As we countdown to Christmas and New Year, most of us have been extremely busy decorating everything, making our Christmas lists, shopping for gifts, and wrapping presents. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if we could just slash the preparation for the holiday feast off of that to do list, and just go to a restaurant or buy food instead? Maybe — but, the holiday feast wouldn’t be that special (well, at least for me). So, I wanted to share with all of you, some recipes that I’ve simplified and tweaked, to make it my own. You can cook these recipes anytime you want and not just on holidays.
Short Ribs and Cavatappi Pasta with Cream of Spinach
4 pieces short ribs
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons salt
Pepper to taste
Cavatappi Pasta with Cream of Spinach
½lb cooked cavatappi pasta
1 pack cream of spinach
2 teaspoons salt
Pepper to taste
In a pot, add vinegar, water, salt, pepper and short ribs. Let it boil until the broth evaporates and the short ribs are tender. Take the short ribs out of the pot and fry it in canola oil for about 2 minutes on each side (depending on the size of the short rib, fry it until the sides are brown but not too crispy). In a separate pot, add pasta, cream of spinach, salt and pepper. Let is simmer until the cream is thick. Turn off the heat and some brie cheese on top.
4 slices beef braciole (thinly sliced beef)
Salt and black pepper
1 ½ cups white bread, cubed
Plain round toothpicks
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 pack mushrooms, chopped
1 cup green and red bell pepper, sliced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup cooking wine
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup beef broth
1 rounded tablespoon tomato paste
For the filling, add butter in a nonstick skillet. Add onions and sauté until it’s transparent. Then, add mushrooms and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add bell pepper once the mushroom is almost done. Season meat with salt and pepper. Add some of the filling and cubed white bread inside the beef and roll it. Place some toothpicks to secure the beef making sure it is rolled and sealed tightly. In another pan, heat up some oil. Add the braciole and brown each side. Remove the beef and add flour in the pan. Whisk wine into the flour and beef broth. Let it simmer for about 3-4 minutes, and then add the tomato paste. Put the meat back into the sauce and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer meat in sauce for about 10 to 15 minutes (turn the meat on all sides making until it is cooked). Turn off the heat and put the meat in a platter. Pour the remaining sauce on top.
Cooking gourmet-like food, is as easy as 1-2-3, if you allow yourself to not always follow recipes by the book. It may be difficult for beginners initially, but, once you get used to it, you can always break the rules and do some minor adjustments. Lastly, loosen up and enjoy recreating these recipes.
Food presentation is a key in making your dishes look like it was cooked by a professional chef. For some food presentation ideas, please check out this video.