Roast Beef “Debris” Po’Boy

Mmmmmm…..When most people think of the famous Po’boy sandwich, their mind often runs to fried oysters or fried shrimp.  Mine, however, goes to the heavenly tender roast beef version dripping in gravy.

It can be insanely messy, hence the “debris” name (thank you to the paper towel inventor), but Ill gladly wear the this meal on my shirt, need be.  Something magical happens when you mix the beefy flavor with thick, real southern mayonnaise, juicy tomatoes and cool, crunchy shredded lettuce.

*This can also be made in a Dutch oven and covered, roasted in the oven vs. your slow cooker.  You will still sear and sauté on the stove top, the cover and place in a 350 degree oven for 3-1/2 to 4 hours, till fork tender.  You will also need to up the chicken broth or water by one cup.  Checking once or twice to make sure the liquid didn’t evaporate.

The Starting Lineup

  • 3 pound beef roast (i.e. top round, chuck, eye of round etc)
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 8 cloved garlic, peeled and halved
  • 1 Tbsp both vegetable oil and butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef or chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp worcestershire
  • 1Tbsp hot sauce (i.e. Crystal)
  • 1 bay leaf

Assemble:

  • Six 6-inch length French bread ‘baguettes’
  • Mayonnaise (i.e. Dukes, Blue Plate)
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Dill pickle slices (optional)

Heavily season the beef roast with the salt and pepper.  Make about 16, 1-inch slits all over the roast and insert the halved garlic cloves into the roast.  Dredge all sides in the flour.

Heat up a pan to medium heat and add in the vegetable oil and butter.  Sear the beef roast on all sides until a crust appears, while also adding the prepared onion, carrot, bell pepper and celery.  Sauté and sear!

Transfer the seared roast and sautéed vegetables to a slow cooker.  Pour a bit of chicken broth to pan to scrape up any ‘brown bits’ and also add to the slow cooker.

Whisk together the broth, Worcestershire and hot sauce, pour over.  Add the bay leaf, cover, and set to low for 8 hours.

Prepare:  Turn the slow cooker to warm and shred the beef (remove bay leaf).  Half the French bread loaves and spread with mayonnaise.  Layer a good amount of the juicy shredded beef, followed buy the tomatoes, pickles and shredded lettuce.

Serve with hot, salted fries or a handful of Zapp’s chips and a Barq’s Root Beer, enjoy!

RoastBeefPoBoy

Cranberry Fig Brie Bites

This is a popular Christmas appetizer not only in our home, but with many families that I know.  The only difference with mine is, per usual, I kicked it up a notch with the addition of fig jam.  The jam adds just the right amount of sweetness that definitely offsets the tartness of the cranberries.

These truly are a perfect holiday treat that your guest will happily pop in their mouths throughout the evening.  Not to mention your happiness when this all comes together for you in about 25 minutes, prep AND baking time!  Feel free to change up the jams or cranberries for something more savory or spicy, plus toasted pecans are a fun topper to them too!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour for dusting the dough and cutting board
  • 1 (8oz) tube crescent dough
  • 1/2 cup fig preserves
  • 1 (8oz) wheel of brie cheese, cubed
  • 1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish *remove prior to eating

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a mini muffin tin with nonstick spray.  Sprinkle the flour down and roll out the crescent dough while pinching the seams together.  With a pizza cutter, cut the crescent roll dough into 24 equal-sized squares.  Gently press each piece of dough square into a 2″x2″ size and place in the muffin tin.

Spoon a small dollop of fig jam into the center of each crescent square, followed by a cube of brie, another dollop of cranberry sauce and a sprig of rosemary.  Bake until they’re a light, golden brown (about 12 minutes).  Serve warm.

CranberryBrieBites

Christmas on the “Ranch” Rollups

I just love this time of year!  Not only because of the family time, presents, décor or music, but also because of all the yummy appetizers to be had!

This one here is a cinch to make and looks great on your Christmas Eve buffet.  Its creamy, yet has great crunch from the fresh vegetables and tremendous flavor from the bacon and ranch seasoning.  Plus you can add in any additional veggies you may have on hand (shredded carrots, chopped tomatoes, etc.), which is a great way to sneak in a little bit of extra nutrition for your picky eaters!  This is definitely family and kid-approved!

 

The Starting Lineup 

  • 4 large garden spinach herb flavored (green) tortillas
  • 2 (8oz) blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (1oz) packet Ranch Seasoning
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapenos, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

In a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, Ranch seasoning, crumbled bacon, red bell pepper, green onions, jalapenos and pepper.  Mix thoroughly.

Spread an even amount of the cream cheese mixture over each tortilla.  Roll up like a jelly roll and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to overnight.  Slice each roll into 1″ pieces and arrange on a serving dish.  Enjoy!

RanchRollups

Overnight Gingerbread French Toast

Everything’s bigger in Texas, right??  So it’s no surprise that a Sunday brunch or Christmas morning breakfast inherits that same thinking.  This French toast casserole delivers thick chunks of chewy bread laden in a sweet custard, which is loaded with all the flavors of Christmas.  The flavors of everyone’s favorite lil-guy-shaped -cookie, gingerbread!

This recipe is fantastic, because the night before (say Christmas eve after the children have gone to bed), you can easily whip this together.  In the morning, pop it in the oven and it’ll be ready at the same time everyone is finished opening their gifts from Santa!  Trust me, even the little ones will leave their toys when they smell the aroma of gingerbread coming from the kitchen!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 loaf bakery sourdough bread, cubed into 1″ pieces
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 6 Tbsp real maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 Tbsp each brown sugar and granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp each ginger and cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp each nutmeg and cloves
  • Pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar, butter, whipped cream and maple syrup (garnish)

 

Grease a 9×5 loaf pan with melted butter.  In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.  Whisk in all other ingredients, besides the bread.  Add the cubed bread to the bowl and toss to coat.

Once coated, pour the mixture into your prepared loaf pan, making sure any excess liquid is also added.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and give the bread mix a quick toss.  Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.  *Optional serving suggestion:  Slice thick and place on a hot, buttered pan to sear the outsides of the French toast.  Serve with powdered sugar, warm maple syrup, a dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon.  Enjoy!

GingerbreadFT

Puff Pastry Pecan Rolls with Bacon Caramel

These sticky buns are quite the guilty pleasure and one that needs to be taken advantage of!  They’re sweet, salty, and unlike your typical breakfast bun, these are made with puff pastry which gives a light and airy crunch to them, a la Baklava!  Plus, they have baaccooonnn!!  To answer the old age question, nothing, I repeat nothing, is better than bacon!

*Make sure to serve fresh and warm as the caramel will harden.  You can reheat them.

**These can also be made using your standard dough recipe for an equally delicious and softer bun!

***They’re also great as dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb bacon + grease
  • 1-1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 (17.5oz) package puff pastry (freezer aisle)
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup pecans

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place a 12-cup muffin tin on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Cook the bacon slices until almost crispy, but not quite done.  Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.  Pour the bacon fat into a small pot.  Once the bacon is cool, crumble into small pieces.

Place the pot of bacon grease over medium-low heat.  Add 1 cup brown sugar and cook, whisking frequently, until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes (the mixture will look granular).  Slowly stream in the maple syrup and whisk vigorously as the mixture begins to bubble.  Once the syrup comes together, add the cream and kosher salt.  Remove from the heat and whisk until all of the cream is incorporated.  Reserve until ready to use.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Unfold both sheets of puff pastry and arrange the sheets so that the fold lines run parallel to the counter edge.  Generously brush the sheets with the melted butter.  Combine the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar with the cinnamon in a small bowl.  Sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the buttered sheets.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup crumbled bacon and some of the chopped pecans over the pastry.  Gently press the bacon and nuts into the sugar mixture with your palms.  Roll the pastry away from you, forming 2 tight logs.  Use a serrated knife to cut each log into 6 equal pieces.

Pour 1 Tablespoon of the caramel into each muffin cup.  Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon each crumbled bacon and chopped pecans.  Place sticky buns cut-side into caramel in each muffin cup and gently press down, maintaining the round shape.

Bake until the caramel bubbles and the buns are deeply golden brown, about 35 minutes.  Work quickly to release the sides of the buns from the muffin cups, using a small knife, as if you wait they will stick.  Carefully invert the muffin tin onto another baking sheet/serving tray.  Spoon any caramel that remains in the muffin tin over the buns.  Serve immediately.

PecanPuffPastry

 

Apple Butter Cheddar Waffles

Since I just don’t know how to leave things alone and feel the need to always one-up myself, I decided to tackle the typical Sunday brunch waffle.  While the standard homemade waffle is good, if not great as is, I thought to make it spectacular!

All the flavors I put together compliment each other perfectly.  Nothing overpowers the other and they come together in a slightly sweet and savory way.  Also that apple butter maple syrup at the end is so good it could be eaten off a shoe!  …or perhaps over ice cream or a slice of pie. 😉

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 cups All-Purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon each apple pie spice & cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 1-1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar 
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • *Combine and warm equal parts pure maple syrup with the apple butter to drizzle overtop.

Preheat your waffle iron to its medium setting.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, spices and salt.

In another bowl whisk together the milk, apple butter, shredded cheddar, eggs and vegetable oil.  Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and stir/fold to combine.

Spray the waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray and spoon the batter onto the heated griddle.  Close and cook according to your waffle iron’s instructions.

Serve the waffles with the warmed apple butter syrup, enjoy!

CheddarAppleButterWaffles

Chicken Caesar Salad (Lightened-Up!)

If you’re like me, you loovvee a good Caesar salad.  Like a really good, restaurant-worthy one.  One that cannot be made with store bought, fake tasting nonsense.  If you’re also like me, you crave this salad more often than not, yet you know that hhmmm…they may be pretty darn fattening and you find yourself weighing the flavor over your waist.

Whelp, this easy (no raw egg even, especially if you’re ‘weird’ about that) version can be made for dinner in a quick 30 minutes!  You can get in your protein with the chicken and Greek yogurt based dressing without sacrificing ANY of the restaurant worthiness (<– not sure if that’s a word, but you get it.)!

*Feel free to sub the chicken for shrimp, or nothing at all!  By all means, use your backyard grill too!

The Starting Lineup

Chicken:

  • 1-1/2 lb(s) boneless, skinless thin-sliced chicken cutlets
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic power
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • hefty pinch of kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 of a lemon, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (not the “green can”, please!)
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Garnish (optional):

  • Garlic croutons
  • Avocado slices
  • Bacon, chopped
  • Cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded or shaved
  • Lemon Wedges

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together the blackening seasoning for the chicken breasts.  On a lined sheet pan, swirl about two tablespoons of oil and place chicken, tossing to coat.  Heavily sprinkle on the blackening season, each side.

Place in the oven, turning once, for 25-30 minutes, until cooked through.  Allow to rest and thinly slice.  *By all means, if weather permits, grill outdoors for another great flavor!

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients.  Make sure to taste to your preference (i.e. add more salt, always PLENTY of freshly cracked black pepper, thin with a bit more olive oil or lemon, etc..)

Prepare: In individual bowls, add in a cup of rinsed and patted dry romaine lettuce.  Top with the sliced, blackened chicken, more parmesan and croutons and avocado, bacon and/or lemon if desired.  Drizzle dressing overtop.  Enjoy!

Caeser

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