Moroccan Beef

These past few weeks I have been craving all sorts of foods, most likely because I am limited in going out for some of my favorite things like tacos, Thai food, or heck even some down and dirty Chinese buffet. My diet is not as much limited but I am limited as to where I can go as I continue to tackle this thing called cancer. I’ve been through this routine once before where I know what I can and cannot do, and that my taste buds might be a bit jacked, along with the overall energy to get things on the table, but I have been doing rather well and getting in what I can each and every meal. Lately I was in the mood for all things vinegar and garlic and hence why I was making things like Filipino adobo, and fried bangus for breakfast, and then came the craving for things like Indian curried lentils, among other unique and wonderful flavors.

As we are trying to use what we have around us and limit our shopping to some degree, it has become my daily challenge in a sense to come up with something new (and sometimes not) and exciting for everyone to hopefully enjoy. Not only that my levels in my blood work were screaming some nutrients that I was not getting, and hence a play on this dish. This is when I decided to make some Moroccan beef as it almost reminded me of a Filipino breakfast I once had known as a torta but with a few extra ingredients.

Moroccan Beef Recipe
Moroccan Beef Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground chuck
  • 2 carrots, peeled, diced
  • 1 rib of celery, diced
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled, cubed, cooked al dente
  • 1/2 cup green lentils, cooked al dente
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots
  • 1 tbsp berebere spice
  • 1/2 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp salt, to taste
  •  1 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • Cooked jasmine rice, optional

Start by heating a large skillet or pot on medium heat. Toss in the ground chuck and start breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook until it no longer pink. Retain the fat in the pan, about 2 tablespoons. If there is more, remove and discard.

Moroccan Beef Ingredients
Moroccan Beef Ingredients

Add in the shallots, garlic, carrots, and celery. Give a good stir. Toss in all of the spices and give that a good stir. The seasonings will start to bloom. Cook for a few minutes, then add in the lentils, apricots, and potatoes. Give this another gentle stir, then add in the chicken stock. Another gentle stir.

Give it a taste and see if it requires any additional salt. You should get getting the warm spice from the cinnamon, the color from the turmeric, and the spice from the bebere. Along with the tender potatoes, lentils, and beef, well you have yourself one very delicious dish. Feel free to try with ground chicken, turkey, or heck just go all vegetables and I’m certain you will still enjoy it.

Moroccan Beef
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ lbs ground chuck
  • 2 carrots, peeled, diced
  • 1 rib of celery, diced
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled, cubed, cooked al dente
  • ½ cup green lentils, cooked al dente
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup dried apricots
  • 1 tbsp berebere spice
  • ½ tbsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tbsp salt, to taste
  •  1½ tsp cracked black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • Cooked jasmine rice, optional
Instructions
  1. Start by heating a large skillet or pot on medium heat. Toss in the ground chuck and start breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook until it no longer pink. Retain the fat in the pan, about 2 tablespoons. If there is more, remove and discard.
  2. Add in the shallots, garlic, carrots, and celery. Give a good stir. Toss in all of the spices and give that a good stir. The seasonings will start to bloom. Cook for a few minutes, then add in the lentils, apricots, and potatoes. Give this another gentle stir, then add in the chicken stock. Another gentle stir.
  3. Give it a taste and see if it requires any additional salt. You should get getting the warm spice from the cinnamon, the color from the turmeric, and the spice from the bebere. Along with the tender potatoes, lentils, and beef, well you have yourself one very delicious dish. Feel free to try with ground chicken, turkey, or heck just go all vegetables and I’m certain you will still enjoy it.

 

Mexican Elotes Tater Tots

Summertime is finally here, and sometimes that is s a great thing or a bad thing. The bad only being that it has been a scorcher in Wisconsin. The temperature has been in the upper to mid 90’s lately with a high percentage of humidity. I don’t perform well in humidity, and as I normally run hot to begin with, when you add humidity that only means I’m a walking puddle.  The great thing is that all of the wonderful produce that my wife and family love is in full harvest, and one of them being corn. I’ve always related corn and tomatoes to summertime while living in the midwest, and as we grow a lot of tomatoes in our garden, corn is pretty much on our lunch or dinner table several times a week.

While living in Dallas, I was first introduced to Mexican corn (Elotes), and I fell in love. It was addicting. Grilled or steamed corn smothered in mayonnaise, sprinkled with chili powder and cotija cheese, what was not to love? I had elotes on my mind after buying a handful of corn on the cob, and after rummaging through my freezer (trying to purge frozen items), I located some nice tater tots. I love tater tots, and after looking at both the corn and the tater tots, I knew I could only do justice my making some loaded Mexican Elotes Tater Tots.

Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Recipe
Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Recipe

Forget the nachos. These are a game changer.

Let’s get started.

  • 2 ears of corn, steamed or grilled, then cut off the cob
  • 1/2 a bag or about 15 oz of frozen tater tots, cooked by directions on bag
  • 2 cups of Supremo 3 Cheese Mexican blend cheese (Chihuahua, Oaxaca, Cotija)
  • 1/3 cup of Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped, to garnish
  • 1/2 lime, optional

Start by preheating your oven by directions, or fry the tots if you desire. I baked mine on a cast iron fajita skillet (love), and during this time steam or grill your corn.

Once the corn is cooked to your liking (I like mine a bit al dente), cut it off the cob and place it into a mixing bowl.

Add the mayonnaise, chili powder, and a bit of salt and pepper. Those tater tots need some salt and pepper.

Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Ingredients
Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Ingredients

Once the tots are close to being done (and to your liking), and some like them a bit tender and some like them nice and crispy like myself, remove the skillet or baking sheet from the oven. Top all of the tater tots with the Mexican shredded cheeses and place back into the oven and cook for about 5 more minutes or until the cheese is nicely melted.

Once the cheese is nicely melted, remove it from the oven and slide onto your serving plate. I keep mine on the cast iron skillet and place it on top of the wooden board that came with the fajita skillet.

Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Recipe
Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Recipe

Top with the corn mixture, shower with fresh cilantro, and serve with a lime wedge for additional acidity.

Now block yourself from others, just kidding, and dig in. You talk about everything you can love about Mexican Elotes, these Mexican Elotes Tater Tots just bring it over the top. Simple, quick, and delicious. This is a perfect Summertime snack. Enjoy.

If you are looking for other takes on Mexican elotes, or other corn ideas this summer, give these a try:

Eggplant Parmesan

Unfortunately our local farmers market season has ended and for us Wisconsinites that means only one thing. Winter is on its way. It’s actually snowing out while I type this and looking out of the windows yields a heavy, thick snowfall. It’s pretty for about 2 minutes, then well I guess I’m over it. But reflecting on the market days, I always try to buy an array of things from various farmers. Eggplant was one of those items this season. I’ll be up front and honest, I’m not not a fan of eggplant and never really have been, but I keep trying, much like I will keep trying beets (yes, not a fan). When I brought them home, I immediately thought of making baba ghanoush (that I am a fan of), but then I thought I would go with an eggplant parmesan and see how my kids would like it. They love lasagna so maybe if I tried to disguise it as a lasagna on a meatless Monday, how would they react?

Eggplant Parmesan Recipe
Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

It was not actually all meatless, as I used about a 1/4 pound of ground meat just to get the kids thinking it was possibly what they thought it was. It worked out just fine.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 whole, small eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 28 oz jar of your favorite marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 2 cups of panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 lb ground beef, cooked and fat drained

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees.

Season your eggs and breadcrumbs with salt and pepper.

Take each eggplant round and swipe it through eggs, then the breadcrumbs, then place on a baking sheet. Repeat with all eggplant. Drizzle the tops with olive oil.

Place the baking sheet into the oven and cook for about 25 minutes or until the eggplant’s coating is a nice golden brown.

Eggplant Parmesan Ingredients
Eggplant Parmesan Ingredients

Next, add about 1 cup of marinara to the bottom of a casserole or lasagna dish. Layer in half of the eggplant, top with half of the mozzarella cheese, layer with the remaining eggplant, then more cheese, then top with the ground meat, and finish with more marinara and all of the remaining cheese.

Place into the oven, uncovered, and cook for about another 25 minutes or until the cheese and sauce is nice and bubbly. Remove and let it cool for about 10 minutes before slicing into it.

The result? Well, eggplant parmesan. Were my kids a fan? Not really! Was I? Not really, but it was nice knowing I wasn’t indulging in a mound of meat and potatoes. It was easy, clean, and well very good if you are into that type of stuff. Hope you enjoy!

Nacho Pot Pie

It’s starting to ramp up to comfort food season. Not like that has stopped me year round to make most any type of comfort food, but this fall season in particular has already yielded a variety of soups and casseroles. This is one of those recipes. While thinking of a warm recipe for a cool day, I thought of what my wife and kids would eat, and eat well. Nachos! But how could I turn a simple, or complex plate of nachos into something warm and comforting?

I looked around to check on my inventory, and granted I was looking at pie dough and thinking of chicken pot pie, a thought I had to quickly shake out of my mind, and then again back to the nacho thought. How about a riff on chicken pot pie but go nacho style? How about a nacho pot pie?!

Nacho pot pie it was, and not only super easy to throw together, but everything you love about nachos in a luxurious pot pie style, sans the pie crust.

Nacho Pot Pie Recipe
Nacho Pot Pie Recipe

Granted this is not the prettiest of all dishes, but again what pot pie is when you plate it? This is forkalicious delicious.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef, or chuck, cooked and fat removed
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 15 oz can diced green chilies
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of taco seasoning
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 2 cups of water or stock
  • 1 cup of canned black beans, drained
  • 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black
  • 1 bag of tortilla chips
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • sour cream, optional
  • hot sauce, optional
  • salsa, optional
  • black olives, optional
  • any other favorite nacho toppings

Think nachos. Think pie. Good, let’s go.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Get a large skillet on your burner over medium-high heat. Add the ground meat and cook until browned. Drain any fat, and then add the taco seasoning, green chilies, onion, garlic, and 1/3 cup of water. Give a good stir, and cook until the onions are softened, about 5-7 minutes.

Place the meat mixture into a casserole dish and return the skillet to the heat.

Add the butter and let it completely melt. Once melted, add the flour and stir (and keep stirring) until all of the flour is incorporated. Cook this through for a few minutes.

Slowy stir in the milk, and use a whisk if you want to ensure that the mixture gets nice and smooth. No clumps needed here.

Once smooth, add in the remaining water or stock, and stir again. Season with salt and pepper, and let the mixture come to a boil, stirring frequently. The goal here is to make a thicker sauce.

Nacho Pot Pie Ingredients
Nacho Pot Pie Ingredients

Once the sauce thickens, add in the black beans, and return the meat back into the skillet. Stir well and cook for another 5-7 minutes.

Add shredded cheese to the top, then crumble a generous amount of tortilla chips over the top.

Place the skillet (if it is oven safe, otherwise put everything in the skillet before adding the cheese and chips) into the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes.

Now you are ready to serve.

Nacho Pot Pie Recipe
Nacho Pot Pie Recipe

Scoop out your desired amount onto your plate and top with your favorite toppings. In my case it was black olives, shredded lettuce, avocado slices, sour cream, and hot sauce. Feel free to have a bowl of chips on standby for any additional scooping!

The result is spectacular. It is so comforting and everything we loved about a pie or a plate of nachos, all bundled together! Hope you enjoy!