Tamale Pie

This is similar to my mom’s tamale pie, in style anyway, but with my own flavors. Great on a rainy day or just a cold day.

Note at the bottom tells how to make this dish vegetarian. 🙂

Ingredients
1 pound hamburger, browned
2 cups kidney beans, canned or dried
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 cup onion, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can beef broth
1 cup cornmeal, mixed with broth
1/4 cup canned jalapeños, diced with juice
3 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 can medium pitted olives, drained
5 large garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon chili powder

Garnishes:
sour cream
grated cheese
sliced green onions

Quick method:
In a large pot combine everything, use the canned beans instead of the dried, and cook on medium until heated through. Taste for seasoning. Serve and top with sour cream, cheese and green onions. My Hubby likes eating his with corn chips, just an idea. 😉

Long method:
I’ll do this when I have to work and want to have this mostly ready when I get home.
In your crock pot combine dried beans, washed and picked through, onion, tomatoes, broth, jalapeños, cumin, chili powder and worcestershire sauce. Stir well and set on high for 6-8 hours. Brown hamburger, mix in corn and garlic and stir into the beans in the crock pot. Mix the cornmeal with some broth (or beer, if you like) until it’s a loose paste. Mix into the beans until there are no lumps. Cook on high, covered, for another 30 minutes, then check the seasoning. Serve like above, sour cream, cheese, green onions and chips, if you like.

Note: You can make this vegetarian if you leave out the hamburger and the beef broth, you can just double the beans and use vegetable broth instead.

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Pork Verde

This is totally my version of this. No recipe used, just trying out an idea. And it turned out great!

Ingredients
1 pound pork*
2 cups water
1 chicken bullion cube
2 small cans diced green chiles
1 small onion, diced
2 bell peppers, red and green, cut into short strips
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup grated cheese
1 avocado, diced
1 tomato, diced
sour cream
lime, cut into wedges

In the crock pot put the pork, water and chicken bullion cube. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. 1 hour before pork is done cooking, using 2 forks, shred pork and add onion and bell peppers. Once the pork and veggies are done cooking drain all but 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and discard. Put the 1/2 cup of cooking liquid along with the diced green chiles into the pork and veggies. Mix together. Serve over rice with cheese, avocado, tomatoes and sour cream on top, lime wedge on the side.

Call me crazy!

I went to cash and carry and found a deal. A deal too good to pass up. Especially with St. Patrick’s day coming up.

Yes, that is corned beef.
16.25 pounds of it.

Wow.

We are HUGE fans of this particular cut of meat, we eat it as much as I can, especially this time of year when it goes on sale. This was roughly $1.70 a pound. Super cheap.

So.
What am I going to do with it? Split it first of all. Probably into 4 pieces. One will go to mom. One will be cooked Sunday night. The other two I’m hoping to be able to cram into my over-stuffed freezer so we can have another on the 17th and another some time after that.

Cooking the beast.
Before cooking I usually soak it in water over night. That way some of the salt will come out since corning the beef makes it really salty and even a few hours soaking in water will reduce the salt content. Then after a nice long soak it will go into the crock pot with some fresh water and spices*. Note: if you put the spices into a tea ball they won’t be all over the meat when it’s done cooking. I set the crock pot on high for 8-10 hours. When it’s down to 2 hours to go I’ll add carrots, potatoes and onions. When it’s down to 30 minutes I’ll add, if there is room, a head of cabbage** cleaned and quartered. If there isn’t room I’ll put the cabbage in a sauce pot with a lid and ladle a couple cups of the cooking liquid from the corned beef and veggies onto the cabbage. Then replace the lid and steam the cabbage for about 10 minutes. Before serving I’ll let the beef rest on a platter for 10 minutes so it will be easier to slice. I always serve it with a honey mustard sauce that I make myself. It’s easy to make and it stores in the fridge for a long time. 2 parts honey, 2 parts grainy mustard, 1 part apple cider vinegar. That’s it. Mix it together and put in a squeeze bottle or jar.

*Spices: a mixture usually comes with your corned beef but sometimes you like to mix your own. A good mix is black pepper corns, mustard seed, cinnamon sticks, celery seed and bay leaf. Or whatever you like, it’s up to you.

**Cabbage: instead of regular cabbage I like to use savoy cabbage. It’s got better flavor and it doesn’t make your belly upset if you aren’t used to eating a lot of cabbage.

Basic Meatloaf

This is my recipe for basic meatloaf. You can add all kinds of things to it and swap out ingredients for other flavors you might be wanting. Pretty easy and quick.

Ingredients
1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup onions, diced, sauted and cooled
1 egg
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon deli mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 350. Mix together egg, bread crumbs, worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons ketchup, onion, mustard, garlic powder and pepper. Gently mix in meat, don’t squish it together, it will make it tough. Shape meatloaf mixture in a baking dish making sure it’s large enough for 2 inches around each side of the meatloaf so the heat will cook it evenly and the grease will have a place to go. Cover with the 1/2 cup ketchup and bake for 45 minutes. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Substitutions: you can use BBQ sauce instead of the ketchup and add 1/2 cup grated cheese to make a cheese burger meatloaf.

Or you can add diced carrots and celery and mushrooms, sauted and cooled first, to the original mixture for more veggies in the mix.

You can also add 1/4 cup cooked and crumbled bacon and 1/4 cup cheese to the mixture for something different.

My mom always put a couple cloves into the top of the meatloaf before cooking and then removed them before cooking and it added an interesting flavor. If you would like to try this I would recommend mixing in 1/8, or just a sprinkle, of ground cloves to the mixture before you mix in the meat.

You can use ground pork, chicken or turkey if you like but the cooking times will be a little different and you will need to check it often to make sure it doesn’t get over cooked. Or you can use 1/2 pound ground beef and 1/2 pound ground pork for a juicer meatloaf.

This recipe also makes great meat balls, just add 1 tablespoon milk and mix in before you add the meat. Roll into balls and brown in a skillet or bake in the oven on a sheet pan for 15-20 minutes in a 350 oven. Or you can throw them in a crock pot with a tomato sauce and cook on low for 4 hours.

Red Curry and Rice

This is my version of my uncle’s curry. Very yummy. His was very spicy and he made his with lamb which was wonderful but you can just do veggies (very very yummy) and keep it vegan or you can add whatever meat you like. I’m also including my recipes for tzatziki sauce, saffron or lemon rice and mango chutney.

Red Curry

1 large onion, diced small
2 big cloves of garlic, minced
1 can petite diced tomatoes
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
red curry paste or dried red curry powder, to taste
16 ounce can coconut milk
Optional ingredients: eggplant, zucchini, chicken, pork, lamb, firm tofu or anything else you would like to add

I use a food processor and pulse the garlic a couple times. Peel and quarter onion and pulse in the food processor until everything is chopped finely. If you are making mango chutney set aside 2 tablespoons of the onion/garlic. Saute onion and garlic in a pan with a little bit of water until translucent. Add diced tomatoes and juice and simmer on low for about 20 minutes. Add curry, salt and pepper. Add optional ingredients and cook until done. Add coconut milk last and remove from heat. Taste to adjust seasonings. Serve over saffron or lemon rice with tadziki sauce and mango chutney on the side.

Saffron or Lemon Rice

1 cup long grain or Jasmine rice
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pinch saffron or the peel of one lemon, removed with a vegetable peeler

Toast rice for 2-3 minutes in a hot dry pan. Add water, salt and saffron or lemon peel. Cook covered for 15 minutes on low. Let sit with lid still on for about 10 minutes. If you made lemon rice remove the peel before serving.

Tzatziki Sauce
(Yes, I know it’s Greek but it’s such a great flavor with the curry I always have to make it to go along)

1 cup Greek or strained yogurt
1 cup grated cucumber
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dill weed
pinch of salt
2-3 grinds of fresh black pepper

Combine everything and refrigerate before serving.

Mango Chutney

2 firm mangos, diced
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons onion/garlic mixture
1 teaspoon ginger powder or 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons water

Saute onion/garlic mixture in vegetable oil until translucent. Add mango, raisins, brown sugar, and water if the mangos are firm. Simmer until mangos are starting to fall apart. Stir in curry powder. Cool in fridge before serving.

Side note: you can start the curry in the crock pot if you like, 4-6 hours on low with the onion/garlic mixture, tomatoes and meat or veggies in it and finish it right before serving. This is how I usually make this but tonight I’m making it like my original instructions.

Crock Pot Beef Short Ribs

This is one of my favorite comfort foods or even special occasion foods because it’s really rich and it’s a little expensive but well worth it. Make sure you buy the beef short ribs with the bones in them, without the bones they don’t turn out right.

Ingredients
3-4 beef short ribs per person
1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
2-3 cups red wine (enough to come halfway up ribs)
1 beef bullion cube
1 cup frozen pearl onions
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

In your crock pot add everything and set on high for 8 hours. The last hour or two you can crack the lid to make the sauce thicker if you want. Serve over buttered egg noodles with your favorite veggie.

Cherry Butter

HERE is the original post. I did it a little differently though and made freezer jam.

Cherry Butter

6 cups pitted cherries
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4-6 cups sugar

I started by putting the cherries and spices into the crock pot on high. I let it sit for about 6 hours stirring every hour or so. Then I took my stick blender and pureed it all until there were no lumps. (But just to make sure there were no pits or lumps I poured it though the pasta strainer into a bowl and poured the bowl back into the crock pot.) Then I added 4 cups of the sugar, stirring it in throughly, and I left it on high for another 6 hours with the lid cracked, I used a wooden spoon to keep the lid partly open. By that time it was 9pm and it still wasn’t reduced as much as I liked so I left it on the keep warm setting on my crock pot overnight with the spoon still keeping the lid partly open. In the morning it was pretty much as thick as I wanted it so I tasted it and decided it needed more sugar. 1 1/2 cups of sugar later it was perfect. Once it cooled most of the way I put it in 8oz plastic freezer containers, labeled them, and popped them in the freezer.

It’s very good, tart and sweet and very cherry. I’ll keep this recipe around for a long time. And the cherry butter in the freezer should last at least a year if not longer.