Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Easy Beef Short Ribs



Now that I spend my days chasing an adorable 11 month old boy around the house, easy meals are more of a must now than ever. However, easy doesn't have to mean bland or unhealthy. This meal can be made in a large Dutch oven or in your slow cooker. I choose the slow cooker to prevent heating up the house during a hot summer day while allowing me to "set it and forget it." The meat is so flavorful and tender that it just falls off the bone and melts in your mouth. Even my young son enjoyed the tender bites.

3 pounds Beef Short Ribs
1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 large Yellow Onion
4 Carrots
2 cloves Garlic, peeled and smashed
1 teaspoon Dried Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
1/4 cup Dry Red Wine
11/2 - 2 cups Water
1. Combine flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Lightly dust each short rib, making sure to remove excess coating. Do not throw out the excess flour; this will be used later.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed pan over Medium-High heat. Once the oil is hot, place the short ribs in the pan. You will need to sear in batches to prevent steaming of the meat. Sear for 1-2 minutes per side. You are looking for a nice brown crust. Remove from the pan and repeat until all the ribs have been seared. Once all ribs are seared, place remaining seasoned flour into the drippings and cook for 1 minute.
Image of slow cooker before cooking.
3. While the ribs are searing, prepare your slow cooker. Place a layer of yellow onions that have been quartered and sliced into 1 inch pieces on the bottom.
4. Place the browned short ribs on the bed of onions. Pour the browned flour slurry into the slow cooker.
5. Top the short ribs with carrots that have been sliced into 3 inch segments.
6. Sprinkle the slow cooker contents with dried thyme. Tuck the garlic and bay leaf into the cooker so as to ensure they are in the cooking liquid.
7. Pour the red wine into the cooker followed by just enough water to come to the bottom of the ribs.
8. Cook the meat on HIGH for 4 hours.
9. Serve with mashed potatoes, steamed rice, or some warm crusty bread.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Jalapeno Cheese Burgers

Several years ago, my husband and I discovered this local restaurant in the downtown area of Winston Salem. Just like the first time I go anywhere to eat, the menu was a little overwhelming, not because there was a huge selection, but because I always wonder what is really good. After going to the restaurant several times, I finally worked up the courage to try something that I had never eaten before in my life --- ostrich! To say I was a little hesitant would be an understatement, however, I was ready to take it on and it was highly rated by the service crew. Additionally, the ostrich was from a local farm using spent grain from the brewery. Since I am very fond of supporting local and eating what is grown around you, that made it even more appealing.
When I got this burger, I was immediately in love. It was amazing! However, like most things on menus that I come to love, after a year or so, it was discontinued because the supply could not keep up with the demand. So what was I going to do???? I decided to take the flavors of the ostrich burger and add them to a standard beef patty. The results were great. I even made slider versions of this recipe last year for a tailgate, topped them with pepper jack cheese, and served them on Hawaiian style rolls and the crew went crazy!!! The recipe is very versatile. Feel free to play with the protein used, i.e. ground turkey or chicken, and even the heat level, seeds in or out of the jalapeno.
1 Pound 80/20 Ground Chuck
1 Jalapeno, Seeded and Minced
1 Tablespoon Onion, Minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Salt
Cheese
Hamburger Buns
1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, making sure to work until incorporated but not overworking the meat.
2. Portion the meat into 4 equal size patties, slightly bigger than the buns you plan to serve on. As the patties are formed, create a well in the middle by pushing your thumb down. By doing this, the burgers will retain their shape better and are less likely to bulge in the middle.
3. Grill over medium heat until desired doneness, flipping only once. A good rule of thumb is to watch for the juices to puddle in the well created in the middle and the meat to be cooked at least half the way up the side of the burger.
4. Top with your choice of cheese.
5. Serve on a toasted bun with desired toppings.

****Note: I would normally not seed the jalapeno, however, while pregnant, sometimes the spice can cause discomfort. The unseeded jalapeno provides a nice punch of spice. However, even the seeded jalapeno gives the burger wonderful flavor!****

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Banana Zucchini Bread with Raisins and Cinnamon Sugar Swirl

It is that time of year again when I am working to develop new and interesting ways to use up all of the vegetables coming from the garden. Last year, I posted "The Best Zucchini Bread" recipe; this is still a great recipe but this one is even better! Since entering my last trimester of pregnancy, I am craving cinnamon raisin bread. This recipe was created to help merge the two flavors while also adding in some nutrients from bananas, as I always seems to have 2 or 3 that get left over and become a little too ripe. This bread is so fragrant, moist, and delicious! If I had some walnuts in the freezer, I might even finely chop some and incorporate them into the swirl for even more texture. This bread is perfect for breakfast, afternoon snack, or even dessert. I hope you will give this recipe a try.
2 very ripe Bananas, mashed
1 cup Zucchini, grated
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1 Egg, beaten
1 teaspoon Vanilla
3/4 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour, plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 cup Raisins
FOR CINNAMON SUGAR SWIRL
2 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
Preheat Oven Temperature: 350 degrees
1. In a large bowl, combine bananas and zucchini.
2. Add the oil, egg, and vanilla. Stir to combine.
3. Add the sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon to the banana mixture. Stir to combine.
4. Add 1 1/2 cups flour to the mixture and stir until just combined.
5. Toss the raisins in the remaining flour. Once coated, add to the batter and stir to incorporate.
6. In a separate bowl, combine the light brown sugar and cinnamon for the swirl.
7. Pour half of the batter into a loaf pan that has been greased and floured.
8. Top with half of the swirl mixture. Starting from one end of the pan and working down the length, use a butter knife to create folds in the batter, creating the swirl of cinnamon sugar. Do not overwork! You want the swirl and batter to still be separate from each other. Trying to swirl too much will incorporate the two.
9. Top with the remaining batter and swirl mixture. Repeat the swirling technique.
10. Place in a 350 degree preheated oven. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove bread from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before turning out to cool on a wire rack.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Baked Zucchini Fries

With it now being summer, we are blessed enough to have a bounty of summer squash and zucchini coming from our garden. While traditional methods, i.e. fried squash, are delicious, sometimes you just want something new and a little healthier to do with your produce. While I have made zucchini bread, cakes, and even fritters, today, I decided to expand on my baked squash recipe and create a crispy zucchini fry to go with our summertime grilled burgers.
Admittedly, when I first made the recipe, I was a little worried. I wasn't worried so much about the deliciousness of the meal, as I am a vegetable lover, but I was worried about how the change would be received by my husband. While he is good about serving as my taste tester, he likes his squash prepared the traditional Southern way.....fried! However, even he was surprised at the crisp texture, perfectly tender interior, and savory seasoned flavor. We will be making this again!

2 Zucchini
1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
2 Eggs
1 Tablespoon Water
1 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

Yield; 4 Servings
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Slice the ends off of each zucchini. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. To make the fries, slice halves into 1/4-inch strips.
3. Place the flour in a resealable plastic bag. Place the zucchini slices in the flour bag. Shake to thoroughly coat.
4. Prepare the dredging stations. In a shallow dish, whisk together the egg and water. In a separate shallow dish, combine the Panko and seasonings, stirring well. Place a rack on top of a baking sheet to allow a place for the coated strips to rest.
5. Remove one strip at a time from the flour, shaking off the excess. Coat in the egg mixture and then press into the seasoned Panko. Place on the baking rack. Repeat the process until all of the strips are coated.
6. Make sure that there is room between each zucchini strip on the rack. If your baking rack seems to be too crowded, prepare two pans for baking. Too much room is much better than not enough! The room between the zucchini fries will allow them to become crispy and brown on each side while baking, just as the rack allows the bottom to crisp and not become soggy.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until deeply golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes before removing from the rack.