Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Slightly Better BBQ

So Charlie and I went to a new Mexican restaurant in our little town, and ordered our usual: chicken flautas for him and carnitas for me. The flautas were meh, but the carnitas was (were?) spectacularly bad. Big chunks of dry meat, utterly devoid of flavor or savor.

I was going to abandon it, but Charlie encouraged me to bring it home and see if I could do something with it.

So I did.

I battled the chunks with a fork until I had wrestled them into shreds. I covered the shreds with ginger ale and put that into the refrigerator overnight. When I took it out the next night, the meat had absorbed almost all the ginger ale. I put the meat and its soda into a pan, added an equal amount of Sweet Baby Ray's spicy honey BBQ sauce and cooked it down.

Came out looking like this:

It was slightly better. At least it was edible. Carnitas is pork, but I use the ginger ale plus barbecue sauce combo for chicken and beef, too.

I'm told we must have been there on a bad day, so I might try it again sometime, but Charlie won't.

I'm posting at my own blog today about fish-ish dinner we had.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Cheater's Lentil Soup #Vegan

It just doesn't get any easier than this.


  • One can of lentils
  • One cup of veg broth
  • Onion powder
  • Seasoning to taste
Combine and heat.

I flavored this with Penzeys Sunny Paris and Fines Herbes. If I had had some mirepoix mix, I would have put some of that in.

It was still pretty darned good, especially for something that took next to no time.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

#Vegan #Pasta Dish SO GOOD!

So we went to a party and our vegan daughter was going to be there, so I made this because you KNOW vegans get sick of making a meal off side dishes.
This is tri-colored pasta plus tri-colored sweet bell peppers, baby spinach, olives, shallots, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and Italian herb blend. That topping is vegan "Parmesan cheese," as per The Uncheese Cookbook.


I'm posting today at my blog about a very non-vegan treat I took to church. YES, THEY LET ME IN CHURCH. I can't take communion, but I can attend. So there.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

it's All About The Toppings

I've made this before, but I put different toppings on it.

This is tilapia, a frozen filet sprinkled with Lawry's seasoned salt and lemon pepper and fried for 7 minutes a side in vegan margarine. Then I put Jasmine rice over a bed of lettuce and put the fish on that. This time, I topped it with Ranch dressing, shredded Italian blend cheese, and some leftover mixed olives.

We loved it!

I'm posting at my blog today about the biscotti I made us. For realz!

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, January 4, 2019

Slow Cooker Beef Chili

Warm the heart and soul with this slow-cooked beef chili recipe.


2 guajillo chiles
1 dried ancho chile
1 dried pasilla chile
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound boneless beef chuck, cut into ½" pieces
½ pound boneless beef short ribs, cut into ½" pieces
½ brisket, cut into ½" pieces
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
2 yellow onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, chopped (optional)
1 12-ounce can lager
Sour cream, shredded cheddar, chopped red onion, cilantro leaves, and chips (for serving)


Toast guajillo, ancho, and pasilla chiles in a medium dry skillet over medium-high heat, turning occasionally and pressing down to help chiles make contact with the pan, until darkened in color and beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and cover with 2 cups boiling water; let sit 30 minutes to soften. Drain; discard seeds and stems. Working in batches if needed, purée chiles and broth in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute, and set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high. Season chuck, short ribs, and brisket with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Continue cooking until liquid accumulated in pot has evaporated, 8–10 minutes more. Transfer beef to a plate.

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in same pot, then add onions and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until onions are softened, 6–8 minutes. Onion juices should help loosen any bits of beef stuck to bottom of pot, but if the surface looks too brown, add a splash of water and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits. Add cumin, oregano, and chipotle, if using, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.

Transfer mixture to a 4–6-quart slow cooker. Add lager, reserved beef, and reserved chile purée, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Cover and cook until meat is very tender, 7–8 hours on low or 4–5 hours on high. If liquid seems too thin, simmer until thickened to desired consistency.

Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve chili topped with sour cream, cheddar, red onion, cilantro leaves, and chips.

Do ahead: Chili can be made up to 4 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Reheat gently over low heat, adding a splash of water to loosen, if needed.

*Get full details and mouth-watering photos at Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Bean Thing and Then Some - Could Be #Vegan

This is actually a recipe that is naturally vegan, but #4 Daughter was visiting, so I threw some meat on top. If the meat had been shredded chicken or beef, it would have been kosher, but the meat was pork carnitas, so it wasn't.

(We aren't Jewish, btw, but I'm aware.)

Bean Thing
  • garlic-infused olive oil
  • chopped onion
  • chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • cubed tomatoes, fresh from the garden
  • small can tomato sauce
  • 1 15-ounce can of white navy beans (beans, salt and water only -- no sugar)

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add thyme and paprika and stir for a couple of minutes to toast and release the flavors into the oil. Add vegetables and cook a couple more minutes. Add sauce and beans (with juice). Cover, reduce heat, simmer about 20 minutes.

The recipe I adapted this from says to serve it over rice, and I usually do. Charlie likes hot food over lettuce, so I usually do that, too.
Lettuce, rice, bean thing, carnitas (or not).


I'm posting today at my own blog about a fruit dessert I took to a party. It's also the first of the month, so I'll have a new micro-mini story.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes