Tuesday, September 22, 2009

BRATS (indoor method)

I love Brats. A lot of people simmer their brats for 30 minutes or longer in beer, but I think a quick, but delicious method is right on the package. You may also substitute the water for beer.

Place your brats in a 4 quart pan and put water or beer til it barely covers them. Place a lid over them. I like to poke them with a fork so they don’t explode from their skins.
Bring them up to a boil and back down to med-low to simmer them for about 10 minutes. Move them around every now and then to help them cook evenly. After 10 minutes you need to empty the water or beer and then cook them without liquid to crisp them up on the outside on med-low or medium.

I like to eat mine like a hot dog, but with sauerkraut. They can be eaten like your favorite hot dog, or add them to a pot of beans. They are so delicious.

Delicious Cheesy Omelet with Portabella Mushrooms

I love to make an omelet, to me it is so filling and healthy. You can make this with whole eggs or egg whites.


2-3 eggs or egg whites
1-2 slices of lean ham chopped into bite size pieces
1/8-1/4cup of sliced Porte bella mushrooms
2 chopped green onions
grated cheddar cheese
2 TBS oil
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
1 pat of butter

Place your eggs or eggwhites into a bowl and mix them as if you are going to scramble them using a fork or a whisk. Drizzle a little oil in a skillet and heat this on medium heat. Season your eggs with a little salt and pepper. Now add your eggs and let them cover the bottom of the skillet. You may pick the skillet up and move it around so that the eggs continue to cook and cover the bottom of the skillet. Using a spatula, lightly run it around the edge to loosen up the eggs so they don’t stick.

In another skillet with 1 pat of butter and a drizzle of oil, saute your ham, mushrooms, green onion until they are slightly tender. When your eggs are almost done - add the ham mixture to one half of the eggs that are cooking in the skillet Sprinkle with a little cheese – I prefer cheddar cheese. Now fold over the eggs to cover them. I usually cut this in half so it is easier to work with. Make sure you flip them over and cook them on the other side. Your eggs may run out and that is OK because they will continue to cook.

I let them cook for about 1-2 minutes like this. Then they should be done. Just make sure you let it cook long enough to cook the eggs inside. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Baby Back Ribs or Spare Ribs

Indoor recipe for falling off the bone, delicious, - Baby Back Ribs or Spare Ribs


1-2 racks of baby back or Pork spare ribs
1 bottle liquid smoke
Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
Garlic powder
Your favorite BBQ sauce

You will need a large stock pot (if making 2 racks, you made need 2 pots)to simmer them in for about an hour. You should not need to exceed 1 1/2 hours. I usually cook mine for 1-1/2 hours. I made 1 rack the first time and everyone wanted more, so I always make 2 racks now). Also, my baby back ribs always come out better than my spare ribs, so I would say to cook the spare ribs a little longer on the stove top and in the oven at a lower temperature. I cut my ribs into thirds so they fit into the pot. You add a little liquid smoke and Worcestershire sauce to the pot and cover the ribs with water and a lid bring them up to a boil, then turn it down and let them simmer for at least 1 hour. You can go as long as 1-1/2 hours, but I don’t think you need to go past that. At this point, you can bake them indoors for 40 minutes til done, or cook them on the grill. I love this recipe because it tastes like it was cooked on the grill anyway.

Back to the indoor method. Then you take a roasting pan lined with foil and place your ribs on them. Bake them for 20 minutes each side at 350 degrees F for a total of 40 minutes. I season and spread my BBQ sauce on one side – cook for 20 minutes – turn them and season and spread the sauce on the other side for the last 20 minutes. If you are going to cook them longer than that you may need to cover them with foil and turn the temp down to 325 degrees F.

We like to use Jack Daniels BBQ sauce, but I tried making my own Balsamic vinegar sauce with brown sugar and we liked it the best. This recipe can be made to taste different ways just by changing the sauce, but they will always be falling off the bone delicious. The time it takes to cook them is also the quickest that I know of. Most ribs take 4 hours to get this tender.

Well good luck and enjoy!

Beef Stew with Butternut Squash and Sweet Potatoes

I saw Giada make this on her Food Network show “Everday Italian” (click here to visit that link)and thought I would give it a try. I did not follow her recipe to the “T”, but I did make mine with the butternut squash and sweet potatoes like she did. It is different.


1 chuck roast about 1.75 lbs cut into bite size pieces or 1 package precut stew meat between 1-2 lbs
1 small to medium butternut squash
2 sweet potatoes
1 bag baby leaf spinach
1 can Northern beans
Chicken bouillon cubes or chicken broth
Beef bouillon cubes or beef broth
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
Cayenne pepper
1/4-tsp red pepper flakes
Minced garlic
1/2-cup light brown sugar (optional)
3 TBS flour
3 TBS oil
3 TBS corn starch

Take your meat and mix it with about 3 TBP flour and season it with salt and pepper. Drizzle a little oil in the bottom of a stock pot – add your meat. Put it in the pan and leave it alone. But don’t let it burn. Mix it til all sides get evenly browned. You don’t want to keep stirring it. Let it cook on it’s own. Add your minced garlic – I used 2 teaspoons to 1.75 lbs of meat. Either prepare beef broth yourself using bouillon cubes (in another pot 3 cups of water heated with 2 beef bouillon cubes) or pour 3 cups of beef broth into the meat. Put a lid on it and bring it up to a boil then back down to Medium and let it simmer.

Now prepare your squash and sweet potatoes. Peel them and cut them into small cubes. Discard the seeds to the squash. In a separate pan prepare your own chicken broth (3 cups of water heated with 2 chicken bouillon cubes) or pour 3 cups of chicken broth into the stew meat along with the squash and sweet potatoes. You need to bring this up to a boil and then back down to a simmer.

Season with salt, pepper, cumin, red pepper flakes, and cayenne pepper. Let the stew cook for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

I add about 2 cups of chicken broth to a pan and add almost a whole bag of baby spinach to it. This will cook down. Then add it to the stew, you may not want to add the broth if it will make it have too much liquid. Stews are supposed to be thick. To thicken it up – I take 3 TBS of corn starch and the same amount of cold water and stir til smooth and add it to the stew.

When you notice that the squash and sweet potatoes are done, you probably want to make sure the heat is not above Medium-low or else the stew may turn into mush.

About 15-20 minutes before serving, add a can of beans and your light brown sugar to taste. I noticed that without the sugar, the stew is a little bit tart, but a little brown sugar gives it a nice flavor. If you’re not sure if you want to add the sugar, put some stew in a bowl and sprinkle a little brown sugar on it to see if you like the taste before you add it to the whole pot.

I personally think the squash and sweet potatoes would make a delicous soup if pureed and cooked in chicken broth and seasoned with brown sugar.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this stew. I wanted to make something different than the same old stew with carrots, potatoes, and peas.

Crispy Chicken Tacos with Queso Fresco Cheese


4 cooked chicken thighs cut or shredded into small pieces
corn tortillas
cooking oil
shredded cheddar cheese
queso fresco cheese
1 can rotel tomatoes
kosher salt
ground black pepper
cayenne pepper
garlic powder
Avocado (if available)

Chicken thighs can be cooked on stove top in water or in the oven for about 30-35 minutes on 350 F. You can buy premade taco shells, but I think they taste better with home made taco shells. Heat a pot of oil to 350 degrees and fry your tortillas until crisp. I use tongs to help form a shell. (Bend the tortilla in half and try not to let the sides touch to leave space to fill them). You can also make soft shells, too by cooking them for a few seconds on each side 15-20 seconds or so. Take your chicken and cut or shred it into small pieces.

Making a taco:

Place some chicken in a taco shell. Add some rotel (which is a can of tomatoes with chili peppers) , Queso fresco cheese, cheddar cheese, lettuce, and avocado. I made these without the avocado and they were delicious, but I know they will be perfect with them, too.

Beef Tacos


2 lbs ground beef
3 TBS flour
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2tsp ground black pepper
1/2tsp paprika
1/2tsp Mexican oregano (if you don’t have it – leave it out)
1/2to1 cup of water

In a skillet, brown your meat. Drain off all the fat as it cooks. I don’t season anything until I get rid of all the fat and till all the meat has browned nicely. Add your seasonings above. I hate to put measurements on seasonings. Everyone has their own tastes, but there is a balance to these seasonings. Notice that the salt and cumin are more pronounced than the cayenne, paprika, and black pepper. That is the main thing you need to know about the seasonings. Just play with them yourself till you get the combination you like. Sprinkle in about 3 TBS of flour. Stir until all meat is coated. Then add 1/2to 1 cup of water till it makes a nice gravy. Turn up the heat until it boils then back down to a low temp and let it simmer.

Sometimes I buy premade taco shells at the store in the Latin American section. You can also make your own taco shells:

Taco shells:

Put about 3 cups of oil in a large pan it should only fill up the bottom 2 inches of the pan
Using tongs, dip a corn tortilla in the hot oil (about 350 degrees)
Fold the tortilla in half – try not to let the sides touch and leave a space to fill them with beef and your toppings. Cook until crisp - about 30-45 seconds.
If you want to make a soft corn taco shell, just heat the tortilla on both sides for about 8 – 15 seconds,

Making the taco:

Fill the taco shell with the cooked beef mixture. Add shredded cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes, and lettuce. You may want to top with sour cream.

This recipe should make about 16 tacos