Tag Archives: tomatoes

Spiced Mediterranean Squash

In the Mediterranean, particularly Syria and Lebanon, stuffed squash is a very popular dish. Called koosa, it is a staple of family meals throughout the Mediterranean Middle East. It is usually served with hummus, pita, and a green salad. However, it is often difficult to find squash large enough to stuff. Other times you just don’t want to go through all the work of hollowing out and stuffing those squash  So I often make this simple alternative that contains all of the flavor with just a fraction of the work. You will need the following ingredients:

1 pound ground beef

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups of uncooked rice

One 15 ounce can of tomato sauce

One 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes

Three yellow squash, sliced

One tablespoon of McCormick Greek seasoning

Two teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon each of black pepper, ground allspice, and tumeric

2 tablespoons of olive oil

In a large dutch oven heat the oil. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is translucent. Stir often to prevent the garlic from burning. Add the ground beef and brown until the meat is cooked completely. Add the Greek seasoning while you are browning the meat. Once the meat is cooked through add the squash, salt, and pepper and mix until everything is fully incorporated. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and serve.

 

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Cuban Style Braised Pork

Ropa vieja is a classic Cuban dish that encompasses the taste and style of Cuban cooking. The name ropa vieja means old cloths and it’s said that this dish got it’s name from because the shredded meat looks like old rags. It’s the national dish of Cuba and is a great introduction to Cuban cooking. Ropa vieja is an old dish that dates all the way back to Jewish migrants into Spain around 1000 A.D. Traditionally the recipe is made with a beef roast but I didn’t have a beef roast available so I decided to use pork neck bones instead.  To make this recipe you will need the following:

One and a half pounds of pork neck bones

One 15 ounce can of crushed tomatoes

Three tablespoons of catsup

One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

Two cloves of garlic minced

One and a half teaspoons ground cumin

One 4 ounce can of diced green chilies

One green pepper and one red pepper sliced

One small onion thinly sliced

Three tablespoons of green olives with pimentos

One  tablespoon of the olive brine from the jar

Cooking this meal is amazingly simple. Just throw everything together in the slow cooker, set it on low, and cook it for eight hours. Serve it with cooked white rice and black beans and enjoy.

 

Continental Chicken

Coq au vin is a very traditional French dish that is made by stewing chicken in red wine along with onions, mushrooms, olives, and tomatoes. I had it as a child and really enjoyed it but never made it as an adult because I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and don’t believe in consuming alcohol. Last year I moved and I have slowly been unpacking boxes and stumbled across a cookbook that I had bought at a thrift store a few years ago. It had a book mark in it and I wasn’t sure why and so I decided to make the recipe to find out why I had marked it. Well the recipe turned out to be a non-alcohol based version of coq au vin called continental chicken. Needless to say I was quite happy with the results.

To make continental chicken you will need the following ingredients:

Eight bone-in chicken thighs

two tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil

One medium onion, sliced*

One clove of garlic, sliced

One 16 ounce can of diced tomatoes

One 16 ounce can of sliced mushrooms

One 16 ounce can of medium black olives

One 8 ounce can of tomato paste

One half cup soy sauce

Three cups cooked white rice

In a large Dutch oven heat the oil and add the onion and garlic. Saute the onions and garlic until the onions start to brown slightly. Add the chicken to the pot, skin side down, and brown on each side (about five minutes per side). Add the rest of the ingredients, except the rice, and bring to a boil. Reduce the temperature to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the rice according to package directions. Serve the cooked chicken and sauce over the rice.

*If you can find them try using spring or BBQ onions instead of  regular onions. You’ll need three to replace one medium yellow onion but they have a milder taste and give the sauce a wonderful flavor and texture.