Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Vegetable Beef Meets Minestrone Soup!

I have been trying really hard to use the ingredients that I already have on hand to avoid going to the store. I wanted to make Vegetable Beef Soup for dinner tonight, but I'm sort of short on fresh vegetables (like potatoes, carrots, & celery) so I compromised by using some frozen veggies & some pasta & legumes. What I came up with is a cross between Vegetable Beef Soup & Minestrone. The thing I love about cooking is that you can improvise in so many ways. Change it up however you want, but this is what I did:


1 lb beef tenderloin, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 cup flour

salt & pepper

olive oil

1/2 a red onion, diced

1/2 a yellow onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 a pasilla pepper, diced

2 cups frozen mixed veggies (broccoli, corn, carrots, peas, green beans)

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes

4 cups beef broth (plus water if you need to thin it out in the end)

1 can kidney beans (or Northern white, garbanzo, pinto, black, etc)

1/2 cup barley

1 cup whole wheat farfalle pasta (I had a half a box on hand, so thats what I used)

oregano, thyme, sage to taste (about a teaspoon each, but you can add more in end if you want)

1 tbsp onion soup mix (the broth was a little broth, so I added this to kick it up a little bit)

Parmesan cheese, for garnish


Put the beef, flour, salt & pepper in a zip lock bag and shake to coat the meat. Heat two turns of the pan of olive oil in a saute pan and brown the beef in batches. Set aside.

In a Dutch oven or large sauce pan, heat 2 turns of the pan of olive oil. Add the onions, peppers, & garlic and saute until soft: 5 or 10 minutes. Add the frozen veggies and warm them up slowly on low heat, 2 or 3 minutes. Add the beef, tomatoes, kidney beans & barley. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer for 20 minutes. Add the pasta and spices, bring to a boil, then simmer for another 20 minutes or until the barley & pasta are al dente. Check for spices and if necessary, add more, plus the onion soup mix and about 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. Stir and serve with more Parmesan for garnish.

Serves 6-8.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Turkey Tetrazzini

Turkey Tetrazzini (recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse, with a few small changes)


  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 lb mushrooms, sliced (I used shiitake & maitake varieties)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream (I didn't have have enough cream, so I used 1 cup cream, 1/2 cup evaporated milk, & 1/4 fat free)
  • 12 ounces pasta, cooked al dente per packages directions, set aside
  • 1 pound cubed or bite-size shredded roast turkey
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 (5 1/2-ounce) bag potato chips, crushed


Saute the onions in 3 tablespoons of the butter & the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over high heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Add the mushrooms, Essence, and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft and have released their liquid, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the wine and vegetable stock and cook, stirring, until smooth and thick, about 2 minutes. Add the cream/milk and bring to a low. slow boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and very flavorful, 15 to 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch casserole or baking dish with the remaining tablespoon of butter and set aside.

When the sauce has thickened, add the noodles, turkey, parsley, salt, black pepper, and Parmesan to the skillet and stir until thoroughly combined. Transfer to the prepared casserole and top with the potato chips. Bake uncovered until bubbly and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately. Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Ingredients for Carnitas:

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, mashed

3 - 4 lbs pork shoulder roast

1 grapefruit

1 orange

1 lime

1 Tbsp ground cumin

1 Tsp each: cumin seed & oregano

salt & pepper

Corn Tortillas

Cilantro, red onion, & avocado for garnish


Saute the onions & garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Add the pork roast and sear on all sides on high heat. Carefully squeeze the citrus over the top of the roast and add in the spices. Turn down heat, cover the roast with water, bring to a boil. Simmer on high for 15 minutes, then turn down to a low simmer for 2 hours, or until the water starts to evaporate and the pork becomes tender enough to shred apart with two forks. This could even take 3 hours, depending on the size of the roast. I like my pork to have a crispy outside, so I do it low and slow.

Serve the shredded pork with tortillas, cilantro, red onion, avocado and hot sauce. I also like to serve Rancho Gordo Pinto Beans on the side. (Recipe can be found on my 10/26/10 blog post for Chicken & Black Bean Tostadas...just substitute Pinto Beans for the Black Beans).