Sunday is National Monte Cristo Day (9/17), proving once again that we Americans love to celebrate all things food. The yummy dish reminds me of a collision between French toast and a lunch box ham sandwich – the traditional version, a favorite during my childhood, is made with ham and cheese book-ended between white bread, dipped in an egg mixture and then pan fried or even deep fried (gasp) with raspberry preserves and powdered sugar to garnish! Crazy yum!
Of course, I’m anything but traditional so today I’m sharing my even more brazen version of this classic sammie – a Beef Blue Cheese Monte Cristo with Cherries! Read on to get all the juicy details and recipe. Continue reading →
Today, I am bringing you tidings of comfort (food) and joy in honor of National Comfort Food Day (December 5th). I believe it’s no coincidence that this feel-good food holiday is falling on a Monday. And, not just any Monday, but the day after I struggled through a cold, windy and rainy marathon.
Honestly, I’m still feeling a little chilled to the bone, depleted, and licking battle wounds, and embracing the opportunity to take a MAJOR rest day, hang out in my PJs and fuzzy slippers, and make comfort food my new best friend.
Y’all know I typically eat reasonably, mostly clean . . . but I’m never going to deny myself food I’m craving for comfort every now and then. Sometimes your body is telling you to eat these things for a reason, other times it’s strictly soul satisfying. Regardless, when you let go of the guilt and give your food worries a rest day, it tastes even better!
Bacon & Blue Cheese Mac – Ahh, most any pasta dish is comforting, but mac and cheese is a like coming home after being away from loved ones for too long. The addition of blue cheese and bacon makes the reunion even better!
Comforting Chicken & Rice Soup – When it’s drafty and cold, and your feeling run down and even under-the-weather, this easy chicken and rice soup comes to the rescue in a snap. And, while slurping up a big bowl is comforting to the core, it’s also a healthy choice!
Root Beer Float Fudge – Imagine if you could have the yummy flavor of root beer and vanilla ice cream in fudge format? Well, you can thanks to this recipe I develop a few years back for the magazine Simple & Delicious. While, I wouldn’t eat the whole pan at once, I certainly say CHEERS to a piece for a sweet treat.
Pre-make chimichurri by adding all ingredients to small blender or food processor. Pulse on and off in 10 second increments to break up ingredients into coarse sauce. Set aside.
Heat large skilled to medium-high. Add sliced sirloin and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes. Beef will be ready to remove from pan once lightly browned on edges and pink has been just taken off center. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels.
n same skillet (reserved with a tiny bit of beef fat and bits) add onion slices and cook over medium high, stirring as need, for about 6 to 8 minutes or until softened and beginning to caramelize. Add beef back into skillet with onions along with tomatoes, salt and red pepper flakes; stir to combine.
Meanwhile, heat Panini press or clean skillet to medium-high heat.
Butter outer sides of two slices of bread and layer each side with mozzarella. Place slice of bread, butter side down, on pan and top with ¼ of beef mixture. Add top piece of cheese and bread.
Cook for approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side until bread turning golden brown and cheese melting. Repeat for remaining sandwiches.
To serve, lift up tops of sandwiches and drizzle with chimichurri. Serve hot.
White bread ain’t got nothing, not one single thing on my Nutty Purple Sweet Potato Flatbread. That is, unless you actually like gummy simple carbs and are willing to put your bod through the resulting blood sugar surge/crash and gathering of gluten all from eating one puny slice.
This kinda weird, but decidedly delicious flatbread has none of that nonsense. Featuring Stokes Purple®, a special type of California-grown, non-GMO sweet potato with purple skin and vibrant purple flesh that get even brighter when cooked, this bread alternative is nothing to “loaf” about – flat is where it’s at! #PurplePowerToThePeople
The texture of a Stokes Purple® is a little drier and denser than a traditional sweet potato, rendering it perfect for a substitute flour filler in my grain-free, gluten-free flatbread recipe. Purple sweet potatoes offer similar nutritional benefits of regular orange sweet potatoes in the fact that they are both healthy source of complex carbs with a low GI impact, are full of dietary fiber and many essential vitamins and minerals. The Stokes Purple® also has anthocyanins, a plant flavonoid that not only gives the potatoes their distinctive purple hue, but also have been linked to a host of health benefits including reductions in certain cancers, lowering of bad cholesterol, improvements in vision, liver and heart health, and have also been linked to boosts in cognition.
So back to the sweet potato flatbread details, the recipe also features almond meal, and coarsely chopped pumpkin and sunflower seeds. There are a couple eggs in the recipe, but otherwise it’s dairy-free and suitable for a vegetarian or gluten-free diet. If you have an allergy to nuts, sub out the almond meal for an equivalent amount of oat-flour to keep it nut-free.
Eat this gluten-free flatbread warm out of the oven, spread with a little honey butter – it’s like eating a sweet potato in portable, easy-to-pick-up format. But, a little more interesting and flavorful than that “sweet potato toast” trend on Pinterest. You can also use two slices to bookend your favorite sandwich fillings – since I made these right after the holidays, my gluten-free sandwich is layered with leftovers including turkey, cranberry relish and spinach!
Heat oven to 400F degrees.
In small food processor, coarsely chop sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Add to small bowl, along with other dry ingredients including almond flour, salt, pepper, chili powder and garlic powder.
In small blender, add milk, eggs and 1 cup of pre-cooked sweet potato mash and process until smooth. Stir in remaining cooked sweet potatoes with spatula, adding a splash more milk if needed, but consistency should remain fairly thick.
Scrape this wet mixture into bowl with dry ingredients and mix with spatula until well combined.
Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread batter from end to end, corner to corner, keeping even thickness. Sprinkle with additional pumpkin and sunflower seeds, if desired.
Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until edges and top are turning lightly golden brown. Remove from oven to cool on wire rack.
Cut into pieces and serve warm or at room temperature. Save leftovers in zip-top bag in refrigerator – reheat in microwave or toaster oven before serving.
Those Mediterranean people have right, stuffing a pita with hummus and as many vegges as it will hold — of course, you know I had to boost up the protein a bit more with with some beef — a very thinly sliced, lean cut called “sirloin tip” steak. Ask your butcher if you can’t find it or feel free to swap for top sirloin, strip steak or whatever you got!
This international inspired “sandwich” is such a quick and easy recipe that will satisfy the whole family — kids and grown-ups can fill the bread pockets with the fillings they like best (feel free to set out a larger variety than just what is listed in the recipe). Can’t you see this being a hunger-busting hit a a pool party or picnic — as people get hungry, they can just swing over to the pita bar and prepare their own meal with a selection of hummus flavors, array of veggies and assortment of toppings like feta cheese, olive slices or tatziki sauce.
This 20 minutes recipe (or less) is done so quickly thanks to stir-frying — a method not usually associated with beef and anything other that Asian food. I love how it keeps the kitchen cool and doesn’t require any added oil in the wok or skillet. Oh, and it’s also a well-balanced but higher-protein meal solution that fits beautifully into the 30 Day Protein Challenge with just 367 calories and 27 grams of protein. And if you’re keeping a gluten-free, lower-carb or Paleo diet, just feel free to ditch the pita and pile the yummy stir-fry beef atop salad greens!
Last week, it was fun making the Mediterranean Beef Pita recipe on FOX Good Day Austin on behalf of the Texas Beef Counciland BeefLovingTexans.com— all the stars must have been in alignment that rainy day, because I didn’t even have one single (and usually inevitable) live television SNAFU. Awesome things happen when you are fueled by beef!
Stack beef steaks. Cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1" wide strips. Combine beef, lemon pepper and salt in medium bowl.
Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-hight heat. When hot, add 1/2 of beef, stir-fry 1 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove with surface of beef is no longer pink, do not over cook. Repeat with remaining beef.
Spread hummus inside pita pockets and fill with vegetables and beef. Top with feta cheese.
This coming weekend, I’m teaching 200 carnivores how to grill vegetable side dishes to go along with their beef. It’s hard to upstage a delicious, juicy flat iron steak — but I think a couple of my recipes can come close — especially this Balsamic Grilled Vegetable Salad!
Grilled vegetables is super easy, and in the heat of the summer — there is no need to also turn on an oven or stove if the grill is already going. At BeefLovingTexans.com, I’m sharing Five Tips for Grilling Vegetables – go check that out! Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this delicious, easy grilled vegetable salad that is the perfect way to take advantage of your favorite fresh seasonal vegetables — feel free to swap in the veggies you love. It’s also a great dish for my Paleo diet and low-carb peeps.
And, if you have any leftovers, these vegetables are so good in a sandwich! Or in an egg scramble, or on a pizza, or tossed with pasta.
In small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, oil, parsley, basil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place veggies in large zip-top bag and add balsamic mixture; close bag and turn a few times to coat contents. Let marinate at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes.
Skewer together mushrooms. Coat grates with oil and heat grill to medium-high — approximately 400 F degrees.
Drain balsamic marinade off vegetables and reserve (never reserve marinade on raw meat, but on vegetables it is fine)
Grill veggies for 6 to 8 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. Vegetables will be done when they are becoming tender (a little “crunch” is desired and have golden brown grate marks. Let vegetables cool on cutting board for several minutes and then cut down into bite sized pieces.
In small sauce pan, bring balsamic mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, let simmer for a couple minutes to reduce a volume a bit.
Add spinach to serving platter and top with grilled vegetables and balsamic dressing (made from the marinade). Toss with tongs and serve warm — or make the vegetables in advance, chill and serve as a cold salad