Tag Archives: good leftovers

Thai Peanut Stir Fry with Skirt Steak

When we made the pork and peach spring rolls we also made a delicious peanut sauce to dip the spring rolls in. I intentionally made a lot of the sauce because it is that good and I knew I would want to use it in another dish. Alas, here is what I came up with!  The peanut sauce was made in advance and stored for about 2-3 days before I made this.

I started off with some onion, which I sauteed in some toasted sesame oil. I kept the onion pieces pretty big as you can see- I guess they were technically quarters. Typically I add my aromatics (garlic, ginger, etc) once the onions cook for a few minutes, however, this step was not needed here because the peanut sauce already includes these ingredients.

Next, I added some carrots.

And then some spinach.

Time for the peanut sauce! I thinned it out using some chicken broth.

I blanched some broccoli and then added it to the mix.

For my protein I used skirt steak. I went to Whole Foods for lunch and they were giving out samples of their skirt steaks, which were also on sale. One bite and I was sold. It worked really well in this dish too!

I seasoned it with a little salt and pepper and grilled it. When it was ready I sliced it up and threw it in with the veggies and sauce. This dish really came together nicely- I give a lot of credit to the peanut sauce. As I mentioned it packed a ton of flavor, so for this dish it was really just a matter of putting it all together.

I wanted a more broth like sauce, so I thinned it out to my liking, but you can easily adjust this depending on your taste.  I ate it as is, but I am sure it would be great over rice or some thin rice noodles. It was also great leftover.

And this was going on while I was cooking! So starving!

All in all, I thought this came out great. See our post about the spring rolls for the link to the peanut sauce recipe!

– Eileen

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Slow Cooked Pulled Pork

 

Pulled Pork

Pork butt also known as Boston butt (not Bill Belichick) was on sale at Harris Teeter for .99 cents a pound which made this 8 pounder quite a deal.  I wanted to slow cook it since it was summer and I had the time, but didn’t want to slow cook it for 14 hours.  I did a bit of an in between method using indirect heat.  First I got the grill started before I prepped the pork.

 

Keeping all of the heat to one side

I put down a base of charcoal and a few small logs on top as added fuel and to get a smoky flavor.  I kept all of these to one side and started them up planning to put the pork on in about a half an hour.

In the meantime, I prepared the pork.

 

Fat jackets are gross, but necessary for flavor and tenderness

There was a bone in the meat

Next I took about 8 cloves of garlic and cut them in half.  Then I cut small slits throughout the meat and put the garlic in, making sure it was deep enough that it could not be seen.

You wouldn't know it, but there is a lot of garlic in there

Next I prepared a dry rub by combining some dry seasonings.  I prefer doing this over using a store bought one as they are often packed with sugar and or can be way too salty.

 

Just pick what you like and mix it up

Then I thoroughly covered the pork on all sides.

Next onto the cooking.  The coals were white and ashed over and the wood was burning and smoking well.  I opened the bottom air intake of the grill about half way and placed the pork on the grate on the opposite side of the heat so that there was nothing underneath it.

 

The flames will die down when covered but will still be plenty hot

I then covered the grill putting the top air intake over the meat and opening it about halfway also.  This makes the smoke and heat travel over and around the pork in order to escape out of the top.  Opening the intakes up halfway gives the flames enough air to be hot and continue to burn.  To truly slow cook it, you would have barely opened the air valves, but it again would take twice as long (up to 8 hours 0r more).  This is what I meant by using a hybrid method that was still slow (about 5 hours), but not the typical slow cooking process.

After about 2 hours, I opened the grill up and took the whole grate, pork and all, off and placed it aside.  I stirred up the coals, got rid of some of the spent ash, and added a few more coals and small pieces of wood.  Then I turned the pork so that the other side of it was facing the heat source.  It was looking great already and could have probably been eaten, but it would not have been very tender.

 

After about 2 hours of indirect smoking

This was also going on during the process which really helped. The site's namesake!

I let the charcoal and wood heat back up uncovered for about 10 minutes then put the flipped pork back on.  I checked it in about an hour and flipped it around again, and the same in another hour.

Because the temperature was close enough to what I had wanted it to be and it was getting late, I took the meat off after about 4.5 hours of total cooking time.  This method also uses the fuel very efficiently as the coals could have gone for another few hours.

 

Got to about 205 degress at its highest

Government official numbers say to cook the pork to 160-170 degrees, but when slow cooking it like this, you want to get it closer to 200 for the tenderness.  This was tender and did come apart pretty easily, but also could have gone for another hour or a little less.  Towards some of the bone, the meat was not as uniformly tender, but was still tender enough.

 

Finally ready to come off the grill

I let the pork rest for a bit so that it could be handled.  The fat jacket came right off and many other visible fat pockets were easy to remove, though some people(southerners) would keep most of them for the extra flavor.

In the meantime, I cut up some cauliflower and covered it in vinegar and mustard before grilling.  I wanted something tart to contrast the pork and this easy mixture did that well.

 

Threw it in the grill basket for about 30-40 minutes

Once the pork was cool enough to handle, I shredded it with two large forks which was pretty easy except for a bit around the bone as mentioned.  The smoky flavor and rub had really penetrated throughout and there were pockets of stronger garlic flavor than others which I considered prizes.

 

Pulled Pork

We put the pork in a bowl with some cauliflower and ate some plain and ate some with a bit of BBQ sauce.

 

Was good enough plain

BBQ sauce is good too.

It was great and I am really pleased at how it turned out.  It could have been enjoyed on buns or with slaw or many other ways.  As you may have noticed, we do not know how to cook for 2 people and base our portions on a family of 8 which means that there were tons of leftovers which you will see some uses of in the coming days.  This may sound difficult, but really was not and also did not require a lot of attention.  Don’t put it on and go to the store, but is easy to set up and entertain while the magic happens.

 

Recipe for Pulled Pork Dry Rub

Chicken Piccata

My sister sent me this recipe for chicken piccata almost two years ago and  Greg and I been loving it ever since. It ‘s certainly a basic version, but it’s  a nice easy to follow recipe and tastes great. I’ve served it with different sides in the past, including pasta, rice and veggies. Rice is probably the best as it soaks up the delicious lemony sauce. For this go round however I served the chicken with some steamed broccoli (another good sauce absorber),  squash and zucchini.

The ingredients include olive oil, chicken (of course), chicken stock, lemon juice, butter, capers and flour ( not pictured). I actually experimented a bit and substituted almond flour for traditional all-purpose flour. Almond flour/meal has more fiber and less carbohydrates than regular flour and worked pretty well in this dish.

I purchased chicken breasts that were already sliced thin. If you are using regular chicken breasts you can slice them in half and pound them out. This is a bit easier if the chicken is still semi-frozen or if you buy it fresh, you can put it in the freezer for a few minutes to make it easier to slice.

The next step is to coat each chicken piece with flour.

Then get your butter and olive oil going in a pan and begin to cook the chicken. Since the pieces are pretty thin they do not need much time, maybe 2-3 minutes per side.

As each piece of chicken finishes cooking just set them aside. Once all of the chicken is cooked and removed from the pan, add the chicken broth and lemon juice to make your sauce. Let the sauce get up to a boil, then turn it down to simmer and reduce. Once the sauce is nearly finished you can add capers (this was not part of the original recipe) if you’d like. Then dip each piece of chicken into the sauce, coating it completely. Plate the chicken and pour sauce over top or serve in a gravy boat.

Some pre-sauce shots:

and after the saucing… (I covered the veggies in the sauce too!)

I hope your enjoy this one!

Recipe for Chicken Piccata (courtesy of my sister)

Greek Feast!

If you are a fan of Greek food I am pretty sure you will really like this meal. It is relatively easy to prepare and the flavors are intense and extremely satisfying. We made gyro burgers, which were composed of ground beef and lamb as well as some traditional Greek spices. We also prepared homemade tzatziki sauce and  a Greek salad of tomato, cucumber, red onion and fete cheese. It all went well together and you could also serve the burgers in a pita or flatbread if you so desired.

I will begin with the tzatziki sauce, which is a traditional sauce served with gyros that is made with yogurt and cucumber and is awesome.

The key ingredient here is mint. Luckily mint grows like weeds and we have plenty growing outside!

I just combined all the ingredients and let it chill in the refrigerator while we prepared the rest of the meal. Below is a pic of the final product. Not only is this a great sauce to put on whatever you please, really, but can also be served as a dip with pita or veggies. It is so good.

Along with the burgers we also prepared a Greek salad. I love this salad, especially in the summer when the vegetables are nice and fresh. It is a great accompaniment to any meat, really, and goes particularly well with the strongly flavored lamb.

Now, on to the burgers! I’ll let the pictures do the talking here….

The meat had a gyro like consistency as you can see below (sorry, it’s a bit blurry) and of course the flavor was right on.

Give this one a try!

Recipe for Gyro Burgers

Tzatziki

Greek Salad

Eggplant “lasagna”

This one’s for you Jeremy! I decided to make a pasta-less lasagna to please one of our biggest supporters, who had requested a lasagna recipe. Just for the record, this recipe could easily be duplicated with actual lasagna noodles in place of the eggplant. Though, I have to say this is a nice alternative if you like eggplant like me. In the past I have sometimes struggled to make tasty eggplant dishes at home, as sometimes the eggplant can be bitter, the skin off-putting, and the seeds crunchy and irritating. Since I like eggplant so much though, I have continued to try to make it and feel that this dish was a success.

I began by slicing the eggplant as thin as I could. I worked with a sharp knife and took my time. A mandolin probably would have worked a lot better in terms of getting consistency in thickness, but I don’t have one of those so I did the best I could.

I placed the eggplant slices on racks (two from my toaster oven) and the remaining pieces on a paper towel. I generously covered them in kosher salt and let them sit for about an hour.

The salt pulls out the bitter juices (remember what salt does to cells? wahoo, high school chemistry!), which I rinsed off along with the salt.

Next, I wanted to cook the eggplant a little bit so it wouldn’t make the dish too soupy. I used a grill pan, which I coated generously with olive oil so the slices wouldn’t stick. I seasoned about 1/2 of the slices with salt and pepper as they cooked. They only needed about 2-3 minutes per side, depending on the thickness. This left some beautiful grill marks!

I also grilled up some baby bellas for some extra filler and added veggie-ness.

As the grilling went on, I also made my ricotta filling. I LOVE ricotta and always use it when making lasagna. Some people have told me about using cottage cheese, but I’ve never tried it. I usually buy part-skim ricotta and it’s delicious. To the ricotta, I added an egg, some fresh garlic and parsley, salt and pepper and some chili flakes for a little kick.

Alright. Now it’s time to assemble the lasagna. If you want to go the traditional route using lasagna noodles, cook the noodles according to the directions on the box. In this recipe when you see eggplant slices, substitute that for the lasagna noodles. Easy as pie.

Step 1: Layer the bottom of the pan with tomato sauce. I used the leftover marinara that I made several weeks ago, but store bought is fine too.

Step 2: On top of the sauce, create a layer of eggplant slices.

Step 3: Ricotta layer. Spread ricotta mixture all over eggplant slices, creating a thick layer.

Step 4: I threw the mushrooms on at this point. If you wanted to add meat or other veggies, you could add them here.

Step 5: Add another layer of eggplant slices.

Step 6: Add another layer of sauce.

Step 7: And then a layer of cheese.

That’s about it for the assembly of it

After it bakes it’s all cheesy/melty/gooey so let it sit before cutting it.

I couldn’t wait that long, so it was a little goopey, but still delicious!

Recipe for eggplant “lasagna”

Recipe for our basic marinara

Stuffed Peppers

The other night we made stuffed peppers for dinner and again, this is really one of those meals that you can make unique to your tastes. We used green peppers, but if you prefer sweeter red peppers or even yellow, orange or purple peppers, by all means. We also used ground veal in our peppers, but most people would probably opt for beef (bison, chicken or turkey meat would be even lower in fat) for example. I’m not sure what inspired the use of veal, but sometimes you just want something different.

I have to give Greg all the credit here on this dish- he created it and made it while I was still at work. I love coming home to a dinner cooking in the oven 🙂

Like I said, he used ground veal. He browned it and set it aside. Later, adding some freshly grated parmesan.

To add some sustenance he also added some freshly sauteed onions and spinach and a little tomato sauce. Many recipes call for other fillers, such as rice or breadcrumbs, but he omitted that and honestly, it was not missed!

Then it was time to stuff the peppers, which he cored out nicely.

He baked them for about 40 minutes.

Though the skins were nice and wrinkly, the peppers were still quite firm. I would recommend a little longer in the oven, maybe 50-60 minutes if you prefer them more tender.

All in all, it was a good wholesome dinner!

Recipe for Stuffed Peppers

Breakfast for Dinner: No-crust quiche

What to do with a surplus of ham? Make quiche!  Shake things up a bit and serve breakfast for dinner some time! It worked out really well for us one night and I actually had this savory meal for leftovers the next night too. We opted for a crust-less version of quiche to cut the carbs, but if this is not something you care to do, it can easily be made the same way by preparing it in a ready or home-made pie crust. This dish is easy to prepare and you can throw in just about anything you have laying around.

This particular quiche was made with broccoli, ham, red onion and cheddar cheese. Greg began by putting the broccoli, ham, and red onion into a pie dish, which he first sprayed with some non-stick spray. He topped this with a few pats of butter.

Next he whipped up some eggs, cream and cheese.

Which he then poured over the veggies and ham.

This baked in the oven for a total of 40 minutes or so, until it was a little brown on the top and cooked through.

It was great! I really enjoyed this dish and it was relatively simple and easy to make. It tasted great with hot sauce too. For leftovers, I ate it over a salad and that worked nicely too. Nothing fancy schmancy here- just some good ‘ole basic ingredients. Simple, but good.

Recipe for no-crust quiche