Spicy Beef with Potatoes

You’d think I could have come up with a more creative name for this dish, but no. I kind of dropped the ball in that department. However, there’s a lot of flavor in there and in no way is it boring! If you can think of a better name to jazz it up, I’m open to suggestions. This was one of those dishes that came together when I had no plan and not a lot of ingredient options, but I wanted something spicy. It’s just good ol’ comfort food with a little kick that comes from the chipotle chile in adobo. I’ve made it several times now and luckily wrote my recipe down after I made it the first time. (Psst…This is another tasty addition for a Cinco de Mayo feast!)

Spicy Beef with Potatoes (until we can think of a better name!)
Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef (you can substitute ground turkey)
1 teaspoon cumin
3-4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup (+ more if needed) chicken broth
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
salt & pepper, to taste
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, seeded and chopped (see note in instructions)
1 teaspoon dried cilantro (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro added in at the end)
1 – 15oz. can cut green beans, or 15 oz. fresh or frozen green beans (see note in instructions)
1 tablespoon green onion, chopped

Instructions:
1. Brown ground beef (or ground turkey) over medium high heat in a deep skillet and season with salt and pepper. Drain off excess fat.
2. Add 1 teaspoon cumin and stir into the beef to combine.
3. Add 3-4 tablespoons of tomato paste (enough to coat the meat). I like to buy the tomato paste in the tube. Keeps for a long time in the fridge and you don’t waste any like you sometimes do with the little cans.
4. Add in the 1 cup of chicken broth* and the peeled and cubed potatoes. Season the potatoes with a little salt.
5. Add in the chopped up & seeded chile in adobo. You buy these in the international section of your grocery store and they come in a can, usually marked Chipotle Chiles in Adobo Sauce. They pack a good punch so you only need one. If you like a LOT of heat, you can add another one. Just don’t add the whole can! Take a little bit of the sauce with it when you add it to your beef mixture.
6. If you are using dried cilantro, add it in now. Wait until the end for fresh cilantro. If you are using fresh or frozen green beans, add them now. Stir everything to combine well.
7. Cover and simmer over low to medium heat until the potatoes are tender and mixture has thickened up. If you are using canned green beans, add them about halfway through the cooking time. (I really don’t care for canned veggies but for some reason canned green beans taste good to me in soups and stews like this. Don’t judge. I usually keep a can on hand for times when I throw stuff together…)
*Stir occasionally throughout cooking time and add in little splashes of chicken broth as needed. You don’t want the mixture to dry out and the potatoes need moisture to cook. However, you don’t want it to be runny when it’s finished.
8. When it’s ready, add the chopped green onions and fresh cilantro.

So does this sound good to you? Or am I alone in my love for this spicy dish with a boring name? You’ll let me know I’m sure. šŸ™‚

Spicy Sweet Potatoes

If you enjoy a combination of sweet and spicy, you will love this tasty side dish. I’ve been making my sweet potatoes like this for about 10 years and they are still a favorite! Even those that don’t really like things spicy appreciate them this way. The brown sugar really balances out the chili powder and cayenne pepper, while the roasting melds the flavors together to bring happiness to your mouth!

If my memory serves me right, I believe I found this recipe many years ago from a Taste of Home magazine that I had at the time. I changed it slightly and copied it into my recipe booklet. It was definitely a keeper and one I use at most holidays. It’s so easy and you’ll find it’s a go-to side dish for you as well…

{Recipe follows photos}

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Start by peeling 3 large sweet potatoes or yams (about 2 1/2 lbs.) Cut them in half lengthwise and place flat side down on your cutting board.

Now slice each half into 4 or 5 pieces.

Cut slices into cubes/chunks.

Throw all the chunks into a large resealable bag and add 4 tablespoons of olive oil (or canola oil). Seal bag and shake to coat the potatoes well. Add in the brown sugar, chili powder, salt, and cayenne pepper. With bag sealed well, toss to coat the potatoes so the spices are distributed evenly.

Transfer potatoes to a baking dish and bake, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes or until tender. You will need to stir them up every 15 minutes, so they bake evenly. Serve and enjoy! (They are really yummy heated up the next day as well!)

Spicy Sweet Potatoes
Ingredients:
3 large sweet potatoes or yams (about 2 1/2 lbs.)
4 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I use 1/2 tsp., but you might want to try it first with 1/4 tsp. depending on your taste)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cut potatoes into chunks about 1 inch. Put into a large resealable bag and add oil. Shake to coat evenly. Add the brown sugar, chili powder, salt, and cayenne pepper and shake the bag to coat potatoes evenly. Transfer to a baking dish and bake in oven for 40-45 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring them every 15 minutes so they cook evenly.

Enjoy…
~Micha

Al’s Horseradish & JalapeƱo Hummus

This is one of the two “Not for Wimps” hummus recipes I am posting today. Recently we received a sampling of a friend’s hummus and he generously provided the recipe so I could make more. I hadn’t tasted hummus like this before and I appreciated the heat and flavor of it. The only thing I changed was that I use the whole can of beans, while he uses 3/4 can. A food processor works best for this.

Here is the recipe:
Al’s Horseradish & JalapeƱo Hummus
Ingredients:
1 – 15.5 oz. can of chick peas/garbanzo beans, drained
1 jalapeƱo (Cut off stem, cut into smaller pieces but leave seeds in!)
3 teaspoons of grated horseradish (*You want the refrigerated type that is grated, not the creamy kind on the condiment shelves.* I use Kelchner’s.)
2 teaspoons of spicy mustard (I use Gulden’s)
4 big or 5-6 small cloves of garlic (slice into a few pieces so you don’t bite a big chunk of garlic)
2 teaspoons of lemon juice concentrate (This is what Al used, but if you want to use fresh lemon juice use a little more…)
Cracked black pepper to taste, and if preferred a little salt.
Olive oil (1/8 cup-1/4 cup; Slowly add in until you get the desired consistency)

Directions:
Place drained chick peas, jalapeƱo, horseradish, spicy mustard, garlic, lemon juice concentrate, salt, and pepper into food processor. Turn on and slowly pour in olive oil until it is the consistency you like, anywhere from chunky to smooth.

To accompany the hummus, I took some wonton wrappers, lightly brushed them with melted butter, and put them on a baking sheet that I sprayed with cooking spray. I sprinkled some salt, pepper and garlic powder on them and baked them for a few minutes in a 350 degree oven. (Make sure you watch them…they will bake quickly and burn if you walk away!)

Happy Dipping!
~Micha