Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pork Tenderloin with Fennel & Apples

We were watching the Food Network the other day and Joey said "I wonder if I would like fennel" after an episode about the licoricey flavor of fennel.  Always eager to add new ingredients into our regular menus, I jumped at the chance. I decided to serve the fennel roasted because Joey's not big on raw vegetables or salads.  As I was cooking, we both had a piece of the stalk to taste. Have you ever tasted the stalk? Crazy Licorice Explosion! It's a really weird sensation because it is crunchy and a vegetable and tastes just like a black twizzler. The roasted fennel turned out to be a plus and the entire recipe was fantastic! I want this to join my regular menu options.  This recipe came together quickly, had a lot of flavor, and was a winner with my family. Will it be for yours?

Recipe from Gastronomer's Guide but I am re-posting it here because what if they stop their blog at some point and then I can't access it anymore? I'd be really sad.

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
fennel fronds
2 granny smith apples, sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 pork tenderloin
3 T butter, room temperature
1 branch rosemary (oh yeah they used thyme but I had rosemary), finely chopped *a sharp knife here is a necessity
salt & pepper
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425 and prep your vegetables

1. Toss apples, garlic and fennel with a little oil and arrange in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Roast for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make an herb butter with the rosemary and butter. Preheat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat and add some oil.
3. Pat pork dry, salt and pepper all sides and rub with herb butter
4. Sear pork on all sides in the hot pan
5. Remove vegetables from the oven and toss and push to the edges of the pan. Place the pork in the middle and pour the juices over everything.  Roast another 10-15 minutes until pork reaches 145 degrees.
6. Serve warm with fennel fronds on top

Monday, January 7, 2013

One Roast - Many Meals

We usually use our Costco membership exclusively to buy movie tickets. But sometimes we go crazy and actually shop there. The problem is that the food is HUGE and for two people it's really hard to imagine using it all. But this time, we had a plan.  My family was coming over for New Years Eve dinner - a Christmas #3. I wanted to serve a roast because they are so easy. You rub it with some spices, throw it in the oven and let it go with no extra work until the end.  I was also going to make some carrots and some boiled potatoes...but only the carrots happened due to some last minute bad planning. However, the meat thing, was a good idea.

At Costco we found an 8 1/2lb roast for $35. We only needed about 4lbs for dinner but we have a kitchen scale.  We were planning to make chili the next day for NYD so we decided we could use the same roast. I knew we would have leftovers but we would make it work. And we did. This is one of those cost saving measures that requires creativity so you don't end up eating the same thing 12 times. And it was fun!

All Dishes Ingredient:
8 1/2 lb roast - boneless beef cap (also called Round Roast)

Roast Beef with Cilantro-Garlic Rub - Serves 7 + leftovers for 2-3 meals
4 1/2 lb beef roast in one piece
1 bunch cilantro
3 cloves garlic
salt (to taste)
1 T olive oil
2 brown onions, sliced

1. Preheat oven to 325
2. Rip the leaf tops off cilantro stems, there will be some stem left but not all. In a mini chopper or food processor combine garlic, cilantro, salt, pepper and olive oil so it forms a paste.
3. Salt & Pepper roast all over. Rub the paste on top
4. Place sliced onions on the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet and place the rubbed roast on top of the onions.
5. Roast for 25-30 minutes per pound, about 2 1/2 hours until temperature reaches 145 for medium rare.
6. Thinly slice roast and serve. Save leftovers in one big chunk in foil.

French Dip Sandwiches (for 2)
Leftover roast, thinly sliced - use as much meat as you want
1 packet au jus seasoning mix
3 Cups water
1 loaf Italian bread, from Albertsons warm if you can but whatever, you're going to toast it

1. Preheat the oven to 350
2. Cut bread into thick slices - like 4 inch pieces. Slice the center so it is still connected. Butter the inside of the bread and lay open on a rimmed baking sheet.
3. Add au jus to water following instructions on the package
4. Toast the bread
5. Add the meat to the au jus to warm it up
6. Assemble the sandwiches by placing meat on the bread and add some au jus. Pour some remaining au jus into small dishes for dipping

Chili (serves 4 with seconds)
2 lbs beef roast, divided
Coarse-grind 1lb of meat in the food processor
Cut the other pound into small chunks

Meatballs with Garlic Bread (Yield 18 large meatballs)
adapted from Everyday Food Videos with Sarah Carey (I love these)
2 lbs beef, ground in the food processor
5 slices white bread, pulverized in the food processor
1/3 C water
3+ cloves garlic, minced
1 medium baguette
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 14.5oz can whole tomatoes
3/4 t oregano
salt & pepper
olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 400
2. Heat 1 T olive oil in a large pan. Add 1 clove minced garlic & 1/4 t oregano and cook about 30 seconds
3. Add tomatoes and salt. Breakdown whole tomatoes with a potato masher or a fork or a spatula leaving some chunks.  Simmer sauce uncovered until you need it next
4. In a large bowl, soak the bread crumbs in the water. Add meat, remaining oregano, some salt, some pepper, a little of the garlic and egg and mix with your hands until the ingredients are combined.
5. Roll meatballs in your hands and place on a parchment lined baking sheet
6. Cut the bread in half and then in half again lengthwise. On another rimmed baking sheet place the bread cut side up. Sprinkle oil over bread and spread remaining garlic over the top.
7. Place the bread in the oven for 10 minutes (or maybe a little bit less)
8. For two people, place 4-6 meatballs directly into the sauce. Push them down to be covered and cook for 10 minutes.
9. Serve Meatballs and sauce in a bowl with a side of garlic bread
10. Put the parchment lined baking sheet with other meatballs into the freezer until meatballs are frozen. Then place them in a bag.  Defrost completely before cooking next time.

Homemade Meatball & Tomato Pizza (serves 2)
1 round pizza dough (buy or make, we made ours)
2 meatballs, defrosted and re-rolled into smaller pieces
1/2 C pizza sauce
1/2 C mozzarella cheese
2 T parmesan cheese
3 small balls fresh mozzarella
5 cherry tomatoes, quartered
Pizza Spices

1. Preheat the oven to 450 with a pizza stone inside
2. Roll out your pizza dough and place it on cornmeal on top of a pizza peel (like a small cutting board) (ours rolled out, but sometimes you have to stretch it)
3. Spread sauce in a circular motion on the pizza
4. In a pan saute meatballs for a few minutes until cooked through in a bit of olive oil
5. Add pizza spices and toppings to the dough including the meatballs, broken up into pieces
6. Bake for 15 minutes, cut in half and eat while still hot!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Inside out Stuffed Chicken

Roasted chicken is one of my favorite comfort foods. Unfortunately, it is not my husband's. So I make it less than I would like to. Last night, I finally had the chance to make a recipe I saw on the Everyday Food video blog. This recipe is delicious and you should make it tonight! Basically, you cut up some bread and vegetables and lay them on a tray, the "stuffing" then you place the chicken on top and some of the bread gets soft and some of the bread gets crispy and everything sticks to the pan and it's really tasty!

The pictures/video are pretty helpful for me. I watched the video a couple of times and then didn't refer to the recipe at all for the making of it. I also did a terrible butchering job of my chicken so I only used drumsticks, thighs and wings.  I cut my apples too small - cut them bigger cause they are in the oven a long time. Also I would use two apples if I were you. I used rosemary instead of caraway seeds.

Inside-Out Chicken & Stuffing
1 small loaf rustic bread (or use 9oz but I used more), cut into 2-inch chunks
2 apples, cut into smaller chunks but not too small
2 celery sticks cut into half moons
1 C chicken stock
olive oil
4 sprigs rosemary
1 whole chicken cut up into pieces (or just use drumsticks and thighs)

1. Preheat the oven to 400
2. In a large rimmed baking sheet toss the bread, apple and celery with salt, pepper and oil (about 1 T), then spread out across the pan so it is relatively flat
3. Place bread in the oven and bake 10 minutes
4. Remove tray, pour chicken stock over bread and toss until it is absorbed
5. Nestle chicken pieces on top or next to bread, rub with oil on the skins (to make them brown) and salt & pepper. Add rosemary sprigs around the pan
6. Roast 25-35 minutes until chicken is cooked through and golden.
7. Serve with stuffing

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Herdez Verde Salsa Pork Chops

We watch a lot of the food network, there, I said it.  Sometimes they have food & recipe commercials on the FN. After weeks of seeing one for Herdez Verde Salsa Pork Chops, we gave in and made the recipe. We are glad we did! This is now one of our go-to recipes during the week. We love how quick it is, how tasty it is and just easy. We switch out the sides but it would be good with anything, I think the original recipe calls for rice to go with it. I also think the original uses bone-in pork chops but we're partial to the thin boneless chops because they take less time and still taste great.

1/2 smaller size jar of Herdez Verde Salsa*
4 boneless pork chops, thin style
1 white onion
garlic salt
1 T olive oil (the original calls for 4!)

1. Heat oil in a large skillet with a lid over medium high heat (lid off)
2. Slice onions into rings and place them in the pan, you will be putting the pork on top of these so they should be relatively flat
3. Garlic salt & pepper the pork on both sides
4. Place pork on top of the onions, cover, reduce heat to medium and cook 15-20 minutes or until pork is opaque
5. Remove lid and pour salsa all over pork, let simmer about 5 minutes and serve

*if you aren't a fan of spice use less salsa because it can be spicy!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Quick Beef Chili

It's New Years Day and nothing says new year & football like a warm bowl of chili. I decided to make one today for 4 for lunch.  Chili can be complicated and it can be easy and it is always delicious. Today, my first priority was not to make it overly spicy so that my mom could eat it without setting her mouth on fire.

For NYE, Joey & I picked up a nearly 9-lb roast at Costco. We cut it in half and roasted one half with a cilantro/garlic rub. Then I used 2 lbs of the uncooked half to make the chili. I cut 1lb in small chunks and ground the other 1lb into a course grind using the food processor (it worked great!).

This chili was fast, easy, and sat on the stove all by itself while we watched the parade/game.

2lb beef, half ground, half cut into small chunks
1 white onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 jalepeno, seeds and ribs removed, minced
1 can pinto beans (15oz)
1 28.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 8oz can tomato paste
2 cups (about 1 can) chicken broth
3 T chili powder
1 T ancho chili powder
1 t cumin
1 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
1 T olive oil

Shredded cheese & cilantro for serving

1. Prepare all your ingredients
2. Heat olive oil in a 5 1/2 qt dutch oven over medium
3. Brown onion until soft
4. Add garlic and cook 30 sec
5. Add beef and brown
6. Remove some fat if there is tons
7. Add jalepeno, spices, crushed tomato, tomato paste, and broth
8. Simmer at least 45 minutes, but up to 2 hours is fine
9. 15-20 minutes before serving add beans
10. Serve with cheese and cilantro and hot sauce