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Spicy Beef Roast & Potato Cakes

A few nights ago, the pelirojo took charge of supper by making his famous blue cheese steaks and mashed potatoes.  The meal was delicious (as usual) and left us with a big tupperware full of leftover mashed potatoes.  Do you know what we do with leftover mashed potatoes in this house?  We make potato cakes!

Knowing what to do with the potatoes was the easy part.  Now came the hard part: finding a new recipe that would produce some sauce or broth to spoon over the cakes.

Enter one of my new cookbooks: 1,001 Best Low-Fat Recipes by Sue Spitler.  I found a delicious recipe for a beef roast that had a really interesting combination of ingredients for the rub.  The apricot preserves combined with the mustard and horseradish made my mouth salivate enough to add the ingredients to the grocery list.  After a quick trip to the store, I had everything I needed to start.

The recipe originally asks you to roast the roast (hehe) in the oven, but I liked the thought of throwing it in the crock pot and forgetting about it until supper time.  After measuring out the first five ingredients into a bowl, I got to bust out my mortar and pestle to crush the caraway seeds and the peppercorns.  I added the crushed spices and the allspice into the bowl, stirred everything well, and then smeared it onto the roast.  The roast went into the crock pot with a bit of beef broth (to assist with the juiciness) for four hours.

During the last hour of the beef’s cooking time, I started working on shaping the mashed potatoes into little cakes.  Once I achieved the desired shape, I dropped each cake into a mixture of corn meal, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.  During this step of the process, the mashed potatoes start warming up in your hands from being handled.  For this reason, after I shaped the cakes and covered them in the meal mix, I put them in the freezer for about 10 minutes.  This helps the cakes to keep their form during the frying process.  While they were chilling in the freezer, I started warming up the olive oil in a frying pan.  I used the wooden spoon trick to see if the oil was ready and then dropped the cakes in one by one.

The hardest part of frying the cakes is trying to flip them over without them falling apart.  I can never get them to look particularly pretty, but this batch turned out just how I wanted them.  The outside of the cakes was a crispy golden color and the texture was perfect to accompany the roast.  The beef turned out juicy and tender, and the broth that was left behind was great for spooning over the cakes.

It’s hard to go wrong with this kind of combination.  Meat and potatoes always go well together, no?  The kick of the beef’s seasoning was unique, bold, and incredibly flavorful.  It’s definitely a ‘keeper’ recipe!



Feature Friday: Scrumptious Meatball Soup

Motherhood is probably in the “top 3” of most terrifying things I can imagine.  This list goes something like this:

  1. Walking on the wooden boardwalk over Foz do Iguaçu (Iguacu Falls).  I did it once because I was forced to (I was 5 or 6 at the time).  It was so terrifying that it scarred me for life.  I have been petrified of heights ever since.
  2. Being stuck on a roller coaster upside down.   I have no basis for this, it’s just something I have spent an odd amount of time thinking about.  I have an overactive imagination.
  3. Motherhood.

I’ve heard people say it’s just something that comes naturally, but I’m sorry… that’s bull.  Being a rockstar mother does not come naturally.  It takes an amount of energy, patience, and love that is not inherent to parenthood…  it takes work.  Of course I don’t know this from personal experience, but I know it from watching her.  I know it from watching my older sister, Nani.

Nani is a rockstar mamacita.  I am completely serious.  I don’t know how she does it.

There are three of them; three adorable, beautiful, well-mannered munchkins that demand her time.  There’s soccer practice, baseball practice, basketball practice, church activities, homework, 4 H – and these are only the kids’ activities!  Have I mentioned she’s also going to school?  Yes, I know.  She’s insane.  But she pulls it off.  Not only does she pull it off… she looks GOOD DOING IT!  (Seriously, the girl is gorgeous… hence the beautiful munchkins 🙂 )

Nani is a firm believer in the power of the crock pot.  When I moved into an apartment in college, that was the first thing she got me.  It is a magical appliance that I have grown fond of over the years, and I can see why it would be a mother’s best friend.  With Nani’s packed schedule, dinner gets thrown in first thing in the morning and then devoured before running off to evening activities.

While we were visiting a few weeks ago, I snapped some pictures of her scrumptious spicy meatball soup.  It is super easy and ideal for a busy weeknight!

The ingredients were frozen meatballs and corn, canned (the Rotel kind w/ green chilies – undrained) diced tomatoes and black beans (drained and rinsed), and chicken broth.  Everything went into the crock pot in the morning.  After a full day of playing/catching up, all we had to do was serve the soup.  No fussing with cooking AND there was still a delicious meal to be had.  See what I mean?  ROCKSTAR!

The soup came out flavorful and with a bit of a kick.  She served dinner with croissants that were perfect for absorbing the liquids after you were done fishing out the meatballs.

Ian and I both had seconds!

What Nani doesn’t know, is that this post is only the first.  She has two more crock pot recipes that I’m determined to have her share with me.  One is a spagehtti sauce recipe and the other is for her famous beef stroganoff.  Over the next few visits we make, I hope to snap a few shots of her working her magic, so stay tuned!

Scrumptious soup and phenomenal company, can you ask for anything more?

Te queiro, hermanita!  Te echo de menos!


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