Asparagus Beef in Black Bean Garlic Sauce

Asparagus beef in black bean and garlic sauce

It’s asparagus season here in California. I find myself buying asparagus every shopping trip now. But instead of  making my usual grilled asparagus as a side dish, I wanted to add it into the main dish. If you love making quick dinners like I do then you are going to love this.  Also, this recipe only requires a few ingredients which makes this even simpler.  I have another variation of this dish ( Asparagus Beef ) where you make your own sauce, however this one is using a premade black bean garlic sauce which cuts the time in half and does the work for you.  This serves 2-4 depending on your portions.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 ounce sirloin or flank steak, sliced into thin strips
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil for cooking, separated into 2 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon grated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 pound of asparagus, sliced into thirds
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons black bean and garlic sauce (found at local grocery stores in your international aisle or Asian markets)  Black bean and garlic sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (this offsets the sharpness of the black bean sauce)
  • 1/2 cup beef or chicken stock

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add beef strips to a bowl. Then add cornstarch, grated garlic and ginger. Mix well and set aside. Asparagus beef in black bean sauce 1
  2. Heat up wok or skillet on high heat.  Swirl in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to coat wok or skillet.
  3. Quickly spread the beef slices around the pan in an even layer. Let it sear for 15-30 seconds without stirring. Then give it a quick stir to sear the other side. The meat should be browned and no sticking should happen if you got the pan hot enough. Take the meat out of the pan and set aside.
  4. Keep the wok/skillet on high heat and add one tablespoon oil.
  5. Add in asparagus and onions.
  6. Stir for about 10 seconds and cover, leaving the heat on high. Let it cook for 20 to 30 seconds. Remove the cover. Add the beef back to the pan.
  7. Add the black bean and garlic sauce paste, sugar and beef stock. Stir to mix well.
  8. Let beef and vegetables continue to cook with the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until asparagus is cooked tender. Asparagus beef in black bean sauce 10
  9. Plate with jasmine rice and serve immediately.

Asparagus beef in black bean sauce

 

 

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Crock Pot Honey Garlic Chicken

Honey Garlic Chicken plated

I haven’t jumped into the Instant pot craze yet. I think it is probably because most my recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less anyway. But I do love having a crock pot!  All you have to do is put all the ingredients in and set your temperature to either high or low and then set the timer and go about your day.  My crock pot will even keep the ingredients warm after the timer has completed. So if you have other things going on or say, maybe you forget you had something cooking, (um, not speaking from experience) the “keep warm” feature will not make all your hard effort get cold and go bad.

I bought another one of those organic chicken packs that come with two breasts and four drumsticks. (Those organic chickens must look funny.) So I thought I’d pull out the crock pot and put it to use. If you do not have a crock pot, that’s quite okay. You can still use this recipe and put everything in a baking dish and bake at 350 F degrees for 50-60 minutes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 whole cut up chicken (or all thighs, all drumsticks or two breasts and four drumsticks pack like I used.)
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup lite soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 1/4 cup ketchup (low sodium if you have)
  • 1-2 teaspoons sriracha sauce (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley or cilantro (whichever taste you prefer)
  • sesame seeds for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Arrange chicken on the bottom of your crock pot. Do not season chicken with salt as there is plenty of sodium in the other ingredients. You can season chicken with pepper if you would like though. Set aside. Honey Garlic Chicken 1
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine garlic, honey, lite soy sauce, chicken broth, ketchup, sriracha and parsley or cilantro. Whisk until mixed well. Honey Garlic Chicken 2
  3. Pour the sauce over the chicken pieces. Honey Garlic Chicken 3
  4. Close with a lid and cook for 4 to 5 hours on LOW, or 3 to 4 hours on HIGH. Honey Garlic Chicken 4
  5. Remove lid and transfer chicken to a serving plate.
  6. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
  7. Serve with rice or salad.

 

Oven Roasted Tri Tip

tri-tip-doneOkay meat lovers, don’t hate me. I know a lot of the beef eaters out there are literally having a cow (teehee, get it?) seeing my roast not at red rare or medium rare state. But for some reason, any beef cooked under medium does not agree with my tummy. So here you get my pinkish medium to medium well tri tip roast. No worries I will tell you how to cook it to your desired doneness. Best of all, this is a simple recipe that you can make year round especially if you do not have a grill.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 pound tri tip roast
  • kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • garlic powder
  • dried crushed rosemary
  • 1 package Lipton Onion Soup Mix
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • olive oil
  • 2 small onions

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a glass baking dish big enough to hold your roast, season both sides of your tri tip with with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary, onion soup mix, worcestershire sauce and olive oil. I did not give measurements for any because I just generally season by sight and it depends on the size of your roast as well. Just make sure your tri tip is well covered in seasonings and sauce and oil.
  2. Peel and cut onions into quarters and add to baking dish.tri-tip-prep
  3. Let meat marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Take tri tip out of refrigerator 30 minutes before putting into oven. Make sure fatty side is on top.
  4. Preheat oven to 450 F degrees.
  5. Place in oven and cook for 15 minutes to brown.
  6. Lower oven temperature to 350 F degrees. Cook 15 minutes for every pound for medium rare doneness. Cook 17 minutes per pound for medium doneness.
  7. Take cooked tri tip out of oven and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting.tri-tip-oven

Shredded Chicken Tacos

chicken-tacos-flour-tortillasTaco Tuesday? It’s taco any day in my house. And when I have all the ingredients in my refrigerator, then I like to go all out and make it taco fiesta night. I like using warmed flour tortillas, but my son likes the corn tortillas. So I always have both types on hand. This recipe makes enough for 12 well packed tacos. Which tortilla type do you like to use to make your tacos?

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup your favorite salsa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 red or white onion, diced
  • 1 cup cilantro, diced
  • 2-3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded Romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • Mexican Crema to garnish (you can substitute with sour cream)
  • Cotija cheese to garnish
  • 12 flour or corn fajita sized (or smaller)  tortillas

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a covered skillet or pot, add chicken breasts, salsa and water. Turn heat on high until liquid begins to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45-50 minutes, or until chicken breasts become tender and shred easily. Shred chicken using two forks and set aside in a bowl.
  2. In another bowl, make a pico de gallo, by adding diced onions, cilantro, tomatoes and jalapenos. Then squeeze half of a lime into the pico de gallo and mix well.
  3. Add shredded cabbage and lettuce together in yet another bowl.
  4. Place Mexican blend cheese in a final bowl.
  5. Warm up tortillas. For the flour ones, I just wrap in damp paper towels and microwave for 30-45 seconds. For the corn tortillas, I heat up over my stove gas burners about 10 seconds per side and flip a few rotations until they bubble up a little and get char marks.
  6. Build your tacos. Lay down the tortilla. Add shredded chicken. Then add pico de gallo. Then some cabbage and lettuce mix. Then the Mexican blend cheese. Then drizzle some crema. And finally grate some Cotija cheese over the entire taco. Serve with refried beans and Mexican rice. Muy delicioso!

chicken-tacos-corn-tortillas

Turkey Chili

Turkey ChiliAm I the only one that makes casseroles, chili, soups and stews all year round? Sure, they warm your belly in the winter months, but why shouldn’t you make your belly happy all year long? This chili came from my mandatory weeks of softer foods diet. I mean don’t get me wrong, eating ice cream without feeling guilty was fun for a day. But I started wanting something tasty and filling and maybe even a little healthier. Bonus is this is a one pot dish. Less to clean up.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (Yes, you read that correctly)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans
  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup uncooked brown or white rice (optional)
  • 1 cup water

SUGGESTED TOPPINGS:

  • cilantro or green onions, diced
  • shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • sour cream

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Over medium high heat, add olive oil to large pot. Cook turkey and onions until turkey is done and onions are tender. Drain any excess oil or liquid.
  2. Add remaining ingredients in order of list (red onions, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes… and finally, water.)
  3. Stir to mix well. When chili comes to a boil, lower heat to low. Let simmer for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  4. When ready to serve, top with cheese, sour cream and green onions or whatever you like to top your chili with.

Turkey Chili Pot

Quinoa Fiesta Casserole

Quinoa Fiesta Casserole PlatedI must admit it is hard to make (somewhat) vegetarian meals with a meat and potatoes loving son in my house. And I’m pretty sure I cannot give up chicken. But in my efforts to try to eat healthier, I decided to give quinoa a try. Yes, I know I am late to the quinoa party and there is probably some other grain that is more popular now.

This casserole came out pretty tasty and I didn’t miss having any meat in it, well not too much. And I know, it’s not truly a vegetarian dish since I used cheese in it. But will you give me a pass on this? This would make a great Meatless Monday meal for those of you that participate in that.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (reserve 1 tablespoon for garnish)
  • 1 cup corn kernels (I used defrosted frozen ones, but you can use canned or fresh)
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can black beans
  • 1 (2.25 ounce) can sliced black olives
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 (10 ounce) can Ro*Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies
  • 1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided in half
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided in half
  • 1 avocado, diced for garnish
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 3 quart baking dish with cooking spray or oil.
  2. Cook 1 cup quinoa in 2 cups water according to package directions. Set aside
  3. In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, onion, bell pepper, 2 tablespoons cilantro, corn, black beans, sliced olives, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, can of Ro*Tel, and 1/2 cup of both cheeses. Reserve the other 1/2 cup of cheeses for top.
  4. Add quinoa mixture to prepared baking dish. Smooth out into even an even layer.
  5. Add enchilada sauce to cover the quinoa mixture.
  6. Add the other half cup of cheddar and mozzarella cheese to the top of casserole.
  7. Cover casserole with foil. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.
  8. Uncover casserole and garnish with avocado, reserved cilantro and tomatoes.

 

Don’t let the cheesy goodness fool you. There’s healthy stuff hidden under the cheese layer!

Quinoa Fiesta Casserole

 

 

Tender Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs

BBQ Ribs PlatedOnce again, I have failed to go exchange my empty propane tank. So using the grill is out of the question. That’s all right. My oven works fine. I decided to add a simple spice rub to my ribs. I normally just salt and pepper them and let the barbecue sauce do all the flavoring.  But I wanted to change things up and give it a try. Plus, since I am taking a short cut and using store bought barbecue sauce, I wanted to do a little extra something. And the ribs came out surprisingly good. My son, who normally loves his ribs slathered in thick, sticky barbecue sauce suggested next time I leave some of them with just the dry rub and no sauce. What the what?

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 racks baby back pork ribs, about 4 1/2 pounds
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 cups your favorite barbecue sauce

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. If your store/butcher doesn’t already do so, you will need to peel off the membrane that covers the bony side of the ribs.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder and black pepper.
  4. Cover the ribs with this rub on all sides. At this point, I like to cut my rib racks into sections of 3-4 ribs. You can leave whole and cut when finished. I just hate burning my fingers when cutting ribs. But that’s my issue. You are probably not prone to burn yourself when cooking like me.
  5. Place ribs on two layers of foil. (or one layer of heavy duty foil) BBQ Ribs prep 1
  6. Place another two layers of foil (or one layer of heavy duty foil) on top of the ribs.
  7. Roll and crimp edges up tightly. Be sure edges are facing up to seal.
  8. Place packaged ribs on baking sheet.
  9. Bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until meat is shrinking away from the ends of the bones.
  10. Remove from oven.
  11. Turn oven to broiler setting.
  12. At this time, if you haven’t already done so, cut your racks into 3-4 rib portions.BBQ Ribs prep 2
  13. Arrange on pan, bony side down. Brush on barbecue sauce generously.
  14. Broil for 1-2 minutes until sauce is caramelized and bubbly.BBQ Ribs prep 3
  15. If you prefer, turn ribs over and repeat with sauce on bony side. I don’t bother since it is all bone. Plus when I tried, the meat fell off the bone.
  16. Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy! Don’t forget the extra napkins. BBQ Ribs