Tag Archives: spicy

Arroz con carne: an adventure in Meatland

There is a very, very slim line between juicy meat and tough, chewy mess. We all probably know that from one experience or another. I must say, though, that I feel like I’ve had my fair share of “tough times.”

Today, I’d been planning a crock pot recipe for you. Rejoice, you crock pot-less readers of mine! This recipe is delicious, simple, and really, really tasty. A small caveat for you though: those of you who don’t like it spicy should skip or massively cut down on the chipotle puree you put into the sauce.

This dish, though, is quite nice…it comes out soft, moist, tender, and just spicy enough to kick your mouth into action. The rice beneath it  soaks up all that lovely, delicious gravy, and…it’s just delicious. I served it with some roasted broccoli, and it made for a very tasty meal.

If you decide you don’t want to go through all the work of cutting up an eye of round roast, just buy as much chuck roast, puree up the sauce and stick it in the crock pot. Easy as pie!

Pheasant’s arroz con carne

10 oz eye of round roast (or similar non-marbled cut), heavily chilled

4 whole tomatoes, cored and seeded

3 tbsp beef or chicken broth, or tomato juice

1/2 c thinly-sliced onion

3 cloves garlic

3 tbsp canned enchilada sauce (or bottled salsa)

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp chipotle puree (or adobo sauce)

Puree together all the ingredients but the meat. Taste and adjust for salt.

Thinly slice your meat. You want it somewhere between average deli roast beef slices and about 1/3 centimeter. The thinner the better.

In a 10-12″ skillet with a lid, pour in the sauce and put the meat pieces in, making sure to cover each piece in the sauce. Add a little beef broth to thin it out if need be, but it’s unlikely.

Set the pan to medium-low. Bring it to a simmer and let the meat go for 3-4 hours, checking occasionally for tenderness. The liquid should never quite come to a boil, but it should have the occasional bubble.

Once your meat is done, dish it up over some rice, and enjoy! 

 

 

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Filed under Ethnic, Red meat

Best-ever roasted potatoes

Now, if you don’t like spicy things, I suppose you should just skip this recipe. But oh jeez, it’s amazing! Especially paired with my tomato garlic bisque. These potatoes are fragrant, creamy and a delight to add to any meal. Also, they couldn’t be easier to make! 

 

Best-ever roasted potatoes

2-3 potatoes, washed and scrubbed

cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, ground rosemary and pepper to taste

1-2 tbsp oil

Preheat the oven to 350°F(176°C). Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil. Cut the potatoes into chunks, about two-bite sized. Place them on the cookie sheet, then drizzle with oil (don’t overdo it) and sprinkle on the spices. Using your hands, toss them to coat in the oil and spices.

When the oven is preheated, pop them in and set your timer for 35 minutes. About halfway through, toss them with a spatula to get the other side nice and cooked as well.

When the timer goes off, check with a fork for tenderness (doneness) and, if they aren’t, put them back in for 5-10 minutes. If they are, take them out to cool, and do your best not to eat them until they’re ready to handle.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Baking, Miscellaneous

Ramekins, part II

Isn't that just beautiful?

M is really sick today…poor thing. We woke up at six to hear the fire alarm in our building going off, and ended up standing outside until about half past, waiting for the fire department to check it out. Turns out, there was no fire. Go figure.

I want to tell you all about how much I love and crave spicy, though. It’s so delicious! Especially chipotle…I have a special place in my heart for chipotle anything, most certainly anything chipotle with a creamy texture. So, last night as I was lying in bed, craving spicy, I asked myself, why don’t I just make myself a healthy, spicy, delicious breakfast?

So, I mentally checked off things in our fridge that would be delicious spicy: egg, broccoli, onion, garlic, and cheddar. “Hold up…cheddar? How can that be healthy?” Everything in moderation, pheasants. This most certainly won’t be drowned in cheese.

And wow, pheasants, it turned out well. The cheddar was just pungent enough to lend the chipotle and broccoli some well-needed flavors, as well as offsetting the bite of onion and garlic. The broccoli cooked up nice and soft, but not too soft, with a great crunchy, spicy flavor. I served mine with a piece of Dave’s Good Seed bread and a cup of fat-free milk to make it a meal. It was most definitely a lovely start to a rainy day.

You can easily use pre-shredded cheddar, but we had a block of it, so I cut mine into tiny chunks. If you don’t have a blender or don’t want to bother, just chop everything very finely.

Spicy Broccoli and Shirred Eggs

1 egg

approx. 2/3 c broccoli

1/2 chipotle chili pepper (use less if you’re not a fan of spicy)

1/4 tsp adobo sauce (comes with the peppers)

2/3 ounce of cheddar

black pepper and cayenne to taste

1/2 tsp heavy cream (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350°F (191°C.) In a small, 6-8 ounce ramekin, spray Pam, or very lightly butter. Coat the inside with a dusting of finely-ground cornmeal.

Place the broccoli, chipotle, half the cheddar, and adobo into a small hand blender (I used a Magic Bullet.) Pulse until it’s at your desired consistency. I kept mine chunky, but if you blend it until it’s smooth like guacamole, I can imagine it would be good, too.

Spoon the broccoli mixture into the ramekin, filling it about 3/5 up, or more. Crack the egg on top, and place into the oven for 8-10 minutes. When the time is up, take out the ramekin, and pour the cream over the top of the egg, sprinkling on the last bits of cheddar. Replace in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the white has cooked through. Enjoy!

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Filed under All things eggs

Of lonely nights, and desperate suppers

M is working tonight, y’all. Know what that means? It means my usual two-person meals are useless here (unless I want to eat both servings…which, sometimes, I do.) So, what’s a gal to do on lonely nights when she’s got no one to feed but herself? Cereal? Take out? Toaster waffles?

“Hell no.” Pheasant said sharply. “You march into that kitchen and make yourself a meal to be proud of!”

And, pheasants, that’s exactly what I did. So now that you know that, I’ll talk to you a moment about my love affair with curry, shall I?

At the tender age of between 14 and 17 (I can’t remember exactly when…but we’ll pretend I stayed tender for a long, long time) I decided one night that curry was what I wanted to eat, and any other would not satisfy me as a proper curry could.

I’d never actually eaten curry before then, nor did I know how to make it.

My father showed me the curry bricks in the cabinet, pointed to a hunk of meat in the fridge, and told me to go at it, although most everyone (including him) wondered what my intense need for curry was all about. To this day, I don’t know why I had the urge, but I thank every particle of my being that I did. It was glorious: smooth, spicy and rich, with hunks of meltingly-soft potato and beef, slices of carrot, and slivers of sweet, sharp onion…it was like heaven in my mouth. We ate it over rice, and I’m pretty sure that I alone ate two or three bowls of it myself. And the next morning, I had it for breakfast. My curry lust, however, had not been sated.

For the next five months or so, I made curry at every available moment, scarfing it down. I made it spicy, sweet, mild; I made curry in red, green, gold and purple with pink polka dots. We had lamb curries, beef curries, chicken, shrimp, and fish curries…but alas, one day, my family grew tired of my near-East love affair, and they told me, no more curry. So for months, I kissed new dishes and dated new foods, but my one true love, curry, was never far from my mind.

Now that I’ve moved out, I can technically make curry whenever I like, but M isn’t as big a fan of it as I am, so it’s not an often occurrence. Tonight, however, I rolled myself up some chicken meatballs, broke out the curry bricks, and made myself some beautiful, tasty, exceedingly healthy lonely night curry. It’s definitely a dish to be proud of. If you’d like to make it entirely vegan, find yourself some vegan curry blocks and cut out the chicken meatballs (I’d suggest using mushrooms to “beef” up the dish, though.)

Stag-night Curry

4 ounces ground chicken

1 red chile, chopped (optional…if you like it spicy like I do, go for it!)

1/4 c plus 2 tbsp sliced onion

1/2 a carrot, sliced into coins

frozen mixed vegetables (or use your favorite)

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

curry powder

cayenne pepper (optional)

garlic powder

3 tbsp quinoa (optional)

1 3/4 c water, divided

1 curry brick (I prefer Golden House brand, because they thicken well)

Combine the chicken, 2 tbsp onion, one garlic clove, curry powder, garlic powder and cayenne in a bowl. Form into meatballs and set aside. In a pan, saute the carrots, onion, garlic and chile together until softened and fragrant; transfer them out of the pan. Add in the meatballs and sear well, then place the sauteed vegetables, frozen veggies, and 1 1/2 cups of the water into the pan, along with the curry brick, quinoa and extra curry powder, if you like. Bring it all to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover it, set a timer for 13 minutes, and let it go. Check every five minutes or so to make sure the water isn’t evaporating too quickly.

Once the quinoa is cooked through, add in the last quarter cup of water, stir it around to mix, and let it simmer for a moment. Then, take it off the heat, let it cool a bit, and dig in.

I really loved how the little bits of quinoa soaked up curry flavor and turned into little spice bombs…it was delicious. And, with the chopped chile (seeds and all!) and the cayenne, it had just enough of a kick to keep me coming back for more. This meal is definitely something to curl up with on a cold, winter night.

Questionable content: 

Is there any food you absolutely cannot live without?

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Spicy, skinny chicken nuggets!

If you’re like me, you’re kind of addicted to hot wings. I absolutely adore spicy food, and hot wings are no exception…spicy barbecue, mild or “so hot I can barely see straight,” I love them all. There’s just something about the crispy chicken skin, moist meat and spicy, blow-your-socks-off flavor that keeps me coming back for more. M and I have even found our favorite place to go for wings (and burgers!) It’s a great place on the Ave in the U District called Wing Central. I’d never had a burger so flavorful, or a hot wing so beautiful in all my life before we found that place. It’s glorious!

But, sometimes I get in the mood for hot wings when I’m not willing to splurge 800 calories to get the wing fix I want. That exact thing happened this morning, and I realized that I absolutely must come up with a way to enjoy them without throwing away more than half a days’ calories (as well as more than twice my daily sodium intake, my entire daily fat consumption, etc.) I wanted something delicious, crunchy, satisfactorily spicy, and something I could make quickly when I’m craving, without having to worry about how many calories it will kill for the day.

So, I stood there staring at a defrosting chicken breast for a while. It came to my attention early on that using egg wouldn’t keep the calories low at all…that left very few ideas. Thankfully, I found a quick replacement to that. The sauce was easy enough: hot sauce itself is generally very low-fat and low-calorie, so the only thing to watch would be the sodium amount. Most places and recipes mix butter in with the sauce, but I could definitely do without that…I did, however, want something creamier, something more rib-sticking, lip-smacking and finger-lickingly delicious than I’d had before. This was the ultimate challenge. I ended up with a mix of sauces and a small half teaspoon of sour cream (to give it a creamy, delicious taste.) I’ll miss the bleu cheese dressing…but not by much! You can toss them in the sauce like normal chicken wings, or dip them in, which is my favorite way.

As for the lack of nutritional information: I’ve decided that, because of a recent change of heart, I won’t be posting the caloric content here anymore. If you like, you can use the Livestrong MyPlate website to tally, which is where I entered them in before. It’s a great website! I’d urge everyone aiming to gain a healthier body to look it up.

Pheasant’s Spicy Chicken Nuggets

1 chicken breast (about 12 0z)

6 tbsp breadcrumbs (I like to mix Progresso breadcrumbs with craggy, homemade ones)

1 tsp olive oil

1 1/2 tsp Frank’s Red Hot Wings (I used Hot Buffalo style)

2 tbsp Texas Pete Original (or any vinegar-based, 0 calorie hot sauce)

1/2 tsp reduced fat sour cream

1/8 tsp liquid smoke (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C.) Then, place the breadcrumbs in a bowl and mix them with your favorite spices; I used cayenne, garlic powder, black pepper, parsley and a little onion powder. I’d caution you to not use salt, because the hot sauce has a whole bunch of sodium in it already. Cut the chicken up into approximately 24 nuggets of more or less equal size. Then, in a bowl, toss them with the olive oil until they’re all very well-coated.

Dip the nuggets into the breadcrumbs, coating them well. Place them on a foil-lined, Pam’d baking sheet and then slide those puppies into the oven for 9 minutes; take them out, flip them all over and replace them in the oven for 4-5 more minutes. While the nuggets are baking, mix up your hot sauce. Place the sour cream in a small snack bowl and pour the Frank’s Red Hot over it. Mix them together until smooth, then add in Texas Pete and mix again until combined. If you’re using the liquid smoke, add it in along with the Texas Pete hot sauce.

Once the nuggets are done, take them out and let them sit for a bit. If you choose to toss them in the sauce, do this now. If not, serve ’em up and dip them to your heart’s content!

Now, these nuggets were fantastic! I had them with some baked potato wedges and peas…wow, they definitely hit the spot. If you start getting a craving for spicy and crispy, this is definitely the way to go!

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