Author Archives: Connie Kaye

Easy Pork Carnitas

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Easy Pork Carnitas

I made these recently for a Taco Tuesday party, and cannot tell you how delish, and easy they are.  I have not really experimented with carnitas, but will definitely do it again.  And, super affordable!  I found this recipe on the Food Network,  thanks to Melissa D’Arabian and then did a little “Connie editing” as I always do.

I encourage you to yank out that slow cooker, cuz it’s certainly too hot in Kansas for anything other than the grill.  Give this a whirl, and leave comments below if you create your own version of happiness.  Oh yeah, and don’t forget that you can get these ideas, ramblings and recipes delivered to YOUR inbox!

~Connie Kaye

Pork Carnitas

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Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (or 2 1/2 pounds bone-in)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1.5 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1.5 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and ribs removed, chopped
  • 1 orange, cut in half.  Squeeze juice and place on meat
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Rinse and dry the pork shoulder. Salt and pepper liberally. Mix the oregano and the cumin with olive oil and rub all over pork. Place the pork in a slow cooker and top with the onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Squeeze over the juice of the orange and add the two halves. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

Once the meat is tender, remove from slow cooker and let cool slightly before pulling apart with a fork. In a large saute pan, heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Press the carnitas into the oil and fry until crusty on one side.

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Poor Mans Burnt Ends

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Poor Mans Burnt Ends
We thought we would give this a whirl with about a 3 lb. chuck roast on a pellet smoker around 225 degrees.  A few steps are found below, but remember, you basically cannot overcook.   More smoke, more time, tender meat.
Please leave comments below as to how you tweaked it, and how it worked for you.  I know you’ll enjoy.
~Connie Kaye

Poor Mans Burnt Ends

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Ingredients:
  1. Rub your meat liberally and place on smoker.
  2. Smoke until the internal temperature reaches 185 F.
  3. Remove the roast and wrap in foil. Let rest for about 30  minutes.
  4. Remove from foil and transfer to cutting board.
  5. Cut into cubes and place into a disposable aluminum pan.
  6. Lightly (very lightly!) drizzle the meat with the BBQ sauce. You just want the flavor from the sauce. Toss gently to coat.
  7. Sprinkle with more of the rub and return to the smoker for 1 1/2  to 2 hours.

Steak tacos….using pita or naan bread

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Steak tacos….using pita or naan bread

Skirt or flat iron steak are cuts that are many times ignored as tough, chewy, etc.  However, if you marinate and slice correctly, they are both delicious!

A friend of mine has told me how great naan bread is, and with a little searching, I found it in the deli section at one of our larger local grocers.   Also, this recipe uses watercress — I have absolutely no clue what this is, so I grabbed some fresh spinach off of the salad bar.

Gotta tell you, we will make these again.  Easy and delish, and I encourage you to try this meal that won’t break your bank!

Enjoy!

~Connie Kaye

Grilled Skirt Steak Tacos

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Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rings
  • 1 onion, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 pound skirt steak
  • 4 pocketless pitas or naan bread
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • watercress or fresh spinach

Preheat a grill to medium high. Make the marinade: Whisk the olive oil, garlic, mint (if using), oregano, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Transfer 1 tablespoon of the marinade to a small bowl or plastic bag; mix in the yogurt and 2 tablespoons water. Add the bell pepper and onion to the bowl with the remaining marinade and toss; remove to a plate with a slotted spoon. Add the steak and toss.

Grill the bell pepper, onion and steak, turning once, until lightly charred.  Set steak aside to rest, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, grill the pitas or naan until marked, about 1 minute per side.

Slice the steak against the grain. Fill the pitas with the steak, grilled vegetables, tomato and watercress/spinach. Drizzle with the yogurt sauce.

A unique twist on tacos…..

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A unique twist on tacos…..

My friend Heather tried a different way of eating tacos last week – she made the shells out of cheese:

cheese taco shells (2)

She made cheese crisps not too long ago, so I think she wanted to expand her creativity.  Plus, she loves Mexican food, as I do.  Here are the super easy directions:

1/2 cup cheddar cheese in circles on parchment paper.  Bake at 425 for 5-7 minutes.  Let cool slightly, then hang them over a spatula or utensil handle to form as shells.

Her filling was super easy as well – cooked chicken in the crockpot with Rotel tomatoes & green chiles, and threw in some taco seasoning.  Shredded and offered lettuce, avocado, salsa and more cheese.  She also made a lime sour cream (YUM) which was just sour cream, fresh lime juice, lime zest, salt and garlic powder.

Heather has two daughters who keep her super busy on competitive sports teams, so an easy crockpot meal is just the ticket.  Thanks for sharing my good friend, and thank you to all of my followers for stopping by!

~Connie Kaye

 

 

Beer can cauliflower????

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Beer can cauliflower????

Yep folks, that what I said.  Not chicken.  I ran across this recipe and adapted it to fit what I thought we would like.   Gotta be honest though, not really sure on the purpose of the beer can except to keep it elevated off of the grill.  But hey, it looks really redneck and impressive, and you have to drink 1/4 of it prior to mounting the cauliflower, so we’ll call it good.

You will notice I’m not posting a final pic because my cauliflower took a tumble or two off the can and got a little charred – I don’t think I cut the stem end even enough, and didn’t pick the most even one at the store.  But anyway, I can tell you for sure that we’ll do this again.  Delish.  I have tried the mashed potatoes out of cauliflower game, and I am not a fan.  But this is really good, and you can adjust it with the amount of hot sauce that you like.  Also, you would typically put in shaved or minced garlic, but I figured I would try my hand at roasting garlic.  I cut the top off, rolled it around in some olive oil, salt and pepper, put in foil and on the grill it went.  WOW  That will be on garlic bread in the near future!  Anyway, I used the roasted garlic in this dish and it was super.

Quick, super easy and healthy!  Enjoy!

~Connie Kaye

Beer Can Cauliflower

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Ingredients:

Identify beer of choice, open and consume 1/3 of the can (or dump it out).  Preheat grill to medium to medium high.

Trim the base of the cauliflower so it will be flat and sit on top of said beer can, but be careful that all florets are still intact.  Melt butter and add salt, liberally brushing cauliflower.  Place beer can on grill and Mr. Cauliflower on top of it.  Grill for about an hour, checking to make sure that he didn’t hop off of the beer can.   You want it to be tender and golden brown.

Melt additional butter, add hot sauce to taste along with grated garlic.  Brush cauliflower and place back on grill for about 15 minutes.    Remove from grill and brush with additional butter and salt.  Serve with blue cheese for a dip.

Like carrot cake (& cream cheese)? This is the best!

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Like carrot cake (& cream cheese)?  This is the best!

The tradition at my place of employment is sorta strange — the person having the birthday brings the treats for everyone else.  Weird, huh?  Well, anyway, my big day is Tuesday, and I’ll be traveling to D.C. for work.  So, I’m thinking better brew up something for tomorrow, AND I realized I had never shared this amazing recipe.  This won’t feed the everyone, but my team is going to be in cream cheese heaven!

Some might say that the frosting is what it’s all about.  Frankly, I’m not sure, but it’s easy peasy, quick and delish!

Also, my Easter Sunday has involved changing out all the batteries in our smoke detectors – I encourage you to do the same!

Enjoy!

~Connie Kaye

Easy Carrot Cake

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Ingredients:

3 cups shredded carrots
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, well drained
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
4 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon

Frosting
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened(
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
3 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar

  1.  In a large bowl, beat the first 5 ingredients until well blended.  In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and cinnamon; gradually beat into carrot mixture.
  2. Spoon batter into a greased 13 x 9 baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan completely in wire rack
  3. Frosting:  Beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a large bowl until blended.  Gradually beat in the confectioner’s sugar until smooth.  Spread on cake, and refrigerate any leftovers.

Perfect snack — lunch or dinner….

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Perfect snack — lunch or dinner….

As I watch it raining ice/snowing outside, it makes me sad to think of all the children who anticipated hunting for Easter eggs today, and all the people who devote so much time and effort to organize those events.

We are trying something on the smoker today — smoking a chuck roast that will turn into burnt ends.  I found on the WWW that it has several names, one being Poor Mans Burnt Ends.  However, there is nothing cheap about buying beef chuck roast.  Anyway, we’ll see how this turns out, and will let you know (and share the recipe, if it works out).  However, in the meantime, I wanted to try something that I thought my roommate would like for lunch.  Here in the midwest, we love everything with gravy, and one delish meat item that goes with gravy is chicken fried steak.  I made steak strips or fingers using beef cube steak, and whipped up some quick homemade gravy to dunk them in.  Well, it was a hit, and I’ll be doing this again.

Note that the flour is really seasoned which is key, and I actually cut the steak into strips before it was completely thawed which made it a little easier.

Hope you have a wonderful Easter, and thanks for spending some of your Sunday with me!

~Connie Kaye

Chicken Fried Steak Fingers

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients:

Ingredients for for steak fingers:

  • 1 1/4 lb. cube steak
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. each garlic and onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Salt (make sure you get enough)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Ingredients for gravy:

  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1 1/4 c. milk
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

 

  1. Slice steak into thin long strips about 1/3 – 1/2” thick.
  2. Set up a dredging station: In a bowl, combine flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and cayenne, and season with salt and pepper. In a shallow bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Season steak strips with salt and pepper. Dredge the steak strips in the flour mixture then add them to the egg mixture and turn the pieces to coat. Return steak to the flour and dredge once more.
  3. In a deep skillet or dutch oven, add about 1” of vegetable oil and heat over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering and about 350°, place the steak strips, one by one, into the oil .  (Do in batches)  Cook until golden all over, about 2 minutes per side. Place them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain off any excess grease.
  4. Make gravy: In a small skillet over medium heat, melt butter. When the butter is foamy, whisk in flour and cook mixture until the flour is golden, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to gently simmer the gravy until thickened.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Enjoy!