Stuffed Bell Peppers

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So the other day I decided to try something that a year ago I would never have done – a stuffed bell pepper.  1) because I never stuffed anything before and 2) I never really ate whole bell peppers – just wasn’t my thing.  I can’t even tell you what got me thinking to do this, I just decided to I guess…weird.  It was a simple meal with limited ingredients and turned out decently.  It could also be an appetizer now that I think about it. Could have probably used more cheese and salt though.

Ingredients

  • Large bell peppers, halved
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 cups cooked rice (brown/white/your choice)
  • Shredded cheese of your choice (amount of choice too)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Paprika

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Instructions

  • In a large sauté pan, add a little oil and cook the ground pork
  • Salt and pepper generously and continue to cook
  • Add the cooked rice into the pan and continue to mix and cook (you don’t have to add all the rice, your choice)
  • Add more salt and pepper as needed
  • Place the bell pepper halves on a large baking sheet
  • Fill the halves with the pork/rice mix to desired fill
  • Top with as much cheese as you want
  • Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 10-15 minutes
  • Top with a dash of paprika, and then eat it, duh

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Carne Asada Tacos

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I don’t know about you, but I love me some Mexican food – tacos, burritos, tortas, I’ll eat them all.  But tacos (like those $1 ones you get from a cart) have a special place in my heart.  With that being said, I decided to try my hand at making some carne asada tacos (turns out its more expensive to make than to buy probably).  They actually turned out pretty good though.

Ingredients for asada:

  • 1 lb skirt steak (I cut them into pieces that would fit on my grill)
  • 2 oranges, juiced
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 handful finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 serrano chile, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Ingredients for salsa

  • 4 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 serrano chile
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 white onion
  • handful of cilantro
  • salt

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Other ingredients:

  • tortillas
  • white onion, chopped
  • cilantro, chopped

Directions:

  • Mix all the ingredients in a large ziplock bag and let it marinate for ~30-45 minutes
  • On an oiled grill over medium heat, cook the steak until your desired doneness (I like med-med rare)
  • let rest for 10 minutes, then cut into slices
  • Meanwhile, put the ingredients for the salsa in a food processor and pulse until liquidy
  • Heat the tortillas in a slightly oiled pan, place the meat slices on the tortilla
  • top with chopped onions, cilantro, and salsa and enjoy!

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Pork Chops with Amber Peach Chutney

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I realized that it has been awhile since I last posted. Life has been really hectic and I havn’t had a chance to cook too much beyond fast and simple things. But a little while ago, I had some peaches and decided to make pork chops with what I guess would be my take on a peach chutney. It uses beer, which is always a good thing, but it comes out more like a sauce I guess than an actual chutney. Either way, whatever you want to call it, it was pretty good.

Ingredients

  • Pork Chop (thick cut)
  • 2 yellow peaches, pitted, cut into slices
  • 6 oz amber ale
  • 1/4 tbsp butter
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • spinach

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Directions

  • Salt and pepper the pork chops
  • Fry the chops in a skillet over medium heat, then transfer to a plate and tent with foil
  • In the same skillet, cook the peach slices until soft and slightly reduced over low-medium heat
  • Add the 6oz of beer and the lemon juice
  • Cook until the beer reduces and the alcohol is gone
  • Add the pork juice that has collected on the plate and stir in the butter
  • At the same time grill the onions until clear and slightly wilt the spinach
  • Plate the pork chop over the spinach and top with amber peach sauce/chutney
  • Eat and eat some more

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Sirloin Steak with Red Wine Sauce

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We’ve been doing this blog thing for a few months now and I have kept up with it a lot better and more consistently than I ever thought. Who knew I’d actually enjoy it. It has made me branch out and try new things, take some risks, be more creative, and plate better. My mom also keeps updated with it, checking periodically. But, without fail, every time I talk to her, she always asks me when she is going to get a meal like that, or why she is the one cooking when we come back to visit. Which, actually, is a good point. That seems unfair, so when we went back home for Labor Day, my sister and I decided to whip up our parents a full 4-course Italian meal because my mom was specifically asking about the shrimp scampi that I made previously. So that ended up being the 2nd course, with the 1st being a salad. This steak was the 3rd and then my sister made a raspberry limoncello dessert, which I will post later. The recipe called for flat iron steak, but I used sirloin instead because why not. It is super simple and the sauce is pretty damn tasty.

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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of sirloin steaks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • 6 tbsp cold unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 cups dry red wine

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Directions

  • Salt and pepper the steaks, drizzle with EVOO
  • Cook to your desired doneness and then let it rest, tented with foil
  • Slice the steaks against the grain
  • For the sauce, melt 2 tbsp butter in a saucepan on medium heat
  • Saute the onions till done, then add salt and cook for a few more minutes
  • Add the garlic and oregano and saute for another minute
  • Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly
  • Mix in the wine, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reduces by half (says 10 minutes, but it took a lot longer for me)
  • Melt 4 tbsp butter (cut into chunks) into the sauce
  • Strain the sauce into a bowl, extracting as much liquid as possible
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pour over the steak, or serve on the side and enjoy

 

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Overall the steak and the red wine sauce was really good. It was cooked just right and the sauce didn’t have too heavy of a wine flavor. It was a little shocking how much butter went into it, but it was delicious, so all was forgiven. My parents really enjoyed it too, which was the most important part.

Chili and Cast Iron Corn Bread

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We had the slow cooker out from making the hummus and decided to use it again to make chili. What goes well with chili? Cornbread of course! Corn bread made in a cast iron skillet to be exact. So we put everything in the crock pot before going to work and came home to an apartment filled with the smell of chili, and in no way was that disappointing. Then we whipped up the cornbread and ate a terribly unhealthy, but terribly delicious meal. Got the recipe for the cornbread from here.

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Ingredients for chili (semi made up from a hodgepodge of other recipes Ive seen in the past)

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 3 cans of stewed/diced tomatoes
  • Shredded cheddar cheese and chopped onions for serving

Directions

  • In a large pan on medium heat, cook the onions and season with salt until soft
  • Add the garlic and chili powder and stir for a minute
  • Add the beef and cook until brown
  • Drain the majority to almost all of the oil and transfer to a slow cooker
  • Cook the chili in the slow cooker on low for 8 hours

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Ingredients for corn bread

  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups finely ground yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

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Directions for corn bread

  • Heat oven to 450 degrees
  • put 2 tbsp butter in a cast iron skillet and set aside, melt the other 6 tbsp of butter in a small dish
  • Whisk cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl
  • Whisk eggs in a large bowl until frothy, then mix in the buttermilk
  • Pour egg mix into the flour/cornmeal mix and stir until dry streaks are incorporated (easier if you use a rubber spatula), but careful not to overmix
  • Fold in the melted butter and let stand for 5 minutes
  • When the oven is hot, place the skillet with the 2 tbsp butter in for 5 minutes
  • Remove the pan and coat the bottom of the pan with the melted butter
  • Pour the batter into the skillet and bake until golden (~15 minutes)
  • After removing the pan from the oven, let it rest for about 5 minutes
  • Cut and enjoy

This meal was pretty damn good. It was hearty and nostalgic, but on the downside it lacked any form of real vegetables whatsoever. The chili was pretty oily in the cooker, so before we mixed and served it, I spooned out most of the oil that had risen to the top. I also added a little bit of cornstarch to the chili to thicken it up. The cornbread turned out perfectly, but next time we might add some cheddar cheese to the mix, and maybe some jalapeños too.

Spicy Turkey Sausage Pasta

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The other day I got some spicy turkey Italian sausages from the market.  This is the first time I have ever bought turkey sausage, so I had no idea how it would taste (generally I am a pork all the way kind of guy).  You can definitely taste the difference, but its still pretty good and healthier, so I suppose that’s a plus.  In the past, I have either grilled them up and put them in a bun and called it a day, or made a standard spaghetti and threw them on top.  This time though, I thought I would try to incorporate the sausage a little more, so I made a penne pasta with a light marinara sauce and sausage.  I did not work off any kind of recipe, so feel free to make your own stuff up too.

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb of penne pasta
  • 4 Italian sausages (spicy)
  • 2 yellow/orange bell peppers (chopped)
  • 1/2 red onion (coarsely chopped)
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

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Directions

  • Boil the pasta and set aside
  • In a large skillet, grill the whole sausages until they are approximately 1/2 cooked (~4 min on each side)
  • Chop the red onion and the bell peppers
  • Take the sausages off and cut them into slices
  • Continue to cook the sliced sausages on high heat until done
  • Remove the sausages, and add the garlic, onions and bell peppers to the pan
  • Saute the onions and bell peppers until cooked (may need to add a little oil)
  • Add the sausages back to the pan and continue to saute for a minute on medium heat
  • Add the marinara sauce and bring to a light bubble
  • Add the penne and mix throughly
  • Sprinkle some parmesan cheese and enjoy

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Roasted Chicken Leg

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Hi everyone. It’s been about a month since the last post now. I have been on vacation for the past month, visiting Berlin, Paris, Bangkok, Siem Riep, and Phuket. That obviously means I have not been cooking, but maybe I will post some food pictures from my travels later. Anyways, today was the first time I have cooked since being back, and I decided to roast some chicken leg quarters because they were on sale at the market (when you are gone for a month, you come back to an empty fridge). It was a simple recipe that did not require a lot of ingredients, which was well suited to my current situation. So here goes.

Ingredients

  • Chicken leg quarters (or any part of a chicken skin on I suppose)
  • Seasoned salt
  • Garlic Salt
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Olive Oil

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Directions

  • Wash and pat dry the quarters
  • Cut off the excess fat
  • Separate the skin from the meat, but leaving it still attached
  • Mix the seasoned salt, garlic salt, rosemary, thyme, pepper, and paprika together in a small bowl
  • Brush the inside meat and the outside skin of the chicken with olive oil
  • Lightly rub the seasoning mix onto the chicken (both inside the skin on the meat, as well as the outside of the chicken quarters)
  • Place onto a foiled baking pan (make sure to space them out so they cook properly)
  • Bake for 45 min at 350 degrees and then at 425 degrees for the next 15 minutes (total 1 hour)
  • Enjoy

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I paired the chicken with a light mixed salad for a relatively easy and light meal. The skin came out slightly crispy, which is how I like it and the meat was still tender and juicy. It was probably a little too salty, so in the future I would definitely use less salt. But other than that it was a good and pretty hearty meal.

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Roasted Rack of Lamb

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Yesterday was mine and Jenn’s 5 year anniversary (no idea we’d make it that far), and in lieu of going out for a fancy dinner, as is usually the thing, we decided to cook (well I decided to cook).  We are going to Europe in a few weeks so we decided to keep it relatively inexpensive and tame at home for our celebration.  I had a hard time deciding what to make, but I ended up on a roasted rack of lamb for me and a halibut filet with lemon butter for her (which will be posted later). So here goes.

Ingredients (completely made up recipe)

  • Rack of lamb
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Bread crumbs
  • Olive oil
  • Minced garlic

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Instructions

  • Score the fat of the rack
  • Salt and pepper generously
  • Add thyme, oregano, and minced garlic
  • Brush with olive oil
  • Coat lightly with bread crumbs
  • In a cast iron pan sear the rack of lamb on all sides over  high heat
  • Finish cooking by baking in the oven at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes
  • Let sit for 15 minutes and then devour it

Grilled Skirt Steak

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So tonight we had a friend over and I decided to grill a skirt steak (or 2). I topped it with a chimichurri sauce and paired it with broccolini and fried potatoes. Being an apartment with no balcony, I only have an electric grill that I use indoors. I still get a char on the meat, but not as good of a one as if I had a real grill, which I had to dump when I moved here 😦

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Steak:

  • Skirt Steak (I used about 3lbs, cut into smaller sections to fit on my grill)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup of Teriyaki Marinade (Bought from local market)
  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper

Generously salt and pepper the steak. Then marinate in the garlic, teriyaki sauce, and soy sauce for about an hour.  Grill to desired temperature.

Chimichurri Sauce (recipe from here)

  • 1 cup parsley
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsps oregano
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp wine vingear
  • 1 tsp sea salt (I used kosher b/c thats all I have)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (I added a little more)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (I used less since the people I ate with don’t do spicy well)

Pulse the parsley in food processor.  Then add the garlic and oregano and pulse some more.  Transfer this to a small bowl and stir in the rest of the ingredients. This ended up making a lot more sauce than I needed and I probably could have done with 1/2 of everything, but alas I will have to remember that for next time.

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That completed the steak. For the potatoes, I just pan fried them with red and yellow bell peppers and onions, and seasoned with salt and pepper. The potatoes were good and the peppers added a nice splash of color. Overall, I think the meal turned out pretty well and it was a hearty one at that. But of course we saved just enough room for dessert to finish the meal.

Prime Rib

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So I was at the market today and bone-in prime rib roasts were on sale. Now I love prime rib and haven’t had it in about five months, so I figured what the hell and I bought it. The one I bought was just under 5lbs, so I decided to invite my cousin and his wife to dinner as well. Family, wine, and prime rib made for a fun night.

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The Prime Rib

  • Score the fat of the prime rib
  • Season fairly generously with salt and pepper (I used kosher salt)
  • Season with some dried thyme
  • Stick cloves of garlic into the scores
  • Let the hunk of meat sit for a few hours to overnight (if overnight, tent it with foil so it doesn’t dry out)
  • Bake in a roasting pan at high heat (450-500 degrees) for 20 minutes, and then turn it down to 325 degrees for about another hour
  • Pull it out and let the meat rest

Au Jus

  • With the meat resting on your cutting board you can use the fat and crisp left overs to make au jus
  • Place the roasting pan on the stove over medium heat
  • Add 1-2 cups of red wine and let it reduce, scraping the pan clean with a wooden spatula
  • Add a couple cups of beef broth
  • Add some thyme and bring to a simmer
  • Serve with the Prime Rib

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So we had the prime rib and served it with garlic mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables (squash, carrots, and zucchini). The roasted veggies were just cut, drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and baked alongside the prime rib at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes. Prime rib doesn’t have to just be for special occasions, when it’s this easy to make.  Enjoy!