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.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Casual Chan's Special

This was an interesting take on sloppy joes, done Asian style. I was missing the bean sprouts, but it still tasted very good. Sorry for the fuzzy photo, but they didn't turn out very well.

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 tbsp oil
4 scallions, sliced
2 cups bean sprouts
4 eggs
1 tsp Braggs Liquid Aminos (Soy Sauce) * Note, I used 1 tbsp instead of 1 tsp and it was good.
Salt - to taste
Pepper - to taste
Garlic Powder - to taste

1. Brown the beef in the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
2. As it is browning, slice up scallions, measure out sprouts, and whisk together eggs and Braggs.
3. When the beef is browned, add in the scallions and sprouts and stir for about a minute. Not too long though as the sprouts need to stay firm.
4. Add eggs and soy sauce and scramble until set.
5. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.

This recipe was based off one from Dana Carpenders 15 Minute LC Recipe book.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Eye Round Steaks with Onion-Cream Gravy

We usually buy some eye of round steaks as they are fairly cheap and I have never found a great way to use them. Here's a new recipe I found in a Steak Cookbook. Very simple, yet very good.

4 eye of round steaks (about 5 oz each)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, large diced
1 sprig fresh oregano or 1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp white pepper (I used Szechuan roasted pepper and salt blend)
pinch of cayenne, to taste
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
pinch of salt, to taste
1 tbsp fresh parsley leaves, minced (Optional)

1. Pat steaks dry and coat with oil.
2. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
3. Cook onion until soft (about 4 minutes), then add oregano and wine, raise to medium heat and simmer until wine is nearly gone(4-5 minutes).
4. Add cream and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 minute, then stir in vinegar, pepper, cayenne, and mustard.
5. Transfer mixture to blender (or magic bullet) and process for 30 seconds, then pour into saucepan and season with more salt and cayenne if desired. Set Aside
6. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add steaks after it is hot and cook until seared and crusted (about 2 minutes) Turn steaks and season wtih salt if desired. Cook 2 more minutes (for medium-rare).
7. Transfer steaks to cutting board to let them rest while re-heating the sauce.
8. Divide sauce among 4 plates and top with either the whole steaks or cut the steaks into 1/2 " thick slices.
9. Top with parsley if desired.

This recipe is from the Steak Lover's Cookbook by William Rice. A very good book that talks through different cuts of meat and the best way to prepare them.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Beef Burgundy

A very simple meal to just throw in the oven and let it cook for a while on it's own.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 pounds boneless beef cut into 2" squares (I used 1 lb chuck and 1 lb eye of round)
1 cup dry red wine
3/4 tsp guar or xanthan
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 large onion, sliced
8 oz mushrooms, chunked if they are large
2 green peppers, sliced or chunked

1. Preheat oven to 250
2. Put oil in heavy skillet and brown the beef over medium-high heat.
3. Put beef in 2 1/2 quart casserole dish
4. Combine wine and guar/xanthan in a blender for about 10 seconds then pour over beef.
5. Add salt, paprika, oregano, onion, mushrooms, and peppers and stir together.
6. Cover and put in the oven for about 5 hours.

A few things I might change on it would be to cut back on the xanthan, add in some black pepper and garlic. Also, I cooked mine at 300 for 4 1/2 hours and it turned out fine.

This recipe was from Dana Carpenders 500 LC recipe book.

Chocolate Milk

Well, I know you can buy chocolate milk in the store, but have you looked at the sugar content? Same thing if you buy syrup or powder to make your own. This is my version of it. It doesn't taste the same, but if you like cocoa (like I do) and like creamy goodness (again, which I do), then this is a great alternative. Notice the nice foamy head on the chocolate milk and also notice the wonderful glass that it's in. :o) Of course I have to show off my birthday present from my kids (and it's a great excuse to remind all football fans that that Packers are the best team in the NFL).

8 oz unsweetened coconut milk (I like So Delicious brand Unsweetened)
4 oz heavy whipping cream
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Mix in blender and enjoy.

I guess if you want to, you could add some fake sugar (stevia, splenda, or any of the knock-off that are out there today) and it would taste more like the sugary stuff you are used to. I prefer the cocoa-y creamy taste w/out the sugar (real or fake).

Parmesan Chicken Breasts

I'm going through a new cookbook (another of Dana Carpenders) which are all 15 minute recipes. Here's a nice quick idea with very few ingredients, yet it was very yummy.

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese (the cheap stuff in the green can)
4 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp pepper
2 eggs
2 oz heavy whipping cream
4 tbsp butter

1. Flatten the chicken breasts to about 1/4" thick and cut into about 6 portions.
2. Combine cheese with oregano, garlic powder, paprika, and pepper and put on a plate.
3. Combine the eggs and heavy whipping cream and mix well in a bowl.
4. Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat.
5. Dip the chicken in the egg wash, fully coat the chicken with the cheese mixture, then saute for 3-5 minutes per side in the butter.

If you like, you can also make a simple gravy to pour over the top. Making sure the burner is on low, pour some heavy whipping cream into the pan used for sauteing the chicken breasts and stir together with the butter, leftover cheese crumbles, and bits of chicken in the pan. Makes a very tasty gravy.

This recipe was from Dana Carpenders 15 Minute LC Recipe books.

Pizza and Poppers

Pizza and Poppers??? Yep, Pizza and Poppers. It's the best Pizza I have ever made and some of the best I've had (outside of my moms and Teds, of course). My jalapeños were too big and I didn't get all the seeds out, but the poppers were good too.

Pizza Ingredients:
3 eggs
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp basil
1 tbsp tomato sauce
+ whatever you want for toppings (We used more mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, and Canadian bacon.)

1. Combine mozzarella cheese, eggs, garlic powder, and basil in a bowl and mix very well.
2. Press evenly onto a non-stick (or Pam sprayed) pizza pan or cookie sheet.
3. Bake at 450 until golden brown (about 10 to 15 minutes).
4. Remove the crust from the oven.
5. Spread on the tomato sauce.
6. Add the rest of your toppings.
7. Put pizza under the broiler and broil until cheese is melted and toppings are cooked to your desired done-ness.

Jalapeño Popper Ingredients:
Jalapeño peppers
cream cheese

1. Cut the peppers open and take out the seeds.
2. Fill the peppers with cream cheese (I found some Roka Blue Cream Cheese that was amazing).
3. Wrap the peppers with bacon.
4. Cook the poppers either on the grill or broil them until the bacon is done and the peppers are a bit soft.

The peppers I used were too big, but they didn't have any smaller ones when I was shopping for them.

Both of these recipes were ones I had found online posted by people who pulled them from other people. Not sure who originally came up with the recipe.

Greek Roasted Chicken

This is a very simple chicken recipe/marinade that makes the chicken taste like the stuff you get at a small town fair or at a small carnival/festival put on by local groups like the Lions Club or Snowmobile Club (for you northerners). Not sure why, but it really reminds me of that. Note that it needs up to a day for marinading.

3-4 pounds of chicken (cut-up, split, whole, whatever you want)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1. Wash chicken and pat dry.
2. Combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and stir in together.
3. For a whole chicken, rub all over the chicken, including in the cavity. For chicken parts, put in a zip lock bag and pour in marinade.
4. Let sit in a fridge for at least an hour, up to a day. The longer it sits, the better the flavor.
5. One hour before cooking, take chicken out of the bag and let sit.
6. Grill, bake, or broil the chicken as you desire. I prefer to slow grill it.

To slow grill chicken:
1. Heat 1/2 the grill (with charcoals on one side or 1/2 the gas burners turned off).
2. Sear the chicken for 3-5 minutes per side directly over the high heat.
3. Move the chicken to the indirect side, turn heat down a bit, and let sit for about 20 minutes per side, flipping once.
4. After about 10 minutes of high heat and 40 minutes of low heat it will be about done.
5. If you want to crisp up the skin, turn up to high again and put directly over the heat for a minute or two per side.

Overall it was a very easy meal, yet very tasty.

This recipe was based on one from Dana Carpenders 500 LC Recipes

Monday, May 16, 2011

Garlic & Lime Pork Chops

A wonderful marinade for pork chops that give them a bit of a kick and some very good flavor. We used some very thin pork chops and it was ready in about 5 minutes.

6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp soy sauce (Braggs Liquid Aminos)
2 tbsp fresh gingerroot, peeled and grated
2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 cup lime juice
4 oz olive oil
1/2 hot chili pepper, finely diced
8 pork chops

1. Combine the garlic, Braggs (soy sauce), gingerroot,Dijon mustard, lime juice, oil, and chili pepper into a zip lock bag.
2. Add pork chops and let marinade up to a day. The longer the better.
3. Remove Pork Chops and grill (or broil).
4. If you want, you can boil the marinade and use as a sauce on top, but ours was wonderful just off the grill.

This recipe was based off of one in Gillespe's 501 Recipes for LC Life cookbook.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Grilled Chicken Leg Quarters and Sauteed Zucchini and Onions

What do you do when you don't feel like prepping anything? Weber to the rescue. Here's a couple very simple ideas that combine for a very yummy meal.

Grilled Chicken Leg Quarters

Chicken Leg Quarters
Olive Oil
Homemade Seasoned Salt (Recipe)

1. Preheat the grill to about 350
2. Brush the chicken leg quarters with the olive oil.
3. Sprinkle on the seasoned salt.
4. Turn off 1/2 the burners (or move the charcoal to one side) and put the chicken on the side that is on/heating for about 3-5 minutes per side. Enough to crisp up the outside a bit.
5. Move the chicken to the side that is turned off/not heating for about 20 minutes per side.
6. Cook until the chicken is about 165-170 degrees and the juices are running clear.

Sauteed Zucchini and Onions


1. Slice up the Zucchini and Onions.
2. Put the Zucchini and Onions in a pan with the butter.
3. Saute until they are nice and golden brown.

It's easy to make up the Sauteed Zucchini and Onions while the chicken is grilling.

Homemade Seasoned Salt

We recently ran out of seasoned salt at home and so instead of going to buy more, we decided to make our own without sugar in it. Here's the basic starter information.

6 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp curry powder
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp celery salt.

1. Mix all ingredients together. You can use a food processor on low or anything to mix it up.

It's really quite simple and you can change it to whatever you like. It was a bit salty for us (probably because I used larger chunk Kosher salt), so I may cut back on the salt or else increase the other ingredients. I may also add things like ginger, Cayenne pepper, a bit of citrus flavor, and other things like that to round out the taste a bit more.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Zucchini Meat Loaf Italiano

A nice simple twist on meatloaf. So good that no sauce was needed on it.

3 tbsp olive oil
2 medium zucchini, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 tbsp fresh parsley
1 egg
3/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and saute the zucchini, onion, and garlic for 7-8 minutes
3. Let the veggies cool, then dump into a big bowl with the beef, parsley, egg, cheese, salt, and pepper.
4. Mix very throughly.
5. Take the mixture and put into a loaf pan.
6. Bake at 350 for 75 to 90 minutes. (Ours was 75 minutes, very moist, but done through).
7. Serve and enjoy!!!

Another great recipe from Dana Carpender's 500 LC Recipes

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pork Chops and Gorgonzola Butter

Wow. This is a very simple recipe, but the Gorgonzola butter is some of the best butter I have ever had. It would go amazing on any kind of pork, beef, or lamb steak or chop. Just some great flavor.

This recipe is based on one in Gillespie's 501 Recipe book, but is quite different. I used pork chops instead of veal, broiled instead of baked, and Gorgonzola instead of Roquefort cheese. I also changed the ratios up a bit. I'm putting what I used instead of what's in the book.

8 oz butter (melted)
4 oz Gorgonzola cheese crumbled
1 clove garlic, crushed
Few dashes of Hot Sauce (Tabasco Habanero is what we used)
1/2 bunch parsley, leaves only
8 (4 oz) boneless pork chops
Olive Oil
Seasonings to taste on the pork chops

Butter Directions:
1. Blanch the parsley leaves in boiling water for 5 seconds. Then let refresh in cold water. Dry and then chop coarsely. (I don't know what this step does, but I did it. If anyone can explain, that would be great).
2. Melt butter a bit so it is super soft and and put in the garlic, few drops of the hot sauce (to taste), and 2 oz of the Gorgonzola.
3. Blend until smooth.
4. Mix in the parsley and the rest of the Gorgonzola.
5. I used my blender to re-mix everything. That made the parsley much smaller and the butter a bit smoother, but you don't need to do that, you can just mix by hand.
6. Put in the refrigerator to cool and harden.

Pork Chop Directions:
1. Brush the pork chops with oil on both sides.
2. Season both sides with your choice of seasoning. (My favorite blend is black pepper, garlic powder, seasoned salt, and blackened seasoning. It makes a wonderful combination).
3. Broil on high for about 5-7 minutes per side.
4. Take out the pork chops and let rest for a few minutes.

1. Take the pork chops and serve on a plate.
2. Take the Gorgonzola butter and slice off some for each pork chop.
3. Enjoy!!!!

Skillet Stroganoff and Roasted Asparagus

Here's a nice simple recipe for making skillet stroganoff and a side of roasted asparagus. My family loved it.

1 1/2 pound ground beef (80)
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
4 oz can of sliced mushrooms (I'm sure fresh would work)
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp concentrated beef broth (I used 1/16 tsp of bullion granules)

1. In a large skillet, brown the meat and add in the diced onion and garlic.
2. Once everything is browned, add in the mushrooms, worcestershire sauce, paprika, sour cream, and beef broth. I didn't have any concentrated beef broth so I put in 1/16th of a tsp of the granules.
3. Season to taste as it is finishing and enjoy.

Bunch of Asparagus
Olive Oil
Garlic Powder
Other seasonings you like

1. Add asparagus to pan.
2. Pour on olive oil and sprinkle on garlic powder to taste.
3. Add on any additional seasonings (we've used different combinations of things like blackened seasoning, seasoned salt, Parmesan cheese, etc).
4. Broil until the asparagus is done, turning the asparagus once about 1o-20 minutes in (depending on thickness of asparagus).

Monday, May 9, 2011

Thai-ish Chicken Basil Stir-Fry

Here's a nice, spicy Thai-ish Stir-Fry that our family really loved. I changed it up a bit from the recipe in the book.

2 tbsp Thai fish sauce (I used Vietnamese Fish Sauce as that's what we had and it worked fine)
2 tbsp soy sauce or Braggs Liquid Aminos (Braggs is my preference)
1 tsp Splenda (I skipped this)
1/4 tsp guar or xanthan
2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp peanut oil
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp hot chili oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 small onion, sliced
16 oz bag of frozen, crosscut green beans, thawed
2 tbsp non-sweetened coconut flakes

1. Combine the fish sauce, liquid aminos (Soy Sauce), splenda (if used), and guar in a blender.
2. Blend for a few seconds and then add in the basil and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
3. Heat the peanut, coconut, and chili oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat.
4. Add in the Chicken, garlic, and onions and stir-fry for about 5 minutes.
5. Add in the green beans and coconut flakes and cook until the chicken is finished.
6. Stir in the blended seasoning mixture, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.

The coconut flakes and 3 oil types (I really like the blend of those 3) were my additions. The chili oil gives it some nice heat. Next time I will also add in some mushrooms and top with either toasted sesame seeds or toasted walnuts. They will give it a bit of crunch.

This recipe was from Dana Carpenders 500 LC Recipe book.

Pan Fried Tenderloin Steaks Puttanesca

2 tbsp sun-dried tomato bits
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (can substitute 1 tsp of dried basil instead)
1/4 cup chopped ripe olives
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp hickory-smoked salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
4 (4-oz) beef tenderloin steaks (or whatever you want to use)

1. Combine sun-dried tomato bits and 1/2 cup boiling water in a bowl and let stand for 10 minutes.
2. Drain the sun-dried tomato and add the chopped tomato, wine, basil, olives, and garlic. Mix well and set aside.
3. Brush Worcestershire sauce on the steaks and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. (I didn't have hickory smoked salt, so used regular).
4. Grease a large skillet and cook the steaks as desired. It works well to sear over high heat, then lower the heat to finish to the done-ness you prefer. (As I just used regular salt, I added some liquid smoke to the oil to fry the steaks in to give them a bit of smokey flavor).
5. Remove steaks when finished cooking and let rest while you complete the sauce.
6. Add tomato mixture into the skillet and cook over medium-high heat until heated through (about 5 minutes), stirring occasionally.
7. Serve over the steaks. Garnish with basil sprigs if desired.

This was a very good topping and gave the meal a very Mediterranean flair. One thing I think would enhance the meal is some crumbled feta cheese on top of the sauce when serving it over the steak. I think that would give it a very nice touch.

This recipe is from the Gillespe 501 Recipes for a LC Life cookbook.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pork Chops with Mustard Cream Sauce

Here's another very simple recipe that gives your pork chops a little kick.

1 pork chop (approx 1" thick)
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dry white wine
1 tbsp heavy cream
1 tbsp Dijon or Spicy Brown Mustard

*Note - This recipe is for 1 pork chop. How ever many you are making, just increase the ingredients that amount.

1. Salt and Pepper the pork chop on both sides.
2. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.
3. Fry the pork chop until they are done and keep warm in a serving dish.
4. Put the wine in the skillet (mix with the oil) and stir off the fried on bits in the bottom of the pan.
5. Stir in the cream and mustard and mix well.
6. Cook for a minute or two and then pour out of the pan.
7. Serve the chops with the sauce poured over the top.

Recipe is from Dana Carpender 500 LC Recipes Cookbook

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Middle Eastern Skillet Chicken

Tonight was a very yummy middle eastern flavored chicken dish. There are quite a few ingredients, but it really is a very simple dish to make. It does taste wonderful though.

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (Approx 2 pounds)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 small onions (or 1 medium/large one), chopped
1/2 tsp ground coriander (We used Mural of Flavor from Penzeys instead)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp ginger, fresh grated
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup chicken broth

1. Dice the chicken breasts.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add in the chicken and onions.
3. Saute for a few minutes then stir in the spices: coriander, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, and pepper.
4. Cook until the chicken is white all over.
5. Add ginger, tomatoes, garlic, and broth and stir.
6. Cover and let simmer on low for 10-15 minutes.

Serve in bowls and top with some mozzarella cheese.

Recipe is from Dana Carpender 500 LC Recipes Cookbook

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Beef Fajitas

A simple beef fajita meal that doesn't take much to prepare, but is very tasty.


For Marinade:
1/2 cup chicken broth or lite beer
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 small onion, sliced thinly
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic

Rest of Ingredients:
2 lbs of skirt steak or any other steak you want to use.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced thick
1 green pepper, sliced

Guacamole (We love Wholly Guacamole)
Salsa (Mrs. Renfro's is wonderful and most varieties have no sugar added)
Sour Cream
Cheddar Cheese

1. Mix together marinade ingredients.
2. Put steak in a big zip lock bag and marinade in the fridge for a few hours. The tougher the steak, the longer you should let it marinade.
3. When ready to cook, remove steak from bag, saving a few tbsp of the marinade.
4. In a large skillet, heat the oil.
5. Add in steak, peppers, and onion when the oil is hot.
6. When the meat is done and the veggies are tender, add in the reserved marinade.
7. Serve on tortilla or plate and top with the guacamole, salsa, sour cream, and cheese

This recipe was based on one from Dana Carpenders 501 LC Recipes

Note that the tougher the steak, the longer to let it marinade.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Ultra Meat Sauce and Spaghetti Squash

Dinner tonight was a very simple Spaghetti Squash with meat sauce. I'll break it down into 2 sections as that will make it a bit easier.

Spaghetti Squash

1 Spaghetti Squash

1. Cut Spaghetti Squash in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds and stuff
2. Put face down on a baking sheet covered in tin foil.
3. Bake for 375 for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the squash.
4. To test for when it is done, take the back of a spoon or fork and it should puncture the skin very easily.
5. Flip over and use a fork to shred out the spaghetti part and put in a bowl.

Ultra Meat Sauce

2 pounds ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 green pepper, diced
4 oz mushrooms, sliced (A can of mushrooms works fine)
15 oz can of tomato sauce (We use Hunts 100% natural)
1 tsp Italian Seasoning

1. Brown and crumble the ground beef in a large skillet/pan.
2. When the grease starts to collect, add the onion, garlic, green pepper, and mushrooms.
3. Cook until onions and peppers are soft.
4. While the meat and veggies are cooking, put the tomato sauce in a pan and heat through, adding the seasoning and letting it simmer to mix the flavors. Some garlic would be good in the sauce too
5. Pour off the grease from the meat and add in the tomato sauce.
6. Serve the sauce over the Spaghetti squash and top with some Parmesian cheese if desired.

The Ultra Meat Sauce recipe was from Dana Carpender 500 LC Recipes Cookbook