Eat good food and share!

Posts tagged ‘Onion’

Comfort food

Recently I had an irresistible urge for comfort food. However, I didn’t feel like putting much effort into said food, either. So… I decided this would be an ideal time to check out the free items that the people at Mrs. Cubbison’s recently sent me for review.

The meat loaf was super-easy. I purchased approx. 2 1/2 lb. hamburger and mixed it with the meat loaf mix. All you have to do is mix some water into the meat loaf mix, but I was pretty sure I could handle that.

Next, mix ground meat with the wet meat loaf mix… put it into a baking pan and bake! As simple as that! They called for the meat loaf to be baked for one hour, but I usually bake my meat loaf a little longer than most recipes call for. I like the crispy crunchy end pieces! Also, I put (gasp) ketchup on top of the meat loaf before baking. I like it, and it’s not a sin… so… do it!

With meat loaf safely inside the warm oven, I decided to go all-out and make some “instant” stuffing, too. Again, the idea germinated because the box of Mrs. Cubbison’s was sitting on the counter screaming at me to make it. Holy cow. One of the recipes to make the “instant” stuffing called for more butter than anybody should eat in a week! So. Of course I used that version! I did have to chop up onions and celery for the stuffing but hey… the promise of stuffing made with a bucket of butter is a great motivator to chop and dice!

Ingredients –
2 – 6 oz. bags Mrs. C’s Seasoned Dressing
1 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 c. broth or water

Combine dressing with butter and vegetables (if desired, you may saute vegetables in butter until transparent prior to combining with the dressing). Stir liquid in gradually, blend lightly and spoon into a 3 qt. greased casserole dish. Bake covered 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove cover and bake 5 to 10 minutes longer for a crisp top.

That’s it! Eat your warm comfort food and try not to think about all that butter. I dare you.

Steak Fajitas

Last week I received for review two grass-fed flank steaks from Hearst Ranch, located in San Simeon California. I will admit, I like a good steak occasionally but I had never cooked flank steak. After a little research I decided to marinate the steaks and make fajitas. I also researched why exactly “grass fed” is a benefit. There are health, taste, animal welfare and environmental benefits. I encourage you to go take a look at Hearst Ranch’s website. They give details on all of the above-mentioned benefits.

I would like to preface this post by saying, everything went perfectly except the fact that when I had those steaks sizzling, I realized that I had a dead camera battery. So, my daughter Niki took pictures with her phone. They’re not bad at all, but not the quality I would have hoped for! I just hope the food looks half as good as it tasted!

Ingredients –

1 bottle of beer (I used Moose Drool, a brown ale)
1 1/2 tsp. chile powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs. dried shallots
1 tsp. oregano leaves
dash of salt
1 – 1 1/2 lb. flank steak
1 large yellow onion
2 green bell peppers, 1 red bell pepper
6 to 8 flour tortillas

Condiments –

guacamole
shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream
salsa

Take the first 6 ingredients, mix well and place in a plastic Ziploc bag. Add the steak, refrigerate overnight.
The next day, chop bell peppers and onions into slices. Add a lug of olive oil, and sautee until they are both translucent and slightly browned.

Some people wrap tortillas in foil and heat them up in a slow oven, 275 degrees, but we put them in the microwave for about 15 – 20 seconds and that worked well.

You can grill your marinated steaks, or do as I did and put them directly under the broiler in your oven. Steaks should be turned at 5 or 6 minutes. You’ll want them to be somewhat rare in the middle, so that there are more well-done pieces at the ends of the steak and rarer pieces in the middle. Slice the flank steak against the grain.

To assemble, take a warm tortilla, add some steak, onions and bell peppers. Sprinkle some cheese and add a spoon of guacamole and sour cream and top with salsa.

As soon as we started eating there was an exclamation, “This is GOOD steak!” And indeed it was. One of the reasons I marinated was because I read that flank steak could possibly be tough. With the excellent beef from Hearst Ranch, the marinade and broiling at high heat for a short period of time, these steaks were buttery and practically melted in our  mouths! I have to admit, I was somewhat skeptical about cooking flank steak, but my first experience was a memorable one! I’ll be purchasing beef from Hearst in the future, especially when I need a top-quality cut! Thank you Hearst Ranch, for giving me the opportunity to share your steak with my family, and with my readers! Fajitas

2010 Great Iowa Chili Cookoff!

First of all, congratulations to Melinda Strable of Ankeny, winner of the 2010 Great Iowa Chili Cookoff sponsored by Bolton & Hay restaurant suppliers , Tone’s Spices, Clear Channel Communications (including 100.3 The Bus, 1040 WHO radio, and 1460 KXnO) and Pepsi. The judges said they had a very hard time picking one chili from them all, as they were all different. But Melinda’s chili reigned supreme.

And yes, I… Chef Herman (Stephanie) participated in this chili cook off! When I found out I had been chosen, and that I had less than two days to prepare, I was a little nervous but it turned out to be a very fun experience!

The six finalists started arriving on Thursday, Sept. 9 before 11:00 a.m. Chili cooks participating were Robert Irlbeck, Melinda Strable, Michelle Koeff, Nancy Van Wyk, myself, and Anita Van Gundy.

Totes full of ingredients and cooking utensils were carried in and we were greeted with beautiful stockpots that Bolton & Hay supplied, for us to keep! (And I thank them for that generous gift… I really needed a bigger chili pot!)

The staff at Bolton & Hay, and all the other sponsors’ staff members were so welcoming and professional… that really helped put all the contestants at ease and made it a fun experience. Contestants started socializing, and we soon realized that we were all regular Iowa people who share a passion for cooking. Before we knew it, we were given the okay to begin. A flurry of chopping and preparation followed, and the Bolton & Hay came alive with heavenly smells… meats browning, freshly chopped vegetables, and traditional chili spices provided to each contestant by Tone’s.

Soon we heard someone said, “Lids on!” and it was simmer time. We had down-time of about 3 hours. That time went relatively quickly, with contestants talking with each other, sharing tips, exchanging email addresses and of course, checking on our chili and tweaking the seasonings.

Finally it was judging time. The judges talked and deliberated and after a difficult decision, chose Melinda’s chili as winner! We all went away feeling like winners, though. Bolton & Hay gave us yet another gift… one of their famous jelly roll pans and a 90th anniversary potholder. We had our stockpots, the chili spices gift bag from Tone’s and a $20 gift certificate for beef from the Iowa Beef Council. And still I feel like I’m forgetting something! Maybe just another huge thank-you to all the sponsors who made this such a memorable event for me!

So with all that lead-in, here is my chili recipe, declared by the judges to possess complex flavors, and medium heat and great taste.

2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. beef chorizo
2 green peppers, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves finely minced garlic
1-28 oz. can diced tomatoes
2-28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1-2 cups V8 juice
2-15 oz. cans red beans, rinsed
1-15 oz. can pinto beans

3-4 T chili powder
1-2 T. dutch cocoa
1 tsp. Hungarian paprika
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1 T honey
dash of Sriracha hot chili sauce
drizzle olive oil

Brown ground beef and chorizo, add 1 T. chili powder. Take browned meat out of the pan, set aside. Saute onions, green pepper and celery with drizzle of olive oil (in the same pan). Add the beef, tomatoes, tomato juice, salt, pepper, spices and honey. Cook for minimum two hours on low heat, stirring often. Rinse beans, add during last 15 minutes of cooking.

Chili

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