Pineapple Pico & Slow Cooked Tacos

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This week, following our usual Taco Tuesday tradition, we made tacos using beef chuck roast instead of the usual ground meat, and switched up the toppings and marinade. I’ve been having a major fruit craving this entire pregnancy, so that’s where the pineapple pico came from.And instead of blindly dumping generous amounts of sauces into my crock pot, I actually broke out the food processor to blend the ingredients that go into the marinade first. I’m not going to lie, I actually plugged the food processor into the bathroom and closed the door while blending, b/c I prepped this during Char’s nap and had to be quiet! Oh small NYC living for ya! Continue reading “Pineapple Pico & Slow Cooked Tacos”

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October Jackets & Braised Meat…

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You must be thinking, how on earth do these two eat chili so many times in one week??  But honestly, it never gets old when the weather turns cooler. We crafted this braised short rib chili over the weekend, and it was SCRUMPTIOUS. Disgustingly, I actually had thirds, while my husband held onto some self control, allowing himself only seconds.We added sweet potatoes, corns, and beans, which gave the broth and overall dish a slight sweetness, which mixed great with the natural spiciness of the chili. Continue reading “October Jackets & Braised Meat…”

August Eats with Chimichurri Steak

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Is anyone else shocked that it is already August?!? I feel like my days have been so busy lately, that summer has swept by in a blink of the eye……Below’s Steak recipe involves our good ole chimichurri topping, which you literally could use on anything (fish, chicken, pork, potatoes). We kept this dish simple, with medium pan fried steak over couscous.

Below is a picture of Char eating her first meatball (with some yams mixed in). I must say, she is one spoiled little girl, taking what should be her Dad’s leftovers for lunch 🙂 I will say finger foods are fun, but definitely more time and effort than shoving a good old fruit or veggie puree pouch into her mouth (gosh those were so easy). However, each day she gets better and more intrigued about feeding herself. So far bananas are still in the lead for favorites (which most likely she inherited from her Mama, who eats one every am for the last 20 years straight).

Chimichurri Pan Fried Steak

Ingredients: serves 2

  • bunch flat leaf parsley (chopped)
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 3/4-1 cup good extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-5 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1/4 red onion (diced very small)
  • 1 tablespoon dried chili flakes
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano (just the leaves… you can also just use 1tbsp dried oregano)
  • 1 tsp each kosher salt & ground black pepper
Instructions:
  1. Put the garlic cloves, 1/2 cup olive oil, chili flakes, and oregano into the food processor, and pulse until garlic is diced fairly small.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients (lemon, red wine vinegar, parsley, red onion, salt, pepper, and another 1/4 cup oil) to the processor. Blend until everything is diced very finely (~15 seconds). I actually like to keep the parsley a little intact, instead of blending too much, but that’s really up to you. You may have to manually stir the mixture a little between blends, to make sure everything gets chopped up. Add remaining olive oil as necessary… the mixture should look as though it’s sitting in olive oil once you’re done.
  3. Prepare steak to your usual liking. We pan fry it on the stove top, seasoning both sides heavily in salt & pepper ahead of time.
  4. Heat a large frying pan on high heat, add a few drops of olive oil to the pan. Let meat sear for 3 minutes, or until well browned (depending on how rare you like it-we like it medium rare). Use tongs to lift up to see if nicely browned. If so, flip to the other side and let sear for another 3 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and let the steak rest for 5-10  minutes before slicing.
  6. Spread chimichurri sauce on top and serve.
Pro tip: We marinated some chicken in the excess chimichurri to eat the next day… and I don’t know which was better… the steak or the chimichurri!

 

 

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Shepherd’s Pie mini cakes…St Patrick’s day recap

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Since it was St Patrick’s day this week, we tried to get festive and make some good ole Irish food. Shepherd’s pie was one of my favorite meals growing up. I mean who wouldn’t love a big pile of meat and mashers. This year my husband wanted to make personal pie cakes. We took a risk, considering we were having friends over for dinner, but they turned out AMAZING. We even had enough left over to make one entire large pie. So whether you want to make one large pie, or do the mini cakes like we tried, this recipe below will serve at least 6 (with most likely room for left overs).

Little Ms. Char was very cooperative with company, and went down right as our friends arrived 🙂 That’s always a win! Unfortunately, I didn’t get her a St Patties outfit, mama was slacking! I promise to be more prepared for Easter. We are still waiting for her to roll over again! Lots of side rolls and kicks in the meantime! In anticipation of the first day of spring starting tomorrow (my birthday-yay!), we invested in a jogging stroller. We took her for a spin in her new whip yesterday and she loved it! Pics to come on that!

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Shepherd’s Pie mini cakes:
Ingredients: serves 6

For the filling:

– 2lbs 85% lean ground beef
– 2 large carrots (diced… you want all the veggies around the same side as the corn and peas)
– 3 stalks of celery (diced)
– 1 large sweet onion (diced)
– 1 cup frozen peas
– 1 cup fresh or canned corn
– 3 cloves garlic (diced)
– 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
– 1 small can tomato paste
– 1.5 tbsp fresh thyme
– 1.5 tbxp fresh rosemary (chopped)
– 1 large pinch each nutmeg, cumin, and dill
– 1 cup beef broth
– 1.5 tbsp flour or corn starch
*you could if you wanted to save time, buy a large bag of frozen mixed vegetables instead of buying the fresh vegetables
For the topping:
– 3 yukon gold potatoes (peeled and quartered)
– 2 tbsp butter (or more… more tastes better, but is less healthy!)
– 1/2 cup milk
– 1/2 cup light sour cream
– 1 bunch chives (chopped finely)
– 1/2 tsp nutmeg
– salt & pepper
For the crust:
– we just buy two pre-made pie crusts and fit them to the molds. obviously you can make your own, but I find it tastes exactly the same and requires 100x more effort.
Instructions for potatoes:
1) Start potatoes first, b/c they take a while. Boil the potatoes in lightly salted water for 20 mins, or until soft enough to easily pierce with a fork. Drain, add butter, milk, sour cream, nutmeg, salt & pepper. Mash over low heat until smooth. I generally don’t like to use a blender b/c I think it makes the potatoes gummy, but it’s not the end of the world if you want to. If it’s too lumpy, just add a little more milk and/or sour cream, and keep mashing. Also generously add salt & pepper. Add chives and allow to cool.
2) To make those funny little crowns and swirls, we put the potatoes into a large ziploc and cut off the corner, squeezing it out like icing. This was the first time we tried this technique, and I would say there’s potential for improvement…haha.
Instructions for filling:
1) Pre-heat oven to 350.
2) While potatoes are boiling, salt and pepper the ground beef generously, brown in a large frying pan. Beef should be thoroughly cooked; we like it to almost have a little crust on bits of it, to add texture. It should be seasoned well enough to taste good on its own. Remove to a bowl.
3) Add onions and garlic to the same pan, sautee over medium heat w/ a little olive oil until onions are just starting to get soft. Add the rest of the veggies and herbs/spices, continue to sautee over medium heat until carrots and celery just start to soften, 5-7 mins.
4) Return meat to pan w/ veggies, adding the beef broth and flour (sprinkle flower over whole mixture to not create lumps). Stir it all together and let simmer over medium heat until most of the broth is evaporated (approx. 10 mins), stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool somewhat (doesn’t need to be cold or anything.)
5) Once somewhat cooled, add the mixture to cold pie crusts, topping with the mashed potatoes.
6) Put in the oven for 30-40 mins (30 for the personal size pies, 40 for the larger pies), or until crust is golden.
*If you wanted to add cheese at the end, you could shred sharp cheddar cheese and sprinkle over!
P.S. do you think we made enough?

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Happy St Patrick’s Day!!!!
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I turned my head for one second, and this poor gal gashed up her nose! #Mommyfail #Scarsaddcharacter….not! PS Thanks for the outfit Auntie Kendall 🙂

FL bound & stuffed peppers…

Little Miss Char and I decided to be brave and fly solo this past week to visit my parents in FL. We survived the flight, although it was  a tad different than her first flight at 10 weeks old, when she slept literally the entire time. She was definitely active for 95% of the flight and my arms were TIRED to say the least… but all in we made it to the sunshine state. The even better news is Nick will be flying back with us, so it will be so much easier with extra hands. He has a conference down here in a few days for work, which was the original reason we planned this trip!

While home we certainly get spoiled by my mother’s Italian cooking. She makes her pasta from scratch, and can whip up homemade raviolis with a meat sauce in literally 20 minutes. She decided to switch up the cuisine on us and made Picadillo Stuffed Peppers, a recipe inspired by a dish she saw while watching the food network. The fun thing about this recipe is each colored pepper has a different taste. We prefer the red pepper the best, it has a tendency to be sweeter 🙂  Also most stuffed pepper recipes, you cut the top off and hollow it out. These we sliced vertically in half, leaving the stem on. We found the peppers hold their shape a lot better this way, plus the stem acts as a great decorative piece when plating.

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Finished product!!!

Ingredients: serving size 6 (3 peppers total)

Bell Peppers:

  • 1 red pepper, 1 green pepper, 1 yellow pepper (halved lengthwise and seeded)
  • salt & pepper
  • cilantro
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheese (we used mozzarella)

Picadillo:

  • 2 tble spoons of olive oil
  • 12 ounces of ground meat (we used ground chuck, but ground turkey would be just as good)
  • 1 cup of green olives w/ pimientos chopped
  • 1/2 of diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup of raisins
  • 1/2 diced onions
  • 1 14 once can of crushed tomatoes

Directions:

Picadillo:

  1. Preheat the over to 400F
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef; cook until brown about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add onions, raisins, carrots, olives, and spices
  4. Add crushed tomatoes and bring skillet to a boil. Overall should simmer for 10 minutes or so.

You can technically make this picadillo ahead of time and let it sit for the day until you are ready to cook.

Peppers:

  1. Slice bell peppers vertically, removing the excess white membrane
  2. Place on a baking sheet
  3. Fill each pepper half with the picadillo mixture.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the peppers are tender.
  5. In a small bowl stir together mozzarella, panko, and cilantro. Save for the end to top the peppers.
  6. Remove from the oven and turn broiler to high.
  7. Sprinkle peppers with w/ the cheese and panko  mix.
  8. Put back in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until golden brown.

 

PS, I think Char looks more and more like my nephew Grey (My sisters baby boy who is now 4, this pic is from forever ago). I can’t wait for these little stinkers to meet this spring.

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