Succulent Pressure Cooked Lamb

Shortly after our son was born, we decided it might not be a bad idea to invest in either a slow cooker or pressure cooker. After watching an infomercial for a pressure cooker on TV, we were sold. We bought one from Target and the particular one we got definitely gives you the most bang for your buck because it’s both a pressure cooker and a slow cooker, all in one. Each time we’ve used it, it’s cooked meat (and our meals, as a whole) to perfection. When we recently got some lamb, I knew that the pressure cooker would, once again, come to my rescue. I love using it because it’s pretty much foolproof and cuts down your cooking time significantly. You just throw everything inside and let it work its magic.

With it I made lamb, which had been stuffed with cloves of fresh garlic, and then, generously seasoned with salt, pepper, and dried rosemary. It stewed in broth, along with onions, golden potatoes, and sweet potatoes. The lamb was so tender and juicy that it fell apart at the touch of our forks.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds lamb, boneless, cut lengthwise into 2 inch pieces
  • 10 cloves garlic, cut into thirds
  • 4 golden potatoes, quartered
  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into 4 inch pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/4 cups of chicken, beef, or vegetable broth
  • 4 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Lamb 1

Preparation:

Wash, rinse, and pat the lamb dry. With a sharp knife, cut small slits into the sliced pieces of lamb, and insert a few pieces of garlic in each.

Lamb 3

Season each side of the lamb generously with salt, pepper, and rosemary.

Lamb 4

Lamb 2

Turn on your pressure cooker and pour the oil inside the inner pot. Place your lamb inside and sear the meat until it is lightly browned on all sides.

Lamb 6

Remove the lamb and set aside in a bowl.

Place the onions and potatoes inside the same pot and cook for a few minutes.

Lamb 7

Add the tomato paste and broth. Put the lamb back in the pot.

Lamb 8

Place the lid on the pressure cooker and program to cook for 30 minutes. Once done, turn the valve of the pressure cooker to release the steam. When the steam is completely released, remove the lid.

Now, get ready to breathe in the delicious aroma of lamb that looks like it’s been braising all day in a slow cooker.

Lamb 9

Transfer to a Pyrex or baking dish to serve.

Lamb 13

You can eat the lamb and vegetables on their own or serve with white rice or cauliflower rice.

Lamb 11

I wasn’t kidding when I said the meat was literally falling apart.

Lamb 12

Perfection in as little as 30 minutes! You can easily fool everyone into thinking you slaved over this meal all day in the kitchen.

Bon appétit!

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Stuffed Butternut Squash with Balsamic Reduction

I recently came across a stuffed butternut squash recipe that I tried out for dinner.  The end result was a beautiful and satisfying dish! I made some minor modifications to it:

  • I used turkey bacon, instead of regular bacon
  • I ditched the celery and added baby bell peppers, instead
  • I used the balsamic vinegar to make a balsamic reduction

Here’s my version of the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, halved
  • 1 pound organic, grass fed lean ground beef
  • 6 slices of turkey bacon
  • 1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 6 baby bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • A few dashes of pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

BNS 1

Preparation:

Cut your butternut squash in half and scrape the seeds out.

BNS 2

BNS 3

Place your squash face down in a Pyrex that’s filled with 1/2 inch of hot water.

BNS 4

Put in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium nonstick pan, cook your ground beef until browned. Add the olive oil and sauté the onions until translucent, then, add the bell peppers and continue cooking. Add the salt, pepper, cinnamon, and stir.

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Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.

Cook the turkey bacon until crispy, remove from heat, and once cooled, crumble and add it to the bowl.

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BNS 14

Remove your squash from the oven and wait for it to cool. Then, scrap out the insides, leaving 1/4 inch of squash, and add the scooped out squash to the bowl, mixing all the ingredients. Stuff your squash with the beef mixture and place back in a 350 degree heated oven (without the water) for 20 minutes.

BNS 15

BNS 16

In a small pot, add the balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil and then, reduce to low heat. Keep stirring, for about 15-20 minutes, until the liquid reduces and thickens.

BNS 10

Remove from heat.

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Take the squash out from the oven and drizzle the balsamic reduction on top.

BNS 20

Cinnamon Bun Muffins

The aroma of gooey cinnamon rolls baking in the oven is probably one of the most heavenly scents ever. During my teenage years, I worked at a department store and remember the sweet, overpowering smell of them baking at the Cinnabon that was all the way on the other side of the mall. Back then, I didn’t have a metabolism to worry about, so, I indulged in them whenever the craving hit me. Now that I’m older, though, and don’t have quite as quick of a metabolism, I’ve realized that while cinnamon rolls are, in fact, still amazing, that their accompanying calories are not.

Needless to say, when I came arose Elana Amsterdam’s recipe for Cinnamon Bun Muffins, I was ecstatic, especially since she used basic ingredients that I had laying around in my pantry.

Here are how mine turned out. Aren’t they lovely?!

CB1 CB2

One batch of these was gone in just a day, which didn’t stop the inner fat kid in me from making subsequent batches. I love that they’re in muffin form, too, which makes them portable and easy to grab in the mornings when you’re on the go.

Head on over to her page for the recipe (in case you resisted the urge earlier and haven’t already)! And, don’t say I didn’t warn you about how incredible these taste. They will be sure to become a favorite in your home and win your tastebuds over.

Grilled Tri-Tip and Oven Roasted Red Potatoes

Picture this: succulent, thinly sliced pieces of tri-tip that have been grilled to perfection and crispy oven roasted red potatoes, drizzled with melted butter. Are you drooling, yet? What if I told you that you can make this dish in as little as 45 minutes? These days, I’m all about coming up with effortless dinner ideas because being both a wife and a mommy can make you pressed for time. If you are following the Paleo diet, you can still enjoy this meal by omitting the potatoes.

Time is ticking, so let’s get started!

Ingredients:

  • 5 red potatoes, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds marinated tri-tip roast, thinly sliced into 1/2 inch pieces

Preparation:

Wash and scrub the skins of the potatoes with soap. Dry. In a large bowl, add the quartered potatoes, dried parsley, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Toss to coat. Transfer to a sheet pan and spread in an even layer.

TT 1

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes, take out of the oven, flip potatoes with a spatula, and place back in the oven for 15 more minutes. Remove from the oven, add a few dashes of more salt, and drizzle the melted butter on top.

Place the sliced tri-tip on a heated grill (I used my George Foreman) and grill for 5 minutes for medium rare or 7 minutes for well done.

TT 2

TT 3

Remove from grill.

Serve with potatoes.

TT 4

Ooh la la! Who doesn’t love some meat and potatoes? Dig in!

Easy Weeknight Dinner: Beef Medley and Coconut Sugar Butternut Squash

After a long day at work, the last thing you want to do is come home and spend hours in the kitchen to feed your family. Tonight’s dinner recipe I’ll be sharing with you can be made in less than an hour and is quick, easy, healthy, and delicious. In this dish, the savory flavors of beef, spinach, mushrooms, garlic, and onions collide with the sweet, rich flavor of butternut squash that’s been cooked in butter, coconut sugar, salt, and cinnamon, to give you a dish that will leave your tastebuds dancing.

Ingredients: 

  • 1-1 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef (I used 85% lean)
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly diced
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 cups butternut squash, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • A dash of cinnamon

Din 1

Preparation:

Chop your mushrooms and onions (I decided to add garlic on a whim.)

Din 2

Heat a large nonstick pan over medium heat and add your beef; cook until browned.

Din 3

Add two tablespoons of olive oil and sauté your onions until translucent, for about 2 minutes.

Din 4

Add the mushrooms and sauté for two more minutes. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the garlic.

Din 5

Add the spinach and cook until wilted.

Din 6

Add cumin, salt, and sprinkle generously with pepper. Remove from heat.

Din 8

In a medium nonstick pan, melt butter over medium heat. Once the butter starts sizzling, add the butternut squash.

Din 7

Saute the butternut squash for 15 minutes, until the squash is tender and turns a deep orange color. Then, sprinkle with coconut sugar, cinnamon, and a few dashes of salt. Remove from heat.

Din 9

Voila!

Din 10

Sweet Potato Hash & Saturday Morning Traditions

Saturday mornings, for me, have always been reminiscent of my childhood, where I would wake up, bleary-eyed, watch my favorite cartoons, and eagerly wait while my parents made us a hearty breakfast. It resulted in us all sitting at the table, enjoying the finished masterpiece together, and creating memories, while sounds of laughter swirled around the kitchen. Now that I have my own family, I like carrying on that same tradition and so, I’m constantly on the lookout for new recipes to try when my own creative spark doesn’t automatically go off. Last year, I came across a gem of a book called The Paleo Kitchen by Juli Bauer & George Bryant. There is a Sun-Dried Tomato Sweet Potato Hash recipe in there that I put a slight but simple twist on to make the most delicious breakfast that doesn’t take much time at all to whip up. Sweet potatoes on their own are already so tasty that you really don’t need to do much to make a dish involving them taste good.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato, diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 eggs
  • 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a dash of basil, dried or fresh

Preparation:

Set your stove to medium heat and melt your coconut oil. Add your diced sweet potatoes and stir them around for a few minutes to get them nicely coated and sizzling in the coconut oil.

1

Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 5 minutes, then, remove the lid and continue cooking the sweet potatoes for another 10 minutes until they’re nicely browned on all sides. Once the sweet potatoes have browned, add your onions and keep cooking them until they turn translucent.

2

Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add four wells into the sweet potato and onion hash, and crack your eggs into the wells.

4

5

How long you cook your eggs will depend on the firmness at which you want them. I usually find that cooking them for a few minutes, so that they are not completely hard but slightly runny, is plenty to my liking.

Remove from heat. Garnish with basil and serve.

6

The combination of coconut oil, sweet potatoes, and eggs gives this dish an incredibly rich, satisfying, and warm taste. It is sure to leave a lasting impression if you decide to incorporate it into your own Saturday morning tradition.

New Name, Site Redesign, & A Little About Me

Sunshine

Hi, everyone!

In case you were wondering (or hadn’t already noticed), I wanted to give you a heads up that I’ve changed the name and address of my blog!  It is no longer Sara’s Eats but rather, as you can see, it is now Sunshine & Sapphires. I initially started this blog as a creative outlet to share my clean eating recipes, however, as time passed, I decided that I wanted to expand my blog to cover a broader range of topics, instead of such a narrow one. What lead to this decision? Allow me to start from the beginning …

One of my passions in life has always been writing. Ever since I was in elementary school, I was known as the little girl who would sit on the edge of the Bark Box with a blank notebook and pen in hand, creating make-believe stories. The world was truly my canvas, and the sky was the limit as far as my imagination was concerned. I filled notebook after notebook up, and would spend my leisure writing letters to my favorite authors, as well as sending them my manuscripts (all, of which, at that tender age kindly got rejected, and understandably so.) I remember spending much of my childhood at the public library in my hometown, which was surrounded by a beautiful pond with cool, glistening water and a million ducks that would be waddling around. At the time, that library seemed enormous to me, and I felt like a grain of sand that occupies just one tiny fragment of a warm, sandy beach, and a must bigger picture.

As I grew older, my passion for writing stayed with me. In high school and through the duration of college, I majored in English, graduating from a university with my degree in English. However, as I became an adult and immersed myself into a world of work and responsibility, my passion, inevitably, seemed to take the back burner. But, I’m a firm believer that our hearts ultimately lead us back to whatever we are inherently passionate about and so, here I am, sharing my story with each of you.

I am a wife to my wonderful husband that I’ve known for nearly a decade, a mother to my beautiful baby boy who is my heart, a daughter to my loving and supportive parents, a friend to many, and last but definitely not least, I am a writer. My new blog will be about a variety of topics, instead of primarily food. Some days I will share recipes with you, other days I may share weight loss and fitness tips, or just musings about my every day life. Something cool I really want to do with my blog, once I receive enough responses to get that going, is to have a weekly, “Dear Sara” column, so to speak. I’ve toyed with this idea for years. It would be like a Dear Abby scenario, where my readers can e-mail me anything that is on their minds: relationship advice, dating questions, you name it! The e-mails will be featured on my website but it goes without saying that the identity of the readers writing in to me will be kept anonymous. If you would like to take part in my, “Dear Sara” column, you can send me an e-mail at sunshineandsapphires@gmail.com

I want to personally thank all of my followers for staying loyal and continuing to follow my blog, even though my updates have been so infrequent these past few years. I hope to change the frequency of my posts, especially now that I can really express my creativity on such a wider scale.

I look forward to providing you with fresh, exciting content for 2015!