Beer braised beef short ribs in a Dutch oven

Braised short rib with couscous

For this short rib recipe, jalapeño, onion, garlic, beer, and rosemary all come together to make a savory and slightly spicy braise. I love that the liquid imparts a lot of flavor on the short ribs in the long cooking process.

I should probably mention that you should plan on getting started on this about 3 hours before you would like to eat dinner. It takes about 1/2 an hour to prep and sear the meat and then it cooks in the oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. It is so worth all that time in the oven though. The meat becomes very tender and pulls completely away from the bone.

The beef short ribs taste great with rice, couscous, or another grain and any hearty winter vegetable. In the photo above, you can see that I served it with whole wheat couscous. I plan on stir frying bell peppers soon and serving that with the meat and tortillas. I imagine this would be great for a party, but if you’re serving a group and want to cut costs you might want to use chuck roast instead.

Ribs with onions, jalapeno and garlic
Beer braised beef ribs

I had this recipe in the notes app on my phone from October 29, 2016. It was labeled as beef stew. I remember making this beef stew and it being good, so I decided to try it again.

The recipe in the note wasn’t what you will read down below, though. It wasn’t as complete and didn’t quite make sense, so I had to re-write it and test it out twice. I’m fairly certain I didn’t have a dutch oven back in 2016, so I’m not even quite sure how I made this. I must have just used my large oven-safe stock pot and put that in the oven.

When I made this last month, the first time I tested the updated recipe, I used a package labeled beef back ribs by accident. I’m not entirely sure what the difference is between back ribs and short ribs, except the back ribs were definitely longer and it seemed as if they were less fatty. The beef still tasted great and the meat was less expensive than short ribs.

Short ribs used to be inexpensive but they have become such a popular cut that they increased in price. The good thing about short ribs is that they’re not as long so they fit easier in the dutch oven. I had to cook the back ribs in batches.

Beer braised short ribs in dutch-oven

Adapted from The Kitchn with inspiration from the pioneer woman.

Beer braised beef short ribs in a Dutch oven

2 pound ribs, bone in
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Flour (about 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon)
Salt, preferably Kosher
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 jalapeño, chopped
1/4 onion, sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic OR 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups beer
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

Arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven, remove the racks above it, and heat to 325°F. Brush each short rib with the oil, then sprinkle generously with flour, salt and pepper.

On medium high heat, sear the beef on all sides for several minutes each. This should take about 15 minutes. Don’t crowd the pan. If the meat doesn’t all fit in the pan, cook in batches. Sear the ends as well as the sides.

Turn the heat down to medium and add the jalapeño, onion and garlic around the browned short ribs. Let the onions cook until they soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the beer and water to the pot and bring to a simmer.

After the liquid comes to a simmer, add the rosemary. Cover and place in the oven. Braise in the oven until the meat is very tender and pulling away from the bone, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Notes:
Add more onion if you want. As you may know, my husband is picky about onions.

Use your favorite beer. In my case, an IPA beer every time but a different one each time. I don’t recommend using a beer that has a strong fruit flavor, even if you like that normally. It could conflict with the jalapeño and other flavors too much.

The liquid should thicken and cook down. Check on it halfway through cooking and add additional liquid if necessary. There should be no less than 1/4 of an inch of liquid.

Fried rice

Fried rice with pork

As promised, I’m sharing my mom’s fried rice recipe with you. It goes great with the orange chicken I posted on Monday.

Fried rice is a great way to use up leftover white rice. This recipe is one that my mom used when I was growing up.

I made this for my husband Paul and me for dinner and he said, “This tastes like takeout. Better than takeout!”

Fried rice with space for egg

Fried rice egg cooking

Easy fried rice

According to the recipe, it serves 5 to 6 people.

When I made this on Tuesday and followed the recipe for 3 cups cooked rice, I served it with two pork chops. As a main dish with the meat added, it was 3 servings for us. I think 5 to 6 servings is if it is a side dish.

Sometimes I want to make fried but only 2 servings, or about 1 cup cooked rice. I’m just cooking for myself and my husband and don’t always intend for leftovers. In that case, I still look to this recipe as a basic template.

Fried rice

Fried rice

2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons oil
3 cups cooked rice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 eggs, well-beaten
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, or 2 tablespoons dry parsley
1/8 teaspoon pepper

In medium skillet, cook onion in oil until tender. Add rice and soy sauce. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally with a fork.

Move the rice to the sides of the pan and put the eggs in the center. Cook over low heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. After the egg is cooked, stir the rice into it. Add the parsley and pepper.

If desired, serve with additional soy sauce. Add chicken or other meat to make it a main dish. Or, serve with weeknight orange chicken. It also goes great with stir-fry vegetables. It’s easy to add in frozen mixed vegetables and have them heat up along with the rice, before adding the eggs. Or, you can keep it traditional and add fresh, diced carrots and peas.

Note: Parsley, as suggested in the recipe, makes a good decorative topping. I had cilantro on hand, so I used that instead. It’s what’s in the photos. It has a different taste, but similar look.

Weeknight orange chicken

Orange chicken

It took me about 45 minutes to make the orange chicken from start to finish, and that includes stopping to take photos here and there. You may be able to have it done in 30 minutes or less.

If you’re part of my family on my mom’s side and reading this, you may recognize this recipe because it’s in the Carpenter Cookbook.

Chicken thighs and sauce
Chicken thighs cooking
Chicken simmering in sauce

The orange chicken goes great with vegetable fried rice. I served it with Trader Joe’s frozen vegetable fried rice. I would have made fried rice from scratch to go with this meal, but I didn’t have enough white rice in my pantry and when I went to the Trader Joe’s for more, they were sold out.

In the next few weeks, I’ll share a great recipe of my mom’s for homemade fried rice. If you’re a Carpenter, you can find that in the family cookbook too.

Update: Here is my mom’s orange chicken recipe.

I think Grandma saved this recipe from a food column in a local newspaper, perhaps the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, but I can’t remember for sure now.

Orange chicken two servings

Weeknight orange chicken

2/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup orange marmalade
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the orange juice, marmalade, soy sauce, mustard, ginger, garlic, brown sugar and cornstarch. Stir or whisk to blend well. The marmalade will seem lumpy, but with enough stirring will combine well. Set aside.

Cut chicken breasts into nugget size pieces. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Heat oil in a 12-inch non stick skillet. Add chicken and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until no longer pink, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Pour orange sauce into the pan, stir and bring to a boil. Boil chicken and sauce 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently; sauce will thicken. If it doesn’t seem thick enough, turn heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes more.

A few notes:

  1. The original recipe didn’t call for sugar but I added it because the marmalade and the sauce overall tasted a bit bitter. Adjust according to your tastes and how sweet your brand of marmalade is. For reference, I used Trader Joe’s orange marmalade.
  2. The original recipe said to use chicken breast halves, but I like using thighs for this recipe. Thighs are more fatty. They’re generally not as healthy, but they taste more tender and juicy than chicken breast meat.
  3. I left out the crushed garlic because I didn’t have any. If you have it, use it.

Variations: Add 1 (11 to 15-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained, to the pan once the chicken is done and the sauce is thickened. Add sliced carrots and celery into the pan to sauté with the chicken. Sprinkle salted cashews on top of the finished dish for added crunch. Sprinkle chopped green onion or chopped fresh parsley or cilantro on top of the finished dish for color and flavor. Add 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes to the sauce if your family likes a spicy dish. Add 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil to the olive oil if you like that flavor.

Teriyaki meatballs with udon noodles

Teriyaki meatballs with udon noodles

Hello, friends. I’ve been working on a few new recipes, but I want to test them out a few more times before sharing them with you. For today, I have an easy dinner idea that I have done a few different ways plenty of times over the past three years or so. It’s not really a recipe, but I hope you still get inspiration from it and try it out yourself.

I like having the ingredients on hand for an easy meal like this so I can have a healthy lunch or dinner on the table in under 30 minutes.

Continue reading

One pot spaghetti with meat sauce

one pot spaghetti and meat sauce

I love cooking, but I hate washing a million dishes. So if I could make a great tasting meal that doesn’t use multiple dishes, I’m all for it. With this recipe I can make spaghetti and meat sauce all in one pot without even having to drain it.

With very little chopping or measuring, you can throw a delicious meal together using only one pot. This spaghetti and meat sauce recipe is great for weeknights.

Continue reading

Oat oven meatballs

My mom has made oven meatballs many times over the years, including for family parties. I’ll have to share that recipe sometime. This is based on her amazing meatballs but slightly different. I just always have to mess with a good thing.

I scaled down her recipe to serve about 4 to 6 servings instead of about 8. She makes hers with bread crumbs and red onion. I swapped the bread crumbs for oats and left out the red onion. You can almost get the original recipe out of this. Here I am pulling back the velvet curtain on recipe development.

barbecue oven meatballs

What I love about these meatballs is that they’re so juicy, but they get slightly crunchy on the bottom from the pan. Also, you must make them with the sweet and tangy barbecue sauce listed below. These meatballs would also go great with other sauces, such as marinara or teriyaki. I recommend serving them with rice or another grain.

If you’re making them for a party, I recommend shaping them smaller and keeping them in a slow cooker with the sauce to keep them warm.

The meatballs can be frozen without the sauce and the sauce can be refrigerated for up to a month.

Continue reading

Beef & veggie stir fry with Fortune Noodles

Beef and Veggie Stir Fry

When I’m planning my meals for the week, stir fry makes it on the list almost every time. It’s quick, easy and can be made so many different ways with a variety of veggies.

I developed this Beef & Veggie Stir Fry recipe after JSL Foods contacted me about their Fortune Asian Noodle Blogger Recipe Challenge. I developed this recipe with the Yakisoba Hot & Spicy Noodles. The noodles turned out to be super simple to cook and delicious to boot. This stir fry is perfect for a busy weeknight and it makes incorporating veggies seem easy.

Continue reading

Super simple vegetarian chili

Super simple chili

A lot of America is covered in snow right, or at least it seems that way by the news being shared on my Facebook feed. And here I’m sitting in my living room with no socks on wearing thin yoga pants and a tank top.

I’m told that El Nino should hit California any day, so I’ve braced for the story by stockpiling canned goods.

If you’re staying in this weekend and feel like eating some comfort food that can warm your insides, consider making a big pot of chili. I made this super simple chili recipe a few weeks ago and it was well appreciated.

Continue reading