Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Citrus Pulled Beef Appetizer.

I have experimented with a variety of pulled beef recipes, with most of them prepared in the crock pot.  For this recipe, I wanted to make a smaller quantity for an appetizer, so decided to roast a smaller piece of meat in the oven.  Our family's usual favorite is Tangy Pulled Beef, which has a little zing with pepperocini added as the meat finishes cooking.  For this dish, I wanted something a little fruity and after seeing a Whole Foods recipe for a cranberry pulled beef, decided to see what I could create.  I reached for a can of cranberry sauce and used ingredients I had on hand to make this dish - and it's a keeper.

  • 1 – 1.5 pound beef roast
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 or 2 clementine or Satsuma oranges (or one small can mandarin oranges, drained)
  • crusty bread

Generously sprinkle salt and pepper all over roast. Heat oil in dutch oven, and brown roast on all sides. Transfer meat to an oven-proof baking dish that has a lid.  Add cranberry sauce and orange juice to browning pan.  Stir while the mixture comes to a boil.  Remove sauce from heat and pour over roast.  Cover baking dish with foil and then the lid, for a tight seal.  Bake at 350 degrees for 2-2.5 hours, until meat can be easily shredded with a fork.  Peel and separate oranges into segments.  Cut segments in thirds, and gently toss into meat. Serve on bread, either open-faced or as bite-sized sandwiches.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Simple Shrimp & Crab Cioppino.

This is my simple version of the Italian-American seafood stew, Cioppino.  Cioppino originated in the late 1800s in the San Francisco Bay area, created by Italian and Portuguese immigrants.  Typical recipes call for fish; any combination of fish or shellfish can be added to this recipe, which calls only for our family favorites, shrimp and crab.  Total prep and cooking time is under an hour, which makes it reasonable for a weeknight menu. 

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1.5 cups white wine
  • I small can tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 pounds uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, & tails removed (thawed)
  • 2 - 6 ounce cans lump crab meat
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil or Italian parsley, chopped
  • salt & pepper

Heat oil in dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, and bell pepper. Stirring occasionally, cook until onion and pepper are softened.  Add tomatoes (with juice), broth, wine, tomato paste, thyme, and parsley.  Bring to a boil; cover and simmer 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, add shrimp and crab.  Cook 5 minutes, just until shrimp are cooked.  Stir in basil or parsley and serve.  Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy! Serve with fresh baguette slices.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Raisin Bread Baked French Toast.

This easy baked french toast recipe was adapted from a Whole Foods Market recipe for Baked Panettone French Toast.  I prepared it for Christmas Eve Morning, when I knew I'd be busy with last minute preparations, and still wanted to sit down to a hot, filling breakfast.  This recipe was a snap to prep the night before, and in less than an hour, went from fridge to table in the morning.  It was exactly what I needed for Christmas Eve Morning and will be a great go-to breakfast for feeding a crowd of hungry swimmers after morning practice!

  • 6 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted and divided
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 2 large apples (Granny Smith or Braeburn work well), peeled, cored, & thinly sliced
  • ½ cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • 6 thick slices Raisin Bread, cut in half
  • 4 eggs
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

Melt 4 Tbsp butter (or margarine) and mix with brown sugar and water.  Spread in the bottom of 9x13 baking pan and set aside.  Saute apple slices in remaining 2 Tbsp butter for 6-8 minutes, or until soft.  Arrange apples on top of brown sugar mixture in pan and sprinkle cranberries evenly on apples.  Lay bread slices on top of fruit.  Set aside to allow apples to cool slightly.  Mix eggs, milk, and cinnamon together. Pour over bread in pan. Cover and chill overnight.  In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 40 minutes, or until toast is browned and egg mixture has set. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Happy Holidays! And I'm Back!

It has been more than three months since my last post. Of course, I have cooked in the last three months, but I didn't slow down long enough to write about it!  I'm slowing down now, and I'm back.  I look forward to sharing new recipes and strategies for a healthy lifestyle - including slowing down long enough to enjoy the things you love most! - as we turn the corner into 2013.  Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2013 from my family to each of you! 

(The reason I am a busy girl who cooks good food:
two incredible teenage athletes in my family...)