Beef Enchilada Mac’n’Cheese

Happy Tuesday! Tuesday is not really that great of a day, if you are in a traditional Mon-Fri workweek. It’s not quite “hump day” and it’s still just the blah beginning of the week and Friday is not in sight yet. Well, maybe that’s just Tuesday in my world…who knows?

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Something that’s NOT blah is this Beef Enchilada Mac’n’Cheese from Shugary Sweets! I get it…it sounds weird. Beef…enchiladas…macaroni and cheese…but really, who doesn’t love those things?? If that’s the case, then why not combine them, amirite? This Shugary Sweets blogger came up with this sheer genius idea to put Mexican into mac’n’cheese. Really, you can make anything into a fusion dish, and this is so simple and yet so amazing, so it totally works.

I made this a REALLY long time ago and don’t remember a lot of specific details, but I do remember it tasted exactly like enchiladas in the form of mac’n’cheese. So there’s that. I did use a different type of pasta because it’s what I had on hand, and I think the pictures would have come out prettier had I used the cute shells that the original blogger did, but if you want really good pictures, then I definitely recommend clicking on the link above.

This is super simple to whip together on an otherwise boring weeknight. By the way, the original blogger says it serves 6…I say it serves 6, only if you’re lucky – you’ll want to gobble this right up!

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Beef Enchilada Mac’n’Cheese

serves 4

Ingredients:
-1lb medium shells, cooked and drained
-2cu heavy cream
-2cu colby jack cheese, shredded
-1 can (10oz) red enchilada sauce
-1lb ground beef, cooked and drained
-1tsp ground cumin
-1tsp kosher salt

Directions:
-In a large pot, heat the cream, enchilada sauce, cumin and salt on medium heat. Whisking often, heat until mixture just begins to bubble.
-Reduce the heat to medium low and add in cheese, then stir until smooth. Mix in the cooked ground beef and the cooked noodles.
-Serve hot.

Sizzling Steak Marinade

Right now, I am sitting on the couch watching Beverly Hills, 90210 on Hulu Plus (I am almost done with the first season). I have watched all ten seasons, of course, but I am so excited to re-start the entire series now that it is available to stream. My dog is laying next to me on the couch snoring to his heart’s content. It is the cutest. Welcome to my Sunday (even though you won’t be reading this until Monday).

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I have cooked far less than usual lately, so I decided to get back into the swing of meal planning by cooking this Mom’s Sizzling Steak Marinade by Six Sisters’ Stuff. It was…well…to be perfectly honest, my husband and I couldn’t even finish eating it. We tried really hard and ate over half of our respective steaks, and then went to grab McDonald’s. I have never had a problem with a recipe by Six Sisters’ Stuff before, so I am pretty sure it may just be a fluke.

It was so, so, so sour. At first, it just seemed a bit tart, and then it just got plain sour and was hard to swallow. It was like eating a dinner of Warheads prior to getting to the sweet candy center. The lemon juice and vinegar combination was just too much for us to handle. Granted – there are some alterations I made that may have played a role.

First of all, I used less than one pound of steak and did not change the marinade amount at all, therefore there was less meat to soak up the marinade. However, with how incredibly sour it was, it is hard to believe that more meat would soak it up entirely and evenly to make it not sour at all. I am curious to know if it works, but I will likely not give it a shot, since I am a little wary at this point.

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Second of all, I substituted red wine vinegar for apple cider vinegar, as I didn’t have any cider vinegar, and this may have affected it a little as well, however in many cases, vinegar is vinegar, so I am not sure how much of a difference it would have made.

The other downside to this dish was not the recipe but rather the cook. Our grill is out of propane, so I decided to pan-sear the steaks and googled various ways to do this. One site said to sear each side on high for one minute each, then turn down the temperature to medium and continue to cook one minute per side, until each side has been cooked about 2-3 minutes, for a medium doneness. Well…let’s just say that didn’t happen. My husband’s steak turned out medium well and mine turned out almost well done (since mine had broken into two smaller pieces, they cooked much faster).

So there we are…eating sour, overcooked, non-juicy steak. To make matters worse, I had decided to boil the marinade to make into a gravy for the rice I was serving it with (before I had realized how sour it all was). I added in several tablespoons of flour to thicken the marinade, which really did turn out to be a great looking gravy, but definitely ruined the rice for us as well.

As a final note, when we returned from McDonald’s later that night, the entire apartment reeked of vinegar. What happened??? If you are looking for a surefire steak recipe, go with this juicy marinated steak recipe also from Six Sisters’ Stuff and is linked on the other recipe page. It looks much better and I wish I had gone with that!

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Sizzling Steak Marinade

serves

Ingredients:
-1.5cu vegetable oil
-1/4cu Worcestershire sauce
-1tsp ground pepper
-1/2cu apple cider vinegar
-3/4cu soy sauce
-2tbsp dry ground mustard
-1/3cu lemon juice

Directions:
-Mix all ingredients together in a Ziploc bag or an airtight container and add 2 pounds of steak.
-Refrigerate the steak and marinade for 8-24 hours.
-Grill over medium-high heat to your liking.

Grilled Steak & Hummus Mashed Potatoes

Not only have I been blogging every day this week, but today is a two-fer! You can get your grilling on tonight with this Weight Watchers grilled steak and Hummus Mashed Potatoes from Gimme Some Oven.

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I had recently stocked up on some steaks on sale (most of my stories start like that, I’ve realized), because I’m a good wife and I know my husband loves steak…so what do I do? Create a WW recipe out of it. 😉 However, this marinade was just delightful! The steak was so tasty and flavourful and great to grill on a spring or summer day (or fall or winter…).

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The mashed potatoes were good too, but I added in more hummus than the recipe called for, and neither of us could taste it at all. They were good, just not good as advertised, if that makes sense. I used different potatoes (I can’t remember what kind though), so maybe the hummus just got lost in the potato flavour. In any case, it was still a successful dinner all around, and hopefully will be for you as well!

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Grilled Steak

serves 2

Ingredients:
-2tbsp chili sauce, or ketchup
-1tbsp packed brown sugar, dark-variety
-1 garlic clove, minced (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
-1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
-2tsp mustard, course-grain recommended
1tsp ginger root, fresh, minced (or 1/4 tsp ground ginger)
-2 steaks

Directions:
-Preheat grill to high.
-In a small bowl, combine chili sauce (or ketchup), sugar, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and ginger, and brush the sauce all over steak. Grill, flipping once, brushing steak with any leftover sauce while steak cooks, about 6 to 7 minutes per side, or until desired degree of doneness.
-Remove steak to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing against the grain.

Hummus Mashed Potatoes

serves 2

Ingredients:
-1-ishlbs Yukon gold potatoes
-1-2tbsp butter
-1-2cu favorite hummus, homemade or store-bought
-1/8tsp salt (or more to taste)
-1/8tsp freshly-cracked black pepper
-optional garnish: chopped fresh Italian parsley, lemon wedges, extra drizzle of olive oil

Directions:
-Peel the potatoes if you would like, and cut them into large chunks, roughly the same size. Immediately add to a large stockpot and fill with water until the potatoes are covered, then bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until a fork-tender. Remove from heat and drain the water.
-Return the pot to the burner and use a potato masher to mash the potatoes until smooth. Then turn off heat, and add in butter, hummus, salt and pepper, and stir until combined. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Then top with garnishes if desired.

Orange Beef and Barley Pilaf (Weight Watchers)

I realize, once again, that it has been SOOOOO long since I have posted on this blog! This time, I have the busy-ness of life, as well as starting my own business to thank! I fell in love with Jamberry Nail Wraps so much that I decided to start selling them – check out my site for Never the Same Jams here. Nails and cooking – my two therapies. Bonus: I don’t have to worry about chipping polish when I’m peeling garlic or onions. 😉

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Several weeks ago (maybe months?) I made this delicious WW-inspired orange beef and barley pilaf from food.com! It was pretty simple and tasty. The pilaf, I must admit, was my favourite part. I don’t use barley very often (aka ever), but I had some left over from a beef and barley stew I made awhile back, and it is a nice change-up from rice, pasta, and quinoa.

I wish I could remember more about this dish, but I didn’t really change or edit much, though I might have added in more spices or sauces to amp up the flavour (I’ve found that some WW recipes unnecessarily skimp on flavour). Enjoy!

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Orange Beef and Barley Pilaf

serves 2-4

Ingredients:
For the beef
-3 scallions, sliced
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1tbsp peeled fresh ginger, minced
-1tbps grated orange zest
-1lb boneless sirloin steak, trimmed and cut into matchstick-thin strips
-10oz fresh sugar snap or snow peas and baby carrots
-2tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
-2tbsp orange juice
-1tsp cornstarch
-1tbsp cold water
For the barley
-1cu broth
-2⁄3cu quick-cooking barley
-2cu sliced mushrooms
-1tbsp low sodium soy sauce

Directions:
For the beef
-Spray a large nonstick wok or skillet with nonstick spray and set over high heat. When a drop of water sizzles on it, add the scallions, garlic, ginger, and orange zest. Stir-fry until the scallions soften, about 1 minute.
-Add the beef and stir-fry until browned, about 3 minutes. Then add the sugar snap peas and baby carrots, and stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and orange juice, then bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 seconds.
-Meanwhile, mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl until smooth. Add the cornstarch mixture to the wok and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened, 30 seconds (at this point, I felt this was a little unnecessary, as it wasn’t overly thick to begin with, but use your best judgment).
For the barley
-Bring broth to a boil in a saucepan, then add quick-cooking barley. Simmer, covered, for about 12 minutes (my barley was not quick-cooking, so I had to adjust my cooking time).
-Spray a skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until tender (you can do this without mushrooms – I just used whole ones, for my husband, but I picked them off my dish). Add the barley and soy sauce. Then serve.

Sloppy Joe Tacos

I have weird tastes. I am fully aware of this. So much so, that I had no shame while making (and devouring) these sloppy joe tacos by Gimme Some Oven.  I love sloppy joes and I love tacos and I love fusion! This happened because I was going through my Pinterest recipes one day, deciding what to make for dinner (I’ve been really bad at meal-planning ahead lately), and realized I had basically all of the ingredients at home already. I decided to forego the red bell pepper, because they were really expensive at the grocery store and my husband doesn’t like them anyway.
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This recipe is really good!!  You can basically make anything into a taco (or pizza, as I have done many times before, as well!) and the outcome is almost always fabulous. For my friends that don’t like sloppy joes (yes, I mean you, Alysha!), I highly recommend that you give it a shot and throw it into a taco! It has some normal fixings you’d find in tacos (ground beef, onion, etc.) plus the addition of the sauce that makes it a “sloppy joe” and topped with shredded cheese. Seriously – how does that sound bad? 😉 😉
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Sloppy Joe Tacos

serves about 6

Ingredients:
-1tbsp olive oil
-1lb lean ground beef
-1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced
-1 small red bell pepper, cored and diced
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-2cu tomato sauce
-2tbsp packed brown sugar
-1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
-1tsp chili powder
-pinch of salt and pepper, to taste
-hard crunchy taco shells
-optional toppings: shredded Mexican cheese, chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream, diced avocado, etc.

Directions:
-Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and cook until browned, breaking up the beef and stirring occasionally. Drain off as much excess fat as you can and discard it.
-Return the skillet to the heat, and add the onion, red bell pepper and garlic to it. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent, stirring occasionally.
-Meanwhile, While the veggies are cooking, whisk together in a bowl, the tomato sauce, brown sugar, worcestershire, and chili powder until combined. Once the veggies are done, add the tomato sauce mixture to the ground beef and stir until combined. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes (you may need to cover the pan to avoid red sauce splattering the stove). Season with salt and pepper, then remove from heat.
-Place the sloppy joe filling inside the taco shells and top with your desired accompaniments.

Crispy Beef

Yesterday, my good friend Alysha and I had a cookie baking extravaganza! It was so fun to get together and just bake cookies…for 3.5 hours straight! Normally, if I bake cookies, it’s just basic stuff, but we really went all out yesterday. Pretty soon I’ll have the full cookie baking blog post up, but until then, you can enjoy one of the pictures below, of her kitchen.
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In the meantime, I felt like posting a somewhat “lighter” recipe (since I’ve been posting really heavy dishes lately), but this amazingly delicious crispy beef from Table for Two also calls for quite a bit of oil, so it’s not healthier really, but it is lighter than the mac’n’cheese type recipes of late.
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Cookie baking extravaganza

In any case, it was so delicious! Freezing the beef prior to cooking was such an interesting tip (and maybe commonplace, but I’d never done it before!). I think it really helped the crispiness. Usually when I make and bread beef, chicken, or anything else, the breading slips off, or it’s not the desired crispiness, and so forth – but not this! This was so flavourful, crispy, and just plain wonderful. It was great to pair with brown rice and green beans. Yummm.

One side note: the original recipe calls to essentially deep fry the beef. I did not feel comfortable using quite that much oil, so I pan-seared mine, partially covered in oil, instead of full deep frying. I still used about one cup of oil, maybe a bit more – but far, far from the 4 cups that the original recipe calls for.
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Crispy Beef

serves 4

Ingredients:
-1.5lbs stir fry steak or sirloin steak, cut into thin slices
-3tbsp low-sodium soy sauce, divided
-6tbsp cornstarch
-1 medium-sized navel orange
-3tbsp molasses (I didn’t have any, so I just used dark brown sugar)
-1tbsp rice vinegar
-1.5tsp sesame oil
-1 jalapeño, de-seeded and thinly sliced
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-1tsp freshly grated ginger (or substitute 1/2tsp ground ginger)
-1/2tsp red pepper flakes
-2 scallions, chopped (for garnish)
-4 cups or 1 quart of canola oil, for frying (I used about 1-2cu, since I didn’t fully deep fry my beef)

Directions:
-In a large bowl, toss beef strips with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, then sprinkle cornstarch on top and toss to coat evenly. Place coated beef on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet and place into freezer for 45 minutes (I just used a plate since I don’t have a wire rack). **You’ll need to do this because the freezer will dry out the surface moisture of the beef, thus helping with the crispiness of the beef.
-In the meantime, peel the outer zest of the orange into long strips, and then continue slicing, to make thinner strips. Then juice the orange as best you can, to get at least 1/4 of a cup of juice.
-Place the orange zest strips, orange juice, the remaining 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, molasses, rice vinegar, sesame oil, jalapeño slices, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes in a medium bowl and whisk it to combine.
-When ready, heat up canola oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot, such as a dutch-oven, to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (uh…I didn’t check the temp, I just guesstimated). Set up a large plate lined with two layers of paper towels, to have ready when the beef is done.
-Once the pot is hot enough, add the beef to it. Depending on how much you have and the size of your pan, you may need to do this in batches.
-Fry the beef until done, and they are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon or spatula, and let them rest (and drain) on the paper towel-lined plates.
-In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the soy sauce mixture with the orange zest strips to the pan. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove it from heat, then toss the beef strips in to coat evenly.

Cheesy Meat Lasagna

I seem to be posting a lot of comfort food dishes lately! But hey, that’s what the winter season is for, right? Besides, lasagna is a great dish – it is fairly simple to do, is super filling, and usually creates plenty of leftovers! This 40 Minute Quick and Easy Cheesy Meat Lasagna from The Slow Roasted Italian did not disappoint me (or my husband) at all!

It involved hot Italian chicken sausage (which was kind of hard for me to find…not sure if that’s normal or not), which was really good! I have never used chicken sausage before, I don’t think, and definitely not for a lasagna. But it added a great flavour to it.
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Additionally, I did not leave the tomatoes as-is, but I blended them first. Normally when I see recipes with canned tomatoes, I substitute tomato sauce (which usually changes the texture/consistency a bit), but I’ve recently started using the canned tomatoes, but it’s more work (and more clean up), so I’m not sure if I will keep doing that, but we’ll see. I have also noticed that using canned tomatoes is REALLY bland, and far more bland than using tomato sauce. Does anyone else notice that, or is it just me, cuz I am new to using canned tomatoes?

By the way, I apologize for the pictures…it is hard to take a quality lasagna picture with just a cell phone camera. But you get the idea!
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Cheesy Meat Lasagna

serves 6-8

Ingredients:
-1.5lbs hot Italian chicken sausage
-2 (14.5oz) cans Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Garlic
-1 (8oz) can of tomato sauce
-2tbsp tomato paste
-1 egg
-1 (16oz) container part skim ricotta cheese
-1/2tsp fresh ground pepper
-1/2tsp kosher salt
-3/4cu grated parmesan cheese, divided
-lasagna noodles
-8oz Italian cheese blend, divided

Directions:
-Preheat oven to oven to 425°F.
-Prepare lasagna noodles according to package direction, then set aside.
-In a large skillet over medium high-heat, brown the sausage. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste; simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat.
-Meanwhile, combine ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 4 ounces shredded cheese and egg, and mix until well blended.
-Spread a small amount of meat sauce onto bottom of 13×9-inch baking dish (mine’s square, so it makes less). Top with a layers of noodles, half the ricotta cheese mixture, and some more of the sauce. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles then cover with sauce and sprinkle ¼ cup Parmesan cheese. Spread remaining shredded cheese over the top, and cover with foil.
-Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil. Bake further, uncovered, 5 minutes until cheese is melted. Let it stand 5 minutes before serving.