Category Archives: Beef

Cumin Spiced Beef

Dinner tonight was just too good for me to not share. As the weather warms, I’ll be using my grill to cook a LOT. This spicy meat gets an additional flavor kick from cooking on the grill. If you don’t want to fire up your grill (or, if you’re one of the unfortunate folks who doesn’t have one), this recipe works just fine on the stove top in a super hot skillet (preferably cast iron). 

Delicious and simple, that’s my motto. Just mix up the spices, rub them on a London broil and toss it on the grill. Cook it for 3-5 minutes per side, depending on thickness and desired doneness.  Then, pull it off, let it rest and slice thinly across the grain. Serve it up next to a nice green salad or in a warm tortilla. 

  
Recipe*:

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon chile powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 pound London broil

Prepare grill or skillet for cooking over high heat. 

In a small dish, stir together cumin, chile powder, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and black pepper. Rub spices over all sides of London broil. Cook over high heat for 3-5 minutes per side depending on thickness and desired doneness. Remove meat from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice thinly across the grain and serve. 
*This recipe can be easily multiplied to accommodate larger cuts of meat. Or, spice mix can be made in advance and used as needed. 


Carne Asada

I’m hosting a dinner later this month for two of my favorite friends and their significant others.  I have agonized over what to serve since I knew that March was my month to host.  I thought about doing corned beef, but it’s really not my favorite food and if I’m going to cook for other people, I really want to like what I’m cooking.  I thought about fodue, but I ALWAYS mess up cheese sauce (unless it is velveeta, then I’m good).  I thought about a three-course Italian meal, but I didn’t want to spend all my visiting time prepping the next course.  So, I went simple.  Taco Bar.  I mean, who doesn’t love tacos?  I’ll be serving my Chicken Tacos with Black Bean and Corn Salsa.  I’ll also be serving pork Barbacoa tacos and I’ll whip up this Carne Asada recipe.  All of these can be prepared before and just warmed before serving, except the Asada.  It needs to be grilled right before serving – of course allowing the meat time to rest before slicing.  But cooking this meat is the easy part.  All the real work is in the marinade, and it is done the day before.

To prepare the marinade, juice 2 limes, smash 3 cloves of garlic and add cilantro, onion, salt pepper, beer, cumin and chile flake.  Mix together in a zip top bag, add your meat and refrigerate overnight.  Pull it out a half hour before you are ready to cook.  If it’s warm enough (or you’re brave enough), fire up your outdoor grill.  If not, heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan over high heat until it is smoking hot.  Cook the meat for 5-7 minutes per side or until desired doneness. Don’t mess with it too much.  You want it to develop some nice browning.

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Let this rest for 5 minutes.  Then, slice thinly and across the grain.  Serve on grilled corn tortillas with cheese, cilantro and salsa or whatever else you like to top your tacos with.

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Recipe:

2 limes

1/2 cup beer

3 cloves garlic, smashed

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1/4 onion, diced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon cumin

pinch chile flake

2 pounds flank steak

Juice limes into a gallon sized zip top bag.  Add beer, smashed garlic, cilantro, onion, salt, pepper, cumin and chile flake.  Add flank steak to bag and seal, removing as much air as possible.  Refrigerate overnight.

Remove meat from refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to cooking.  Heat grill or cast iron on high until very hot.  Cook meat for 5-7 minutes per side, until desired doneness.  Let rest for 5 minutes.  Slice thinly across the grain.

Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup

My last produce basket came with 4 onions and 7 bell peppers.  I usually struggle to use one or two of each of those in a regular menu cycle.  Then, someone suggested they were going to make stuffed bell pepper soup.  I was intrigued.  I make stuffed peppers on occasion, but I don’t really like them.  I end up eating the filling and tossing the pepper.  But, it’s winter.  I love soup in winter.  And, here I was with all these bell peppers. So I figured I would give it a try.

I started off by roasting 4 tomatoes.  I just cut them in half, placed them face down and tossed them into a 450* oven.  My tomatoes were slightly under ripe, so I wanted to be sure I helped the flavor any way I could.  You could definitely use canned tomatoes here, but I had fresh ones in my basket and in this house they would have spoiled before we ate them all.

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I let the tomatoes cool for quite a while.  I started browning a pound of hamburger in my big soup pot.  Whie the meat was browning, I diced up an onion, some celery and 3 good sized bell peppers. When the meat was brown, I pulled it out of the pot with a slotted spoon and set it in a bowl lined with coffee filters to finish draining.  I poured off all but about a tablespoon of the fat from the hamburger.  I used that fat to sweat down my veggies.  I added the onion and celery first with a little salt.  When they started to get tender, I stirred in the bell peppers.  While that cooked away, I pureed my tomatoes with a couple of cloves of garlic.  Now, you don’t HAVE to puree your tomatoes, but I do not really like chunks of tomato in my food.  Add the tomatoes and garlic, pureed or otherwise, into the pot with the veggies.

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Give it a stir. Add in broth, rice, cooked hamburger and seasoning.  Then taste it.  My tomatoes were on the acidic side, so I employed a new trick I learned.  I tossed in about an 1/8 of a teaspoon of baking soda.  It’s going to make your soup froth a little bit, but it really does work to mellow the acidity.

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Cover and simmer until your rice is done.  Taste for seasoning before you serve.  You’ll probably want to add a little more salt.

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Recipe:

4 whole tomatoes

1 pound ground beef

1 small onion, diced

3 ribs celery, diced

3 green bell peppers, diced

2 cloves garlic

3-4 cups broth (chicken or beef)

1 cup brown rice, uncooked

1 teaspoon chile powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

dash cinnamon

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450*.  Cut tomatoes in half.  Place cut-side down in a baking dish.  Bake at 450* for 25-35 minutes or until skins begin to crack and tomatoes are soft and fragrant.

Heat large soup pot over medium high heat.  Add ground beef and cook through.  Remove beef, but reserve 1 Tablespoon of the drippings in the pot.  Add onion and celery to the pot. Season with salt and sweat until translucent and tender.  Add bell pepper.  While bell pepper is starting to soften, place roasted tomatoes and 2 cloves garlic in blender.  Process until smooth.  Add tomatoes to vegetables.  Stir in broth, hamburger meat, uncooked rice, chile powder, paprika, cinnamon and salt and pepper to taste.  If your soup seems a little acidic, add a tiny bit of baking powder and let it foam.  Simmer over low heat until rice is tender.

Green Chile Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders

Say that 10 times fast.  Ok, so not that hard, but certainly a mouthful.  And a mouthful of flavor.  If you’ve ever looked at visiting New Mexico, it’s no secret that our claim to fame is the green chile cheeseburger.  Our tourism department even took the time to organize a Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail.  If, however, a road trip is out of the question, with just a little effort (and a grocery store with a good international aisle), you can make a great green chile cheeseburger in the comfort of your own home.  I make these slider sized.  My kids just think it is fun to eat anything in miniature, and I really can’t disagree.  If you can’t get whole green chiles, chopped will work just fine.  Frozen is better, but canned will work if you drain them.  Most places serve these with American cheese, and they are quite delicious that way, but I find a good cheddar is even better.  If you want to up the spice factor, they are also excellent with pepper jack cheese.

There is noting like giving away your burger secret in the first step of a recipe.  Grate some onion.  Just grab your regular old box grater and grate it up.  I use about 2 T of onion per pound of hamburger.

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Now, I like my burgers to have the texture of a burger, not meatloaf.  So, when I go to mix the onion and spices in, I do a lot of turning and almost no squeezing or mashing.  I looks like this when I’m done.

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I shape 1lb of ground beef into 8 slider patties.  Don’t cook them yet though.  Here is secret number 2.  When I’m making burgers inside, I cook the bacon in my cast iron skillet and then cook my burgers in the same pan.  Um, yeah, bacon fat makes everything better.  I slice my bacon in half before cooking because it makes it the perfect size for a slider.  My husband and I don’t agree on how bacon should be cooked.  The limp stuff on the left is his and the extra crispy stuff on the right is mine.

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Cook the slider patties on one side until they are cooked halfway through.  Then flip and finish cooking.  Add the cheese on top in the last couple of minutes of cooking, or, if you’re like me and your husband calls halfway through cooking to tell you he’s going to be later than planned, pull the cooked patties out onto a plate then top with cheese and put in an oven set to warm.  The cheese will melt beautifully.  Oh, and the naked patties, those are for my 3 year old who is having issues with cheese on any meat right now.

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Buy some good quality rolls from the bakery.  Split them open, butter and toast.  There is nothing quite like serving a burger on a toasted bun.

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Stack bun and meat and top with green chile then bacon.  Mustard is the traditional condiment, but mayo is also acceptable.  Lettuce, tomato and onion if you wish.  Personally, I don’t use any of those.

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Recipe:

1 pound ground beef

2 T grated onion

1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (or season salt)

4 slices bacon

4 slices cheese

4 green chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded

8 slider buns (or dinner rolls)

Gently mix together ground beef, grated onion and seasoning.  Form into 8 patties.

Cut bacon into halves.  Cook in a cast iron skillet over low heat until desired crispness. Remove from pan

Turn heat up to medium high.  Cook slider patties in hot bacon grease.  Add cheese when patties are almost done.

Slice open buns and spread inside with butter.  Heat up a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat.  Place buns butter side down in hot skillet and toast until golden brown.

Top each toasted bun with one patty, two half slices of bacon and one green chile. Garnish as desired.

Pocket Sandwiches

When I was a kid, the whole family would go camping for 2 weeks.  Apparently, my friends thought we were roughing it because we camped in a tent and not in an organized campground.  I figured we were high-class camping.  We had a potty chair, an enclosed kitchen, cots with pretty cozy mattresses, and eventually even a shower.  We always had the best food when we were camping.  To help with quick breakfasts and lunches, my mom would make up big batches of these pocket sandwiches.  I remember hearing them called kraut burgers as a kid, but I never remember eating them filled with cabbage.  That said, I have eaten them filled with taco meat and even sausage and scrambled eggs.  They’re nice to have on hand for school lunches or even quick dinners (or breakfast if you fill them with eggs).  Use this recipe as a process and change out the filling to whatever fits the taste of your family.

If you’re making home made bread dough, do that first.  If your dough is frozen, get it out to thaw.  If you’re crunched for time, you can use biscuit dough, but it is much harder to work with.

Then, dice up 3-4 slices of bacon.  Cook the bacon pieces in a hot skillet until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on a paper towel.

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Brown the hamburger and drain it well.  Then add the bacon and seasoning into the hamburger.  I like to add a little smoke flavored marinade to my meat mixture.  You can use Worcestershire sauce or a few drops of liquid smoke or just leave it out.

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Let the filling mixture cool.  Divide your bread dough into 8 even sections – about the size you’d make into a dinner roll.  If you have extra dough, just toss it in the freezer or bake it up alongside the sandwiches. I used a wheat bread dough and I did have extra.

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Roll each dough ball out into a thin circle.  Top each circle with cheese, green chile and meat.

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Fold the edges over and pinch the seams closed.

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Place seam side down on a cookie sheet and bake at 350* for 25-35 minutes.  You’ll notice some of these have a little green chile on top and some don’t.  I made some without for my little guys. The extra moisture from the diced chile made my dough bubble up a little when I cooked them.

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I normally wouldn’t cut these open.  Normally, I’d let them cool, wrap them in foil or put them in a sandwich size Ziploc and toss them in the freezer.  But, I knew you would all want to see the inside.

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Recipe:

3-4 slices bacon

1 pound ground beef

1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 Tablespoon smoke flavored marinade (optional)

Bread Dough (enough for 8 rolls) – thaw if frozen

1/2 cup diced green chile

1 cup shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350*

Dice bacon.  Cook over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon and drain on paper towels.

In the same skillet, brown hamburger.  Drain.

Stir together bacon, hamburger, Cajun seasoning, cumin and marinade.  Let cool.

Separate bread dough into 8 equal parts.  Roll one piece of dough into a thin circle, 5-6″ in diameter.

Top dough circle with 2 Tablespoons shredded cheese, 1 Tablespoon diced green chile and 1/3-1/2 cup of hamburger mixture.  Fold edges in and seal seams by pinching.  Place seam side down on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Bake sandwiches at 350* for 25-30 minutes.

Lasagna

My kids love to help in the kitchen.  Laying noodles and spreading cheese and sauce layers are the perfect ways for them to help me make lasagna.  And, since they get to help so much, they always seem to eat more.  In fact, my daughter asked me to pack lasagna in her lunch 3 days in a row after we made it  for dinner.  I take a little help by using jarred sauce.  Also, I don’t pre-cook my noodles (and I don’t buy those “special” no-cook noodles either).

I start by browning hamburger and Italian sausage together.  Make sure you crumble it pretty fine as it is cooking so you don’t get big chunks of meat in your lasagna (unless you like big chunks, then, go for it).

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Drain off any extra fat and add sauce to meat in pan.  Use 3/4 cup of water to rinse out your jar and add it to the pan too.  This extra water will help your noodles soften up in the pan.  Then I mix up my ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese with an egg and some seasoning.  The egg helps your cheese layer stay put instead of squishing everywhere when you try to eat it. And I use part-skim ricotta.  I’ve tried the regular.  The part-skim seems to give a creamier texture – less grainy than the regular.  Maybe it’s just me.

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Next, spread a very thin layer of sauce on the bottom of your baking dish to keep the pasta from sticking.

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I build three sets of layers – noodles, cheese, sauce.  Then, top the whole thing with some more mozzarella cheese.

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Put the whole pan in a preheated oven and bake it for about thirty minutes – until the cheese is melted and golden and the edges are bubbling.

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Let this stand for at least 10 minutes before you try to serve it.  If you don’t, you’re going to burn yourself and your layers are going to fall apart.  If you wait, you’ll be able to serve beautiful slices of deliciousness.

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Recipe:

1 pound hamburger

1/2 pound Italian sausage

24 ounce jar of prepared pasta sauce

3/4 cup water

15 ounce container part skim ricotta cheese

3 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (divided)

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

12-15 dry lasagna noodles (depending on your baking dish)

Preheat oven to 350*.

Brown hamburger and Italian sausage in skillet together.  Drain.  Return to pan and add pasta sauce.  Pour 3/4 cup water into empty jar.  Swirl jar to rinse down all the extra sauce and add water to pan.  Leave sauce simmering on stove.

Add ricotta, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, egg, pepper, Italian seasoning and basil to a bowl.  Stir to mix thoroughly.

Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of your baking dish. Cover with 4-5 dry noodles, depending on the size of your baking dish.  Top dry noodles with 1/3 of cheese mixture. Spread to distribute evenly.  Top with 1/3 of your sauce and spread to distribute evenly.  Repeat the layering process 2 more times.  Top with remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350* for 30 minutes.  Cheese will be melted and golden and sauce will be bubbling at the edges.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

BBQ Meatball Sliders

In addition to the leftover day I mentioned my mom plans into her menus, she also had “Fun Food Friday” (I’m betting at this point you can guess where I developed my love for alliterations).  This recipe for BBQ meatball sliders is fun and delicious and really not that hard to make.  You can make your own BBQ sauce, but I typically take some help from the store and just doctor it up a bit.  Wanna make it even easier? Throw the meatballs and sauce in the crockpot and walk away, or don’t bother with the meatballs just brown some meat add the sauce and serve sloppy joe style, or use leftover mashed sweet potatoes in the mini biscuits instead of cooking fresh ones.  Swap out the ground beef for ground turkey and serve with a side salad for a healthier alternative.

Start my mixing up the ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, milk and seasoning in a bowl.  Then form into meatballs.  I made 16 out of my 1 lb of hamburger.  Put the meatballs in a non stick skillet over medium heat. Leave them alone until the start to brown and then turn.  Brown as many sides as you can.

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Once the meatballs are brown, add the sauce mixture and turn the heat to low.  Allow to simmer until the meatballs are done and the sauce cooks down to a glaze.  This takes about 20 minutes. This picture was taken right after I added the sauce mixture.

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While the meatballs are cooking, get your biscuits together.  If you aren’t using leftover sweet potatoes, I’d recommend cooking the sweet potatoes before you start the meatballs.  Put them in a Ziploc bag with a little water and toss it in the microwave for 8-10 minutes.  Let them cool in the bag before you peel and mash them.  Another tip, freeze your butter or shortening and then grate it into the dry ingredients.  This keeps you from having to spend all that time cutting cold butter into the flour!

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I bake my sweet potato biscuits in a mini muffin tin for this recipe.  They come out the perfect size for the meatballs!

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Recipe:

Meatballs-

1 lb ground beef

1 slice of whole wheat bread

1 egg

1 Tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon bbq seasoning (I like montreal steak)

! cup BBQ sauce (your favorite)

1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

1/2 cup water

1-2 Tablespoons brown sugar if needed

Put ground beef in a bowl.  Use microplane to grate bread slice into breadcrumbs (or toss it in the food processor or use 1/2 cup breadcrumbs).  Add egg, milk and seasoning to meat and breadcrumbs and toss with hands to combine.  The more you work this, the more you change the texture of the ground beef. I suggest only working it as much as you need to barely combine the ingredients.  Form the meat into 16 equal-sized meatballs. Place meatballs in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Cook for 1-2 minutes and flip.  Continue flipping until you’ve browned all sides of the meatballs.

While meatballs are cooking, combine BBQ sauce, liquid smoke and water.  Taste.  Add brown sugar if desired.  When meatballs are brown, turn heat to low and add sauce/water mixture to the pan.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through and sauce is thick enough to coat the meatballs. Serve on sweet potato biscuits

Sweet Potato Biscuits –

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter

1 cup mashed sweet potato

1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400*. Stir together flours, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.  Cut in butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs (or use the grater trick).  Stir in sweet potato and milk just until all ingredients are moistened.  Spoon into greased mini muffin tins. Bake at 400* for 15-18 minutes.

Slice open biscuits and place a meatball in the middle.  Better make more than one, because they’re really that good.

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On a side note, sorry about the picture quality in my last couple of posts.  I promise I’ll get batteries for my real camera this weekend.