Category Archives: Beef and Pork

Asian Fusion Pork Tostadas

AFPTMy Spouse was off this past Monday and decided he wanted to use the smoker. That works for me! It means that I have minimal cooking to do for the many days it takes us to consume all he has smoked.

This go round, he did a pork shoulder and some salmon. We are good for the meat without anything other than sides for the first meal. We all like the freshly smoked goodness. But it quickly starts to get boring and I need to get creative very fast.

My mind went to some sort of Asian fusion thing for the pork. I googled just that and saw some interesting things, including this recipe for Mini Moo Shu Pork Pizzas from a site called Bev Cooks. It’s a beautiful site. Take a look!

I knew I wanted to make sure whatever I made had plenty of veggies in it. I ended up with my Tostadas. Actually, I ended up with Asian Fusion ________. It wasn’t until I described what I made to my friend Aimee that they actually got a name. Aimee is a clever, clever gal!

Asian Fusion Pork Tostadas
4-6 wonton or egg roll wrappers
1 cup chopped pork (previously cooked of course)
4 oz chopped mushrooms
3 chopped green onions
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp Hoisin sauce
Goat cheese
Baby greens
More Hoisin

1. Bake the wonton/egg roll wrappers according to the package instructions.
2. Saute everything else until the mushrooms are done.
3. Spoon your pork mixture on top of the wrapper. Drizzle with more Hoisin.
4. Add some goat cheese and a little handful of greens.

My creation was deemed “Fancy”. I’m not sure that I agree but it definitely looked festive and flavorful. Turns out it was. It was also a little hard to eat. The Spouse chose to break his in half and eat it like a taco. I left mine open-faced and tried to take delicate little bites so the whole thing didn’t land in my lap. I imagined getting this in a restaurant and having the waiters huddled in the corner, laughing quietly at everyone who tried to eat it without having it land, face down on the floor.

The sweetness of the meat and Hoisin sauce was offset nicely by the goat cheese and the greens. This would be super tasty with no meat too! In fact, I think I would prefer it that way! The greens were a combination of radish and sunflower and they were so good. They added a lot to the dish.


Marinated Sirloin Tips

mstMy Faithful Assistant has started swimming year round. That means four practices a week and one very hungry tiny teenager! It is even more important now to have easy to prepare meal ingredients on hand. Starving teens are not known for their patience.

I thought ahead over the weekend and marinated sirloin tips in some Soy Vay Veri Veri Terriyaki marinade. With noodles and a veggie I had a very fast dinner at my fingertips!

Marinated Sirloin Tips
1 lb sirloin tips sliced into small strips – if you’re lucky you can find them already sliced
1/2 cup Terriyaki sauce

1. Saute the sirloin tips in a little olive oil over medium heat until done. It should take 5-7 minutes at most.
2. Serve!

We had our tips on egg noodles with broccoli on the side. My Faithful Assistant was on the verge of being hangry and was so happy to eat. (Not familiar with a hangry child? Lucky you! For more information on this phenomenon read this helpful report on CNN.) It was so great to have dinner ready in less than ten minutes. MFA was nagging me to go to Chick-Fil-A after we dropped off the rest of the carpool but I gave him the usual line. “We have food at home.” It felt so great to have dinner prepared in less time than it would have taken us to get through the drive through line!

Of course, you could chop up some veggies and add them to the pan. Red peppers would be nice as would some snap peas. I did add some chopped scallions. If you want a slightly thicker sauce, add some water and a little extra Terriyaki to the pan, and just before you serve it, stir in a little flour – maybe a tablespoon. And if noodles aren’t your thing, this would be great over rice.


Slow Cooker Moo Shu Pork “Tacos”

msptThe poor slow cooker, work horse of fall and winter. This gentle, steadfast friend is completely neglected in my home in the summer. This is a tragedy. It requires so little effort. No heating of the house by the oven. No suffering at the grill. No excessive pizza or other carryout. Yesterday, I decided it was time to rekindle my relationship with this pal of mine and make some tasty Moo Shu Pork Tacos!

Moo Shu Pork Tacos
4-6 cups shredded cabbage
1-2 cups shredded carrots
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 can sliced water chestnuts
2 lbs pork tenderloin, chopped into the smallest possible pieces you can manage
1/2 cup Hoisin sauce

1. Combine the veggies and put them in your slow cooker (no smaller than 4 qt) that you have sprayed with cooking spray.
2. Add the chopped pork and the Hoisin sauce.
3. Cook on high for 3 hours.
4. Serve in whole wheat tortillas – I may be taking liberties with the term “tortilla” and for that I apologize. You can top with some extra Hoisin sauce and more shredded carrots.

Even though my kids are far from small, I still hesitate to serve brand new recipes. The feeling of rejection after I’ve worked on coming up with a creative alternative to the usual boring summer food still cuts to the core. And this Asian fusion type of food is not something we would normally eat in my house. We eat a good variety of food, just not combined together. I am happy to report it was a hit, in spite of the reaction to the smell of cabbage cooking.

This would be great with chicken or you can just forego the meat and make Moo Shu veggies.

We’re in for a healthy stretch of hot weather in Central Maryland. I’m happy to have my leftovers of this and I’m excited to find some more summer slow cooker recipes.


Sneak Peak of The Counter at Whole Foods

photo 2 (2)It’s so nice when someone else makes dinner. And it’s even nicer when that dinner is served by smiley, happy people. That’s what my dinner was like yesterday. I was invited to a sneak peak of The Counter’s new menu at the Whole Foods in Columbia, MD.

While I wasn’t too busy stuffing my face with everything from Sweet and Spicy Brussels Sprouts to Wheat Free Pancakes and syrup, I did learn a few things. First, this location is the only location with diner style dining available at a counter. The counter is open from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm daily and, you’ll love this, they serve breakfast all day. The menu was designed by the in-store artist (how cool is that), a really amazing young man named JesseFutter ( who went to Wilde Lake High School and came back to work full time in his old neighborhood.

What did we eat? OMG SO MUCH and something for everyone! Here’s the list:

Wheatless pancakes – I never learned what they were actually made with, but I don’t really care. They were so yummy!

Counter Fave – This is basically an egg sandwich with braised kale and kielbasa served on a whole wheat English muffin. Again, so yummy! photo 3 (2)

The Biscuit – Another egg sandwich with spinach, cheese and chipotle remoulade on a biscuit. This may have been my favorite. Maybe.

Tofu Scrambler – I have to say, when I got the invitation to this event, it was the tofu scrambler that caught my eye. I do love tofu and I rarely see it on the menu anywhere. This was delicious, and comes with hash browns and fruit. So. Good! photo 1 (2)

Now to the lunch and dinner menu:

Chicken & biscuit – Not a huge fan of this in general but knowing that it was made with whole foods and not anything processed made me thing this is something I could learn to love. Fried chicken thigh and a buttermilk biscuit with sausage gravy. I felt my family drooling from five miles away.

Curry Laska – I’m going to say this was my actual favorite. It had a spicy coconut curry broth, tofu, brown rice noodles and more. There was quite a kick but it was perfect for a cold winter day. Yum!

Avocado Tacos – So, I am not a big fan of warm avocado. I like it cold on a sandwich or in guac. Not much else. But the deep fried avocado on these tacos with the cabbage slaw and chipotle remoulade was so good!

Do you think that’s a lot? So did I but there was MORE!

Columbia Burger – Big tasty burger on a brioche roll with carmelized onion and mushrooms. By the time I got this, I was so full. I had a couple bites and I do have to say, it was one of the best burgers I have ever had outside of my home.

Last but not least…

Cacio Pepe – Think Mac and Cheese with spaghetti noodles and pecorino served with black pepper. I was full at this point. If my pocket had been lined with plastic I would have brought this home for my mac and cheese fanatic. They weren’t. He didn’t get it.

Entree prices range from $4 to $18. Not terrible, I thought, considering the quality of the food. And I am notoriously cheap.

There is something about Whole Foods. The people who work there are so genuinely happy. Everyone I’ve met from chefs to cashiers. Just. Nice. And these days, it is so nice to go somewhere and just have people be nice.

I hope you’ll go try out these tasty treats!



Beef and Bean Skillet Enchiladas

bbseI am not a big meal planner. I truly admire people who can sit down and plan meals for two weeks at a time. I am more a two hour at a time meal planner. But I have taken a couple cues from those who are great planners and prepared things like chicken and ground beef on the weekends to use throughout the week.

This weekend, my wonderful spouse cooked about three pounds of ground beef. We used some for pasta with meat sauce and tonight, I used the rest to make a giant pan of…

Beef and Bean Skillet Enchiladas
2-3 cups Homemade Enchilada Sauce
10 tortillas
1 1/2 lbs cooked ground beef
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups shredded cheese

1. Put a layer of sauce on the bottom of a cast iron pan.
2. I had smallish tortillas so I had to use two tortillas per layer, kind of overlapped.
3. Spoon some beans and beef onto the tortillas.
4. Sprinkle some cheese over that. I would guess I put about a half cup in each layer.
5. Pour about 1/2 of sauce over that.
6. Repeat until you have used all the beef and beans. Top with tortillas, cheese and the rest of the sauce.
7. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes until the top is nice and bubbly.

If you’re interested in planning some meals a couple weeks out, please read this post from my friend Jen’s blog, The Whole Bag of Chips. Jen has a crazy work schedule so she is not always home at dinner time. For her, meal planning is a must!

The enchiladas were  hit. I was so happy to have everything I needed for them right in my little house. And I’m even happier to have lots of leftovers for later this week when I won’t be home to make dinner!