Mug Brownies

We started making these a few weeks ago, and I bet we make five or six a day. Any of my kids can rattle off the recipe and make these themselves, AND they’ll generously ask, Who wants a mug brownie? We’re still working on remembering to clean up after. Baby steps.

Ingredients:

  • 4 teaspoons flour
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

In a mug, mix all ingredients well and microwave 30 seconds. (We haven’t determined if it necessary to spray the mug with cooking spray or butter it. Let’s call it optional.)

 

Best Ever Beef Stew

beef stew

Damn Delicious knocks it out of the park again! The flavors in this stew are fantastic. I love the wine, spices, and tomato paste combo. Sirloin steak isn’t cheap, but it does yield a delicious bite of beef so I felt it was worth the money. I followed this recipe almost exactly, making a few smalls substitutions, and the whole family was happy.

2 T olive oil
2lb top sirloin steak, diced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 med onion, diced
2 large carrots, peeled & diced
2 celery ribs, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 cremini mushrooms, halved
3 T flour
2 T tomato paste
1/2 C dry red wine
2 1/2 C beef stock
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 large russet potatoes, peeled & cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 T chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat olive oil in large stockpot or dutch oven over medium. Season steak with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Working in batches, add steak to the stockpot and cook, stirring occasionally, until evenly browned, about 6-8 minutes and set aside.

2. Add onion, carrots, celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes.

3. Add garlic and mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned, about 3-4 minutes.

4. Whisk in flour and tomato paste until lightly browned, about 1 minute.

5. Stir in wine, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the stockpot.

6. Stir in beef stock, thyme, bay leaves and steak. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until beef is very tender, about 30 minutes.

7. Stir in potato, simmer until they are just tender and stew has thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove and discard thyme and bay leaves. Stir in parsley, add s&p if needed, and serve immediately.

Sauteed Sweet Potatoes

sweet potatoes

I’ve recently started to enjoy sweet potatoes. In the right context they add wonderful flavor and nutrition to a meal. We’re trying to eat less carb-rich starches in our dinners around here, so I paired this side with parmesan chicken and broccoli and everyone was pleased. Note: I used one large sweet potatoes and added some regular potatoes to the pan. Turned out great.

3 sweet potatoes (or yams)
garlic powder (to taste)
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
optional: ginger powder
optional: curry powder
olive oil
butter

Slice sweet potatoes into coin-shaped pieces, approximately 1/4 inch thick, keeping all potatoes in similar sizes. Heat olive oil in pan and then place potatoes in skillet. Sprinkle with spices. Cook 3-5 on each side or until cooked through and nicely browned, then add a pat or two of butter and serve.

The Phil E.

 

 


This is a recreation of (and riff on) one of my favorite restaurant meals available in Lincoln–the Phil E. at Cultiva. I will say that after trying to get all the pieces parts ready for lunch yesterday, I am convinced that it is definitely worth the price to order it. However, the homemade version is every bit as tasty, and on the *second* day, when all the pieces parts are already prepped and it really is just tossing it together, also very much worth the effort of making it at home too. Win-win.

Cultiva’s version comes in a crepe, which is the way I made it yesterday. Today, I just took the toppings and added them to a bowl atop leftover potatoes I had. I imagine the bowl version would work equally well with rice as a base instead of potatoes.

Ingredients:

For the crepe: I just used my Swedish Pancake recipe with a tad more milk to make it even thinner. A full recipe makes about 6 big-enough crepes/pancakes.

For the filling (or the toppings if you’re making a bowl):

For each of these, the quantities will vary with your personal taste, but, you know, approximately a handful or a sprinkle

  • spinach (I used pre-washed baby spinach from a bag)
  • gouda cheese (I found it pre-shredded at Aldi and at SuperSaver)
  • cooked, diced chicken (as from a rotisserie chicken; I used leftover Buttermilk Chicken)
  • roasted red peppers (I used jarred, but fresh would obviously be delicious)
  • caramelized onions

For the sauce: (This doesn’t really taste like the curry sauce on the Phil E. at Cultiva, but it’s the same idea. Also, I made half a batch and have plenty for 5 or 6 servings.)

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground tumeric
  • 1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (I used just a splash–family preference)
  • salt to taste
  • lime juice to taste
Directions:
1. Make the crepes/pancakes and set them aside until you’re ready to fill them. I make the crepes/pancakes as big as I can reasonably hope to flip–use about a 1/2 cup of batter. I undercook them ever so slightly because they cook a little more as the filling is warming.
2. Make the sauce (melt everything together; you may thicken the sauce with a little cornstarch) and set aside.
3. Make sure all your fillings are prepped (chicken and peppers diced, cheese shredded) and at least at room temperature, maybe a little warmer for the chicken. You are just going to put them on the crepe long enough for everything to get melty and warm, but if you start with refrigerator-cold ingredients, your crepe is going to burn before everything gets warmed up.
4. Warm a griddle or skillet to medium and set a crepe on it. Layer your filling ingredients in the middle of the crepe (like you would omelet ingredients) in this order: spinach, cheese, chicken (or chicken, cheese), peppers, onions, and sauce. Let it sit just long enough to wilt the spinach, melt the cheese, and warm everything through.
5. Fold over the sides of the crepe and serve immediately.

Roasted Cauliflower

roastedcauliflower

I roasted broccoli recently and got overenthusiastic with spices as I pretended I was a chef on Chopped. After literally rinsing the veggies in fistfuls to make it palatable (God bless my family for still eating it), I decided to follow recipes a little more faithfully. Here’s a simple one that we all love to eat. Again, from The Complete Low-Carb Cookbook.

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 T olive oil
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/8 t garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400.

Toss florets in olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, then place coated cauliflower on a sheet pan in a single layer. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Note: Pat cauliflower dry after washing it. Otherwise you run the risk of the veggie being overdone by the time it finally caramelizes.

Creamy Chicken & Sweet Potato Curry

chickencurry

We’re working on eating low(er) carb in this house… and this recipe not only fit the bill but I ate the leftovers for lunch two days in a row. I am told this is normal behavior, however I usually, uh, don’t like eating leftovers. The whole family liked this one so I’ll definitely make it again. Credit to George Stella and The Complete Low-Carb Cookbook.

1 large sweet potato, thinly sliced
1 T vegetable oil
1 T butter
2lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into 1-inch thick strips
salt and pepper
1 t minced garlic
1.5 t curry powder
1 C chicken broth
1 t cider vinegar
1/2 C heavy cream
5 scallions, sliced into 1-inch lengths

Blanch sliced sweet potatoes in boiling water for 4 minutes, or until almost tender. Drain and set aside.

Heat vegetable oil and butter in a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Generously season chicken strips with salt and pepper and add to the hot pan, cooking until they begin to brown. Add garlic and curry powder and sauce 1 minute before adding the blanched sweet potato slices, chicken broth, vinegar, and heavy cream.

Let simmer 4 minutes, or until liquid has reduced by about half. Stir in scallions, season the sauce with salt to taste, and serve.

**Stella notes that this dish is best served over or alongside steamed or roasted cauliflower. Or you can mix thawed frozen cauliflower directly into the sauce before simmering in the last step.

Blackberry Pulled Pork

This recipe is based on one from a slow cooker cookbook I checked out from the library, but I had to make do with so many of the things I had on hand rather than the things it called for that it’s really it’s own new recipe. Jason says he thinks it’s probably the best pulled pork I’ve ever made, so I guess that means the recipe is a keeper. I’ve written it here as I made it this time, and honestly I don’t think I’d change much, with one exception: It didn’t really have the sweetness I expected, but Jason doesn’t like it too sweet. What to do? I added molasses, which was perfect. The change I’d make is just to go ahead and add the molasses with everything else. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds boneless pork roast, excess fat removed
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries (I did use fresh, but I have no doubt that frozen would work just as well)
  • 1/2 cup chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate vinegar (this is what I had; the original recipe calls for balsamic)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (the original recipe called for 1/4 teaspoon? what would be the point of that?)
  • 2 tablespoons candied ginger, chopped fine (the original recipe calls for ginger preserves, which sound amazing but I couldn’t find them locally)
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • dash each of chili powder, cayenne, and paprika
  • 1 onion, diced (I had leftover carmelized onion that I just threw in, but since it cooks so long, I think a fresh onion would be just as good, right?)
  • 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 cup molasses

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a 6-quart slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-9 hours or on high for 6 hours, until the meat is easily shredded with a fork.
  2. Remove the pork from the slow cooker. Shred with a fork and set aside. Puree the sauce with an immersion blender (what I did) or mash any solid bits of the sauce with a potato masher (what the original recipe suggests). Return the pork to the slow cooker and toss to coat the pork evenly with the sauce.