Category: Beef

Spicy Tomato Zucchini Noodles [Zoodles] with Kafta Meatballs

 

Spicy Tomato Zucchini Noodles with Kafta Meatballs

I saw a meme once that said something along the lines of, every girl’s dream is not to find the perfect man, it’s to eat whatever she wants without getting fat. 

Spicy Tomato Zucchini Noodles with Kafta Meatballs

So. Much. Truth. Unfortunately, that requires going to the gym more than once a month and not eating all the things I love — bread, pasta, cheese, salt and vinegar chips, crispy chicken, etc. I know I’m not the only one struggling here! Although I do love pasta, there have been some pretty solid vegetable substitutes. I won’t lie to you and tell you zoodles or spaghetti squash taste anything like actual spaghetti. But it’ll do the job when you’re really trying to cut the carbs. Carbbsss … I’m still thinking about my Rosemary Green and Black Olive Bread.

But we’ll save that for a cheat day. Until then, I’ll be upping the spaghetti squash intake and trying my hardest to replace carbs with veggies.

Spicy Tomato Zucchini Noodles with Kafta Meatballs

I still haven’t found a suitable bread replacement. Will share once I get my hands on something delicious.

Spicy Tomato Zucchini Noodles with Kafta Meatballs

Spicy Tomato Zucchini Noodles [Zoodles] with Kafta Meatballs

Yield: About 25 meatballs

Ingredients

    For the Zoodles
  • 4 Zucchinis
  • For the Meatballs:
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 Red Onion, chopped
  • 1 packed cup Parsley, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon Seven Spice
  • Salt to taste
  • For the Spicy Tomato Sauce
  • For the Sauce:
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce (or cooked/pureed tomatoes)
  • 2 tsp Seven Spice
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 tbs White Vinegar
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Prepare your zoodles by cutting the ends off each zucchini.
  2. Using a zoodler (or spiralizer), spiralizer your zucchini and set aside.
  3. Once the tomato sauce is simmering, add zoodles to a deep skillet and sauté over medium-high heat until softened.
  4. Remove from heat
  5. Pour the tomato sauce over the zoodles and add meatballs
  6. For the Meatballs
  7. Preheat oven to 400 F
  8. Place the ground beef into a large bowl
  9. In the bowl of a food processor, process red onion, parsley and spices until minced
  10. Add the minced onion and parsley to the ground beef and mix well
  11. Using your hands, form golf ball sized balls and set aside (you can use a melon baller or ice cream scoop for more even balls)
  12. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat
  13. Place the meatballs into the skillet and fry until browned all over
  14. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray
  15. Place the meatballs on the pan in a single layer
  16. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes
  17. For the Spicy Tomato Sauce
  18. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat
  19. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  20. Add the garlic and sauté 2 minutes
  21. Add the tomato sauce, Seven Spice, salt and pepper to taste, chili flakes and vinegar.
  22. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low
  23. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened
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Mediterranean Kafta Burgers

Mediterranean Kafta Burgers

It’s a little later than midsummer and my tan game has been going strong. Okay, it’s actually been fairly weak in comparison to past years, but with Ramadan falling smack-dab in the middle of summer it really put a dent in my tanning plans. Not to mention, it’s been pretty rainy overall. Not ideal for catching those much sought after rays. I still have another solid month before I declare summer officially over and I’m going to take full advantage with pool and beach time, and BBQs, of course.

 

Mediterranean Kafta Burgers

Speaking of BBQs … I’m a pretty traditional girl when it comes to BBQs. I love burgers, hotdogs, the occasional T Bone steak and on special occasions grilled fish. I’m not a grill master myself. I leave that job to my brother. He has a handle on it, and not to mention he rarely lets anyone else get involved when he’s manning the grill. It must be a guy thing. Manning the BBQ used to be my dad’s thing. It was pretty much the only kind of “cooking” he could do. That was before my brothers grew to be two times his size, and he passed it on to them, with just a little micromanaging. He is the dad after all. Now, he just sits back, snacks on chips and dip and waits for his sons to do all the work while he enjoys the fruits of his labor — raising them to be solid men. As for me, I’m in charge of prep work – also a duty I’ve inherited from my mom. Aside from marinating chicken and forming burgers, I like to make Arabic Potato Salad. It’s a delicious no-mayo alternative to (what we call) American Potato Salad. 

 

Mediterranean Kafta Burgers

 

Mediterranean Kafta Burgers

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 Red Onion, chopped
  • 1 packed cup Parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Seven Spice
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Place the ground beef into a large bowl
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, process red onion, parsley and spices until minced
  3. Add the minced onion and parsley to the ground beef and mix well
  4. Using your hands, form burger patties (about 4) and set aside
  5. Grill on charcoal grill until cooked through (10 or so minutes)
  6. Serve in a traditional burger bun
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Middle Eastern Stuffed Potatoes [Batata Mahshiyeh]

Middle Eastern Stuffed Potatoes

It’s Ramadan and I’ve been beating the long days and boredom (especially on the weekends) by cooking. The first weekend, I may or may not have gone on a complete cooking spree and I just haven’t been able to stop myself since then. If you’re interested in seeing what I’m up to, follow along on my Instagram story. I’m always sharing photos and videos of my goodies. Currently, I’m waiting my Pink Pickled Turnips to set. Only about a week and a half or so left before they’re ready to be devoured.

I made Middle Eastern Stuffed Potatoes not once, but twice over the last week. The first time for a weeknight iftar at a friend’s, and the second to actually take photos (and feed my family).  Here’s the deal with coring vegetables in general; first, you have to use a thin corer. Generally, you can find them at the Arabic store. Also, unless you’re a professional vegetable corer, it’s almost impossible to figure out if you’ve dug your holes too deep (that is, unless you poke through the other end of the vegetable). It’s part practice, part luck. After coring two bags of potatoes, I can proudly call myself a self-proclaimed professional potato corer.

Middle Eastern Stuffed Potatoes

I can offer some advice when it comes to making stuffed potatoes:

  1. The smaller potatoes are, surprisingly, easier to core than the large ones. I found that with the smaller ones, you have a better sense for how much to hollow out before hitting any of the sides. With the larger potatoes, it’s a little harder to figure out.
  2. When you fry the potatoes, make sure the oil is hot before you put the potatoes in. This way, it’ll only take a couple minutes on each side to get slightly browned.
  3. Cover the potatoes when they bake in the oven. This way, they don’t dry out.

Middle Eastern Stuffed Potatoes

Middle Eastern Stuffed Potatoes

Middle Eastern Stuffed Potatoes [Batata Mahshiyeh]

Ingredients

    For the stuffing
  • 1 lb gound beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Seven Spice
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons Pine Nuts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • For the Potatoes
  • 1 bag Yukon Gold or Butter Potatoes (about 12-15 potatoes)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 3 cups tomato sauce + 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Seven Spice
  • 1 cube Maggi

Instructions

    For the Stuffing
  1. In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon olive oil
  2. Sauté the onions until translucent
  3. Add the ground beef and cook until browned
  4. Season with seven spice, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg
  5. Remove from heat
  6. Heat one tablespoon oil and cook the pine nuts until lightly browned. Keep an eye on them! Pine nuts fry quickly. Remove from oil onto a blotter.
  7. For the Potatoes
  8. Peel and wash the potatoes
  9. Using a thin vegetable corer, carve out the middle portion of the potatoes making sure not to puncture the potatoes
  10. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat
  11. Once hot, place the potatoes in the oil and fry on all sides until a light golden brown
  12. Remove and place on paper towels to absorb additional oil
  13. Once the potatoes have cooled, stuff the potatoes with the ground beef mixture leaving 1/8 inch space from the top
  14. Place in a single layer in a baking tray
  15. Use 1 tablespoon olive oil to saute garlic
  16. Add tomato sauce and water
  17. Bring to a boil, add in seven spice and Maggi, then turn heat off
  18. Pour the tomato sauce over the potatoes
  19. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes on 375 F
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Crockpot BBQ Beef

BBQ Beef

I’ve wanted to make BBQ something for a while now. At first, I thought I’d take a stab at BBQ Beef Ribs and invite the girls over. That didn’t happen – mostly because weekday work schedules are largely unpredictable and when the weekend rolls around, I’d much rather have someone else prepare food for me (RE: eat out).

A friend graciously invited our friend group over for a Super Bowl party, giving me the perfect excuse to try out BBQ Beef in the crockpot. I mean, sure, it’s the middle of winter, but BBQ and Super Bowl pretty much go hand-in-hand, kind of like Super Bowl and wings. I will admit, I’m not a huge sports fan. However, any excuse for a social gathering that involves food and shisha, you can count me in.

The following meme basically sums up my feelings about the Super Bowl. I know I’m not the only one!

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BBQ Beef

 

 

Crockpot BBQ Beef

Ingredients

  • 2-3 lbs Chuck Roast Beef
  • 1 cup your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp Worchester Sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder (or more, depending on your taste)
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Stick everything in the crockpot
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (the longer the better), or high for 4-6 hours
  3. Carefully take the beef out and place on a cutting board
  4. Shred the beef with two forks and return to the crockpot so it soaks up the sauce
  5. Serve with your favorite bread
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Ground Beef Skillet Hash

Ground Beef Hash_2

I’ve been on a short hiatus from blogging. Not intentionally. Every once in a while I get caught up with other things in my life—namely, my day job, and other life events.

For those who follow me on Instagram and Snapchat, you know I’ve been busy on travel to Turkey and counting down to my birthday! Another year older and hopefully a little bit wiser.

Turkey was amazing. Aside from busy workdays, I got a few hours to myself to do some shopping and check out some of the sights. This is my second trip to Turkey. The last time was in 2011 and I spent a week in Istanbul – one of the most amazing Asian-European fusion cities I’ve been to. The views are breathtaking, the shopping is well worth the trip and the food is to die for! This time around, I spend a little less than a week in Antalya at a resort some ways away from the city. I also tried to document the delicious food I tried while on travel, which leads me to #MCOTravels and #MCOEats, two hashtags I started to document the adventures of MCO around the world and also delicious food consumption at the coolest, yummiest places – to include, but not limited to, restaurants, bars, food trucks and other people’s home cooking. So follow along on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat for the latest!

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Turkish Tea and Sweets

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Turkish Delight
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Adana Kabob
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Spices
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Turkish Bread and Ayran Yogurt Drink
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Touring the Ruins

 

In honor of Birthday Month, I first want to thank my family and friends for their texts, whatsapps, calls, Happy Birthday singing (very talented), Snaps, Instagram shout outs and Facebook messages. I’m so blessed to have you all in my life. I’ve made a few birthday resolutions that I will do my very best to adhere to. This year I resolve to:

Wash my makeup off before bed. I know! This has got to be the number one beauty rule. But something about getting water all over my hair while I remove remnants of my makeup just wasn’t appealing. Until now. I even bought these really cute headband towels so I can get excited about the evening makeup removal routine. 

Try not to procrastinate. This also happened to be my New Year’s Resolution. I was doing so well. At the 4-month mark, it’s time to focus again.

Make better life choices.  I don’t make bad choices per se. But this year, I’m going to focus on myself. I’m going to do what’s good for me, as opposed to what’s good for everyone else except me. And that gut feeling I usually ignore? I’m going to do a better job of listening to it… or at least try really hard to!

As we say in Arabic – عقبال مئة سنة Wishing you a full life to 100 years old!

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Ground Beef Skillet Hash

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 4-5 Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 Onion, Chopped
  • 4-6 Eggs
  • I can sliced Mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon Worcester Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic Salt
  • Pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Heat a large cast-iron skillet, or oven-safe skillet, over medium-high heat
  3. Add vegetable oil and heat for 1 minute
  4. Add the onion and mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes
  5. Then add the ground beef and potatoes and cook until the meat is browned
  6. Add garlic salt, paprika and Worcester Sauce
  7. Cook on medium-low until the potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally. About 15-20 minutes
  8. Make small holes around the pan (4-6 holes, depending on how many eggs you’re using)
  9. Crack the eggs into the holes and cook over low heat until the whites form
  10. Remove the skillet from the heat and place in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until the yolks have hardened
  11. Serve warm with bread
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Pulled Beef Tacos

Pulled Beef Tacos_2

I’ve always heard about the wonders of the crock pot. I’ve seen countless Pinterest Pins about easy crock pot meals. I’ve even heard stories about how great it is to just throw all the ingredients in there, turn it on for the day, go to work and have basically a ready meal once you get home. But I’ve never actually used a crock pot before in my life! Shocking, I know.

It’s not that I never wanted to, I guess I was always a little anxious. “What if I do it wrong?” “What if it doesn’t turn out?” “Is it really going to taste good if I just throw the ingredients in there and walk away?” That’s the internal dialogue I’ve had with myself in the past about using the crock pot.

It wasn’t until I was feeling a little adventurous that I invited the Taco Tuesday Crew (TTC for short) over for TT at my house, that I seriously considered toying with this foreign contraption. The TTC was formed about two years ago. It started off with just four girls who wanted to get together for some Mexican. And ever since then, it’s become a weekly tradition. It’s girl time, it’s where we catch up and vent and share major life events, and opinions without judgment. It’s more than just tacos on a Tuesday night. We spent a little over a year going to Café Rio because we’re obsessed with their roast beef. That’s where I got the idea to try it out myself. I think I could seriously compete with Rio – if I do say so myself!

Note to self: use the crockpot more often. It’s like magic.

Pulled Beef Tacos_4

Pulled Beef Tacos

Ingredients

  • 2-3 lbs Boneless Chuck Roast Beef
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 medium Onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Low Sodium Beef Broth
  • 1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1 Chipotle Pepper in Adobo Sauce
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder, smoked paprika and cumin
  2. Rub the roast with the spices, covering the surface
  3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and sear the roast on all sides (about 2-3 minutes each)
  4. Carefully remove from the skillet and place in the crockpot
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon tomato paste with 1 cup beef broth
  6. Add the garlic, onions, Chipotle pepper, remaining tablespoon of olive oil, beef broth mixture and salt to the crock pot
  7. Cook on low for 7-9 hours, until the beef is tender
  8. Once it’s done, use two forks to shred the meat
  9. Serve with your favorite taco trimmings
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