Cabernet-Braised Beef Short Ribs

I decided to make my own birthday dinner, is that weird? We’ve cut out beef and I had a serious craving for red meat. My mouth was watering just reading this recipe.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, March 2008.

No substitutions were made.

short ribs 1

Cabernet-Braised Beef Short Ribs

Cooking spray
2 lbs beef short ribs, trimmed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 c fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
1 c cabernet sauvigon or other dry red wine
2 tblsp tomato paste
1 1/2 c (1 inch) slices celery
1 c (1 inch) slices carrot
6 garlic cloves, sliced
2 6-inch rosemary sprigs
1 med onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 tblsp all-purpose flour
4 c hot cooked wide egg noodles

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Heat a large skillet over med-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. Add ribs to pan; cook for 8 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from pan. Add beef broth to pan, scraping pan to loosen brown bits.

Combine broth, wine and tomato paste in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Place ribs, celery, carrot, garlic, rosemary and onion in a 13×9 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pour broth mixture over rib mixture. Cover with foil; bake at 300 degrees for 3.5 hours or until ribs are very tender.

short ribs 2

Uncover dish; strain broth mixture through a sieve over a bowl, reserving liquid. Reserve ribs; discard remaining solids. Place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measure. Pour reserved liquid into bag. Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain liquid into a small saucepan, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat.

Add flour to pan, stirring well with a whisk. Place pan over medium heat; bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Serve sauce with ribs and noodles. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

short ribs 3

cartoon-strawberry-9Holy Cow. This was just about the best birthday dinner ever. I used boneless short ribs, so total cooking time was 2 hours 45 min. The meat was fork tender. The sauce was rich. And adding grilled asparagus? A perfect compliment.

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Happy Birthday!

It’s my birthday!

Here’s a fun Julia remix.

PBS has also done similar remixes for Reading Rainbow, Bob Ross and Mr. Rogers.  So great!

And I made myself a birthday cake.  A two day, three layer, chocolate amaziness overload cake.

choc mouse cake

You can find the recipe and instructions HERE.  Thanks Crunchy Creamy Sweet for the amazing recipe!

Treat yourself to a piece of cake on me!

Pork Tenderloin Medallions & Balsamic Reduction

I like to cook, a lot.  But I don’t know if there’s ever been a time when all four burners on my stove were turned on at the same time.  It finally happened last night.  And since I was trying to keep everything straight and make sure the timing came out, I only took 2 pictures.  I need an extra set of hands or a full time professional photographer.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, July 2011.

Substitutions made, noted below.

balsamic pork 1

Pork Tenderloin Medallions & Balsamic Reduction

with Grilled Peaches and Wild Rice Salad

1 tblsp oilve oil
1 tblsp minced shallots
1 garlic clove, minced
1 c balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary – I used dried
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into 12 slices
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Heat oil in a small saucepan over med-high heat.  Add shallots and garlic; saute 2  minutes.  Add vinegar and next 3 ingredients; cook until reduced to 1/2 c.

Heat a large skillet over med-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper.  Place pork in pan; cook 2 minutes on each side.  Add balsamic reduction; cook 1 minute, turning pork to coat.

For the Grilled Peaches:
Heat a grill pan over med-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add 4 peach halves to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side. Cut each half into 3 wedges.

For the Wild Rice Salad:
Cook 1 cup fast-cooking white and wild rice per directions, omitting seasoning. (I did not use the fast cook rice, just regular white/wild rice mix.) Stir in 1/4 c chopped green onions, 2 tblsp chopped dried cherries (I used dried cranberries.) and 2 tblsp chopped pecans.

 

balsamic pork 2

cartoon-strawberry-9There’s a lot of flavor going on with these items, but it all blends together really well.  This dinner also serves beautifully, it’d be great for a small dinner party (everything is set to serve 4).  I’m a fan of balsamic, add in some garlic and I’m over the moon.  This is a new favorite in our house.

Pepperoni Deep-Dish Pizza

There are times in my life when I question if I can read.  This recipe is one of those times.

I’ve been keeping up with my weekly menu planning, purchasing groceries based on said menu plan and doing really well.  I read over this recipe and missed one little detail  24 hours.  The dough needs to rest and rise in the fridge for 24 hours.  No biggie, right?

I waited a couple of days to catch up and take the time to make the dough, let it sit for 24 hours, and then I was ready to make some pizza…  BUT

The 14×11 rectangle the dough was supposed to be rolled out to?  More of a 14 inch wide blob (pictorial evidence below).

I also missed how much pizza sauce was needed.  I had about half the amount needed.  What’s the fix?  A can of tomatoes blended down with salt, pepper, basil, garlic and onion powder thrown in; then mix in the pizza sauce I had on hand.

And I messed up the order of how everything was supposed to be layered.  What’s a girl to do?

This recipe is from Cooking Light, May 2010.

Substitutions made, noted below.

deep dish 1

Pepperoni Deep-Dish Pizza

1 c warm water (100 to 110 degrees) divided
12 oz bread flour (about 2.5 cups)
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp)
4 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Cooking Spray
1 1/4 c (5 oz) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 1/2 c Basic Pizza Sauce – I used a combo of Trader Joes pizza sauce and some blended tomoatoes and spices
2 oz pepperoni slices
2 tblsp grated Parmiganio-Reggiano cheese

Pour 3/4c warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attached.  Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  Add flour to 3/4c water; mix until combined.  Cover and let stand 20 minutes.  Combine remaining 1/4 cup water and yeast in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes or until bubbly.  Add yeast mixture, oil, and salt to flour mixture; mix 5 minutes or until a soft dough forms.  Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray; cover surface of dough with plastic wrap lightly coated with cooking spray.  Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Deep Dish Pizza 2

Remove dough from refrigerator.  Let stand, covered, 1 hour or until dough come to room temperature.  Punch dough down.  Roll dough out to a 14×11-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface.  Press dough into bottom and partially up sides of a 13×9-inch metal baking pan coated with cooking spray.  Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap.

Place a baking sheet in over on bottom rack.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Remove the plastic wrap – the magazine left out this little detail….  Arrange 3/4 c mozzarella evenly over dough; top with pizza sauce, pepperoni, Parm-Reg and remaining 1/2 c mozzarella.  Place pan on baking sheet in oven; bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes or until crust is golden.  Cut pizza into 6 rectangles.

deep dish 3

cartoon-strawberry-9Husband and I lived in the Chicago area for a couple months before moving to Nashville, but it was long enough to fall in love with a good deep dish pizza.  So this recipe both excited and worried me.  Would it live up to our deep dish memories?  I’m happy to report this is a great fill in to rely on until we can get back to Giordano’s.  Just remember – make the dough 24 hours in advance…

Stir-Fried Shrimp w/ Spicy Orange Sauce

I’ve been on a quest to set a grocery budget and live (or die) by it.  Make a weekly menu and buy only to that menu each week.  So  far, so good.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, August 2007.

No substitutions were made.

spicy orange shrimp 2

Stir-Fried Shrimp with Spicy Orange Sauce

1.5 lbs peeled and deveined large shrimp
1 tblsp cornstarch
1/4 c fresh orange juice
2 tblsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tblsp honey
1 tblsp rice wine vinegar
1 tblsp chile paste with garlic
2 tblsp canola oil
1 tblsp minced peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 c chopped green onions

spicy orange shrimp 3

Place shrimp in a medium bowl.  Sprinkle with cornstarch; toss well to coat.  Set aside.

Combine juice, soy sauce, honey, vinegar and chile paste, stirring with a whisk; set aside.

Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat.  Add minced ginger and garlic to pan; stir-fry for 15 seconds or until fragrant.  Add shrimp mixture; stir-fry for 3 minutes.  Add juice mixture and onions; cook 2 minutes or until sauce thickens and shrimp are done, stirring frequently.  Serve immediately.  Yield: 4 servings.

spicy orange shrimp 4

cartoon-strawberry-9There was a suggestion to serve this over udon noodles or rice.  I had vermicelli in the pantry, so I used that instead, and added in some green beans.  I expected this to be more on the spicy side (hence the name..).  There was a good heat, but not an overwhelming spicy heat.  If you have some shrimp on hand and are able to find the chile paste, this is a great dinner!

Nathan’s Lemon Cake

I’m a sucker for anything lemon.  Lemon cake, lemon cookies, lemon/honey glaze on chicken.  It’s bright and tangy and makes me happy.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, May 2008.

No substitutions were made.

Lemon Cake 1

Nathan’s Lemon Cake

Cake:
2 tblsp all-purpose flour
2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 c nonfat buttermilk
2 tblsp finely grated elmon rind
2 tblsp fresh lemon juice

Icing:
3 c powdered sugar
1/4 c unsalted butter, melted
1 tblsp lemon rind
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
Lemon Rind Strips (optional)

Lemon Cake Collage

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare cake, coat 2 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms of pans with wax paper.  Coat wax paper with cooking spray.  Dust pans with 2 tblsp flour, and set aside.

Lightly spoon 2 c flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife.  Combine 2 c flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, stirring with a whisk.

Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes).  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Beat in lemon rind and juice.

Pour batter into prepared pans; sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles.  Bake at 350 for 32 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans.  Cool completely on wire rack; remove wax paper from cake layers.

To prepare icing, combine all ingredients in a large bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth.  Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread half of icing on top of the first layer.  Top with second cake layer.  Spread remaining half of icing over the top of the cake.  Garnish with lemon rind strips, if desired.  Store cake loosely covered in the refrigerator.  Yield 16 servings.

Lemon Cake 2

cartoon-strawberry-9Anybody out there a fan of Starbucks Lemon Loaf Cake?  You know how their cake is moist in an ‘oily’ sort of way?  This cake is on par for taste of Stbux Lemon Loaf, but is moist and light and not oily, and it has TWO LAYERS.  It’s probably my favorite lemon cake to date.  (I’m contemplating making another one tonight…)

Stuffed Sausage & Spinach Loaf

A couple of Fridays ago me, husband and another couple had made plans to go to an outdoor screening of The Sandlot.  (Best baseball movie – EVER.)  The problem was it had been raining for about 3 days straight here with no signs of letting up.  Instead we decided to hang out at home and try something new.

This recipe is from the Early Summer issue of the Penzey’s catalog.  2013 issue, I think.

No substitutions were made.

sausage spinach loaf 1

Stuffed Sausage & Spinach Loaf

First is the recipe for the White Bread.
1 1/4oz package dried yeast, regular or quick rise
2 tblsp warm water (110 degrees)
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp salt
1/3 c butter, softened
1 c hot milk
3/4 c cold water
1 egg, beaten
5 1/2 to 6 c all-purpose flour

Grease and set aside 2 standard loaf pans.  – Skip this if you are making solely for the Sausage & Spinach Loaf.  In a small bowl, combine the yeast and warm water.  Stir to blend and set aside.  Combine the sugar, salt and butter in a large bowl.  Add the hot milk and stir until the butter is melted.  Add the cold water and let cool until the mixture is lukewarm.  Add the yeast mixture and the beaten egg to the milk mixture.  Gradually add enough flour to make a soft dough.  This will take about 5 cups; the other 1/2 – 1 cup can be used to flour your kneading surface.  Use your hands to mix the dough in the bowl and incorporate as much of the flour into the dough as possible.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Do this by folding the edges of the dough toward the center and pushing the dough away from you with the heel of your hands and rotating it on the board as you continue to knead.  This should take about 5 to 10 minutes.  Divide the dough into two equal pieces.  This is the point to wrap half in plastic wrap and freeze if desired.  Use the other half for the Stuffed Sausage & Spinach Loaf.

sausage spinach loaf 2
Sausage & Spinach Loaf:
1 lb bread dough
1 lb bulk Italian sausage, hot or sweet
1 10oz box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tblsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp oregano
1/2 garlic powder

Thaw bread down on a greased baking sheet, let rise until doubled. – I put my dough into a greased bowl and let rise.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook the sausage until nicely browned and crumbly.  Drain and cool slightly.  Roll the loaf of dough into a large 14×12-inch rectangle.  Doesn’t need to be perfect.  Spread the sausage mixture lengthwise down the rectangle, about 1/3 of the way from one of the long ends.  Top with spinach and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Roll up jelly-roll style, staring with a long side; pinch seams to seal and tuck the ends under.  Place on a baking sheet, seam side down.  The the ends under and form in a crescent shape.  Brush with egg.  In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan cheese, oregano and garlic powder, then sprinkle on the loaf.  If the egg drips all the way to the bottom of the loaf, be careful removing the loaf after baking because it could be stuck.  Carefully run a spatula underneath to loosen it.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Let rest a few minutes before cutting.  Serve warm.

sausage spinach loaf 3

cartoon-strawberry-9Well.  This calzone/loaf  monster tastes amazing.  Totally worth the time and effort involved.  BUT I would love to meet the person who can jelly roll a pound of sausage, 10 oz of spinach and 2 cups of cheese.  IT’S IMPOSSIBLE!!  I just folded the ends up over themselves and prayed for the best.

Nutty White Chocolate & Peach Oatmeal Cookies

Every once in awhile, you just need to stop everything and make some cookies.

This recipe is from Food Network Magazine, May 2011.

Substitutions made, noted below.

peach oatmeal cookies 1

Nutty White Chocolate & Peach Oatmeal Cookies

3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/4 c packed light brown sugar
1/4 c packed dark brown sugar – I used all light brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 c rolled oats
1/2 c dried peaches – I used dried apricots
1/2 c chopped walnuts – I used pecans
1/2 c white chocolate chips

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt.  In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and mix on low speed until incorporated.  Slowly add the flour mixture, oats, dried peaches, walnuts and white chocolate chips and mix until combined.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  With wet hands, make 20 balls from the dough and put on the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart.  Press down on the dough balls with the palm of your hand to make flat circles.

Bake the cookies until golden and still a bit tender in the center, 15 to 17 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let sit on the baking sheets for 1 minute, then transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely.

peach oatmeal cookies 2

cartoon-strawberry-9I really love this take on an oatmeal cookie.  Sweet and chewy apricots.  Crunchy oats and pecans.  All around good cookie.

Quick Barbecue Chicken

I’m feeling the need to use up all the food in my house before I go and buy anything else.  Or at least to find recipes that fit the ingredients I have on hand.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, September 2008.

Substitution made, noted below.

quick BBQ chix 1

Quick Barbecue Chicken

1 tsp sugar
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 (8 oz) bone-in chikcen bread halves – I used boneless, skinless chicken breast
Cooking Spray

quick BBQ chix 2

Prepare grill.

Combine first 9 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well.  Loosen skin from chicken by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat; rub spice mixture evenly under skin over meat.  Lightly coat skin with cooking spray.  Place chicken, breast side down, on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 30  minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 165 degrees, turning twice.  Let chicken stand 10 minutes.  Remove skin and discard.

quick BBQ chix 3

Since I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, here’s what I did.

Using a grill pan, heated to med-high heat.  Brushed spice mixture on both sides of chicken breasts. Cooked breasts in grill pan, for a total of 20 minutes.  Served with sweet potato fries and steamed broccoli.

cartoon-strawberry-9These spices compliment each other very well, and so easy to throw together.  I made green salad and topped it with the leftover chicken for husband and I the next day.  This rub would also be great on pork chops or steak.

Anadama Bread

Sometimes in a local cookbook, a story will be included as to where a recipe came from.  This story made me want to try this bread.

“No Cape Cod recipe collection would be complete without the story of the fisherman who, tired of his wife Anna’s cormeal mush, added yeast and flour to it and proceeded to bake a loaf of bread muttering, “Anna-damn-er,” thereby creating – Anadama Bread.”

This recipe is from Flavors of Cape Cod cookbook.

No substitutions were made.

Anadama Bread 1

Anadama Bread

3/4 c boiling water
1/2 c yellow cornmeal
3 tblsp butter, softened
1/4 c light molasses
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 c warm water (110 – 115 degrees)
1 egg
2 3/4 c all-purpose flour, sifted

Stir together boiling water, cornmeal, butter, molasses and salt.  Set aside to cool.  Dissolve yeast in 1/4c warm water.  Add yeast, egg and only 1 1/4c flour to cornmeal mixture.  Beat two minutes with electric mixer at medium speed.  Stir in remaining flour a little at a time until batter is smooth.

Anadama Bread 2

Grease 9 inch loaf pan and sprinkle with cornmeal.  Spread batter evenly in pan; cover and let rise to 1 inch below top of the pan.  Bake 50-55  minutes in a 375 degree preheated oven.  Crust will be dark brown.  Remove from pan immediately and allow to cool on rack.

Anadama Bread 3

cartoon-strawberry-9Oh Ana, I wonder if you appreciated your husband’s mutterings and messing with your recipes?  Unfortunately, this has been my least favorite recipe so far.  The molasses taste is really strong and the bread is just a little too dense for my liking.