Mini French Dip Sandwiches – Shredded Beef

We ALL LOVE mini foods, am I right? Mini foods are perfect for parties, events, snacks, and they make you feel like eating a 1000 of them isn’t so bad. All hail the mini foods! I posted these on Instagram the other day and people LOST THEIR MINDS! I honestly didn’t think they were all that exciting and they were easy breezy beautiful cover girl so if you want the recipe to the world’s easiest sandwiches keep on reading!

The secret to these is the beef….always the beef. Let your beef cook for a good 8 hours which of course isn’t a big deal if you aren’t afraid of your Crockpot like me. I planned my whole day around these bad boys so I wouldn’t have to leave my house BUT Kayla wanted to go see IT….so I had to leave it ON. You guys, if I had not had cocktails at the theater I probably would have been stressed the whole time. I am paranoid about the Crockpot, okay?!

Ingredients

3lbs Chuck Roast
1 Package Kings Hawaiian Rolls – these are my favorite you can use what you’d like
Provolone sliced Cheese
Kerrygold Butter
S&P
Garlic Powder
1 Yellow Onion
Red Chili Flakes

THAT’S IT!!!!!

How To

Now, you won’t actually need all 3lbs of beef just for the sandwiches. I used the rest for shredded beef burrito bowls. I placed my chuck roast in the crockpot with S&P, chili flakes, 1 cup of water, garlic powder, a butter, and the onion cut in half. Turn on low for 8 hours. Done. Beautiful.

Fast forward to 8 hours later and you shouldn’t even have to “shred” this meat it should be falling apart in its’ own juices at this point. Take some beef and put it off to the side – however much you’d like for sandwiches. Now, the au jus – very important for french dips. Take ALL your liquid and get yourself a fat skimmer thing…..looks like this 31SuItie7aL

This will get rid of the fat in your liquid….now this is basically your au jus, I like mine a tiny bit thicker so I add a tiny bit of flour and butter. Done. Seriously guys, that easy.

Sandwich assembly!!

I take out the entire 12 rolls from the packaging and cut them in half like one giant piece of bread, then I layer my meat, cheese, and place the top on. I brush these GENEROUSLY with my favorite Kerrygold butter and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until the cheese melts and the beef is hot. Once out of the oven and cooled for like….a minute I cut them into the sandwich size. Perfect. Ooey Gooey – delicious! Let me know if you make these!

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Bruschetta Style Chicken

Do me a favor and sing the Indiana Jones theme song while you read this. Why? I don’t really know but it’s what I’m doing currently. Bruschetta, bruschetta, bruschetta is most likely one of my favorite foods. Ironic, because I do not typically like tomatoes raw. I love tomatoes that have been cooked for about 60 seconds…it’s weird I know. You’re the one following this crazy blog not me! Bruschetta….the way I make it is perfect as the toasted bread makes the tomatoes the exact texture I like, and lets out all the juices and flavor, but we aren’t making just regular bruschetta today because we are replacing the bread with chicken!

I make this dinner at least once a week because it is fast, healthy, and I always have the key ingredients in my fridge. I may write a fun exciting blog but all my fun stuff is generally saved for the weekend, and during the week I eat healthy, fast, and convenient foods. Please try this!

Ingredients – 2 Servings

2 Chicken Breasts or Thighs…. you know I’m a the dark side of the chicken girl
4 Roma Tomatoes  – Diced
1/4 Red Onion – Diced
1/4 Cup Good Quality Balsamic Vinegar – I used We Olive Aged Balsamic
Basil – Now, I’m going to throw you a curve ball here because I am not a huge fan of fresh basil….yea yea whatever, I like the flavor I just don’t like the wilted leaves etc….I used basil infused olive oil in this recipe, but you are more than welcome to use what you please
Fresh in water Mozzarella – 2 Slices
Garlic Powder
S&P
I made a side of sauteed mushrooms and pesto potatoes 🙂

How To

So, I wanted to grill my chicken and most of the time for this recipe I do BUT it was too stinkin hot outside so I got some color on the chicken in a pan and then baked the rest of the way through. However you choose to cook your chicken isn’t really important for this dish.
While your chicken bakes dice your tomatoes and onions. Helpful hint: when making salsas, bruschettas, or even just salt and peppering tomatoes themselves the ingredients in which you are flavoring the tomatoes with sticks to them much better if you have an oil involved. I tossed my tomatoes & onions with the basil olive oil from We Olive…. salt,pepper, and garlic powder. I let this sit in the fridge to marinate.
Balsamic reduction. Easy peasy. Take 1/4 cup of good quality olive oil and place in a pan over medium heat. Stir as the vinegar slowly reduces down to a syrup-like texture. Once your balsamic coats the back of a spoon it is reduced enough.
During the last 5 minutes of your chicken baking/grilling place your lovely fresh mozzarella to melt over the chicken.
I plate this by spooning the tomato mixture over the hot chicken(that’s my jam) and then drizzling the balsamic reduction.
Finished!!! Easy, fast, and healthy!

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Chicken Fried Steak Bites!

Okay, so like, did everyone know as a kid that chicken fried steak was actually steak and NOT chicken? I know I know it is in the name, Krystal but it tricked me every time! I would get so excited thinking we were having fried chicken to only be served this chewy fried steak. UGH.  I never really liked red meat as a kid and even now as an adult I rarely eat it. I tend to stick with fish, chicken, and 3-4 nights a week vegetarian. I am not a big red meat eater and when I am it has to be done right, and so I generally leave it up to the expert: 2nd dad. I can make chicken fried steak though, right? Yes! I made these a little differently by cutting the cube steak into pieces rather than “steaks” and making bites to dip in black pepper gravy. Baby, these were good. I am now a fan of chicken fried STEAK.

I found that chicken fried steak (CFS) is all about the gravy. Gravy is life. Gravy runs through these veins. I served these with mashed potatoes, because what else? These would be an excellent appetizer for a party.

Ingredients

2lbs Cube Steak (I cut mine into pieces) Cube steak is generally just top round that has been tenderized
2 eggs
1 1/4 Cup Flour (can substitute almond or coconut here) – reserve 3TBSP for gravy
S&P
Garlic Powder
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
25-30 Saltine Crackers
1/4 Cup Panko
Vegetable oil for frying
1 1/2 Cups Whole Milk (coconut milk can be substituted)
1/2 Cup Beef Stock
3 TBSP Kerrygold Butter

How To

Set up your batter section while your oil is heating up for frying. As always with 99% of fried foods you COULD bake these by getting some color on them and then placing in the oven, but we are going authentic today. Beat your eggs in a bowl. In a separate bowl add the crushed saltines, garlic powder, pepper, panko, and flour. I do not add salt to this because the saltines have salt.

Cut the cube steak into strips. Place strips into eggs, then into the dry batter, and then into the fryer! Since these are strips and not full steaks they only take 4-5 minutes a piece in the oil. Place them on a paper towel once out of the oil to get rid of excess oil. Taste one to see if they have enough salt for your liking.

Now, the most important part – the gravy. Country gravy. I always make gravy with pan drippings but it isn’t possible with chicken fried steak since you know….you fry it. We will pass on using oil in our gravy. Melt your butter and make a roux with those 3TBSPs of flour we reserved. Once your roux is cooked add the milk and beef stock. I added the beef stock as a little trick for one you could split the milk/stock ratio and save some calories, and two it adds a beef flavor that the gravy would lack due to the pan drippings situation. Let your gravy thicken and right before serving add a TON of freshly cracked black pepper. Delicious!

I still prefer fried chicken…… but these were bomb! Bring these to your next event and as always if you make this recipe tag us on Instagram or Facebook!

 

Veggie Lasagna

Who doesn’t like veggie lasagna, and IF you raise your hand, why are you here?! I make many variations of veggie lasagna that I will post as it begins to cool down here in California…..if ever. I had a lot of requests for this lasagna and I figured it was safe to start with a basic veggie lasagna that can be customized to you or your family’s liking.

Is anyone else slightly traumatized by lasagna? Just me? My mother used to get the Stoufer ones ALL THE TIME, and if you’ve been reading this blog for long enough you know I am not the biggest fan on marinara or red pasta sauce EVEN MORE SO frozen sauce. Well, ONE TIME, and I repeat that it was only ONE TIME because everyone else in the household wanted regular lasagna my mom bought me vegetarian frozen lasagna which of course was made with alfredo. It was gross too! So, I didn’t eat lasagna until I began blogging and even then it was a few years before I dared to make my own. Now, I am a lasagna advocate. Dirty secret: I still don’t like and haven’t made red sauce lasagna. Oops. Maybe, I should work on that?

P.S EVERY YEAR for Christmas dinner my mom STILL tries to bring those nasty lasagnas in the house. She says “let’s just do something simple this year for Christmas dinner and get frozen lasagnas” and then baby jesus rolls over in his grave. No, Santa can pack those frozen lasagnas up and dump them over the Pacific.

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Ingredients
1 Box No Boil Lasagna Noodles – these things are amazing
3TBSP Kerrygold Butter
4 Cups Whole Fat Milk
2 Cups Grated Parmesan
3 Cups Shredded Mozzarella
4 Zucchini – Cut in half long ways then cut the halves in slices
2 Cups Mushrooms – Sliced
3 Cups Broccoli – Finely Chopped
1 Cup Sauteed Yellow Onion & 2 Cloves Garlic
3 TBSP Flour
2 Cups Ricotta
1 Egg
Fresh Basil
S&P
Red Chili Flakes
2 Roma Tomatoes for Garnish

How To

First you’ll need alfredo sauce, and you can absolutely buy store bought as I will not judge you, and I do it often. Yet, if we are making lasagna we are making lasagna…..I even have a pasta maker I could have dug out but I was having a flare up that day in my right hand so no rolling dough for me!
Alfredo is one of the easiest cream sauces to make and to make it a little tiny itsy bitsy healthier I use whole milk rather than cream. Take 3TBSP of butter and melt over medium heat, once melted add 3TBSP flour and whisk that around so the flour cooks(1-2 mins), and then add your milk. Let this come to a simmer and add the grated parmesan. Your sauce should thicken up once it comes to a simmer and boom – sauce is done! I let the sauce cool before assembly.

While your sauce cools you can make your ricotta mixture. In a bowl put the ricotta, egg, S&P, sauteed onions & garlic, red chili flakes, and some chopped basil. Mix.

Assembly – Take a ladle of your sauce to the bottom of your baking dish, lay out a layer of noodles, generously coat that layer of noodles with the ricotta mixture, lay out your veggies in any fashion you desire(I keep my zucchini thicker cut so that they don’t turn to mush, also no bake noodles are PERFECT for zucchini because they absorb any water the vegetable lets out), layer of cheese, and more sauce! Repeat until you are out of noodles or out of ingredients.

Foil the top of your lasagna and place in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes. Remove foil and let cook for an additional 15-20 minutes to let the cheese on top get nice and bubbly.

I garnish with some chopped tomatoes, chopped basil, and mix those with some olive oil, S&P, and a squirt of lemon. Lasagna is heavy and this is a fatty dish so having some acidity helps cut through the fat and cleanse your tongue for the next bite! I hope you enjoy!

Cauliflower Chowder with Crispy Chickpeas

Well, California is currently becoming one with the sea. For years I have been mocked as the unnecessary worrier constantly riddled with anxiety when storms come knocking.

-“We live in California, Krystal we don’t have storms”.

Well, California just pulled some Noah’s Ark bullshit up in here this week. Six days of rain and looking like we may end on the eighth. As always when the end is approaching and my home is about to break into a free floating island I prepare. I went to Barnes & Noble, spent entirely too much money on books to read during the apocalypse, bought yarn so I could crochet myself clothes upon the end of civilization, and made cauliflower chowder. Ready.

My cauliflower chowder is not labeled as healthy, gluten free or any of that crap. The end is near I am damn well eating butter.

Let’s go!

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Ingredients

-3 Heads of Cauliflower – roasted (This step is VERY important, in fact the most important part of the recipe, if you find yourself too lazy to roast the cauliflower save it for another day because you’ve already ruined it.)
-4 Medium Yukon Gold Potatoes
-3 Cloves of Garlic
-1 Yellow Onion
-3 Carrots (peeled)
-3 Stalks of Celery
-3 Cups of Chicken Stock
-1 Cup Half & Half
-3 Tablespoons Butter
-Green Onion
-1 Can of Chickpeas
-3 Tablespoons Avocado/Olive Oil

Recipe

Roast all 3 heads of cauliflower roughly chopped with some love (oil, salt, & pepper) at 400 degrees. I like mine very tan so I keep them in there about 25 minutes.

In a stock pot put diced carrot, celery, potatoes, butter, and oil. You will want these all to be diced roughly the same size for even cooking. Once the potatoes are cooked and onions translucent add the garlic.

Chickpeas! Do not knock it til you try it.
Strain your chickpeas, rinse, and completely dry! Put on a baking sheet with some avocado oil, garlic and chipotle powder, salt and pepper. 450 degree oven 15 minutes later garnish and healthy snack. I eat these all day long.

Now, I have an immersion blender. Yet, I was too lazy to get it down. So, once your veggies in the stock pot are cooked throw them in a blender, add some chicken stock, and blend til the mixture is creamy. Repeat the routine with your cauliflower. Then, throw everything (cauliflower included) into your stock pot, and season, and TASTE. I added salt, pepper, red chili flakes, some Italian seasoning, chipotle powder, garlic powder, and a bay leaf. Feel free to get creative and add whatever may suit your fancy. The chowder is technically done other than adding half & half, but all things are better with time. I let mine simmer for about 2 hours before adding the half & half.

I like cauliflower chowder better than potato soup because there is some texture. This is not a cauliflower soup you can sit on the blender for 10 hours with because of the potatoes, they will release too much starch upon over working them and you will have glue. Trust me I have done it before when Kyle had teeth pulled. Thank you jesus for Vicodin sucker didn’t even notice.

Trust and believe – make this!

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