Category Archives: Entrees

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

 

 

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!

 

 

 

You have a ham bone, now what??

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You have a ham bone, now what??

How many of you plan to cook a ham for Easter?  Ooohh, I can see your hands in the air!  The dilemma is solved, my friends, with what to do with that dang ham bone, in this post.  Bottom line, do not throw it away — that Easter ham is the gift that keeps on giving!

I cooked a ham after Christmas, and froze the bone.  Since we have had all four seasons in one week, today being foggy, chilly, and rainy, I thought ham and beans might just fit the ticket, plus it can cook away all day in the slow cooker.   If you have read other posts of mine, you might have seen that I’m a fan of Southern Living magazine.  I’m a midwest girl, but that magazine will give you some of the best recipes and ideas ever!

I grabbed this recipe out of the drawer, and voila, Spring Ham and Bean Soup was ready when we arrived home.  I prepped everything the night before and threw it all in before heading out the door.  The recipe actually calls for a 6 hour jaunt on high in the slow cooker, but since I was gone all day, I cooked it on low for about 11 hours.  PERFECT!!!!  You can find the recipe here but I’m adding it below for your convenience.

So, if you are one of the lucky ones eating Easter ham, save the bone and take advantage of an easy peasy meal!  Happy Easter, and thanks for stopping by!

~Connie Kaye

Ham and Bean Soup

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Ingredients:

  • 6 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 pound dried Great Northern beans, sorted of debris and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (dried works as well)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped (about 1 Tbsp.)
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 large carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 1 small yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large, meaty ham bone

Stir together chicken stock, Great Northern beans, thyme, salt, pepper, garlic, celery, carrots, and onion in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Place ham bone in the center of mixture; cover and cook on HIGH until beans are tender, about 6 hours, or low until you get home from work. Remove ham bone; let stand until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bone; discard fat, gristle, and bone. Shred meat, and stir into soup.

 

Chicken, bacon, cheese…….

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oh yeah, and jalapenos, but not hot.  I promise.

chicken bacon

Since we had the day off yesterday,  we did a barbeque run to a new spot, and are recovering from some amazing Kansas City BBQ at Slaps in Kansas City, KS.  I highly recommend this joint to everyone.  RIBS.  The end.  We ended up with an entire meal that we brought home, so order lightly.  Oh yeah, and BRISKET.  The best word to go with BBQ is joint, and this place brings it home.  We will definitely be back.  We shopped and then gambled at Hollywood Casino on the way home, and although we didn’t come out on top, it was fun!

Thought I might brew up something a little lighter for dinner, and made these chicken bacon jalapeno wraps.  We had a wonderful Christmas with friends, family and even more friends from Australia, plus an upcoming Mexico vacay in which we might just possibly overindulge, so the hubs and I have been eating a lot of meat, veggies and fruit.

So, let’s bring on the yard bird.  The husband of the house is not a fan of “yard bird” as he and his friend Charlie call it, but this, is delish.  I remove all of the innards from the jalapeno so it’s not hot, and combine with cheese and bacon, and yummo.  It’s about -10 degrees outside so I didn’t grill, which is the best, and most delicious option, but baking works as well.

Happy New Year everyone, and here’s to a fantastic 2018!!

~Connie Kaye

Chicken Bacon Rollups

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Ingredients:

5 boneless skinless chicken breasts
5 jalapeno peppers
20 strips bacon
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup cup grated colby jack or cheddar cheese
salt & pepper to taste
Favorite BBQ sauce

Slice chicken breasts in half width wise (each half makes 1 chicken rollup).  Place between 2 pieces of wax paper and pound to 1/4″ thickness.  Season each with salt & pepper.

Slice jalapenos in half lengthwise and remove seeds, ribs and the end with the stem.

In a small bowl, mix softened cream cheese with your grated colby jack or cheddar cheese.

Fill each jalapeno half with cheese mixture.  Place 1 jalapeno half at the end of each chicken piece, and roll up.  Doesn’t always close the way you think it might – no worries, the bacon brings everything together.  Wrap each piece of chicken with bacon, tucking in the ends of the strips.

Preheat grill and cook over indirect heat for 20-25 minutes, turning every 4-5 minutes.  Baste chicken with BBQ sauce every time you give it a flip.  Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temp of 165 degrees.  If you don’t have a meat thermometer, buy one.  🙂  Just kidding…you can pierce the chicken with a fork, and if juices run clear, you’re good to go.

Alternate method — if you choose to bake, set oven at 375 and bake uncovered for 30 minutes, basting as above.  You can broil at the end so bacon can crisp completely.