Dinner Menu: Grilled Steak with Coffee Rub and Blueberry Coffeecake

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Let’s start grilling season off with one of my most requested recipes. A steak coffee rub.

From August 2013

A friend of mine spent a few months one summer experimenting with coffee rubs. This was one of my favorites. If you need something fun to do with your next grilled steak, this is a recipe to try. And with my love of blueberries, can’t go wrong with a blueberry coffeecake.  Yum.

On the board tonight:

  1. Steak with Coffee Rub
  2. Green Beans w/Bacon & Onion
  3. Baked Potatoes
  4. Blueberry CoffeeCake

Steak with Coffee Rub

  • 3 tbsp chili powder (pure ancho or a blend)
  • 3 tbsp finely ground coffee (espresso works best)
  • 1 ½ tbsp paprika (use a good one)
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 to 1-1/2 lb of steak (rib-eye, sirloin, NY strip, etc) in 4 thick pieces

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Dinner Menu: Stir Fry Orange Chicken and Broccoli

It’s snowing here – well, raining at the moment, but snow by the evening. Never mind my garden is planted with tomatoes, three kinds of peppers, tomatillos, and zucchini, all raised in the house nursery over the past few months. Sigh.

It’s Colorado and we are always prepared for snow, so I’ve got everything ready to be covered and protected as the weather turns. Just not how I expected to spend the latter part of my week.

Cold weather puts me in the mood for some spicy favorites. This is from 2017:


orange-chicken-dinner

I’m not big on deep frying anything, but I love orange chicken so I wanted to find a way to make it so it was still crisp without all the oil and breading. I found the perfect ingredient to produce that result: potato starch. I’ve been using it for a while now and it makes the most perfect Oven Baked Chicken – I’ve been substituting it for the bread crumbs, combining it with crushed rice chex – I’ll post an updated recipe on that technique this week.

I thought it might have the same effect on pan frying chicken pieces. It did. Crispy, light and flavorful. Of course top anything with enough orange sauce and I’m there.

On the board tonight:

  1. Pan-Fried Orange Chicken
  2. Rice or Rice Noodles
  3. Steamed Broccoli

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Dinner Menu: Baked Gnocchi in Fire Roasted Tomato-Basil Sauce

This is an elegant dinner that looks like it took you all day to prepare.  From start to finish I cooked the asparagus and gnocchi in 1/2 hour.  The strawberry bread takes an hour to cook, but it’s a breeze to put together.  So if you feel the need for something special, but still easy, this one could be for you.

On the board tonight:

  1. Baked Ricotta Gnocchi
  2. Broiled Asparagus
  3. Loaf of good crusty bread
  4. Strawberry Bread

Years ago, Christmas Eve is spent eating good food at friends’ Mark and Larissa’s house. Mark’s mom is from Italy and Larissa’s mom is from Japan, and luckily for me, the subject always turns to food from both countries. This year we talked about ravioli, gnocchi and fish in salt domes. I have to confess I’m not a fan of gnocchi. Should be good, right? – potato goodness, covered in sauce. What’s not to love? It just isn’t a favorite of mine. Maybe because I’ve never had it fresh I am missing out. But after we discussed how to make it fresh, well, I don’t think I’d be making it anytime soon. Then I saw a recipe for Ricotta Gnocchi and it sounded good and best of all, easy.  So I’d thought I’d try it. This is what I came up with and it quickly became a favorite of my guests.

Baked Ricotta Gnocchi in Fire Roasted Tomato and Basil Sauce

Sauce:

  • 28 oz fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tbsp fresh chopped)

Add ingredients in saucepan, bring to a low boil, reduce to low and let simmer while preparing gnocchi. Continue reading

Dinner Menu: Cajun Catfish and Buttered Potato Pie

Continuing my Southern-themed menus this month, leading up to Mardi Gras:

I get gifts and often times it’s spices, so I have a couple of really good Cajun spice mixes to choose from for the fish. The potatoes are so easy, especially if you have a mandolin, it takes about 10 minutes to make this recipe from start to finish. Lots of butter and I added crushed roasted garlic and brushed a little olive oil on the top layer.  I always forget how good they are and wonder why I don’t make them more often.

Blood oranges are in season if you want to substitute for the pears.

On the board tonight:

  1. Pan-fried Catfish
  2. Broccoli
  3. Buttered Potato Pie
  4. Sliced Pears

Pan-fried Catfish*

  • 4 catfish fillets – approx. 6 oz each
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp to 1 tbsp Cajun spice (according to your taste preferences)

large skillet

Brush catfish with oil and season with Cajun spice.  Lightly oil pan, using high heat fry 3-4 minutes on each side.

*if you don’t think you’ll like catfish, you can substitute salmon, whitefish, trout, or even boneless chicken breasts (requires longer cooking time).

If you can’t find a commercial Cajun spice mixture, you can mix together equal parts of the following and store in an airtight container:  paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, lemon zest, black pepper, red pepper, allspice, thyme, ground cloves, mace, cayenne, and crushed bay leaf.

Buttered Potato Pie

  • 4-6 medium potatoes
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • ½ onion, sliced in thin rings
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp minced parsley

large skillet

Peel & slice potatoes thinly.  Heat 2 tbsp of butter in skillet.  Arrange onions on the bottom of the skillet, then layer potatoes slices overlapping in a ring on the bottom of the pan.  As you make each layer, drizzle the remaining butter over the top and season with salt & pepper.  Invert heat-proof plate, or I use a metal pie pan, over the potatoes, weigh down with heavy heat-proof object (like a can of water).  Sauté over medium heat until potatoes are molded and golden brown.  Remove the plate. Transfer the potatoes to the 400-degree  F oven and cook until caramelized and cooked through, about 30 minutes, pressing the potatoes occasionally to compress and shaking the pan to keep the potatoes from sticking to the bottom. Cut into four wedges and serve with parsley garnish.

Shopping List

  • 4 Pears (or one large can sliced pears)
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 4 catfish fillets
  • 4-6 medium potatoes
  • ½ onion
  • Parsley
  • 1 stick butter

Also: olive oil, Cajun spice, salt, pepper

Full Dinner Menu: Pasta Jambalaya and Orange Cookies

Pasta Jambalaya_Snapseed2

As winter drags on and we get closer to Fat Tuesday (March 1st this year) my meals tend to take on a Southern feel…Washday Beans and Rice, Chicken and Biscuits, Pulled Pork Sandwiches. I’ll revisit all those recipes in the coming weeks. See if I can adapt any to the Instant Pot.

Speaking of the Instant Pot – I gave my 6 qt to a friend who lost everything in the Marshall fire and bought myself a new 8 qt pot – more soup! More dog food! Hey, an entire chicken can roast in there!

Pasta Jambalaya is such an easy and fun one-pot dinner. My goal with the dinner menus is to have a quick meal planned that doesn’t taste quick and uses fresh foods, versus over-processed frozen or microwave dinners. I think this one really meets that test. It’s full of great flavors and fresh vegetables. And the Orange cookies are a simple dessert, but you can always substitute fresh oranges for a healthier alternative.

On the board:

  1. Pasta Jambalaya
  2. Salad
  3. Orange Cookies

Pasta Jambalaya

  • 12 oz penne pasta
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 cup sliced carrots (I use frozen)
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp to 1 tbsp Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4 oz can chopped green chilies
  • 4 oz smoked sausage, sliced (I like Andouille)
  • 4 oz shredded Mexican 4-blend cheese

saucepan Continue reading

Peach Week Dinner Menu: Peach Chutney on Grilled Pork

Jeffrey W Pickled Peaches

Fires and late freezes last year left us with very few peaches from the Western Slope. But this year, a bumper crop means a fresh delivery from the Palisades farms every few days. I buy a few each time,  so that I don’t have to many overripening on the counter.

This is one of my favorite peach recipes. Great on grilled pork or chicken.

On the board tonight:

  1. Grilled Pork Chops
  2. Peach Chutney
  3. Green beans in Butter
  4. Couscous

Grilled Pork Chops w/Peach Chutney

  • 4 pork chops, medium thickness
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ½ cup Peach Chutney

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Dinner Menu: Beef and Pepper Subs with Pear-Walnut Salad

This is a quick and easy dinner and the pear salad has a nice, fresh flavor that is really complimented by the walnut oil and blue cheese.

I’ve been wanting to make bread for a few weeks, but the temperatures in the upper nineties and even breaking one hundred a couple days in a row meant the last thing I wanted to do was turn on the oven.

Today will stay in the low seventies for much of the morning, so I felt like I could risk a nice round of baking. I turned this recipe into one loaf and four sub rolls.

Beef & Pepper Subs Continue reading

Grilling Menu: Stuffed Jalapeno-Cheddar Burgers and Cajun Sweet Potato Fries

Made these tonight, always a great way to grill a burger.

Stuffed Burger Uncut Snap

I make these all the time because they really are easy and a great way to have a cheeseburger without losing half the cheese to the grill. And the sweet potato cajun fries are the perfect sweet, spicy combo.  Grill some peaches, pears or plums and dinner is done. Enjoy.

On the board tonight:

  1. Jalapeno-Cheddar Stuffed Burgers
  2. Kaiser Rolls
  3. Cajun Sweet Potato Fries
  4. Grilled Sweet Corn  (pull husks back, clean off silk, wash, pull husks up & grill-yum!)
  5. Plums

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