Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Crockpot Oriental Beef

Crockpot Oriental Beef and Noodles
from the blog of Sweet Tea in Texas

1 package frozen broccoli (or stir fry veggies)
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 (12 ounce) bottle stir-fry sauce, any flavor
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 (3 ounce) packages ramen noodles, broken
1/4 cup chopped onion

Place frozen vegetables in the bottom and top with stew meat. In a medium bowl, stir together stir-fry sauce, water, and red pepper. Pour over stew meat and vegetables in cooker.

Cover and cooked on low for 6 hours

At the end of cooking time, Stir noodles into meat mixture. Cover and let stand 10 minutes more. We decided the ramen seasoning packets made the dish too salt so we eliminated that ingredient.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cheesecake Factory

So I have a small restaurant post I want to make

Cheesecake Factory has a small plates menu. I've never really looked at it and ordered off it before this past week.

The fried zuchinni are SO good, plenty for two people and it's only $4 which is cheaper than my favorite drink at Cheesecake Factory, the raspberry lemonade. The zuchinni come with CFs homemade ranch dressing which is also very good.

I think I will attempt to use the small plates menu more often

I ordered an entree of their seasonal specials menu and it was crispy chicken, with prosciutto, basil pasta, arugula, and a white sauce. It was really good and of course plenty for two meals.

I've also had their fried mozz and those are DELISH. I've ordered them at least three times. Try the small plate menu!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Semi Homemade

I feel like I'm channeling Sandra Lee. My husband is sick and not wanting much in the way of food. I decided to make something for myself that he doesn't eat. Shepherds Pie! It was getting late and we went to the grocery store at 7:30 and didn't get back until 8:30. So I bought some quick store products to make things go faster.

Shepherds Pie

About 1 lb ground beef
1 can of yellow corn, drained
I had some really small carrots to chop up
Chopped green onion, about half a bunch.
Almost a whole bag of frozen peas
1 jar of beef gravy
A scoop of minced garlic from a jar
1 package of microwave ready mashed potatoes
Shredded cheddar cheese
Bacon Bits

First I put some olive oil in my pan and browned the ground beef.
Then I drained the liquid out.
I added all my veggies into the pan and cooked them for about 5 minutes.
I sprinkled in my salt, pepper, and bacon bits.
Then I poured in the brown gravy and mixed that with the meat and veggies.
I poured the meat and veggies into a glass casserole dish
Into a plastic mixing bowl I dumped the mashed potatoes and I added handfuls of cheddar cheese.
I stirred those together well and I dropped spoonfuls of mashed potato mixture on top of my meat.
Then I smoothed out the mashed potatoes to cover up the meat.
I put the shepherds pie into a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

Monday, October 5, 2009

We had a fall party!

Yesterday we had a fall party. We made massive amounts of food and do not have leftovers! It was crazy. We had ribs, bbq kielbasa, chili, brie and pear salsa quesadillas, baked apples, sweet potatoes, jalapeno popper dip, my mom brought two cakes, an apple and a pumpkin, and my neighbors brought over food too! Finally I have a photo heavy post :)

My crockpot chili. We had cheddar, sour cream, cornbread, and tortilla chips as toppings. This was a double batch. 2.5 pounds of meat and none of it leftover

The kielbasa was sliced and browned in a skillet and I made my meatball BBQ to pour over the kielbasa bites. This was two packages worth of beef kielbasa and there was not one bite leftover

We bought 6 racks of ribs at Costco (unsauced & unseasoned). Anthony did a dry rub the night before, got up early the next day to cook them in the oven for about 2 hours, then he put them on the grill on tin foil because they were already falling apart and he sauced them at that time. THEY WERE AMAZING. My husband made his own BBQ sauce last year using extra apples from apple picking and he froze it in ziplock bags. Thats what he used yesterday on these ribs. We have maybe 4 ribs leftover.

Anthony's Ribs (adapted from Paula Dean's rub)

Prep Time: 5 min
Inactive Prep Time: 8 hr
Cook Time: 3 hr 45 min

* 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
* 1 1/4 cups sugar
* 1/2 cup salt
* 1/4 cup ground black pepper
* 1/4 cup paprika
* 2 to 4 slabs baby back ribs
*** to add some heat try 1-2 tablespoons cayenne ***


Combine all the ingredients for the dry rub in a mixing bowl. Rub the ribs with the dry rub. Lay on a doubled sheet of aluminum foil. Wrap ends over first, then fold up sides and crinkle tightly closed around rack (as little air as possible, without tearing the foil). Let marinate in refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

Without unwrapping foil cocoons, place ribs on a large baking pan lined with more aluminum foil (the juice will leak and you don't want the sugar to burn to your pan). Place in middle rack of oven. Let roast for 2 1/2 hours.

Adding the BBQ Sauce:

Preheat grill to medium heat.

Take ribs out of the oven and open the foil before placing it on the grill. The meat will be so tender, you do not want to put the ribs directly on the grill. Cook for 20 more minutes, turning and basting with sauce. Serve directly from the grill, pulling the foil to a cooler end where it will continue to get smoke, but not burn.

NOTE: For the sauce, you'll have the best results if you make your own. I made an applesauce and whiskey BBQ sauce that worked well. Basically, you just combine tomato sauce, pureed apple, vinegar, brown sugar, whiskey, onion, garlic and a whole lot of seasonings into a crock pot and simmer all day until everything breaks down. Find a general recipe online and make it your own by tasting every so often and adjusting. It is the easiest thing in the world.

This was a new recipe for my party, Jalapeno Popper Dip. I used this bloggers recipe
The Rookie Chef

1 Cup shredded cheese.  I used a mix of Monteray Jack and Colby cheese
4 ounces diced jalapeno peppers.  I used Cento brand
4 ounces diced green chilies
1 cup mayo
2 packages softened cream cheese

Blend all ingredients together and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

It was VERY popular and we had none leftover. It was also spicy! I think it's the type of jalapeno I used. I served it with crackers and plain pita chips.

Anthony also made baked apples. We had red and yellow apples that were cored and filled with brown sugar and butter. They were baked at 325 for an hour. It turned out that the red apples stood up better to the process, the yellow fell apart a little. He was inspired I think by Ina or Paula Deen. I'll be putting his "recipe" up here soon. We do have leftover apples, we made 2 dozen. I'm going to puree them in my food processor for applesauce :)

My coworker and friend Joela brought this side dish. It is fingerling potatoes and butternut squash and RED CHILIEs that was roasted in some olive oil. The butternut squash caught the chili flavor more than the potatoes did.

On to the desserts. My mom made an apple cake with a glaze and pecans and she also made a pumpkin cake with a cream cheese frosting. I am dying to get this pumpkin cake recipe. For now you just get photos