Meats/beef

Tostada Tacos

Time is flying, and we’re still at home. Weather is getting nicer, and we’ve fired up the grill several times already this summer. While my creative juices are beginning to flow again, I find myself gravitating towards easier, more simpler dishes and recipes, given that my husband and I are still navigating parenthood with a 3.5-month-old.

We initially bought flour and corn tortillas to make crunchwrap supremes, then realizing the flour tortillas were too small opted for cheesy gordita crunches. Upon opening the flour tortillas, we noticed they went moldy *Sigh*. Ultimately, we decided to just make tacos, but I had already poured avocado oil in a pan to fry up the corn tortillas. I decided to stick with frying the corn tortillas up a bit and made them into traditional tacos, with a tostada twist.

These were so easy to make, and I used Siete Foods brand Taco seasoning, which was INSANELY delicious. How have I not had this before? You can find this seasoning online at Thrive Market (my go-to for a lot of products and groceries) or at Whole Foods.

Step 1: Pour oil of choice into a shallow frying pan just enough that it coats the bottom of the pan and then an extra 1/4″.

Step 2: Heat the pan on medium and add two tortillas at once. Let them fry for about a minute or two on each side, or until you see them start to bubble and lightly brown on the sides.

Step 3: Let sit on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil. Assemble as you would tacos with all of your ingredients: tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, taco meat, hot sauce. Enjoy!

The texture of these tacos is a little crisp with a perfect bend in the tortilla, mixed with the mildly-spicy Siete Foods taco seasoning, I’m already anticipating making these again next week; NOMaste and stay safe!

Barbacoa (Steak) Quesadillas

Day number 49723.6 of quarantine during this global pandemic, and here we are, staying at home, cooking up a storm, and watching reruns of reruns of The Office. Days are blending into the next, and with each day passing a small glimmer of hope appears. I continue to think about the families who lost all their income, the students who are without any source of food, and new moms such as myself navigating parenthood with very limited interaction with family and the real world. What a time in our history, huh?

Over in our home, we love a good Mexican night. What’s not to love? Guacamole, margaritas, and delicious food, such as quesadillas. I didn’t swap anything for these: I used Whole Foods organic flour tortillas, a chuck roast, homemade guacamole and Organic valley mexican blend cheese. THAT’S IT. Barbacoa is traditionally a stewed beef in an oven or a slow cooker, and so that’s what I did. I’ll admit, I started cooking a little late so it wasn’t as tender as I would have preferred, BUT the flavor was spot on and had it cooked for another 2 hours it would have been perfection.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2lbs chuck roast
  • 1 package flour tortillas
  • 1 package mexican blend cheese
  • Beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • Homemade guacamole or store-bought
    • for homemade:
      • two ripe avocados
      • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
      • 1/4 cup finely chopped tomato
      • half a lime to squeeze in juice
      • salt
  • Cooking spray
  • Chili Powder
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder

First and foremost, prep the chuck roast by patting it dry and seasoning generously with chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Place into the slow cooker and fill with 2 cups of water and 32oz broth (I LOVE Kettle and Fire’s beef broth – it’s delicious and packed with collagen and incredible benefits). Set on low cook for 8 hours, or high cook for 6 hour. You want the meat to be as tender as possible.

When the meat is done, pull apart with two forks or use poultry scissors to cut the meat into smaller pieces (this is what I did). Add the meat back to the stock and let it marinade. Spray cooking spray into a skillet and heat on medium high heat. Take a tortilla and let it begin to crisp. Add in the meat, then a few pinches of the cheese. Let it cook for two minutes on this side. Top the tortilla with a second tortilla and flip. Cook again for another two to three minutes. Repeat until all tortillas are used or to your desire. You can always leave some for leftovers tomorrow. Pair with the guacamole and an extra large margarita 🙂 Enjoy!

French Onion Burgers

The weather is officially changing. Lawns are getting mowed, people are power-washing their homes, and opening up their pools. Yep, it’s almost summertime. That means lots of BBQ meals and dinners outside, except we have to socially distance and wear a mask. Honestly, after a few weeks it’ll feel more “normal,” even though everyday there’s more sadness with lives lost and more confirmed cases. Nevertheless, we persevere and continue to stay at home and cook – so I decided to make burgers!

Something about making burgers puts a smile on my face. Handcrafting the patties, choosing my own seasonings, and throwing them on a grill or a hot skillet gets me in the best mood – and I think we could all use some mood boosting recipes amirite? This burger has four seasonings to it and is donned with some classic caramelized onions and provolone cheese, sandwiched between a hearty potato bun. I had the last of them this afternoon for my lunch because they were THAT good. Also, a side of homemade fries and roasted squash isn’t too bad either. (working to perfect the fries so that’ll come sometime soon!)

Here’s what you’ll need for these burgers:

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 large onions sliced
  • Package of potato rolls
  • Arrowroot or cornstarch (to thicken onions as they caramelize)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • Onion salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Adobo
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Take your ground beef out approximately 20-30 minutes before handling, you want any meat to be relatively room temperature before manipulating. Add to a bowl and add in the seasonings, remember to be generous here as you want the burgers to be juicy and flavorful. Form patties by grabbing a fitsfull of meat and gently pressing into a circle, you don’t need a perfectly shaped patty and you want them to be loose (not super compact). Place on a plate and set aside.

Slice your onions and add to a pan with melted butter. Let them sweat and become aeromatic, stirring and letting the butter marinade into them. They will begin to soften and turn brown around 5 minutes, lower the flame and add arrowroot or cornstarch (arrowroot is a substitute from cornstarch and is less of an allergy than corn, plus it’s considered a healthier alternative and less processed). Continue to cook the onions on a low flame until they become super soft, holding their shape but are a golden brown. Turn off flame and set aside.

Use a non-stick skillet or even a cast iron (I was lazy and didn’t feel like taking mine out) and heat on medium high heat. Spray the pan with some cooking spray and add the burgers (I did three at a time). Cook for 3-4 minutes or your desired doneness. Flip and add the provolone to melt, another 3 minutes. Layer onto the buns and add some onions on top and voila, French Onion burger. Not so bad right? Get that grill going and crack open a White Claw – or a regular beer – and enjoy!

Sausage and Peppers

Peanut butter and jelly. Macaroni and cheese. Donuts and coffee. Okay, the donuts and coffee doesn’t necessarily fit the analogy, but I can always go for a donut when I have coffee it sort of counts. Classic pairings are sometimes even more delicious than getting ultra creative and trying hard in the kitchen. During today’s current reality (I REFUSE to say new normal, because nothing about this is normal, it’s our current reality and if things shift afterwards – hopefully they do – it will be our new reality), it’s damn near impossible to order groceries on whatever site you use, grab a delivery slot, and get everything you hoped for. Sometimes, we have make do with what we have, and that’s what sausage and peppers was for me.

I’m a purist when it comes to certain foods, and sausage is one of them. I’m not a huuuge turkey or chicken sausage fan, I just feel like the flavor in pork sausage tastes better, and it’s higher fat for a reason! Trader Joe’s makes an awesome pork and beef uncured sausage link pack that I am dying to grab again, when I am brave enough to venture to stores. I had a pack in the freezer and decided “THIS is a good time to take these out and make lunch with them.” I had also ordered several bell peppers from the previous week’s grocery delivery, so AHA!… let’s make sausage and peppers. I’d like to take a moment to settle a debate here too: I despise green peppers. There is no room for them at the table: they smell and taste like dirt and are super bitter. I prefer orange and yellow bell peppers and usually have them on hand.

Here’s what you’ll need for this super simple and tasty dish:

  • 1 pkg sausage (I’ll allow turkey or chicken substitutes here), sliced into small rounds
  • 2 medium peppers, julienned (sliced thin)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Your favorite spicy seasoning – I use a fajita mix or cajun mix, I would also use New Bae seasoning from Primal Palate, found here!

Start by heating a large sauté pan with the olive oil. Throw in the peppers and let them cook down until they begin to sweat and slightly brown, this will be around 5-7 minutes. Throw in the sliced sausage and sprinkle in your seasoning. Cook until the sides of the sausage are browned and the peppers are soft.

This dish is perfect on its own, over orzo pasta, paired with rice, or can be tossed with other roasted veggies. I will also say this stays well in the fridge so it’s a perfect stay-at-home meal prep for lunches. Enjoy!

Stove Top Braised Short Ribs

It’s almost one month since I’ve given birth to our sweet, lucky little boy – Rowen Gray – and boy has it been an adjustment. We’ve started on the “sleep deprivation” spiral, zero time for laundry, constantly burping him (as he has reflux), and loving every second of his adorable little self. You never fully understand how much it will change your life when you have a child, until you actually have one. As exhausting and frustrating it can be, I would not trade it for the world.

With that said, balancing having a newborn and being in the kitchen is a real struggle. Granted it’s only been a few weeks, and I’m still learning ways to navigate Rowen and while I can strap him in a carrier and cook, I also need to take time for myself and, like, sleep. This week began Passover, and coincidentally, we are all going through one of the most challenging and uncertain times as a country, as a human species, and I would be remiss if I did not mention how eerily similar this pandemic is to the story of Passover. I think now more than ever we have to be grateful for the family and loved ones around us, stay home and do our part to slow the spread of this COVID-19, count our blessings, and manifest kindness.

Passover this year was very different: no traditional Seder, not even a Seder plate. We had a virtual Seder on Wednesday which is better than not being able to see them at all. I had taken out short ribs that I ordered from Whole Foods but wasn’t even sure what I wanted to do with them, let alone was I sure I wanted to cook. Nevertheless, I made them, and they came out beyond incredible.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2lbs short ribs (I prefer bone in – it adds more collagen and nutrients)
  • 1 carton beef stock or bone broth – I love Kettle and Fire brand
  • 1/4 cup wine (I used white because it was open, but red would be great too).
  • 1 cup coconut aminos
  • 2 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled then sliced thick
  • 2 medium zucchini, rinsed then chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Rosemary
  • Basil

We have a decent amount of fresh produce and so I knew I wanted to incorporate that into this dish anyway, so I got started on the short ribs. I seared them in some avocado oil with a heavy seasoning of salt, pepper, and rosemary. I let them brown on all sides and then deglazed the pot with the broth, coconut aminos, and dry white wine.

I threw in the chopped veggies and added a bit more salt and pepper. Covered the pot and turned the flame to a medium low for two and a quarter hours (2.25 hr). Literally that’s it. The meat fell off the bone and the veggies were the perfect tender consistency. We had potato kugel with it and some matzo ball soup because #passover, and it was a delicious Seder for a newly family of three. L’chaim.