Posts Tagged ‘beef’

Pioneer Woman’s Sloppy Joes

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Ah, that Pioneer Woman. Everything over there is delicious. I don’t usually consider her food to be terribly original or inventive, just a really great solid version of whatever she’s trying to make. That’s what you get with these sloppy joes. If you’ve never made sloppy joes “from scratch” and have been relying on a mix or a can, you’re definitely in for a treat. The flavors are brighter, there’s just the right amount of spice, and browning the buns with butter is a great, simple touch that really makes a difference.

(If you have made sloppy joes from scratch, there’s probably not anything earth shattering about this recipe. My family used ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar to make their sauce, and this is certainly in that family. But the onion & bell pepper adds something to the mix, as does the fresh garlic.) This recipe is extremely flexible though, so you can leave out pretty much any of the ingredients that you don’t care for.

photo courtesy of thepioneerwoman.com

Sloppy Joes a la Pioneer Woman
Serves 8; Adapted from thepioneerwoman.com

  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2-½ pounds Ground Beef
  • ½ Large White or Yellow Onion, Diced
  • ½ Large Green Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1-½ cups Ketchup
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Chili Powder (or use more or less to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
  • ½ teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (or use more or less to taste)
  • Worcestershire Sauce, To Taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste (optional)
  • Tabasco Sauce (optional; to taste)
  • Salt To Taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • Kaiser Rolls, Hamburger Buns, or other soft sandwich rolls
  • Butter

Preparation Instructions

Add two tablespoons of butter to a large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain most of the fat and discard.

Add onions, green pepper, and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until vegetables begin to get soft.

Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili pepper, dry mustard, and water. Stir to combine and simmer for 15 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. Also add tomato paste, Worcestershire, and Tabasco if desired. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

To prepare the buns:

Spread both halves of each bun with butter and brown on a griddle or skillet. Spoon meat mixture over the rolls. Serve hot.

Copycat Mongolian Beef

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Since my mom made a point of calling out this recipe in yesterday’s update, I thought I’d go ahead and get this one out of the way.

My husband David is not a big fan of Chinese food. When we met, he didn’t like it at all, but I slowly wore him down with my homemade recipes and nagging requests to go to P.F. Chang’s, and now he’s made his peace with at least some chinese food. First, he found he liked my pepper steak. He eats the cashew chicken and sweet & sour chicken that I make from scratch. An occasional stir-fry or two. Then he branched out into similar dishes from Chinese restaurants, like beef and broccoli. Once we went to P.F. Chang’s, though, he was absolutely sold on Mongolian Beef.

And why wouldn’t he be? P.F. Chang’s Mongolian Beef is a delicious, tender, yet crispy pieces of thin steak, tossed in a delicious spicy-sweet sauce. Using a couple of recipes I found online, I was able to replicate the flavors almost perfectly. Keep reading to see how.

Copycat Mongolian Beef

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • vegetable oil, for frying (about 1 cup)
  • 1 lb flank steak
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 large green onions, sliced (you can skip these if you don’t like them)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (also optional, or you can use less or more depending on how spicy you like your food)

1.      Make the sauce by heating 2 tsp of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Be careful not to let the oil get too hot. It should shimmer, but not smoke.

2.      Add ginger and garlic to the pan and quickly add the soy sauce and water before the garlic scorches.

3.      Dissolve the brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to medium and boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove it from the heat.

4.      Slice the flank steak against the grain into 1/4″ thick bite-size slices. If you tilt the blade of your knife at about a forty five degree angle to the top of the steak you’ll get wider cuts.

5.      Dip the steak pieces into the cornstarch to apply a very thin dusting to both sides of each piece of beef. And let it sit for about 10 minutes so that the cornstarch sticks.

6.      While the coated beef is resting, heat up one cup of oil in a wok. (I don’t have a wok, so I used a dutch oven. Any heavy pan that holds heat well will work, as long as you can cover the beef with oil.

7.      Just as before, heat the oil over medium heat until it’s hot, but not smoking. Add the beef to the oil and sauté for just two minutes, or until the beef just begins to darken on the edges. (You don’t need to fully cook the beef here, since it’ll go to go back on the heat later.) Stir the meat around a little so that it cooks evenly.

8.      After a couple minutes, use a large slotted spoon to take the meat out and onto paper towels, and drain the oil out of your wok or pan. Put the pan back over the heat, dump the meat back into it and cook for another minute.

9.      Add the sauce from earlier, cook for 1-2 minutes while stirring, then add the green onions and red pepper flakes, if using. Continue to cook for one more minute, then remove the beef mixture with tongs or a slotted spoon to a serving plate. There will be extra sauce, but it’s delicious as a dipping sauce for egg rolls or dumplings, or just drizzled over the beef when served with rice. You’ll definitely want to serve this over rice to soak up as much of the rich sauce as possible.

Dry-Rubbed Flank Steak Skewers with Basil Butter

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

First, I got a grill. Then, Rachael Ray dedicated a whole issue of her magazine to grilling recipes. The magazine had a great feature listing tons of grilled skewer recipes, including this one.

The dry-rub gave the steak an awesome flavor. It was slightly sweet with a smoky, spicy flavor. David grilled the skewers expertly, and we finished the steak off with a pat of basil-spiked butter. These were awesome. My mouth is watering just thinking about them.

Dry-Rubbed Flank Steak Skewers with Basil Butter
Adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray, June/July 2010

  • 3 tablespoons softened butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak, cut against the grain into 16 slices
  • 16 cherry tomatoes

In a bowl, combine 3 tablespoons softened butter and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil; season with salt and pepper; refrigerate.

Preheat a grill to medium-high.

In a large bowl, combine 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons each sweet smoked paprika, garlic powder and extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon each chili powder, dried basil and dried thyme and 2 teaspoons dry mustard. Add 1 1/2 pounds flank steak, cut against the grain into 16 slices, and 16 cherry tomatoes; season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Thread 2 pieces of steak, ribbon-style, and 2 tomatoes onto each of eight 12-inch skewers. Cover and grill, turning once, until the steak is just cooked through, about 7 minutes. Top with the basil butter.

Note: When grilling with skewers, it’s a good idea to soak the skewers in water for 15-20 minutes before loading them up with food. Wet skewers are less likely to burn over the high heat of your grill.

Garlic Thyme Burgers

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Monday night, I decided to make our first burgers on the shiny new grill. Even though I have our favorite burgers pretty much down to a science (garlic, salt, pepper, and a splash Worcester sauce–nothing fancy, but still very tasty), I wanted to try something a little different. I went with this burger, featured in this month’s Cooking Light magazine.

Picture via cookinglight.com

Garlic-Thyme Burgers
Adapted from Cooking Light June 2010

  • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  pound  ground sirloin
  • 1  tablespoon  Dijon mustard
  • 4 slices tomato
  • 4  (2-ounce) Kaiser rolls or other sandwich rolls
  • 4  baby romaine lettuce leaves

Prepare your grill. Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Divide mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Add patties to the grill; cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Spread about 3/4 teaspoon mustard over bottom half of each roll; top each with 1 lettuce leaf, 1 patty, 1 tomato slice, and top half of roll.

Note: Cooking Light suggested serving this burger with grilled tomatoes, but I couldn’t quite sell David on the idea, so we went with regular tomatoes. Still quite tasty. The first summery tomatoes I’ve found this year.

I liked the burgers, but not well enough to replace our old standby. The fresh thyme and garlic came through nicely, but didn’t overpower the burger. This would make a nice burger base for many different recipes.

It turns out, I forgot to take a picture, so all I have to offer you is the picture from Cooking Light. I’m trying to get back into the swing of this whole blogging thing. 🙂

Lasagna Burgers

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

I’ll admit that the idea of this burger came out of Everyday with Rachael Ray. I thought it was a good idea, but only skimmed the recipe. When it came time to try my hand at the lasagna burgers, I didn’t have the recipe handy, so I basically just threw it all together. Here’s what you need:

Lasagna Burgers

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup your favorite spaghetti sauce
  • 4 good-quality sandwich buns (recommended: ciabatta)
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • garlic salt
  • Italian seasoning
  • 1  cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1) In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese, bread crumbs, garlic, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, and salt and pepper. Use your finger tips to mix, then score into four sections and shape into four patties.

2) Grill as you would hamburgers (we used a grill pan on the stove), using a little bit of olive oil or nonstick spray to keep the burgers from sticking.

3) While the burgers are cooking, melt the the butter in a small glass dish in the microwave. Stir in the garlic salt and Italian seasoning. Brush onto both halves of each sandwich bun and toast in a toaster oven or under a broiler until golden and crisp.

4) While you toast the bread and cook the burgers, combine the spaghetti sauce and remaining ricotta cheese in a small sauce pan over medium-low. Cook until the cheese melts into the sauce and the mixture is warmed through.

5) When the burgers are done, it’s time to assemble! Take the bottom half of a toasted sandwich bun and spread it with 2 tablespoons of the cheesy sauce mixture. Top with a burger patty and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Finish with the other half of the garlic toasted sandwich bun.

And there you have it–a burger with all the classic flavors of a cheesy lasagna with garlic bread.

Steak Diane

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

Usually when we make steaks, it’s the Alton Brown method. (Man I’m talking about him a lot lately, sorry about that!) We don’t have a grill, though, which makes his pan-roasted steaks a great idea for apartment-dwellers like ourselves.

This time I felt like doing something a little bit different, and a recipe for Steak Diane from Cooking Light is what caught my eye. This recipe is also pan-roasted, but has you create a steak sauce out of the pan drippings. The sauce was tasty, and David really enjoyed it, but I’d be just as happy with A1. The creating your own sauce is a nice touch for entertaining, I suppose.

IMG_2322

Cooking Light’s Steak Diane

  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt, divided
  • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 6  (4-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks, trimmed (about 1 inch thick)
  • 1  teaspoon  butter
  • 1/2  cup  finely chopped shallots
  • 1/3  cup  water
  • 2  tablespoons  Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  dry sherry
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper evenly over steaks. Add steaks to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from pan; cover and keep warm.

Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Add shallots, and cook 2 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add water and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute. Stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spoon sauce over steaks, and sprinkle with parsley.

Chorizo Tacos

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

This might be the closest thing I have to a “secret family recipe” to share with you all. There are plenty of meals that I make just like I grew up with, but I don’t necessarily think that they involve secrets or tips that other people don’t already use. Chorizo is a great ingredient, and I don’t think enough people are using it.

The chorizo that I’m talking about here is the mexican kind. (There’s also Spanish chorizo out there–it’s hard, like salami or pepperoni) The mexican chorizo, on the other hand, is soft and crumbly, a spicy pork sausage that you can find at nearly every grocery store, near the bratwurst and other sausages. I like to mix it with equal parts ground beef, ground pork, or ground turkey to make tacos–it adds a whole new level of flavor. It’s more than just heat, though chorizo-based tacos are spicier. The chorizo imparts this intense mexican flavor. Once you try tacos like these, you won’t want to go back!

taco

Chorizo Tacos

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound chorizo mexican sausage
  • 1 packet taco seasoning mix
  • tomatoes, onions, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, or whatever you like on your tacos!
  • taco shells (soft shells or hard shells, whichever you like)

1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the chorizo. It will be very crumbly and will render lots of fat. That’s okay. Once the chorizo is mostly cooked, about 10 minutes or so, add the ground beef and continue cooking until browned.

2. In the meantime, prepare your taco shells and other fixings. Hard shells require several minutes in the oven, so don’t forget to preheat.

3. When the meat is cooked through, drain the mixture thoroughly. You want to get as much of the extra fat out as you can, or the tacos will be way too greasy. I don’t like to go so far as to rinse the meat, because you rinse flavor away with the extra grease, but I do use a paper towel to soak up as much as I can. Return to the skillet and follow the directions for your taco seasoning. Even though you’ll have about 2 pounds of meat at this point, you only want to use enough taco seasoning for one pound. Remember: the chorizo half of the meat brought it’s own flavor.

4. When the meat is finished cooking, you’re done. Let everyone assemble their own delicious tacos. Dig in!

Note: It’s worth saying that while the chorizo is quite a bit fattier than using just ground beef, there are some things you can do to lighten the dish, while still getting tasty tacos. 1) I’ve substituted Soyrizo successfully–barely noticed a difference. You’ve probably noticed we’re not much for vegetarian dishes around here. I wouldn’t recommend the Soyrizo if it wasn’t good. 2) The chorizo brings plenty of fat to the mix, which will let you use a lighter ground meat without risking a dry meat mixture. Feel free to use the leanest ground beef you have, or even ground turkey or ground chicken. 3) Even 1/2 pound of chorizo to a full pound of turkey or lean beef makes a difference in the flavor. Feel free to experiment to find your favorite combination.

Spaghetti Sauce

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

I’ve been crazy-busy at work lately, traveling at least a couple of days a week. That’s why the blog’s been so quiet–between the actual being on the road part, and the being exhausted when I get home part, there hasn’t been a lot of noteworthy cooking going on. There also hasn’t been a lot of grocery shopping going on. Much of what’s happened lately has been thrown together at the last minute, based on whatever’s in the cabinet.

Which led me to make my own spaghetti sauce. We had tomatoes, tomato paste, shallots, garlic—just no actual spaghetti sauce. I could’ve gone to the store, I guess. But instead, I took the “lazy” way and made the sauce from scratch. It turned out to be quite tasty!

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15 ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning mix
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup red wine

Heat the oil and saute the onion until soft. Add the garlic and cook a few minutes, stirring frequently. Add the tomatoes, sauce, sugar, Italian seasoning, red pepper and wine. Simmer 30 minutes or more over very low heat, stirring occasionally. For meat sauce, add one pound of browned ground beef or cooked Italian sausage. Serve over hot spaghetti noodles.

French Bistro Steaks with Provencal Butter

Monday, June 8th, 2009

I’ve had my eye on this recipe since I first got the Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics cookbook for Christmas. I think I even pointed it out to David while I was skimming through it around the Christmas tree at Grandma’s house.

Looking for something to make on a lazy Saturday, I flipped through Back to Basics and noticed this recipe right away. I was surprised I’d never gotten around to making it, because really, it was one of the first recipes I earmarked in this book.

When it came time, though, I ended up skipping the whole steak part. We had some good quality New York Strip steaks on hand, so I didn’t feel justified going out and buying the hanger steaks that the original recipe calls for. Plus, we don’t have a grill at our apartment (yet, anyway). So basically, I borrowed Ina Garten’s recipe for Provencal Butter to melt over the steaks, and stuck with our usual method for cooking steaks: Alton Brown’s, shown in this post.

Even so, I have to say that I was impressed. Dave and I were both unsure about the butter on steak thing. I know it’s traditional, I know it’s common, and I know people like it, but it just never sounded that great to me. I’ve been converted. This herb butter brought such great flavor to the steak. When you sliced into the meat, the butter just melted down into every piece. It was really fantastic.

I also got to use my herbes de Provence from The Spice House!

steak

Barefoot Contessa’s French Bistro Steaks with Provencal Butter
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics cookbook

For the butter:

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon capers, drained
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence

For the steaks:

  • 4 teaspoons herbes de Provence
  • kosher salt and coarsely cracked black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 hanger steaks, 8 to 10 ounces each

For the butter, put the garlic, capers, chives, thyme, zest, and pepper in the small bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and process until completely mixed. Transfer butter mixture to a piece of parchment and roll it into a log, twisting the ends (like an old-timey piece of candy). Store in the refrigerator.

Heat a gas or charcoal grill.

Drizzle the steaks with olive oil and sprinkle each one with herbes de Provence and salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to take the chill off of the meat.

When the grill is hot, grill the steaks for 4 to 5 minutes on each side (for medium rare). Place the steaks on a platter, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes. Slice the meat crosswise diagonally and serve hot with one or two pats of the prepared butter on top.

Note: I’m sure this was not the last time that I’ll make an herb butter like this. We used the leftover butter on baked potatoes, crackers, and slices of bread–it was very versatile. I can imagine 100 different flavor combinations, too!


Mara’s Grilled Cheese Burgers

Monday, May 25th, 2009

There’s been a lot of link love for Mara these days…what can I say? The thing is, ever since she hosted me as a guest for dinner, Leah and I have been talking about her recipe on that same post–Grilled Cheese Burgers. They were just as good as we thought they would be, and really, like Mara said on her site, “restaurant quality.”

It doesn’t seem like there’s anything earth-shattering here, but a little extra seasoning, and some special treatment for the bread made this burger something special!

Mara’s Grilled Cheese Burgers
Adapted from What’s For Dinner?

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded (I used Tillamook Medium Cheddar)
  • 2 Tbsp. Cholula hot sauce (but use whatever you like, and to your own tastes)
  • 1 tsp. Adobo seasoning (from The Spice House, of course!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. panko bread crumbs
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 8 slices rustic bread
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1. Combine first six ingredients in a mixing bowl, and using your hands, mix to combine. Do not overmix, or the burgers could come out tough. Divide the meat into four equal-sized patties.

2. Preheat a seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium high heat. When skillet is hot, brush the surface of the pan with extra virgin olive oil and place the burgers in the pan. Be careful not to move the burgers around in the pan, until they’re ready to flip. Also, don’t press on the burgers with the spatula–it looks cool, but really, it’s a bad habit, and just helps to make dry burgers. Continue to cook the burgers to desired doneness, flipping once.

3. While the burgers cook, brush the slices of bread on both sides with extra virgin olive oil. I used thick-cut slices of an artisan asiago cheese bread from the grocery store bakery. In a non-stick skillet or grill pan over medium heat, toast the oiled bread. It will need to be flipped once or twice to get good color–you’re looking to get it golden brown like a grilled cheese.

4. Serve the burgers on the toasted bread with slices of avocado and tomatoes. (I subbed mayo for the avocado on mine, but David liked the avocado slices).

Note: Like I said, nothing too out of the ordinary here, or so it seems, but something about the toasted bread and the way the burgers are seasoned made this an extra tasty burger. Because I used thick slices of bread, the toast was crunchy at the edges, but warm and soft in the middle, much better than any standard hamburger bun. The grilled bread made the flavors similar to a patty melt (without all those onions, of course!) but because they were cooked separately, the juices from the burger didn’t have the chance to get the bread all soggy.

In short: I really enjoyed this burger!

P.S. Speaking of burgers–get out there and enjoy one of your own. Happy Memorial Day, everyone. Aren’t three day weekends awesome?