Slow Cooker Beef Tacos

Slow Cooker Beef Tacos are so easy but you have to plan a little bit with a slow cooker schedule. With kids and working full-time, the slow cooker is my best friend. If I know a day ahead I just dump stuff in there and let it come together and with the meats or sauces cooked in there I create many meals. This one was created simply because I needed to use the steaks ASAP before they got bad and I was craving some beefy tacos.

So I came home after work, put the kids down to sleep by 8pm, put it in the slow cooker with garlic powder, Korean BBQ sauce, pepper and literally any sauce bottles that were almost done. And turned it on to cook in slow heat overnight, the next morning I woke up and the entire house smelled yummy like Thanksgiving and Christmas Morning. Food makes me happy … so I let it cool while getting ready in the morning store it in the Fridge, came back from work and warmed it up and it was heavenly. So soft and all the juices were there too to use as a dipping sauce.

Then took my tortilla laid it out on my baking pan, added meat, cheese ( I used provolone but any kind would work), coriander leaves (washed) and put it in the oven at 375 for 10 mins and viola dinner is done and it was amazing!

I took the juice and warmed up a bowl of it and it was an Au Jus to go with the tacos.

Also as a side, took Trader Joe’s  Broccoli Slaw and put in Korean chilli powder and rice vinegar which was refreshing and provided that crunch which was healthy rather than chips or anything last minute I find around the kitchen.

Everyone was happy and I made a meal and managed it to be restaurant worthy.

PS – LOVE Trader Joe’s and their Broccoli Slaw, you literally do anything to it and its affordable. here are some more fab recipes on popsugar.

http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Broccoli-Slaw-Recipes-37232010#photo-37232010

Cough and Cold Remedy

I have two little toddlers and they are so prone to getting sick the moment fall season is here. We know that there is nothing we can do besides going to the doctors getting them checked out and be on meds. This year I hope to get a better handle on it by trying some natural remedies especially since there are so many. So I decided I am going to experiment with one I saw this week by Betsy Babukutty a holistic nurse from NY on her Get Healthy Naturally Facebook page. I’ve seen versions of this but have yet to try it consistently or make a separate jar or it to have often during this season.

Well today I made a jar and its now on my kitchen counter for the 2014 Fall season!

Here’s the original posting  and what I used to make my version.

The Ingredients I used below and its really easy to make and keep around.

CoughColdremedy

Carrington Farms Coconut Oil from Costco

Local Honey from West Chester, PA – I bought this at our local farmer’s market

Kirkland’s Ground Saigon Cinnamon  from Costco

Half a lemon

Penzeys Chinese Powdered Ginger – this one is especially strong but very good. Click here to buy https://www.penzeys.com/online-catalog/china-powdered-1-ginger/c-24/p-1012/pd-s

I filled a quarter of an empty BeechNut glass baby food jar with honey and then added some cinnamon, couple of babyspoon size of coconut oil, half a lemon and a tiny bit of powered ginger. ( I added more after tasting it)

It was clumpy at first since the coconut oil is in lumps but stirred it all together and tasted it to make sure it was not too spicy with the cinnamon & ginger and it tasted great, like a honey cough drop.

So starting today we are going to try and give this little remedy to my family and see what happens! Keep you posted :-)

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, if you have a serious illness please see a physician. Also make sure anyone tasting this remedy has had the ingredients before, to make sure there are no allergies to any of the ingredients itself.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Cinderblogs:

Happy Diwali everyone! On this rainy day in the Greater Philadelphia area all I want is some Butter Chicken….

Originally posted on The Domestic Man:

Gluten-Free, Paleo, Perfect Health Diet

Although I consider Butter Chicken to be the ultimate Indian chicken curry (I saved that recipe for my cookbook), Chicken Tikka Masala takes a close second. In fact, there is little difference in the dishes – both are usually made by adding roasted chicken pieces to a tomato-based curry sauce. Butter Chicken has more, well, butter.

The origin of Chicken Tikka Masala is disputed. It’s commonly believed that it was first whipped up in Indian restaurants in the UK (Glasgow in particular is often cited), but many argue that it was first influenced by dishes from the Punjab region of India and Pakistan well before it appeared in UK restaurants.

Putting the curry together is actually pretty simple – start to finish in under an hour. It gets a little complicated when the chicken comes into play, since it should be marinated for at least 6 hours beforehand (overnight…

View original 95 more words

Mexican rice leftover – Thursday night dinner

Thursday night I had some leftover southwestern rice and thought I need to make something. So I looked in my fridge and pantry and took out the following items :

– fresh coriander
– canned sweet corn
– leftover southwestern style bean salad rice
– Hillshire farm chicken sausage
– fresh mushrooms that I chopped and stir fried with olive oil and salt. I usually get fresh mushrooms and cook them and store them in the fridge to use at anytime.
– chi chi’s small tortilla
– mrs renfro’s jalapeño green salsa
– french’s fried onions
– campbell’s sweet potato tomatillo soup
– pepper jack cheese(not pictured)

It sounds like a lot but it’s basically whatever you have in your home. I took the rice and topped it with the soup and salsa with cheese. Corn with fried onions and made sausage, cheese and mushrooms mini quesadilla’s.

See the pics below – enjoy
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Kati Roll Semi – Homemade

I think by now everyone knows my obsession with the Kati Roll Company in NYC http://www.thekatirollcompany.com/. In hopes that someday they would decide to land a place in the Nation’s capitol. But since that has not happened, I have decided to take matters into my own hands for a temporary fix. Before we go any further, let me put a disclaimer that I am not the expert here since it’s not something I grew up on but it’s this is a pretty darn good interpretation for the everyday working professional. 

Since the closest supermarket is Giant that where I decided to get most of my ingredients.

8 boneless, skinless chicken breast

2-3 Tablespoon Giant brand non-fat yogurt

Mission brand 8” Soft Taco Carb Balance Flour Tortillas

 Tiger Tiger  Tikka Paste  http://www.tigertiger.info/ 

Mint – Cilantro Chutney – I have both readymade versions in my fridge all the time but I’ve included the recipe to make from scratch too

1 White onion- I would prefer red onions but forgot to pick it up!

 Olive Oil

 1 Can Amy’s organic red beans (Optional as a side dish)

 Ingredients

First take the chicken and chop it up into small cubes and then take 2 to 3 tablespoons of yogurt, add salt and add a couple of tablespoons of the Tikka paste till all the chicken is covered with the flavors.  You can always add some more  chili powder to make it spicier than the paste since it’s usually medium or mild that available in the local supermarkets. Cover the chicken and place it in the fridge for about an hr – 2 hrs so that the flavors soak in, the longer you leave it in the better it is. ( I had it marinate for an hr while I did errands).

Take the chicken and spray some oil on your baking dish so that they do not stick and leave it in the oven for about 400 degrees for 30 mins. During this time chop the onion and sauté them till they are soft and slightly browned with some olive oil. Check on your chicken so that it’s not too dry or under cooked then for the last 5 mins turn on your broiler and it will help crisp the surface of the chicken to mimic the grill. Ideally if you have a grill put it on skewers and it will be fantastic but if its rainy like it has been in the DC metro area or simply you don’t have one, baking is the only option.

Mint & Coriander/Cilantro Chutney – Whenever I’m at an Indian Grocery Store or  local grocery store in the International aisle, I stock up on this. It goes with a lot of things and can easily bring a lot of flavor with some fresh lemon juice or with yogurt or even with mayo. But if you have time or grow these plants in your backyard it’s easy to make too  – Here’s the recipe from a blogger love4cooking and from wiki how!

http://love4cooking.blogspot.com/2007/03/mint-coriander-chutney.html

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Mint-Chutney

Last step, take your tortillas and heat them with some olive oil on a pan and then assemble them with Chicken, Chutney and Onions.

Grande Finale

Final Verdict, it was yummy not quiet really a Kati roll since I used tortillas, but it’s my version of Kati Roll in an American world.

Phaal Challenge! Is this the hottest curry in the world?

phaalI finally caught up with my DVR and saw this episode on Man vs. Food. And I recognized the place – it was an Indian restaurant we have been too a couple of years back and their food was yummy and did not spare in  the spices category. ( I love spicy food) – Check out the Phaal Challenge on the Travel Channel Man vs Food and maybe you can take the Phaal Challenge at Brick Lane Curry House in NYC —>http://www.bricklanecurryhouse.com/

The Episode-

http://www.eatmedaily.com/2009/01/the-phaal-challenge-at-brick-lane-curry-house-on-man-v-food-video/#more-8368

Summer BBQ – The Basics

Once summer is in the air, everyone’s calendars will start booking up with Evites or Cards for Reunions, Bridal showers, Baby showers, Birthdays and last but not least The BBQ’s.

BBQ’s are the best way to feed everyone with a variety of items that can be premade and stored a couple of days ahead. It’s also a great way to have a quick dinner or to entertain when an unexpected visitor drops by.

BBQ Basics

The Grill

There are several out there Weber brand is what I know of but a good quality gas grill should have all the bells & whistles.

Don’t have a Grill yet?  No problem a nonstick grill pan can work very nicely for an indoor version of your BBQ favorites

 http://www.amazon.com/Calphalon-Contemporary-Nonstick-11-Inch-Square/dp/B0009W7E94

The Tools

 There are several out there but for an outdoor grill, here is an example of the basic tool set to start out with from Picnic Fun. http://www.picnicfun.com/products/stainless-steel-bbq-set

The Theme

From All American to Asian Cuisine, there are plenty of menus and ideas to go around. Although there are many, keep in mind of your theme when you’re planning a BBQ, so that you don’t end up buying or making things that don’t necessarily go together.

All American Theme – as an example (watch out for more in the Menu Category)

For Colors – The Red, White and Blue

Pattern – Stars and Stripes

http://www.orientaltrading.com/ui/browse/processRequest.do?requestURI=viewEndecaCategory&categoryId=377587&tabId=Holidays&BP=8886&source=Google&cm_mmc=Google-_-OTC+SendTec+Patriotic-_-patriotic+general-_-stars+and+stripes+items

Set up Plan A and B aka Plan A – Outdoors, Plan B – Indoors as summer showers seem to sometimes come out of nowhere or it’s just too warm outside.

Center Piece – For Practical People

For those that have huge BBQ’s and not enough time to be creative, here is a practical choice. Make the center pieces on your tables as the condiments area all bunched together on a colorful plate with little steel cups( Link from Crate & Barrel below) with Ketchup, Hot Sauce, Mayo, Mustard, Relish, Mint Chutney to many more as your hearts desire.

http://www.crateandbarrel.com/family.aspx?c=315&f=7901

Center Piece – For Creative People

 Take empty metal food cans and clean them so it doesn’t have any smells or food leftover. And buy some festive wrapping paper and use that to cover the can. Fill the can with water and gather some hydrangea flowers in any color that’s available at your store or any flower from your garden and it will last through the entire day.Add some colored blue glass stones to go around them to make your center piece complete.

Kiddies are Invited too?

Ask the parents to bring a couple of games to share with the others or ask your kids to give you ideas of what they would like to do during the BBQ. It’s a great way to get them involved and help you out for the BBQ.

The Food

Main Dishes

Burgers & Kebabs – Turkey, Beef and Veggie . Frozen Meats – Thaw frozen items overnight in the refrigerator or use the quick thaw method by placing the packaged meats in ziploc bags and in a pan of hot tap water for 30-45 minutes

Steaks & Ribs – Ribs are wonderful to make especially if you have a smoker(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoking_%28cooking%29)

Seafood -Lobster Tail, Shrimp, Salmon, Tuna Steak, Tilapia, and any other fish you would love

Hot Dogs & Sausages – With sausages there are plenty of different varieties, Italian, Polish Keilbasa, Chorizo and many more exotic varieties

Chicken – Thighs, Legs and Breast

Vegetarians – Veggie Burgers, Veggie Kebabs, Tofu (See a great recipe below from Epicurious.com)http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/GRILLED-TOFU-AND-SAUTEED-ASIAN-GREENS-108684

 Sides

Potatoes – Baked, Salad, Mashed or Fried

Corn on the Cob – Make some herbed butter i.e. Garlic Powder or Adobo mixed into some butter can do wonders

Basic Salad – Mixed Greens, Cheese, Tomatoes, Onions, Olives (optional) and any salad dressing you love

Baked Beans – Take your supermarket premade canned beans and add a little spice to them with pepper and hot sauce

 Dessert

Ice Cream – Sherbet and basic Vanilla is always good, cause you can always add chocolate sauce, nuts(Check Allergies) and whipped cream on top

Fruit Salad – take some fruits in season,chop and put them in the fridge to cool and serve with condensed milk

Supplies

Paper Plates, Utensils, Cups,Napkins,Trash Can, Ice & Coolers, Table Cloths, Center Pieces, Condiments, Water & other drinks, serving trays & plates, tables, chairs, citronella torches for bugs and tent (optional).

It seems like a lot to do but it’s all about planning with your basic list. If you don’t have time to get all the items, piece out different items for people to bring so you are not the only one running around. Also storing extras supplies & certain foods for the summer will help you be prepared for a get-together any time.

Enjoy! And watch out for more themes and menus to go with this summer series!