Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oven Round Roast

This roast will forever be the Rachel Ray roast to me.  I was fortunate to get to visit her show on a recent trip to NYC and this was the recipe that she did.  I have always done chuck roasts in the crockpot and was very unfamiliar with other cuts used for roasts.  By the way, a chuck roast + cream of mushroom soup + carrots, onions, & potatoes in a crockpot for 8 hrs will probably always be my favorite roast beef dinner but I'm always game for trying something different.

I will say that a round roast is a more expensive cut of meat but it is much leaner than chuck and we ate 3 meals plus some on about a 3lb roast.  So you do get your money's worth out of it for sure!  This again is more of a technique than a recipe that I learned so you can change up the seasonings and veggies to your liking.  This produces a medium rare roast so if pink meat is not your thing, stick to chuck roast in the crockpot.  Like I said, it is a very lean roast so if it isn't pink it will be grey and dry out of the oven.  But you could cook your roast this way and then once it is sliced use it in recipes where you cook it a second time.  We sliced up our leftover meat, sauteed it with onions and created some awesome steak sandwiches.  Then what I still had leftover I cubed and created a great chili.  So the meat was cooked again and not tough at all.

Here is Rachel Ray's original recipe that includes a tomato gravy too.  It pretty much creates a gravy with the pan drippings plus some tomato paste.  She recommended serving it with gnocchi.  Gnocchi are potato dumplings, an Italian staple, and they are readily available in vacuum sealed pouches in the pasta aisle.  I like them and think they are a nice switch from the typical potato or rice side dish.  They are bland so you definitely have to top them with something.  Enjoy!

Oven Round Roast

3-4 lb round roast
olive oil
steak seasoning (I used the Montreal steak rub)
1 onion quartered
1c chopped carrots

The roast needs to be at room temp.  Preheat your oven to 500 or 550 if it will get that hot.  Rub the roast with the oil and cover with the seasoning.  In a roasting pan, create a bed of the onion quarters and carrots for the roast to sit on.  Place the roast in the oven for 30 mins.  Turn off the oven but DO NOT open the door for 2 hrs.  Slice and serve.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Rice and Corn Casserole and Mojo Chicken

When I first thought of a rice and corn casserole I didn't think it sounded very good.  Something about two starches together, but it really made a great side dish.  This recipe came from my friend Lee Ann that she had put in our church's Christian Academy's cookbook.  Perfect side dish to take to a potluck.

I also wanted to let you know of a great marinade for chicken.  If you look in the latin foods section of your grocery store you'll find Mojo marinade.  Its a garlic and citrus marinade.  I took a family pack of chicken legs and marinated them all day in it and then grilled them up.  So delicious.

Rice and Corn Casserole

1sm pkg yellow rice (I used the Vigo brand)
1 can mixed corn drained (I used frozen shoepeg corn)
1 can cream of mushroom or chicken
1/2 stick butter melted

Cook rice according to package directions.  Mix remaining ingredients with rice bake in casserole dish at 350 for 30 mins.

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti

This recipe was originally from my friend Terri.  I have changed it a little from her recipe such as using just white meat chicken instead of a whole chicken and leaving out the mushrooms and green peppers.  It makes a huge 9x13 casserole and it is a very affordable meal to make for a crowd when served with garlic bread and salad.  This is a real kid pleaser too, kinda like spaghetti meets rotel dip with chicken.  It also freezes well so it makes a great dish to take to someone or to split it and eat one half and freeze the other.  Needless to say, I've made this several times!

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti

1lb cooked chicken (white or dark), chopped
1lb thin spaghetti
1 can rotel tomatoes
1 can cream of chicken
1 lb velvetta, cubed
1/2 c milk
1c shredded cheddar cheese

Boil spaghetti in a large pot and drain.  In same pot, add rotel, cream of chicken, velvetta, and milk.  Heat this mixture over low heat until velvetta is melted and everything is combined.  Add pasta and chicken to mixture and pour into casserole dish and top with shredded cheese.  Bake at 350 until bubbly.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Huevos Rancheros

Ole!  Why didn't I try making this sooner?!  I didn't really have a recipe I followed.  I just looked at  different recipes on-line and made my own combination.  So you should really just take the idea from this post, pick your ingredients and run with it.  You need crunchy corn tortillas, red or green chile sauce, beans, cheese, and eggs.  This is such an easy meal for b'fast, lunch, or dinner.  Cheap too!

Huevos Rancheros

tostados (that's the 6 in round crunchy corn tortillas but you could substitute tortilla chips)
green enchilada sauce, heated
1 can pinto beans drained
1 can refried beans
mexican cheese blend
eggs, fried
tomato, diced (I substituted salsa the 2nd time I made this)

I mixed my pinto and refried beans together and heated them.  For one serving I used 3 tostados (really 2 is plenty).  This is how I layered it...tostado, beans, cheese, tostado, beans, cheese, tostado,  and 2 fried eggs.  Then top with green sauce and tomatoes.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

NYC Day 7

Last day in NYC!  It has been a great trip and we have a little more sightseeing to do before we head home but I'm ready to get back south!

We started out the day with a late breakfast at the Carnegie Deli.  We were both kinda craving corned beef hash again so we split an order.  The portions here are huge!  I had hoped that it was going to be better than the hash we had the day we got here because they cure their own meats.  Unfortunately it wasn't.  Overcooked, dry, and greasy.  We definitely liked the other better.

We got on the subway and road the 1 down to Battery Park to catch a ferry to Liberty Island and Ellis Island.  At Liberty Island, they are currently not allowing entrance into the statue except for special ticket holders and they only allow 240 per day of them.  I was pretty sure that we may not be able to access the top of the statue but I was really surprised we couldn't go into the museum in the base of the statue either.  So all we could do was walk around it and then get on the ferry to go to Ellis Island.

Ellis Island is alot bigger than I thought and there is so much to see there!  We only had about an 1 hr before we had to get back to catch our plane.  I didn't realize that this island had not just the main building but also a ferry station, hospital, powerhouse, and dormitories.  Only the main building is currently in use but you could easily spend 3 hrs in it!  Definitely a place I need to go back to.

We were starting to get into a pretty big hurry once the ferry got back to Battery Park.  We had about 2 1/2 hrs to ride the subway back to midtown, get Jack a gift at FAO Schwarz, get our bags, and get to the airport before the plane took off.  Jack has a fascination with trash trucks and can you believe that we found a NYC trash truck at the store!  We darted down 5th Ave on foot stopping once for a hotdog to eat while running! 
When we got to our hotel, our street was closed because they were piling up the snow to be removed.....using a bulldozer!  That's just too much dang snow!  So a taxi can't come to the hotel to pick us up and we have to go down our street to 6th to hail one.  Now another is 4:15 and all of the taxis change shift at 5 and no one wants to take us to LaGuardia because it will put them past their shift!  After being turned down by about 5 taxis, one finally takes us!  I wasn't sure what we were going to do if we didn't get one.  The subway doesn't go to the airport but I was about to see if there was a bus route to it.  It shouldv'e been about a 30 min trip but a little traffic congestion made it about 45.  We got there about 5:15 and checked in with no problem before our flight at 6.  Nothing like ending a trip with a little unexpected excitement!

All in all, NYC was a great trip.  I was on my own most of the time since Bill was in school.  I never felt scared to be out on my own because where we were was a big tourist destination.  I was out there with other tourists, people who worked around there, and police.  I saw very little panhandling and never felt like I was somewhere unsafe.  I kept a little map with me and we paid $27 each for an unlimited pass for the subway and buses.  The subway didn't feel unsafe either.  I really want to go back and take the boys next time.  They would just love so much of it!

Top 10 Things I Learned on My First Trip to NYC
1.  Mass transportation rocks!  How else could a city like this function?
2.  There is a Starbuck's on every corner!  I thought it was pretty funny when the directions to one place I was looking for said that it was across from Starbuck's!  What isn't?
3.  Finding a grocery store in the city isn't easy.  I don't know why they eluded me!
4.  Eating out can get very expensive so it helps to do your research to find some cheaper options.
5.  Duane & Reade is the NYC drugstore and there are just as many of these as Starbuck's.
6.  You can easily walk 8 miles a day walking around sightseeing.  But don't look up too much!  You might just walk into an intersection or crash into another pedestrian.
7.  Research, research, research you trip!  You could waste alot of time figuring things out while you are there if you don't have some idea about what you want to do and how to do it.
8.  If it's winter, take boots!  It would have been a life saver for my feet the last couple of day we were there.
9.  Seeing at least one Broadway show is a must!  It is affordable too.  We got 2 weeknight tickets for Wicked the night before the show for only $56 each.  Our seats were labeled as having a "partially obstructed view" but they were totally fine.  Didn't miss a thing!
10.  Stick with yellow taxis.  Other taxis may take you for a pun intended.  We took yellow taxi to the airport for about $35 and Bill's coworker to another unmarked cab and paid $10 more.

Friday, February 4, 2011

NYC Day 6

I had intentions of getting up this morning and going to Regis and Kelley but after my day of marathon walking yesterday and getting to bed at midnight.....I just couldn't pull myself out of bed.

I had to go out by lunchtime though because I didn't have anything but granola bars in the room to eat for lunch.  I decided to go back to the little french restaurant, La Bonne Soupe, that we had the steak au poivre.  I had their Quiche Lorraine which had ham and swiss cheese.  It was an individual sized quiche, which was nice because I think you get a little more crust :), and a side salad. 

I also tried their apple tart which I didn't like quite as much as good ol' apple pie but it was nice.  It had very little apple and more of a thick custardy filling.  I believe it is called a frangipane which is made of butter, eggs, sugar, and ground almonds.

I then headed to St. Patrick's Cathedral.  That is one massive cathedral!  It is free to visit and worth stopping by to see.  From there I went to do a little gift shopping at the Lego store at Rockefeller center before going to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).  It costs $20 to visit the MoMA but on Fridays 4-8 Target sponsors free access.  It was very crowded, which was expected, so I limited myself to checking out just 2 of the floors of the museum.  

Monet's Water Lillies

They have well known artists on display such as van Gogh, Monet, Picasso, Matisse, Polk, and Warhol.  I would like to go back and do the audio tour sometime.

That evening we had planned to have supper from a local, very popular street vendor, The Halal Guys, on the corner of 53rd & 6th.  Apparently this vendor is open 7:30 at night till 4 in the morning.  They serve chicken and lamb plates that are suppose to be the best.  Well, it was cheap (about $6 for a plate) and filling but it was far from being the best thing I've ever had. 

Chicken & Rice

Yellow rice topped with chopped chicken and a little lettuce.  They give you a side of white sauce and hot sauce.  The white sauce was essentially white bbq sauce and the hot sauce was so outrageously hot I couldn't stand it.  We definitely could have split a plate...we both threw away about half our food.

I also stopped by the same bakery I got my black & white cookie to get a cannoli.  It was very good but not better than the black & white which is now my favorite Yankee cookie.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

NYC Day 5

I wasn't too anxious to go out this morning because I wasn't  sure what it was going to be like outside.  The snow storm brought about 16 inches of snow to Manhattan.  It was plenty of entertainment just to watch the local news!

I'm the speck on the left in the back!

Searching on the internet I learned that the Rachel Ray show should be taping around 12:00.  It was now 10:00 and I had to get a shower and take about a 20 min walk to get to the show.  And how much would the snow get in my way?  Well I decided to take a super fast shower and dart out the door to see if I could get a standby seat.  Getting there wasn't too bad but for every crosswalk that was cleared of snow there was one that seemed like an obstacle course of snow and slush!  I made it and they had plenty of seats still available!  I've never been to a television show so it was really fun to see how it all worked.

After the show, I had a few hours to waste until I was to meet Bill.  The leader from the school Bill was attending was taking a group to the World Trade Center site.  I got a late lunch at Goodburger, a New York fast food chain.  I had a very good grilled burger with real cheese.  I had several more blocks to trek before I got to where Bill was and unfortunately I wasn't able to keep my feet dry.  It was inevitable and I finally plunged my feet into an icy slush puddle trying to cross the street.  Shooting pain followed by total numbness!  I kept walking to get the water out and keep the blood flowing to my toes!  Stopped into a Duane and Reade store (drugstore) and got some dry socks.  Now I'll be able to handle the tour tonight.

Memorial Site Model
 We had a very interesting tour around the WTC site.  The new site will be composed of 5 skyscrapers, a memorial & museum, transportation hub, retail complex, and performing arts center. 1 World Trade Center will be the tallest building in the country when it is completed.  The foundations of the 2 World Trade towers will be waterfall memorials.  The site did not have a look of destruction anymore but rather progress and rebirth.  It was inspiring.

Smokin' Goodfella
 We took a walk to the Staten Island Ferry.  In Staten Island we had supper at GoodFella's.  They served us huge chunks of fried mozzarella, calamari, and tomato & mozzarella salad.  The pizza was great!  Traditional tomato and mozzarella, a Vodka sauce pizza with peas and mushrooms, and their award winning Smokin' Goodfella with smoked mozzarella and roasted red pepper cream sauce.  All 3 were very good but my favorite was the traditional pizza.