Saturday, May 30, 2015

Pomegranate Beef in the Crockpot

This extremely easy dish is extremely delicious!  I had a strong feeling it was going to be good just from reading the recipe, so I went ahead and made it for the first time when we had friends joining us for dinner.  And because it was so super easy and required no culinary skill on my part, I joined in with everyone else and raved about how wonderful the meat and sauce tasted!  Tender, juicy, and full of tremendous flavor.  The picture is my leftovers over rice, which works.  But it's much better served over creamy mashed potatoes.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence (I used 1 tsp. each of basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 pounds beef roast (I used a chuck roast)
4 garlic cloves (whole is fine, or you can chop them)
1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup golden raisins

Use at least a 6-quart slow cooker. Swirl the olive oil into the bottom of the stoneware. Add the onion. Combine spices in a small bowl and then rub the mixture on all sides of meat.  Add to the stoneware with the garlic, the whole can of tomatoes, pomegranate juice, vinegar, and syrup. Sprinkle the raisins on top. 

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for about 5. The meat is done when it has reached desired tenderness. Serve over mashed potatoes, and don't forget to include the sauce on top.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Oatmeal Fruit Biscuits

I call these "biscuits" because that's what the British call a cookie.  And these are mostly like a cookie.  But in my experience, a biscuit and a cookie are not the same thing.  I would rarely choose to eat a chocolate chip cookie with a cup of tea.  But a biscuit?  Well, I find it hard to eat one without a cuppa in hand.  So in my mind, these lightly sweetened cookies are actually biscuits, primarily because they are perfectly paired with a hot mug of black tea (milk and half a sugar, please!).

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp molasses
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups diced dried fruit (I used cranberries and dates)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds)
1 tsp baking soda

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter, apple sauce, oil, sugar, and molasses.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.

In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, dried fruit, coconut, nuts, and baking soda.  

Add dry mixture to the creamed mixture in 3 or 4 additions, stirring just until thoroughly mixed after the last addition.  Drop by rounded spoonfuls on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven at 350 for 13-17 minutes.  For chewier cookies, immediately remove from pan and place directly onto clean countertop or table surface to cool.  For more crisp cookies, let sit on pan 2-3 minutes after removing from oven and then cool on a wire rack.  Store in airtight container.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Spaghetti Squash Pizza

My friend, Jessie, was here visiting last week.  She is the one who started me on this whole recipe blog idea in the first place, so it was a sure thing that we would enjoy some good food together.  This pizza is something she'd made before and suggested I try.  It was unique and so delicious!  The flavors are simple, but not boring at all.  I was skeptical about the leftovers getting soggy, but a warm-up in the oven with the broiler on low did the trick just fine.   This recipe makes two pizzas. 

1 spaghetti squash (about 4 pounds)—halved lengthwise, seeded and tough fibers removed
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling and brushing 
Salt and freshly ground pepper 
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg 
4 tablespoons coarse cornmeal 
2 pizza dough rounds (about 1 pound each)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped, plus leaves to taste
One 15-ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese 
1 lemon, cut into wedges (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425°. Drizzle the flesh of the squash with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and the nutmeg. Place the squash, cut side down, in a large baking pan and pierce the skin in several places with a fork. Bake for 45 minutes. Turn the squash over and bake until the spaghetti-like strands can be easily removed with a fork, about 10 minutes more. Let cool before scraping the flesh into a bowl.

Arrange 2 racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 475°. Sprinkle 2 large, heavy baking sheets with the cornmeal. Place the pizza dough rounds on top of the cornmeal and shape into 12-by-14-inch rectangles. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and the chopped thyme. Bake until golden and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes.

Spread the ricotta evenly over the pizza crusts and top with the squash. Season with thyme leaves, salt and pepper, then drizzle with olive oil. Bake until just warmed through, about 5 minutes. Cut the pizza into squares and serve with the lemon wedges

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