Posted in Beef, Boneless Pieces, Meat

Easy Shredded Beef

easy shredded beefDing, ding, ding!

In the category of last-minute-dinner-idea-that-becomes-a-new-favorite, we have another winner!

Shredded Beef.

(I know that the picture doesn’t really speak to this, but truthfully, I wasn’t really expecting this to be that good. But it is. And worth sharing despite the fact that I didn’t snap the pic before the vultures hungry males got to it.)

At 3pm yesterday, I had a chuck roast in the fridge and absolutely no idea what I was going to do with it. The kids had a mutiny the last time I made a pot roast “Why does it seem like this is all we’ve eaten lately?”

So, I needed to make a pot roast that didn’t look like a pot roast but by definition, was still actually a pot roast.

And so I decided to make shredded beef. If it doesn’t look like a pot roast, then it’s not really a pot roast. Semantics. Smoke and mirrors. Because that’s what good parenting is really all about, right?

This shredded beef is so darn delish, that I actually patted myself on the back. Literally. (You can thank me in the comments.)

And so stinking easy.

And four-fifths of the clan loved it!

There may even have been a bit of actual excitement in the voices of a few. About food. New food.

Shock. Awe. Astonishment.

Mr. Selective was the lone dissenter. His opinion, “The flavor gets stuck in my throat and that’s all I taste. There’s like no meat flavor just the flavor of the flavor.”

This is what I live with. Heaven help me.

Easy Shredded Beef
 
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Ingredients
  • 2-3 pound boneless chuck roast (well-marbled)
  • Steak Seasoning
  • 1 cup bone broth (or chicken broth)
  • Avocado Oil (or any oil) for searing
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Generously sprinkle the steak seasoning on both sides of the roast. And I do mean generous.
  3. Pour a glug (that is an official term) of oil into a skillet (big enough to fit your roast).
  4. Warm skillet over medium heat.
  5. Place roast in pan and sear both sides, 5-7 minutes each side. Make sure it's good and brown.
  6. Transfer roast to a roasting pan or a dutch oven and pour bone broth over top.
  7. Place in oven and bake for 2-2½ hours or until roast shreds easily.
  8. Transfer to a serving bowl and use 2 forks to shred meat.
  9. Sneak a little into a side bowl so that you can save some leftovers for yourself.
Notes
Make sure that your steak seasoning does not have any natural flavors or spice extractives because ... yuck.

You can easily make this in the crock pot, provided that you think about making things like this before 3pm. To make in the crock pot, after searing the meat, place meat in crock pot, pour broth over top and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4.

Inspired and adapted from Add A Pinch

This is a great recipe to freeze for leftovers.

I’m curious … what are your thoughts on flavor? In particular, do you have issues with it getting stuck in the throat?

Posted in Boneless Pieces, Chicken, Quick n Easy

Easy Skillet Chicken and Mushrooms

IMG_3791.JPGSo we were supposed to have Meatball Stroganoff last week but it was one of those menu items that just didn’t make the cut.

And since no one was terrifically disappointed (shocker!), I decided to repurpose the mushrooms for something a bit more crowd-pleasing.

Plus, I just wasn’t feeling the meatball love. Not that I ever really feel the meatball love. So. Much. Work.

But I had bordering-on-slimy mushrooms to use. And so, this little treat was born.

The Man was skeptical at first, but that didn’t last long.

The best part – EVERYONE ate it. I did contemplate cooking some separate chicken thighs but that was just more time, effort and energy than I was willing to put forth for my children. More points for that Mother of the Year award.

Easy Skillet Chicken and Mushrooms
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 8 oz package mushrooms, sliced (I used baby bellas, but you can use whatever)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1½ cups bone broth or chicken broth
  • ¼ cup brown rice flour
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Salt and pepper both sides of each chicken breast.
  3. Drop the butter in the iron skillet and melt over medium heat.
  4. When the butter has melted, swirl it around in the pan to make the bottom is covered with butter. Let it warm just until it starts to smoke but before it starts to brown.
  5. Gently place chicken breasts in hot skillet. If you don't want to do it gently, that's your prerogative. Consider yourself warned.
  6. Brown chicken breasts on both sides. Remove from skillet onto a plate or something.
  7. Drop the next tablespoon of butter in the skillet.
  8. Add mushrooms. Let cook for 4-5 minutes.
  9. Add onion and garlic. Let cook for a couple of minutes.
  10. Add wine. Cook until it's almost gone (magic in the kitchen!).
  11. Add 1¼ cups of the broth. Stir.
  12. Mix brown rice flour with the remaining broth. Add to skillet and stir.
  13. Cook for a few minutes until it starts to get thick and then add the thyme and cheese.
  14. Stir to melt the cheese.
  15. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  16. Return the chicken to the skillet and flip it so that you get the sauce on both sides.
  17. Shove the skillet in the oven. Gently, of course.
  18. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  19. Sprinkle more shredded cheese on top.
  20. If you licked the spoon before you put it in the oven, be sure to get another before you serve. People don't want your germs.
Notes
I used Parmesan because it was all that I had. I think Asiago or an aged Fontina will give it a bigger punch. If you don't like your food to punch, then stick with the Parmesan.

This would be good with a cup of peas added in before you put the skillet in the oven.I didn't want to tempt fate and give anyone any reason to turn their nose up. Next time for sure.

We had this over leftover brown rice couscous. If you haven’t tried this yet, I highly suggest it. It’s brown rice without all of the time that it takes to cook it. Score!

Personally, I think everyone was just glad that it wasn’t meatball stroganoff.

Posted in Boneless Pieces, Chicken

Pickle Chicken

IMG_3702.JPGI scream. You scream. We all scream for … Pickle Chicken!

I couldn’t really think of a good rhyme.  Just go with it.

Even though now I’ve got you thinking about ice cream which likely does not put you in the mood for chicken.

In the early days of switching our eating, we decided that we were not going to eat fast food (except on rare or “special” occasions because it’s part of our world and we prefer not to set ourselves up for failure). Not that we had eaten much before, but we had made our fair share of trips to McDonald’s and Chick-Fil-A.

Yes. I know. Shock and dismay. I hang my head in shame and with regret.

But not really, because we didn’t know what we know now. So, it’s all part of the learning experience of life.

Back to the early days … since we had sworn off fast food, I thought I would try my hand at some homemade Chick-Fil-A.

The first time I made this, I think the heavens opened for the children because it may have been the first time that they realized I could make something that they actually, really and truly, love. Sure, there are lots plenty of some things that they eat and enjoy, but they have some serious adoration of this chicken.

Like fist-pumping, “Yes!”-shouting … the kind of excitement that is usually reserved for everything except food.

Having made it several times, I have tweaked it (and unsuccessfully tried to gluten-free, Paleo it) to the point of near perfection in flavor. Says me. And my three minions. Which should really be enough for you. And gives me license to call it perfect.

It is time-consuming and can make the kitchen a bit fried-smelly so I don’t make it as often as my boys would like, but it is definitely a regular at our table. In fact, I buy this big ‘ole jar of pickles just so that I have enough “pickle juice” to make this chicken.

IMG_3700.JPG

You can either fry them, or to minimize the mess to the stove top and the time involved, you can flash fry in the skillet and finish them in the oven. I have found that an iron skillet or griddle pan in the oven works best to keep the chicken crispy, but you can also use a jellyroll pan or cookie sheet.  Just be sure to warm the pan before you put the chicken on it.

Be forewarned, this recipe is dish-heavy, so I try to make sides that don’t require much time or extra dish usage. If you love dishes and enjoy spending all that time cleaning up in the evenings, then please feel free to make it as complicated as you’d like.

Pickle Chicken
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 5 medium chicken breasts
  • 1 cup (or more) pickle juice
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup flour (or ½ cup flour and ½ cup panko breadcrumbs)
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ tsp dry mustard
  • Refined coconut oil or palm oil, for frying
Instructions
  1. About 8 hours before or, if you can, the night before, cut chicken breasts into similar size pieces. The smaller the pieces the longer it takes to cook, but the more crispy you have in each bite. It's a delicate balance. Figure out which one works for you.
  2. Place chicken in 1 cup pickle juice, adding enough so that the chicken is completely submerged.
  3. About an hour (or as much in advance of cooking as possible), remove chicken from marinade and set on a plate covered with a paper towel. It's best to let the chicken dry before coating so that the moisture doesn't cause the breading to fall off (which will disappoint most of your customers ... not that this has ever happened to me).
  4. In a bowl, combine and stir flour (or flour and panko), paprika, sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, baking soda, and dry mustard and set aside.
  5. In another bowl, whisk egg and buttermilk together.
  6. If finishing in the oven, preheat oven to 450 degrees. If you're using an iron skillet, place that in the oven at the same time. If using a pan with another material, you can put it in when you start cooking the chicken.
  7. Drop a hefty tablespoon of your chosen cooking oil into an iron skillet. Warm to medium/medium high heat.
  8. Dredge one piece of chicken at a time in egg bath, ensuring each side is wet and dredge in flour mixture coating each side.
  9. Place each flour coated chicken piece on a separate plate.
  10. When oil is hot (you'll know this because a circle will form in the middle of the skillet), place chicken gently in the hot oil.
  11. If you're using a cookie sheet and not an iron skillet/griddle pan in the oven, you should put it in the oven now.
  12. Cook until crispy on either side and then transfer chicken to the pan in the oven. If not putting it in the oven, then make sure the chicken is cooked through.
  13. Remove chicken to your serving plate. If you're like me, that's just a regular dinner plate. Because I'm not trying to win any awards for fancy dinners. Especially with fried chicken pieces.
Notes
I have tried tapioca flour and arrowroot flour, which get crispy but then get gummy as the chicken cools. I have also tried almond flour and I find that the breading tends not to stick.

I have not yet successfully figured out how to let the chicken cool without the bottom losing its crisp.  Any suggestions would be most welcome!

Also, make sure to take a bit more than you might want because it will disappear quickly. Like suddenly someone pressed the fast forward button on your table and before you can hit stop, the chicken is gone. And you’re still hungry.

Which is really okay, because you know you wanted ice cream anyway.

Posted in Beef, Boneless Pieces, Quick n Easy, Slow Cooker

Butternut Squash Beef Stew

butternut squash beef stew from change of plates

Every so often I make something new, hoping that everyone will eat it (not like it, mind you – I’ve given up hoping for that) without a fuss. And then they actually do.

This was not one of those times.

The Man and I both thought it was delish.

The Bread Guy loved it for the first few bites, then decided that he wasn’t really fond of it, but he’d eat it anyway and by the end, he was just stirring his spoon around his bowl, stalling and laboring in the way he does when we’ve served him poison. That’s what you’d think anyway. He didn’t finish it.

Mr. Selective liked the first bite, changed his mind quickly and went for the PB&J.

Big Britches picked all of the meat out and ate it (shocking!), but only because I told him I was not making a sandwich.

Which brings the total of things that Mom and Dad will eat to about 332.  List of things that everyone will eat … still 7.

Butternut Squash Beef Stew
 
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Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. grass-fed beef stew meat
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp refined coconut oil (or any oil of your choice)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 yellow or red potatoes, diced
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 3 c. bone broth (or whatever broth you use)
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (I use Annie's)
  • 1 8 oz container mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 6 ounces frozen green peas
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Season the meat with salt and pepper.
  2. Drop the coconut oil into a large skillet (preferably iron) and warm it to medium.
  3. Sear the meat on all sides, 5-10 minutes.
  4. While meat is searing, chop all vegetables except mushrooms and place in slow cooker.
  5. Add beef to slow cooker. Add broth, paprika, Worcestershire sauce.
  6. Set the slow cooker to low and move on with your day. About 5-6 hours later, the meat should be tender and the vegetables cooked.
  7. Add the peas and mushrooms and let cook for another 30 minutes.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Looking at that picture, I really can’t blame them for not eating it.  Can you?