Welcome to Cooking with Chef Jeff

Hi and welcome to my blog. Here you'll find meal ideas that are made from primarily whole natural foods. I try not to use any sugar or sweetener in any of the recipes. At the bottom of the page, you can see a list of the cookbooks that I use. I do vary some from the cookbooks, usually not a whole lot. Feel free to read along and even post some ideas/comments to help me to improve in the kitchen.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sausage Skillet Mix-Up

Fairly simple dish with some nice flavor.

1 lb fresh pork sausage
1 small onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
2 tsp chicken bullion powder
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 cups Cauliflower

1. Brown the pork sausage in a skillet over medium heat
2. Drain grease (if desired) and add in the remaining ingredients
3. Cover and turn burner to low and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until cauliflower is tender
4. Enjoy!!

From Dana Carpender 500 LC Recipes Cookbook

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Stickless Satay Chicken with Not-Very-Authentic Peanut Sauce

Chicken Ingredients:
1 tbsp oil (I used a mix of Olive Oil and Coconut Oil)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp curry powder
1 boneless chicken breast
*Note - Expand this as needed for however many people you have

1. In heavy skillet over medium heat, add oil, garlic, and curry and stir for a few seconds.
2. Add chicken breasts and saute until done.
3. Serve with the Peanut Sauce (warming the sauce if desired)

Peanut Sauce Ingredients:
1 piece ginger, about the size of a walnut, peeled and sliced cross grain
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (We love Smuckers Natural)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce or Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1/4 tsp Tabasco or other hot sauce
1 or 2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 tsp Splenda (if desired)

1. Put everything in a blender and blend.
2. Heat (if you desire) and serve over the chicken.

Overall, this was a very good dish for me. I warmed up the peanut sauce and if you don't watch it, it will begin to reduce quickly. Mine is a bit thicker than planned, but it was still very good. If you don't like peanuts with your chicken, you probably won't like it, but it was a very good combination.

From Dana Carpender 500 LC Recipes Cookbook

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ribs Update

Well, an update on the Ribs that I made Here.

I was going to make them again and didn't have St. Louis or Baby Back, so I tried spare ribs for the first time. With spare ribs, you must let them cook longer than the St. Louis or Baby Back. Lesson learned the hard way for me as the ribs were not done enough to fall off the bone.

Another thing I tried was to crisp them up a bit. After they have slow cooked and are wonderfully tender, put them in the oven and broil them on low for about 5-10 minutes per side. Just cook them enough so they get nice and crispy on the outside (if you like that) and so tender and juicy on the inside.

Asian Ginger Slaw

A very yummy slaw that tastes wonderful with ribs or other salty/spicy meats.

4 cups cabbage, shredded
1/4 cup carrot, shredded
2 scallions, sliced thinly
1/2 cup celery, inner stalk, sliced thin
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp ginger, fresh grated
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce or Braggs Liquid Aminos
1 tsp Splenda (optional)

1. Combine cabbage, carrot, scallions, and celery in salad bowl.
2. In mixing bowl, combine the mayo, ginger, vinegar, and soy (or Braggs).
3. Taste the dressing and season to taste. If it is too tart, add more mayo. If it is not sweet enough, add in the Splenda.
4. Beat dressing until smooth and pour over veggies, toss, and serve.

From Dana Carpender 500 LC Recipes Cookbook

Beef Brisket and Cabbage

Here's a very easy way to make a great tasting beef brisket and cabbage meal. It's a perfect meal if you are busy all day and need a simple meal. Just takes about 10 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes before your dinner.

1 beef brisket
1/2 head cabbage, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups water

1. Take the brisket and put it in a slow cooker on low. We use the seasoning that comes with the brisket but put whatever you want on it.
2. Add the water and chopped onion.
3. Let the brisket slow cook on low for about 8 hours or so.
4. When the brisket is nearing completion, take the 1/2 head of chopped cabbage and saute it in lots of butter.
5. Take out the brisket and let it rest for about 15 minutes as you finish up the cabbage.
6. Slice up the brisket and serve with the cabbage.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chorizo Omelets

So, what's for breakfast? That's what our family often asks on a Saturday Morning. This breakfast isn't quite so quick, but very tasty. I don't have exact quantities as it will all depend on how you like your omelets.

Eggs, beaten and mixed with heavy whipping cream or some milk (HWC preferred)
Chorizo, fried up in a separate pan
Red and Green Peppers, chopped and sauteed in butter
Onion, chopped and sauteed in butter
Cheese, whatever kind you want to sprinkle on
Sour Cream
Hot Sauce

1. If you can, get the red and green peppers and onions sauteing at the same time. We use our big electric griddle smothered in butter to get them nice and browned.
2. Fry up the chorizo
3. As those are cooking, mix the eggs and HWC (or milk). I usually do about 3 eggs to 1/2 oz to 1 oz of HWC. Too much and it will get runny and not hold the omelet together (that's what happened this morning).
4. Put the eggs on a big flat electric griddle so that the omelet has room to spread out. It makes it nice and thin and you can work with it easily.
5. After the egg sets up a bit, put on the veggies, chorizo, and cheese if you want it in.
6. Wait about a minute and fold over the sides of the eggs and put on more cheese.
7. Scoop off the griddle and plate up. Then top with whatever you want. I put on more veggies and chorizo and some sour cream, cheese, and hot sauce.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Chicken Piccata

Here's another very simple chicken dish, but it calls for a few out-of-the-ordinary items. If you do have the ingredients on hand, it is a very simple and quick dish to make. It takes about 10 minutes after the prep is done.

4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp capers, chopped
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

1. Flatten chicken breasts to 1/4 inch thick with whatever means you wish (put in a plastic bag and pound flat, pound between wax paper, step on it, whatever). The ones we had were larger, so I just cut them in half and so they were thin and it worked great.
2. Heat olive oil in large skillet and add the chicken. If you don't have a large enough skillet, cook it in 2 batches. Takes about 3-4 minutes per side.
3. Remove chicken from the pan and add in the wine, garlic, lemon juice and capers.
4. Bring to a hard boil for about a minute to reduce a bit and then stir to mix in all the yummy bits on the bottom of the pan from the chicken.
5. Put the chicken back in the pan for about a minute and sprinkle with parsley.
6. Serve and enjoy.

From Dana Carpender 500 LC Recipes Cookbook

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ground Beef Stir-Fry

Here's a very simple stir fry when you don't have a lot of ingredients on hand. It also works when you don't have the exact right ingredients. We only had chopped broccoli instead of nice big pieces of cut broccoli, but it still worked ok. The walnuts gave it a great crunch, kind of like water chestnuts without the sugar in them.

1 1/2 pounds of ground beef
2 tbsp soy sauce or Bragg's Liquid Aminos
3 tbsp dry sherry
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2 cups frozen crosscut green beans or frozen broccoli cuts, thawed
1 medium onion, sliced
1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice
Peanut oil for stir-frying

1. Get all ingredients ready and measured out. This is important in a stir-fry as it is a quick meal to make and it can get ahead of you.
2. Mix ground beef, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 1/2 tbsp sherry, garlic, and Chinese Five Spice in a large bowl. Mix like you would for making burgers.
3. Heat 2-3 tbsp peanut oil in wok or large skillet over high heat. Put in the walnuts and let them crisp up, but don't let them burn.
4. Remove walnuts and add ground beef. Break into nice bite-size pieces as it is cooking.
5. Remove beef and drain oil and fat (if you wish).
6. Add more fresh oil and stir-fry the onions, broccoli (or beans), and ginger.
7. When the veggies are done the way you like them, add the beef back in with the rest of the soy sauce and sherry.
8. Finish off the cooking and serve.
9. Sprinkle the walnuts over each dish as it is served and enjoy.

From Dana Carpender 500 LC Recipes Cookbook

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tarragon Chicken

Tonight was Tarragon Chicken. A fantastically simple, yet wonderfully tasty dish. Half way through the meal all the forks were on the table and it was finger lickin' good. Throw in some green beans topped with bacon and cooked in bacon grease and you have a wonderful meal.

1 cut-up broiler-fryer
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp dried tarragon
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine

1. Melt butter in BIG frying pan over your biggest burner.
2. Brown the chicken so that all sides are brown but do not cook through or it will be dry.
3. Pour off the fat (if you want to. I didn't and although the chicken was not crispy, it was soooo good).
4. Scatter tarragon on the chicken, crushing some to release flavor, salt and pepper as desired, add the clove of garlic (crushed) and the wine.
5. Cover skillet, turn to low, and simmer for 30 minutes. Rotate and flip the chicken every 10 minutes and spoon some of the liquid onto the chicken when you rotate it.
6. Enjoy!!!!

From Dana Carpender 500 LC Recipes Cookbook

Easy Slow Cooked Ribs

I've added a cooking update to this post here.

*Note - This is a "before" picture, I don't have an "after" one.

This is a very easy recipe for slow cooked ribs in a crock pot. It calls for beef short ribs, but I used St. Louis style pork ribs instead. They turned out fabulous.

8 oz plain tomato sauce
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp wine or cider vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
4 tbsp soy sauce (I used Bragg's Liquid Aminos - I prefer that much more than Soy Sauce)
3-4 pounds ribs
1 large onion

1. Mix sauce, water, vinegar, soy sauce.
2. Put Ribs in slow cooker
3. Slice onion and put on top.
4. Pour on the sauce.
5. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.
6. Eat over and over again until they are gone.

From Dana Carpender 500 LC Recipes Cookbook

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Camembert Chicken and Almonds

4 Chicken Breasts - Pounded flat
8 oz Camembert cheese
1/3 cup sliced almonds
4 scallions sliced up thinly

1. Brown one side of the Chicken Breasts.
2. Flip the breasts and layer on the cheese on the top.
3. When the other side is done, top with some almonds (browned in butter) and scallions.

Very simple, yet quite tasty. Feel free to substitute the Camembert cheese with any other kind. We will try provolone next time.

From Dana Carpender 500 LC Recipes Cookbook

Cooking with Chef Jeff

Well, I've decided to start a blog. Will it end up unused like 90% of the blogs in the blogosphere? Who knows. I'm going to give it a go.

Recently, I have taken over the role of primary cook in our house. There are a few different reasons but the primary two are 1) to help my wife around the house more, and 2) so that I can control my food better.

Our family is going through a change in eating styles to incorporate more whole, fresh foods and to get rid of most pre-packaged, store-bought meals. If it can't be made in a home, odds are for the most part it won't be in the blog here.

I hope to update this blog a few times a week with recipes and pictures of the food I make. Much of what I do is inspired by others as I am very new to the kitchen. Other than the occasional batch of chili, sloppy joes, or some meat on the grill, that I made in the past, I have only been cooking for about 2 months. This will be learning experience for me and any help I can get from anyone reading this will be very helpful.