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BALSAMIC DIJON CHUCK ROAST

Who doesn’t love food that gives you a hug from the inside on these cooler nights? Or ONE POT MEALS? Are you tight for time? Don’t feel like standing in the kitchen long? Use a slow cooker or if you don’t have one, a dutch oven! Okay, this recipe is one of your answers of all possible options. It’s a nice rendition on a standard slow cooked chuck roast and I’m sure you’ll love it. So, if you’re going to be gone all day and want to walk in the door with dinner ready then, go the slow cooker method on low for 8hrs. Otherwise, you can do all the same quick prep work, put it in a dutch oven, and walk away for about 3 hours. Either way, you can’t mess this up!

If you plan on having guests over, this is a great way to have great food. You’ll be able to spend more time with your guests and focus on any of the other food items you plan to prepare. Personally, I’m a sucker for anything made in big batches because I love the convenience of leftovers. I love having days where I can dive deep into all the things I need and want to do where having something I can reheat quickly doesn’t take a lot of my time. Before you tackle this greatness make sure you use a decent quality balsamic vinegar. It doesn’t have to be super expensive but select your cooking balsamic like you would select your red wine. If you can’t imagine enjoying a particular balsamic vinegar in a dressing then you won’t enjoy cooking with it. If you don’t know what to select, my favorite go-to is Gran Reserva Balsamic Vinegar of Modena by Lucini.

Because this dish is very meat centric, you can keep this fairly low carb with a few baby golden potatoes and carrots. Also, feel free to add your own flare to this. Some times I like slicing a bunch of fresh garlic cloves in half and tossing it in the pot. Add more spices or other favorite veggies if you want. When it comes to one pot meals like this, you can add in anything you like. One of my favorites is rough chopped fennel. But when it comes to leftovers, you can totally slice the meat up super fine like shown in the images, make a beef sandwich, add Italian sweet cherry peppers, dip it into the au jus, and slather some damn good horseradish. You see what I’m saying? Okay good! Happy eatings!

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BALSAMIC DIJON CHUCK ROAST
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Ingredients
Servings
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Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Rub both sides of the meat with salt. Drizzle a large pan with olive oil over high heat and sear each side of the chuck roast for about 3 minutes to get a nice crust.
  2. Place the chuck roast in a slow cooker or dutch oven.
  3. Saute the onions with garlic powder in the drippings over medium-high heat in the same large pan that you seared the meat in. After two minutes, add the balsamic vinegar. Let simmer and stir frequently until it becomes syrupy.
  4. Turn heat off and stir in the Dijon mustard. Add this balsamic Dijon mixture in with the meat. Throw in the thyme sprigs, baby potatoes, whole carrots, salt, pepper, and the beef broth.
  5. Cover and let it cook on low for 8 hours in a slow cooker. Or about 3 hours on 300 F degrees in the oven.
  6. Add the sliced mushrooms an hour before done.

SAUSAGE & CANNELLINI CIOPPINO

It’s finally starting to cool down and stay cool. Now that Fall is here, I’m ready to plant my face in bowls of all sorts of soup. This Sausage & Cannellini Cioppino is one of my absolute favorites because it’s a fast, easy one pot meal with a whole lot of healthy going on that doesn’t taste necessarily “healthy.” It’s bold flavors are given credit to the Italian sausage of course. I used TURKEY Italian sausage rather than pork to keep the grease level down. You really can not taste a difference whatsoever. They make a chicken Italian sausage too, I’m not a huge fan of it as I believe I CAN taste the difference but by all means, if you want to use it, do so!

For those who aren’t a fan of kale or never tried it, this is one of the best ways to try kale. Baby steps! It literally doesn’t have much of a flavor as it absorbs everything else in the soup but the importance of getting greens is huge. There are different kinds of kale, feel free to use any of them. The curly kale is great and more hearty than lacinto or dino kale but they all taste fairly similar. Swiss chard is also a great option in place of kale.

Also, extremely important! When buying broth, read the ingredients label. You will discover that most broth is hardly much REAL broth and riddled with MSG. The best way to get quality broth is to look at the ones packaged in a box and low-sodium. Pacific is one of my favorite brands. Just make sure it doesn’t have MSG and other additives that don’t sound like REAL FOOD. You can control your salt intake yourself very easily by just adding sea salt if needed.

Sometimes I love throwing in 1/2 pound of shrimp instead of beans or in addition to. Of course you can do whatever you want and make it your own as I always love to encourage that. If you’re new to cooking, it may be easiest for you to follow the recipe to get a feel for it and then next time make it by adding your own flare to it. Regardless, I hope you guys enjoy this cioppino as much as I do. It’s even better when you dunk homemade garlic bread or grilled cheese into it!

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SAUSAGE & CANNELLINI CIOPPINO
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Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the fennel, garlic, onion, sea salt, and pepper. Let cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are softened about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the basil, thyme, sausage, and use a wood spoon to break the sausage up. Cook for about 5 minutes until almost cooked through.
  3. Add the wine, stir by scrapping up the bits from the bottom of the pan then stir in the tomato paste, vegetable broth, stewed tomatoes, and bay leaf. Bring everything to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and let cook for 20 minutes, stirring once in a while.
  4. Lastly, add the beans and kale. Stir and let cook for another five minutes. Remove the bay leaf, add more salt and pepper to taste.

SAUSAGE & ARTICHOKE PASTA

Making this Sausage & Artichoke sauce is not only easy but tastes better the next day, and even a few days after. It’s the perfect make ahead meal for leftovers through the week. It can be mixed with any kind of pasta and any shape that you love most. Personally, I love bite sized pasta like rotini but lately I’ve been keeping an eye on my total daily carb intake and so to compromise by not completely missing out on pasta, I’ve discovered this incredible Organic Black Bean Pasta by Explore Cuisine that is shaped as spaghetti. It has a total of 25g of protein and 8g net carbs per serving with 4 servings in the package of pasta. You can find them at most grocery stores and also at better cost on Amazon if you purchase a small bulk.

It literally cooks just like pasta, with the same bite like pasta, and surprisingly enough a fairly neutral flavor as well. Its color is of black beans but doesn’t affect taste nor does it bleed color into your food. I seriously didn’t think anything would ever convert me but this really did. With that said, it’s all types of diabetic friendly and great for those who live a low carb lifestyle. Oh, one big plus about this pasta is that you actually feel full and satiated in comparison to regular pasta.


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SAUSAGE & ARTICHOKE PASTA
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Ingredients
Servings
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Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Fill a large pot with water, bring to boil, and follow instructions on the package to cook pasta.
  2. In a large pan, saute the turkey Italian sausage, onions, pepper, and salt. Use a wood spoon to break up the sausage into small pieces.
  3. When the sausage is almost cooked through, add the garlic powder, diced tomatoes, and artichoke hearts. Stir frequent until the sausage is cooked through. About 5 minutes.
  4. Add the goat cheese and spinach. Stir until the goat cheese melts and everything is mixed together well.
  5. Serve hot over pasta.

ELK BEAN CHILI

What’s with all the exotic meats in my recipes lately? I know, I know. I’ve been feeling adventurous and curious about these healthier meat options. It’s been very fun so far and extremely successful. Just because it’s a meat most of us is unfamiliar with, doesn’t mean it has to be anymore complicated than working with something common like beef. It seems as though as long as you know the fat content, then you know when cooking it you may need more or less olive oil to prevent it from being dry. And of course, proper spices! If you’re all for trying new meats, you’ll likely love my Wild Boar Ragu which is to die for.

So with elk, I literally treated it like ground beef. And it was a huge success. It has a less greasy taste to it and more rich flavor. In a chili, it’s not so distinctive at all given all the spices involved. So, if you want to give elk a try this may be the best way to try it out! If you’re not about elk, feel free to use any kind of ground meat. There are no strict rules to this at all. Oh and last thing… you could throw all of this in a slow cooker on low for 8hrs if you’re strapped for time. Just leave the beans out of it until the last few minutes before serving and you’re good to go!

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ELK BEAN CHILI
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Servings
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Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat drizzle the olive oil and sauté the onions for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the green chilies and stewed tomatoes, stir for 2 minutes.
  3. Then, add the ground elk, worcestershire sauce, chili powder, ground cumin, oregano, garlic powder, salt and cayenne pepper; breaking up the ground elk with a wooden spoon. Cook and stir until the meat is mostly cooked through.
  4. Lastly, add the crushed tomatoes, brown sugar, and let everything come to a boil. Once it comes to a boil reduce the heat to low so it can simmer for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally and add the kidney beans the last 5 minutes.

LAMB STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS

If you love stuffed cabbage rolls, then you’ll love this recipe! It takes the whole dish to a whole new level. I know some people are purists but you’ll be surprised to find there are many cultures including the Middle East that have their own variation of stuffed cabbage or some other kind of leaf. So I took the concept of the traditional Polish stuffed cabbage and used a more flavorful meat like ground lamb and complimenting it using the proper spices for it. Yet another fusion dish perhaps that is worth the prep work, I swear!

I’ll say though, it may sound like a lot of work but it really isn’t. You can make the lamb mixture the day before which is super fast. Then take care of the rest later. One major word of advice though is make sure you have a big, tall pot one you’d use to cook spaghetti in. Also, a hand held strainer that would fit a cabbage head in. This will make removing a piping hot cabbage head so much easier preventing burnt hands.

One last thing, the very end of the leaf can have a very thick spine which makes it difficult sometimes to roll the cabbage leaf. In the picture above you can see I cut an upside-down “V” to remove most of it off. It does make a big difference. Don’t worry about ruining the leaf! If you are confused and have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!


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LAMB STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a pan over medium-high heat drizzle the olive oil and sauté the onions, garlic, black pepper, cumin, and cinnamon together until the onions are softened, about 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Mix the ground lamb, rice, cooled onion mixture, fresh cilantro and salt thoroughly in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Place the cabbage head carefully into the boiling hot water using a large strainer with a handle for about 5 minutes. You want the leaves to appear bright green.
  4. Remove the cabbage head into a large bowl. Peel off some of the softened leaves and place onto a plate covered with paper towels. Place the cabbage back into the boiling water for a few minutes until the next layer of leaves are ready to be peeled. Do this a few times until you peel most of the leaves off the head. Save the damaged and/or outer leaves to cover the bottom and top of the baking dish.
  5. Using a knife cut an upside-down “V” to remove the toughest part of the spine at the bottom of each leaf. This will make rolling the leaves easier. Place each cabbage leaf sideways, spoon about ¼ cup give or take of the lamb mixture onto the bottom part of the leaf. Roll it up and tuck in the sides before completely rolling it up.
  6. Line a 9” x 13” baking dish with imperfect cabbage leaves, place the stuffed cabbage rolls into the baking dish and sprinkle the top with garlic powder, sea salt and pepper. Add the bay leaves and vegetable broth. Top the rolls with tomato puree, the remaining fresh chopped onion and feta crumbles.
  7. Cover everything with remaining leftover cabbage leaves and aluminum foil. Bake at 350 F for about an 1h 15min to 1hr 30min. Everything should be boiling hot.