Easy

Refried Beans by guest cook Deborah

What bad recipe starts with a pound of bacon – um not a one!

So this has been quite a week around here, my father-in-law has been in the hospital (none covid related) for 10 days. Thankfully he is home now and doing fine but we have had several family members staying with us over the whole ordeal. I didn’t make anything “new” to share with you but we definitely made and ate well and currently my husband is in the kitchen making us all breakfast with his self acclaimed famous home fries. He has definitely stepped up his game with them, they are excellent.

My sister-in-law is a huge help while she is here and wants to help out in whatever capacity. She knew I was working all week and I KNOW she wanted to make something since she loves to cook as well. I put a pork butte in the slow cooker with no real plans; Deborah had a plan she wanted to make burritos. I personally have not used pork butte for burritos but I totally “get it”. I have only had canned refried beans and that’s all I have in the house; so off to the store she went.  When she announced she was making homemade refried beans I told her she HAD to take pictures; which is another passion of hers. So this week I give to you a Guest Cook recipe and photos.

what bad recipe starts with a pound of bacon – um not a one!

You know the saying “too many cooks in the kitchen” well my husband; while making breakfast; started talking smack about him winning the chocolate chip cookie contest we had several years ago; that everyone in the house except him remembers that I won. Well challenge accepted we are having another one today, I told him to take out the butter it’s on! We are going to do a blind taste test with my niece, sister-in-law and daughter being the judges. I’ll report back next week with my winnings; I mean the winner.

Refried Beans

Ingredients
  

  • 1 package dry pinto beans rinsed
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 pound bacon cooked, fat reserved (optional) Oil, or lard any oil will work but some add more flavor than others.

Instructions
 

  • cook the bacon however you want, we really only need the fat from it. I cook my in the oven on a rack. Save the bacon for breakfast sandwiches or BLT's or crumbled some of a salad. Or eat it right out of the bag.
  • cover the beans with water and let them boil uncovered for 2-3 hours, make sure to keep them covered with water.
  • dice the onion and add it to a large saute pan with the bacon fat. saute till they are golden brown, not burnt
  • using a slotted spoon take a couple of spoonfuls and add them to the onions and using a potato masher, mash the beans into the onions, You don't need to mash them all completely flat. Continue adding and mashing until all the beans are added to the pan. Add some of the leftover bean liquid to your pan until they are the consistency of lumpy mashed potatoes.
  • taste and adjust the seasoning with salt

Corned Beef Hash

I am pretty sure the title of this blog with garner some sort of a response. People are funny when it comes to food, I know this because I used to be one and am in some respects. I am not a fan of mushrooms, raw red or really any onion is on my no thank you list. And I am pretty sure I don’t need snails in my life; though the garlic and butter part of how snails are prepared in restaurants is pretty outstanding.

I think it is funny that just the name “corned beef” turns people off. Here is a little history from the Smithsonian Magazine to why it is called Corned Beef. The British invented the term “corned beef” in the 17th century to describe the size of the salt crystals used to cure the meat, the size of corn kernels. After the Cattle Acts, salt was the main reason Ireland became the hub for corned beef. Ireland’s salt tax was almost 1/10 that of England’s and could import the highest quality at an inexpensive price. I didn’t even know this but was pretty interesting.

The old saying it takes a village well the potatoes and cabbage were picked from the garden by my husband,  my daughter cooked the corned beef while I was out, the huge cast iron pan came from my mother, the eggs were from my friends chickens and my sister-in-law is here for a few days and she washed the dishes.  We had New England boiled dinner last night and all the leftovers we made into this delicious breakfast.

corned beef hash

great way to use up boiled dinner leftovers

Ingredients
  

boiled dinner

  • 1-2 packages corned beef
  • 2-3 potatoes
  • 3-4 carrots
  • 1 small turnip
  • 1 head cabbage quartered and cored

Corned beef hash

  • 1 leftover corned beef diced and cubed
  • leftover potato, carrot and turnip chopped
  • leftover cabbage chopped
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1-2 egg per person optional

Instructions
 

boiled dinner

  • place the corned beef in a large pot and cover it with water, add a bay leaf or two and some pepper corns. Bring to a boil and then cover and lower to a slow rolled boil. Let it boil for 2-3 hours take a look and add more water if needed.
  • Peel and chop the carrots, turnip and potatoes and add them to the pot. let it boil for about 35-45 minutes until the turnip is tender add the cabbage and cover. Cook for another 10 minutes or so just so the cabbage is cooked through but not mushy.

corned beef hash

  • prep the meat and veggies by dicing and chopping everything so it is all similar is size.
  • dice the onion and add some oil or butter to you pan, add the meat and the onion and cook until the onions are soft and the meat get a little color.
  • Add the cabbage and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add the rest of the veggies. cook through and allow the pan to give everything a little crust. you don't need to stir too much, if you do things tend to breakdown even smaller
  • Add an egg of your choice, my favorite is poached.

 

quick chicken parm

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It is Wednesday morning and I am sitting on the porch writing this weeks blog. It is so quiet and peaceful at the moment even the birds are still being quiet. I know it won’t last long pretty soon the hummingbirds will be stopping by for breakfast and we have a couple of squirrels who for some reason seem to peck at each other ALL the time. They are constantly going from one side of the driveway to the other and up one tree than over to the other one all the time squawking at each other. They are actually quite annoying I tell them to knock it off all time but they don’t listen. They must be teenagers.
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The other night we had a fish taco night and I know I have mentioned this before but when I make fish tacos I tend to always make shrimp and chicken as well. My soon to be daughter-in-law doesn’t like seafood. I know it sounds crazy but if I am going to bring out my fryer I am putting it to use. We had some friends over to discuss catering the food for my sons wedding. It is going to be a very small wedding; under 20 people but I hope it will be a great one for the kids. My friend is a great chef so I know the food will be fantastic.
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The fried mahi mahi is always the first to go, which is good because leftover fish is not something I particularly care for. There was a handful of leftover shrimp which I put on my salad for lunch the next day. There was a lot of chicken left over so I decided to make chicken Parmesan with it. My husband walked in seeing me with the leftover chicken out some cheese and marinara sauce and was like “chicken parm? yum” he was right it was yum and so simple.
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The hummingbirds are awake now!
This is how I made this yummy chicken parm dish with leftover fried chicken tenders

chicken parmesan

quick weeknight meal with leftover fried chicken tenders
Course Main Course

Equipment

  • dutch oven or heavy duty pan that can handle hot oil

Ingredients
  

Chicken Tenders

  • 1 package chicken tenders
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 jar your favorite marinara sauce
  • 2 packages mozzarella cheese
  • 1 package provolone cheese or swiss cheese
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4+ cups cooking oil

Instructions
 

chicken tenders

  • In a heavy duty pan, a dutch oven works great if you have one. Add the oil and heat to 350'F
  • In three separate pie plates or similar add your breading station with flour in one, egg in another and the panko in the last and season each one with salt and pepper. If you want add garlic powder, or paprika or some other flavoring.
  • dredge the chicken in the flour one at a time; shaking off the excess. dip each piece in the egg and finally into the panko. Set aside until your oil is hot at 350'F
  • Once the oil is hot add several pieces of chicken turning a couple of times till browned and cooked through. Drain on a rack or a stack of paper towels until you are ready to assemble.

Chicken Parmesan

  • In a baking dish big enough and deep enough that you will be able to add a couple of layers of chicken. Add some marinara to the bottom just enough to cover the base of your dish.
  • Place chicken tenders on top of the marinara, then cover with some mozzarella and your other cheese. add some more marinara and then another layer of chicken. repeat this with what you have left and will fit. Cover your layers with the rest of the mozzarella cheese and bake till golden brown.
Keyword chicken parmesan, chicken tenders, fried chicken tenders

 

baked stuffed zucchini

We are having a bumper crop of zucchini this year, I think we have only had one year in the last 30 where we didn’t have a bumper crop. So you would think we wouldn’t plant more than; I don’t know one two maybe even three plants instead of a six pack. Today I will be starting to bake with the monster ones. I try to get out there daily, even working from home I can’t seem to get out there, could have something to do with us being crazy busy and me working till dark.
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We have been having to fight the deer for the carrots, beets and broccoli even despite the spraying for them, they are winning and pissing us off. I would be totally OK if they ate a zucchini plant or two but noooo they don’t like those. I do share with others and sometimes quite sneakily; just this last week we met friends for dinner out and I brought each of them a bag of fresh veggies. They got cucumbers, summer squash and yes zucchini and I am nice and give them eating zucchini but they also get a monster one; sharing is caring 😉

Speaking of sharing the other night I planned on making this baked stuffed zucchini for us for dinner and figured I would slice up extra to send home with my son and my in-laws. See how I did that; I got rid of some of the large ones that I know neither would have ever taken. I used what I had on hand for this dish. I had some sausage I hadn’t put in the freezer yet in the fridge, I had some leftover risotto that I figured I would use up a little of it. You can also use what you have on hand and make it your own. Slice, scoop, fill and bake. It is as easy as that!

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baked stuffed zucchini

another way to use up some of your garden zucchini
Course Main Course

Ingredients
  

  • 1-4 med-large zucchini
  • 1-4 links sweet Italian sausage casing removed, chopped up and browned
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 cup mozzarella
  • 1-2 cups rice cooked, leftovers fine
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese sliced
  • 1 large jar marinara sauce

Instructions
 

  • preheat oven to 350' F - bake for about an hour
  • Slice the zucchini lengthwise, scoop out the filling onto a chopping board, rough chop the filling and place in a large bowl.
  • brown sausage and drain the excess fat off. saute the onions until they are soft. set aside till they cool a bit, 5 minutes is fine. add these to the zucchini in the bowl.
  • dice or shred up some mozzarella and add it to the bowl with the onions, sausage and zucchini
  • Add the rice and Parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper
  • place the zucchini boats into a large baking dish. Fill each boat with the stuffing you just made.
  • cover each boat with marinara sauce and the shredded cheese. cover your dish with tinfoil and bake for 30-40 minutes. You may need to remove some of the excess liquid. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes or until browned.

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BBQ Brisket Nachos

Current situation is me sitting on my porch with a cup of tea, the hummingbirds having breakfast and watching a turkey and what looks like a half dozen little ones sneaking across my field. Ooooh a hawk just flew over, he either didn’t notice or he’s thinking of coming in for a sneak attack. I’ll keep you posted.
Update: the Mom turkey watched the hawk the entire time and then shortly there after they all jumped the stone wall and into the woods.
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So I mentioned last week that I was making a brisket; and I did. It marinated for 2 days before I threw it in the oven for about 6 hours. I know not ideal for summer months but I found brisket at the store so I bought it.

I wanted to share with you a couple of things I made with it. because I don’t think they make small briskets or at least I have never seen one. Mine was a little over 8 pounds. Besides just grabbing a chunk and eating it by itself. We of course had it for dinner with mashed potatoes and some carrots.  

During the week I made shepherds pie with it. I had this at a BBQ joint a couple of years ago and went back again for more. So I have been wanting to make it ever since. I Shredded some of the meat to fill the bottom of my baking dish and I use a combination of whole kernel corn and creamed corn and then topped it with mashed potatoes and some shredded cheddar cheese and baked it till golden brown and bubbly.
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Yesterday I finished it up by shredding the leftovers and I also had a little of the BBQ sauce I made and I added the rest of that to the brisket and then made a tray of nachos. It was so good I highly recommend; if you are not going to make a brisket; when you see BBQ brisket nachos on the menu; give it a try!

BB Brisket Nachos

dclarkabal
Brisket several uses

Ingredients
  

Brisket marinade

  • 2 cans beef consomme
  • 1 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce or mix it up for some salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 5-7 cloves chopped garlic
  • 8-10 pound brisket

BBQ sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Nachos

  • 1 bag corn tortilla chips I like the scoops so you can fill them
  • 2 medium tomatoes chopped
  • 1/4 head iceberg lettuce chopped
  • 1-2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
  • leftover brisket shredded
  • 1/3 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Instructions
 

Brisket instructions

  • Combine the beef consomme, soy sauce, lemon juice, liquid smoke and garlic in a large roasting pan; if you need to use a disposable pan. Place the brisket in the marinade, fat-side up. Cover tightly with foil. Marinate in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours.
  • when you are ready; pre-heat oven to 300'F
  • keeping the foil on the pan cook the brisket until fork-tender, about 40 minutes per pound (6 to 7 hours). Transfer to a cutting board, slice against the grain and put the slices back into the cooking liquid. Serve immediately, spooning the juice over the slices
  • You can store the meat in the juice in the fridge for a couple of days, remove the fat once it solidifies.

BBQ Sauce

  • combine all the ingredients together until smooth

Nachos

  • fill your dish with chips; if using scoops; turn them into cups and fill with the BBQ sauced brisket, sprinkle with cheese and bake in a 350'F oven for about 20 minutes, till the cheese is melted and they are lightly browned.
  • once removed from the oven, add the diced tomatoes and the chopped lettuce. cover with dollops of sour cream and serve warm

 

easy BBQ sauced short ribs

Good morning and I hope you are all well and still hanging in there – I hope some day we are doing more than just hanging in there. 2020 is in my opinion kicking our ass and taking names. The whole saying that things come in 3’s I am fairly certain went out the window a few months ago.
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On the lighter side my garden is doing much better; well to the extent we harvested the garlic and it is currently drying and I wasn’t disappointed with what we got; some years I wonder why I keep planting it; OK that’s a lie I will ALWAYS plant garlic. We got to the potatoes before the worms did. And it looks like zucchini will be the winning crop this year. Local friends in need come on over my husband just picked a dozen before 6 am this morning and he is currently out there as I write this.
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Before March I was the primary grocery shopper in the house. For a few months that role changed to my husband. I do go once in a while now and the last two times I was SO glad I did. We were making a list for the store and for the most part my husband went off the list. I will admit if I saw something that piqued my interest I would easily stray from my list.  Case in point I found beautiful short ribs at one store and was super excited to find brisket at another. I have had brisket on my list for about a month now and it has been marinating in my fridge for almost 48 hours. That’s whats for dinner tonight!
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Back to the short ribs, they were probably the nicest, boneless short ribs I have ever picked up so I was excited to cook them. I made a really easy BBQ sauce and baked them in the oven. We are not huge BBQ sauce people. I mean we like it and definitely make and eat it but it’s not our go to if you get my drift. However when we were eating dinner there were a lot of compliments going around about the sauce; most notably was that I could sell it. Plus the BBQ sauced ribs were still being mentioned a week later. So safe to say this recipe is a keeper!
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Easy BBQ sauced short ribs

easy slow baked boneless short ribs
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 14 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 4 pounds boneless short ribs
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper

BBQ sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 300' F
  • season the ribs liberally with salt and pepper on both sides, place the ribs in a 9x13 dish
  • combine all the BBQ sauce ingredients in a small bowl and stir till smooth
  • Pour about a 1/2 cup over the ribs. Flip the ribs over and spoon another 1/2 cup of the sauce over top. Reserve the remaining BBQ sauce to spoon over the cooked ribs.
    Cover the pan with aluminum foil and roast for 2-1/2 hours. Remove the foil and, if the cooking liquid is covering the meat, remove some of the liquid so that the tops are exposed.
  • Cook for 30 minutes more, uncovered, until the meat is tender and browned. If needed cut off any excess fat that remains around the short ribs (I did not need to do this) Transfer the short ribs to a serving platter. Slather the reserved BBQ sauce over the short ribs and serve.
Keyword bbq sauce, boneless short ribs, easy slow baked