Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Beef Tacos

img_7025Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Beef Tacos
(courtesy of Belly Full, serves 6)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 pound boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 jar (16 ounce) salsa verde
  • 1 medium sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed

For serving:

  • 12 corn tortillas, warmed
  • Monterey jack cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Avocado, diced
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Limes, sliced

Method

Coat a 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large pan, heat the oil over medium-high. Season the beef with the cumin, salt, and pepper. Add to the pan and cook for 3 minutes, per side, to a nice golden brown.

Transfer meat to the slow cooker; add the salsa, onion, and garlic. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Shred the meat with 2 forks and stir with the liquid.

Using tongs or a slotted spoon, place some of the meat in each tortilla, topped with some cheese, sour cream, avocado, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.

NOTES

Amazing tacos with just a few ingredients and a few minutes of effort. I was genuinely blown away by how good these were. Totally going in my back pocket for future party menus!

Spicy Beef Taquitos

img_2513img_4519Spicy Beef Taquitos

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 large jalapeno, stemmed and seeded ,very finely diced
  • 1/2 sweet onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon New Mexico chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chunky salsa
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 4 ounces roasted hatch chiles, finely chopped (or sub 4-oz can diced green chiles)
  • 3 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 10 small flour tortillas
  • Olive oil cooking spray

Method

Heat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and then lightly mist it with cooking spray and set aside. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add beef and cook, breaking into very small chunks with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink. Add jalapeno, onion, and garlic to the pan and cook until jalapeno and onion are tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add spices, salsa, sour cream, and hatch chiles. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and add the shredded cheese. Stir to combine.

Warm the tortillas in the microwave for 20-30 seconds until they are warm and pliable. Distribute filling, roll, place on baking sheet. Spray the tops of the taquitos lightly with cooking spray. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes until tortillas are dark golden and crispy.

NOTES

I made these two weeks in a row and am probably going for a third. Steve says I need to put them on the weekly menu from now to infinity. Seriously, they are that good. Contemplating trying them with pulled pork or shredded chicken next.

Sloppy Joes

IMG_0491.JPGSloppy Joes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon pickle juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

Method

In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef (breaking it into small bits as it cooks), onion, bell pepper until the vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the salt, pepper, cayenne, ketchup, mustard, pickle juice, brown sugar, and water; mix thoroughly. Reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes until most of the liquid has disappeared. Serve warm on buns with chips and pickles on the side.

NOTES

Perfect weeknight meal: simple, family pleasing, quick. One of Steve’s all-time old-fashioned favorites. I’m not reinventing the wheel here, obviously, but I am quite pleased to have tweaked this into something that better suits our tastes – i.e., less sweet, more zing than typical recipes. And I love my addition of pickle juice – mixing it in with ketchup and mustard to make it like the “Braum’s sauce” we so enjoy on our burgers or for dipping fries. It really gives it something special.

Albondigas (Mexican Meatballs)

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Albondigas (Mexican Meatballs)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb bulk Mexican chorizo (I use my homemade version)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (preferably fresh)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced (plus 1/4 cup minced, for garnish)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Combine all of the meatball ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pinch off about 1.5 tablespoons of filling and roll it into a ball about 1 inch in diameter. Repeat until you have made about 30 meatballs. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, until cooked through and sizzling.

Remove from oven. Serve over Spanish rice.

NOTES

Pretty much every time Steve and I ate my Albondigas Soup, one or both of us would say “you know, at some point, we should just have these meatballs by themselves over Spanish rice.” Obvkious yet brilliant. So I finally did it and oh man, what an awesome little meal. Proud of this one.

One Pot Ground Beef Stroganoff

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One Pot Ground Beef Stroganoff

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 cups low sodium beef or chicken broth
  • 12 oz. egg noodles
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley

Method

Heat large deep skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the beef with a spoon as it cooks, until it is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove the beef to a bowl, leaving the fat in the pan. Add the onion, mushrooms, and salt and cook until the mushrooms are tender and the onion is translucent, 4-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30-60 seconds. Sprinkle the paprika, thyme, and pepper over the top and stir to combine.

Pour in the broth and scrape up any bits stuck to the pan. Add the pasta. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and continue to cook, stirring often, until the pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes. Return the reserved ground beef to the pan and stir through until warm, about a minute. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and parsley. Serve immediately.

NOTES

I was going to say that this is a great weeknight alternative to traditional beef stroganoff, but it really doesn’t need that kind of justification. It’s a fantastic dish all on its own. Pictures don’t even do it justice, like, at all. SO GOOD. I’ve had this on my “to-do” list forever and I can’t believe it took me so long to get to it. It is so right up my alley – simple, one-pot, DELICIOUS. Permanent rotation.

Smoked Brisket

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Smoked Brisket

Ingredients

  • 1 packer end brisket, thick fat trimmed off (leave about 1/4-inch layer). You can also buy a whole brisket, packer and flat ends, and smoke it whole. Or you can do as I did and buy a whole brisket and cut it into packer and flat, using the packer to smoke and the flat for oven brisket tacos.
  • 1.5 cups dry rub (I use this one)

Method

  1. Coat the brisket liberally with the dry rub. Wrap in foil and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to two days.
  2. Preheat your smoker to 230 degrees F. Insert the brisket and smoke over your favorite wood (or bisquette flavor for electric smokers) until the brisket’s internal temp reaches 190-195 degrees F. This should take about 75 minutes per pound, but can range between 60 and 90 minutes per pound depending on your smoker. My packer end was 10.5 pounds raw, 8.75 with the fat trimmed off, and it took about 11-11.5 hours to smoke.
  3. When the meat has reached 190-195 degrees F, remove it from the smoker, wrap it in foil, and store in a cooler with towels over it. Let it sit for at least an hour (up to four) before opening it up and slicing.

NOTES

There aren’t enough words for this. I always wanted to try smoked brisket at home, my only fear of course being that it would turn out dry. HA. Not even close. Not even a little bit. This was the juiciest, tastiest barbecue-style brisket I have ever had. I cannot wait to make another one.

Albondigas (Mexican Meatball) Soup

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Albondigas (Mexican Meatball) Soup
adapted from Use Real Butter

Ingredients

Soup

  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon New Mexican chile powder
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 14.5-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 canned chipotle chile, minced, plus 1-2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 2 carrots, sliced into coins
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice

Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb bulk Mexican chorizo (I use my homemade version)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (preferably fresh)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced (plus more, chopped, for garnish)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large stock pot over medium heat and sauté the onion until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds. Add the spices, water, tomatoes, chipotle, carrots, zucchini, and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer (medium-low heat) for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine all of the meatball ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pinch off about 1.5 tablespoons of filling and roll it into a ball about 1 inch in diameter. Repeat until you have made about 30 meatballs. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until cooked through and sizzling.

Add the cooked meatballs and rice to the soup and simmer for another 15-18 minutes, until rice is tender. Serve hot and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.

NOTES

Albondigas Soup is one of those random things that has been on my back burner for about four years now. Fellow longtime cooks, you know this scenario: it was one of those dishes I heard about, envisioned a certain way, failed at on my first attempt, then subsequently filed away for far too long until I figured out how I was going to approach it differently. Well, now my cooking skills have caught up with my imagination, and this recipe is the result.

AND HOLY @*&# THIS WAS GOOD. Like… top ten recipes of all time good. Like, cook to impress guests good. Like total shock, I could never have imagined it would turn out this amazing, CRAZYFREAKINGGOOD.

If you don’t have homemade chorizo, no problem, use the store stuff. If you don’t have Ancho or New Mexican chile powder, no problem, just use a teaspoon of whatever ya got. But don’t let anything stop you from making this if it strikes your fancy. I promise you will not regret the effort.