Beef Rotel – Just in time for the “old” Tax Day

Beef Rotel 051Woot! I got my stimulus check in the bank today.  What an unexpected surprise on the “old” Tax Day.

I finally got a time slot to order from Walmart. I really, really wanted to do Rotel with the Velveeta Queso Blanco, but they were out it. It is a good thing I had the Velveeta Original to use instead. Walmart used to “spoil” me, with my favorites like Salsa Verde Doritos. But that was also out of stock, so I had to use the Cool Ranch and Nacho Cheese Doritos.

INGREDIENTS:Beef Rotel 008

  1. Ground Beef, 2 lbs
  2. Beef Chorizo, recommended: Cacique, 10 oz.
  3. Taco Seasoning, recommended: Williams, 2.5 oz (2 packages)
  4. Fiery Tasty Seasoning Mix, recommended: McCormick, 1 oz.
  5. Diced Tomatoes with Lime & Cilantro, recommended: Rotel, 10 oz.
  6. Diced Tomatoes Chunky with Green Chilies, recommended: Rotel, 10 oz.Beef Rotel 005
  7. Diced Tomatoes Original with Green Chilies, recommended: Rotel, 10 oz.
  8. Cheese Pasteurized Original, recommended: Velveeta, 32 oz.
  9. Cool Ranch Tortilla Chips, recommended: Doritos, 5 to 7 per person or more
  10. Mirepoix with yellow onions, celery, and carrots, 10 oz.
  11. Cola or soda to thin out, to your preference, recommended: Coca Cola, ½ to 1 cup
  12. Jalapeño peppers Hot & Sweet, sliced, recommended: HyVee, as desired
  13. Sour Cream, recommended: Daisy, a dollopBeef Rotel 004
  14. Cookie Baking Sheets Parchment Paper, recommended: Reynolds Kitchens, 1

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Freeze the Velveeta Cheese for 30 minutes (the foil only, not the box).
  2. Combine Ground Beef and Beef Chorizo in the same skillet that you will cook it in. No extra bowl to clean – Woot! I turned it 7 minutes then 8 minutes, so it was brown, about the same time as the freezer cheese.Beef Rotel 017
  3. Drain the grease.
  4. Put the slow cooker liner in the crock pot and to that add the “cooked” Ground Beef/Beef Chorizo.
  5. Next add the Fiery Tasty and both Taco Seasoning packages and stir into meat.
  6. Add the Mirepoix next.
  7. Cut the cheese into 8 pieces (I cut through the foil) on top of the Parchment Cookie Sheets and then added it to the slow cooker
  8. Add the 3 cans of Diced Tomatoes on top.
  9. If it looks too thick, you can add some Cola to thin it out.Beef Rotel 019
  10. Drain the meat grease; I used the empty Rotel can to dispose of the grease.
  11. Cook on low for 4 hours; stir to combine after 2 hours.
  12. Then I added a dollop of Daisy Sour Cream.
  13. I like to add the Sweet & Hot Jalapeño next.
  14. I crushed some Dorito Tortilla chips and put that on the top.

I am so glad that Walmart finally has some spots open for grocery delivery. I am also thankful that I could use Aldi (first 3 deliveries free) and HyVee. Food is food and it is a blessing to have it.Beef Rotel 024

 

 

 

 

 

THE VAMPIRE DANCER COOKBOOK IS COMING!Beef Rotel 027

Check out the sample and get your copy here:  Audible.com The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 Audiobook

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Kung Pao Pork Chops with Teriyaki Rice & Stir Fry Vegetables

Teriyaki Rice Stir Fry 019I used to work downtown and had the opportunity to choose a different place to eat lunch every day. One of my favorites was eating General Tso’s and Kung Pao Chicken at the Panda Express. So I want to use those flavors in my Asian-inspired Dinners.

One thing that I loved about my Mom’s cooking, was that she was not afraid to try new cuisines. I remember her making an “Asian-style” dinner using La Choy products. “East Meets West, La Choy makes Chinese food – swing American!” This dinner will include the Pork Chops and Teriyaki Rice.Kung Pao Pork Chops 037

RIP: Momma Bear slow cooker. I had 3 different slow cooker sizes to accommodate large, medium and small meals. So Papa Bear, Momma Bear and Baby Bear slow cookers. The Momma Bear slow cooker somehow got grease trapped inside the cooking unit, so she had to be banished to the basement. I was searching for a 4 Quart replacement slow cooker, and came across the Presto Indoor Electric Smoker/Slow Cooker combination. I cannot be trusted with either a gas grill or wood/gas smoker. So I gave my smoker to my brother and had planned to buy an electric one to replace it. They were in the $100.00 range, so I put it on the back burner.20200211_145509 Until, I came across the smoker/slow cooker for less than $60.00. Cool! I can kill two birds with one stone. Found a cheaper smoker and a replacement for the Momma Bear slow cooker.

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Pork Loins, Chop Bone-In Brined Louisiana Style Griller, 3 lbs.
  2. Soy Sauce, recommended: Great Value, 2 teaspoons
  3. Sazón, recommended: Goya, 1 packet
  4. Kung Pao Sauce, recommended: Panda Express, ½ to 1 cup, per your preference **Teriyaki Rice Stir Fry 001
  5. Peanuts, Salted, recommended: Planters, two 1.75 oz. bags
  6. Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, Recommended: Huy Fong Foods, 1 to 2 teaspoons
  7. Sesame Seed Oil, recommended: Imperial Dragon, 2 teaspoons
  8. Fish Sauce, recommended: Thai Kitchen, ½ teaspoon
  9. Rice Wine Vinegar, Natural & Mellow, recommended: Nakano, 1 to ½ teaspoons, as desired
  10. Liquid Smoke, Applewood, recommended: Wrights, 1 cap
  11. Hickory BBQ Wood Chips, recommended: Western, enough to fill “Charring” cup, or your favorit20200214_182823e brand. The Wood Chips are not required if you only want to pan-grill the pork chops, use a slow cooker or BBQ Grill. This is optional, depending on your preferred cooking method.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Marinade the Pork Chops with the Soy Sauce and Sazón, overnight or up to 30 minutes. I had to freeze the Pork Chops after this marinade, because I was not sure how I was going to cook them yet.20200214_183421
  2. After unthawing the Pork Chops, I added the Fish Sauce and Liquid Smoke to the marinade bag, 30 minutes before cook time.
  3. Preheat a skillet and add the Sesame Seed Oil, then cook the Pork Chops for 2-3 minutes per side. I used a “grill” skillet to get grill marks on them. Add a splash of Rice Wine Vinegar to de-glaze the skillet.
  4. Next, you can use a Slow Cooker to slowly cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. At this point, you can add enough Kung Pao sauce to your preference. I am going to “smoke” the Pork Chops for 4 hours in the Smoker/Slow Cooker combo.20200214_234106
  5. Then I will put them in the Slow Cooker and cover with the Kung Pao sauce, Peanuts and Sriracha for 2 hours on low.

** You can also make your own Kung Pao (pao = peanuts) sauce using soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic, ginger, scallions and/or dried red peppers. To save money and time, I preferred to use a shortcut by buying pre-made Kung Pao. I have most of those ingredients, but not all of them. So it was cheaper to buy the bottled sauce.

Side Dish: Teriyaki Rice with Stir Fry VegetablesTeriyaki Rice Stir Fry 013

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Teriyaki Rice, recommended: Knorr, 5.4 oz.
  2. Stir Fry Vegetables, frozen, recommended: HyVee, 8 oz.
  3. Chicken Won Ton Soup, recommended: Campbell’s, 10 ½ oz.
  4. Chicken Broth, recommended: That’s Smart, 2 ½ cups, divided
  5. Ponzu Citrus Seasoning Dressing & Sauce, recommended: Kikkoman, ¼ to ½ teaspoon, or use lemon or lime juice to add freshness
  6. Soy Sauce, recommended: Great Value, 2 tablespoons
  7. Stir Fry Oil, recommended: Tsang, ½ teaspoonTeriyaki Rice Stir Fry 007
  8. Butter, 2 tablespoons, divided
  9. Chinese Five Spice, recommended Tone’s, ¼ teaspoon
  10. Wonton Strips, recommended: Great Value, as desired
  11. Sriracha Sauce, recommended: Huy Fong Foods, ½ teaspoon
  12. Kung Pao Pork Chops (leftovers, including the peanuts), optional

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Prepare the Stir Fry Vegetables in a separate pot. Melt 1 tablespoon of Butter with Stir Fry Oil and Chinese Five Spice for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of Chicken Broth and bring to a boil. Add the Stir FryTeriyaki Rice Stir Fry 008 Vegetables and bring to a boil. Season with Soy Sauce and a dash of Ponzu Citrus Dressing. Cover and simmer on low for 5 minutes.
  2. In a separate pot combine Rice, 2 tablespoons of Butter and 2 Cups of Chicken Broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for 7 minutes.
  3. Combine the Chicken Won Ton Soup with the Stir Fry Vegetables and then combine both pots together.
  4. Thinly slice the Kung Pao Pork Chops (or other meat, or keep it meatless). I warmed up the Pork Chops slices for a few minutes and then added the Rice/Vegetable mixture. Heated together for a few minutes.Kung Pao Pork Chops 033
  5. I dressed this All-in-one Bowl with Sriracha Sauce and crunchy Wonton Strips.

Since I have 4 Pork Chops, that will be 4 dinners made in advance. Then combine them with the Rice and Vegetables for the rest of the week.

It was delish and something different for a change. I usually have Salad as my side dish for 4 days out of the week. The Stir Fry Vegetables and Rice will be a great substitute, to get veggies and fiber into my diet on non-salad days.

 

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Greek Chili for a Chilly Night

Chili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 085I used to Belly Dance in Greek and Middle Eastern restaurants back in the 80s. My favorite “taste” of Greek food included Gyros (with Feta and Lamb), Kabobs (with Sumac), Tzatziki (with Cucumbers), Hummus (from Garbanzo Beans AKA Chickpeas) and Spanakopita (with Spinach). So why not mix those flavors with my favorite dish: Chili?

My original chili was Beef Chili. My family loved it! It was thick, meaty and spicy! Using a slow cooker, instead of a stock pot, allowed all of the ingredients time to meld together. Next came CMcCormick Fiery Tastyhicken Chili made with Butter Beans, White Kidney Beans, Ground Turkey, Italian Sausage and chopped Polish Sausage.

To save calories, but keep the bold and spicy flavors intact, my next chili creation used Ground Turkey, Italian Sausage, Turkey Polish Sausage and Pork Chorizo. In fact, I liked it better than my “Slap Ya Momma” Beef Chili. None of the flavor was missing. And in fact, it was even spicier by using Diced Tomatoes with Jalapeno and Habanero peppers and the McCormick Tasty Fiery Seasoning Mix of Sriracha, Lime and Garlic!

The chili seasoning can make or break your chili. It makes all of the difference in the world. Back when I first started making chili, I would buy the cheapest chili seasoning. You know the one that is Chili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 003the store brand or 50 cents or less. Then I discovered Williams Chili Seasoning. And I will admit: they are the best. They are the reason why my Chili brings so many compliments.

I have to admit that McCormick Seasonings are stepping up their game. They released the “Tasty” blends, that bump up the flavor using Sriracha, Lime, Garlic, Lemon Zest, Basil, Oregano, etc. I love using the Lemon Zest to season my Tuna and Catfish Nuggets. And when you mix Williams and McCormick together, get ready for a spicy flavor bomb!

Chili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 042I had 3 hours of sleep and my Dishwasher is broken. Which means, I am mixing the meats in the skillet, instead of washing a bowl by hand. I have the slow cooker set for 4 hours, just enough time for a catnap before my Chili dinner on a chilly (19 degree) day!

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Ground Lamb, recommended: Marketside Superior Farms, 2 lb.
  2. Pork Chorizo, recommended: Cacique, 10 ozChili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 040.
  3. Italian Sausage Mild, recommended: Great Value, 1 lb
  4. Spinach, frozen chopped, recommended Great Value, 12 oz
  5. Garbanzo Beans, Chick Peas, recommended: Bush’s Best, two 15.5 oz. cans
  6. Kidney Beans, Dark Red, recommended: Great Value, 15.5 oz.
  7. Diced Tomatoes with Jalapeno and Habanero, recommended: Del Monte, two 14.5 oz. cans
  8. Diced Tomatoes with Zesty Chili Style, recommended: Del Monte, 14.5 oz.Chili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 046
  9. Jalapeno Peppers, diced, recommended: Great Value, 4 oz.
  10. Chili Seasoning, Tex-Mex style, recommended: Williams, 1 oz.
  11. Chili Seasoning, Original style, recommended: Williams, 1 oz.
  12. Fiery Tasty Seasoning Mix with Sriracha, Lime and Garlic, recommended: McCormick, 1 oz.
  13. Mirepoix with diced Yellow Onion, Carrot and Celery, 8 oz.
  14. Garlic, smashed, 10-11 cloves
  15. Sumac, recommended: Zamouri Spices, ½ teaspoonChili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 052
  16. Cabernet Sauvignon, recommended: Yosemite Road, 1 cup
  17. Balsamic Vinegar, 2-3 teaspoons
  18. Liquid to thin it out, such as Cola, Chicken Broth, Water or Ice Cubes (as needed, depending on how thick or thin you prefer your chili to be), ½ to 1 can.
  19. Plastic Gloves, disposal will do
  20. Slow Cooker Liners, recommended: Reynolds

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Gloves oChili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 083n and ready to cut off the Garlic heads. Add them to the slow cooker liner and smash them with a small bowl.
  2. Mix ground Lamb, Italian Sausage and Pork Chorizo in the skillet and then brown in skillet for about 20 to 25 minutes. Add half of the Wine and Mirepoix. Cook on low for 5 minutes and then drain. I use an empty bean or diced tomato can for the grease.
  3. Drain and rinse beans. I top the beans with a dash of Sumac!
  4. Top the smashed Garlic with the remaining Mirepoix and Spinach. Then add the Tex-Mex Chili seasoning, Wine and Balsamic Vinegar. Chili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 049
  5. Add the Meats and then the Fiery Tasty Seasoning packet.
  6. Add the drained beans and then the Original Chili seasoning
  7. Add the 3 cans of Diced Tomatoes.
  8. Thin out with Liquids, if you want thinner Chili. I used a half can of Cola for a “sweet” touch.
  9. Add the Jalapeno Peppers and Sumac during the last 30 minutes of cook time.
  10. Cook on high 4 hours or low 8 hours, stir halfway through.

Chili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 086I like to top mine with Feta & Cheddar Cheese, Diced Cucumbers, Lime Juice and a dollop of Daisy Sour Cream.

 

Check out the sample and get your copy here:  Audible.com The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 Audiobook

The Vampire Dancer Saga Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 are all Audiobooks now available at  Audible.com and iTunes (click the word Audible or iTunes to open link to store).

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What’s for dinner tonight? Meatloaf!

WP_000378Growing up, my Mom always baked meatloaf in the oven.  It was a traditional meatloaf with ground beef and cubed toast.  My Aunt Forestine kicked it up a notch by adding cheese or using sausage with beef.

So for many years I baked my meatloaf like my Mom in the oven.  As I began collecting slow cookers, I had the courage to try meatloaf in a slow cooker.

Meatloaf April 11 2015 008It was a good choice.  Even though I miss the “brown” edges from an oven, the slow cooker has an advantage to where you can cook the entire meal in one pot.

So I put the veggies on the bottom of the crock pot.  Use whatever your family likes, for example carrots and potatoes diced, frozen vegetables, etc.  The veggies end up with so much flavor and sometimes steal the show from the meatloaf.  The veggies are a bit greasy from the meat on top, but still very tasty.  Optional, you Meatloaf April 11 2015 017can also use the slow cooker lifting pan as pictures below left, for separation.

With some recipes, I don’t like to experiment.  For example, I try to cook my Fritters the same way, instead of adding too many variations.  When I cook scrambled eggs, I get bored and sometimes like to try a a different cheese or use buttermilk or sour cream.

The meatloaf that I am cooking for dinner tonight has some new WP_000368ingredients.  I did not have any fresh or canned carrots, so I used frozen mixed vegetables instead.  I used 5 potatoes, diced and added some jalapeno peppers to the veggies and meat mixture for some heat.

Did you notice the gloves in the photos?  The gloves are less than $2 for 5 sets and are really handy for chopping onions or mixing meatloaf.  Garlic, put cloves in a plastic bag and crush them with a hammer.

Meatloaf April 11 2015 021It’s nice to kick it up a notch like Aunt Forestine and try something new with a recipe.  I how this one inspires you for the next time you desire Meatloaf.

Meatloaf

INGREDIENTS:
Ground Beef, 1 lb
Sausage, 1 lb
2 Eggs, large or jumbo
Meatloaf Seasoning (Williams, recommended), 2 packages 1.25 oz. each, divided
Meatloaf April 11 2015 020Diced Onions, frozen, ½ cup
Stove Top Stuffing Mix (Kraft, recommended), 6 oz.
Beef Bouillon Cube (Knorr, recommended), 1 cube
Stewed Tomatoes Original Recipe with Onions, Celery & Green Peppers (Del Monte, recommended), 14.5 oz
Petite Cut Diced Tomatoes with Garlic & Olive Oil, 14.5 oz.
Fresh Cut Diced New Potatoes (Del Monte, recommended), 14.5 oz.
Carrots Sliced, 14.5 oz.
Tomato Soup (Campbell’s, recommended), 10 ¾ oz., or Tomato Paste, 12 oz.
WP_000351 - CopyWorcestershire Sauce, 1 tablespoon
Garlic 1-5 cloves
Celery Seed, ¼ teaspoon

INSTRUCTIONS:
Beat 2 eggs in large mixing bowl
Add 1 package Meatloaf Seasoning, Diced Onions and Stove Top Stuffing and mix well.
Put Bouillon Cube in bottom of 6-7 Quart Slow Cooker, add Sliced Carrots and Diced Potatoes, top with Worcestershire Sauce, WP_000380 - CopyMinced Garlic and Celery Seed
Add Ground Beef, Sausage, Stewed & Diced Tomatoes and remaining Meatloaf package to large bowl and mix well. This is a good time to use disposable gloves for mixing!
Add Beef & Sausage mix on top of Carrots/Potatoes. Cook on High for 4-4.5 Hours
Top with Tomato Soup or Tomato Paste during last 30 minutes of cooking time

The Vampire Dancer Saga Parts 1, 2 and 3 are all Audiobooks now available at  Audible.com and iTunes (click the word Audible or iTunes to open link to store).

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