Spring Fling: Short Rib Chili

Spring is here, spring is here! Well… sort of. In between glorious bits of sunshine, it’s still a little chilly which makes chili the perfect choice for dinner!

We picked up some beautiful boneless short ribs the other day, but I’m mixing it 50/50 with beef stew meat for a slightly more budget-friendly meal. This spicy hearty chili is a great option for weekend camping trips too (we usually make chili ahead of time and then reheat it in cast iron). And let me just say, these pictures may not be great, but the chili was amazing (seal of approval from The Boyfriend too).

For this recipe, you will need:
crockpot/slow cooker
non-stick pan
blender

Ingredients: 
~ 1.25 lb boneless beef short ribs
1 lb beef stew meat
2 cans (14.5oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (16oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (7oz) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1.5 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 clove elephant garlic (or 3-5 cloves garlic)
3 dried chili peppers
2 tsp extra dark cocoa powder
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1-2 tsp avocado oil (olive or coconut is fine)

Seasoning: 
4 tsp ancho chili powder
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt / to taste

Add one can of diced tomatoes and liquid to the crockpot. With the other can of diced tomatoes, drain the liquid first (do not rinse) and add to the pot. Drain and rinse beans until water runs clear, add beans to the crockpot. Remove stems and seeds from dried chili peppers and combine in blender cup with one full can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Blend pepper mixture for about one minute or until it resembles a uniform paste and add to the crockpot. Add 2 tsp extra dark cocoa powder, 2 tsp salt, and 2 tsp ancho chili powder to the crockpot mix.

Using a sharp knife, finely chop elephant garlic clove (also called elephant toes) or 3-5 cloves normal-sized garlic. Set aside in a bowl with the chopped onion. Add 2 tsp each of oregano, cumin, and ancho chili powder to the onions and garlic.

One clove of elephant garlic vs a whole head of "regular" garlic

One clove of elephant garlic vs. a whole head of “regular” garlic

Pre-heat oil in a non-stick pan on high-heat. While the pan is heating up, dice the ribs and stew meat into ~1/2 cubes – they do not at all have to be uniform in shape, just similar in size. You want the pieces to be small enough that they are “bite size” but big enough that they can still be shredded later on. Add meat to the pan, in batches if necessary, and cook for 3-5 minutes on one side only to sear the meat and lock in some flavor. Add all of the meat to the crockpot.

In the same pan, add the onion-garlic-spice mixture and cook on medium heat for 3-5 minutes until fragrant and the onions have softened slightly. Add this to the crockpot.

Add 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, stir to mix everything together, and set crockpot on low for 7-9 hours. If you don’t want to wait that long, try cooking on high for 3-5 hours checking periodically to make sure it doesn’t burn. If you find that the chili has let off a lot of liquid, you can crack the lid a little bit to let some of the liquid evaporate. I personally prefer a thicker chili (as opposed to more liquid) so we usually crack the lid for half the cooking time.

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Serve immediately – as is, with chopped raw onion on top, with guacamole, or with grilled veggies.

Store in the fridge up to three days.

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Two Years: My Top 20 Recipes!

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been TWO YEARS since I first created SlowCarbSnacktime. It’s been a long road learning how to eat properly and fuel my body, and there’s still a very long journey ahead, but it has been such an amazing and educational adventure so far and I’ve come up with so many healthy slow carb recipes along the way. There’s many more to come, but for now, I’m celebrating two years of SlowCarbSnacktime with my top 20 recipes.

All 20 of these recipes are grain, gluten, sugar, corn, potato, rice, and soy-free. Two recipes use some dairy, but I’ll make sure to note that in the list. I will also note paleo and whole30 compliant recipes (they are obviously all slow carb compliant). Items marked “vegetarian” are either vegetarian or can easily be made so by changing an ingredient such as swapping out chicken stock for vegetable stock.

  1. Amazeballs: Super Scallion Turkey Meatballs – paleo/whole30 – I used ground pork rinds instead of bread crumbs to give these meatballs the fluffiness they need without the carbs you don’t want.
  2. B^3: Butternut Bacon Bitespaleo/whole30 – It may take a few minutes to wrap these precious little pieces of squash in strips of bacon, but I promise it’s worth every second of your time.
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  3. Butternut Squeek Soupvegetarian, paleo/whole30 – There are few things better than a hot butternut squash soup on a cold winter day… this soup with butternut squash plus leeks is one of them.
  4. Chicken Liver Mousse – dairy – Okay, I’m not going to lie, there’s a lot of butter in this recipe, but it is one of the easiest things to make for a classy dish to stun your guests without sacrificing protein. Also tastes great with eggs for breakfast, or by itself on a very large spoon…

    Beautifully set. Dig in!

    Beautifully set. Dig in!

  5. Decontamination: Ginger Chicken Souppaleo/whole30 – The perfect comeback to any cold, my chicken soup is infused with a ton of ginger to help combat the ickiest of feelings. A favorite of my dad’s to fight back against chronic sinus infections.
  6. Duck Duck Asparaguspaleo/whole30 – Crispy asparagus oven-roasted in duck fat. The way to my heart is through my stomach.
  7. Easy Peas-y: Split Pea Soup w/ Sausage – One of The Boyfriend’s favorites, I boil the sausage in chicken stock and then use that stock in the soup. So rich, so good.
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  8. “Gazpacheaux” Gazpachovegetarian, paleo/whole30 – This cold tomato soup is a perfect snack to beat the summer heat or spoon into shot glasses for a classier kind of party.
  9. Hold the Sizzle: Fiery Chicken Fajitas – paleo/whole30 – This spicy little stir fry is a great option for a protein-packed dinner for two and tastes great with strips of beef too!
  10. Holy Crap! Garlic Soupvegetarian, paleo/whole30 – Over 20 cloves of garlic and a whole head of cauliflower into the pot for a super smooth, bright white soup.
  11. Kimchi Fried Cauli-Rice – paleo/whole30 – Cauliflower rice, kimchi, eggs, and bacon fat. What more could you want?
  12. Lamb Chop’s Play Along: One Baaaaad Burgerpaleo/whole30 – This ground lamb burger with fresh rosemary is so juicy, sticking it on a bun would just be a waste.
  13. Perfect ‘Stachio Guacvegetarian, paleo/whole30 – My copy cat version of the stunning guacamole at Jose Garces’ El Vez. Never pay $14 for guac again.
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  14. Red Lentils are Dal-iciousvegetarian – My take on a traditional Indian dal, prepared in a slow cooker using red lentils and a ton of fresh spinach. I crave this all the time and it’s a great dish entirely on its own, paired with a meaty protein, or even reheated in a pan with some eggs!
  15. Rosemary Bone Brothcrockpot, paleo/whole30 – This slow-cooked broth is made from beef soup/marrow bones and cooks on low for nearly two days to extract all the vitamin goodness from the bones. When it’s cold, it looks like jell-o, but warm it up for a mineral-packed cup of life. Seriously, I know how cheesy that sounds, just try it. It’s amazing.
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  16. Saturday Morning Shakshuka / Date Night Zoodlesvegetarian, paleo/whole30 – These two quick dishes pair great together for a meal so tasty, you won’t even realize there’s no meat!
  17. Sweet Hundos: Oven-Roasted Cherry Tomato Saucevegetarian, paleo/whole30 – This super easy tomato sauce is made with “Sweet 100’s” cherry tomatoes and is unlike any sauce I’ve tasted before. I just couldn’t get enough and ate half the jar with a spoon. Serve with just about anything.

    Mmm saucy!

    Mmm saucy!

  18. Top Secret Deviled Eggs / Devilish Egg Salad – My go-to potluck dish and an easy alternative for cravings at home.
  19. Tiny Viking Funerals – cheat day, dairy – Jalapenos stuffed with chorizo and cream cheese. A cheat day treat guaranteed to knock the socks off all your friends.
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  20. Whatsername Fish Tacos – Chickpea flour-crusted tilapia fillets and large lettuce leaves make for this delicate but delicious taco dinner. You won’t even miss the tortillas.

Rosemary Bone Broth

I have written, deleted, and re-written this post like 10 times now. There is just so much information about the endless benefits of drinking bone broth, I’m kicking myself for not trying it earlier. It’s delicious, it’s super easy, and it’s really really good for you – what more do you need? Just ask your butcher for a few pounds of beef soup bones – femurs or knuckles – and get cookin!

No, but seriously – the list of health benefits is astounding. Bone broth is packed with nutrients and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium as well as amino acids like glycine and proline which promote a healthy gut, and aid in digestion, growth, even muscle repair. I could write about all the good stuff in bone broth for ages, but let’s just get to how you can make it at home and then you can see all the benefits for yourself!

Special Equipment/Appliances: 
Large slow cooker/crock pot
Fine mesh strainer
Cheese cloth (optional but recommended)
Mason jar or other glass container(s), for storage

Ingredients: 
2 lbs beef soup/marrow bones (femur or knuckle)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
~ 4 L cold water (about 16 cups)

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Add marrow bones to slow cooker. Cover with water by at least 3″ – this took about 3.5L (~14 cups) for my 5 quart crockpot. Add 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar and 3 large sprigs fresh rosemary (the rosemary will be removed after the first 12 hours, so if you are using dried herbs or smaller pieces, I recommend placing them in a spice bag or using a string to tie them). Note: Do not, I repeat DO NOT, add salt. As the broth reduces, the salt will likely become too concentrated and will ruin you broth – it is best to add other herbs and seasoning later, in individual portions, when serving.

Set on low for 36-48 hours.

After the first 12 hours, remove the rosemary. Left in for longer, it will become bitter and start to disintegrate.

After 24 hours, add back some of the water that has evaporated. You still want to keep the water line about 3″ over the top of the bones.

The longer you let it simmer, the better it will be, but I am impatient and only managed 42 hours before I had to have it!

Line your mesh strainer with a thin piece of cheesecloth (one or two layers) and place it over a large bowl or mason jar. My strainer is quite large so I had to do this over a bowl and then pour it into the mason jars for storage.

Using a large ladle, run the bone broth through the strainer and cheesecloth – this ensures there will be no muck or bone fragments in your pretty broth! If you used a separate bowl like I did, carefully transfer your broth into your storage containers (I used large 1/2 gallon and quart mason jars). If you have a smaller strainer, you can place this over the top of your mason jar to strain it one final time – not necessary, but certainly won’t hurt.

Leave uncovered on the counter to cool. As the fat comes to the top and solidifies, you can remove it with a spoon if so compelled, but it will render back down when microwaved so feel free to leave it in if you like it! Store in the fridge for up to one week.

Just be mindful, when you take it out of the fridge, it will act and look like jello. You made cow jello, and it is amazing!

To serve, season with salt and pepper and microwave about two minutes per mug. This would also make a great base for French onion soup, but we quite like it as is.

Enjoy!

Cheatin’ on Chipotle: Beef Barbacoa

The barbacoa at Chipotle is a thing of beauty. Other than the new Bonfire Bowls at Baja Fresh, Chipotle’s barbacoa is by far my most frequent craving for a slow carb meal when we’re out and about. Now, The Boyfriend and I fully appreciate Chipotle’s more natural approach to feeding the masses, but sometimes we just don’t want to pay extra for guacamole.. or wait in line. You might have to wait all day for this homemade take on your favorite burrito bowl, but it will feed you all week without actually having to eat the same meal twice (see suggested pairings below).

Ingredients: 
~ 6 lbs boneless chuck short ribs (or equivalent)
2 yellow onions, halved
7 oz chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (1 can)
2 dried red chilis
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup chicken stock
2 tsp True Lime crystals (or 4 tbsp fresh lime juice)
~ 3 tbsp vegetable oil, for searing
1 small bunch radishes, thinly sliced (optional, for garnish)

Seasoning: 
3 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cayenne

Appliances/Special Equipment: 
Blender or food processor
Slow Cooker

Dig in!

Dig in!

Slice onions into thin half-moons and place at the bottom of the crock pot (in theory, this step is completely optional, but I love onions and think they add great flavor to this dish). If you don’t want to use onions, add 1 tsp of onion powder or granulated onion to the blender sauce (further instructions below).

Rinse meat under cold water and pat dry. Trim about 40% of the fat off – leaving enough to render down in the crock-pot, but not so much that the meat won’t sear. Cut the chuck into smaller pieces – I ended up with about 10 total – this will make it a bit easier to fit everything in the slow cooker as well as increasing surface area available for searing (a must-do step to lock in all that great flavor).

Heat oil in a large pot or pan over medium heat. Sear each piece of meat until golden brown (1-2 minutes per side) and for a few seconds on each edge. Add to the slow cooker.

In your blender or food processor, combine: apple cider vinegar, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, True Lime crystals (or lime juice), dried peppers, and all seasoning/herbs/spices. Blend until smooth. Note: If you have a mortar and pestle, I’d recommend crushing up the dried peppers and discarding the seeds before adding them to the blender. Add blended sauce and 1 cup chicken stock to the slow cooker and mix gently, coating as much of the meat as possible with the sauce (my crock pot was pretty damn full at this point so it was a bit of a challenge, but I did what I could).

Set crock pot on high for 6+ hours or on low for 10+, stirring occasionally (and to make sure that any pieces of meat sticking up out of the liquid do not dry out or burn). We actually went out in the middle of making this dish, so I had it on high while I was home for about five hours and then set it on low for an additional four hours (nine hours total) and it came out perfect.

When meat is fork-tender and falling apart, remove meat and onions from the crock pot to a scratch-resistant bowl. Add about 1/2 cup liquid from the slow cooker back to the barbacoa and, using two forks, shred the meat. Adding some liquid back to the barbacoa will keep the meat moist and will also help keep it alive in the fridge a little longer.

Serve immediately: with a few thin slices of radish for a nice little crunch, with lettuce leaves for “green tacos,” or however you choose! Leftovers can be refrigerated up to 5 days.

Suggested Pairings: 
Nice Rice: Cauliflower
Busy Black Bean Soup (recipe coming soon!)
Holy Crap! Garlic Soup
Perfect ‘Stachio Guac

Lamburger Chipotle Chili

So many peppers!

So many peppers!

*Moving to Oregon: 17 days*

It is absolutely freezing today, so it’s safe to assume that I’m craving chili. Since we’re in the throes of vide le congélateur (empty the freezer), I decided to whip up something new instead of grocery shopping for North Philly Chili that I made a few weeks ago. While this recipe has a few more “specialty” ingredients, this batch is a bit thicker and richer, just what I wanted today! I really do love my crock pot.

Don’t tell The Boyfriend, but I actually used a pre-mixed pouch of herbs and seasoning today. With all-natural Lysander’s Original Chili Seasoning and Rick Bayless’ Chipotle Garlic Skillet Sauce, this chili packs a ton of flavor and a nice little kick of lingering heat. I purchased both products at local stores like Di Bruno’s and even found the skillet sauce at Wal-Mart, but you can find them online too.

Ingredients: 
1 lb ground lamb
2 lbs 80/20 ground beef
7 oz tomato paste
1 packet Chipotle Garlic Skillet Sauce
1 15-oz can black beans
4 hot peppers (I used 2 Serrano, 1 jalapeño, and 1 cayenne)
1.5 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
1 large clove elephant garlic (or 3-4 cloves regular garlic), finely chopped
2 tbsp grass-fed unsalted butter e.g. Kerrygold (olive oil is okay too)

Seasoning:
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp Lysander’s Original Chili Seasoning
1 tbsp Cocky Cajun Seasoning
1 tsp Chipotle Powder

In a large stock pot, melt the butter on medium-high heat and add all three pounds ground meat. Stir occasionally until most of the meat is cooked through and no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste, chipotle garlic sauce, and 2 tsp salt to the pot and stir well. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 more minutes. Dump all contents of the pot into your slow cooker.

Finely chop the garlic and onion, half and thinly slice the peppers, and add to the crock pot. Using a colander, rinse beans under cold water until water runs clear. Drain beans and add to crock pot. Add Lysander’s chili seasoning, Cajun seasoning, and chipotle powder to the slow cooker and stir well.

Set crock pot on low setting and cook for at least 2 hours (up to 4), stirring occasionally. Serve with guacamole, chopped raw onions, or other topping of choice. Enjoy!

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North Philly Chili

Now that the fall weather is finally on its way, I can’t resist a spicy little number like my dad’s goulash or slow cooker chili.  I’ve been playing with my chili recipes for quite some time and I am finally ready to share my “red chili” secrets (vs. white, which isn’t too far behind). As usual with the crock pot, prep is quick and cooking takes a while so I’d recommend setting this up the night before or early in the day so it’s ready in time for dinner.
Got kids? Skip the jalapeno and make sloppy joe’s!

Ingredients: 
1 lb 90% lean ground beef
1 lb 80% lean ground beef
1/2 lb chorizo, removed from casing (~ 2 links)
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, halved and thinly sliced
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 scallion bulbs, finely chopped (just the white part)
2 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed until water runs clear
1 28-oz can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
1/2 7oz-can Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce
1/3 cup sugar-free beef stock e.g. Rachel Ray
2 tsp oil, for the pan (wok or olive oil are great)

Seasoning: 
2 tsp Cajun seasoning (for the meat)
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp chili powder
1.5 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp onion powder

In a food processor, combine the San Marzano tomatoes, 1/2 can of chipotle peppers in adobo, and 1/3 cup of beef stock – pulse for a few seconds at a time to blend, but not liquify (we want it to be a little bit chunky). Add the tomato/pepper mixture to the bowl of the crock pot as well as the chopped onion, shallot, scallion, jalapeno pepper, and beans. Add all seasoning (except for Cajun) and adjust to taste.

Heat a large, nonstick skillet on medium-high heat and coat with oil. Add the chorizo and ground beef in chunks, making sure to break it up as much as possible – we need ground beef here, not patties. Sprinkle 2 tsp of the cajun seasoning over the meat and mix well to blend. Continue cooking on medium-high heat, mixing occasionally to cook evenly and prevent clumps from forming, about 15 minutes or until meat is uniform in color. Using a slotted spoon, remove meat from the pan and add to the crock pot mixture. Mix well.

Set the crock pot on low and cook for at least five hours. Serve with a slotted spoon.

chili

Note: This is a pretty large amount of chili so if you are saving any for the next day, I would recommend removing it to another container using a slotted spoon to drain some of the liquid/fat. This will make the reheated dish a bit less messy and tastier (in my opinion).

Taco Tuesday Lettuce Wraps

The Boyfriend is officially moved in and we looove Mexican food. After his first full day back at work, I knew I had to prepare one of our favorites: lettuce wrap tacos. Mmm tacos.
Tim Ferriss has said that Mexican food is one of the most slow-carb friendly cuisines out there, and if you have to pay a little extra at a restaurant to sub out rice, etc. then consider it your “six-pack tax”. This is a great plan if you’re out and about, but at home we like to make it right the first time. Ditch the tortillas and get cookin’.

Ingredients: 
2 lbs lean ground beef (I used 93% lean/7% fat)
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced and/or GarlicZoom’d
1 medium-sized shallot, finely chopped
1.5 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (optional)
10 butterhead lettuce leaves
1 tomato, chopped (or salsa)
Fresh guacamole
1 tbsp oil (olive oil is fine, I like to use this)

Seasoning: 
Salt
White Pepper
Red Pepper Flakes

From the head of lettuce, removed about 10 leaves and wash thoroughly. Place on a paper towel to dry. Put chopped onion, jalapeno pepper, guacamole, and salsa/tomato in separate bowls – these will be served fresh to dress the tacos.

Heat a large non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Add about 1 tbsp of oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the ground beef as well as red and green bell pepper, shallot, garlic, and fresh oregano. Using a large spatula or slotted spoon, break up the beef into chunks (like taco meat) and mix well to incorporate the veggies. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. Continue cooking meat on medium-high for about 10 minutes or until cooked through, occasionally stirring to keep meat from sticking together and to cook evenly. Remove to a large bowl using a slotted spoon or tongs to drain the liquid from the meat.

Serve immediately & enjoy!

taco tuesday