From The Garden Goulash

From The Garden Goulash

I had a bowl full of cherry tomatoes, a yellow pepper and a pound of 90% burger from wholefoods and even though Lyn is not crazy about this dish I had a craving. So in this case the heck with her its all about me this time. I grew up calling a similar dish American Chop Suey so I based it a lot on my recipe but i’ve seen it been called Goulash so since this was different I ‘ll call it such.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs of hamburger
  • Maybe 30 quartered cherry tomatoes
  • One yellow bell pepper cored and chops
  • 2 stalks of celery thinly sliced cross wise.
  • 1/2 cup of Lyn’s pasta sauce which included a splash of water maybe 1/4 cup worth
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • A pinch or so of red pepper flakes, depending how spicy you like it

I tired something I read on browning the burger and I have to say I think it worked. I flatten the burger out and place on the preheated pan on high with a little oil and browned on that side for a few minutes over medium, turning down the heat to medium as soon as it hit the hot pan.

Flipped it and then started to break up into smaller chunks. this did as I read kept the meat moister. I used to immediately start to chop up the meat. I had already added the pepper and celery and by the time the meat had browned they were limp but still had a little bite to them. Mine was 90% lean so there was very little fat render if you used 80% or lower then drain the fat out.

I then added the spices , tomatoes and sauce  mixing well and brought to simmer then stirred occasionally. 

In the meantime I had a plan I was going to freeze a lot of the meat mixture for a quick easy future bachelor meal so instead of cooking the one pound of elbow pasta I only cooked up 1 cup.  and I only cook for 5 minutes.

When the pasta was done and bowled I scooped the meat mixture on top, mix to coat well it up and then being raised by my dad squirted some ketchup on it.  I know I know I know.

It was quick and easy but did create a bunch of pots and pans but well with. Lyn shook her head and had a salad for lunch.

 

 

 

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Pomegranate-Glazed Lamb with Carrots and Parsnips

Pomegranate-Glazed Lamb with Carrots and Parsnips

Last week Lyn went shopping for a few things on her own and there were a few impulse buys. We all do that I did it yesterday and ended up with American Chop Suey nice comfort food for a snowy day. Anyway she got a 4 lb. boneless leg of lamb. I used 1 lb to make ground lamb last weekend for Gyros. Today we made this roast and it was well worth the impulse buy well worth it.

Ingredients

Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cup Pomegranate juice
  • 3 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon, ground

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Veggies

  • 4 whole carrots, peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups large parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced – STEVE NOTE I did not have parsnip so I used potatoes
  • 1/3 cup Water

Lamb

  • 3 lb Boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 teaspoon Minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoon Cumin seeds – STEVE NOTE I did not have used ground Cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoon Chopped fresh mint

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How:

Look for a mini boneless leg of lamb roast that weighs approximately 3 lb. These small roasts sometimes come prepacked in netting. For a leaner, cleaner tasting lamb we like to trim the fat off the surface. This requires removing the netting, trimming the fat, and retying your roast. The extra work is definitely worth it.

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine pomegranate juice, sugar, 1/2 tsp. of the black pepper, red pepper flakes, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.

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Reduce heat to medium-high and simmer until mixture is thick and syrupy and reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 20 to 25 minutes.

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3. Cut carrots and parsnips in half lengthwise and then cut into 3-inch pieces. Place in a microwave-safe bowl with water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 2 minutes. Remove plastic wrap and toss vegetables with 2 Tbsp. of the pomegranate glaze.

4. Place lamb in the center of a large baking dish or roasting pan. Rub garlic into roast. Season with 1/2 tsp. of the salt, remaining 1/2 tsp. black pepper, and cumin seeds. Brush the top and sides of lamb liberally with pomegranate glaze. Distribute vegetables and their liquid around the roast. STEVE NOTE – I rubbed the roast with garlic and the spices wrapped in plastic wrap and set in refrigerator for a few hours. Took out and let get to room temperature.

5. Roast for 40 minutes, stirring vegetables once or twice, until meat is cooked to about 115 degrees. Brush roast with any remaining glaze (if it has thickened, microwave for 15 seconds). Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. Cook until meat begins to brown in spots and the temperature reaches about 125 degrees for medium-rare, 140 degrees for medium, and 160 degrees for well done, according to your preference (about 10 to 20 minutes).

6. If you prefer your lamb more well done and it begins to overbrown, lower heat to 475 degrees and cover meat loosely with foil.

7. Transfer lamb to cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, spread vegetables evenly over baking dish and return to oven to bake until all the juices have evaporated and vegetables have begun to caramelize, about 4 to 5 minutes; watch that they don’t burn. Remove baking dish from oven and stir butter and mint into the vegetables.

8. Remove strings and use a sharp knife to cut lamb into thin slices. Transfer vegetables and lamb to platter and serve warm.

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Source: Hannaford fresh Magazine, September – October 2008
Food Processor Ground Beef

Food Processor Ground Beef

Did this last week with lamb so you can use lamb, beef, chicken, turkey whatever your heart or honey desires.
I had seen this on the food shows always said I would try but then we had a food grinder attachment for the blender, I just never got around to it.
Sorry I did not do sooner.

Benefits you get to control the fat content.

Ingredients

What ever poundage of meat needed -depending how much fat you trimming you may need slightly more that required for final ingredient.

Cube the meat trimming away and discarding the fat

Place on a flat cookie tray and into the freezer for 25-40 minutes until very firm

In batches put in food processor and pulse until desire texture is reached

 

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Related

American chop suey

American chop seuy and Mom’s old recipe

Reign On American Chop Suey  – Week 15

Reign On American Chop Suey – Week 15

Everyone has their own comfort foods, I have many but one of my favorites is American Chop Suey. This recipe is what I have come up with that is closest to what my mind remembers as my mother’s plus the red hot pepper flakes. The Pat’s are getting ready to grab the division and top place but they are playing in the nice warm weather, so as we  prepare for 8-12 inches of snow depending where you why not try this nice warm me up game time treat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. lean Ground beef I MADE FOOD PROCESSOR GROUND BEEF
  • 1 onion chopped roughly
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 green pepper cored, seeded and chopped
  • 28 oz. can whole tomatoes
  • 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 lb. box Elbow macaroni
  • Salt, pepper, oregano, basil, red-hot pepper flakes to taste about 1 tablespoon each
  • Ketchup (optional, not for me)

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How:

In a fry pan cook hamburger, onion, and celery until meat is browned and the veggies are limp but still have some crunch left. While browning chop up the beef into small chunks. Drain off the grease.

Step 1

Crush tomatoes by hand over the pan, pour in the juice from the can and the tomato sauce.

Add whatever spices you are comfortable with. I use salt, pepper, oregano, basil, (I suppose a short cut could be Italian seasoning mix) a good pinch of crushed red pepper flakes depends on your hotness taste. Add the chopped green pepper at this point I feel it kept them a little crunchier but I suppose you could add in the first step.

Bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes.

step 2

Meanwhile, bring five quarts of water to a boil, add the macaroni, and cook for about five minutes. The pasta should be aldente, not thoroughly cooked. Drain, return to pot and add the contents of the other pan. Gently simmer for five minutes to finish cooking the macaroni and to let it absorb the liquid.

Remove from heat, and put it to the side. I find that letting it sit for at least a half hour lets the flavors really come together I also stir occasionally to help cool and not over cook the pasta.

step 3

Ok now I was raised to top with ketchup when served but this is strictly optional, it just does not taste right to me without, what can I say?

step 4

Saving leftovers

 

I go through spurts with cooking and have always tried to overcook, the amount not the food. I use leftovers as additions to my daily lunch salad, others freeze for another day in perfect one meal portions, while some I use for leftover meals,  look at what I have and experiments on how to use.

leftovers

We have a FoodSaver an ancient model and works fine for us.

Some of my best minced chicken lettuce wraps came about in this manner. This has come in handy recently especially with Lyn on her special diet.  This is not to say I won’t cook during the week but I do tend to cook more on weekends. I think any Chicken or meat dishes freeze and reheats well especially the meatballs in or out of sauce.

After a while the freezer gets pretty full so I pull out my frozen menu for the week and place them on the frig shelf. It’s kind of fun when one can plan a week worth of meals just sitting there waiting to be reheated. Some things freeze and reheat well other do not American Chop Suey did not reheat well after freezing – the pasta got a little mushy but that Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai I made the other day did, I reheated in a fry pan added fresh peanuts and bean sprouts and a little more sauce mmmmm. Lyn freezes plain spaghetti squash but told me it is a little watery when reheated so I got my pan very hot and stir-fried until reheated this got rid of the excess moisture.

Freezer Burn

Freezer burn on a piece of beef 4003882014_6aba7bdc0eshutterstock_70258339Freezer Burn (film)

 

Freezer burn is not a food safety risk. It appears as grayish-brown leathery spots on frozen food, and occurs when air reaches the food’s surface and dries out the product. This can happen any time food is not securely wrapped in air-tight packaging. Color changes result from chemical changes in the food’s pigment. Although undesirable, freezer burn does not make the food unsafe. It merely causes dry spots in foods. Kind of looks like when you defrost in Microwave and some of the edges or thinner parts start to cook, I know you’ve been there.

Save It for Later

http://allrecipes.com

Making meals in advance can be as simple as doubling a casserole recipe or tossing an extra meatloaf into the oven.

Before You Freeze

Before freezing hot food, it’s important to let it cool down. Heat will raise the temperature of the freezer; and the food will not freeze uniformly, the outer edges of the hot dish will freeze hard quickly while the inside might not cool in time to prevent spoilage.

There are just a few things to keep in mind:

  • Cool precooked dishes as quickly as possible before they are placed in the freezer.
  • For fastest cooling, place the pan of hot food in a sink filled with ice water (or in a larger pan of ice water). If you’re cooling a soup, stew, or sauce, stir occasionally to help it cool evenly.
  • Once the dish is cooled, portion it into meal-sized containers or packages. Label and date the containers. Place them in a single layer in the coldest area of your freezer until completely frozen. Rearrange as necessary.

Tips for Freezing Foods

Poorly wrapped foods run the risk of developing freezer burn and unpleasant odors from other foods in the freezer. Follow these simple wrapping and container tips to ensure the quality and safety of your food:

  • Use only specialty freezer wrappings: they should be both moisture-proof and vapor-proof.
  • Leave as little air as possible in the packages and containers. When freezing liquids in containers, allow a small amount of head room for expansion. When using freezer bags, be sure to remove as much air as possible before closing.
  • Wrap solids foods like meats and baked goods tightly in foil before you bag them.
  • Use rigid containers with an air-tight lid and keep the sealing edge free from moisture or food to ensure proper closure.
  • Secure wrapped packages and containers with freezer tape, and write the dish and the date on the tape with a marker.
  • In many cases, meats and fish wrapped by the grocer or butcher need no extra attention before freezing. However, meat wrapped on Styrofoam trays with plastic wrap will not hold up well to freezing. If the food you want to freeze was not specially wrapped, then re-wrap them at home.
  • Freeze in small containers with no more than a 1-quart capacity to ensure that freezing takes place in a timely manner (i.e., within four hours). Food that is two inches thick will take about two hours to freeze completely.

food saver

Thawing Frozen Foods

With the exception of muffins, breads, and other baked goods, do not thaw foods at room temperature. Bacteria can grow in the thawed portion of prepared foods, releasing toxins that are unsafe to eat even after cooking.

To ensure that your food is safe to eat, follow one of these proper ways to thaw:

In the refrigerator: This is the slowest but safest thawing technique. Small frozen items might thaw in a few hours, while larger items will take significantly longer–overnight and then some.

In cold water: Place the frozen food in a leak-proof bag and place in a large container of cold water.

In a microwave on the defrost setting: Plan to cook the food immediately after it has thawed in a microwave, because some areas of the food might have begun cooking during the defrost cycle.

Best if Used By:

Although freezing keeps food safe for an indefinite amount of time, eventually the flavor will be affected. If the food is obviously damaged (shriveled, with white or frosty spots) it should be discarded.

This chart lists recommended storage times for popular precooked foods–casseroles, soups, lasagna–to ensure high-quality results:

Type of Food

Tomato/vegetable sauces – 6 months

Meatloaf (any type of meat)  – 6 months

Soups and stews –  2-3 months

Poultry and Meat Casseroles – 6 months

Poultry (cooked, no gravy)  – 3 months

Poultry (with gravy/sauce)  – 5-6 months

Meatballs in sauce  – 6 months

Pizza dough (raw, homemade) –  3-4 weeks

Muffins/quick breads (baked) 2-3 months

Don’t Crowd the Freezer

A temperature of 0 degrees F (-18 degrees C) is best for maintaining food quality. Proper air circulation is key to keeping your freezer operating at maximum efficiency.

Freezing does not kill bacteria, yeast and molds that might be in your foods–it merely holds them at bay by keeping them inactive. If the freezer’s temperature is disturbed often or altered for an extended period of time (such as a door left ajar or power outages) these microbes can compromise your food’s safety.

American Chop Suey and a bonus Mom’s receipe

Everyone has their own comfort foods, I have many but one of my favorites is American Chop Suey. Last summer when out to lunch with my Brother and Nancy the special of the day was American Chop Suey both my brother and I let out a gasp and our minds were made up. It was a disappointment not what Mom used to make, the taste in my mind was not met. I believe Mike felt the same way. For years I have tried this combination and that never matching my mom who swore she did not remember it had been years since she had made it for us. Then one day I came real close and have stuck to it since changing it ever so slightly every time I make it since I cook from the gut. My wife is not a fan of American Chop Suey so it is not made that often but it was today. Oh ya read below this recipe see what I found.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. lean Ground beef
  • 1 onion chopped roughly
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 green pepper cored, seeded and chopped
  • 28 oz. can whole tomatoes
  • 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 lb. box Elbow macaroni
  • Salt, pepper, oregano, basil, red-hot pepper flakes to taste
  • Ketchup (optional, not for me)

How:

In a fry pan cook hamburger, onion, and celery until meat is browned and the veggies are limp but still have some crunch left. While browning chop up the beef into small chunks. Drain off the grease.

Crush tomatoes by hand over the pan, pour in the juice from the can and the tomato sauce.

Add whatever spices you are comfortable with. I use salt, pepper, oregano, basil, (I suppose a short cut could be Italian seasoning mix) a good pinch of crushed red pepper flakes depends on your hotness taste. Add the chopped green pepper at this point I feel it kept them a little crunchier but I suppose you could add in the first step.

Bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes.

Meanwhile, bring five quarts of water to a boil, add the macaroni, and cook for about five minutes. The pasta should be aldente, not thoroughly cooked. Drain, return to pot and add the contents of the other pan. Gently simmer for five minutes to finish cooking the macaroni and to let it absorb the liquid.

Remove from heat, and put it to the side. I find that letting it sit for at least a half hour lets the flavors really come together I also stir occasionally to help cool and not over cook the pasta.

Ok now I was raised to top with ketchup when served but this is strictly optional, it just does not taste right to me without, what can I say?

Mom’s American Chop Suey (The card was numbered 87)

Mom passed in February and while cleaning out her condo my wife came across a little tin that had Mom’s recipes and there it was American Chop Suey. Now there is no way to know if this was what I had grown up with and how she may have morphed it but here is her recipe.

Maybe someday I will try this but for now I really like mine.

The index card had this information.

2 cups of elbow macaroni cooked 9 min and drained.

Sauté

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tbsp. salad oil
  • 1 lbs. chopped beef
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. Accent, salt, pepper

Drain fat and add:

  • 1 can tomato sauce (Hunt’s)
  • 3 cups tomato puree #2 ½ can (does this mean 2 and ½ cans)
  • ¼ tsp. instant bouillon
  • ½ oregano
  • Sprinkle with salt

Cook 10 minutes

Add cooked macaroni; simmer covered 1 hour

Mrs. Lawrence (Harriette) Pearlman – anyone remember her?