
  • 1 box yellow cake mix (I like Duncan Hines)
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup cinnamon sugar (about 3 parts sugar to 1 part cinnamon)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and prepare a 9x13 baking pan with non-stick spray (or coat with butter).

Using a hand or stand mixer, mix cake mix, sour cream, eggs and oil together.  Slowly mix the water in to avoid cooking the eggs, and immediately pour in prepared baking pan.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, and the edges are becoming golden.

Source: Old family recipe



April 29, 2014

Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss


Boneless skinless chicken breast meals can get boring, but they're easy so I am always looking for new ways to use them. I, personally, love the flavors of lemon, white wine and chicken, so any time I see a recipe incorporating those flavors, especially if it's quick and easy for a weeknight meal, I'll plan on trying it.  Sadly, I have to space these recipes out, as Rob isn't a huge fan of lemon :(

I admit that I haven't been on the Food Network website in a LONG time, but I was reunited recently while looking up brunch recipes (more to come later!), and I saw a collection of quick spring family meals.  One of the first recipes was this pasta toss and it was perfect.  Not too much lemon, so Rob won't be able to complain too much.  And quick and easy, which is always a bonus!

I did omit the capers, as I really dislike them, but adding them really will make this more like a chicken piccata dish.



Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss
Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, cut in to 1" pieces
  • S&P
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tablespoons Capers (I omitted)
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 pound penne, cooked to al dente

Directions:

Heat a large skillet and half of the olive oil over medium high heat.  Season chicken with S&P and add to heated pan.  Brown until lightly golden, about 5-6 minutes, tossing occasionally.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium and add the rest of the oil and 1/2 tablespoon of butter.  Toss in garlic and shallots and saute for about 2 minutes.  Add flour and cook another 1-2 minutes.  Whisk in wine and reduce about 1 minute then whisk in lemon juice and broth to make a sauce.  Stir in caper and parsley.  Once the sauce starts to slightly bubble add last of the butter.  

Add chicken back to sauce, including any juices left on the plate, and gently heat back up.  Toss the hot pasta with the chicken and sauce and serve.  Garnish as desired.

Source: Adapted from Food Network and Rachael Ray