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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef

Who likes Barbacoa? I thought that Barbacoa was something I could only order when out to eat at places like Chipotle, but now I know I can make it at home, too! I have really had to change the way I eat since I started eating a more low carb diet, so the truth is, I do not have much experience with preparing and cooking meat. I actually had never even bought chuck roast before I made this recipe! I could not believe how easy it was to cook this barbacoa beef.  The prep time for the meal was less than 5 minutes, and then I just let my slow cooker do its magic. The meat was cooked in the slow cooker until tender, and it shredded beautifully. The meat is incredibly flavorful, thanks to the spice mixture that is rubbed on it prior to it going into the slow cooker. Greg and I ate the barbacoa in a salad four nights in a row. Greg said there are some meals he gets tired of if he has to eat them too much, but he said he was still loving this meal on the fourth night. I made the barbacoa salad with romaine lettuce, rice, beans (kidney or black), corn, tomato, avocado, Colby jack cheese, sour cream, salsa, and bacon habanero tortilla chips. You can prepare it however you like, though. Use it in tacos, burritos, salads, or just eat it over rice with vegetables. Enjoy!

Recipe for Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef 

INGREDIENTS:
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp. of garlic powder
1 Tbsp. of oregano
1 1/2 Tbsp. of cumin
1/2 tsp. of ground cloves
2 tsp. of salt
3/4 tsp. of black pepper
2 1/2 pounds of chuck roast
3/4 cup of beef broth
1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice (about 2 large limes)
2 1/2 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
3 bay leaves

DIRECTIONS: 
Put the chopped onion into a slow cooker. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic powder, oregano, cumin, ground cloves, salt, and pepper. Spoon some of the mixture over the meat and rub over the surface of the meat using the spoon. Continue until the surface of the meat is coated with the spice mixture. Put the meat in the slow cooker with the onion, and include any of the spice mixture that may have fallen off. Then add in the beef broth, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, and bay leaves. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours (I cooked it for 8 1/2 on low) or you can cook it on high for 4 - 6 hours.

Once meat finishes cooking, transfer it to a large plate and shred. Get rid of the fatty pieces of meat. Discard the bay leaves from the slow cooker. Add the meat back to the slow cooker and let it soak in the liquid for about 10 minutes before serving.

Store any leftover meat in the fridge in airtight containers and consume within 4 days.

Recipe Source: Seeded at the Table

Makes approximately 8 servings. 


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Honey, Oat, and Almond Crumble

Who loved Honey Nut Cheerios as a kid? Who STILL loves Honey Nut Cheerios? I definitely preferred the Honey Nut Cheerios to other Cheerios when I was young, but I'm not a huge cereal person these days. When I tasted this honey nut goodness, the flavor reminded me a bit of Honey Nut Cheerios, all grown-up. The first time I made this it did not turn out too well, because I cooked it without fruit, but followed a recipe that had the honey crumble baked onto fruit. The oven was at too high of a temperature, and since I was trying to entertain my daughter who had woke up from a nap while the crumble was in the oven, I didn't watch it well enough and it ended up burning pretty badly. I tried the recipe again because I could tell that it would have been so yummy if it didn't have the burnt flavor. I cooked it at a much lower temperature, watched it like a hawk, and the results were incredible! Greg loves the honey, oat, and almond crumble topped on yogurt, and I love it with a little bit of milk. I also love just snacking on it plain. You can feel good about eating the honey, oat, and almond crumble throughout the day because it has heart-healthy almonds and fiber-rich oats. Just be careful not to overdo it, since it also has a good amount of butter. 

This honey, oat, and almond crumble is totally addictive and delicious. The original recipe comes from a cookbook that was written by a friend of my friend! I definitely want to try the original recipe that has the crumble baked onto fruit. I hear it is amazing on peaches! Enjoy.

Recipe for Honey, Oat, and Almond Crumble

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup of almonds
1/2 of Old-Fashioned oats
3 Tbsp. of unsweetened flaked coconut
8 Tbsp. of unsalted chilled butter, cut into 1 Tbsp. pieces, then cut in half (16 pieces total)
1 Tbsp. of coconut oil  (optional)
3 Tbsp. of clover honey
1/4 tsp. of coarse sea salt (or more, or less, or none at all - all depends on your preference for sweet+salty)

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly grease the parchment paper with butter or coconut oil. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the almonds and oats. Pulse, several times, until the almonds are well chopped. Then drop the butter pieces evenly over the almond mixture. Add the coconut oil, honey, and salt. Pulse, several times, until the mixture just about starts to come together (but don't overdo it). Transfer the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread evenly, but don't press down too much. Then place in the oven and cook for 8 - 10 minutes, watching VERY closely. If the edges begin to brown, use a spatula to carefully turn up the edges. After 8 - 10 minutes, lower the temperature of the oven to 300 degrees, and rotate the pan 180 degrees. Continue to cook, still watching carefully, for about 5 - 7 more minutes, making sure it does not burn. Remove from oven and let it cool. Then store in an airtight container at room temperature. Eat it plain, on top of yogurt, with fruit, or with milk.

Recipe Adapted from: Eat Happy, by Molly Badger

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Maple and Mustard Palate-Pleasing Chicken

I came across this chicken recipe several weeks ago on a blog called "Witty in the City." I thought it sounded really good, and I wanted to make it, but every time I planned to, something else would get in the way of the dinner plan. I finally made it a few days ago, and it was just as tasty as I thought it would be. It seriously was so easy to prepare, and Greg absolutely loved it. The original recipe is called "man-pleasing chicken," and although that seems like an appropriate name, I decided to call it palate-pleasing chicken, because you don't have to be a man to enjoy this chicken! To be honest, I actually didn't get to have the maple and mustard chicken for dinner. I bought bone-in chicken thighs, and didn't realize that one pound of the meat would only be two pieces of chicken. Greg has been teaching an evening sailing class this week, so I decided to let him eat it when he got home from work for two nights in a row, rather than make it one dinner for the two of us. I did get to sample it when it was fresh out of the oven, and I really did have to stop myself from eating it all. I hope Greg appreciates what a nice wife I am! If you are looking for a quick (45 minutes) and easy meal to serve, try this chicken recipe. It is totally savory, comforting to the soul, and delicious. I think it would taste great with some mashed sweet potatoes and a green vegetable, or with white rice and a vegetable (I served it with carrots). When Greg was eating it last night, Wendy was eating her dinner, and he let her try a piece. She ate it, her eyes got wide, and we swear she shouted out "Mmm, it's good!" Not only will you love this chicken, but your kids will probably love it too. Enjoy!


Recipe for Maple and Mustard Palate-Pleasing Chicken

INGREDIENTS:
2 pounds of bone-in chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup of Dijon mustard
1/3 cup of pure maple syrup
1 1/2 Tbsp. of rice vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp. of fresh rosemary

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. While the oven is heating, prepare the sauce. In a smallish bowl, mix together the Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and rice vinegar. Set aside. Line a baking dish with foil. Place the chicken thighs in a single layer into the dish. Salt and pepper the chicken. Then pour the sauce over the chicken, and use a fork to gently turn the chicken in the sauce so it gets pretty coated. Put the chicken thighs into the oven and cook for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees using an instant-read meat thermometer. Halfway through cooking, carefully spoon some of the sauce in the dish over the chicken and rotate your baking dish. Once finished cooking, remove the chicken from the oven and immediately sprinkle with the rosemary. Let cool for a few minutes, then serve with your favorite sides. 

Recipe Source: Witty in the City, originally from the I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, & Tomato) Salad

The tomatoes in my garden finally took off about a week ago. I was thrilled to be able to start making some of my favorite summer-time recipes. I made the amazing cherry tomato tart on Friday and plan to make another one tomorrow. I have also made lots of bacon and tomato sandwiches for Greg. Since I am still trying to continue eating a lower carb diet, I have been making myself BLT Salads instead. The BLT salad starts with some hearts of romaine lettuce, then is topped with lots of juicy tomatoes, crispy bacon, Parmesan cheese, fresh basil leaves,  avocado, Panko bread crumbs, and a garlicky buttermilk dressing. I also added some fresh mozzarella to the salad the other night when I realized I had a little bit leftover from when I made the cherry tomato tart. I asked Greg to photograph the BLT salad before dinner. He told me that he didn't want salad because he was craving another bacon and tomato sandwich for dinner for the third night in a row. As he was photographing the salad, I asked him how many sandwiches he wanted, and his response was "I think I want this salad instead - it looks really good!" Greg told me the salad was very different from the sandwich, but just as tasty of a meal, if not better. If you want a really yummy salad that is loaded with lots of summer-time flavors and vitamin C (tomatoes are very high in this), then give this salad a go. You will not be disappointed!

Recipe for BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, & Tomato) Salad

INGREDIENTS:
For the salad

2 cups of hearts of Romaine lettuce
4 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
1 medium Hass avocado, chopped
1/4 Tbsp. of grated Parmesan cheese
4 pieces of cooked bacon, crumbled
4 leaves of fresh basil, torn 
2 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced (optional)
2 tsp. of Panko bread crumbs (optional)
For the dressing
3 Tbsp. of mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. of buttermilk
1 clove of garlic, pressed
A couple pinches of black pepper
1 tsp. of balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:
Make the bacon first. I bake bacon rather than fry it to avoid the mess. If you prefer, you can fry it instead! To bake the bacon, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Lay bacon in a single layer on top of the parchment paper and then put into the oven for about 15 minutes. When bacon is cooked, remove from oven. Transfer the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate with tongs or a fork and blot out the excess grease.

While the bacon is cooking, chop up the tomatoes, avocado, and mozzarella. Then prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, garlic, black pepper, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice. Set aside or cover and put into the fridge. Divide the 2 cups of romaine lettuce onto two salad plates. Add the chopped tomatoes on top. Then add on the chopped avocado, 1 1/2 Tbsp. of Parmesan per salad, 2 pieces of torn fresh basil per salad, 1 tsp. of Panko bread crumbs per salad (optional), and 1 ounce of fresh mozzarella per salad (optional). Then crumble the bacon on top of each. Top each salad with desired amount of dressing and serve. Enjoy!

Recipe Adapted from: Annie's Eats

Recipe makes 2 BLT salads.