Monday, February 27, 2023

Easy Sauteed Cabbage and Sausage

 I was recently looking for something different to do with some leftover cabbage. I had bought a large head to be used in a green goddess salad, but then quickly realized how much yield you get from just one head of cabbage. Did you ever chop an entire head of cabbage??? It makes a TON! So I began to think of all of my favorite things to do with cabbage.. roasting it with bacon.... boiling it it ham... making cole slaw and topping a fabulous corned beef sandwich. But then, as I was going through the fridge, I remembered I had some leftover smoked sausage.... YES! THIS would be the easy simple fabulous meal I could make and use up some leftovers at the same time. Perfect! Just a simple saute, nothing complicated, super flavorful, and all done in one dish. I have to say... you often hear that "simple is best", and in this case, it's absolutely true. I found this recipe on a blog called Barefeet in the Kitchen, and it couldn't be simpler. 
 This is the perfect quick dinner for a weeknight, just as it is, or you could embellish it and make it a big Sunday Dinner. Serve it with your favorite potatoes and some crusty bread with butter. You'll have a winner! 
Now... lets see what other leftovers I can repurpose...
    1 lb kielbasa smoked sausage
    1 1/2 tbs olive oil, divided
    1 medium onion, chopped
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    1 small head cabbage, cored and chopped
    3/4 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
    1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    1 tsp red wine vinegar
     Halve the kielbasa lengthwise and then slice it into 1/2-inch pieces. Heat a large deep skillet or dutch oven over medium heat.  Add 1/2 tablespoon oil and the kielbasa. Toss to coat and then cook until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the kielbasa to a plate.
    Return the pan to the stove and reduce the heat to medium low. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened. Add the garlic, cabbage, salt, and pepper. Toss well to combine. Cover and cook, stirring every 4-5 minutes until the cabbage is wilted, about 12 minutes.
    Stir in the vinegar and return the kielbasa to the pot. Stir and cover for about 3 more minutes, until the cabbage is tender and the kielbasa is hot. Taste and add salt, if needed. Enjoy!
  The cabbage usually brings a lot of moisture to the pan, but if your final dish seems a little bit dry, feel free to add a splash or two of chicken broth, or even just water.  
 Not a fan of kielbasa? Use any favorite sausage! The flavors will be slightly different, but it will all work!
  I enjoyed mine over some mashed potatoes, but feel free to choose any other kind of potato... Baked, fried, gratin, anything you like! I also love doing potato bundles... just slice a potato, but keep the slices together, add a few slices of onion and a pat of butter along with salt and pepper. Then wrap the whole thing in some heavy duty foil to make a sealed packet. Bake in a hot 400ยบ oven or on the grill until potatoes are done, about 45 minutes.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Joey's Slow Cooker Teriyaki Beef


    I was in the mood for a slow cooker kind of beef something. You know, like when you let it cook all day in the slow cooker until it just falls apart? Yes, that. But I wasn't feeling my usual go-to beef stew with potatoes and brown gravy vibe. So, I thought, why not do something fun and new? To be quite honest, my original thought was to do something with lots of toasted spices, sort of in an Indian inspired direction... with lots of onions, garlic, ginger, and garam masala. But then I took a quick inventory of my pantry ingredients and decided that a fabulous teriyaki might be the way to go. Ok then! We have our heading!
  Now, of course, it would be easy to just open up a bottle of purchased teriyaki sauce and call it a day, but I always have more fun making it home made, Don't you? I must admit that I only had a general idea of what goes in a good teriyaki sauce, but I figured , how hard can it be? I knew I wanted it to include pineapple juice and soy sauce, and I absolutely love the flavor of toasted sesame oil. I also figured it would probably have honey and brown sugar, but this was as far as I could go on my own. So I did what I always do! I started with those ingredients, googled a few recipes, took what I liked from each one, and made my own! I took one taste and YES! It turned out beautifully! Don't you just love when that happens? And it was super easy too. I just threw everything into the slow cooker, gave a stir, and let it cook all afternoon. You can't get much easier than that, right?  I thought of browning the beef before throwing it in, which would absolutely be fine, but I just wanted a quick set up an no extra dishes to worry about. THIS was it.
  Just set it up in the morning for an easy week night meal, or do like I did and make it for a fabulous Sunday supper. Pour it over some cooked white rice and you're good to go! Hope you'll give it t a try!

2 cups pineapple juice
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs rice vinegar
1 tbs toasted sesame oil
2 tbs Hoisin sauce
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs fresh ginger, minced 
3 scallions, sliced
2-3 lbs beef chuck, cubed 
For thickening the sauce:
2 tbs corn starch
2 tbs cold water or pineapple juice 
More sliced scallions
sesame seeds

Add all of your sauce ingredients into the insert of your slow cooker. Give it a good whisk until it's all well combined. Now add the scallions and beef cubes. Give it another stir until the meat is well coated. Cook on low for about 8 hours, or on high for about 4 hours. 
 When the beef is tender, stir together the corn starch and water (or juice, if using). Add to the sauce, and stir. If your slow cooker is on low, turn it to high, and let it cook for about 15-20 more minutes, uncovered, until the sauce is thickened. This is the perfect time to make the rice, so that everything is done at the same time. To serve, pour your beef and sauce over a mound of rice, add veggies on the side, garnish with more sliced scallions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds, if desired.

 Be sure to adjust seasoning after it's cooked. Sometimes it needs more salt or soy sauce than you think it will!
  If you'd like to stretch the meal a little further, add some beautifully colorful steamed vegetables on the side. Some broccoli florets or sugar snap peas would be absolutely perfect. You can put them on for steaming around the same time as you cook the rice!
  You can use this same recipe for chicken as well. Just add your boneless chicken to the crock pot with your sauce, and cook it on low for about 6 hours. Then remove the chicken to thicken the sauce. While the sauce is thickening, you can shred the chicken and add it back to the slow cooker. Come to think of it, that would be FABULOUS in a lettuce wrap! Yum. 
  When you add the corn starch for thickening, be sure to stir it into COLD liquid (either the water or the juice) before adding it to a hot liquid. If you add it directly to the sauce, it will clump into little starchy blobs, and no one wants that!