Meaty Marinara

Today marks the one year anniversary of my blog. I want to thank everyone who has stopped by to read about my adventures and to get some recipe tips too. I hope that you all keep coming back and enjoying what you read. Thanks for Reading Everyone!!!

I thought a good recipe to put up for the one year anniversary would be my Meaty Marinara sauce.

Growing up I was never a huge fan of Italian food unless it came on a Pizza (yes I know that isn’t real Italian) or in a meatball sub, this was mostly because what I was used to eating usually came from some local pizza joint that used canned everything that always tasted the same. While my mother always made a sauce that I still love to this day and occasionally make myself it still wasn’t truly authentic Italian sauce. Don’t be mad Mom, I will always love your sauce.

As I grew older and even more so after I got married I started going to more authentic Italian restaurants and discovered more traditional Italian dishes. With this I started seeing how different ingredients that you never really thought of being in a sauce are what really makes it.  You don’t just toss a hand full of dried oregano in a pot with tomatoes and magically get sauce. There are many different ingredients and combinations to take into consideration for the flavor you want.

Over the weekend I decided to put together a more traditional marinara but of course I needed to add my own twist to it. So Here is what I came up with.

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Ingredients:

1 lb Sweet Italian Sausage

1 medium white onion diced

1 large carrot finely diced

2 Celery stalks finely diced

2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes

3 tablespoons of minced garlic

3 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh oregano

1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt

Black pepper

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

Extra Virgin Olive oil (about 1/4 cup)

Cooking

In a large sauce pan heat the olive oil on medium high heat and add the garlic. Stir the garlic around a few times and then add the onions, carrots and celery and cook until the onions and celery start to turn clear. Now add the sweet Italian sausage and cook it nice and brown making sure to break it up into small pieces as it cooks.

Once the sausage has browned reduce the heat to medium and add both cans of crushed tomatoes and stir it all together. Let that start to simmer and then add the oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes. Now stir that all together and let it simmer a few more minutes. It is now time to add in the 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, 2 teaspoons of salt and a tablespoon of black pepper. Stir that all together and reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 45 minutes stirring occasionally.

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That is really all there is to it. Its a pretty simple recipe but all of the different ingredients really meld together well to create a very tasty sauce. For all of my vegetarian friends out there (yes I do have some) It is just as good if you leave the meat out.

All that is left now is to boil your favorite pasta and cover it with a nice helping of sauce and enjoy. Maybe even heat up a slice or two of Garlic bread to top it off.  This one came out really good and has that more authentic Italian flavor that you just don’t get from a jar.

As always

Thanks for Reading

JMW

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Enchiladas Two Ways

I know that you may be thinking that since I live in San Antonio why would I possibly need to make enchiladas when I can go to any of the hundreds of restaurants in town and pick them up. The answer is simple. I like to come up with new ways to do things and see if I can make something just as good or better than I can get in a restaurant.

So this go round I decided that I was going to make enchiladas but I didn’t want to do just one kind, no… I had to go and make two different kinds. I decided on chicken and chorizo for one batch and bean and cheese for the other. They both came out wonderful but I think my favorites where the bean and cheese. This surprised me since I am an avid meat eater.

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So enough about that, here is how I did them.

Ingredients

boneless skinless thin sliced chicken breast (about 1 lb)

Mexican chorizo (4 oz)

1 large white onion (sliced thin)

1 large poblano pepper (sliced thin)

1 can Rosarita fat free refried beans (or your favorite brand).

24 pack of corn tortillas

1 cake of queso fresco cheese

1 bag of shredded colby jack cheese (3 cup bag should do)

2 to 3 cans of enchilada sauce (I used Hatch brand green enchilada sauce)

Chili powder

chopped or minced garlic (2 tablespoons)

Salt

Black pepper

1 jar of your favorite salsa

Cooking

Since I made two different kinds I will lay it out one at a time.

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Chicken and Chorizo

In a large frying pan cook the chorizo. You will notice that it is pretty greasy but that is fine as you will be cooking the other ingredients in it. Once the chorizo is done stir in half of the onion and peppers and simmer until the onion starts to turn clear. (the other half of the onion and peppers is for the bean and cheese). Now remove that from the pan and cook the chicken breast slices in the pan with the chorizo grease. Make sure to cook it through about 3 minutes on each side. Now remove that to cool a little and then chop it up into small pieces. Add the chicken and the onion, pepper, chorizo mixture back to the pan and add about a 1/4 cup of water and 2 tablespoons of chili powder and stir in the garlic. Let that simmer for about 15 minutes on low heat and then set it aside.

Beans

In a medium pan saute the onions and peppers until the onions start to turn clear and add in the beans. Mix together and cook until the beans are nice and soft then remove from heat.

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Tortillas

Split the bad of tortillas into two stacks of 12, one stack for each kind. Warm up a stack by wrapping a damp paper towel around them and heat them in the microwave for about 45 seconds. This will heat them up and make them easier to work with. If you don’t heat up corn tortillas first they will start to crumble when you try and roll them up. Now that they are heated you will want to set out a baking dish and spoon out about a quarter inch of enchilada sauce into the bottom. You will also need to put a couple of big spoonfuls onto a small plate for prepping the tortillas. You need to coat both sides of the tortilla in sauce. This helps them stick together when you roll them up and keeps them easy to work with. It is messy but necessary, so don’t skip this step.

Now take the cake of queso and put it in a bowl and chop it up with a fork. You will get a consistency similar to feta cheese when it is good and chopped.

The rest is now a matter of working as an assembly line.

For the Chicken: you will want to coat a tortilla and then spoon in some of the chicken mixture and then add a few sprinkles of the colby jack cheese and roll it up and place it in the pan. Do this 12 times.

For the bean and cheese: you will want to coat a tortilla, add a spoonful of beans across the bottom and sprinkle on a decent spoon of queso and roll it up and place it in the pan. Do this 12 times.

For both: It is a good idea to place each enchilada in the pan with the rolled seem down so they do not unroll on you. After you have your pan filled you will want to cover the top with your enchilada sauce and then cover that in a nice layer of colby jack cheese.

Now place them in a preheated oven (to 350 degrees) for about 20 minutes. You will know they are done when the cheese on top has completely melted and starts to brown slightly.

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When they are done put a couple on a plate and add your favorite salsa to the top and enjoy. I know this sounds like a lot of work but it is really worth it in the end. They turned out great and you don’t actually have to make both kinds. One is more than enough, I just like to share.

Thanks for reading

JMW

Youz Guyz South Philly Cheese steaks

Great ***

Pretty Good

OK

No Thanks

It has been a while since I’ve done a review, so what better place to review than Youz Guyz in Universal City on Pat Booker Road.

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Looking back over my reviews I was surprised to see that I had not done a review for Youz Guyz yet, especially seeing as how I have been a pretty frequent customer over the last few years. When it comes to subs or sandwiches I have always loved a good Philly Cheese steak. There is just something about the combination of the grilled steak, onions, and cheese on that long hoagie roll that screams perfection when you bite into it. I have had many different varieties over the years, some good and some bad. If I can give one piece of advice that you take to heart it is that you need to go to a local shop for the best food. Those guys are the ones that put love into every bite and specialize in making a couple of things really good instead of a bunch of stuff just ok. You aren’t going to find a truly great cheese steak at one of those sub chains. Go somewhere that makes it their specialty and if you are in the San Antonio area and over on the north east side near Universal City, Youz Guyz is the place that does just that.

Youz Guyz is the real deal folks. Owners Kathy and Jimmy are from South Philly and know how these sandwiches are supposed to taste and do them right with just the right combination of cheese and onions to compliment the steak. When you bite into one of their cheese steaks it melts in your mouth. You can add mushrooms or peppers and either have provolone cheese (the right way) or add cheese whiz if you want.

Now if you aren’t in the mood for a cheese steak you can get hoagies, Italian hot sausage, hot dogs or chicken fingers too but if you try the cheese steak first you probably wont ever look at the rest of the menu. You also have your choice of a variety of sides to choose from including Onion rings, fries, pizza fries, mozzarella sticks and home made potato chips. I tend to switch between the onion rings and the fries depending on my mood.

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You can’t go wrong with any of it but I urge you to try the cheese steak first. You wont be disappointed. When you walk in look for the sign that tells you how to order your sandwich the right way and make sure you let them know if you want it “wit”. You will know what I am talking about once you get there.

Also if you are in a hurry you can do what I did this trip and get it to go. Since I live about 5 minutes away it was just a fresh and tasty as it would be if I were sitting there at the restaurant.

I can’t speak highly enough about this place. They have great food and are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. So go and give it a try. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Thanks for reading

JMW

Mojo Roasted Pork

Or Cuban roasted pork. Either way it is delicious.

If you have read my previous blog posts you will probably know that one of the things I miss about living in FL is the Cuban food. I showed you all a while back how to make a classic Cuban sandwich and now I will show you how to do Mojo roasted pork. This is a pretty simple recipe but takes awhile to cook. So prepare yourself. You will need to marinade it over night and then set aside about 5 to 6 hrs to cook it the next day because this is a slow roasted pork. Now don’t let the time scare you off, it is well worth it when it is done.

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Here is what you will need to make this. As a little extra I will tell you how to make a quick and easy side dish of black beans to go with it too.

Ingredients

Pork Shoulder (I used boneless) About 4 lbs give or take

Orange Juice (no pulp, about a cup)

Lime juice (1/4 cup)

Dried oregano (2 tablespoons)

Ground Black Pepper (1 tablespoon)

Ground Cumin (1 tablespoon)

Smoked Paprika (1 teaspoon)

Minced or freshly chopped garlic (1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon course ground salt

2 diced Jalapenos (for the beans)

1 medium white onion thinly sliced (for a more authentic taste use red onion, I just happen to prefer white)

1/2 cup of diced onion (for the beans)

1 can black beans ( I used Bushes black beans)

Marinade

Mix orange juice, lime juice, oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, black pepper, salt and half of the garlic together in a bowl.

Take the pork shoulder (trimmed of excess fat) and place it in a large Ziploc bag and pour the marinade in and close the bag. You may want to double bag to prevent leaking. Make sure it is mixed all around and has touched all of the pork. Place in the fridge over night.

Cooking the pork

Preheat your oven to 275 degrees

Take the marinated pork and place it in an oven safe pot with a lid that covers it entirely. You can pour in a little of the marinade with it if you like. Then discard the rest. Now add the sliced onion to the pot and put the lid on it.

Put the pork in the oven and roast it for 5 to 6 hours. About half way through you will want to turn the shoulder over in the pot and mix the onion around a little. If this is a fatty pork shoulder you will also want to drain any extra fat from the pot leaving about half an inch in the bottom. Put the lid back on and put it back in the oven for the remainder of the time.

That is it for the pork. You will know it is done when you can stick a wooden spoon or spatula in and it falls apart when you try to move it.

Now as an extra little perk here is how to make a great side to compliment this roasted pork.

Black Beans

Open 1 can of Bushes black beans and pour them in a small pot. Now add the diced onion, jalapeno and the rest of the garlic and cook on medium high heat until the onion starts to soften up. Once it is heated all the way through your beans are ready.

All that is left to do is put a nice portion of pork on a plate with a big spoonful of black beans on the side and enjoy a home cooked Cuban dinner.

Thanks for reading,

JMW

Let’s Talk Burgers

Let’s face it, everyone loves burgers and have come up with many many ways to make them and even make them with a lot of different types of meat including Buffalo, Elk, Turkey, Chicken, Bison and of course good ole beef.  Even if you are a vegetarian you still try and find a way to make something like tofu into a burger. Why do you think that is? Well it’s because burgers are great, plain and simple. For most of us you have a big patty of meat tucked neatly (or not so neatly) between to halves of a bun and piled high with all of your favorite toppings and condiments. You can add just about anything to a burger to change it up and give it a different taste. I have been known to add many different things to mine over the years such as bacon, avocado, and yes even a fried egg. Burgers are versatile and delicious. If people didn’t love burgers they wouldn’t be sold in mass quantities just about everywhere you go.

That brings me to this past weekend. I wanted to make burgers at home and also wanted to come up with something for you fine folks to try out that is a little different than your normal burger. So I started searching the fridge and wracking my brain to come up with something that turned out to be one of the best burgers I have ever made.

I now give you the salsa burger.

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Ingredients

2 lbs lean ground beef

1/2 cup salsa fresca (finely chopped)

Tip: I used salsa fresca in this because it has a unique mix of ingredients and is usually more finely chopped than regular salsa. Ingredients usually include tomato, cilantro, lime, onion, garlic, red wine vinegar and chile pepper. This mix of flavors gives the meat a great taste.

chili powder

black pepper

salt

Sliced Colby jack cheese

Onion Rolls (cut in half to make a bun)

And whatever your favorite toppings may be. I used Lettuce, tomato, dill pickle slices, onion and Mayo

Prep

Put the ground beef into a mixing bowl and then add the salsa. Using both hands get in there and really mix it all together until everything is nicely blended. Now pat out your patties. I like to do nice thin patties with about 4 or 5 ounces of meat each.  Make sure to flatten them out good because they will shrink a little when cooking. Once you have the patties all made and laid out on a plate you want to salt and pepper them and also sprinkle a little chili powder across the top. Let those sit so they get close to room temp. Meat always cooks better and more evenly throughout if it is room temp and not cold straight out of the fridge.

Cooking

You can cook the burgers a couple of different ways. I usually go for the grill but I ran out of propane so this go round I went old school with the frying pan. Heat a large frying pan to medium high heat. You want it to be hot when they go in but not super hot or they will burn on the outside and be raw in the middle.

Drop your patties in a nice even layer in the pan and let them cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on one side. Then turn them over let them cook for another 3 to 4 minutes on the other side depending on how rare or done you like your burgers. I prefer mine to be medium to medium well.

If you like cheese on your burger like I do you will want to place a slice on top of the burger with about 30 seconds left to cook. This will get it started  melting evenly across the top.

With the burgers now done and the pan still hot place your cut onion rolls (cut side down) in the pan for about 30 seconds to get a nice lite crunch on them. (or use regular buns if you aren’t feeling adventurous).

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Assembly

Now its time to assemble the burger. Place a patty on your bun and add whatever condiments you prefer and then pile it high with your favorite toppings. To recreate the one I made you will want to add mayo to both halves of the bun, place the patty on the bottom and add thin sliced white onion, fresh Romain lettuce, sliced dill pickle, and thin sliced Roma tomato. I highly recommend trying it this way first.  You are now ready to embark on a truly unique burger experience.

Enjoy and thanks for reading

JMW

Buffalo Wings

Just in time for the Super Bowl I bring you my recipe for Buffalo Wings. There are many different ways to do wings with a multitude of flavors but for this go round I went with the more traditional Buffalo flavor, but of course I added my own special touch to it. Here is what I did.

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Ingredients

1 large pack of wing drumettes (about 30)
1 bottle of Texas Pete wing sauce
Granulated garlic
Black pepper
Salt
Chili powder
Butter (2 tablespoons)
Olive oil

Cooking

Sprinkle the wings with salt, pepper, garlic, and chili powder and then heat about half an inch of olive oil in a large frying pan. Also preheat your oven to 350 degrees, you will need that later.
Now you want to cook your drumettes until they are brown all the way around. Do not worry about cooking them all the way through, at this time you just want to get them brown. While they are cooking melt the butter in a bowl in the microwave and then stir in the buffalo sauce. Also sprinkle in a dash of garlic and chili powder and stir it all together. Separate the sauce into two bowls and set them aside.
As the wings get brown set them out on a plate covered in several paper towels to absorb the oil.
Now toss the wings in one of the bowls of sauce and then lay them out on a baking pan. Go ahead and throw out any sauce that is left from that bowl since it has had chicken that has not been fully cooked in it.
Bake the wings for about 20 minutes until they are nice and crispy and then remove them from the oven and toss them in the other bowl of sauce until they are fully covered. They are now ready to go. You may want to get a little blue cheese to put on the side. I used Marie’s yogurt blue cheese and it complimented them perfectly.
All that’s left to do now is sit down, watch the game and enjoy your wings.

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Thanks for reading,
JMW