Slow-Cooker Asian Beef

I am so excited to tell you that I used my slow-cooker for the VERY FIRST TIME yesterday!  Well- that is… the very first time to make something other than Chili.

All my favorite bloggers and friends are all wintered-up, talking about their slow cooked meals that are easy as pie and ready when they come home for work.  I was starting to get jealous.  I was determined to find an awesome recipe for a hunk’o’meat and try this whole thing out myself.

The recipe I found was from the blog Foodie w/ Family and obviously got my attention since my boyfriend Dave and I LOVE two types of food:  Spicy & Asian.  This recipe happens to be both.  Not too bad!

Dave and I stopped by the Italian Market over the weekend and picked up a 3lb Boneless Top Round Roast from the butcher.  I made the marinade Monday night and put it in the refrigerator in a container so it would be all ready for me on Tuesday.

Scenes from the Italian (Market... not restaurant!)

Scenes from the Italian (Market… not restaurant!)

We're loving the plethora of fresh and inexpensive produce just a 5 min drive away

We’re loving the plethora of fresh and inexpensive produce just a 5 min drive away

Tuesday afternoon, I stopped home to let the dog out and put the meat & marinade into the slow cooker.  Pressed “Low”… and waited.  And waited.  Okay, so I “waited” while I drove back to work, finished my work day, worked out for 2.5 hours, and THEN came home for it to be ALL DONE and waiting for me to devour it!

There are some other steps in between, but you can read about that down here…

Slow-Cooker Asian Beef

Recipe adapted from:  Foodie w/ Family

Ingredients:

  • 1 3-4 pound Boneless Top Round Roast (or you can use bottom)
  • 1 cup Beef  Broth
  • ½ cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Honey plus 2 Tablespoons for later
  • 1 Tablespoon Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Sriracha Sauce (depending on how hot you like things)
  • 4 cloves Garlic, peeled and lightly smashed with the side of a knife.
  • 1 (2-inch) piece of Ginger, lightly smashed with the side of a knife or sliced.

Directions:

1.  Place the beef in the slow cooker.  Drop in the garlic and ginger around the beef.  Mix the broth, vinegar, 1/4 cup of honey, soy sauce, fish sauce, and sriracha sauce and pour the entire thing over the roast.  Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 4 (I did low and slow!).  The beef is done when it is fork tender.  … go ahead and just stab it to see!

2.  Remove the beef from the crock and place on a cutting board.  Carefully take the juices from the slow cooker and place into a saucepan (I used a ladel- the crock was VERY hot).  Add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of Honey to the sauce and boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce as much as you’d like for a thicker sauce.  *I was starving when I got home so I only reduced it for about 10 minutes, probably by about 1/4.  It was still VERY thin… next time I’ll try to be more patient for a thicker sauce!*

3.  Meanwhile, shred the beef using two forks.  You can mix the sauce directly in or pour over each individual serving.  

The finished product

The finished product

The beef and sauce went great with the stir fried veggies and organic quinoa

The beef and sauce went great with the stir fried veggies and organic quinoa

This looked so yummy too- I might have to try a sandwich next time.

This looked so yummy too- I might have to try a sandwich next time.

The beef turned out soooooooo yummy!  It just melted in your mouth and had such good flavor from the marinade.  It wasn’t too spicy but it also wasn’t too sweet, it was sorta just perfect.  Dave and I went low-carb cooked up some Quinoa and a Veggie Stir Fry on the side (Onion, Carrots, Celery, Jalapeno, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Green Beans, and Tomatoes). We decided to sauce our plates ourselves so we were able to pour it all over the entire plate… mmm!  Our roommate Adam even dug in and ate the beef as a sandwich on soft potato rolls… they looked amazing!

The Slow-Cooker verdict is:  Thumbs Up!  Both of the boys asked for me to make this beef again, and to use the slow cooker more often.  Considering how easy this was… I absolutely will!  

You should really check out these other fab recipes:

Quick Beef w/ Yogurt Sauce (a Weight Watchers Recipe!)

Quick Beef w/ Yogurt Sauce (a Weight Watchers Recipe!)

Sesame Beef Stir Fry

Sesame Beef Stir Fry

Chicken in Peanut Sauce

Chicken in Peanut Sauce

Sweet & Spicy Citrus Marinade

I don’t make seafood enough.  Call this my attempt to rectify that fact.  I make salmon a lot, but it’s normally broiled or grilled with the same spicy Asian teriyaki mix.  I’m over it.  It’s time for some change (cue Peter Brady… when it’s time to change you’ve got to rearrange!!!!) in my seafood repertoire; I’m going to put some Tilapia in the mix today.

I made this marinade the other day and used it with the Tilapia.  It turned out really well, and I would absolutely use it again!  The original recipe says it would be good on chicken, but I thought the citrus worked really well with the fish.  I think it would be really great on the grill in the summer!

Sweet & Spicy Citrus Marinade

Recipe from:  Cooking Light

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (1 Orange) 
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice (2 Limes)
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar 
  • 1 Tablespoon EVOO
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Directions:  For the Tilapia, I took 4 fillets and placed them in a cooking-spray coated pyrex dish.  Combine the marinade ingredients (except paprika) and pour over the fish.  Let sit for 15-20 minutes.  Broil in the oven for 15 minutes or until the fish is done.  Top with Paprika and some fresh Black Pepper.

Before

Before

and After!

and After!

Sandy & Salsa Soup

WHEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It’s been a while.

Things have been absolutely crazy for a little while over here.  Hurricane Sandy (that bitch!) tore apart most of the East Coast this week, including Philly and my home away from home- Atlantic City.  Us North-East-Coasters always watch these weather events go down far away down south, in Florida, the Caribbean, New Orleans, etc.  Wow, was it crazy to see it happening in OUR HOME!

Besides my original cheer (and dance around the house) when I found out my work (who NEVER EVER closes) was not going to open on monday, things were pretty scary.  It rained and rained and got windier as the night went on.  I had to take little Stelly outside on a leash- I was afriad she’d blow away!  Somehow, despite a few flickerings, our electricity stayed on- which it never does.  We were very lucky!

No word yet on the shore house.  The people who live upstairs in our house evacuated Ventnor before the storm, and if you’ve EVER watched the news this week, you will know that you can’t exactly get back to the Jersey Shore right now.  I am hoping for the best, and our house is on the 3rd block from the beach… so crossing our fingers on that one.

Here’s a little bit of what you’ve missed while I was MIA/without internet/Sandy-fied:

1.  Dave bought me an AWESOME cookbook including tons of recipes from famous restaurants and Philly Chefs… don’t know what to make first!

2.  Some great pics from Philly pre-Sandy!  On the right is Eastern State Penitentiary, the haunted prison in Philly where we we did the Halloween Tour this past weekend… spooky-scary!

Took some great pics in the city… on the left we have City Hall and the right is the ominous Eastern State Penitentiary

3.  Love these Instagrams!  Had to share.

Check out these Insta-Gems: On the left is Marty, the cutest puppy ever… checking himself out in the mirror and on the right is a great “TBT” of my sister and I!

4.  Dad and I made home-roasted Poblano Peppers for a recipe I’ll share with you soon!  My Dad is a PRO at roasting peppers and he helped me out big time.

Roasted Poblanos were great… definitely going to be doing this more often!

5.  Started my new diet at work for M-F, drinking this awesome healthy protein shake for lunch now.  Spiced Chai?  Cappuccino?  Yes please!  Made Tilapia, those yummy peppers, and enjoyed take-out from my fav. Thai place, Silk Cuisine!

All the good food …

6.  We had more than enough cuddle time with our little Stella May who was afraid of the windy storm!  

Stelly-Bear 🙂

7.  Last week while I had to drive Dave to hockey practice for THE LAST TIME (yes- he got his boot off and can DRIVE!), I ran via the Schuylkill River Trail all the way to our new apt… and back to the trail… and to the Art Museum and back to Penn!  5.5 miles, and the farthest I’ve ever ran alone.  🙂  And also wanted to share my newest find on Pandora, remixes from Daft Punk’s TRON soundtrack.  WHOA.  Great running tunes!

Map My Run! And sharing with you one of my favorite Pandora Discoveries… amazing workout stuff.

8.  Dave’s sister Rachel is housing a homeless Poodle named Ellie during the storm!  She works at a Vet and they are very close to finding this sweetie a home.  I couldn’t stop petting her 🙂

Ellie is soooooooo sweet and adorable!!!

 

Finally, one of the recipes I tried out during this week was this Cooking Light Spicy Tomato & White Bean Soup.  Soup seemed to be the perfect choice for the rainy day!

Spicy Tomato & White Bean Soup

aka Salsa Soup

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Cooking Light

Ingredients:

1 (14-ounce) can Fat Free, Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
2 teaspoons Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 (16-ounce) can Canenelli Beans
1 medium Poblano Chile, halved and seeded
1/2 Onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
1 pint Grape Tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped Fresh Cilantro
2 Tablespoons fresh Lime Juice
1 Tablespoon EVOO
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Cilantro sprigs (optional) 

Directions:

  1. Combine 1 cup broth, chili powder, cumin, and beans in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Combine remaining broth, poblano, and onion in a food processor; pulse until vegetables are chopped. Add onion mixture to pot.
  2. Add tomatoes and cilantro to food processor, and process until coarsely chopped. Add tomato mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat; stir in juice, olive oil, and salt. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

My thoughts on this soup:  um… hello… this is SALSA!  While I was making this soup, Dave was keeping me company.  We kept on talking about how it smelled just like our favorite fresh salsa.  Dave took a glance at my chopped veggies… looks just like salsa.  I picked up the recipe and took a glance over it at the ingredients… and YES IT IS SALSA.  

Although it was a little strange to be eating super chopped up hot salsa, it was really tasty and take a look, it’s really healthy too.  I ate this at work the next day for lunch and it was really filling too.  

Looks like salsa, right?

 

The white beans add texture and make it more filling!

 

 

I hope you all have power and fared well during Hurricane Sandy!  

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

 

 

 

Jalapeno Popper Dip

I don’t think I’ve ever seen us work so well together, as we did this weekend.  As you know, Dave broke his ankle 2 weeks ago and cannot do anything for at least another week, can’t drive for another … a lot more let’s not talk about it.  Poor guy.

This Friday night, I was preparing two dips to bring to our friend’s tailgate for the Penn State game.  You probably will cringe when you hear this, but I sliced my thumb open on the shredder attachment to our food processor.  EEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!  Of course this happens at like, 11:30pm when everyone in my house is trying to go to bed, and Dave is at Adam’s house.  It was disgusting and we couldn’t get it to stop bleeding for like… an hour, at least.  EW.

While my Mom helped mix the dip and finish part of what I was doing, I still had a lot to finish up Saturday morning.  Lucky for me, Dave swooped into the kitchen and was there for the rescue  (literally, swooped in on his crutches).  Dave, who can’t walk… and me, who can’t grab things… worked together to finish up the Jalapeno Popper Dip and a batch of my spicy Guacamole.  I grabbed the ingredients;  Dave sliced and diced them.  I washed off the knives and cutting board;  Dave mixed and mashed.  We made the perfect team.

Check out this GORGEOUS avocado that Dave cut all by himself! 🙂

The finished products:  one kickin’ batch of my Spicy Guacamole and a deliciously creamy and crunchy Jalapeno Popper Dip.

More about the indoor tailgate later, but both dips were fantastic!  I was inspired by one of my favorite blogs, How Sweet It Is who posted 135 of her favorite recipes for Football Season.  I’ve looked over the list several times and just had to try Brown Eyed Baker’s Jalapeno Popper Dip.  YUM!

Jalapeno Popper Dip

Recipe Inspired by:  Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients:

2 packages 1/3 Reduced Fat Cream Cheese

1 cup Olive Oil Reduced Fat Mayo

6 pieces Bacon, cooked and chopped

4 Fresh Jalapenos, seeded, minced

1 teaspoon Minced Garlic

1/2 teaspoon Cumin

8oz Shredded Sharp White Cheddar Cheese

Topping:

1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs

1 cup shredded Parmesan 

4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted

Smoked Paprika

Directions:

1.  Combine the cream cheese, mayo, bacon, jalapenos, garlic, cumin, and the shredded cheddar cheese.  Pour the mixture into a baking dish.  

2.  Now, combine the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and melted butter in a medium-sized bowl.  Mix with a fork until the mixture is well combined and moistened.  Sprinkle evenly over the cream cheese mixture.  Top with some smoked paprika (or regular if that’s all you have).  

3.  I stopped here, and brought the baking dish to the tailgate where I baked in the oven when we were ready to eat.  Otherwise, bake in an oven preheated to 375 for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbling.  Let rest for 5 minutes or so before serving (hot hot hot!).  Serve with Tortilla Chips & Pretzel Crisps.

This is as far as I got before I cut my finger trying to change the food processor to the shredder attachment for my sharp cheddar 😦

We all loved this dip.  We even loved it after it was sitting out all game and cold.  It’s so good!  While the dip is easy to assemble, it took me a while to cook the bacon, chop it, and of course to chop the jalapenos (which ended up burning the hell out of my eyes when I went to put my contacts in).  You could use a canned version to cut out the time, but I prefer fresh.

Pre-Baked Dip

Oh, and making this dip would have been SUPER easy had I not sliced my finger while shredding the cheese and had to put it on hold for a day!

The top was crunchy and delicious.  My only complaint would be that it wasn’t that spicy.  The original recipe called for 6 jalapenos, which I did  buy… but did NOT feel like cutting more of.  My eyes were even tearing!  If you’re looking for it to be really spicy, I’d recommend adding the two extra jalapenos, and maybe even a few sprinkles of cayenne pepper into the cream cheese mixture too.

However, with the spiciness the way it was, even my mild-loving friends could enjoy the dip.

Waiting to dig in and watch the PSU game!

Crunchy and creamy.

Sriracha-Tomato Jam

OMG!!! OMGOMGOMGOMG!!  I LOVE this recipe!!!!  

I found this recipe not too long ago from one of my favorite bloggers, Gabi who writes a really great blog called Broke-Ass Gourmet.  I’ve had it saved for a while now and have been dying to make it.  I’m sooooo glad I did… it turned out awesome.  I have a feeling I’ll be making it again very soon once my certain someone comes home from Vancouver!

MMM!

Sriracha-Tomato Jam

A Recipe by:  BrokeAss Gourmet

Ingredients:

2lbs Ripe Jersey Tomatoes

½ Medium Onion, finely chopped

2/3 Cup Honey

1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

3 teaspoons or more Sriracha

½ teaspoon Salt

Fresh Black Pepper

Directions:

1.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Carefully drop the tomatoes into the boiling water for about 15-30 seconds.  Remove with a slotted spoon.  Put into a different bowl in the sink and rinse with cool water so it’s easier to handle.  Slip the skin of the tomato off (Gabi reassured us it would come right off and they definitely do!).  Core, seed, and chop.

2.  Dump the hot water out of the large pot and add the chopped tomatoes, onion, honey, balsamic vinegar, Sriracha, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer for an hour or until there isn’t much liquid left.  Stir a few times to check on it.

Hot Hot Hot!!!  When I tried this on a cracker once it was done and a little bit cool, it was so F****** spicy!  I immediately regretted “ruining” another recipe trying to be tough and make things extra-spicy.  I used 4.5 teaspoons of Sriracha instead of 3… oye vey!

I was so happy the next day to taste it again and see that the heat definitely backed off since I had first made it.  It is spicy, for sure… but not only is it “edible” now… but it is FANTASTIC.

I have only eaten this spread on crackers so far, but I plan on making us some kind of fancy grilled cheese when Dave gets home.  I loved this and it was SO easy.

Thank you Gabi!!!

Peeling the tomatoes was a little bit creepy to me but I DID IT!

Everything goes into the pot at the same time. Couldn’t get much easier than that!

Here’s what it looked like when it was done.

Do you like the old-school Jelly Jar I used? I need to double the recipe and pick up some Mason Jars…. hmmmm

Buffalo Peanuts

Looking for a snack for your boyfriend who is flying to Vancouver?  Okay… how about… are you looking for a fun snack to make?!  Is that better?

This week, I wanted to make something small that I could give to Dave to take on the plane with him.  Okay… plane… peanuts.  It didn’t take too long to decide.  I came across a recipe I had saved from Bake Your Day, a really awesome blog with some really gorgeous pictures of food.

The original recipe is meant for mixed nuts… but I wanted to keep the airplane theme alive and use only peanuts.  This one’s a winner! … and don’t call me Shirley.

Buffalo Peanuts

Original recipe by:  Bake Your Day

Makes:  2 Cups

Ingredients:

2 Cups Peanuts (i used salted)

1 Tablespoon Sunflower oil (or Olive Oil)

2 Tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, more or less depending on taste

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a baking sheet with foil.

2.  Combine peanuts with oil, hot sauce, and seasonings.  Dump onto the baking sheet and spread out.

3.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until toasted.

Here they are pre-baked

Amazing. I could eat them all day… but I really shouldn’t.

Oh, they weren’t too spicy at all. Don’t be afraid!

PS don’t you love the PSU mug? Gotta represent!

Mango-Sriracha Chicken

One of my fav blogging friends Steph from Dairy Free Omnivore just made this dish with CHICKEN THIGHS… amazing!

Oh.My.GOSH.  This sauce is SO GOOD.  Sometimes, the best meals are the ones you don’t plan and just throw together at the very last minute.  This chicken recipe is a product of that very type of night!

It’s been a while that I’ve make my boyfriend, Dave (or Dahv, as we call him) a nice, spicy, Sriracha covered meal.  Sriracha is going to be the best addition to your pantry, if you don’t have it already.  It’s an asian hot sauce that tastes fantastic.  If you’ve ever had a “spicy” sushi roll… you’ve tried it!  I have used Sriracha in so many recipes, such as:  Spicy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup ,  , Peanut Butter Soba Noodles, and even Sriracha Chicken w/ Onions  which is a huge hit on the “Sriracha Cookbook”‘s page on Pinterest.  Sweet! PS, who wants to buy it for me?  I want it so bad!

This recipe in particular, is very different than the others.  I used Trader Joe’s Mango Butter in the sauce which made gave it that sweet-hot kick.  MMM!  Sidenote:  TJ’s Mango Butter isn’t that great.  It worked well for the sauce but as a “butter” not so much.  Try the FIG Butter instead, you won’t be disappointed.

Mango-Sriracha Chicken

Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook
Serves:  4
Ingredients:
4 Chicken Breasts, cut into thin cutlets
2 Tablespoons Mango Butter
2 Tablespoons Sriracha Sauce 
2 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
1 teaspoon Sunflower Oil (or Canola?)
1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
Ground Black Pepper & Sea Salt
Directions:
1.  Season the chicken with the pepper and salt.
2.  In a bowl, whisk the Mango Butter, Siracha, Vinegar, Oil, and Garlic until the Mango Butter breaks up.  It will take a minute or two and some force!
3.  Set 1/2 cup of the sauce aside.  You can use this as a dipping sauce or to top the chicken off with it later.
4.  Pour the sauce over the chicken.  Let it sit for 10 minutes or until the chicken is room temperature.  It doesn’t need to marinade.  
5.  Cook the chicken on the grill or a cast iron skillet (my new toy!).  Depending on the thickness of your chicken, cook on each side until it is done and the juices run clear, the thermometer reads 165, or you cut it and check it… whatever you do just make sure it’s done!
6.  Serve w/ the side of sauce. 

Whisk, whisk, whisk!

I used my new cast iron skillet. My Mom had the great idea to use this screen to cover the pan so no oil or sauce sprays up onto me!

Delish meal!

The results?  Like I said before, OMG!  We loved this one!  I love any sweet and hot combination and this one was really interesting.  It was definitely hot but not hot enough to deter the entire family from eating the entire batch!  I served ours with grilled Zucchini & Squash, and some Roasted Dill Potatoes (recipe to come soon!).  This is a great light but interesting meal to keep you on your toes and for me… on my diet!