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Carne Guisada (Mexican Beef Stew)

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Recently, we had a rainy day and I thought it would be nice to sit down to some comfort food.  I found a recipe for beef stew, which I had been wanting to make, but this one had a Mexican spin on it.  I was curious to see how the Mexican flavors played out in the recipe, so I decided to try it.

Many beef stews take a while to cook.  This one requires one hour of simmering time, but the rest of the preparation is pretty quick, so you could still make it on a weeknight (if you prep the night before, it would be even quicker!).  I just love the way this smelled while it was cooking.  The simmering time definitely built up the anticipation for this, but it was worth it!  This was such a delicious dinner.  I loved how all the flavors came together.   It had some heat, but it wasn’t too spicy.  It was a great spin on classic beef stew, and something I will make again for sure!  The recipe said that you can serve this with warm flour tortillas, which I think would be delicious, though we ate it as is.

Carne Guisada
Source: The Tex-Mex Cookbook by Robb Walsh

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 pounds sirloin tips, trimmed of all fat and gristle and cut into ½-inch cubes

1 cup green bell pepper, chopped

1 cup chopped onions

1 pound small red potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 serrano chile, minced (I used a jalapeno)

½ cup chopped tomatoes

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ cup tomato sauce

1 tablespoon flour (I used cornstarch)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat.  Add the meat and brown for 10 minutes.  Do not drain the liquid.  Add the bell pepper, onion, potatoes, garlic, chile, and tomatoes, and continue cooking for 10 minutes.  Add the spices, the tomato sauce, and 2 cups water.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the meat is very tender.  Add more water as required.  Season to taste.

In a small cup combine 3 tablespoons cooking liquid with the flour.  Stir to remove any lumps, then add to the carne guisada, mixing well until evenly thickened.

Mongolian Beef with Broccoli

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I’ve been making this dish for about six months now, and it’s become one of our favorites.  I can’t believe I haven’t included it in the blog until now!  Usually when I made it we are in such a hurry to eat it that I don’t get to take a picture.  Last time I made sure I took one so I could share this delicious recipe!  I have always been a fan of Chinese food and I love finding new recipes so I can make my own at home.  David’s favorite Chinese dish is beef and broccoli, and it’s one of my favorites, and I hoped that I could recreate it at home.  This definitely met our expectations!  It was full of flavor, and the sauce was perfect.  I changed the recipe a little bit so that I could fully cook the beef at once rather than having to partially cook it, take it out of the pan, and then finish cooking it.   It was much simpler that way and didn’t dirty as many dishes. I also pan-fried the beef rather and immersing it in oil.  The broccoli was a great addition- I love broccoli in dishes like this.  The soy flavor was prominent and well balanced by the dark brown sugar.  We served this over rice and enjoyed having one of our favorite Chinese dishes at home rather than having to go out!

Mongolian Beef and Broccoli
Source: adapted from Love and Olive Oil

Ingredients
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
vegetable oil, for frying
1 lb flank steak
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 large green onions
1 cup broccoli, microwaved for 2 minutes

Directions
Make the sauce by heating 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over med/low heat. Add ginger and garlic to the pan and quickly add the soy sauce and water before the garlic scorches. Dissolve the brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to about medium and boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove it from the heat.

Slice the flank steak against the grain into 1/4″ thick bite-size slices. Tilt the blade of your knife at about a forty five degree angle to the top of the steak so that you get wider cuts. Dip the steak pieces into the cornstarch to apply a very thin dusting to both sides of each piece of beef. Let the beef sit for about 10 minutes so that the cornstarch sticks.

Heat oil in a wok or large skillet until it’s nice and hot, but not smoking. Add the beef to the oil and fry until browned.  Stir the meat around a little so that it cooks evenly. Add onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add garlic and cook until fragrant.  Add sauce and cook until thickened to almost desired consistency. Add partially steamed broccoli and cook until heated through.  Serve over rice.

Ingredients
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
vegetable oil, for frying
1 lb flank steak
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 large green onions
1 cup broccoli, microwaved for 2 minutes

Directions
Make the sauce by heating 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over med/low heat. Add ginger and garlic to the pan and quickly add the soy sauce and water before the garlic scorches. Dissolve the brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to about medium and boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove it from the heat.

Slice the flank steak against the grain into 1/4″ thick bite-size slices. Tilt the blade of your knife at about a forty five degree angle to the top of the steak so that you get wider cuts. Dip the steak pieces into the cornstarch to apply a very thin dusting to both sides of each piece of beef. Let the beef sit for about 10 minutes so that the cornstarch sticks.

Heat oil in a wok or large skillet until it’s nice and hot, but not smoking. Add the beef to the oil and fry until browned.  Stir the meat around a little so that it cooks evenly. Add onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add garlic and cook until fragrant.  Add sauce and cook until thickened to almost desired consistency. Add partially steamed broccoli and cook until heated through.  Serve over rice.

Mini Italian Meatloaves

I have had an interesting relationship with meat loaf during my life. When I was younger, I hated when my mom would make it for dinner. When I was about nine or ten, she finally stopped making it and I was content to completely deny meat loaf’s existence forever. I figured I would never have to be faced with having to eat it again.
I was wrong. A little over a year ago, David and I were talking about foods we hated as a child. I of course mentioned how much I hated meat loaf. He told me that he hated lima beans but actually liked meat loaf and would like to have it for dinner sometime. I ignored this for a while hoping that it would never be brought up again. But, after hearing him mention it a few more times, I agreed, but said that he would most likely be alone in eating it for dinner and that I would eat something else. I made a meat loaf for dinner that night and agreed to taste it. I was shocked when I ate a bite. I actually like meat loaf! The next time I made it, I came up with my own recipe that I now use. I am so glad that David convinced me to make it.
This past week I wanted meat loaf again, but instead of my usual recipe (hopefully that will be in a post in the near future), I decided to make a version of the Mini Italian Meatloaves that I saw in Chelley’s blog and in Amber’s blog. It was a nice change of pace from the typical meat loaf, and I really liked it and would make it again. I like the way the spices tasted together and the combination of the sauce and cheese on top. I like to bake meat loaf on a roasting pan to let the grease drain to the bottom. Good sides to make with this are field peas (David’s favorite), salad, rice, green beans, and mashed potatoes.

Here is the recipe (Source: Sugar & Spice and Amber’s Delectable Delights)
1 pound ground beef
1 egg, beaten
1 cup marinara sauce, divided (I used my own homemade version)
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste (I used kosher salt)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon parsley
3/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Gently mix 3/4 cup marinara sauce and remaining ingredients together. Divide into 4 or 5 equal size pieces and form into desired shape. Place on greased roasting pan. Pour remaining marinara sauce over top of each loaf and top with desired amount of extra cheese.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. (It took 40 minutes for me).

Chili


David was not a big fan of chili, but I really wanted it one night, so he said he would eat it. Most chili I had before was made with a seasoning packet, but I wanted to create a made-from-scratch chili with the perfect amount of spices to create a rich flavor. So I experimented a little bit and when I served the chili that night, David couldn’t eat enough! He requests this chili all the time and eats a ton of it at each meal. I was so happy that I got him to love chili. I make it any time of the year, but I love it on days like today when it’s cold outside. David likes to fry corn tortilla chips and dip them in the chili, and I must agree that they’re a great complement to the chili. I don’t measure my ingredients, but here’s a general guideline of how I make it:

1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 onion, chopped
Garlic
1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 bottle dark beer
A couple dashed of cayenne
Chili powder, cumin, and oregano to taste (I would guess that I use at least 2-3 tablespoons each
of chili powder and cumin and 1 to 2 teaspoons oregano)

Cook ground beef until browned and no pink remains; drain.
Saute onion and garlic until onion is tender.
Combine pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, and beer in a large stockpot. Add ground beef and onion and garlic mixture. Add desired amounts of cayenne, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Cook until thoroughly heated. Reduce heat and simmer as long as desired.

This is another great meal that freezes well! I would say that you could get about 6 servings from this recipe.

Source: Erin’s Life in the Kitchen