Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pepper Steak in the crockpot

I made this yesterday.. it was the first day of school and I knew I was gonna have a ton of paperwork to fill out when the kids got home.. so I wanted dinner already prepared and cooking. All I had to do when it was close to time to eat was make some rice and garlic bread to go with it. It was yummy, Jason even ate the peppers in it! :)

Here's the recipe:

2lbs thin cut milanese style top round steak, cut into thin strips
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder (to season steak, as much or as little as you like)
Olive oil (enough for browning steak and cooking onions)
2 medium onions, sliced thick
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup tomato puree
2 cans stewed sliced tomatoes
1/4 cup hot water
1 beef bouillon cube (dissolved in the 1/4 cup water above)
3 Tbs soy sauce
3 Tbs worcestershire sauce
2 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced

Start by heating up a skillet (I prefer cast iron for stuff like this) while you slice and season your steak. Pour in a tad of oil, just enough for browning up the steak. Throw in the steak and let it sit there for a couple mins before messing with it, so it has a chance to get nice and brown. Then use some tongs and toss it around so it gets nicely browned on both sides. You may have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your cast iron.. you definitely don't want to overcrowd the pan. I had to do mine in about 3 batches, and I was using a 14inch cast iron skillet. Once the steak is browned, toss it into the crockpot. Then saute the onions in the skillet with a bit of oil.. when they are slightly translucent, add the minced garlic. Then throw all of this into the crockpot with the steak. Turn the crockpot on to low and add in everything else, except the bell peppers. If you add the peppers in right now, they will be complete mush by the time the steak is done.. and idk about you, but I can't stand mushy peppers. So I like to wait till the last hour of cooking to add those in. You're gonna cook this on low in your crockpot for 6 to 8 hours, until the meat is so tender its falling apart.

Serve this over some cooked rice.. and a little garlic bread on the side to sop up the wonderful sauce.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Back to School Craziness

Yep... it's that time of year. It's pure insanity. It took 3 hours and $231 at walmart last night getting school supplies.. And that was just for 4 of the kids... Jason is homeschooling this year, and I still gotta get a full curriculum once I figure out what I am going to go with. And I still have to get everyone new shoes..and clothes.. and Andy still needs a backpack.. and Justin and the twins still needs hair cuts. Aiy yi yi...This time of year is almost worse than Christmas. Almost. LOL

I do have something good planned for dinner tonight.. Balsamic Braised Chicken Breasts, and I'm gonna throw a jar of parmesan alfredo sauce on some thin spaghetti to go along with it. I think it'll be yummy. :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Shrimp Puttanesca

I made this a week or so ago and it was really easy and super yummy. It was The Husband's first foray into the world of capers.. and it went so well, I'm thinking I might need to make him chicken picatta sometime in the near future.

Now back to this recipe... it uses a jar of pasta sauce.. *gasp* ..I know! but that's what I love.. this is an easy busy weeknight meal.

You're gonna need:

1lb linguini, cooked in salted water per package directions
1lb peeled deveined shrimp
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
Splash of white wine (I used chardonnay cuz that's what I had in the fridge)
1 jar Arrabbiata Pasta Sauce (I used the Bertolli brand)
1/4 cup chopped black olives
2 Tbs capers
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp sugar

Start by patting the shrimp dry with paper towels and season them well on both sides with salt and garlic pepper. Heat a stainless steel skillet over med-high heat. When hot, add the olive oil and chopped garlic and cook it for a minute or two, until it just starts to turn brown.. then crank the heat up to high and toss in the shrimp. Cook the shrimp until they are golden brown on both sides.. about 2-4 minutes.. Deglaze the pan with a splash of wine (if all you have is red.. use red!) when the wine cooks down by half, stir in the jar of sauce, the olives, capers, red pepper flake, sugar and some fresh cracked pepper... Cover and simmer for 5 minutes until sauce is heated through. Remove the lid and scoop out a cup or two of the sauce and set it aside.. Pour the pasta into the skillet with the sauce and cook for 1 minute, so the pasta can soak up some sauce.. Pour this into your serving dish and to with the reserved cup or two of sauce. Serve this with freshly shaved parm cheese.. oh and garlic bread, you GOTTA have garlic bread to soak up all that yummy sauce.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo

I've been a bad blogger lately.. I'm sorry... I am going to try to post two recipes tonight.. this one and the easy spicey shrimp puttenesca pasta.

My gumbo is pretty easy.. but *extremely* yummy. And it starts off like any good gumbo does...

With a roux... I took 4oz of canola oil, and 4oz (by weight) of AP flour and mixed them together over med-low heat for about 20 minutes in my cast iron dutch oven, until the roux was a nice mahogany brown.

While the roux is cooking, I dice up my veggies.. 2 green bell peppers, 2 onions, 5 ribs of celery, and 4 cloves of garlic.. Once the roux is the above color, add in all the veggies except the garlic into the pot with the roux and turn the heat up to med high.. cook the veggies, stiring often until the onion is translucent (about 10 min). Then I add in about a cup and a half of tomato puree and some canned diced tomatos and a quart of chicken stock (you could use seafood stock, or even better, make your own shrimp stock.. but I was in a hurry that day and just used chicken stock, which was just fine) With the tomatoes and the stock, I added some salt, some garlic pepper, some creole seasoning, and 4 dried bay leaves. I brought this to a boil, then covered and reduced the heat to low to let it simmer for 35 minutes. Now is a good time to start some white rice. While the rice cooked and the soup simmered, I sliced up a pound of sausage ( I used keilbasa cuz it's what I like and it's what I had).. I sliced the sausage on a bias and seared it in a small non stick skillet. After the 35 minutes is up, kill the heat and add a pound of raw peeled, deveined, tail off shrimp to the gumbo, as well as the sausage and a tablespoon of gumbo file' powder. Stir all of this very well, cover and let it sit for 10 minutes. Two things are gonna happen here.. The residual heat from simmering the gumbo for so long in a cast iron pot is going to cook the shrimp perfectly so they are tender and not rubbery. Second, the gumbo file' powder is going to thicken the soup nicely.

*a note, I personally do not like okra in my gumbo because I think it gets slimy.. I prefer to thicken it with just file' powder

Now when you're ready to serve this.. grab you a bowl.. make a little mound of rice (I used a smaller bowl to make the rice mound) and the ladle the gumbo around the rice, and pour the stock over the rice.. And it will look a little something like this:

It was yummy!! Make this soon! :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

This weeks menu

Tomorrow (today I guess since it's 3:30am lol), I'm thinking probaby bacon cheese burgers. With salad and tator tots. Because I'm craving tator tots. (don't ask lol)

And for later in the week... I'm planning on making gumbo, over rice.. with maybe a hunk of cornbread on the side. This *might* end up being dinner tomorrow(today).. We shall see..

Also gonna make that ravioli ratataouille thing.. but i don't think I can really call it ratatouille.. cuz I decided to substitute the eggplant with yellow squash. LOL After my mishap with the eggplant for the lasagna last week.. Well, I just want a no problems dinner so I am using some yellow squash instead. LOL

And we're gonna have some beer brats with baked beans, mac n cheese for the kids and potato salad for me and Dave. Yum.

Oh and McDonalds one night.. on our way home from Six Flags. It's tradition. $1 menu double cheeseburgers and fries. LOL

Should be a yummy week! :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bourbon Peach Butter Chicken

And here's what I made tonight..Not a great picture.. I took it from my spot at the dinner table, and the light isn't great there.. But this tasted SO yummy. Got the idea from this months Cooking Light magazine. It was easy,
and it was YUMMY. And the best part? 5 ingredients. Yep. I modified it a bit.. to suit my taste, as always.. here's

I blanched 6 peaches to get the skins off, then diced them. Put them into a pot with 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice and 3 tablespoons water and brought it to a boil.. then clapped a lid on it and turned the heat to medium low and simmered it for 20 minutes. Then I poured the peaches into the food processor, added about 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar (the recipe called for 1/3 cup dark brown, but I had light and thought it needed more), then I added just under 1/2 cup of kentucky bourbon (wild turkey 101.. the husband's poison of choice lol) and a pinch of salt.. gave it a whirl for a min to puree and then poured it into a ceramic 9x13 dish and baked it for 2 hours and 15 minutes at 250 degrees, until it was nice and thickened. Just before the sauce was done, I seasoned chicken breasts with salt and garlic pepper and pan seared them until they were golden brown. Then to serve I just transferred the chicken breasts into my the baking dish with the sauce and served them out of that at the table along with some garlic cheddar mashed potatoes and green beans with onions garlic and bacon in white wine. It was easy and delicious! The kids all loved it. I think it'd be even better served with rice, to pour that sauce all over.. So I'll probably do it like that next time.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Roasted Veggie Lasagna

I made this last week.. it was *divine*.. The angels sang. It was.. glorious. I got the idea from here. And I tried to do it their way.. sorta. But my eggplant fell apart in the oven, and I got a jar of roasted red peppers instead of doing them in the oven (I wanted the sweet tangyness the ones in the jar always have) and I did a few other things... So here is what I did..

I sliced up several zucchinis, about 5 or 6.. a couple of big onions, and a box of cremini mushrooms.. and also a big eggplant that I ended up not using.. I mixed the zucchini and the onions together on a sheet pan and then eggplant and the mushrooms together on another sheet pan and brushed them all with olive oil that I'd put some minced garlic into.. And threw them into a really hot (475) oven.. The eggplant didn't work out, it just fell apart and was mush and tasted bitter so I tossed it into the trash. I'm sticking to panfrying eggplant in the future. Anyway.. back to things that did go good. So while all this was roasting in a seriously hot oven (that was seriously making my kitchen hot as hell).. I made up my standard red sauce, chopped a bunch of basil, opened and drained a jarl of sliced sweet roasted red peppers, and a can of diced roasted tomatoes. Oh and sliced up a nice ball of fresh mozzarella and opened a bag of 2 % shredded mozzarella cheese. And got out an 8oz tub of fat free cottage cheese (cuz I just don't dig the texture of ricotta.. sue me lol) and added an egg and a whole bunch of fresh grated parm cheese and some basil, salt and garlic pepper to it. And I par boiled 12 lasagna noodles. And and and. LOL

So then.. I got out my purtiest baking dish, sprayed it down with some pam spray and spread some sauce into the bottom of it. Then I laid out 4 lasagna noodles and spread half the cottage cheese mixture onto the noodles, then I threw zucchini and onions on next and ladled enough sauce to cover it all up nicely and sprinkled a handful of mozzarella and some chopped fresh basil.. Then I layed 4 more noodles down, cottage cheese, then the tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms went on next, followed by the sauce, cheese and basil.. Then I put on the last 4 noodles, covered it with sauce and a sprinkling of basil and covered the whole thing with some heavy strength foil and popped it into the oven at 400 for 30 mins.. Then I pulled the foil off, layed the sliced of fresh mozzarella over it and put it back into the oven for 15-20 mins till the cheese was all melty and browned.. Showered it with the last of the fresh basil and voila... Utter yumminess.

Lets just not talk about the two trips I took to the store to get ingredients I had forgotten and the fridge had frozen my veggies so I had to get new ones. LOL Or the fact that it made my kitchen hotter than Hades making it. And at one point I was so vile to my family (in my overheated over annoyed state).. that it's a damn good thing it was so tasty..I think they've forgiven me.. especially since I promised not to make lasagna again, especially not a roasted veggie one in height of summer hell ever again. LOL

Monday, August 1, 2011

Oh and for fall..

I wanna make a tortellini soup with lots of tomatoes and onions and other yummy stuff. I need to remember that and post it here cuz I never will in a couple of months when it is finally cool enough to eat stuff like soups again. lol I'm not ever making lasagna in the summer again either. Especially not a roasted veggie lasagna that had my oven roaring at 450-475 degrees for over 2 hours on a 108 degree day. Yeah. Can we say STUPID? I think that's why I still haven't written the recipe up yet.. It scarred me. But I will. I promise. Soon.

Ravioli Ratatouille Bake

I just found a recipe for this on It's on the homepage today... I am pretty sure that I absolutely NEED to make this like this weekend or something. Yup Yup Yup. Pretty dang sure. Yum. I'm also pretty dang sure that I need to make Gumbo really soon too. Yum Yum.

Busy Busy!

Sorry I've been away, dear readers! I've had a hectic week.. but I promise I've got a recipe for a yummy roasted veggie lasagna coming up.. Oh and I made chocolate chip cookies yesterday.. and put some of those new reeses mini peanut butter cups in them. Excuse my language, but they were the Mother F'in BOMB. And this week I'm planning to make a faux shrimp puttenesca over pasta. And I'm using a jar of sauce in it :-0 *gasp* I know right. lol But I'm also thinking about doing this little grilled chicken with a bourbon peach sauce/butter that is gonna be to die for. :) So it all works out. Oh and I'm thinkin about getting a rotisserie chicken and pulling all the meat off it and grilling some corn and having chicken tacos in fresh cooked tortillas with slices of avocado, some chopped fresh tomatoes and some of the grilled corn. Yum!

And oh my gosh, I am watching the best thing I ever ate.. and Alton Brown just stabbed a fried egg up just exactly like I do, all playfully and stuff.. I knew I loved that man for a reason! LOL