Meatza

Meatza

I have no complaints with Pizza, it is likely my second favorite food (just behind quesadillas), but I also like changing things up, and meatza is definitely something different.

It is also a great meal for making with friends. You can put out a bunch of toppings and let everyone pick their own. Cooking the meat beforehand also allows you to go from people choosing toppings to eating meaty cheesy goodness within 20 minutes.

This recipe is my own creation. I probably don’t do it the same way twice because I’ve never written it down. I like to heavily flavor the meat, but you could probably go a little lighter on the additions to the meat if you’d prefer for the toppings to provide the flavor.

Addendum: I realized that at least in this most recent making of meatza, I didn’t use any tomato sauce. I know I’ve done it with sauce before, so if you really like sauce I wouldn’t tell you not to use it! Put it on at the same time as the rest of the toppings.

Meatza
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • Meat "crust":
  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 1 lb hot italian ground sausage
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup italian breadcrumbs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • thyme
  • garlic powder
  • Toppings:
  • pepperoni
  • mild cheddar cheese
  • mozzarella cheese
  • jalapeños
  • marinated artichoke hearts (patted dry and chopped)
  • red onion (sliced)
  • olives
  • mushrooms (sliced)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
  2. Put all the ingredients for the meat "crust" in a mixer or large mixing bowl.
  3. Mix until all ingredients are combined.
  4. Line 2 baking sheets with foil. I double foiled to try and reduce grease leaking onto the sheet, but this never works, as Malcolm would say: grease finds a way.
  5. Split the mixture evenly between the sheets. I put more on one because it was larger.
  6. Flatten the mixture out, try to get it spread as evenly as possible. Also try to keep it relatively rectangular so when it is cooked it is easier to evenly portion it.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes or until it looks done.
  8. You will need to clean up the grease and grey goo stuff that is left over when done cooking. I drain the grease into a jar and then use a spatula to remove the grey goo from around the edges of the cooked meat.
  9. At this point you are ready to top! If you are serving a group of people, I suggest cutting the meat up into even pieces and allowing everyone to top their own.
  10. Increase oven temperature to 450F and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until cheese is just starting to brown.
  11. Eat!

 

Slow Carb Bagels

Slow Carb Bagels

As much as I love the Slow Carb Diet for getting things done, e.g. dropping some pounds, sometimes you just need something that looks like bread and quacks like bread. That is why I love this bagel recipe so much.

It is maybe a bit far from tasting like normal bread, but you’re getting everything else without those pesky carbs, so it is still worth the sacrifice. But they do make the perfect addition to eggs/meat/beans for breakfast, you can turn most of that into a breakfast sandwich and almost feel like you aren’t on a weird diet.

You will want a donut/bagel pan for cooking these in. I can recommend the Wilton Nonstick Donut Pan.

Slow Carb Bagels
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups almond flour
  • ¼ cup flaxseed flour
  • 2 tablespoons garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • sesame seeds (optional)
  • garlic powder (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Using a food processor, pulse all the dry ingredients together until mixed.
  3. Add the eggs and vinegar and mix until everything is combined.
  4. Spray the donut pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  5. Pour the batter into a ziplock bag or a piping bag. Cut a very small hole in the corner. I found the batter was very liquid so the smaller the hole the easier it was to control the flow.
  6. Pipe the batter into the bagel pan. Filling almost all the way to the top of the pan.
  7. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and/or garlic powder if desired. I'm curious to try poppy seeds next time.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Let bagels cool. You may have more batter than could fill the pan, so you can remove the bagels to a cooling rack and bake another batch.
  10. Those that you don't eat immediately you should let cool till at room temperature then refrigerate in an air tight container or ziplock bag. They should last about a week. (I haven't tested that far because I eat them all within a few days.)

 

DSC02052

Braised Chicken & Veggies

Braised Chicken & Veggies

 

I’m finally learning to use my cast iron dutch oven for good rather than evil (fried potatoes anyone?). So far our favorite meal  involves chicken leg & thigh combos and vegetables. Brandie usually prefers light meat over dark, but this recipe is one exception she is almost always up for.

For some variation you could include potatoes with the vegetables. Use your favorite fresh or dry herbs in the rub. This would  work equally well with chicken breast, but you might want to make sure to include some liquid for that.

Braised Chicken & Veggies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Recipe type: One dish dinner
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 chicken thigh quarters, (bone and skin)
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • half an onion
  • optional: mushrooms or potatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh or dry parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • optional: 1 cup chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Chop onions into 1 square inch slices or smaller. They will get very soft.
  3. Chop celery and carrots into bite sized pieces.
  4. If using mushrooms and/or potatoes, chop them.
  5. Put all vegetables in the bottom of a cast iron / dutch oven. You want to be able to cover/seal the container in the oven. In a pinch you could use a baking dish and cover with foil.
  6. Season the vegetables with salt & pepper, then drizzle a little olive oil (extra virgin is good for this recipe) over them and mix until coated.
  7. In a food processor, combine garlic, parsley, salt & pepper and a few tablespoons of olive oil and process until smooth.
  8. Slide your fingers under the chicken skin and try to release the skin from the meat so that when you put the rub underneath the skin you can spread it over as much of the meat as possible.
  9. Divide the mixture into two equal portions and spread under the skin of the chicken then replace the skin on top.
  10. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables, season with salt & pepper and rub some olive oil to coat the skin.
  11. If you are using chicken breast, or are worried about your chicken drying out, I recommend adding 1 cup of chicken broth to your pan. Though the last time I did this recipe, the liquid from the vegetables and the chicken was more than enough to keep everything nice and juicy.
  12. Cover and place in the oven for 1-1.5 hours until the chicken reads 175F with a thermometer.
  13. If you use the chicken broth, you will want to remove the lid before the end and cook with the lid off for 10-15 minutes to help brown and crisp the skin.

 

 

Kielbasa and Cabbage

Kielbasa and Cabbage

This is a staple  in our house. A once-a-week meal that we look forward to. Two ingredients (and a bit of oil/seasoning) is all it takes and it fills you up.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Kielbasa and Cabbage
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 green cabbage, large
  • 1 kielbasa sausage, 12 oz
  • 2 Tbps cooking oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in large pan on medium high, I like using extra light olive oil. You want to use a bit more than you might think you need because it will be used to brown the cabbage.
  2. Cut sausage into 8 equal pieces. and place cut side down in pan.
  3. While the sausage starts to brown, cut the cabbage into quarters.
  4. Remove the core from each quarter.
  5. Then slice each quarter creating thin strips of cabbage.
  6. Once the sausage is browned to your liking on the bottom, flip each piece.
  7. Cover the sausage with cabbage, season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
  8. Cover your pan and let cook for a 2-3 minutes to allow the other side of the sausage to start browning and soften the cabbage.
  9. Remove cover and move the pieces of sausage to on top of the cabbage. Give the cabbage a stir and re-cover.
  10. Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring the cabbage frequently to distribute the browning.
  11. Once the cabbage is at your desired tenderness, serve!

 

Nacho Lasagna

Nacho Lasagna

Somewhere I came across a recipe scrap that was titled “Super Nachos” and my life was forever changed. I’m not sure whether I’ve ever followed the recipe exactly, it calls for 3 sets of layers and I think the most I’ve ever done is two. I season the meat my own way and seem to always change the tomato ingredient every third time I make it.

IMG_0770

Trying to find the correct sized pan is the first step. This most recent making I had a 16.5 x 12 x 2.5 inch pan. You’ll want something in a similar size, too much smaller and you’ll have more ingredients than you have room in the pan.

Nacho Lasagna
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Tex-Mex
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 4 lbs ground beef
  • 2 cans refried beans (black preferred)
  • 1 large white onion
  • 2 cans of stewed tomatoes (Safeway brand Mexican style), pureed or 2 cans of diced or pureed tomatoes if you don't have the ability to puree the stewed tomatoes.
  • 2 lbs cheese, grated (mild cheddar or whatever you like, I recommend against the extra sharp cheddar to reduce grease)
  • 2 6 oz can black olives, chopped
  • 1 large bag of corn chips
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable/olive oil
  • 1 small container of sour cream for serving.
  • 1 jar of sliced jalapeños for serving
  • Seasoning for ground beef:
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • paprika
Instructions
  1. Chop onion
  2. Cook onion with oil on medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. You want to keep the heat low enough that the onion doesn't brown but high enough that it actually becomes translucent.
  3. When onion is soft and translucent, add ground beef and cook until beef is all browned.
  4. Drain/spoon about 75% of the grease from the ground beef/onion mixture, we want a bit for flavor, but not too much or you get grease dripping on your plate in the end.
  5. Season the ground beef and onions with salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin and paprika. I would suggest: a few pinches of salt, a light sprinkling of pepper, garlic powder, paprika and cumin, and a heavy sprinkling of chili powder.
  6. Mix the ground beef and onions up until the seasoning is evenly distributed and the remaining grease coats the meat, if you still have a pool of grease you should spoon it out.
  7. Now to build the layers in the pan. Spread 1 can of refried beans evenly on the bottom of the pan.
  8. Layer about third of the bag of chips evenly over the beans, try to cover the entire pan with a single layer of chips.
  9. Layer one third of the grated cheese.
  10. Layer half the ground beef and onion mixture.
  11. Layer half the tomatoes (one can worth).
  12. Layer half the olives (one can if you started with two).
  13. Microwave the other beans so they will be easier to spread and then layer them on top.
  14. Layer half the remaining chips (leaving some for serving with the meal)
  15. Layer half the remaining cheese.
  16. Layer the rest of the ground beef.
  17. Layer the remaining tomatoes and olives.
  18. Top with the rest of the cheese.
  19. Bake at 375F for 20-30 minutes until cheese on top starts to brown.
  20. Serve with optional sour cream, jalapeños and tortilla chips.

 

Deconstructed Turkey

Deconstructed Turkey

I don’t think I’ll cook a whole turkey ever again. Not when you break it down beforehand, season the light and dark meat separately, and use the entire carcass for making stock and gravy (before you’ve even cooked the meat).

I believe this recipe comes from Heart of the Artichoke by David Tannis so if you don’t want me to butcher it (pun intended) I recommend checking out that book at your leisure.

You want to start this the day before you plan on cooking the meat, so make sure your turkey is thawed (mostly).

When your turkey is thawed, pre-heat your oven to 400F. You will be roasting the carcass of the turkey before you start simmer it to make the stock.

I’m not even going to try to describe how to take the turkey apart, just watch this great video:

It won’t be anywhere as easy as he makes it look in the video, but it is possible! I put all the pieces of meat aside in a pot until I was done taking it all apart. You might also want to remove the wing-tip (the smallest 3rd of the wing). If your turkey came with giblets, then set those aside for simmering in your stock as well.

deconstructedturkey_web-large

Place the carcass and wing-tips on a foiled or PAMed baking sheet and stick in the oven for 30 minutes, until browned. We added a sprig of rosemary to the middle of the carcass during the roasting process for some extra flavor!

While the carcass is browning, you can season the thighs, drumsticks, and wings with salt and pepper and place in storage containers in the fridge.

For the breasts you want to chop/mince/crush some garlic (however you like it) and mix this with a large pinch or two of salt, pepper and either fresh or dry thyme and sage. Add olive oil and mix to create a paste that you can spread under the skin of the turkey breast. You might have to work at it to get under the skin, but don’t worry about ripping it, it is very strong and resilient.

Once you’ve spread this concoction under the turkey breast skin, store the breast in the fridge as well. All the meat will just sit overnight and you will cook it the next day.

By this point the carcass should be nice and brown, shove it into your largest stock pot with a halved onion, a halved carrot (or two) and a few stalks of celery. Season with bay leaf, and fresh or dry parsley. Throw the giblets in as well! Cover with cold water and heat on high until it comes to a boil. Reduce and let it simmer for at least 3 hours. You will want to skim off whatever scum rises, but you might want to save that till near the end or you’ll probably end up skimming out all your loose seasoning.

IMG_0678

Once the stock is done (the carcass will be falling to pieces), strain the liquid into large liquid containers and store in the fridge. You will be braising the dark meat in this and it will be the liquid for your gravy!

On Thanksgiving (or whatever day you want to eat this amazing food) preheat oven to 400F and put the dark meat on a baking sheet for about 30 minutes to brown. Start boiling the stock as well.

IMG_0679

This is what the browned dark meat looks like when its ready to be braised.

You will need a dutch oven or other oven-safe pan that you can cover. Chop and sweat an onion in the pan with 3-4 Tablespoons of butter until they are soft and translucent. At this point your your dark meat should be nearly done and your stock should be boiling. If either are ready just set them aside for a few minutes. When the onions are ready, add 3 Tablespoons of flour and stir/wait until the flour starts to darken. Then whisk in 3-4 cups of stock, working any lumps out of the onion/flour mixture. Give the stock/onion/flour time to come up to a simmer, then add the browned dark meat to the pan, cover and place in the oven. Reduce the temperature to 350F and let braise for 2 hours.

IMG_0680

Dark meat and onion roux (probably could have cooked the roux longer).

About this time you’ll want to take the breast out of the fridge so it can start to come to room temperature. Depending on the size of your breasts they will likely take 30-60 minutes to cook, so I suggest start them early. When the dark meat has been in for an hour, place the breasts on a baking sheet and let them cook until they reach 140F internal temperature. When the meats are done (the dark meat should be almost falling off the bone), take them out of the oven and strain the liquid from your dark meats into a sauce pot (pushing hard on the onions to get everything out of them). Either use the liquid as is for gravy or if you want it thicker create another roux and use more of your stock along with all the liquid from the dark meat to get as much gravy as you can desire!

IMG_5414

Psst! Look off to the side here and you can see the breast in one tray and dark meat in another!

IMG_5430

And here it us buried in all the other stuff.

 

The Slow-Carb Diet in Pictures

The Slow-Carb Diet in Pictures

For the last three months, Brandie and I have been (mostly) following the Slow-Carb Diet. The basic premise is that you eat nothing but beans, meat, vegetables and eggs. There are a bunch of details, but that description covers 95% of everything. You would think that it would get very boring very quickly, and in some senses it does. You either need to just eat the same few meals over and over, or try to be creative with what you have available. We have split the difference and we tend to eat the same thing for breakfast every day, I mostly skip lunch (while Brandie has a hard time with what to eat for lunch) and then we have a few go-to recipes for dinner, and try to mix them up with creative uses of ingredients. You also get (its mandatory) one cheat day a week where you are supposed to eat a bunch of extra calories and starches, so that gives you something to look forward to if you’ve been craving something all week. This is also why we still get to eat some of the yummy, carbie stuff that is posted on here.

Below are just a few of the recent recipes I’ve made. I may do a full post on some of them if there is interest, but for now I’ll just show a picture and briefly describe dish.

IMG_0588

I’m not sure whether this was pork or beef. You can do it with a roast of either. Onions, peppers, garlic, something acidic (enchilada sauce or apple cider vinegar). Some beef or chicken broth if you want more liquid.

IMG_0590

Polish Kielbasa and cabbage. Seasoned with salt and pepper and maybe a dash of red pepper flakes. This is something we have at least once a week.

IMG_0605

Meatloaf and mashed cauliflower. The meatloaf has onion, carrots, celery, egg and seasoning in it, topped with bacon.

IMG_0610

Roasted pork tenderloin with a paprika (plus other seasoning) rub. Throw in whatever veggies you have, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Give it a bit of chicken broth to keep everything from drying out.

IMG_0616

Chicken leg and thigh with a mixture of garlic, parsley, salt, pepper and olive oil rubbed under the skin. Roasted again with seasoned veggies and a little broth.

IMG_0627

This was the beginning of a soup that was made with whatever was in the fridge. Chicken breast (boiled and then shredded), mushrooms, carrots, celery, garlic, onion, fennel and fresh parsley. Season and simmer a few hours with chicken broth.

IMG_0633

This was a dinner based on the above pulled roast (or another instance of said pulled roast), a can of black beans and enchilada sauce.

IMG_0366

We’ve been making our own beans, at least once a week, as we both have beans with our breakfast. We alternate between black and pinto beans, soaking the dry beans overnight, then simmering for a few hours with onion, peppers, some salt and a bay leaf.

Breakfast_original

Here is an example of what I have for breakfast every morning. Beans, spinach, some meat and coffee. Beans can be whole or refried. Meat is usually sausage patties or leftovers. No cream or sweetener in the coffee.

photo 3

And here is Brandie’s breakfast. She skips the spinach and goes straight to the eggs, beans and sausage. (She likes to mash her beans even when they aren’t refried.)

photo 2

A typical Brandie lunch, salad with some lunch meat and an oil vinegar dressing.