Monday, May 3, 2021

Balsamic Red Wine Beef Ribs {Instant Pot}

I love using the Instant Pot for cuts of beef that take a long time to braise. It's still not a freaky fast dinner, even in the IP, but a lot faster than the oven. And beef short ribs turn out so tender! I love the combination of red wine and balsamic vinegar, and it turns out to be a winner when used with these ribs.

First, the ribs get a good sear in your IP, then you saute some onions and garlic in the delicious leftover beef left behinds in the pot. (Beef left behinds is a technical cooking term.) Add in some red wine (pour yourself a glass first!) and deglaze that pot (which means getting all the beef left behinds stirred up) then cook the beef in the winey goodness. At the end add the balsamic to create a delicious sauce. 

If only I had TWO IPs so I could also make the mashed potatoes!  That would be a little much, even for this appliance loving cook. So I made them on the stove. Saute or roast some green veggies, and you'll have a super delicious dinner on your hands. And in your mouth. 

Balsamic Red Wine Beef Ribs 

2 pounds boneless beef short ribs
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2/3 cup red wine
1 tsp. rosemary leaves, crushed
1 tsp. parsley
1 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Preheat the Instant Pot on Saute. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Place them in one layer in the pot and let them sear. Leave on this side for about 5 minutes, then flip and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove to a plate, and repeat if you have remaining ribs. 

Add onion and garlic to the pot and saute for 5 minutes. Add in the red wine and deglaze the pot, (stirring up all those brown bits that have caramelized at the bottom).

Put the short ribs back in and add the rosemary and  parsley.

Seal the Instant pot insuring that the venting switch is set to "sealing."  Press the Soup/Stew option and set the time to 35 minutes. 

When cooking is completed, let the pot release naturally for 15 minutes. Then, carefully, release all the steam and remove the lid of the pot.

Remove the meat, then skim the sauce off with a spoon to remove the fat.  Add in the  balsamic vinegar, and turn the pot to saute.  Allow to boil until it has reached a glossy and glaze consistency. Serve ribs over mashed potatoes, and covered with glaze

Monday, April 26, 2021

Sugared Buttermilk Donuts

Homemade donuts are a real treat, and these light and fluffy buttermilk donuts will melt in your mouth! And they're baked, which means they're not nearly as indulgent as you think, so you can eat one (or two!) in good conscience. 

These are some of the quickest donuts I've ever whipped up, and they were devoured just as quickly. (That sugary coating is sure helpful in the devouring department.) 

 Liven up your next breakfast or brunch with these delicious beauties!

Find lots of inspiration at Inspire Me, Inspire Me 2, Fabulous, Hearth and Soul.

Sugared Buttermilk Donuts

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar, for topping

Stir together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, sugar, salt, baking powder and vanilla. Add the flour and continue stirring until smooth. 

Fill greased donut wells about 3/4 full; bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Let cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. 

Place remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a large zip top plastic bag; add donuts one at a time and shake until each one is coated in sugar.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container on the counter for up to 2 days.  Makes 12 donuts.

Recipe Source: Brooklyn Farm Girl

Monday, April 19, 2021

Teriyaki Shrimp and Asparagus

I love making stir fries! I love the variety, the fresh vegetables, the speed in which you can get dinner on the table, the satisfying combination of meat and veggies, the different rice(s) and noodles you can eat them with, the all around deliciousness. Some of my other favorites are Cashew Chicken, Chicken with Zucchini and Mushrooms, Beef with Asparagus, Beef with Broccoli, Kung Pao Steak and Vegetables, and Pork and Green Beans (making this tonight!). This doesn't even mention all the noodley "stir fries" - just poke around here a little and you'll find lots of good options.

Once you learn how to make a few different sauces, you can basically use stir fries to make a delicious dinner out of whatever veggies and meat you have on hand. This is a recipe for a fantastic homemade teriyaki sauce, which goes beautifully with this shrimp and asparagus, but would work equally well with beef, chicken or pork.

It comes together so quickly - get the sauce cooking in a small saucepan, then saute the shrimp, then the asparagus. Add the sauce and whoop, there it is. I hope you started the rice cooking, cause you're ready to eat!

Since first trying this recipe several weeks ago, I've made it three times. It is just that good. And that easy. And that quick. Now that spring sports and other activities are in full swing, it's nice to have a few super fast recipes that the whole family will devour. 

Find more great ideas at Inspire Me, Inspire Me 2, Fabulous, Hearth and Soul.

Teriyaki Shrimp and Asparagus

4 Tbsp. soy sauce
7 Tbsp. water, divided
2 1/2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. peeled and minced ginger
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 pound asparagus, woody ends trimmed, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
black and white sesame seeds, optional

In a small saucepan, whisk together the soy sauce, 6 Tbsp. of water, honey, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and rice vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then whisk together the cornstarch and remaining water. Add the cornstarch slurry to the sauce, and boil for another minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and set aside,

In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 Tbsp. of the sesame oil over medium high heat. Add the shrimp and cook 1 minute, then flip them over and cook another minute, or until opaque. (This will happen quickly! By the time you have them all flipped, it will be time to remove the first ones...)

Remove the cooked shrimp to a plate or bowl and heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. sesame oil over medium high heat. Add the asparagus, and stir fry 2-3 minutes or until it's bright green. Return the shrimp to the skillet and add the sauce. Reduce heat to low and stir until all the shrimp and asparagus is coated.

Serve over rice or noodles and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Serves 4. 

Recipe SourceCooking Classy

Monday, April 12, 2021

Salted Caramel Blondies

Oh, blondies, how I love thee. Easier to make than cookies, more versatile than brownies (consider the mix-ins!), blondies are probably near the top of my favorite desserts (again, so many varieties!). I have made many different kinds in the past, including with cookie butter, white chocolate and peanut butter chips, coconut and chocolate chips, bananas, caramel, chocolate and pumpkinpeanut butter, caramel and chocolate chip, cranberry and white chocolate chips

Even with all of those to choose from, these beauties are sure to make a repeat appearance at our house. A standard blondie base (hello brown sugar!) is studded with salted caramel chips, which ups the deliciousness factor exponentially. When served with ice cream and additional caramel sauce, this is a legendary dessert.

I made these for Valentine's Day so I made them in my heart shaped pan. Can you stand the cuteness? But they will be equally good in a 9" pan and cut into squares. Just make them.

There are lots of other great ideas at Inspire Me, Inspire Me 2, Fabulous, Hearth and Soul.

Salted Caramel Blondies

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup Salted Caramel baking chips
Caramel ice cream topping, optional

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Do not boil. Allow mixture to cool slightly.

Stir in vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, followed by the baking powder and salt. Stir in one cup of flour at a time until a soft dough has formed. Stir in the salted caramel chips. Spread the blondie batter into a greased 9" baking pan.

Bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes or until center is set and the edges are lightly golden; do not overbake. Blondies will continue to cook slightly after being removed from the oven. Cool completely on a wire rack, then cut into squares and serve with ice cream and caramel sauce. Makes 16 bars.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Asparagus, Bacon and Egg Salad with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette

It's going to be nearly 80 degrees here in the north today, which is quite unusual, but very welcome. So a cool, fresh salad is the perfect way to celebrate the warm weather. 

This salad is as beautiful as it is delicious, which is always a bonus in my book. 

And this salad is perfect for you if you have lots of colored eggs at your house! Use a few here, and that's one less egg salad sandwich you have to eat.  HA! In all seriousness, this salad is really delicious and a wonderful side dish to any meat. 

Start with a layer of spinach tossed in a mapley-mustardy dressing, then toss it with blanched asparagus, bacon and those eggs. 

Texture and taste, this salad has it all. I loved how the saltiness of the bacon contrasts with the dressing, and the soft eggs contrast with the crunchy asparagus. 

There are so many reasons to love this salad! Happy Spring!

Asparagus, Bacon and Egg Salad with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette

5 oz. baby spinach
2-3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
1/2 pound asparagus, rough ends removed, chopped 
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard 
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 1/2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

In a glass (liquid) measuring cup, combine the oil, mustard, syrup and vinegar. Whisk well until the oil is incorporated. Taste, and add salt and pepper as necessary, or adjust ratio of syrup to mustard according to your preferences.

In a large skillet, bring 1/2 inch of water to a boil. Add chopped asparagus and cook for 1 minute. Immediately drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.

In a large bowl, toss the spinach with about 1/2 the dressing. Add more dressing if you prefer, or save the rest for another use. Plate the spinach, then top with the asparagus and bacon.

Add the sliced eggs on top, and serve. Makes 6-8 side dish servings. 

Recipe Source: Inspired by SkinnyTaste

Monday, March 29, 2021

Cadbury Cookies

I know I'm in the minority here, but chocolate is not my favorite go-to candy. Give me gummi bears, jelly beans, peach rings, licorice etc. and I am one happy camper. However, there's one significant exception. I LOVE Cadbury mini eggs. These are the little eggs that have a crisp shell and an absolutely delicious chocolate inside. They are SO good. And very addicting. I usually limit myself to one bag each Easter season. (I should probably start imposing the same limit on jelly beans, but that's a different story.)                                                                 

So when I saw that you could take these amazing candies and put them in cookies, I was excited to try it. I especially love how festive the cookies look with the beautiful pastel shells on top. Be sure to reserve some of your crushed candies to put on top so you can get the same effect!

These cookies have an amazing fudgy texture. When you combine that with the smooth and crispy chocolate candies, it is cookie nirvana. Make all the little chicks and bunnies in your world happy with these amazing treats. Happy Easter!

Cadbury Cookies

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour
6 Tbsp. cocoa
1 - 10 oz. bag Cadbury mini eggs

Using an electric mixer, cream together the shortening, butter, brown sugar and sugar. Add in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa. Gradually add to the butter mixture and beat until all the flour is combined.

Place the candies in a large zip top bag, and mash up with a hammer or a rolling pin. Reserve some of the candies for putting on top, and mix the rest in to the batter with a wooden spoon.

Drop spoonfuls of dough onto parchment or silpat lined baking sheets. Top with the remaining candies, shell side up so you can see the colors. 

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Let cool on the pan for a few minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Monday, March 22, 2021

Thai Sweet Chili Salmon


You can be sure that if a recipe includes Thai Sweet Chili in the title, I'm going to take a look. I LOVE Thai Sweet Chili Sauce. I use it as a dipping sauce for eggrolls and crab rangoons and potstickers, in marinades for chicken and more chicken, in banh mi tacos, and now for this delicious salmon. The sauce, combined with ginger and soy, creates a wonderful treatment for salmon.

To get the ultimate flavor from this fish, you do need to let it marinate for an hour or so. But after that, it's a snap. It sits under the broiler for a few minutes and then voila, it's done, and dinner is ready. You can make a quick salad or steam some veggies, but if you're making rice or something like that, you'll need to start that ahead of time. This is just that fast!

Now that the weather is warming up, it's a great time to add quick and healthy (and satisfying!) lighter meals to the rotation. This Thai Sweet Chili Salmon fits the bill perfectly. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. 

Thai Sweet Chili Salmon

  • 1-1/2 pounds (or four 6-ounce pieces) salmon, skin on or off
  • 6 tablespoons Thai Sweet Chili Sauce 
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce 
  • 1 Tbsp. peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 green onions, green parts only, finely sliced, optional

  1. Combine the sweet chili sauce, soy sauce and ginger in a liquid measuring cup. Place salmon fillets, skin side up, in a shallow dish and pour all but 1/4 cup of the marinade over the fish. Turn it over to coat it all with the marinade, but leave it in the sauce flesh side down. Let the fish marinate for 1 hour in refrigerator.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer the salmon fillets to the prepared baking sheet, skin side down, and drizzle a bit of the marinade over top. 
  3. Broil the salmon for 6-10 minutes, or until browned in spots and almost opaque in the center. Transfer the salmon to a serving platter and pour the reserved sauce over top. Garnish with green onions if you like. Serves 4. 

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