Monday, March 23, 2015

Espresso Ancho Dry Rub Ribs

Time for a new ribs recipe. Same technique as the old one, just a new dry rub. If you're any kind of a ribs fan, you will love this one. Just pop it in the oven and pull it out 5 hours later. They come out smoky and delicious with a great crust. I bought our ribs at Trader Joes and they were so meaty without tons of fat. I'd recommend giving them a try unless you have a awesome butcher you use.

Espresso Ancho Dry Rub Ribs
makes 4 servings

2 1/2 - 3 lbs baby back ribs
2 tbsp espresso powder
2 tbsp ancho chili powder
1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp hot smoky paprika
3 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Mix together all the spices. You'll have about double what you need. 

Pat the ribs dry and spread the dry rub all over. Be generous. Cut the ribs so that there are 3 - 4 bones per piece. I ended up with 4 pieces.

Add water to a deep baking pan, about 1/2 inch high. Place a wire or slotted rack on top of the pan and put ribs on top. Cover the ribs in foil and pop in oven for 4 1/2 hours. Add a cup of water to the bottom of the pan if it ever looks like its getting low. 

With 30 minutes remaining, remove the foil and finish the ribs uncovered.This will allow the crust on the ribs to really dry up and get crusty as if they were in a smoker

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Coconut Banana Pancakes for Breakfast

We don't only eat Brussels sprouts for breakfast in this house! We eat pancakes too! 

As I round the 4 month mark to our wedding (omg!) I'm in full-on healthy mode. I need to gush a little bit about the workout plan I'm currently following. It's called the Bikini Body Guide by a girl named Kayla Itsines. It's a 12 week program with 3 designed workouts each week, each 28 minutes focusing on a full body workout using body resistance and light weights. For 3 additional days during the week you do low intensity cardio or high intensity interval training. It's amazing and completely transforming. I've convinced about 6 co-workers to start the training, as well as 3 of my bridesmaids.

On top of this butt kicking fitness plan, I'm cutting out a lot of processed carbs and dairy products. Dairy products are out because I've recently self diagnosed myself as lactose intolerant. All in all, the results are great and I'm gonna be all cut up for the wedding. Watch out world.

Coconut Banana Pancakes with Berries and Bacon
makes 2-3 servings (double recipe for 4-5 servings)
inspired by Food & Wine

4 eggs
1 1/2 mashed overripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 cup water or vanilla almond milk
1/3 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp coconut oil

for the toppings:
1 cup mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp champagne vinegar
4 slices bacon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bacon on a foil lined baking sheet and pop into the oven for about 15 minutes, until crisp. Remove from oven and place on a paper towel. Set aside until pancakes are ready.

As bacon cooks make the berries and pancake batter. For the berries, place berries, honey, lemon juice and champagne vinegar in a small sauce pan over low heat. Let slowly cook down until everything else is ready. It will get runny and soft, like a sauce. 

Now for the pancakes. Make the batter. In 1 medium bowl whisk together eggs, mashed bananas, vanilla and water or almond milk. In a separate medium bowl combine coconut flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix only to combine. Don't over mix.

Heat a griddle or pan over medium to medium low heat and add coconut oil. Add pancake batter using a 1/4 cup. Cook for 3 minutes on one side, flip and cook for another 3 on the other. Work in batches if necessary. 

Serve pancakes with berry sauce and crumbled bacon. Enjoy this gluten free, refined sugar free breakfast or brunch one of these weekends.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Chicken Tikka Masala Kebabs with Cucumber Yogurt Dip

I love a good Indian dish. Chicago has some great Indian restaurants and I sure do miss them. I haven't found a ton of great Indian spots in the city of San Francisco though. I'm sure they exist, or at least exist somewhere in the Bay Area, but I'm still searching.

So the other night I was craving some Indian, but since I'm watching what I eat these days (wedding's in 5 months people), I decided to make my own, healthy version. I can't really claim that this is authentic Indian, but used an Indian spice mix to make kebabs. The dish is super quick to make, and really healthy! It will be a new weeknight staple at my house!

Chicken Tikka Masala Kebabs with Cucumber Yogurt Dipping Sauce
makes about 6 kebabs

1 - 1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 - 2 tbsp chicken tikka masala spice blend
1/2 - 1 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on spice tolerance)
1/2 lemon (juice)
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

for the dipping sauce
1/4 cup grated cucumber (on box grater or microplane)
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 lemon (juice)
1 tsp ground coriander

Start by cutting up the chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes, approximately. Coat the cubes in Tikka Masala spices, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Skewer onto wooden skewers, about 5-6 pieces per skewer. 

Crank up a grill pan to medium high heat. You want the chicken to sizzle when it hits the pan. Drop the skewers onto the pan, and let brown on all sides. It will take somewhere between 12-15 minutes. 

As the skewers cook, make the dipping sauce. Combine the grated cucumber, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, coriander and salt in a mixing bowl. Let sit until chicken is ready.

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Three Meat Tomato Sauce

I've been trying to come up with a more creative name for this recipe because "Three Meat Tomato Sauce" sounds super boring. But alas, I could not come up with anything.
My mom made this sauce for us growing up all the time. I'm pretty sure I had this at least once a week. When we go back home these days, we are guaranteed a night with "sauce" and a salad. This sauce is magical. It can be made any variety of ways. The basis for it is incorporating all different meats and letting them slow cook in the tomato sauce. Typical ingredients are Italian sausage, meatballs, ground beef or pork, chunks of pork tenderloin, chunks of chicken. Whatever other cuts of meat you've got in the freezer or fridge. Meatballs and Italian sausage are pretty critical, the rest can be changed up.

So, go make a big batch. Eat some for dinner a few nights and then pop the rest in the freezer. You'll thank me for this.

Three Meat Tomato Sauce
makes 1 very large pot

 for the meatballs
1/2 lb ground beef (85/15)
1/2 lb ground pork
2 large eggs
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan (grated)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tbsp dried shallots or 1 tsp onion powder
a few pinches crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper

for the rest of the sauce
3/4 lb hot Italian sausage (removed from casing)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast (cubed)
1 yellow onion (diced)
6 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tbsp tomato paste
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
2 tsp dried oregano
3 bay leaves
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper

Start by making the meatballs. Add all meatball ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix with hands until all ingredients are combined. Don't over mix, it will make the meatballs dense. Heat a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat with olive oil. Form meatballs and drop into the pot. Turn meatballs to cook on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from heat to a plate and set aside.

Add the chicken breast cubes and add salt and pepper. Let brown on all sides for about 8 minutes total. Remove from heat to a plate and set aside.

Add Italian sausage and let cook only for about 4 minutes.  Lower heat to medium and add onions, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano and crushed red pepper flakes. Let cook for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent.

Add tomato paste and red wine. Bring to a simmer and let cook for about 5 minutes. Add all tomatoes, oregano, bay leaves, and a good amount of salt and pepper. Add chicken and meatballs back to the pot. Bring to a simmer. Lower heat and cover. Let simmer for 1 and a half hours.

Serve with crusty bread or over pasta.

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