Friday, August 22, 2008

Yastrzemski Pot Roast

I cook five days a week at work. But I don't think that the recipes that go along with the menus are very good. So I tend to experiment a little bit to improve them. This doesn't always work out (Corn Nut Chicken, Ask Me How!), but most of the time, after some trial and error, we have something that's a huge improvement. So this is my version of pot roast, which I think is a great improvement. It's technically a Yankee pot roast, but I'm opposed to all things Yankee so I renamed it after Carl Yastrzemski (Yaz!).


One beef roast, about 4 lbs (I like to use round, but chuck would work too- figure about 1/2 lb per person if you want to make the recipe smaller)
1 1/2 tablespoons Flour
2 teaspoons Kosher or Sea Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper (fresh ground is much better)
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
2ish tablespoons Butter (or olive oil if you're trying to be a little healthier)

Can of tomato juice or vegetable juice cocktail (I use the spicy V8)
Worcestershire Sauce
Dijon Mustard (you better have some of this on hand it is Essential after all)
Rosemary (just a tiny bit)
Onions, minced
Mushrooms, sliced
Garlic, minced

Red potatoes (I use Red Bliss ones), cut into chunk, usually just about quartered
Celery, chopped in 1-2 inch pieces on the bias
Carrots, about the same as the celery, maybe a little smaller
Onions, chopped
Parsley, chopped (only the fresh kind! no dried parsley!)

1- Mix together the flour, salt, pepper and sugar. Coat the outside of the roast with the mixture. This will help with the browning process. Heat the butter (or oil) in a deep, heavy, pan (something that's oven safe if you plan to cook it in the oven). Brown the roast on all sides on a medium high heat. Remove the roast and set aside, tented with foil.

2- Mix tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and herbs together in a small bowl. Mix thoroughly, the mustard can be hard to incorporate. Set aside for the moment.

3- In the same pan (on medium high heat) that you browned the roast (there should be a tasty fond at the bottom now) you're going to caramelize the minced onions, mushrooms and garlic. Add in a little more butter (or oil) if there isn't enough left to coat the bottom of the pan. Then add the onions, mushrooms and garlic (in that order, you don't want the garlic to burn). When they have just started to caramelize (about 2-3 minutes) deglaze the pan with the tomato juice mixture you made in step 2. Stir constantly until the fond from the bottom of the pan has mostly incorporated into the liquid. Pour liquid into a large measuring cup or bowl.

4- Add the vegetables (potatoes, carrots, onions, celery) to the pan. If necessary, add a little more butter/oil. Cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, you just want to soften the vegetables, not brown them!

5- Add the roast back into the pan, nestled right in amongst, and on top of, the vegetables. Pour the tomato juice/mushroom mixture on top, covering the meat and the vegetables. Top with the parsley.

6- Bring everything to a simmer, cover, and put into a pre-heated 325 degree oven. Cook for three hours, checking halfway through to see if meat is covered by liquid, if not, then turn the meat over at that point.

7- After three hours, take it out, slice the meat and serve with the vegetables. If you want to make the liquid into a gravy then add 2 tablespoons of flour into 1/2 cup of water, stirring it in until it is completely incorporated.

You could also finish this in a crock pot. All you'd have to do is, after step 4, take the vegetables, pour them into a large crock pot, add the roast, sauce and parsley and cook on medium for 5-6 hours, turning it up to high at the end if it's not quite done.

There's the possibilities for many variations on the recipe. Feel free to experiment with different herbs, or add in some beef stock to the sauce for that extra beefy flavor. Cooking is art, not science, so just try something! In fact I have an idea to use a pork roast and put an Asian spin on the recipe (a lime/soy sauce, maybe some daikon, ginger).

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Brownie Trifle

This is one of my most requested recipes ever. It's the perfect combination between chocolate and berries, and creamy pudding and brownies. It's easy to make, but looks amazing, so it's great for parties! Make it in a trifle dish or, for individual servings, in wine goblets.

Brownie Trifle
1 brownie mix
2 small boxes (4 serving size) chocolate pudding
3 1/2 cups milk
2 (8 oz.) packages cool whip
1 (12 - 16 oz.) package frozen raspberries.

1.Prepare brownies according to directions on box, only use 3 eggs instead of 2. Bake in 9 x 13 pan. Let cool and cut into 1" cubes.
2. Mix chocolate pudding with milk. Fold in half of an 8 oz. package of cool whip.
3. Layer half the brownies, half the pudding mixture, half a tub of cool whip, and half the frozen raspberries in a trifle dish or large glass bowl. Repeat layers, ending with raspberries. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Homemade Rolls

This is a very basic dough recipe. The dough can be used for a number of things: rolls, pizza dough, cinnamon roll dough, scones, navajo tacos, bread, etc. To make wheat rolls, just substitute wheat flour for all or half of the white flour and honey for the sugar.

Homemade Rolls

3 cups flour
1 1/2 - 2 Tb. butter
3 Tb. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 Tb. dry milk
1 1/2 tsp. yeast
1 1/8 cups warm water

Combine warm water and yeast in bread maker. Add other ingredients. Put in bread maker on dough cycle. When bread maker beeps, take dough out and form into 12 equal balls. Place in greased 9 x 13 pans. Let raise 1 -2 hours or until rolls double in size. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Brush rolls with butter and serve.

*This is a great recipe that can be made in the bread maker. If you don't have a bread maker, you can also make it by hand. Just mix the items according to directions above and knead for about 10 minutes. Let rise until double, form into balls, and bake.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Chili's Fajitas

1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 Tb. vinegar
1 Tb. + 1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. liquid smoke
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder (I like to use half regular and half chipotle)
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. onion powder

1 - 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 Tb. canola oil
1 tsp. soy sauce
2 Tb. water
1/2 tsp. lime juice
dash salt
dash black pepper

1. Combine marinade ingredients in a gallon size ziploc bag. Add chicken. Marinade for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
2. Grill meat until juice run through. Let sit for 5 minutes and slice in 1/4 inch strips.
3. Heat 1 Tb. canola oil in large pan over medium heat. Add onion and peppers and cook for 5 minutes, until lightly browned and translucent.
4. Add 1 tsp. soy sauce, 2 Tb. water, 1/2 tsp lime juice, and a dash each of salt and pepper. Cook until crisp-tender. Add grilled chicken and cook until heated through.
5. Serve with salsa, cheese, sour cream, and guacamole on tortillas.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cinnamon Rolls

This is a recipe from Nancy Butterfield that has been slightly modified to make it even tastier.

Cinnamon Rolls
1 cube margarine (melted)
5 tsp. yeast in 1 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups flour

1. Beat above items vigorously with an electric mixer until smooth. Add 3 -4 cups flour and knead for 10 minutes until dough is well mixed and soft. Raise for 1 -2 hours or until dough doubles.
2. Roll dough out on floured surface until dough is about 1/4 inch thick. Spread dough with a thin layer of softened butter or margarine (1/4 - 1/2 cup). Next sprinkle about 1 cup brown sugar over the butter. Sprinkle with 1 - 2 Tb. cinnamon.
3. Roll dough up. Cut into 1 inch rolls (tip: use dental floss to cut so the cinnamon rolls maintain their shape). Place rolls on greased jelly-roll pan and let raise for 1 -2 hours or until doubled in size.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Cool completely and frost with cream cheese frosting (recipe below).

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cube margarine, softened
2+ cups powdered sugar
a little milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract

Beat cream cheese and margarine until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, almond extract, and a little milk. Mix until desired consistency.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

I got this recipe from my cousin Lori at my bridal shower, and it's been a staple in our menu ever since. It's simple but amazingly tasty. I hope you enjoy it!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1 egg, slightly beaten
dash of pepper
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup chopped onion
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup oatmeal (quick cooking is best)
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. mustard
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup barbecue sauce (we prefer Bulls-eye brand)

Combine all ingredients for meatballs. Mix well with hands and form into 1 - 1 1/2 inch balls. Place in a 9 x 13 pan. Mix all sauce ingredients with a whisk and pour over the meatballs (make sure you cover each meatball so the sauce bakes into them). Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes or until no longer pink in the middle. Serve with rice and stir fry vegetables or broccoli.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Dinner Club?

Hey Guys!

This isn't a recipe, just something I wanted to find out. I know we have talked about the dinner club thing a lot and I wanted to know if it is just me who is really interested in it or if you guys really are. It doesn't hurt my feelings either way, I just want to know for sure. If we each took 1 day per week who would want to do it? I am interested in doing variations on any type of food to make it more healthy. It wouldn't be cooking for too many (probably only 7 or 8 for your turn) and then on your day you would also drive and drop the food off to everyone (this would take a while because we are spread out), but I think it would be fun to see everyone too.

Obviously I am considering moving w/in the next 6 months and would like to be closer to family. If we did do the dinner club and each person cooked 1xper week how far would you be willing to drive that 1x per week and still have it be worth it to you? Is South Jordan too far?

Leave a comment to let me know your level of interest and how far you might be willing to drive because this does affect where I might live. Thanks guys!
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