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Asian Lettuce Wraps | Relishing It

Continuing with the ginger theme from last week, I give you these Asian lettuce wraps.  This is one of my go-to meals when I feel like stuffing my face with some serious flavor, but I still want to keep it on the healthy side.  Texture is the key here.  Adding crisp veggies and crunchy peanuts make this wrap stand out.

Asian Lettuce Wraps | Relishing It

Asian Lettuce Wraps | Relishing It

The black bean garlic sauce gives this dish a bit of oomph and can be found at most any Asian or even some regular grocery stores.  The beans are fermented, which lends a unique flavor to the dish.  If you’ve never tried using black bean garlic sauce before, you will soon find many ways to incorporate it into your Asian cooking– it’s wonderful, plus it lasts forever in your refrigerator.  The hoisin sauce is also instrumental in bringing a touch of sweetness to the mixture.  Both ingredients work well with fresh ginger and garlic.

Asian Lettuce Wraps | Relishing It

The meat mixture is very versatile and can be adjusted to fit what you have on hand.  Ground chicken, turkey, or even pork all work well.  Sometimes I even toss in some frozen peas, which my kids really enjoy.  However you make it, I know you’re going to love these lettuce wraps!

Asian Lettuce Wraps | Relishing It

The Recipe: Asian Lettuce Wraps

(serves four)

1 pound ground chicken, turkey, or pork

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons black bean garlic sauce

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1/2 teaspoon (or more) chili garlic sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon soy sauce

sprinkle of Togarashi on each wrap, optional

About 2 heads of bibb (sometimes called butter) lettuce

fresh bean sprouts, 2 grated carrots, hot peppers, crushed peanuts, and Sriracha sauce, for serving

In a small mixing bowl, combine the black bean garlic sauce, hoisin sauce, garlic chili sauce, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat,  brown the meat.  Drain off and discard any grease.  Add the garlic and ginger to the pan and sauté for a minute or two.  Add the contents of the bowl to the meat and mix together until warmed through.  Taste and re-season, if necessary.

Assemble the wrap with a piece of lettuce, a bit of the meat mixture, sprouts, carrots, hot peppers, peanuts, sriracha, and a sprinkle of Togarashi, if desired.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

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Thai Turkey Meatballs with Coconut Curry Sauce | Relishing It

I know I’ve mentioned here– on several occasions– how much I love the meatballs from my childhood.  Today’s recipe is a meatball that I wouldn’t have recognized as a kid.  There was nothing ethnic about the versions we would gobble up in my early years.  Fresh ginger?  Nope.  Never had it back then.  Fish sauce?  Are you kidding me?  I guess these Thai meatballs reflect how different my culinary life is now with access to different styles of food and ingredients.  I still love those German meatballs from my childhood– I ask my mom to make them every time I get back to North Dakota– but now, I love this ethnic version as well.  In fact give me ALL of the ethnic food.  And make it extra spicy, please.

Thai Turkey Meatballs with Coconut Curry Sauce | Relishing It

Thai Turkey Meatballs with Coconut Curry Sauce | Relishing It

These meatballs definitely have some fantastic Thai flavors to them.  Fresh ginger and garlic are noticeable right from the start.  Ginger is one of those flavors that I can’t get enough of.  It brightens the food, and oddly, my mood.  Just smelling it puts me in a happy state.  The cilantro adds a vibrant freshness to them, as well.

Thai Turkey Meatballs with Coconut Curry Sauce | Relishing It

The sauce is simple, but tastes extraordinary.  Using homemade chicken broth adds great depth.  The spices are subtle.  This is not an overpowering sauce and please keep in mind that it is not thick whatsoever– this is a thin, soup-like sauce.  The cinnamon, star anise, coriander seed, and cardamom marry perfectly with the coconut milk.  The beautiful color comes from the ground turmeric, which also imparts such a lovely flavor.  And though simmering for a half hour is wonderful, if you have even a bit more time, more of those wonderful flavors from the spices will be released.

Thai Turkey Meatballs with Coconut Curry Sauce | Relishing It

Thai Turkey Meatballs with Coconut Curry Sauce | Relishing It

A couple of things to think about.  I realize that not everyone can find kaffir lime leaves very easily.  I found mine at an Asian grocery store. And even lemongrass might be difficult for some, though decidedly more available than the lime leaves.  If you can find these items, just know that they can be stored in your freezer for future use, so stock up!  They are wonderful to use this way during the winter months and they add a brightness to your soups and meals.  However, if you’re living in an area that does’t carry these items, don’t fret.  Please, still try the dish and substitute a bit of lime zest (from 1-2 limes) in it’s place.  Though not a complete substitute, the flavor will get you there and you’ll still be able to fully enjoy this delicious meal.

Thai Turkey Meatballs with Coconut Curry Sauce | Relishing It

We eat this meal with brown rice.  It becomes a nice bowl of goodness with the meatballs and the coconut curry all swimming in the bowl together.  It’s warm and comforting.  And yes, in my spice-loving opinion, I think you should add a few drops of sriracha sauce onto the top of your meatballs.  It is pure bliss.  Making Bánh Mì meatball sandwiches with the leftover meatballs, pickled vegetables, cilantro, and spicy peppers is a fantastic variation on this meal. Hope you enjoy!

Thai Turkey Meatballs with Coconut Curry Sauce | Relishing It

The Recipe: Thai Turkey Meatballs with Coconut Curry Sauce

(makes 39-40 meatballs)

For the Meatballs:

2 pounds ground turkey (humanely raised)

2 1/2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger

1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

5 garlic cloves, finely minced

4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce

zest of 2 limes

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (or gluten-free bread crumbs, if you prefer)

1 egg, lightly whisked

For the Coconut Curry Sauce:

2 1/2 cups homemade chicken broth or purchased

15 ounces coconut milk (not lite, please)

2 teaspoons coriander seeds (toasted, if you have the time)

6 cardamom pods

2 star anise

1 3-inch cinnamon stick

5 kaffir lime leaves

3 1-inch knobs of fresh ginger, peeled and bruised

2 4-inch stalks of lemongrass, bruised (green parts removed)

2 teaspoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon ground turmeric

juice of 1 lime

salt and pepper, to taste

extra cilantro, hot peppers, and sriracha sauce for serving

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, combine the meatball ingredients and gently mix together using your hands.  Try not to over-mix meatballs, or they tend to be somewhat tough.  Using a small scoop (1 tablespoon), form the mixture into balls and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet.  You will end up with about 39-40 meatballs. Refrigerate for about 1 hour.  This will give the flavors time to develop a bit.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  After that hour, place the pan of meatballs into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Place the coriander seeds, cardamom pods, and star anise into a piece of cheesecloth and tie it with cooking string. Gently pound on the sachet with a rolling pin to crush the spices a bit. This will release more of their flavors.

Meanwhile, start the sauce while the meatballs are baking, or just before they go into the oven.  You’ll want it to simmer for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to mingle, but if you have more time than that– great!  In a large 12-inch skillet with sides, or something similar, add all of the sauce ingredients, except the lime juice, to the pan. Place the sachet of spices into the sauce, as well. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce to a low-medium simmer with the lid on.  Stir occasionally.  Simmer for at least 30 minutes.  Add the lime juice when the sauce is finished.  Adjust seasonings, if needed.  Place the meatballs into the sauce or keep them separate– your choice.  Serve with brown rice, cilantro, spicy peppers, and plenty of sriracha!  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Feasting At Home

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

Beef Bourguignon | Relishing It

Happy New Year, friends!  I hope your holidays were wonderful.  Ours certainly were, as we traveled back to North Dakota and were able to spend time with much of our family.  The older I get the more I cherish this time.  Things returned to normal this week with the kids going back to school.  I love the holiday season, and letting it go can be a little bit hard for me.  And so it goes.

Beef Bourguignon | Relishing It

We came back to a much colder and whiter Minnesota than the one we left. In fact, the day we departed for ND, I was hustling about taking the recycling out with bare feet and wasn’t a bit bothered by it.  Wow, things have since changed.  We’re back to normal January weather with all of it’s wind chill glory (that’s sarcasm, folks). So, you can guess that I have warm comforting food on my mind.  Forget the New Year health fanatics with their cold smoothies and cold salads.  This girl needs warmth.  Don’t fret though, this is definitely health food– full of grass-fed beef and hearty vegetables.

Beef Bourguignon | Relishing It

This beef bourguignon has been a favorite in our house for years and I’m only now getting around to sharing it with you.  The shame!  You’ll love it. It’s simple and full of earthy flavor.  Of course, there is a fair amount of red wine in it that works it’s magic with the beef.  Remember the homemade beef broth I posted somewhat recently?  You’ll definitely want to use that in this recipe.  And as for the wine, there is no need to spend a lot of money on a bottle.  A basic table wine will suffice, something somewhat dry. Something you’ll enjoy sipping on while you cook or when you eat, there will be a bit leftover.  As always, buy good quality grass-fed beef.  As with most stews, this one gets even better the next day, but chances are you won’t have any leftovers.  It’s delicious.  Hope you enjoy!

Beef Bourguignon | Relishing It

The Recipe: Beef Bourguignon

(serves 4 or so)

olive oil

About 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 pounds of grass-fed beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 white onion, diced

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 quart homemade beef broth or purchased

2 cups dry red wine (table wine works well here)

2 cups water

1 large sprig fresh rosemary, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 dried bay leaf

6 large carrots, peeled and cubed

7 medium yukon gold potatoes, cubed

1 1/2 tablespoons room temperature butter mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (gluten-free flour can be substituted)

12 ounces frozen green peas

12-15 frozen pearl onions

2-3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley, to garnish

salt and pepper, to taste

In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed kettle, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle kosher salt and black pepper over the beef and add half of it to the hot pan.  Do not move it– let a nice dark golden color develop before flipping it over to brown the other sides.  Remove the caramelized meat from the pan and add the second batch, adding more olive oil if necessary.  When the second batch is done, remove that as well.

Add the diced onion and garlic to the hot pan.  Add a splash of beef broth if there are some darkened pieces that need some attention.  There is so much flavor in those pieces!  Continue to cook and stir  for a couple of minutes until the onion is somewhat softened, adding more broth if necessary.

Return the meat to the pan and add the remaining beef broth, red wine, water, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf.  Add a bit of salt and pepper, too.  Bring to a near boil, then reduce the heat to a small simmer for about 2 hours.

When the beef is tender, add the potatoes and carrots to the pan and increase the heat to medium.  When the carrots and potatoes are fork tender, about 20-25 minutes, add the flour/butter mixture.  This will thicken the stew ever so slightly.  Gently, stir it in well.  Then add the peas and pearl onions and cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until the onions are warmed through.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Don’t be scared to add more salt.  Serve with chopped fresh parsley.  Buttered crusty bread is a must with this meal. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

Boozy Homemade Horchata Cocktail | Relishing It

Oh, the holidays!  Such a joyous time of the year celebrating with family and friends– and, of course, a few cocktails.  This one here is gold, my friends.  Apparently, I had been living underneath a rock, because up until recently I had never tried Rumchata. I’d heard of it, but to be honest, thought it sounded a bit lame.  A little “too girly” for me, I guess. I’m more of a boozy, classic cocktail girl– a manhattan is my winter elixir of choice– so perhaps it’s not so surprising that I overlooked this little white bottle of cheer.

Boozy Homemade Horchata Cocktail | Relishing It

Boozy Homemade Horchata Cocktail | Relishing It

Well I’ve tried it now, and it turns out, it’s quite good. It’s sweet and tastes pretty much like rice pudding in a glass. And sometimes sweet is exactly what’s called for, right? For those of you who also live under rocks (I kid), Rumchata is a liqueur made from horchata and a bit of rum. Which begs the question, what’s horchata? It’s a Spanish drink made by soaking rice or a mixture of rice and almonds or tigernuts in water and cinnamon for a day or so. Then it’s blended and sweetened with sugar and milk. So, in my usual fashion, I decided that I wanted to make this stuff from scratch.  Because a bottle of Rumchata costs a whole-lotta (you see what I did there?). Actually, it’s not that expensive, but really there isn’t that much alcohol in it, so I’m basically paying for rice water?  No thanks.  I’ll make it myself. And it will be even better.

Boozy Homemade Horchata Cocktail | Relishing It

Voilà!  It’s ridiculously easy and tastes oh-so delicious. Making your own rumchata does require a bit of planning because soaking the rice in water overnight yields the best flavor.  I like to mix the horchata with both a bit of rum and a bit more vodka.  My theory is if you’re going to drink a cocktail, drink a damn cocktail.  Making it yourself lets you decide exactly how sweet you want it to be.  I don’t like mine cloyingly so.  You can also decide how rich you’d like it.  Whole milk does the trick for me, but perhaps you’d like to use a mixture of milk and cream?  You decide.  This is such a delicious cocktail that tastes like holiday cheer in a glass with creamy flavors of rice pudding and cinnamon– be careful, it goes down rather easily.  It’s absolutely perfect to make for a party. Cheers!

Boozy Homemade Horchata Cocktail | Relishing It

The Recipe: Homemade Horchata Cocktail

To make the Horchata:

(makes about 5 cups)

2/3 cup white rice (I used long grain)

3 cups warm water

1 two-inch cinnamon stick

1/2 cup granulated sugar

splash of vanilla

2 cups whole milk  (or a mixture of whole milk and cream) *See Note

ground cinnamon, for serving

To make the Cocktail:

(makes 1)

1 1/2 ounces (1 full shot) vodka

3/4 ounce (1/2 shot) dark rum (Jamaican or Caribbean work well)

4 1/2 ounces (3 shots) horchata

cinnamon, for dusting

Note: almond milk can be substituted for a dairy-free version.  Coconut milk works too, just be sure to adjust the amount of sugar you add. 

To make the Horchata: begin by pulsing the rice in a blender or food processor until it’s the consistency of coarse polenta.  Your blender may or may not do a good job with this task.  Mine was mediocre.  So, don’t worry if yours doesn’t do this well.  Place the rice in a quart jar and add the cinnamon stick and 3 cups of warm water.  Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, but preferably overnight.

Place the mixture back into the blender, cinnamon stick included and blend once again.  There may be some splattering, so throw a towel over the mixer or food processor.  Don’t expect the cinnamon stick to get fully blended.  Into a large pitcher, strain the mixture through a mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth and give it a squeeze at the end to extract as much liquid as possible.  Then add the milk, 1/2 cup of sugar, and a splash of vanilla to the pitcher.  Stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Store in the refrigerator. Your kids will love this served over ice with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

For your cocktail, mix the vodka, rum, and horchata into a shaker for a second or two.  Then pour into a low-ball glass filled with ice. Grate some fresh cinnamon on top and cheers away!

Horchata recipe adapted from David Lebovitz

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!  Have a great weekend.

Laurie

 

 

 

 

Crispy and Chewy White Chocolate, Peppermint Candy, and Marshmallow Cookies | Relishing It

That’s a loooong title, I admit.  But it’s the only way to capture the glory that are these amazing holiday cookies.  I came up with this recipe last year around the holidays and have played around with the recipe since.  I think I’ve nailed it here, folks.  These cookies have everything– crispy, chewy, a holiday twist.  There’s a fair chance that when you make them, you’ll eat them all in a day.  They won’t make it to the holiday party.  They’re that good.

Crispy and Chewy White Chocolate, Peppermint Candy, and Marshmallow Cookies | Relishing It

Crispy and Chewy White Chocolate, Peppermint Candy, and Marshmallow Cookies | Relishing It

Crispy and Chewy White Chocolate, Peppermint Candy, and Marshmallow Cookies | Relishing ItThe flavors in this recipe remind me of one of my favorite holiday desserts that my mom would make.  The dessert was one of those refrigerator pan desserts that gets better the longer it sits.  She would buy that huge candy cane for this one and crush it up.  It was folded into a custard of some sort along with some marshmallows.  Then it was poured onto a graham cracker crust and put in the refrigerator.  As a kid, I thought this dessert was just about the best thing about the holidays, aside from the presents.  I haven’t had it in years, so I’m not so sure that my adult self would enjoy it quite so much.  Spoonfuls of marshmallows don’t really do it for me anymore.

Crispy and Chewy White Chocolate, Peppermint Candy, and Marshmallow Cookies | Relishing It

Crispy and Chewy White Chocolate, Peppermint Candy, and Marshmallow Cookies | Relishing It

Even so, I decided to try my hand at a cookie version of that nostalgic dessert.  I love the flavors, but just wanted a better way to get them together.  And I love what happens to marshmallows when you bake them into a cookie.  They add a chewiness that is fantastic, but the ones on the outer-edges practically turn into a crisp toffee.  The peppermint candy makes the whole thing taste like the holidays.  And the white chocolate, well, that’s a no-brainer.  All good stuff.  I know you’re going to love these– enjoy!

Crispy and Chewy White Chocolate, Peppermint Candy, and Marshmallow Cookies | Relishing It

Crispy and Chewy White Chocolate, Peppermint Candy, and Marshmallow Cookies | Relishing It

The Recipe: Crispy and Chewy White Chocolate, Peppermint Candy, and Marshmallow Cookies

(makes 2 dozen)

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten with a fork

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup miniature marshmallows

1 cup white chocolate chips

about 3/4 cup crushed peppermint candies, divided (from about 9-10 6-inch candy canes) *see note

coarse sea salt

Note:  Place the candy canes in a large resealable plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush them.  It works best to gently pound rather than roll over them. 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.  Set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a paddle attachment (or use a regular bowl and wooden spoon), beat the butter and sugars together until nice and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Then add the egg and vanilla and beat on medium for about 3-4 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy and has incorporated enough air into it.  Remember to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula along the way.  Then add the flour mixture to the butter and mix just until everything is incorporated.  Do not over-mix.  Remove bowl from the stand mixer and using a rubber spatula, fold in the white chocolate chips, 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy, and marshmallows until everything is evenly distributed.

Line a cutting board or another sheet pan with parchment paper.  Using a small scoop form the dough into balls.  You should end up with about 24 cookies.  Sprinkle them with the remaining crushed peppermint candy and a bit of sea salt. Place them in the freezer for about 15 minutes.  Then take six out (leave the rest remaining) and place on the lined cookie sheet.  This particular cookie spreads out a bit, so six on a cookie sheet works well.  Bake for about 11 minutes, or until the edges become golden-brown.  Remove from oven and let rest on the pan for about two minutes (a bit longer than the average cookie because the marshmallow needs to set).  Once the cookie feels sturdy enough to move, place it on a cooling rack and repeat with the rest of the cookies– taking them out of the freezer as you need them.  They are magnificent the first and second day if left out uncovered.  They tend to lose their crispiness in an airtight container, but are still quite delicious. Hope you enjoy them!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

 

 

Homemade Beef Broth | Relishing It

Well this week has flown by.  My little boy has been sick for a few days, so my usual routine has been interrupted.  I absolutely don’t mind the interruption, and like having him home with me all day again, but I just hate it when my little ones are sick.  Since he hasn’t been eating a whole lot (sore throat), I’m so thankful to have frozen broth at the ready for both the ease and the nourishment that it can give to him.  I guess this is as good a time as any to post this recipe, then.

Homemade Beef Broth | Relishing It

Making broth isn’t a new concept, but it seems as though the foodie/health world has rediscovered it lately.  There’s a good reason for that.  Making broth is simple and it offers so many healthy benefits that store-bought versions simply do not.  They also taste so much better.  Make a homemade broth and then do a taste-test with a store brand.  I have.  The difference is stunning.

Homemade Beef Broth | Relishing It

Homemade Beef Broth | Relishing It

For my beef broth, I start with finding some good, properly-raised beef.  You know I’m a grass-fed beef advocate.  So, I suggest you find some grass-fed beef bones (you’ll want a mix of marrow bones and some with a bit of meat on them) to make the healthiest, most nourishing broth possible.  Soup bones can easily be found at a good co-op or grocery store, your local butcher, or from the farmers market. They’re cheap.  Sometimes they’re even labeled “pet bones”– which is kind of odd.  But trust me, they’ll make a rich broth that you’ll love.

Homemade Beef Broth | Relishing It

The other ingredients you likely already have at home– carrots, celery, onion, garlic, cider vinegar, and some dried or fresh herbs.  It’s a simple process that involves roasting the bones and vegetables first– to really amp up their flavors– then simmering on the stove for hours with water, herbs, and vinegar.  The vinegar is added to, supposedly, draw out some of the minerals from the bones.  I’ve read conflicting information on this, but I finally decided that since I love the flavor it imparts, I’m going to go with it.  Simmer this broth as long as you can.  The longer you do, the more nutrients it will draw out of the bones.

Homemade Beef Broth | Relishing It

The flavor will be good after three hours, or so– but shoot for 8 or even 24, if that’s a possibility for you. Also, after simmering for about 2-3 hours, I remove the bone with meat on it, and trim the cooked meat off. I put the bone back into the broth and save the meat to use another time. At this point it hasn’t been overcooked, but it has still added plenty of flavor to the broth already. If you don’t want to bother, just leave it in the broth for the duration of the time. As long as you hit that three-hour mark, the broth will taste amazing! Use it in soups like this Paprikash that is one of our family favorites. Fill your freezer up with both this beef broth and this chicken broth for quick, healthy soups this winter.

Homemade Beef Broth | Relishing It

The Recipe: Homemade Beef Broth

(makes a few quarts)

about 6 pounds of good quality, preferably grass-fed, beef bones (some containing marrow and some containing a bit of meat)

about 3 carrots, halved

2 celery stalks, halved

1 large onion, quartered

1 garlic bulb (that’s the entire thing), halved and not peeled

3 dried bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

handful of fresh parsley, rough chopped

2 tablespoons kosher salt, or more to taste

6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (for easy clean-up). Place the beef bones, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic on the pan with a bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.  Roast for about 40-45 minutes, or until the beef and vegetables have a bit of color. Remove from oven.

Add the beef, vegetables, and any juices (leave the grease behind) to a large kettle.  Top it with the bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns, fresh parsley, cider vinegar, and enough cold filtered water to cover it all.

Bring everything to a high simmer so that it’s almost boiling, but not quite.  Then reduce the heat with the lid ajar to just a low simmer that is barely bubbling and let it cook away for as many hours as you can.  Three hours for sure, but shoot for more, if you can. If wanting to use the meat from the meaty bone (and you should– it’s great for quick meals and/or snacks), remove from bone after about 2-3 hours, put the bone back in the pot.

After you have finished simmering the broth, remove the large pieces with tongs and strain the liquid through a cheesecloth.  This will give you a nice clear broth. At this point you can put it in jars (or BPA-free plastic quart-sized containers) leaving about an inch of head-space (the liquid will expand as it freezes) or leave it in a large pot and refrigerate until completely cold (this will take hours, so overnight works well) and pour into jars afterwards. This makes removing the top layer of grease a cinch. Once that has been completed, throw a lid on it and freeze.

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It! Have a great weekend.

Laurie

 

 

Mexican Bake | Relishing ItSo, what are you planning to do with all of those delicious turkey leftovers after Thanksgiving?  Sandwiches?  Really?  I like a good cold-turkey sandwich as much as anyone, but today I have a recipe that is a great alternative.  And to be honest, even if you don’t have turkey leftovers you should make this dish.  It’s wonderful, and so versatile that you can make it with turkey, chicken, ground beef or even just beans, for a vegetarian option.

Mexican Bake | Relishing It

You’ve probably noticed that I’m into making ‘bakes’ a lot this year.  I’ve been having fun incorporating legumes, grains, and quinoa (technically a seed) into meals.  Aside from being so easy to throw together, they’re incredibly satisfying and a healthy option.  A big bowl of hot food is just what we all need as we gather around the dinner table together while it snows outside.  This particular bake has a Mexican flare. I’ve made it a number of ways depending on what we have in the house. I’ve been challenging myself this year to make meals out of food that we have, rather than running to the store every time an idea enters my brain. Aside from a smaller grocery bill, it cuts down on wasting otherwise-usable food, so that makes me happy.

Mexican Bake | Relishing It

This dish is fabulous with shredded chicken or turkey, but it’s also equally tasty using ground beef (or shredded beef, if you happen to have that).  Substituting beef broth for the chicken broth is an easy swap.  Of course, going completely vegetarian is a no-brainer, too.  Just add more beans and use vegetable broth, or even water.  Just amp up the spices a bit more to compensate. Whatever protein you decide to use, it will pair wonderfully with the brown rice, corn, and beans.

Mexican Bake | Relishing It

You all know that I pretty much can all of my tomatoes that I need to get me through the winter.  However, Red Gold Tomatoes generously sent me some different varieties of canned tomatoes to try (thanks, guys!).   So, I incorporated them in this dish and they were fantastic! I used the the lime juice and cilantro variety.  Of course, you can use any type of canned tomato that you have on hand, but these added a nice zesty flavor to the dish.

Mexican Bake | Relishing It

Load the bake up with as much cheese as you would like– that’s a personal preference.  Before serving, squeeze on some fresh lime juice, sprinkle with cilantro, slice up some jalapeños, and dollop on the sour cream.  Serve it with tortilla chips or plain tortillas and you are set.  You’re going to love this dish!

Mexican Bake | Relishing It

The Recipe: Mexican Bake

(serves 4)

olive oil

about 1 pound (or a bit more) of cooked shredded chicken, turkey, ground or shredded beef (see note)

1 small red or white onion, diced

about 4 garlic cloves, minced

about 14-15 ounces of cooked beans, drained and rinsed (any kind– red, black, pinto, or even white) (when I forget to soak my own, I’ve really been enjoying Simply Balanced Organic Beans (found at Target) for both the texture and the flavor.)

1 cup long grain brown rice, rinsed (any type of rice will work–if wanting to use white, just note that the cooking time will decrease)

1 tablespoon ancho chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1-2 teaspoons ground coriander

kosher salt and cracked pepper

about 1 cup frozen corn

1 1/2 cups homemade chicken or beef broth heated (depending upon what protein you are using)

1 15-ounce can Red Gold diced tomatoes with lime juice and cilantro (or anything similar)

shredded cheese, 1-2 cups  (sharp cheddar, mozzarella, and monterey jack are great options)

chopped fresh cilantro, fresh jalapeños, sour cream, fresh limes, hot sauce, tortilla chips, and/or fresh tortillas for serving

Note:  If wanting to use shredded chicken, simply sauté one pound (or a bit more) of chicken breasts seasoned with salt and pepper in a skillet with olive oil.  They should take about 3-4 minutes on each side, depending upon how high your heat is.  Check for doneness, then shred with a fork.  Or use rotisserie!

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a large Dutch oven add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes over medium-high heat until somewhat soft (you would brown the ground beef just prior to this, if using).  Add the chili powder, cumin, coriander, about 1-2 teaspoons of kosher salt, and cracked pepper to the pan.  Then add the canned tomatoes with juices, beans, rice, meat, corn, and heated broth and continue to cook for a couple of minutes over medium-high heat until everything is hot.

Mix in the meat.  Flatten everything with a spatula so the rice can cook properly in the liquids.  Place in the preheated oven and bake covered for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and add the cheese.  Return to oven, covered, for about 5 more minutes, or until cheese has melted.

Serve with lime wedges, chopped cilantro, sliced jalapeños, sour cream, hot sauce, tortilla chips and/or fresh tortillas.  Enjoy!

I hope you all have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving celebrating with your loved ones!  Peace to all.

Laurie

 

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