Monday, May 21, 2012

Skillet Ground Beef Stroganoff

We've been eating out a lot.

(you can probably guess that based on the infrequent posts here lately)

I love all food so eating out is just fine with me but after awhile our options get pretty limited. We don't live near much more than basic chain spots. I'm no snob; I'll happily dine at Chili's or Panda Express but even I get sick of it all after awhile.

Over the weekend, I decided I was tired of eating out and wanted to cook. We were already stopping by a grocery store so I grabbed just the ingredients for this meal. Not usually the way I grocery shop, but it worked in a pinch.

This meal was super fast, inexpensive, and so warm and comforting. And - just one pot needed! Perfect for a weeknight or a weekend when you don't want to eat yet another take-out meal.

*I didn't have brandy or cognac on hand so I used a bit of Worcestershire sauce and then some beef broth for this step

Skillet Ground Beef Stroganoff
1/2 Tbsp. canola or olive oil
1 lb. ground beef or ground sirloin
1 onion, finely diced
12 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup brandy or cognac (see note above)
2 Tbsp. flour
4 cups beef broth
1/2 lb. egg noodles
1 cup sour cream (light is fine)
2 tsp. lemon juice

Heat a large saute pan with lid or a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the oil and, once hot, the ground beef. Don’t stir the beef; instead, let it brown on one side completely. Add the onions. Stir, breaking up the ground beef, until the beef is browned and onions are tender. Move to a bowl, draining any excess fat.

To the skillet, add the mushrooms and a small pinch of salt (and a little more oil, if necessary). Cook until the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Add the brandy and lift any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Boil for about 1 minute before adding flour. Cook for 30 seconds; then, add the broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the noodles and the beef. Cover partially with a lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until noodles are tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Source: Elly Says Opa

Friday, May 11, 2012

Lasagna Cupcakes with Sausage and Mango Chutney

I've decided my favorite punctuation is "..."

If you know me well, you know "..." completely fits my personality.


Because I often trail off in the middle of sentences and stories and move onto something else. Or just stop speaking all together because I'm distracted by something shiny. Or glittery. Glitter is always better.

That dog in Up? Me in dog form. SQUIRREL!

That's probably why I work with children. I get them.

Boy is this a random start to a food post. Stay with me...

Our life is about to take a crazy new road and I'm stoked, scared, and seriously emotional. These two born and bred Texans are scooting 1100 miles away. I would have said boot scooting, since we are Texans, but I've never owned a pair of boots in my life so it just felt wrong.

And of course, when you start to make a move things go wrong... the landline going out
...which caused the DSL to go out
...and the AC unit upstairs went out

Which means there is a 10 day lapse in blog entries. Not due to the AC, but the internet. Duh.

My dad totally saved the day and brought over some fancy internet thingy that runs on cell tower somethings.

That's the technical name of it.

So, my humble little blog will be a bit random for awhile until we get everything settled...

Because right now, "..." is our future. Our crazy, unknown, and incredibly exciting future.

(now I'll finally get to the recipe)

These cuties are from Aarti and have a slight Indian flair that I love. They were fairly quick and easy, very flavorful, and cute as a button. Great for company since they're so much prettier than scooping out lasagna and good for portion control.

We give them two thumbs up!

Lasagna Cupcakes with Sausage and Mango Chutney
Meat Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (1-inch) cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
1 medium onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound mild Italian chicken sausage, casing removed
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 (28-ounce can) crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus 12 whole small leaves

Ricotta Filling:
3/4 cup part-skim ricotta
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for topping
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella, plus more for topping
1/3 cup mango chutney
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 package wonton wrappers (at least 48)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the meat sauce: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until it shimmers. Add the cinnamon stick and whole cloves. Add the onion, sprinkle with a little salt and saute until softened but not browned. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute longer.

Add the sausage, breaking up the clumps with your spoon. Cook until the sausage is no longer pink, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, 1/4 cup chopped basil, as well as some salt and pepper. Stir to combine and simmer uncovered, for about 15 minutes, stirring every now and then. Allow the meat sauce to cool, about 15 minutes before building lasagna cupcakes. As the meat sauce is cooking, prepare the ricotta filling.

For the ricotta filling: Stir together the ricotta, 3/4 cup Parmesan, 3/4 cup mozzarella and mango chutney. Season with lots of pepper, about a teaspoon and set aside.

To assemble the cupcakes: Pull out your favorite cupcake pan. If your pan is not nonstick, spray the cups with cooking spray. Place a wonton wrapper in each cup. Don't worry if you're using square ones.

Drop about 1 tablespoon of meat sauce into the bottom of each cup. Then add 1 teaspoon of ricotta filling. Then cover with another wonton wrapper, rotating it about 90 degrees so that the corners of the first wrapper and the second wrapper aren't right on top of each other. Repeat this until you've built 3 layers total. Top each with a small basil leaf, then another wonton wrapper. Finish each cupcake with a spoonful of meat sauce, a little shredded mozzarella and pinch of grated Parmesan.

Pop them into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. When time's up, resist the temptation to eat them right away or else you'll burn your mouth! Let them rest on the counter for about 10 minutes, and they should slip out of the muffin tin easily. Top with more shredded basil if you like.

Source: Aarti at Food Network

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Fish Tacos with Chipotle Cream

Mmm, I love a fish taco! Most of the taco places we love to dine at have fish tacos on the menu with usually the option of breaded or grilled. We both often order them yet have never made them at home! I decided to go with a grilled version instead of messing with the batter and oil on a weeknight.

These are super quick to make (even with marinating it) and really tasty - light, fresh, and limey. You can use a variety of toppings but we went with the usual taco fillings that we like to order out. The chipotle cream was delicious as well; it's cool and creamy with just a hint of heat in the background.

Fish Tacos with Chipotle Cream
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound white flaky fish fillet, like tilapia or halibut

Chipotle cream:
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons chipotle pepper, in adobo sauce

8 taco sized tortillas (corn or flour)
1 1/2 cups shredded green cabbage or lettuce
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Lime wedges
Cotija cheese

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Pour over the fish fillets and let marinate for 20 minutes. Put the yogurt into a strainer lined with a paper towel and place over a bowl to drain and thicken for 20 minutes.

Remove the fish from the marinade and grill on a preheated grill or nonstick grill pan over a medium-high heat until cooked thorough, about 3 minutes per side. Set the fish aside on a plate for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl combine the thickened yogurt, mayonnaise, and chipotle pepper.

Heat the tortillas on the grill or grill pan for 30 seconds on each side.

Flake the fish with a fork. Top each tortilla with 1 tablespoon of the chipotle cream. Top with fish, cabbage, corn, cotija, and cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

Note: I cut my fish into small pieces before marinating and just quick fried them on the stove. We did not flake our fish.

Source: Ellie Krieger on Food Network

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