Maple Barbecue Beef

Hello slow cooker!  It has been awhile since I used it, to be honest…or them, I should say, since we actually have two!  I have been a huge fan of Stephanie O’Dea ever since she had her New Year’s Resolution several years ago to use her crockpot every single day.  I remember reading her posts every day to see what looked good (or gross), and she has certainly gone viral since then, and even has appeared on cooking shows and has some cookbooks!

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This maple barbecue beef recipe comes from her blog.  At the grocery store the other day, there was a BOGO deal on huge beef roasts, and everyone knows I love a good deal!  I still have one roast in the freezer that I am likely going to use for slow cooker beef sandwiches, but we’ll see.

My verdict was not quite as good as her verdict – it remained a very thin broth and I could not taste the maple syrup at all.  ALL I could taste was salt.  That actually may be an exaggeration, but most people know by now that I am pretty salt-sensitive.  I used low sodium soy sauce, but I think my broth was not low-sodium.  Also I know that beef roasts on their own produce a fair amount of salt.  If I were to make this again, I’d decrease the amount of broth or soy sauce, increase the maple syrup, or use low-sodium broth.  Despite the slight negative, it was still pretty good, and created a little bit of leftovers!

Side note: I’m sorry the pictures for this one kind of suck. Ha.

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Maple Barbecue Beef

serves 4+ (the beef roast cooks down A LOT)

Ingredients:
-2lbs stew meat/beef roast/etc.
-1/3cu soy sauce
-1/3cu maple syrup
-2tbsp dried onion flakes (or one diced onion)
-2/3cu beef broth

Directions:
-Place all of the ingredients in a 4 or 6 quart slow cooker. Stir around a little if possible, and make sure the meat is coated.
-Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours (if possible, stir once during the day, but if not possible, just stir right before serving).

Chicken Nuggets + Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

Two-fer recipe day!  Recently I made these Copycat Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets from Skinny Mom and Parmesan Roasted Potatoes from What’s Gaby Cooking.  Can you tell that I still have soooo many left from my 5lb bag of red potatoes from Costco? ;)

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For the nuggets, I did not follow the recipe, by accident, and therefore I don’t know how they compare to Chick-Fil-A (also considering I’ve never eaten from there).  I FORGOT THE PICKLE JUICE, which I feel is a key ingredient, due to the uniqueness of it.  I also realized that I didn’t have any powdered sugar so I subbed a little bit of granulated sugar, I didn’t have celery salt so I omitted that, and I used olive oil instead of coconut oil.  I suppose this means that I can make this recipe again, because it’d be a different dish! ;)  But we shall see if that happens.  Despite my flub, they still turned out pretty tasty and my husband and I gobbled them up.

The potatoes were pretty tasty as well.  One thing I have noticed about potato recipes is that most of them turn out to be fairly similar.  Each recipe I find claims to be THE best potato recipe, but I don’t know if I agree.  Honestly, I miss real French fries sometimes…as in, the fried and unhealthy and crispy kind.  Baked or roasted potatoes/fries just don’t give that same feel, no matter what the recipe that I find claims.  My friend has a Holy Grail beauty blog, and I guess you could say I am still in search of my Holy Grail potato recipe!

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Chicken Nuggets

serves 2

Ingredients:
-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-1/2cu pickle juice
-1 egg, plus 1 egg white
-1/2cu skim milk
-3/4cu flour
-2tbsp powdered sugar
-1tsp paprika
-dash of salt
-1/2tsp black pepper
-1/2tsp garlic powder
-1/2tsp celery salt
-1/2tsp dried basil
-2tbsp coconut oil

Directions:
-Slice chicken into bite size pieces and marinate in the pickle juice for at least an hour, if possible.
-In one bowl, beat the egg with the egg white and milk, and in a second bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and spices.
-Dredge each of the chicken pieces into the egg mixture covering on both sides, then dredge in the flour mixture.
-Heat the oil in a skillet, and fry the nuggets for about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and slightly crispy on the outside.
-Remove and place on a plate, blotting excess oil. Serve immediately.

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Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

serves 2

Ingredients:
-2-4 cubed Yukon Gold potatoes (I used red potatoes, and the number of potatoes depends on their size)
-2tbsp olive oil
-1/2tsp garlic salt
-dash of salt
-2tsp paprika
-1tsp pepper
-2-4tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
-Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
-Lightly spray a baking dish, then place the cubed potatoes inside.
-Pour the olive oil, spices, and cheese over the potatoes, mix well into the potatoes, so that they’re as evenly coated as possible.
-Bake for 15 minutes, toss, then bake for 10 more minutes (note: adjust baking time as necessary).

Mongolian Beef

My husband was out of town this weekend and it is safe to say that I spent a significant amount of time laying on the couch watching movies on Netflix.  In case you are wondering, I watched: The Wedding Pact, The Decoy Bride, Best Man Down, and The Brass Teapot.  All of them were actually better than I expected them to be, though The Wedding Pact had a lot of bad acting but it *did* have Haylie Duff.  The Brass Teapot was crazy, funny, and also surprisingly thought-provoking.  Best Man Down also ended up being really good and had some inspiring and plot-twisting moments.  The Decoy Bride was cute, strange, improbable, and had some beautiful Scottish scenery.

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In addition to all of my movie watching, I also cleaned the house, hosted a Party Lite party, and hung out with my mom and niece.  Gotta be social too, I suppose…;)

I did NOT spent a lot of time blogging, so I am making up for that now that he’s home again (sorry, husband!).  A few weeks ago, I made this PF Chang’s copycat Mongolian Beef from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice’s blog.  It was pretty tasty and relatively simple!  I honestly don’t remember what changes I made, so I am going to post the recipe as-is.

I do remember that this called for more oil than I like, and I used olive oil instead. Feel free to adjust this for your own taste and diet.

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Mongolian Beef

serves 3-4

Ingredients:
-1lb flank steak
-1/4cu cornstarch
-vegetable oil, for serving and sauteeing
-1/2tsp minced ginger
-1tbsp minced garlic
-1/2cu soy sauce
-1/2cu water
-1/2cu dark brown sugar, not packed
-2 large green onions, sliced on the diagonal into one-inch lengths
-cooked rice, for serving
-steamed broccoli, for serving

Directions:
-Slice the steak against the grain into thin slices.
-Add the cornstarch to a bowl and coat with the steak. Set aside and allow the cornstarch to soak into them meat while you make the sauce.
-Heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-low heat in a wok or large frying pan, then add the ginger and garlic, and saute until fragrant about 2 minute, stirring often.
-Add the soy sauce and water, then whisk in the brown sugar. Turn heat up to medium-high, bring to a boil and cook 2-3 minutes only, whisking often. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
-Add some oil to the same pan and heat over medium heat until the oil shimmers. You can test it by adding a piece of steak – it should sizzle and start cooking immediately.
-Add the beef to the oil and cook for about two minutes turning the pieces over so they brown on both sides. Remove with a slotted spoon or spider to a paper towel lined plate.
-Clean the pan, and then re-heat it over medium, and add the meat, sauce, and green onions. Cook for about 2 minutes, to heat through.
-Serve with rice, broccoli, or other vegetables.

Roasted Red Potatoes with Smoked Paprika

Well, as I posted about yesterday, my husband and I have been making regular trips to Costco lately, and about a month ago, we bought a 5lb bag of red potatoes for less than $5 – and you know what that means: all potatoes, all the time.  So much so, that recently my husband said he was getting a bit tired of potatoes (after about 4 days in a row of different potato variations). 
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The thing is, I’ve made potatoes about 6-8 times now and still have SO MANY POTATOES left.  I’ve been using about 4-5 potatoes per meal (for the two of us) because most of the potatoes are teeny, and I usually serve myself slightly less than my husband, anyway.  Thankfully, if stored correctly, potatoes typically last forever (well, 1-3 months, anyway).  Mine have lasted for about a month now, and are still going strong.
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Recently I made this roasted red potatoes with smoked paprika recipe from Aggie’s Kitchen.  It is super simple, easy, and has minimal ingredients: I like it! 

Side note: I have noticed a huge boom over the past year or so of recipes that involve smoked paprika.  I didn’t start buying it until about then, and I will never go without it again!

Second side note: I made these potatoes as a side dish for chicken sausage hot dogs (I posted my Aidells sausages product review yesterday)!
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Roasted Red Potatoes with Smoked Paprika

serves 2

Ingredients:
-4-5 red potatoes (depending on size)
-1/2tsp smoked paprika
-1/2tsp garlic powder
-1.5-2tbsp olive oil
-1-2tsp chopped fresh chives (I used jarred)
-dash of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
-Cut the potatoes into 1-2″ pieces, leaving the skin on, then place in a bowl of water (this helps for 2 reasons – cuts out starch, and keeps them from turning brown while prepping everything else).
-In a small bowl, combine olive oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder and chives. Pour over potatoes and gently toss until completely covered. Spread onto a cookie sheet and place in oven.
-Roast potatoes for about 30-35 minutes, gently tossing halfway through. Once done, generously sprinkle slightly with salt and pepper.

Aidells Chicken Sausages

My husband and I have been making a monthly (or 3-weekly) trip to Costco on Sundays lately, as our church is just down the street from one of the local Costcos.  We love going after church on Sundays because there are so many FREE SAMPLES out around that time!  And if we can’t get our fill of free samples, then we buy a super cheap lunch in the food court (all-beef or polish dog + fountain pop for $1.50? Sold.  Also, their pizza – yum).

On one particular Sunday, there was an amazing (read: AMAZING) demo on Aidells smoked chicken sausages.  They had a tent out and were giving away samples of about 6 different flavours.  Um.  Let’s say I tried each flavour.  About 5 times.  I am not ashamed.  In my defense (calorie-wise), the amount probably only totaled one and a half sausages.
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We ended up purchasing the pineapple and bacon flavour, which was amazing.  I do not like pineapple (but my husband does), but it creates a nice sweet flavour, which is complemented by the bacon, which is complemented by the smoked chicken.  Win-win.

The second time we purchased the sausages, we tried the chicken and apple flavour.  Really, it should just be called the apple flavour, because the sausage is already chicken, haha, but oh well, who’s counting?  This one includes bits of Washington State apples, which also gives a nice flair.

The pricing for these amazing sausages depends on where you buy them.  If you buy them from the website I linked to, it is about $8 for 4 sausages, and I believe that is comparable to most grocery stores (the website has a store locator to see where to purchase the many, many flavours and varieties).  If you buy them from Costco, however, they are about $12 for 15 sausages (for the budget-savvy folks, that is about $0.80/sausage), but something to note is that not every flavour or variety is available in store.

In addition to the amazing price (at Costco at least) is that these are super easy and versatile!  The website gives some recipe suggestions, as well.  For my husband and I, they grill up in about 5-10 minutes total, and we either eat them bun-less or eat hot dog style, with sides of veggies, salad, potatoes, etc. 

Let me know which flavours you have tried, want to try, and what your favourite one is!

Blue Cheese Burger

I could go on and on about how I love burgers and I love cheese stuffed burgers, and I’ve made blue cheese stuffed burgers a million times (check out blue cheese-stuffed beef burgers and blue cheese-stuffed turkey burgers for examples!).  But I will spare you, because every time I make a cheese stuffed burger, I go on and on about it.

I *will* say that I added leftover crumbled blue cheese to my salad last night for dinner, and my mother and two nieces all turned their noses up in disgust.  Oh well, more for me, right??
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This blue cheese burger recipe comes from The Girl Who Ate Everything, which is a great cooking blog that you should check out if you haven’t already!  I have found many recipes from her and have rarely (if ever) been disappointed!  This burger recipe is actually different from all of the other cheese-stuffed burgers I’ve made before.  In the other recipes, a piece (or a few pieces) of cheese is pushed into the center of the meat-ball, the meat is folded around the cheese, then formed into a burger (or some form of those directions).  In this recipe, however, the blue cheese crumbles are combined into the meat mixture along with the other ingredients.  I like trying my favourite standards a bit differently!

My husband said he liked that the blue cheese was mixed into the entire burger, because he could taste more blue cheese in almost every bite.  I liked that aspect too.  Of course – you have to be a fan of blue cheese to enjoy that, because it definitely has a bite to it that does not suit everyone’s palate.

Overall: DELICIOUS!  In fact, you should grill these guys tonight!
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Blue Cheese Burgers

serves 4

Ingredients:
-1lb lean ground beef
-2-4oz crumbled blue cheese
-1/4cu sliced green onions
-1/4tsp Tabasco sauce
-1.5tsp Worcestershire sauce
-a few shakes of ground pepper
-1 shake of ground sea salt
-1/2tsp dry mustard
-4 hamburger buns
-toppings and condiments of your choice

Directions:
-Ia large bowl, mix the ground beef, blue cheese, green onions, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, salt (I think I omitted the salt altogether – it truly doesn’t need it), and dry mustard. The original recipe says to chill the mixture for two hours, as this helps the patties keep their form, however I, as well as the original blogger, have done it without chilling and the patties were just fine.
-Preheat grill to medium high heat and form meat mixture into 4 patties. Oil or spray the grill and cook the burgers for about 5 minutes per side or until done. Serve on hamburger buns with desired toppings and condiments.

Down Island Pork Burgers with Mango Mayo and Grilled Onions

I hope that everyone is gearing up for a happy and healthy 4th of July!  As of right now, my husband and I do not have any plans to celebrate, but my nieces will be down the street visiting my mother, so I see some hanging out and swimming in my near future – can’t complain about that!  If you are looking for some patriotic appetizers or desserts, check out what I made last year: Firecracker Cookies and Red, White, and Blue Deviled Eggs!  Including cake mix in a cookie recipe is basically the best invention ever.  EVER.

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Also, what 4th of July is complete without grilling?  You can peruse all of my grilled recipes if you would like to choose one for your family or friend barbecue!  Don’t forget to add these Down Island Pork Burgers with Mango May and Grilled Onions from Sutter Home to the list!  I made these last month, also while my mother-in-law was visiting and they were absolutely delightful.  I do not think I have ever made pork burgers before, but I had bought ground pork on sale awhile ago and knew I had to take this opportunity!  Seriously, so good.  They were incredibly moist and flavourful.  The mango mayo was a bit…interesting, but it did add a great deal to the “down island” feel of the burgers.  The curry powder is crucial, by the way.  It is what MAKES these burgers what they are.  And who doesn’t love grilled onions?

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I could seriously go on and on about these fantastic burgers, but instead I’ll get to the recipe, and let you get to the grocery shopping!

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Side note: 4th of July is also not complete without paying homage to the amazing men and women who have made this country the free country that it is.  I have roots tied to other countries as well, and I don’t believe in selfish notion that the U.S. is the best country in the world, but I am happy to call it my home. =)

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Down Island Pork Burgers with Mango Mayo and Grilled Onions

serves 4

Ingredients:
For the mango mayo
-1/4cu mayonnaise
-1/2cu diced ripe mango
-2tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
For the patties
-1.5lbs ground pork
-2tbsp white cooking wine
-2tbsp hot sauce
-1/4cu panko
-4 large garlic cloves, minced
-4tsp minced fresh ginger
-4tsp curry powder
-1tsp salt
-1/2tsp ground allspice
For assembling
-Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
-sweet onion slices
-4 whole wheat buns
-desired toppings

Directions:
-Pre-heat the grill on desired setting.
-To make the mayo, combine all of the ingredients in food processor and process until smooth.
-To make the patties, combine the pork, cooking wine, hot sauce, panko, garlic, ginger, curry powder, salt, and allspice in a large bowl. Mix the meat well, then form into 4 patties.
-When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, about 4-5 minutes on each side for medium. While the patties are cooking, place the onions on the grill rack and cook until golden brown and crisp-tender, about 2-3 minutes per side. During the last few minutes of cooking, place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.
-To assemble the burgers, on each roll bottom, place a patty, an equal portion of the mayo, an onion slice, and your toppings. Add the tops and serve.