I was working on the Dinner Menu for the week and lamenting the fact that I have a difficult time finding good pita breads in my area. I decided the next time I make the Chicken Pilaf and Cool Dill Dip menu (recipes and photos here) I would try using Fry Bread as a substitute. Then I thought that would make a good topic for tonight’s recipe exchange. (I cannot lie, what really tips the scales for the recipe exchange is which pretty, yummy photo of JeffreyW’s can I highlight)
First up, JeffreyW makes Fry Bread (pictured at top) for Fry Bread Tacos, click here for recipe and great photos. He took the same recipe and sweetened it up with honey, cinnamon and sugar, as pictured below:
Not satisfied with a flat product, he decided to experiment with making it into a bowl and serving it with an awesome soup in his Bean Soup in a Fry Bread Bowl, recipe and photos here.
What’s in your bowl this weekend? Do you have any special or unique family or cultural recipes to share? Hit the comments with your ideas and recipes. I love to add new flavors to my repertoire.
For tonight’s featured recipe, I turn to friend of blog, Aji for a fry bread recipe she sent me months ago, at my request: Read the rest of this entry
Nothing beats pasta for a quick dinner. Friend of blog, LFern, often does pasta and olive oil, tossed with fresh vegetables when she needs a quick meal. I always keep a pint of frozen Garden Fresh Pasta Sauce for quick dinners. And if you need gluten-free, there many choices now in gluten-free pastas. I usually go for a nice brown rice pasta or whole wheat pasta, for added flavor to any pasta dish.
I thought for tonight’s recipe exchange it would nice to explore a diversity of flavors in quick pasta meals, moving away from the more traditional tomato or cheese sauces.
Pictured above, JeffreyW does a quick and simple pasta, sauce and cheese. I have my version of that, Hot & Sweet Penne here, which spices things up a bit.
Butternut Squash Pasta (recipe here) is one of my favorite hearty dinners that blends the sweetness of butternut squash with spicy Italian sausage.
Slow-cooker Beef and Pasta Soup, (recipe here) is a nice soup to come home to on a rainy spring evening.
Family favorite, Portuguese Beef and Pasta, recipe here, so simple, with just a few ingredients, but tastes amazing.
For a real taste treat, try this week’s complete dinner menu (and shopping list) Pasta Jambalaya recipe here.
What’s on your menu this weekend? Do you have a favorite, quick and easy pasta recipe? Anyone make their own fresh pasta? Hit the comments and share.
For tonight’s featured recipe, I went with a flavorful vegetarian pasta dish. The recipe calls for green and red peppers, but you can use any variation. When they’re on sale, I usually buy one of each color for a really pretty dish.
Linguine w/Garlic & Peppers
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp crushed garlic
- ¼ to ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 green pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 2 oz fresh basil leaves
- 14 oz can diced tomatoes*
- salt & pepper to taste
- 4 oz fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
- 9 oz pkg. fresh linguine (there are some really good gluten-free pastas out there if needed)
saucepan and skillet
In skillet heat oil, add garlic, red pepper flakes, green & red peppers and sauté for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add fresh basil, tomatoes, salt & pepper let simmer while pasta cooks. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain well. Toss with pepper mixture & cheese.
* you can use fresh tomatoes, about 2 large, but I couldn’t find any decent ones this time of year.
Well look at that, it’s Friday and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations have already begun. I think that means we’ll revisit last year’s recipes, because I was at the store yesterday and briskets were half priced and I bought two, a tip and a flat. I’ll be doing the slow-cooker method first. Then I’ll think about grilling or pressure cooking the other. Corned beef is really one of the perfect foods to do in a pressure cooker. You get a nice, tender beef and instead of mushy, colorless vegetables, you get perfectly cooked vegetables infused with that great corned beef broth flavor.
Tonight’s featured recipe uses a bit of dill pickle juice in place of some of the water and a touch of spicy brown mustard. But I saw recipes that used chicken broth, sherry or beer in place of some of the water. I think you should experiment and use what sounds good to you. I really like dill pickle juice. And I have become a big fan of Napa cabbage with my corned beef.
A lot of recipes call for 3-4 lbs of corned beef. When I was shopping, 4 lbs was the smallest piece I could find, most were 5-6 lbs. You may have to cut a piece in half, but since both the pressure cooker and slow-cooker recipes are easy, you don’t need to save corned beef and cabbage for a special occasion. Just freeze the other half for another day.
And the best part of a corned beef and cabbage dinner? Making Reuben’s with the leftovers. My mom makes the best ones, but I one up her by grilling mine Panini-style. Yum.
Are you a corned beef and cabbage household? Reuben fans? What other recipes do you have for the leftovers? Any good hash recipes? Doing anything special to celebrate your Irish (adopted or otherwise) heritage this weekend?
Now for the recipes:
JeffreyW tackles corned beef leftovers – see his gallery of Corned Beef Sandwiches here. (lots of yummy pictures at those links)
My family weighs in on their favorite ways to fix corned beef, including grilling. (click here)
And, in case you missed it, my vacation plans now include cooking lessons in exchange for a nice place to stay: Have Frying Pan, Will Travel.
Now tonight’s featured recipes:
Pressure Cooker Corned Beef Dinner:
- 3 to 4 lbs corned beef, trim the fat to about 1/4 inch
- Spices included with corned beef or the following: 1 tbsp black peppercorns, 1 tbsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp fennel seeds,
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed – opt
- 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 – 6 medium to large potatoes, cut into four to eight pieces, peeling optional
- 4-6 carrots, sliced in half and cut into 2” lengths
- Cabbage, cut into 4 to 6 pieces
pressure cooker and cooking rack
Remove the corned beef from the brine (discarding the brine), rinse thoroughly and place in the bottom of the pressure cooker, fatty side up. [You don’t really want to brown this beef, because it’s been brined.] Sprinkle spices over the top of the beef. Add enough liquid (water or water and a combination of ONE of the following: pickle juice, chicken broth, beer or wine) to come to the top of beef, about 3-4 cups usually. Cover and bring to pressure and let cook for 1 hour. I use the cold water method to depressurize (that is when you run cold water over the pan in the sink, otherwise you can remove it from the heat and let slowly depressurize).
The key to getting the perfect corned beef and vegetables with the pressure cooker is to cook them separately. Prep the vegetables during the last 15 or so minutes of beef cooking time. Once the beef is done, put it on a cutting board, cover loosely in foil and put a towel over the whole deal.
Remove all but enough liquid to come to the bottom of the cooking rack when placed in the pressure cooker. Place potatoes first on the tray, then carrots and then cabbage, cover and bring to pressure. Cook for about 12 minutes. The vegetables will be fork tender, not mushy and the beef will be fully rested. Slice, plate and serve.
For the slow-cooker:
Place rinsed beef in the bottom of the slow-cooker, sprinkle spices, add liquid to come to the top of the beef, and cover. Cook on low for 4 hours. At the 4 hour mark, add potatoes and then carrots. Cook additional 4 hours, adding the cabbage during the last 30 minutes. With the exception of adding the vegetables, try to resist the temptation to open the lid. You need it to stay covered to properly cook. Let the meat rest, covered with foil for about 15 minutes before carving.
There you go, some easy ways to put together a nice corned beef dinner.
Interestingly last year there seemed to be a green cabbage shortage. I went to three different grocery stores and they were completely sold out. I didn’t want to use red cabbage because I don’t really like it. I decided to use Napa cabbage and really liked it, much more than green cabbage, it’s sweeter and has a more delicate flavor and now it is my cabbage of choice.
Enjoy your weekend and watch out for leprechauns… – TaMara
I had a great time visiting friends and family in the Los Angeles area. Pictured above, good friend Jackie and new friend Thomas.
I had some awesome beach time at Zuma, Oxnard and Santa Monica beaches. I always feel better and more centered when I can spend time near the ocean. And luckily there are plenty of opportunities. (Click any photo to start slideshow)
There was a great afternoon tea with old friends and catching up with lots of family. I have the best cousins (and my Aunt and Uncle are pretty special, too).
I started my trip in Camarillo, which is a beautiful, quieter oasis north of LA. We went out to eat some pretty amazing food – prime rib, fresh fish, fresh veggies. Then I headed down to LA for the weekend. My first night there was cooking and cooking lessons. But first we had to buy a frying pan.
Then it was a trip to Trader Joe’s for supplies for the menu of Chicken Piccata, Butter Potato Pie and Chocolate Walnut Flourless Cookies. After that we were ready to start the cooking lesson. Chicken Piccata is definitely a good choice if you want to make something simple that looks elegant and tastes amazing. It’s usually served over buttered egg noodles, but this night I let them loose on the blog to pick what they wanted me to cook. It all went together very well. (Click any photo to start slideshow)
The after dinner view was pretty amazing, too.
The next night we went out to eat again. An amazing place, Mercado La Paloma near USC and South Central LA. A place where restaurants can rent a small space in the food court to try out 5-star menus. Flavors abound. The atmosphere is casual and fun. Check out the link here.
We also saw Monuments Men, which despite lackluster reviews I recommend heartily. Good movie, excellent cast and an amazing piece of history. The book is now in my Kindle queue.
Then I wrapped up the trip in Santa Monica, probably my very favorite place in the Los Angeles area. I’ve been lucky enough to spend a great deal of time there and it’s always special. I think that wraps up my travel diary for this trip. Except..
…did I mention there was a cow? And one final picture:
Grateful for good people in my life…..