Have you ever had a Philly cheesesteak? I’m not talking about something homemade or the one at the closest sandwich shop – I mean a real Philly cheesesteak from a real cheesesteak place in Philadelphia.
I was introduced to them during my first few weeks of college. The biggest surprise? Cheez Whiz.
The weather this past week was such a tease. Several days of warm-enough-for-just-a-sweatshirt, and now we’re back to endless cold and snow. Granted, we’re fairing better than a lot of the country, but I’m still bitter. I’m ready for spring.
Until it gets here, I’m going to be all about comfort food.
This dish is a fusion of two of our favorites – Tex-Mex and Italian. Lasagna is layered with taco meat, refried beans, and cheese, then topped off with your favorite taco toppings.
Note: I received complimentary products for this post. All opinions are my own.
One of my favorite parts of #Choctoberfest is getting a chance to show how versatile chocolate can be. Everyone always jumps to cakes and brownies, but there’s so much more than that – how about some chocolate for dinner?
This delicious chili uses a full bar of Forte chocolate but if you’re thinking “chocolate with meat? gross!”, you’ve got it all wrong. The chocolate isn’t going to be obvious when you dig in, but it add a great depth of flavor and an amazing smoothness to the chili.
Forte’s motto is “Celebrate Life through Chocolate”, which I’m totally on board with. This chili is simple enough that you can celebrate any day.
8 slices of bacon, chopped
2 lbs. ground beef
1 red onion, diced
2 red peppers, diced
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. cumin
1/4 cup whiskey
2 oz. dark chocolate (I used Forte 64% dark)
Green onions, chopped
In a large pot, crisp the chopped bacon over medium high heat. When cooked, remove the bacon to a bowl with a slotted spoon but leave the drippings. Add the ground beef and brown, breaking up the chunks as you go. When it’s about halfway cooked, add in the onion and peppers. Cook until the meat is no longer pink and the onion is soft.
Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, chili powder, cayenne, paprika and cumin. Bring to a boil. Stir in the whisky and half of the bacon. Reduce to low and simmer for an hour.
Stir in the dark chocolate until melted and evenly combined. Serve topped with chopped green onions and remaining bacon.
Today, I wanted to go savory. Because if you can swing having chocolate for dinner, you totally should. I started with a chocolate bbq sauce. It’s is spicy with a touch of sweetness and the chocolate gives it a nice smooth, thick texture.
Then, I made a chocolate-chili spice rub and used it to crust a brisket. After slow cooking the brisket, I shredded it and served it on sliders, topped with the bbq sauce. They were delicious.
Chocolate Chili Rubbed Brisket Sliders with Chocolate BBQ Sauce (adapted from this and this, both from Saveur) Makes 18 sliders
For the bbq sauce:
2 Tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, minced
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup brewed Sabertooth Roast Coffee
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
Pinch of cayenne
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft. Stir in remaining ingredients and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
For the chocolate-chili rub:
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. dried mustard
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
In a slow cooker, add 1 cup of bbq sauce to coat the bottom of the crock. Rub the brisket generously with several tablespoons of chocolate-chili rub. Place the brisket in the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove and shred. Serve on rolls, topped with additional bbq sauce.
I swear that every time I plan to grill out, it rains. Or at least it feels that way lately. I can’t remember the last time we’ve had so much rain!
It’s meant a few hiccups our meal plans. I was dreaming of burgers on the grill one night, but grilling in the pouring rain had zero appeal – so they became burger burritos instead. It wasn’t the juicy, grilled burger I was daydreaming about, but it was a good approximation for a rainy night – and my son loved them.
A Shake Shack opened in our town last year and it’s been… dangerous. It’s probably the easiest and tastiest to-go burger around. And then add a milkshake? Yeah, bad news to have that in your backyard.
I was craving some last week when I remembered Sarah had blogged a copy-cat version a few years back. When I looked at the recipe, I was skeptical they’d be really that simple – but they are. These hit the nail on the head and totally cured my craving.
Now I’m trying to decide if it’s more dangerous to have a Shake Shack so close or to know I can make them at home so easily.
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp. ketchup
1 1/2 tsp. yellow mustard
2 slices kosher dill pickle, finely chopped
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/4 lbs. ground sirloin
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
8 slider rolls, preferably potato
8 leaves lettuce, tops of leaves only
8 slices ripe Roma tomatoes
8 slices yellow American cheese
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup, yellow mustard, chopped pickle, garlic powder, paprika and cayenne. Set aside.
Split rolls and butter cut-side lightly. Broil until lightly toasted. After toasting, top with 1/2 – 1 tsp. of sauce, a slice of lettuce and a slice of tomato. Set the prepped buns on parchment paper.
Divide the ground sirloin into eight equal parts and form into patties. Season with salt and pepper and place seasoned-side down in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Press down and season again. Cook for about three minutes, until the bottoms have a nice crust and then flip, top with cheese and cover until cheese melts.
Transfer the cooked burgers to the prepped buns and wrap in parchment for a minute to let the juices absorb. (This is what really makes the burgers – don’t skip it!) Unwrap and serve immediately.
When I was pregnant with Jake, all I wanted to eat was pizza. I tried to shake it up by making as many different pizza-flavored dishes as I could find, but I’m pretty sure Mark was sick of pizza after first trimester.
This pregnancy, burgers have been the big hit. I joked with Mark early in the pregnancy that maybe it was a girl this time since I was craving something different – but I didn’t really expect to be right!
This pizza was one of my I’m-trying-to-pass-this-off-as-not-burgers-again meals. It was a huge hit here – and one we’ll make again even after the burger cravings are gone!
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/3 cup diced red onion
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 lb. pizza dough
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup prepared mustard
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. dill relish
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Dill pickle slices for topping
Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.
In a medium skillet, brown the ground beef and onion. Drain the grease and stir in the Worcestershire.
Roll out the pizza dough and bake for 8 minutes. While baking, whisk together the ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and relish.
Once pre-baked, remove the crust from the oven, spread the sauce over evenly, top with the ground beef, cheese and pickle slices. Return to the oven for an additional 6-10 minutes, until cheese is melted and the crust is golden-brown.