Broccoli Beef

People tend to think my kids are picky. I think they just like momma’s cooking (and carbs). Oh, and they go through phases. Well, Good news. They LOVED this.

Broccoli Beef

  • 2 thick NY steaks, sliced against the grain
  • 2 heads of broccoli, broken down
  • Sesame seeds
  • Veggie oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 6 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp corn starch
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • Pepper to taste
  • Sesame seeds for garnish

Make sure you start your rice because this is going to be quick.

Heat pan on medium high and add a tablespoon or so of oil. Cook broccoli until bright green. Set aside.

Increase heat on pan to high heat. Add a tablespoon or so of oil. Brown the beef. Note: dont overcook and Don’t over crowd the pan. This was about 3 batches for the pan I have. I just added each batch to the broccoli bowl that was set aside. I cooked the beef until medium rare.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.

Add the broccoli and beef back to the pan with the sauce and cook for about 3 mins or until the sauce thickens a bit. It should just stick to the back of a spoon.

Test for pepper. Add some sesame seeds. Serve over rice with some siracha for added deliciousness. Enjoy!

Blue Bayou Gumbo – Attempt #1

We had the best time at Disneyland. Now that I’m home, I’m missing the food so bad. We were lucky enough to get reservations at The Blue Bayou one day and enjoyed the gumbo and 2 glasses of Pinot Noir. So, why not try to recreate it – missing the boats rolling by.

Funny side note, I thought this was too blonde since it was so dark eating in Pirates. But this was almost as good.

PS I made a second attempt at making this recipe but had to double it for family pre-thanksgiving. It came out great doubling the recipe. I just needed more chicken broth in the end to thin it out a bit. I used 2 whole box containers.

Gumbo

Serves 4

  • 1 smoked andouille sausage, sliced
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped (I used purple)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen cut okra
  • 1 tsp Gumbo File (can omit if you don’t find it)

First make the roux. Take your time. This is where the love gets added. Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium low heat. Sprinkle in flour and whisk. It’ll look like a paste and then start to look like a thick pale sauce. Increase the heat to medium and constantly whisk until in begins to look the color of peanut butter. Then it should start to turn toward the color of hot cocoa (note, I got too impatient to wait and ended when it looked like caramel). This should take approx 30 – 45 mins if you’re cooking on med low. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Wash the pot.

Reheat the pot over medium heat. Add 1 TBPS olive oil and add sausage. Cook for 3 mins. Add celery, onions, bell pepper, garlic and cook for another 5 mins.

Add onion powder, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, and bay leaf. Add chicken, tomato and 1 1/2 cup chicken broth. Cover and simmer for 10 mins.

Slowly mix 1 1/4 cup of chicken broth into the roux. Add the roux, okra, gumbo file and chili powder. Cook for 5 mins until the okra is hot.

Taste for salt and pepper.

Serve over rice. Enjoy!!!

Trader Joe’s Thai Yellow Curry

I recently discovered Trader Joe’s bottled Thai yellow curry sauce. It’s really good and comforting. It’s definitely not YaYa’s curry. It tastes a bit more like Japanese curry. But it’s damn good.

I made it traditional style with chicken and potatoes (I didn’t have bamboo shoots). Basically, I put 1 and a half chicken breast, cubed and 4 medium red potatoes cut into 1/4s in a pot with the sauce and cooked it until the potatoes were soft. Next time, I might wait until the last 15 mins to put in the chicken so it remains tender.

And while I was prepping it, I had too much chicken (that other half). So I popped the cubed, raw chicken pieces in with 3 TBSP of the sauce in a Tupperware and left it in the fridge.

I just pulled it out, skewered it and threw it in a 350 degree oven for 20 mins. What? Satay anyone? I should’ve left more sauce on when I baked it. But it’s so good too.

Get yourself to a TJs and buy this sauce, Trader Joe’s Thai yellow curry. And pick yourself up some orange chicken too.

Filet Mignon on the Pan

TJ’s has filets for around $25 for 2. What a steal! I made two last night and typically we bbq but it was already late and well, coals take time. So, I tried it in a pan. Since I don’t have a cast iron in the tiny house (gasp!), I used the stainless steel. They came out soooo good. Munchkins loved it.

  • 2 4-6oz filet mignons
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • any high heat oil
  • 2 TBSP Ghee
  • 1 whole clove garlic
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary

Set meat out at room temp 20-30 mins to take the chill off them.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Generously season all sides with salt and pepper.

Heat oven-safe pan over med-high heat for 3 mins. Add oil (I used avocado) and ghee.

Add filets and brown each side well so it has a nice brown crust. try not to move it once you’ve set it in the pan until it’s time to turn. They’ll be sticky until they form the crust and you don’t want to tear it apart. Cook each side for 1-3 minutes until you have that crust.

On the last turn, add the rosemary and garlic. Then tip the pan while filets are cooking and spoon flavored oil over the filets for that last 1-3 mins. Caution: it’s a splattering mess. I was wiping down everything on the stove the entire time. And at the end, the top of my hand got a good moisturizing bath.

Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 5-7 mins depending on how you like your filets.

Remove pan from oven. Set filets on serving plate and let them rest for 10 mins before cutting.

Enjoy!

Chicken Adobo

Pure comfort in a bowl. Paired with Mom’s pancit and it’s the holidays in February! I made this on a Sunday and it fed us a couple more times for lunch and dinner. And, I’m already craving it again!

Chicken Adobo

  • 6 full chicken legs, skin removed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, halved and sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water (if needed)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 TBSP whole peppercorns
  • 2TBSP canola oil

Heat oil in pot over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook for 5 mins or just until fragrant and slightly tender.

Add chicken legs, soy sauce, bay leaves and peppercorns. Legs should be at least halfway submerged under the sauce. You can add a little water if needed or more of the soy sauce and vinegar if you need more than a little bit of sauce.

Bring to boil. Then, reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until chicken is falling off the bone (being sure to flip the legs every 20 mins).

Pull legs out of sauce once tender and shred with a fork. Put chicken back in sauce and serve with rice. (Legs don’t have to be shredded but it allows the sauce to get all up in the chicken.)

Enjoy!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Have you watched The Chef Show with Jon Favreau and Roy Choi? They’re adorable- kinda like an old married couple talking about experiences and eating amazing comforting food.

Well, I finally made the spaghetti and meatballs from the “Roy’s Italian Cuisine” episode and it’s soooooooo good. This will be a go to for a very long time.

This is one of those recipes you need to prep for. So, go roast a head of garlic and pick up the ingredients (including ordering some fennel pollen – really, you need this in your spice collection)

Roy Choi’s (Adapted) Spaghetti and Meatballs

Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground meat (70/30 if you can get it)
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, finely minced
  • 1/2 garlic head, roasted
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped then blended in the blender with 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp fennel pollen
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 TBSP olive oil

Sauce

  • 1 large can san marzano whole tomatoes
  • Shiitake mushrooms (two handfuls)
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • A head of garlic, cloves deskinned
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 375.

Put 1/4 cup of sauce oil into a small sauce pan. Set on medium low heat and add the garlic cloves from the sauce ingredients. Let that simmer on low until the garlic cloves get soft and golden brown. Takes about 15-20 mins.

Put the water and shiitake mushrooms in a small pot. Let simmer on low for 20 mins.

Mix everything from the meatball ingredient list together except 1 T of the olive oil in a bowl.

Pan fry a bit of the meatball mixture until cooked so you can taste for salt. Adjust seasoning if needed in the meatballs.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or douse the sheet with some oil.

Roll the meatballs into 2”-2.5” diameter balls. And place on sheet.

Drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Bake for 20-22 mins. They should be medium rare.

While meatballs are cooking, add the garlic that’s been simmering in the oil (not the oil) to a medium pot. Add 1 cup of the mushroom broth and the tomatoes. Simmer on low for 40 mins or until slightly reduced.

Blend the sauce in the pot and taste for salt.

Take meatballs out and add some to the sauce for added deliciousness.

Cook a pot of spaghetti. Serve with sauce and meatballs. Top with Parmesan and enjoy!

Green Goddess Salmon with Crispy Potatoes

I’m holding on to the last glimmers of summer with this fresh dinner option. When a meal is loved by all the family members we say, “definitely put this on the menu” for our make-believe family restaurant that we’ll never open. This meal got that stamp of approval.

The perfect last bite with crispy skin

Green Goddess Salmon with Crispy Potatoes

  • 2 lbs salmon cut in 2 pieces
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 lemon, zested and then thinly sliced
  • 3 TBSP plain yogurt
  • 2 TBSP mayonnaise
  • 3 TBSP capers
  • 4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, sliced thin
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Blend basil, garlic, anchovies, lemon zest, yogurt, and mayo until thick and uniformly green. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a bowl and set back in the fridge.

Heat a medium pan on medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Salt salmon fillets on both sides. Layer top of salmon with thinly sliced lemons. Add to pan salmon, skin side up, lemon side down. Cook for 5 – 7 mins depending on thickness. Flip to skin side down and cook until salmon begins to flake when pushed on. Remove skin (it should come off easily). Cook the grey side of the salmon. Set aside. Add back in the skin and cook on both sides for an additional 3 mins each. Set salmon skin on paper towel to drain.

While salmon is cooking, heat another pan on medium with olive oil and add potatoes and salt. Potatoes should sizzle gently. Cover. Cook until crispy on the edges and tender inside (approx 15 mins). 1 minute before serving, add capers so they get a little crispy too and season with pepper.

Serve a slice of salmon with skin on top, dressing on the side with potatoes and any other veggies.

Enjoy!!

Tomatillo Chili

I inadvertently signed up for 2 CSAs this season (probs because I knew getting to the farmers market was going to be difficult this year). I love these farms (Fifth Crow Farm and Sweet Farm) and man, do I miss the farmers market. But the CSAs are bring bunches of creativity out of me including this recipe. Seeing tomatillos and strange squash required some exploration. This tomatillo chili is the delicious outcome.

That’s one of the squash quartered. No idea what variety but it tastes and cooks like a zucchini.

Tomatillo Chili

  • 7 tomatillos, shell off and cleaned
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed
  • 1 can of cannelloni beans, rinsed
  • 1 can of corn, drained (or 2 cobs of cooked corn)
  • 2 jalepenos
  • 1 cup squash of choice (can be zucchini or yellow squash), chopped in 2” chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium white onion, diced
  • 1 TBSP oregano
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 6 stems of kale, chopped
  • 3 sliced cooked bacon, sliced
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper
  • Lime

Broil tomatillos, onion, jalapeños, garlic and squash until just starting to blacken and blister (approx 7 mins). Watch that the garlic doesn’t go too long.

In a large pot, heat olive oil and add spices, beans and corn. Once fragrant, add the broth, kale and broiled squash. Bring to a boil then simmer for 5 mins.

Blend, tomatillos, onion, jalapeños and garlic. Add to chili.

Cook until kale is softened (approx 20 mins).

Season with generous amount of salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with wedges of lime, crispy bacon toppings and a cook drink of choice.

Enjoy!

Lentils = Protein

It’s hard to get my mostly-fresh-fruit-and-veggie-eating littles to consume protein too. They love eggs and red meat and salmon – sometimes chicken, if it’s fried. But that will cover like 6 of the 4000 meals that need to be made … in a day. (Doesn’t it feel like the meal prep and dishes are just one continuous stream throughout the day right now? Pepper in some laundry and then it’s already time to go to bed.)

Anyway, they love this lentil (kinda) soup recipe. I say kinda because there isn’t a bunch of broth. If you like yours more broth, just add a 1/2 more around 20 min mark in the cooking process. And the kids don’t know about the anchovies!

Lentil (kinda) Soup

  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup black lentils (or any other that you have), rinsed
  • 1/2 large onion, diced super small so kids don’t notice
  • 2 carrots, diced super small because of picky children
  • 4 anchovies in oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (I’ve started buying the kind in the jar because holy crap this is a lot of cooking we’re doing these days)
  • Cumin to your liking (I used 1/2 tsp)
  • Good amount of salt to your liking
  • Olive oil
  • Pickled jalapeños for the grown ups as a topper

Kid approved.

Start a medium pot with a good amount of olive oil (2-3 TBSP? Sure). Heat on medium/low. Add onions, carrots, garlic and anchovies. Melt down the anchovies so you don’t see them as whole pieces anymore. They should just add color to the veggies. After they cook for a few mins, add a dash of salt and cumin. cook for another 5 mins being sure to not burn.

Add the rinsed lentils and broth. Bring to boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer with the cover on until the lentils are tender. Salt to taste.

Lots of toppings go great with this from fried eggs to pickled jalapeños to avocados and sour cream to all of the above.

Enjoy!

Meatball Soup

The LO loved this and so did my hubby. My elder daughter was not a fan but it’s not abnormal for her to dislike new foods these days. It was so easy and makes the best leftovers for lunch or dinner.

That garlic chili oil from the other day continues to make everything better.

Meatball Soup

(inspired by Bonappetit recipe)

Meatballs

  • 1/2 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. ground beef

Soup

  • 1 Tbsp. (or more) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 head of cabbage, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 4 stalks kale and/or chard, removed from veins and sliced
  • Handful sugar snap peas, thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • 1/2 cup shelled fresh (or frozen) English peas
  • Lemon wedges

Make meatballs:

  • Mix yogurt, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper in a large bowl just to combine. Add beef and mix with your hands (or a wooden spoon) until well blended but take care not to overmix, or meatballs could be dense.
  • Using your hands, lightly pack meatball mixture into tangerine-size balls (about 1½” in diameter) and place them on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high. Working in batches and adding more oil if needed, add meatballs to pot, making sure to leave enough space between them so you can move them freely, and cook, turning occasionally to help them keep their shape, until evenly browned on all sides, 5–8 minutes. The trick is to make sure the meatballs don’t fall apart. Let them get sufficiently browned on each side before trying to move them. Once cooked, set aside in a bowl.

Make Soup:

  • Add shallots, garlic, and cabbage and greens to pot (no need to wipe out). Season with salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes
  • Add broth and vinegar to pot and bring liquid to a simmer. Cook until cabbage is just tender. Return meatballs to pot along with any juices that have accumulated and simmer long enough to let flavors meld, 6–8 minutes.
  • Just before serving, add sugar snap peas and English peas to broth and cook until no longer raw, just a minute or two (you want them to retain a little bit of bite).
  • Serve with garlic chili oil and lemon wedges.
  • Enjoy!!