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Slow Cooker Beef Gyros

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I'M BACK!!!!

Thank the ever-loving heavens.  I can't even begin to tell you how many flight woes I encountered....But once I actually made it to the correct countries, the trips were amazing!  I definitely need to make sure I head back to Europe at least once a year.  I've said it before but I'm really going to make this happen going forward.  It's so refreshing to visit other cultures and hear about their history.  While I was in Amsterdam I also did a food tour, courtesy of a recommendation from my friend.  It was a very cool experience to get to eat a lot of the local food and also hear the history behind it.

This Slow Cooker Beef Gyro dish is not Dutch.  That's a fact.  But it is quite delicious.  (Can we talk about how I'm using the word "quite" very frequently these days? I'm not sure where this is coming from and whether or not I like it...).  Anyhow, all that matters is that this Beef Gyros dish is super tasty and satisfying.  I will be making this again this fall since I'm still kinda busy and also doing a little bit of traveling.  I'm once again having a moment with slow cooker meals, so I'm going with it.

Don't hate me for saying this, but I'm so so excited for Fall!  I know Summer is great and all, but PSL's....I can say no more.  Let's see if we can usher the new season in with this slow cooker meal.  And if you just don't like Fall, I bet you will still like this meal, so get at it as soon as you can!

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Slow Cooker Beef Gyros
makes 4-6 servings

Print Recipe

For the Gyros:

  • 2 lbs beef stew meat or chuck roast (cut into bite size pieces or strips)
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • warmed pita folds
  • sliced tomatoes and lettuce, for serving

For the Tzatziki Sauce:

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup diced cucumber, seeded and shredded
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill or 2 tablespoons fresh dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

To make the beef:

1) In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

2) Add the beef to the slow cooker.  Pour the seasoned olive oil mixture on top.  Toss to coat the meat in the mixture and cover with the sliced onions.

3) Cover and cook on Low for 6-10 hours, or until the beef is very tender.

4) Add salt and pepper to taste.


To make the Tzatziki sauce:

5) In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, cucumber, dill, salt, and garlic.  Stir together until the ingredients are incorporated.  Add salt and pepper to taste.


To assemble the gyros:

6) Serve the beef in folds of warmed pita.  Add tomatoes, onions, and lettuce, if desired.  Drizzle the Tzatziki sauce of the top of everything and serve immediately.


--recipe from 365 Days of Slow Cooking

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Curry Beef & Potatoes

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In case you were questioning how much I am invested in the Fall season, I went to the gym this morning and my instructor came over to adjust my form at one point.  Her first comment: "You smell like pumpkin spice."  Why yes I do.  Thank you for noticing!  In pure seasonal bliss, I picked up some pumpkin spice coffee creamer to ensure that I'm starting my day off right with some of the season's best scents and flavors.  I know some people (i.e. one of my best friends) absolutely hate all things pumpkin and seasonal but it's basically the reason I don't mind exchanging warm summer days for cooler temps.

Speaking of cooler temps....Just like that, we're into October!  It was cooler a few weeks ago but now we're having some 80 degree days.  I'm not upset about it.  As long as it's not heating up to the 90's I'll manage.  Never fear, I have pumpkin and squash recipes planned for the very near future.  I also have an upcoming trip and a few weekend activities planned soooo I'm not sure when everything will be posted, but just know that they're definitely coming.  In the meantime, I'm just easing into the swing of things by turning out a flavorful curry beef and potatoes meal.  Just to start dipping our toe into the new season.
 

Curry Beef with Potatoes
makes 6-8 servings

Print Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup broth (beef, chicken, or vegetable)
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • 1/2 lb frozen peas
  • salt and fresh black pepper to taste


1)  In a large saucepan, add the vegetable oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes, or until softened.

2) Add in the ground ginger, curry powder, turmeric and red pepper flakes.  Stir to mix together and allow to cook for another 1-2 minutes.

3) Place the ground beef into the pan and cook until fully browned, making sure to break up the meat into smaller pieces.

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4) Add the potato pieces to the beef mixture, as well as the broth and the flour.  Stir everything together, cover, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Then uncover and allow to simmer for another 1-2 minutes, or until the potatoes have softened.  If the broth evaporates before the potatoes are done, add a little bit more water or broth and allow to continue cooking.

5) Pour in the frozen peas and allow to heat through.  Add any additional salt or pepper, to taste.  Serve hot over rice.

--slightly adapted from Budget Bytes

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Chicken Egg Roll in a Bowl

I just got back from Canada (ok, like a week ago, but that's the same right?) and it was so much fun!  I haven't been to Canada in a number of years when I was there before for my cousin's college graduation.  This time it was just me and a friend.  We did all the things, including visiting the Toronto Islands, eating in Kensington Market, and trekking over to Niagara Falls.

Something we made sure to do while we were there was to check out the Asian food.  Apparently Toronto is supposed to have really good Asian food.  As we were eating everything in sight already, I only ordered a vermicelli noodle dish (which I quickly ate ALL of) and it was so so delicious.  Basically, I've just been craving Asian food flavors again.

One dish that I love to eat but hate to order is egg rolls.  I love very specific fried foods, such as fried chicken.  However, most other fried foods aren't really appealing to me.  I've determined that I love the filling of egg rolls but I'm just not in love with the fried outer shell.  Enter the Chicken Egg Roll in a Bowl.  I saw this recipe posted online and I was completely obsessed with making this as-soon-as-humanly-possible!  So here we are...

 

Chicken Egg Roll in a Bowl
makes 4-6 servings

Print Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb ground chicken, turkey or pork (I used chicken)
  • 1 small to medium onion, diced
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 16 ounces bagged coleslaw mix (shredded green cabbage and carrots)
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced for garnish, optional
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds for garnish, optional
  • extra soy sauce for serving, optional

1) Pour the oils into a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the chicken and cook until done all the way through, making sure to crumble the chicken into smaller pieces.  It should take about 4-5 minutes to cook.

2) Toss in the onions and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the onions are softened.

3) Add in the garlic and ground ginger.  Stir together and cook for about 1 minute.

4) Pour in the coleslaw mix.  Add the soy sauce and black pepper as well.  Stir the mixture gently, making sure that the chicken mixture combines evenly with the coleslaw.  Cook for 5 minutes, or until the cabbage wilts the desired amount.

5) Before serving, sprinkle with sliced green onions and sesame seeds, if using.  Place the extra soy sauce on the side if desired.

--recipe very slightly adapted from Averie Cooks

Slow Cooker Beef Ragu

I have a new obsession.  You may have heard of it.  It's called biking.

When I was in NOLA, my friends and I signed up for a bike tour and it was honestly the highlight of my time there. (Side note: If you are also heading to NOLA, I highly recommend Flambeaux Bicycle Tours.  Take a tour with Eric!)  I came back to Hoboken and immediately signed up to use our city-wide shared bike program.  I've been meaning to do it for the past two years but of course I needed an extra push in the right direction.

With my newfound wheels of freedom, I decided to take a leisurely ride to my neighborhood ShopRite to pick up a roast and a few other items.  Am I the only one who loves grocery shopping?  As I first started getting into cooking, I would head to ShopRite to find ingredients and it was there that I really grew to love picking out produce and stocking up on pantry items.  Yes, this might seem weird to a few of you, but I KNOW some of you get me.  And since I was so accustomed to the large selection in my big-box grocery store, shopping in smaller places nowadays just doesn't give me the exact same feeling of excitement.  I just love ShopRite so much!

OK, before things get weird (aren't they already weird though?), let's just stop there.  Suffice it to say that I am excited to be in full-on biking mode for the summer and I'm looking for any opportunity to take a bike ride through Hoboken.  Guess that means you'll be seeing even more posts about ShopRite in the future!
 

Slow Cooker Beef Ragu
makes 6-8 servings

Print Recipe

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves (or 3 teaspoons dried)
  • 4 lbs beef chuck roast, halved
  • kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste

1) Add the onion, garlic, tomato paste, and oregano into your slow cooker.

2) Season the beef with as much salt and pepper as desired.  Add the meat to the slow cooker as well.

3) Pour in 2 cups of water, cover and cook on low for 9 hours (or high for 4 1/2 hours).

4) Once done, use tongs or forks to shred the meat.

5) Serve warm on top of rice, mashed potatoes, polenta/grits, etc.

--recipe slightly adapted from Real Food By Dad

Green Chile Beef

Before you decide that there are simply too many ingredients in this recipe....hear me out.  I, too, felt that way at first glance, but then as I took a closer look, I realized that this is sort of a plug-an-play situation.  What I mean is that there is little prep for this dish.  Honestly...you dice half an onion and a sweet pepper and that's all the work needed.  Come on now.  Come.  On!

I am the epitome of a "laid back blogger".  You probably already know that I work a 9-to-5 job.  However, things have been a bit hectic at work recently so I've actually been dialing things back over here.  I have no plans to stop blogging anytime soon.  I've actually been making quite a few new recipes chez moi, but just haven't had the time to post yet.  So anyhow, I say this to let you know that this recipe IS actually very easy to make and I totally recommend doing just that.

I slightly tweaked this dish from How Sweet Eats since I felt the need to add in a few more seasonings and also add in corn.  What's a summer without some good old corn?  Nothing, I tell you.  Full disclosure - this is frozen corn, BUT you can definitely use fresh corn if you have some on hand.  I didn't (bad food blogger!) so I had to improvise.  All's fair in the kitchen!

 

Green Chile Beef
makes 4-6 servings

Print Recipe

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 red pepper bell, chopped
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 4-ounce cans diced green chiles, 1 tablespoon reserved
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken or beef stock
  • rice for serving, optional
  • avocado, thinly sliced for serving, optional
  • sour cream for serving, optional


1) Heat a large saucepan over medium heat.  Pour in the olive oil.  Once warmed through, toss in the onions, bell peppers, and the garlic.  Saute until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.

2) Place the beef in the skillet and allow to cook until browned, 6-8 minutes.  Make sure to break up the beef in order to cook the meat evenly.

3) Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, paprika, onion powder, cayenne, seasoned salt, salt and black pepper.  Add the spices to the saucepan with the beef and stir well to incorporate.

4) Add in the green chiles and the frozen corn.  Stir well.  Cover and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes so the flavors can all come together.

5) Remove from heat and serve over rice.  Serve with avocado and/or sour cream on the side if desired.

--recipe slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is

Beer & Brown Sugar Kielbasa with Sauerkraut

Sooooo, you know when you're supposed to get a thing done but then life gets in the way and you definitely did not do what you were going to do?  Yeah, that's this blog post.  My fault!

But I'm here now.  I'm really excited about this recipe because it was quick and easy and really tasty.  I've never made kielbasa before, which is surprising, given that I spent over 5 years living in Pittsburgh.  Fun fact: Pittsburgh has a huge Polish community.  Shockingly, I think I've probably had kielbasa itself only a handful of times.  So this recipe is way way wayyyy overdue.  Another fun fact: I thought I didn't like sauerkraut.  Um, no, I apparently love sauerkraut.  This is a thing.

Let's make this new-to-me thing together.  There are 4 ingredients, so you absolutely have no excuse.  Let's do it!

 

Beer & Brown Sugar Kielbasa with Sauerkraut

Print Recipe

  • 12 ounces beer (can or bottle)
  • 1 cup tightly packed brown sugar (light or dark is fine)
  • 3 lbs polish kielbasa
  • 32 ounces sauerkraut, drained (can, jar or bag if fine)


1) In a small pan over medium heat, add together the beer and brown sugar.  Stir together until the sugar melts and the mixture thickens slightly.  Remove from heat and set aside.

2) Slice the kielbasa into links and add to the slow cooker.

3) Drain the sauerkraut and place it on top of the links.

4) Pour the beer and brown sugar mixture over everything.  Cook on High for 4-6 hours, or on Low for 8-10 hours.

5) Serve as desired (by itself, over rice, or on a sandwich roll).

--recipe from Brown Eyed Baker

Chili Rubbed Pulled Pork

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I've done some extensive research, and I've discovered the best way to make and enjoy this dish.  You're welcome...

Step 1: Purchase pork.  A few days later, realize that pork is no longer good (even though expiration date is days away).

Step 2: Walk to two different grocery stores trying to find and re-purchase pork.

Step 3: Trim the pork.  Cut into chunks.

Step 4: Add to slow cooker.  Toss in all the spices in your pantry.

Step 5: Head to the bar for 4 hours.  Drink 3 glasses of wine. (Optional, but highly recommended)

Step 6: Return home. Shred meat.  Stuff face with shredded meat while standing at the counter. (This last step is optional, but very likely to occur if you chose to indulge in Step 5.)

 

And there you have it!  You just made this pulled pork a real thing.  Go on with your bad self.

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Easy Mongolian Beef

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Well, it's officially Fall weather.  Again.  We went from 80 degrees this past week to a high of 50's and low 60's this weekend.  So basically I got to relive my sweaty summer self (super cute!) and I also got to pull out a few plaid shirts, my leather jacket and humongous scarves.  I've also been fighting a little cold this weekend so I really wanted to make something easy and quick.  Ain't nobody got time to hang out in the kitchen for hours.

Even when I'm in peak physical condition (ha ha!) I'm always on the hunt for a quick weeknight meal and I think I found the perfect one!  I haven't made anything Asian-inspired in a hot minute.  Let me switch it up right now.  This Mongolian Beef dish was super quick, simple, and easy to make.  Now, there are quite a few ingredients listed below, BUT that was because I didn't want to run to the store to purchase hoisin sauce.  I had a few items which were a good substitute in my pantry already so I made an executive decision.  You couldn't even tell the difference!
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Slow Cooker Savory Citrus Chicken

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I'm always looking for new ways to cook chicken.  I'm not sure if I've talked about this before here, but I had this conversation with a few friends this weekend.  We were checking out the menu at MichaelAngelo's in the Little Italy neighborhood in the Bronx.  (Can we just talk about how cute that place is!  It was the best restaurant recommendation I've received in a while!)  Anyhow, the entire table agreed that we very rarely order chicken dishes when we go out to eat.  We aren't chefs, but we do agree that chicken is the easiest protein to make at home, so why would we order it at a restaurant instead of something else that you wouldn't actually cook at home?

I was super excited to try out this particular recipe because I'm really into citrus right now and also, this recipe calls for beer.  What is there not to love here?  I used Blue Moon beer to amp up that citrus flavor, which I think ended up being a good choice.  I also used a variety of spices because "can't stop, won't stop".  If you're feeling creative yourself, you could switch up the spices to your liking.  This recipe is pretty forgiving and easily tailored, which is great for someone like me.  Enjoy!

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Pie Crust Pepperoni Calzone

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You guys don't know the struggle I had making this calzone.  Ugh!  I know I can be dramatic, but really though...

This particular day, I preheated the oven in preparation for baking.  I then got to work with my pie crust, which thought I had defrosted enough to use for this calzone.  However, it still wasn't pliable enough for me to fold over or even move around without breaking.  And break it did...  I tried for what feels like forever to make this work.  Guess what?  It wasn't working.  I only generated a pile of broken pie crust pieces.  Womp womp.

Never fear!  Living in Hoboken means I have a grocery store three blocks away, so I ran there to buy more pie crust (with a pit stop to get iced coffee, obviously!) and was back 15 minutes later.  As I walked back into my kitchen, I instantly realized that I had left the oven on.  I thought I had turned it off because I had pressed a button and the oven beeped at me.  That means it's off, right?  No!

Once I got over my annoyance at myself, I realized the pie crust which had offended me 15 minutes earlier was now at a perfect temperature to roll out and use for my calzone!  Soooo, I ended up using the original pie crust instead of the one that I had left my apartment to purchase.  Isn't cooking fun?  This is fun.  So. much. fun.

I had toyed with the idea of using regular pizza crust for this calzone and I'm really happy I stuck with the pie crust.  The calzone was flaky and completely delicious.  The only potential drawback is that you will need to use a knife and fork to eat this.  The pie crust just isn't substantial enough to hold the filling.  This is so delicious that I couldn't really care less!  Just make it yourself and see!

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