Steamed Cabbage with Bacon

To go with the Oxtails I made tonight I decided to make another favorite of my Grama Glo’s, steamed cabbage. Mmmm mmmm mmm!

 

Steamed Cabbage

1 large head of green Cabbage
1 pack of Bacon
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup of water

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This is probably the easiest thing you’ll ever make. Ever.
Shout-out to Jessica’s alien fingers making an appearance in todays dinner 🙂

Quarter and largely chop cabbage and set aside. Using kitchen scissors, cut up the bacon into small pieces, this is the easiest way. Brown the bacon and set aside on a paper towel to drain the grease. You won’t want to use ALL of the bacon fat from a whole pack of bacon, so dump about half of the oil out, keeping the other half in the pan.

Add all of the cabbage and heat on medium until sizzling. Add 1/2 cup of water, salt and pepper to taste, and cover. Stir every so often but try to keep it covered so it steams down. Cook for about 20-30min. Put in a serving dish and top with cooked bacon!

 

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Southern Style Oxtails and Gravy

Growing up, my God Mothers mother, Gloria “Glo”, lived across the street from me. She is a feisty old lady, and insisted I went to church with her every sunday. I grew up with them … a wonderful, loving, soulful, caring family. They were always there for me when I needed to get away, or when I felt like my family wasn’t my own.

I learned a lot of really good southern recipes from Glo, and my God Mother. Just one of those dishes was Oxtails with gravy, mmmmm!! I don’t know many people that have ever made Oxtails before, and most people I know dont know what they are. Oxtails are just that, the tail of a cattle. Beef. Meaty and tender when cooked properly, buttery and rich, with a lot of flavor. They’re actually pretty healthy once you trim down the fat.

Oxtails

3lb Oxtails – fat cut off
1 onion cut in quarters
8 garlic cloves
4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon seasoning salt
4 tablespoons white vinegar
2 table spoons of all purpose flour
1 8oz can of crushed tomatoes

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After rinsing the meat off with cool water, trim excess fat off. Add oxtails to a cold bath of water mixed with the 4 tablespoons of vinegar, rinse them very well.

Add just enough oil to cover the bottom of your pot and heat until glassy. Season oxtails with seasoning salt, pepper, and a little garlic and onion powder. Add them to the pot and brown on all sides. You won’t be able to get them all done in one batch, so take them out and set aside as they’re finished. When all of the meat has been seared set it aside. Add a little of the broth to your pot and scrape the flavor from the bottom, add the rest of the broth and bring to a boil. Add one tablespoon of flour and whisk continuously until all lumps are gone, repeat with second tablespoon.

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Add whole garlic cloves, quartered onion, and tomatoes, then add the oxtails back to the pot. They wont be fully covered in liquid, but they’ll create some of their own while cooking. Place a lid on the pot, and put in a 350° oven for 2 1/2-3 hours.

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I serve mine with rice on the side, and steamed cabbage, which will be my next post.

Thanks Grama Glo for the delicious recipe, and for always being there for me when I needed you most 🙂

 

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Roasted Rack of Lamb

I am a huge meat lover, like I’ve said before. Lamb is something wonderful that not a lot of people make very often. It can be pretty spendy, and Im sure a little intimidating to cook. I promise it doesn’t have to be either!

Keep your eyes peeled when you’re at the store, you can find a rack on sale every now and then. Sometimes they’ll be a couple days old and the store wants to get rid of them before they go bad, which is a great thing for people who don’t mind deciding to make a meal on a whim. I usually like to plan my meals for the week, but don’t mind switching things around if I find a great deal or something that catches my tastebuds 🙂

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Roasted Rack of Lamb

1 Rack of lamb
2 garlic cloves minced
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon EVOO

Preheat your oven to 425°. Add the rest of the oil to your cast iron skillet, or whatever oven safe skillet you have, and heat until oil is glassy. Meanwhile, coat your lamb with a little of the oil, and rub the herbs and salt/pepper into the meat.

Sear (brown) meat on all sides, and then remove from heat. Press minced garlic onto the lamb so that it sticks. Cover the ends of the rack with foil so the bones don’t burn and put your whole skillet in the oven, uncovered with the meat side up, for a short 17min. This will cook a perfect medium lamb, you can cook a little longer for more well-done meat.

Serve with rice and veggies, potatoes, pasta… the possibilities are endless! Enjoy!

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Holiday Baking! Thumbprint Butter Cookies and Banana Walnut Bread

I adore Christmas… I mean, really. It is, after Thanksgiving, my most very favorite holiday. I am definitely a fan of giving way too many gifts, over spending, and indulging the people I love. Sue me 🙂 There is noting more cozy, to me, than having a beautifully decorated christmas tree, a fire in the fireplace and a hot cup of tea. ♥

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Every year, I like to send treats out to my family back in Oregon and KC. They wouldnt normally make these for themselves, so its a nice treat for them. They’re ridiculously easy recipes and they taste wonderful.

 

Thumbprint Butter Cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
Jam of your choice

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In a medium size bowl, cream (mix) the butter and sugar together until fluffy with a hand mixer. Add the vanilla and salt and mix until incorporated. Add the flour and mix at low speed until incorporated. Don’t worry, at first it’ll look like a crumbly mess, but keep mixing until it starts to form a ball.

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I don’t like rolling cookie dough out with flour, and this dough tends to be really sticky, so I spray my hands lightly with cooking spray first. Roll the dough into small golf ball sized balls and arrange them 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Using your thumb, press the top of each cookie to make a shallow well. Roll your thumb back and forth slightly to widen the well. Using a small spoon, fill the wells with whatever jam you like. Bake until very lightly browned around the edges – about 15-20min in a 325° oven.

 

Banana Walnut Bread

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

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Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla and mix thoroughly with a hand mixer. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk gradually to the mix, alternating between the two. Make sure to scrape your sides and mix this well. Add the walnuts, or leave them out if you prefer your bread without nuts, and pour into a greased bread pan. Personally, I use a baking pan that has 4 small loaves in it. Perfect size for a treat basket! Bake at 325° for 1 hour, or until a knife comes out clean from the middle, and the edges are brown.

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Veggie Rotini with a Spicy Italian Sausage Bolognese

The hubs was coming home really late last night and requested one of his favorite dishes of mine, spaghetti. I am not much into red sauce, I usually prefer béchamel (Alfred/white sauce) or white wine sauces. But sometimes, I really do like a hearty meat sauce. I prefer shorter noodles also; bow tie, rotini, elbow, egg…

I stopped by the store and picked up some spicy italian sausage. You can get it in or out of the casing, it really doesn’t matter, other than the fact that you’ll want to take it out of the casing before cooking it. If you’re up for dealing with that, you can. If you don’t like spicy, you can use whatever kind of ground meat you like. I prefer spicy sausage because it adds so much more flavor to the sauce as it cooks for hours and hours 🙂

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1 Box of Veggie Rotini Pasta (the curly kind)

Sausage Bolognese

2lb Spicy Italian Sausage (or whatever meat you want)
1-2 bottle(s) store bought spaghetti sauce
5 cloves garlic minced
1 large onion diced
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 pinch dried thyme
Salt & Pepper to taste
3 tablespoons tomato paste

In a deep sauce pan heat about 2 tablespoons of oil on med-hi until it becomes glassy. Add diced onion to the pan and stir until all of the onion is covered. Let that cook for about 2min then add garlic.

I prefer to start my onion and garlic before the meat, so the flavors have room to open up. You can start your meat first if thats what you prefer.

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After about a minute, start to add the sausage, pulling it into pieces as you add it to the pan. Raw sausage doesn’t break up as easily as ground beef/turkey/chicken do, but it will be easy to break up once it starts cooking. Add all of the meat, sprinkle with some salt and pepper, and turn the heat down to medium. Let the meat cook until its brown, about 10min – stirring every so often, making sure to break up the bigger chunks of meat with your spoon. After the meat is brown, let it sit still for about 2min so you can skim the oil from the sausage off of the top.

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Add tomato paste, dried spices, and mix until meat is coated well. Add one jar of store bought spaghetti sauce, whatever kind you like, and mix well. Turn the heat down to a low simmer, cover, and let cook for about 3 hours. The reason I suggest buying more than one jar of sauce is, the longer you cook this the less moisture there will be. So if the sauce gets to be more like a ragout than you want, add more spaghetti sauce. Or, you could even use a can of crushed tomatoes.

After this is all cooked down, I make the pasta and usually some garlic bread. Slather the inside of a french baguette with butter and a garlic/herb blend, pop that sucker into the oven (lower middle rack) under a high broiler for 5min and you’re set!

One box of that veggie pasta serves about 4 people, and you will definitely have leftovers from the sauce. Freeze it if you don’t plan on eating it within the next week or so.

 

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Remember, cool all leftovers to room temp before freezing or refrigerating. Dont want to grow any bacteria!

The Perfect Peanut Butter Sandwich

Every morning, I get up a little earlier than I need to and I make my step-daughter a PB&J to take to school with her. I know how much cafeteria lunches suck in HS, and I also know how overpriced the good food they sell is. Seeing as though they don’t offer off-campus lunch where she goes, and I don’t want her starving every time I pick her up, I took it upon myself to make sure she had something she liked for lunch everyday. Could she make her own sandwich if she reaaaaalllllyyyyy wanted to? Sure she could.. She is a very responsible and independent teenager, and does very well on her own. But I like doing it 🙂

Ever since I can remember, I’ve hated PB&J. My twin brother, on the other hand, loves it. I prefer PB&B (bananas), or PB&N (nutella).
When we were 7 yrs old, we were adopted by our aunt and uncle which forced a relocation to the State of Washington – in the middle of nowhere – to their Bed and Breakfast. Our new parents didn’t know much about us, and one day tried to feed me peanut butter and jelly. Boyyyyy, did they hit a nerve. I refused to eat said sandwich, and was sent to my room. I ended up being so upset about it that I tried to run away. LMAO! I didn’t even bring anything with me, and only got about a mile down our dirt road/driveway before I just sat down and cried.. All I wanted was a tuna sandwich, or anything other than PB&J!

Personally, I don’t care for any kind of jelly, jam, marmalade, none of it. Ever. On anything.

I think thats the way life is about a bunch of things. Ketchup or Ranch, Mayo or Miracle Whip, Honey Mustard or BBQ.. I’ve noticed over the years youre either into one or the other of all of those. Personally, I know I would choose Ranch dressing over Ketchup for fries, Mayo any day for my sandwich, and definitely Honey Mustard for my nuggets.

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Some people may think there is no art to making a peanut butter sandwich, of any kind. I will strongly disagree on that one. Too much peanut butter, just gross and overpowering. Too little peanut butter, the sandwich ends up uneven and sometimes dry. You want the perfect mix of ingredients!

For a Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwich, I like using a thin layer of pb on one side of the bread, and adding the jelly to the other. Since I don’t like PB&J’s, I have learned over the years that this is usually the most preferred way of enjoying this sandwich, or so say my brother and kid. I tend to make my nuntella and peanut butter sandwiches the same way. Sometimes, if Im feeling a little crazy, I add bananas or strawberries also lol!

On the other hand, for a peanut butter and banana sandwich, I add peanut butter to both sides of the bread. Since you are getting more banana to peanut butter, in each bite, you have to even that out. I prefer less ripe bananas, they’re meatier and more sweet; which is a nice contrast with the salty peanut butter.

Whatever way you like your sandwich, so be it. I think we all forget to eat lunch sometimes, or we just don’t always have time to take a break from work and get something to fuel our minds… Pack yourself a sandwich! It takes 5min to make, and is easy to carry with you.

Vegetarian Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms and Truffel Oil Roasted Vegetables

I have never in my life made a vegetarian meal. I am a meat and potatoes kinda chick, raised in the midwest, and never really knew what a vegetarian was until about 6th grade when I moved to Portland, OR… Don’t get me wrong, I love veggies! They’re great, and wonderful for you, but I always have some kind of meat with my meals. So this recipe is stepping out of the box for me 🙂

I looked around at some recipes and realized it wouldn’t be hard just to make my own up. Throw whatever I wanted into the caps of a few huge Portobello mushrooms, and roast them!

There are so many names for these yummy mushrooms; “portobello”, “portabella”, and “portabello” are all used. Use whatever one you want, or whichever you know how to spell.

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Mushroom Stuffing 

4 large Portobello Mushrooms
4 cloves of garlic
2 bags of Baby Spinach
8 Cherry Tomatoes (use as many as you want really)
1/2 cup Panko Crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
2 tablespoons EVOO
Salt & Pepper to taste
4 mushroom stems (taken from your mushroom caps)
1 tablespoon italian seasoning

 

Vegetables & Potatoes

4-5 Idaho Potatoes (or 8-10 small reds)
1 small bag of baby carrots
1 packet dry Lipton Onion Soup
2 tablespoons truffle oil (or regular oil if you don’t have truffle)

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Spray cooking pan with cooking spray and set aside. Cut up potatoes into about bite size pieces. If you’re using red potatoes cut them in half or fourths, depending on the size. Toss potatoes and whole baby carrots in oil, and then in the lipton soup mix. I know a lot of you aren’t really sure how to season things to make them taste just right, in terms of saltiness etc, so this stuff is a savior. I use this soup mix for a lot of things.

Put the pan in a 425° oven for about 40-50min.

 

 

First things first, you’ll want to clean your mushrooms. Take a paper towel, or very lightly damp dish cloth and wipe the outside of the caps off, getting any leftover dirt off of them. Gently, hold the mushroom upside down in your hand, wiggle the stems off, and set them aside. Then, taking a large spoon, clean out the inside of the mushrooms. I found it best to start in the middle, where the stem used to be, and gently scoop the gills out. Set them on a sheet pan lined with foil.

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In a small sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until it shines and moves easily around the pan. Chop up the garlic as small as you can, then cut up the stems you took out earlier and all it all to the pan with oil. Brown the garlic and mushrooms for about 3min, and then turn down the heat to low. Empty spinach into the pan and let it wilt, stirring all of the ingredients together. I add one bag at a time, so I don’t have my pan overflowing with spinach. It only takes a couple of minutes for it all to wilt down.

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After you get it all wilted down and mixed together, spoon it into the mushrooms. They shouldn’t be overflowing, but just fill to about the rim of the inside, leaving room for the topping. Cut cherry tomatoes in half and add four halves to each.

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In a small bowl mix together panko and parmesan with the italian seasoning and then add it to the top of each mushroom. Bake in the same oven with potatoes for 20min, or until cheese is melted and panko is browned.

 

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I must say, for someone that isn’t a vegetarian, this dish is delicious. So filling and “meaty” because of the mushrooms. And the flavor is awesome, in both dishes. Definitely something I will make again. The kid loved it, and the hubs came home early so he got some too! It was a hit all the way around. 🙂 You could definitely make this a vegan recipe by using vegan cheese, or no cheese at all.

Crockpot Korean Beef Shortribs

Another perfect meal in the crockpot!

How could anyone not love using a crockpot for things like ribs (when its not bbq season) and roasts? I love it, especially for days that I have so much going on and wont have time to make something really yummy later on.

I have always been obsessed with all kinds of asian foods, and my hubs is Filipino, so I decided to try and find some recipes I could make at home to get the same yummy stuff, without having to always go out to eat. I found this recipe for Korean Beef Tacos from a really cool blogger named Tina, and I fell in love. Not only did she post the recipe on my birthday last year, but it turned out AMAZING!! I mean, so amazing – and SO simple.

I have made this a couple of times, and have since changed the recipe to fit my family. I don’t make tacos, or the cucumber slaw.

 

Korean Beef:

4-5lbs Beef Shortribs (you can use back ribs if you want to save money)
2 cups soy sauce
1 2/3 cups packed brown sugar
15 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons hot chili oil
1 teaspoon pepper

PLEASE remember not to salt this dish, as the soy sauce is more than enough salt on its own.

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When I said this dish is easy, I meant it. You don’t even have to brown the meat or anything. Just rinse it, please. And remember that little food processor I showed you in the Broccoli Cheese Soup recipe? You can either smash the garlic, take the time to chop it up, or invest in a handy dandy little chopper and chop it up that way.

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After you’ve got the garlic chopped, ingredients measured, and meat rinsed, you can spray your crockpot lightly with cooking spray and put the meat in. Combine all of the wet and dry ingredients, including garlic, and add them to the pot. If your liquid doesn’t quite cover the ribs, add little water. They will create their own liquid as they cook.

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After you get it all in the bath, let it cook on low for around 8 hours, or on high for about 5 hours. Low and slow is always the way to go, though. hehe Totally didn’t mean to do that.

Anyway.. I always make my ribs with rice and veggies. And duh, I have an awesome rice cooker that the hubs got us! It really is a miracle maker in the kitchen. It makes PERFECT rice every time, and for just the 3 of us it makes more than enough.

One “serving” is about 2/3 of a cup and feeds 3 people very well, but you can make way more than that in this little thing. You put the rice in, we use Jasmine, and the correct amount of water, and let it cook. It automatically switches to “warming” once its done.

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All in all, these ribs are amazing.. For anyone. Even picky eaters. They dont taste super tangy, or spicy, and they come out so freakin tender its crazy. You could totally do the taco thing if thats more appealing to you! I really suggest everyone tries these, they’re perfection.

 

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Lamb Shepherd’s Pie

Growing up I was pretty weird… I didn’t like most foods, I had a horrific boy short hair cut, I dressed like a weirdo – I mean I was weird. I didnt like mashed potatoes! What child doesnt like mashers? My dad always made Shepherd’s Pie, and I loved it – without the potatoes. Over the years, my tastes have definitely changed and I like a lot of things I never knew I would.

Its been pretty chilly lately here in Southern California, so what better to make than something hearty and hot? Mmm, Shepherd’s Pie! Buttery potatoes, ground lamb, and veggies all in a thick gravy. Yum!

Mashed Potatoes

  • 1lb Russet Potatoes
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 4 tbsp Butter or margarine
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Peel, rinse, and cut into quarters. Place in a pot with cold water, bring to a heavy boil until tender – round 15min. When they’re done, drain, and add back to pot. Mash the potatoes a little, and then add liquid, yolk, and seasoning. Set potatoes aside.

Lamb Filling

  • 4 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 6 baby carrots (or two large), diced small
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Portabella Mushroom, diced
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp freshly chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1 tsp freshly chopped thyme leaves
  • 1 can white corn
  • 1 can sweet peas

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Heat your oil in a deep skillet and add your lamb, adding salt and pepper to the meat as you break it up. Let the meat brown, not scraping the pan too much, and set meat aside when fully cooked. Add your carrots, onion, mushrooms, and fresh herbs to the same pan and let them sweat. As they get a little softer, scrape the seasoning off the bottom so they’re able to soak it all up.

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Put the lamb back in the pan and mix well, also adding the Worcestershire. Sprinkle with flour and toss to coat evenly, cooking about another minute. Stir in tomato paste and chicken broth and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 12min letting the liquids thicken, stir occasionally.

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Add the corn and peas to your pan and mix well, then spread the mixture evenly in a medium baking dish. Personally, I used two round pie pans, because I didn’t want to take up too much space in my refrigerator with a big pan of leftovers. You can use whatever size or shape pan you want since all of the ingredients are fully cooked before you bake it.

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After the pan is filled, spoon the mashers on top with a plastic spatula. Start at the edges of the pan, making somewhat of a seal so the gravy doesn’t boil over while you’re baking it. Cover completely with potatoes, add dish to a cookie sheet, and put in a 400° oven for 20min and then take them out and let them rest for 10min.

I decided, last minute, to top the pies off with a little cheese. So, instead of taking the pies out after 30min, I turned the oven off and left them in there so the cheese could melt.

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Such an easy and delicious dish. I really enjoyed making this, nothing stressful or overwhelming about it at all. I would really suggest this to anyone with kids that needs to add a little more veggies to their lives. You can make it with any ground meat, I suppose.