I want to share something with you that’s so simple it’s hardly even a recipe – more like a method. But it’s one of my go-to foods in my arsenal of keeping me away from simple carbs because it’s quick, easy, and delicious both hot and cold!
All it is is chicken breasts, sauteed in a cast iron pan until caramelized and crisp and flavorful. Here’s the best thing about this chicken: since it’s delicious cold, this is perfect for food on the go. If I’m going to be somewhere that I need to pack lunch, or on a trip and want to take easy protein along, I’ll cook up three or four chicken breasts this way, cut them into bite sized pieces, and store in a container. All I have to do is pop a few in my mouth whenever I feel peckish and they’re so good – so completely flavorful and satisfying. So if you’re stuck for what to do about lunch on the go without being able to eat sandwiches anymore, this is your answer!
A note about cookware: For this to really work, a cast iron skillet is really necessary. There’s no way you’ll ever get that beautiful brown, caramelized goodness from a nonstick pan. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet you can always do this anyway in whatever pan you have and it’ll taste fine – but it won’t come close to the fantastic goodness that a cast iron skillet will give it! (consider this your motivation to go get one. A 12 inch Lodge pan at Target is only like $20, so what are you waiting for?)
This is another one of those “set it and forget it” meat dishes that I love. Like the rest of them, it’s super easy, and just takes time. If you’re at home all day, just start it around noon and it’ll be ready for dinner. If you’re at work all day, stick it in the crock pot on low and it’ll be ready when you get home! Love those kinds of recipes!
About 10 years ago a friend showed me how to make beef brisket using a can of cranberry sauce, a packet of onion soup mix, and beef broth. It made an absolutely delicious sauce and turned out perfectly every time! Of course, I’m obviously not going to use either cranberry sauce (because of the sugar) or onion soup mix (because of…well…everything). So I came up with this version instead.
And it turns out that this makes an even more delectable, irresistible sauce that that old version! My son says that it’s “saucesome.” Real food never disappoints!!
Take your beef brisket (preferably from a grass-fed cow!), and season both sides with salt, pepper, turmeric, and marjoram.
Heat a large skillet until hot and put in some olive oil, then brown the brisket on both sides.
Pick up the brisket and slip some sliced onions into the pan, then place the brisket on top of them.
Then pour in 2 cups beef broth, 1/2 cup red wine, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, and 5 pitted dates.
Yes, I said dates! Even if you don’t like to eat dates, stick them in anyway – you don’t have to eat them. They serve the purpose that the cranberry sauce did in my old recipe: they sweeten up the sauce. As they simmer in the liquid, all their natural sweetness seeps out into the sauce and makes it super yummy!!
Pop a lid on it, turn the heat down to low so that the liquid is barely simmering, and leave it for 4-5 hours.
Then you end up with this!
If you’re bothered by the fact of the dates, you can remove them now. Otherwise, kind of mash them down to incorporate them into the rest of the sauce.
I always like to serve this with rice, because the sauce poured over top of the rice is absolutely delicious! And we’re really into turmeric rice lately because it’s pretty, and because turmeric is so healthy, so that’s why it’s yellow.
And that’s it!
(If you want to do this in a crock pot, you’d season and brown the brisket in the oil, then put all the other ingredients in the crock pot and put the brisket on top. Leave it on low all day, or on high for half a day.)
The dates in this recipe lend the sauce its wonderful slight sweetness, so even if you don't like dates leave them in! It's yummy!
1 beef brisket (preferably from a grass-fed cow)
1 onion sliced into rounds
turmeric, salt, pepper, and marjoram
2 cups beef broth
½ cup red wine
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
5 pitted dates
Season the brisket with the spices.
Heat a large skillet until very hot and drizzle in some olive oil. Add in the onions and then place the roast on top.
Sear the brisket on both sides until browned.
Pour in all the liquid and add in the dates.
Turn down the heat to low and let the liquid barely simmer for 4-5 hours.
If you don't want to eat the dates, remove them. Otherwise you can kind of mash them down to become more a part of the sauce.
Serve with rice or something on which you can pour the yummy sauce!
(To do this in a crock pot, season and sear the meat, then put the brisket in the crock pot on top of the sliced onions and add in the liquids and dates. Cook on high for half a work day or on low for a whole work day.
I recently bought half a pastured pig from my nephew.
In case you didn’t know, half a pig is a whole lotta pig. Like, 60 pounds. So when I got home with a year’s worth of pork, I stuffed my chest freezer with it. There were three pork shoulders left from last year’s pig purchase, so I took them out to put them on top – so that I’d be sure to use those first.
Which would have been exactly the thing to do if I hadn’t forgotten to put them back in! Instead, they sat out on the floor of my basement the entire night. I didn’t remember them until the next morning. When I did remember them, I knew I’d have to cook them up since you can’t re-freeze meat. So that decided the issue of what to have for dinner that night! (and every other night for the next two weeks….)
Pork shoulder is great for pulled pork – like my Carolina Pork BBQ – but it’s also really good slow roasted. It comes out all melty and falling apart and delicious. And you can roast some root veggies right in the pan with the pork and have a whole meal out of it, so it’s an easy meal!
Most people have never eaten, or even considered eating, lamb shanks. Let me rephrase: Most AMERICANS have never considered it. Because, certainly, they’re common enough in the rest of the world – particularly the Mediterranean and Middle East. For some reason, though, lamb has an odd reputation in America and most Americans seem afraid of going anywhere near it.
My grandmother immigrated from Scotland, land of sheep, so my mother grew up eating plenty of lamb. And, therefore, I did too. But I’d never made shanks until about 10 years ago when my mother found this recipe and started making it. And I was instantly in love.
I love a good roasted leg of lamb as well as the next (non-American) person. But these shanks are now my favorite form of lamb. They are so tender – just falling off the bone, melting in your mouth, tender – and full of exquisite flavor. Probably because they’re so common in the middle east, this recipe has tons of spices.
Don’t be scared! It looks like a lot of flavor, but I promise you it’s PERFECT.
The thing with shanks is that they have to cook for a really long time to make them tender. There’s a pretty strong facia (or whatever) covering all the meat that needs to be cooked slowly to tenderize them. This is not a meal you can whip up in half an hour. So, this is a meal for a day off or a weekend. Or if, like me, you do your work at home it can be an any-day-of-the-week meal! But it’s especially good on cold, rainy, or blustery days. The perfect warm-your-bones sort of meal!
When I was very small, my mother worked at a restaurant owned by a German guy named Heinrich. Heinrich named the restaurant after himself. Or, rather, after the nickname for the name “Heinrich.”
Do you know the nickname for Heinrich?
Do you see where this is going?
Yes. Dear old Heinrich named his restaurant “Heinie’s.” I am not joking.
One would think that having a name that is the slang term for one’s butt would have turned people off from wanting to eat there, but he actually did pretty good business. And he apparently had pretty good food.
One of the dishes that he made was something called Tallerine. Until precisely 5 minutes ago, I’d always believed he invented this dish, because I’ve never met anyone else who knew about it. I searched online just to make sure, though – you know, so that I wouldn’t be wrong on the internet – and was surprised to find tons of pages about it. So, Heinie didn’t invent it. But he did give my family the idea for making it, and I’ve never in my life met anyone else who knew about it, so he still gets the credit as far as I’m concerned!
Tallerine (or my version of it, at any rate) is pasta, ground beef, tomatoes, corn, and spices mixed together and then baked with shredded cheddar cheese on top. It’s a simple and yet delicious combination of flavors, and is a staple in our house because it’s so easy and is an all-in-one dish. I’ll often make the meat part ahead of time and freeze it, so on busy days all I have to do is thaw it and make the pasta, and then stick it in the oven. This is a great recipe to have in your repertoire to pull out when you don’t know what else to make!
The farm that hosts our CSA, Snipes, is just about 2 miles from our house. It’s an old farm that has been in the Snipes family for 8 generations!! Our entire region used to be farmland, but theirs is the only one left, still standing after all these years right in the middle of urban sprawl. It’s really something of a miracle. So when they announced last spring that they were starting animal shares (for grass-fed/pastured meat, milk, and eggs) I jumped on board! It’s really pretty cool that, now, the meat we eat is raised just down the road from where we live.
We bought a pig share and a cow share, since they were the most affordable, and it’s been great to be able to see those animals grazing around. It’s a real comfort to know without a doubt the condition my meat is in. It’s not only important to me for humane reasons, but also for health reasons.
Here are the piggies. They forage free in the brush, and are moved every couple months or so to get new land to dig up!
Compare that to the way factory farmed pork and ham that’s sold in the supermarket is raised. How healthy do you think these animals really are, cooped up like that, eating only grain (which is probably GMO)? Pigs aren’t supposed to eat grain – they’re supposed to eat roots and bugs and plants. And the meat from animals that eat their natural diet is exponentially healthier for us!!
And here’s one of the cows, grazing away happily.
We started getting our pig share in the early summer, and an interesting thing happened. As we were eating our first pork chops I was intimately aware of the animal that had died so that we could have that meal. It wasn’t just some anonymous “meat” from the store – it was an actual animal I had met. So in our blessing before dinner I mentioned it, and asked that God help us not take for granted the lives that give us our food.
I’ve also found myself being very conscious of not wasting any of it. I want every morsel to be eaten or used to make soup or something. I find myself wanting to honor the life of the animal by not wasting it.
So it’s all been an interesting – and I think beneficial – change in how we view the meat that we eat.
Okay. So down to the recipe. (After all, that’s really why you’re here, right?)
Every time I hear about schnitzel, the first thing I think of is this scene from “Hoodwinked.” (you might need to reload the page and disable any ad-blockers to see it.)
“Schniiiiiiiitzeeeeelllll!” “Ooooo, the Schnitzel Man!” (We think this is hilarious. I don’t care what that says about us.)
And the second thing I think of is my husband.
Not that my husband resembles a schnitzel or anything. I think of him because schnitzel is his all-time favorite meal, having grown up eating it because his mother is German. His birthday was on Saturday, and so, as usual, he requested Wienerschnitzel and Spaetzle for his birthday meal. Along with asparagus and lemon cake and strawberries. Mmmmm. I have to say, it was an easy request to fulfill!
My mother and youngest niece were visiting too, so it was a great day with some of my most-loved people!
You might not know what Wienerschnitzel is. (pronounced VEE-ner-shnit-zel) The name is all exotic and complicated sounding, but schnitzel is nothing more than breaded and fried meat.
Every culture has their own version of fried meat, and this is Germany’s. I’d never had it before I married into the family, but now I can say that it’s most definitely one of my favorites too! We always call it “wienerschnitzel” when we make it, but technically wienerschnitzel is made with veal. (“Weiner” = veal.) We usually make what should be called Hühnerschnitzel, actually, which is chicken, but for some reason we always call it Wienerschnitzel. I have no idea why. I do it because my in-laws do it, and most people don’t know the difference anyway.
(Correction: 3-12-13 My mother in law informed me that Wiener does NOT mean veal, like I (for some reason) thought. It just means someone from Vienna. Kalbsfleish does. So it’s perfectly okay to call it Wienerschnitzel I suppose!)
Whatever meat you use, the technique is the same. And you can call it whatever you want.