Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hawaiian Style Short Ribs

I was skeptical when I first saw this recipe in November's issue of Everyday FoodI mean...short ribs?  In the crockpot?  REALLY???

But, I was curious enough to try it.  And man...I am SO glad I did.  I served this on a Sunday night about 2 weeks ago.  Theresa's godparents were at our house, and declared this "absolutely delicious."  They are famous for looking me up on Facebook to see what I'm making...then they'll call and ask if they can come over for dinner, LOL.  They even went so far as to say to please call them if I made this dish again, because they would love to help us eat it.  Imagine that!  Hilarious. 

Anyway...all my kids devoured this meal too.  I knew I would be making this again...very soon, and post it.   It was easy to make...most crock pot dishes are no brainers.  So here is a fabulous meal, fancy enough to serve to guests, yet casual enough to eat with your hands.  I mean...y'all eat ribs with your fingers, right? ;-)

Hawaiian Style Short Ribs
barely adapted from Everyday Food

4 pounds beef short ribs (I used 6 pounds for our larger family)
2 red onions, cut into 1-inch wedges (leaving the root ends intact)
6 cloves garlic, smashed
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar (or 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar)
2 tablespoons molasses*
1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
6 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Sriracha or favorite chili sauce
3 cups fresh, cubed pineapple
Cooked white rice for serving
Chopped green onions for serving

*I usually don't have dark brown sugar on hand, but you can substitute regular, white sugar plus 3 tablespoons molasses to make 1 1/2 cups of dark brown sugar, OR 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar plus 2 tablespoons of molasses).  I also didn't use Sriracha...because my kids have sensitive tongues, so I used 1 tablespoon sweet Thai chili sauce.  If you like a bit of spice, go for it!

In the bottom of your large crock pot/slow cooker, place the onion, garlic, and ginger.  (You will need a 5-6 quart slow-cooker). 

Put the short ribs on top, in one tight layer.  I had to put the last one in as a second layer because I ran out of room, but don't worry, they'll be fine. 

David and I had a date Friday night.  I wanted to go check out a new international food market downtown.  Phoenicia specializes in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods.  They had a new location, and I was hoping for free samples.  There were none but we bought a few items like capers, dried fruit, chocolate, and these awesome looking short ribs.  We ended up at Niko Niko's for dinner...which was fabulous and delicious.  Thanks for tolerating my commerical interruption!

Whisk together the brown sugar, molasses (if using), soy sauce, rice vinegar, and chili sauce.  Pour all over the ribs.

Cover the crock pot and cook on high for 4 hours  (or on low for 6 hours).  Add the cubed pineapple and continue to cook for another hour (or 2) or until the fruit is tender.  I probably used more than 3 cups, but you know me...I'm not much for measuring. ;-)

Alternatively, you can cook this on low for 8 hours, and add the pineapple the last 2 hours.
When you can't wait any longer, use a pair of tongs or a big spoon to remove the short ribs.  Do this gently, as they'll be tender little babies. ;-).  Then take a big, slotted spoon to remove the onions, pineapple, ginger and garlic. 

Use a ladle or degreasing cup to skim as much fat as possible from the cooking liquid. 

Serve the ribs over some rice, along with the pineapple and onions.  Drizzle some of the cooking liquid over the's the best part, I'm telling ya!  Garnish with the green onions (it adds a nice, fresh flavor, and gives the dish some texture).

When I made this the first time, there was none left over.  At all.  Gracious...I was disappointed!  Oh well, I just won't post it on Facebook next time, ha ha. ;-)  This time, there was enough left over for another meal. 

This is the most incredible Sunday supper.  Easy as pie to make, and your house will smell divine.  Just throw it in the crock pot before church on Sunday, and come dinner time, everyone will be singing your praises!

God bless your table tonight!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Greek Pizza

I was digging through the fridge yesterday, trying to see if I could use up a bunch of leftovers for dinner. I really couldn't come up with anything grand, but after seeing the container of artichoke hearts, I thought, "Hey, I can make a pizza!" However, I knew the kids wouldn't like a Greek-style pizza. They only like cheese or pepperoni. So a pizza with artichoke hearts, red onion, black olives, diced chicken, and tomatoes would send them running for the hills. They were perfectly happy with scrambled eggs and hash browns, except for my little foodie, Rebecca. She was actually jealous because she wanted pizza, but I wanted to save the rest of it for David (he is never home in time to eat with us). Luckily she LOVES hash browns, and eggs so that eased her mind. :-)

Sure enough, when David got home, he ate the rest of the pizza, half of it to be exact. I'd already eaten the other half. ;-)

Greek Style Pizza

1 refrigerated pizza dough, or 1 homemade pizza dough
4 tablespoons pizza sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese
2 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/3 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup black/green olives, sliced
1/2 cup artichoke hearts, diced small
1 cup diced chicken
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 teaspoons dried oregano

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Spread the pizza dough out to the edges. Bake for 5 minutes and set aside. You'll want to do this with a premade dough or homemade dough.

Once the dough has prebaked, spread the pizza sauce over the crust. Top with the mozzarella cheese and diced chicken.

Sprinkle over the cheese and chicken.

Next up...the tomatoes and red onion. Man...I'm getting hungry!

Then toss on the artichoke and black olives.

Lastly, scatter over the feta cheese and oregano.

In hindsight, I would have liked to drizzle over just a touch of olive oil. But I got distracted by a little baby tugging at my pant leg. She found me in the kitchen, where she proceeded to wail for her dinner. Bless her heart. :-) And heck, you can put the toppings on in any order you really doesn't matter.

Put the pizza back in the oven and bake at 375 degrees for 12-14 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before digging in.

I love the combination of salty and sweet. The olives and feta are tangy and briny, while the tomatoes and onions are sweet. I recommend not overloading the pizza with the feta and olives...otherwise, it will just be too salty.

Make this for the more appreciative members of your household...or make a cheese pizza on the side for the kiddos. Feel free to add green olives or fresh should always make a pizza to your liking.

God bless your table tonight!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Current Favorite Kitchen Tool

Theresa has been on solid food for several months now.  She LOVES to eat, and hasn't turned down a thing I've offered her.  In fact, I'll go so far as to brag that Theresa is my best eater yet (don't tell Rebecca! ;-).  We even put her in the tomato costume I made for Rebecca 9 years ago for Halloween. 

Isn't she PRECIOUS? 

Nowadays, I will throw random, frozen cubes of pureed food in a bowl for her, zap it in the microwave, and that's it..lunch or dinner is ready.  I've combined carrot with mango, strawberries with lentils, and peas with peaches.  Whatever I come up with, Theresa has eaten it all.  She's not crazy about solid food for breakfast, but admittedly, it may be because we don't have much time in the mornings.  I have to get the older girls ready and out the door by 7:30 to catch the bus, and then get Joshua and Gabriel off to school by 8:30.  There's not much time for a little one to eat, although I try to give her a few bites of toast or yogurt off of my plate.  She is pretty apt at picking up cheerios too, and other small bits of food, so that helps if I'm trying to get her dinner ready and she's hungry, but her portion is still in progress.

Lately, now that the weather has cooled off, I've made 2 batches of soup over the past 3 weeks.   I love to stir a big pot of comfort when it's nippy outside, plus I was hoping Theresa was ready for a puree with more texture and tiny chunks of veggies. 

So I made Broccoli Cheese Soup about 2 weeks ago, and last night I made Potato Chowder.  The broccoli cheese soup is already pureed, so I didn't have to process it further for Theresa.  She LOVED it.  I gave her a bowl for lunch/dinner for 3 days straight, and she inhaled it every time.  Who says babies don't like broccoli? :-)  The chowder can be left chunky, but the potatos and sausage were too chunky for my girl, so I broke out my immersion blender and blended the soup to a consistency that was better for Theresa.  Guess what, she loved it too!

I have to give my immersion blender a shout-out.  I've been using it several times a week to process whatever we're having for dinner so Theresa can eat it too.  It's perfect because doesn't take up as much room as a standing blender or food processor, it's easy to clean, and it doesn't make a big mess at all.  In fact, I pureed the potato chowder in the same container I used to store it in the fridge.  See?

Obviously the best reason to have an immersion blender handy is whenever you're making a soup that needs to be pureed.  Besides the Broccoli Cheese Soup and the Potato Chowder, I also use it for my Roasted Tomato Soup and Black Bean Soup.  Just stick it right in your soup pot, and blend away.  No pouring hot soup back and forth from a blender to the pot, and less dishes to wash at the end of the night.  I'm telling y'all...this handy tool could be your best friend, especially if you have a baby who loves soup. ;-)  And it works for other things too, like homemade salsa, whipped cream, and smoothies (although it doesn't like ice...too hard). 

Don't have one of these gadgets?  Christmas is right around the corner ladies.  Get it on your wish list...mine is about 6 years old, and isn't made anymore. 

But here's a whole slew of immersion blenders on  A decent quality one will only set you back about $50 (or less!).  Your husbands can thank me later for making their Christmas shopping so!

I'm sorry I haven't posted a new recipe lately.  I'm been pretty busy, and up to my eyeballs in a 3,000 envelope mailout for my hubby's work.  Yes...3,000.  I have to have 1,500 done by the end of next week...I have 1,050 done so far.  So's taking nearly every spare minute I have.  Someone remind me not to volunteer to do this mailout next year, okay?  Thanks!

I'll try to check back in sometime next week, and post something new and fun for y'all to make.  In the meantime, God bless your table tonight!