Crock Pot Flank Steak Tacos

We all have busy days when we don’t have time to cook dinner so the crock pot is a wonderful tool for the working….any person. I was very skeptical about putting flank steak in a crock pot but I would never post anything I didn’t think was awesome. 10 minutes in the morning allows you to come home to a ready made meal. Try it for yourself!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lb flank steak
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • Hot sauce to taste (I recommend Trader Joe’s Green Dragon Hot Sauce)
  • Spice rub of your choice. I used the following: salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and coriander
  • White corn tacos (or whatever you like)
  • Toppings of your choice: mexican cheese, sour cream, fresh cilantro, etc but it honestly doesn’t need it

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Directions:

  • Rub your steak with the spices and place in the refrigerator overnight. You can do this the morning of but I was trying to save time. 
  • The next morning put your steak in the crock pot on the bottom.
  • Slice your pepper and onion and put on top of the steak.

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  • Pour the soy sauce and hot sauce around the steak.
  • Cook on low for 9 hours.
  • Shred and serve.

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If you divide by 4 servings and use 2 corn tacos per serving you can see below this is a very healthy dinner option.

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The Real Deal Bolognese Sauce

A Father’s Day Inspiration…

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This isn’t your typical meat sauce. This isn’t your typical ground beef cooked in a bland tomato sauce. This is the real deal meat sauce; the cook all day Sunday sauce; the shredded, succulent, melt-in-your-mouth sauce that comes gently tossed in a fresh pasta like pappardelle.

The idea of making this sauce started because I knew my dad loves these kinds of sauces, the ones I often seen in authentic Italian restaurants–the ones that won’t let you put your fork down until the last bite is gone. So I started thinking… how could I make this at home for my dad on Father’s Day?

Simple: take the barbacoa recipe and insert Italian ingredients–like soffritto (combination of onions, carrots and celery). Also, add some other kinds of meats to inject a lot of flavor into the sauce. Mom and I set out to the grocery store in search of the perfect ingredients to make our version of this sauce. You can use any combination of meats and ingredients you would like and make this recipe your own! Here is (generally) how we made it. As usual, my measurements are rough. You can make this in a dutch oven like I do with the barbacoa, but since I didn’t have it with me at my parent’s house we made it on the stove without any problems!

Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 3.5 lbs boneless chuck roast
  • 1 veal osso bucco
  • 3 carrot sticks
  • 3 celery sticks
  • 1-2 onions (we used a red and a yellow)
  • 8 or so cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups red wine (chianti suggested)
  • Salt & fresh cracked pepper
  • 2 large cans san marzano whole tomatoes
  • Olive oil for sauteing
  • Parmesan cheese (parmigiano reggiano is preferred)
  • 1.5 lb of your favorite pasta

We made this for 5 people and had tons of the leftovers…just the way we like it 🙂 It was amazing for lunch the next day.

Instructions:

Start by bringing all the meat to room temperature and seasoning them with salt and pepper. Then saute your meats on high heat to get a nice brown coloring on all sides. If your pan isn’t large enough, sear your meat in batches. They need space to cook.

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Next you will place the veggies in the pan. If you don’t have a pan large enough, temporarily take some of the meat out so your veggies have room to cook. Season the veggies with salt & pepper and let cook 2-3 minutes. Then add the garlic.  (We ended up sauteing the garlic in a separate small pan to really fry and brown them up nice) Let cook for another few minutes.

Put the heat on med-high and add the red wine; let the liquid reduce by half.

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Using your hands take the tomatoes out of the cans and squeeze them, gently breaking them apart before putting them in the pot. Add the sauce from the cans as well. Season with salt & pepper and add fresh chopped basil. (you can also add some red pepper flakes, which we did) Place the lid on very tight. If you think air can get out, put a sheet of tinfoil on top and then seal the edges of the lid with it.

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Let it cook on low heat (the sauce should bubble slightly) or in the oven at 250 for 4 hours or until the meat can easily pull apart with a fork. Remove the chicken skins and any excess fat you see.

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It’s easiest if you take the meat out of the pot and place on a separate dish. Shred the meat using forks or tongs. Take the chicken off the bones. Place the meat back in the pot and bring the sauce to a low boil for a few minutes while you are preparing the pasta.

Cook your pasta al dente and pour into the pot to really absorb the flavors of the sauce. Top with more fresh basil and fresh parmesano reggiano cheese. Mangia!

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Weeknight Bolognese with Whole Wheat Shells

Meat sauce is a great Sunday dinner: you can make it in the afternoon and let it simmer all day until you are ready to eat. The flavors only get better the longer it cooks. But meat sauce can also be a quick and easy week night meal that you can throw together after a long day. It’s hearty and chunky and extremely satisfying, especially on a cold night. This is a healthier and easier version I make during the week versus a Sunday sauce. I cut out some of the prep work and ingredients so I can make it faster, this time in about 20 minutes. Shells are the perfect pasta for this dish because they hold the meat sauce well.

It starts with your ingredients. I bought 3/4 of a pound of very lean all natural beef. For some extra flavor I added a 1/4 lb of ground pork. I used about 3/4 lb of whole wheat shells so we could enjoy leftovers for lunch the next day. Season the meat with salt and pepper.

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Saute 1/2 a white onion and a few cloves of garlic in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. (If time isn’t an issue for you, add finely chopped carrots and celery for more flavor.)
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Add some fresh chopped basil and red pepper flakes for some heat.

Add the meat into the same pan and using a potato masher, gently separate the meat.

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Brown the meat on medium to high heat. When most of the pink is gone, add  a can of san marzano tomatoes. Season again. I also added a tablespoon of tomato paste to thicken up the sauce a bit. If you want more saucy and less chunky, add in a small can of tomato puree in addition to the chopped tomatoes.

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When your 1lb of whole wheat shells are al dente, mix all ingredients together.

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Add in parmesan cheese and fresh chopped basil. Pair with a glass of red wine and enjoy a great ending to your day.