{Good Eats} Super Easy Tri Tip in the Oven

I first published this recipe in February last year (2010). It really is so ridiculously easy and impressive!  I think we make a Tri-Tip once a week and I get 2 0r 3 dinners from it.  I’ve been told by out of state friends that a “Tri-Tip” is a trendy California cut, and not commonly found. So definitely ask your butcher if you don’t see it.  We love that is fairly inexpensive, full of flavor, and very versatile. I get ours at Costco.

The other thing I ALWAYS use is Lindberg Snider Porterhouse & Roast Seasoning. There is nothing in the world like that seasoning!  We use it on everything from our bloody mary rims, to this steak.  Locally I buy a big bottle from Bristal Farms. It is WORTH IT to add this to your pantry, I promise! For this recipe alone…

Ingredients:

1 tri tip
Lindberg Snider Porterhouse & Roast Seasoning
olive oil

Directions:

  1. Season both sides of a tri tip with Porterhouse Seasoning, liberally!!
  2. Heat olive oil in an oven proof pan.  (Any All Clad type pan will work, I use a grill pan).
  3. When pan is hot, brown both sides of tri tip for 3-4 minutes each.  You are not cooking it, only sealing the sides. Feel free to stand it on its sides too if you want all 4 sides browned.
  4. When all sides are brown, place entire pan in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes. (I usually take mine out at exactly 22 minutes).
  5. Remove from oven and let rest, tented with foil for about 5 minutes, slice and serve!

I know all that sounds really complicated…OR it sounded far easier than it possibly could be, so here’s a few pictures from our dinner Tuesday night.

Always bring meat to room temperature before cooking. I usually take it out about 20 – 30 minutes before I plan to make dinner. The world wont end if you forget to do this though.

Season both sides liberally Lindberg Snider Porterhouse & Roast Seasoning. I mean you probably shouldn’t if you don’t want to change your life, but if you do want to taste the best seasoning on this earth, then go ahead and pour it on.

Heat a little olive oil in a grill pan (that you will be able to transfer to the oven. You can use a regular old frying pan. Not to worry).  Then season the second side of the Tri-Tip.

Now here is the important part. If you’re going to cook this while also entertaining your Littles, make sure it’s a REALLY good game of “Peek!”.  And do your best not to throw your hip out while you carry your 14 month old, all the while trying not to kill your camera (do you all remember that post? I can’t find it, oh well!)…

Lay that bad boy in the pan and brown each side for 3-4 minutes.  I’m usually flipping it just shy of 4 minutes.

“Peek!!!”

“Really?!!?  You’re bored already?  I’m only 2 minutes into the first side??? Work with me!!

Check on the other Littles….

OK! 4 minutes!!  Nice and brown, flip it to the second side.

“Peek!” Seriously Piper, you could at least TRY to look like you’re having fun….

While you’re waiting on that second 4 minutes. Pull this handy dandy deal out of your drawer. If you don’t have one, get one now. You will not want to make this recipe without one. TRUST me and everyone else that ever thought they didn’t need it, and ended up branding their hand with a frying pan handle….I bought mine at Sur La Table. You slide it over the handle when you take the pan out of the oven. TRUST me, that handle is HOT!!

OK, second side is done, so throw the whole pan in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. (Mine is EXACTLY 22 minutes).

Now go do a little art project with your kids while you smell the Heaven in the oven…

20-25 minutes later, slide that little pot holder over the handle…

And take the steak out of the oven.  Looks goooood huh!!???!

Loosely tent while you throw together a salad. I like to tent for about 5 minutes.  I prefer my steak closer to medium and Hubs likes his medium rare. Because of the triangle shape of a Tri-Tip you can definitely keep everyone happy!

Photos never really do meat justice, but this is perfectly cooked!

You can place it back in the pan to keep warm and soak up the juices.

I threw this one over a quick salad ~ Fresh garden lettuce, cucumber, apples, feta, yellow peppers, Marcona almonds, Girrards Light Champagne Vinaigrette.  Doesn’t hurt to serve a little Trader Joe’s Garlic Naan on the side either.

Leftovers can be used for dinners the rest of the week. I might use it in fried rice, or steak bowls, quesadillas, paninis, so many, many ways to use it up!

Seriously, this is so easy and yummy, you must make it this week! Enjoy!

BLT Pizza ~ Pure, mad, goodness!

This could quite possibly be one of the most delicious pizzas I’ve ever made. Hubs and I were devouring it last weekend!  Sunday we were able to move back into our house.  I say this loosely as it really meant we were able to walk on the floors, not move furniture back in….but baby steps are good!

Not only did we miss our house, but our garden missed us.  We had a TON of tomatoes waiting for us when we got here.  We still have our summer beef steak planted.  It wasn’t feeling it this summer, but it’s feeling it now, so far this Fall we’ve had some very flavorful tomatoes!  On Sunday, I was trying to be creative…

Me: “Hon you want a Margarita pizza for lunch or a BLT?”

Hubs: “BLT!”

Hubs: “Wait. No, the pizza”.

Hubs: “Wait. No, the BLT”.

Hubs: “OK, whichever is easier…”

I knew there was a little inner battle going on for him.  He really doesn’t care what we eat, but he LOOOVVVVES fresh tomatoes.

So I got creative and made a BLT pizza. HOLY MAN (as my mother-in-law would say) I could eat one everyday!!! It was that good and oh so very easy.

  1. I like to use Bridgeford bread loaves for pizza dough.  It tastes like homemade, I can keep it in my freezer until I need it, I just need to leave it on the counter to defrost and rise, and if I’m in a pinch I can defrost in the microwave.  Really, you can’t go wrong. Not to say that I don’t make dough from scratch sometimes too, but with the 3 babes running around, easier is better sometimes.
  2. I left a frozen loaf on the counter in a bowl while I went off with 1 of the babes to run errands.  Got back around noon and it was defrosted.
  3. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Cut the loaf in half and roll each half out on a floured surface.
  5. Once it’s rolled out, place it on a cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal (makes it tons easier to get the pizza back off when it’s done!)
  6. I brushed a little olive oil over the top then popped it in the oven for 20 minutes.
  7. While that’s baking, cook up some bacon bits, dice a tomato (or 3 in our case), chop some Romain, and get your ranch dressing ready.
  8. When the crust is done baking, smear a few tablespoons of ranch over the surface, throw on the cooked bacon bits, lettuce, and tomatoes.  Salt & Pepper to taste.
  9. NOW GO FORTH, EAT AND BE MERRY! This will make your whole day!!

Enjoy!

1 dinner, 2 meals ~ bowls & burritos

I absolutely LOVE when I can make 1 dinner count for 2 meals!  Such a time saver, not to mention budget friendly…

Crock Pot Chicken Bowls are one of my favorite meal staples.  If I don’t make this once a week, then at least every other week. (Sad I know, but like I said, EASY).

This past week I threw everything into the crock pot, and by “everything” I mean, all that I’ve listed as an ingredient, plus any leftover chicken or beef that I found in the fridge. (We had grilled chicken and Oven Tri-Tip both ready and waiting for me…)

But then I got a wild hair and decided to make kid friendly burritos.

I wrapped a couple of damp paper towels around a stack of flour tortilla and nuked them for about a minute.

Then scooped some of the meat & bean mixture into the middle of a tortilla and rolled them up, kid friendly, and little hand style (sorry I didn’t photograph the “how to”. You just fold over opposite ends of the tortilla towards the mixture, then take the 3rd side and pull it over the mixture and the folds you just created, tuck it in and ROLL – Hope that makes sense….I’ll take a pic next time.)

Be sure to add the toppings you like – avocado, cheese, jalapenos, etc…

Served ’em on a plate with fruit.  Dinner was fun and the kiddos LOVED holding it all in their hands.

Then a few nights later, I reheated the leftover mixture and we had the chicken bowls…

Simple, easy, affordable, and FUN!

impressive, fast dinners

I love easy dinners.  I’ve cooked a lot of nice dinners the past few weeks (nice = not hot dogs).  Super simple dinners, but they’ve been above average dinners to end the day with…It always makes me feel better when I can put something good on the table, that makes me feel like I spent A LOT of time preparing it, but secretly know it took about 20 minutes!

This was our menu a few weeks ago (prior to all the road trip and vacation craziness!)

Sunday: Tri Tip in the Oven, Rice Cooker Mac & Cheese, Caesar lite Salad (packaged bag), S’more Stuffed Brownies w/ Vanilla Ice Cream for dessert

Monday: Squash Carbonara, and Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream for dessert

Tuesday: Costco Pizzas ($5!!!  Love that!), Casear lite Salad and leftover Grilled Peaches nuked with brown sugar and topped with Vanilla Ice Cream for dessert

Wednesday: Orzo with Roasted Shrimp, and Plum & Peach Buttermilk Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream for dessert

Thursday: Grilled Tri-Tip tips, sliced tomato from the garden, Rice Pilaf, leftover cake for dessert

Friday: Cheeseburgers (frozen leftover patties from the 4th of July), leftover Orzo Salad, Peanut Butter ice cream sandwiches for dessert

In all honestly, I made every single thing shown above in a week. When needed, I would prep things early or while the girls played at 9AM.  The Littles would “help” me with some of it (nice little activity for us all), or I would make it during play time at 4PM before Dada got home.  Everything was VERY DOABLE and REALISTIC.  I never felt like I was stretching myself and we ate REALLY good food!  Give it a try, even if things look a little daunting, once you try it, you’ll see that you CAN do it!

Have a great weekend everyone!  Hug your Littles, Gran Littles and Friends Littles!

weelicious mac & cheese ~ more than a wee bit yummy!

Sometimes you just need an easy dinner.

And by easy I mean, barely needing to lift a finger.

Do you have a rice cooker?

I found this recipe on Weelicious. And I’ve sung it’s praises before.

But now it has become a staple in our house.

It takes me closer to 40 or 50 minutes.  My rice cooker is a combo deal, so I set the oven timer.

The first part I do in 15 min, the second another 25-35 minutes.

This is great with an variety of different cheeses.

I typically use the Costco Mexican shredded blend. (Remember I said easy)

I like to add dry mustard, probably a couple teaspoons.

Just before serving I’ve been known to add an assortment of cooked chopped veggies (microwave).

Or some bacon bits with chives on top (can’t go wrong with that!)

Or mixed in leftover cooked chicken, or sausage, or hamburger meat.

Plane and simple, this recipe requires your attention 2 times, the middle and the end.

And you get a super, creamy, delicious mac and cheese.

You just can’t go wrong.

See the cute Weelicious video program here.  Her son Kenya is a doll!!

Weelicious Rice Cooker Mac & Cheese:

Ingredients:

2 Cups Pasta (I use fusilli or penne)
1 1/2 Cups Chicken Stock
1 Tsp Salt
1 Cup Whole Milk
1 1/2 Cups Cheese (I use a shredded, Mexican blend from Costco)

* Option: You can also add a cup of finely chopped broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, butternut squash or frozen peas. Do so in step #2. (I have not done this, I have only added cooked veggies to the end)

  1. Place the first 3 ingredients in the rice cooker and cook for 15 minutes.
  2. Open the lid, add the milk and cheese, stir to combine, close the lid and cook for an additional 20 minutes (Mine takes 25-35 minutes, just keep checking and stirring). *Rice cookers can cook at different heats, so make sure to check the mac & cheese after if cooks for 30 minutes once or twice.
  3. Serve.

barefoot contessa’s roasted shrimp orzo

Ever since returning from Thermador’s Steamy event, I’ve been on a bigger than normal cooking kick.  Plus because it’s Summer and the garden is bursting with great herbs and veggies to use, it just MAKES you want to cook.  But it DOES NOT MAKE me want to clean up dishes, or be slaving in a hot kitchen when we are in the middle of a heat wave.  So I’ve been searching out quick and easy dinners, that are super flavorful, AND that everyone in the family can enjoy.

I started to watch Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, ages ago.  I loved her design eye and the glimpse into her kitchens.  I also loved that she left a job at the White House to pursue her dreams.  The more I watched her, the more I fell in love with her recipes.  They are always simple, never with complicated steps.  They use great ingredients that really bring out the most in a dish. Ina Garten’s goal is easy entertaining as she doesn’t feel the host should be stuck in the kitchen throughout a dinner party.  Amen! I love this as it also translates to a family dinner, where mom doesn’t want to be tied to the oven all night! Amen again!

This is a great pasta dish.  It is meant to be prepared with Orzo, but really, any pasta will do.  I use Orzo sometimes as it looks like rice to my kids, other times, I do it with Penne or Fussili as it’s easy for their cute, chubby fingers to pick up.

Another reason I love the simplicity of this meal is that you can complete things in short 15 minute windows.  While the kids played with their little kitchen this AM, I quickly chopped up the veggies and the herbs, and mixed the dressing.  Done in under 15 minutes. Which is good, because I would have had more helping hands than I needed if it had taken any longer!  But now that I’m done, and it’s in the fridge waiting for tonight, I can go about the rest of my crazy day knowing the bulk of dinner is waiting for me.  Left to do?  Roast the shrimp, cook the pasta and add it all together with Feta.

Roasting shrimp couldn’t be easier.  I use frozen shrimp from Costco.  They are cleaned and deveined with the tail on (and is super easy to pull off).  I do this on a foil lined baking sheet. Less clean up in the end, just roll up and toss in the trash!

5-6 minutes and you’re golden….errr, opaque.  Which is what you want.

Add the shrimp with the veggies & herbs, to the pasta, toss in the feta and dressing, mix together and serve.  It has a wonderful lemony dressing…one bite of this dish just screams “SUMMER”!  Nice served with a fresh Baguette.

We also enjoyed the leftovers as a side with cheeseburgers a couple of nights later.

Here’s to easy, impressive dinners, that everyone in the family will enjoy!


Barefoot Contessa’s Roasted Shrimp with Orzo
Food Network

Ingredients:

Kosher salt
Good olive oil
3/4 pound orzo pasta (rice-shaped pasta)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds (16 to 18 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
1 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
3/4 pound good feta cheese, large diced

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and a splash of oil, and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it’s cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.
  3. Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread out in a single layer. Roast for 5 to 6 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Don’t overcook!
  4. Add the shrimp to the orzo and then add the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss well. Add the feta and stir carefully. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving.

what to do with summers bounty? zuchinni carbonara!

Got Zuchinni? Got Squash? Need a recipe to help use up a summer bounty??  I know Momfluential does!  Have you seen her veggie wagon!?!?!?  My garden is not quite in that league, but we had a nice first crop when I got back last week, so I went in search of a recipe.  This time it was Jamie Oliver that saved the day.  Oh man was it good. Honestly, I couldn’t wait for the leftovers for lunch the next day! Packed with flavor, super easy, super quick.

Beautiful Zuchinni Carbonara
Adapted from Jamie Oliver on the Food Network

Don’t let the length of the recipe discourage you!  I think it took 20 minutes total from beginning to end….at the MOST!  I served this with Grilled Peaches for dessert.  Another SUPER FAST recipe!  These are both perfect for summer entertaining, or flavorful dinner for your family.  People will be amazed you can cook like this AND have kids!

Ingredients:

Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
4-6 medium green and yellow zucchini
1 pound pasta (penne, fussili, something easy for the kids)
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream
2-3 good handfuls freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
12 thick slices pancetta or bacon, cut into chunky pieces (could also use the Trader Joe’s ready chopped pancetta)
A small bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped.
Optional: a few zucchini flowers, any fresh herbs you have available.  I used basil and chives along with the thyme.
Optional: chicken stock.  I forgot to reserve cooking liquid as the recipe suggested, so I grabbed a container of chicken stock…I think it actually added well to the flavor!

Directions:

  1. Before you start cooking, it’s important to get yourself a very large pan, or use a high-sided roasting pan so you can give the pasta a good toss.
  2. Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. You can prepare the zuchinni 1 of 2 ways. Halve and quarter any larger zucchini lengthwise. Cut out and discard any fluffy middle bits, and A.) slice the zucchini at an angle into pieces roughly the same size and shape as the pasta. or B.) Use a mandoline, which is what I did, to slice everything super thin. Your water will now be boiling, so add the penne to the pan and cook according to the package instructions.
  3. To make your creamy carbonara sauce, put the egg yolks into a bowl, add the cream and half the Parmesan, and mix together with a fork. Season lightly with salt and pepper and set aside.
  4. Heat a very large frying pan, add a good splash of olive oil and fry the pancetta or bacon until dark brown and crisp. Add the zucchini slices and 2 big pinches of black pepper, not just to season but to give it a bit of a kick. Sprinkle in the thyme leaves, along with any other fresh herbs you’re using.  Give everything a stir, so the zucchini is coated with all the lovely bacon-flavored and fry until they start to turn lightly golden and have softened slightly.
  5. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving a little of the cooking water. Immediately, toss the pasta in the pan with the zucchini, bacon and lovely flavors, then remove from the heat and add a ladleful of the reserved cooking water and your creamy sauce. Stir together quickly. (No more cooking now, otherwise you’ll scramble the eggs.)
  6. While you’re tossing the pasta and sauce, sprinkle in the rest of the Parmesan and a little more of the cooking water if needed, to give you a silky and shiny sauce. Taste quickly for seasoning. If you’ve managed to get any zucchini flowers, tear them over the top, then serve and eat immediately.

Enjoy!

Campbell’s Chicken & Noodle Casserole

You will all laugh at me for this recipe! But honestly, when you’re in a pinch sometimes…..

I had something completely different planned for dinner one night, but just ran out of time and energy. I took a quick stock of what I had and pulled an emergency can of Cream of Mushroom soup from the pantry and flipped it around to see if it had any recipes….TADA, a new simple winner!

Honestly, it was super easy, not really heavy, baked in 20 minutes, and everyone loved it!  Serve it with a big salad and warm rolls and you’re the champion!!

Campbell’s Chicken & Noodle Casserole:

Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1 (10-3/4 oz) can Campbells Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 cup milk
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
2 cups cubed cooked chicken (I had a Costco Rotissiere Chicken shredded in the freezer, I added it frozen)
2 cups medium egg noodles, cooked and drained
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Stir soup, milk, vegetables, chicken, noodles, Parmesan cheese and black pepper in 1-1/2 qt casserole dish.
  2. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until hot, stir.
  3. Top with Cheddar cheese.