Versatile and Tasty: Ropa Vieja (Instant Pot & Slow Cooker Versions)

Ropa Vieja is one of my favorite items on a local Mexican restaurant menu. I almost always have it in a salad in a tortilla bowl.  So of course I had to figure out how to replicate it at home.

I have tortilla bowl molds and make them for lunch salads all the time. Although you don’t need them, use this method here.

Now to up my game with some tasty ropa vieja. Continue reading

Dinner Menu: Spicy Lime Cilantro Chicken w/Mexican Rice

It’s been unseasonably warm here after our early snow in September, so grilling is on the menu.

On the board:

  1. Spicy Lime Cilantro Chicken
  2. Mexican Rice Medley
  3. Green Beans
  4. Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe here)

Spicy Lime Cilantro Chicken:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup sliced pickled jalapenos and juice

 Place ingredients in a zip-lock bag and marinate 1 hour or overnight.  Broil or grill for 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, until breasts are cooked to 165 degrees. Continue reading

Instant Pot: Beef and Barley Soup

 

JeffreyW makes mouths water with this photo of his Beef and Barley Soup (with bonus Foccacia recipe here)

For the stovetop version, click here.

It has been unseasonably warm here, but I still wanted soup. Checked the freezer and I had a cross-rib roast, that would do since there was not a secret stash of chuck roast tucked away. All the other ingredients were handy, so Beef and Barley soup was it.

I added a potato, diced small, just because.

Beef & Barley Vegetable Soup

  • olive oil
  • 1 lb chuck, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 14 oz of tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 8 cups of water (or water and vegetable broth**)
  • 12 oz sliced carrots (frozen ok)
  • 12 oz green beans (frozen ok)
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp salt (more as desired)
  • 2 bay leaves (remove before serving)

large saucepan

Heat oil in the instant pot on the sauté setting. Sauté onions for 1 minute, add beef and brown on all sides, add garlic and sauté for 1 minute making sure not to burn the garlic. Add remaining ingredients.  Set the pot to Soup/Stew setting and cook for 35 to 40 minutes, until barley is tender.  Use natural release method.

Serve with biscuits or cornbread.

**For vegetable broth,  I blend the tomatoes, and an additional 6 oz of carrots, 6 oz of green beans, 2 stalks of the celery, 1 cup water into a smooth puree, to make a hearty base for the soup.  I like the hearty stock.

Yum.

It’s soup season, so here are a few more: Tomato Soup and Grilled CheeseChicken Tortilla Soup, and Minestrone with Tiny Meatballs


 

Full Dinner Menu: Washday Beans and Rice

Photo from JeffreyW

I’ve been watching a home show about buying and selling big mansions in New Orleans. I’m enjoying touring these big old mansions.  Since I was in a Louisiana mood, time for one of my favorite dinners.

On the board tonight:

  1. Washday Beans & Rice
  2. Sliced Steamed Zucchini
  3. Corn Bread
  4. Blueberries & Raspberries w/whip cream

Washday Beans & Rice

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 14oz can red kidney bean
  • 4 links Italian or Andouille sausage (sweet or spicy) – slice each link into 4 pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp to 1 tbsp Cajun Creole Seasoning (start with teaspoon and work your way up to taste)
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large tomato diced (or 14 oz can)

2-quart saucepan and skillet Continue reading

Chef Michael Symon’s Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

Photo Credit: Food Network/Michael Symon

Photo Credit: Food Network/Michael Symon

Chef Michael Symon* has a new show on Food Network called Symon’s Dinners Cooking Out. It’s a fun half-hour with Symon grilling all his recipes with the help of his wife.

I wanted to share this recipe as soon as I saw the episode. Such a perfectly simple way to prepare eggplant and fresh tomatoes. As we wind up garden season, this is a perfect late summer grilling recipe.

Check out all the recipes from the show, most are simple and unique takes on popular favorites. 

Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

Level: Easy
Total: 30 min
Active: 30 min
Yield: 4 servings

  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
  • Torn fresh basil leaves, for serving

Continue reading

Grilling Dinner Menu: Cantanzaro Herbed Chicken

I get gifts! One I got this year was a box of assorted large bottles of spice mixes. I’ve enjoyed each unique blend, especially the Peruvian one, since it’s been a while since we have been able to frequent our favorite Peruvian restaurant here.

Tonight’s menu features the Cantanzaro spice mix. Cantanzaro is a city in Italy.  So there are a lot of herbs this Italian girl recognizes: marjoram, basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano. And garlic, lots of garlic. But the kicker is the lemon and lemon peel.

It’s all very fresh for summer and great for grilling.

On the board tonight:

  1. Grilled Cantanzaro Herbed Chicken Breasts
  2. Grilled peppers and onions (toss sliced onions and favorite mix of peppers with olive oil, salt, pepper and grill in a grilling pan)
  3. Cucumber-Tomato Salad (recipe here)
  4. Gelato (recipes here)

Continue reading

This One Is Hot, Hot, Hot

Somehow,  I made an extremely spicy Green Chile. The peppers were marked as hot, so I should have suspected because normally they just assume you know green chiles are on the hot side. These were on the super-hot side.

Someone sent me this recipe when I was asking for recommendations. It’s simple and turned out great. The only substitution I made was beef for pork. I’m not a big pork fan. Bacon, sausage and pepperoni are about it.

I used a boneless blade steak, which worked perfectly. I kinda wished I would have popped it on the grill when I roasted the chiles.

Continue reading