Mediterranean Cod En Papillote

Step up your culinary game with this surprisingly easy Mediterranean Cod En Papillote made with Norweigian cod.

Mediterranean Cod En Papillote

This post is sponsored by the Norwegian Seafood Council. Thank you for supporting brands that make this blog possible!

During this time, we are staying inside and limiting the number of trips to the grocery store. Rethink the protein choices on your grocery list. Add seafood! Build recipes around lean fish with pantry ingredients you have on hand. Just starting out cooking seafood? Simple is best! Only a few ingredients and seasonings are needed to make fish delicious.

Being strategic when grocery shopping and relying on pantry staples is key. Here in New Jersey, there are limits on amounts of certain proteins like chicken and eggs. At the grocery store, there is a whole department dedicated just to seafood. Don’t skip it!

Health benefits of eating more fish

Eating seafood two to three times per week reduces the risk of death from any health-related cause by 17 percent. New to adding seafood into your menu repertoire? Start with a mid-flavored, firm fish like cod. Norwegian cod to be exact!

Tips for buying fish

There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to seafood – both wild and farmed. The origin of the seafood is something you should be looking out for, as every country has completely different practices.

Sustainability has been one of the main objectives of the Norwegian fishing industry, and they are committed to producing seafood in a safe, controlled, and sustainable manner. And I know this because I actually traveled to Norway myself with the Norwegian Seafood Council and saw how seriously Norway takes sustainability and how strict regulations that maintain fish supply are meticulously upheld.

According to the USDA, Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) is a consumer labeling law that requires retailers (grocery stores and supermarkets) to identify the country of origin on certain foods, including wild-caught fish, farm-raised fish, and shellfish.

What does “en papillote” mean?

Don’t be intimidated by this recipe, en papillote is a culinary technique that any home cook can master in their kitchen. 

The term en papillote (pronounced: ON pah-pee-YOHT) means “in paper” or “in parchment”. It is a moist-heat cooking method because it is the steam from within the package where the food is enclosed by parchment paper that cooks the food. More delicate proteins, such as fish or chicken, are more commonly cooked en papillote as they can be quickly cooked by this steaming method.

Steaming en papillote requires no special equipment other than parchment paper. The food won’t stick and parchment paper is easy to seal not allowing any liquid to escape. Just make sure to tightly seal the edges. Plus, clean up is easy – just toss the parchment when you’re done!

How to build flavors

The key to creating a flavorful en papillote dish is building flavors. When cooking en papillote, there are usually vegetables as the base with herbs and seasonings, topped off with the protein. The vegetables contain moisture and during the cooking process generate steam, which cooks the protein enclosed in the parchment pouch. Additional herbs and seasonings are used to build flavors.  Mediterranean flavors inspired this recipe creation. 

Mediterranean ingredients on parchment paper

Get cooking together

This recipe is the perfect way to get everyone involved in the kitchen.

  • Raid the pantry to play around with different spice and herb blends
  • Get the family involved – everyone makes their own signature creation
  • Little hands (kids) can help make this meal. Have them help stack the ingredients, wrap the parchment paper, etc.
Mediterranean Cod ingredients layered on parchment

Health Benefits of Cod

Norwegian Cod is a lean fish. It contains only up to 3% fat and almost no carbohydrates. It is an excellent source of:

  • Protein
  • Vitamins (such as B12)
  • Selenium
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids (a meal-sized portion of cod delivers the recommended daily intake)
  • Iodine
step by step guide for Mediterranean Cod En Papillote recipe
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baked cod on top of mediterranean vegetables

Mediterranean Cod En Papillote

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: seafood
  • Method: En Papillote
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Description

Step up your culinary game with this surprisingly easy Mediterranean Cod En Papillote made with Norweigian cod.


Scale

Ingredients

2 (5-ounce) pieces of Norwegian cod (or other white fish like snapper, grouper, or monkfish)
salt
pepper
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon, sliced
2 pieces of parchment paper


Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Pat cod dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside. 

Fold the parchment paper in half. On one side of the parchment paper layer the tomatoes, olives, capers, onion, pepper, and garlic. Top with fillet, drizzle with olive oil, red pepper flakes (if using) and place lemon slices on top.

Fold the other half of the parchment paper on top and seal the edges making a small fold every 1/2-inch all the way around to create a half-moon shape.  Repeat with another piece of parchment and remaining ingredients. 

Place both pouches on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the parchment paper, has puffed up and fish is cooked through.  Transfer to a plate and cut with scissors or unroll, being careful of the hot steam that will escape.

Keywords: cod, seafood from norway, En Papillote, fish, seafood recipe

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Other ways to prepare cod

  • Baked
  • Broiled
  • Fried
  • Sauteed
  • Steamed
  • Poached

White Bean Shakshuka

Whip up this one-pan smoky White Bean Shakshuka for a weekend brunch, but it is just as good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

cast iron skillet with white bean shakshuka with a piece of bread

What is Shakshuka?

Shakshuka is a Mediterranean meal of poached eggs in a simmering tomato sauce with spices.

The beauty of this dish is that you can play around with the ingredients to customize it for your preference. I’ve even made a green shakshuka before!

Why you should always keep a well-stocked pantry.

Writing this blog post now, we are in the midst of COVID-19. We are taking fewer trips to the grocery store and may need to rely on pantry staples to create nutritious meals around. Mealtime inspiration is just a can opener away.

cast iron skillet with shakshuka

Is canned food healthy?

Canned foods are an easy, cost-effective way to eat healthy year-round. They are a simple, realistic way people can incorporate nutrients into meals.

Nutritionally speaking, canned food is comparable to its cooked fresh and frozen counterparts. Canned fruits and vegetables are packed at their peak of harvest, which means they are packed at their peak nutrient value. Crops that go directly from the field to the processor often retain vitamins better than those that travel hundreds of miles across the country and sit for days in produce bins. (resource)

portion of white bean shakshuka on a ceramic plate

What ingredients give this shakshuka a smoky flavor?

The smoky flavor mainly comes from two ingredients in this recipe – the fire-roasted tomatoes and smoked paprika.

  • Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
    Fire-roasted tomatoes are made by charring the tomatoes over a flame before they’re diced and canned. You may even see little black flecks within your can. That is from the tomato making direct heat with the flame creating that smoky flavor.
  • Smoked Paprika
    Smoked paprika is made from pimiento peppers that have been dried and smoked over an oak fire, then ground into a fine powder, creating that earthy and smoky taste.
Cast iron skillet with a brunch recipe scooped with a wooden spoon

What equipment you need to make shakshuka:

  • Cast iron skillet or oven-safe pan* (see FAQ below if you don’t have one!)
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measuring spoons
  • Can opener
  • Colander
plate of tomato sauce mixture with an egg and bread
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White Bean Shakshuka

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

Whip up this one-pan smoky White Bean Shakshuka for a weekend brunch, but it is just as good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!


Scale

Ingredients

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (28 oz) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1 (15oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups packed baby spinach
4 large eggs
Salt, to taste Pepper, to taste
1/4 cup feta crumbles
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Red pepper flakes, if desired
Crusty bread or pita, for serving


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet, preferably cast-iron over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook 2-3 minutes until tender and translucent. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.
  2. Add the smoked paprika, oregano, and tomato paste, consistently stirring for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. 
  3. Pour in the crushed tomatoes with their juices, beans, and spinach. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook for 5 minutes to give the flavors time to come together and spinach has wilted.
  4. Turn off the heat. Use the back of a spoon to make a well in the tomato/bean mixture and crack the egg directly into it. Gently spoon a bit of the tomato mixture over the whites to help contain the egg. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. 
  5. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 8 to 12 minutes. They’re done when the egg whites are an opaque white and the yolks have risen a bit but are still soft. They should still jiggle in the centers. (Keep in mind that they’ll continue cooking after you pull the dish out of the oven.) Cook to preferred doneness.
  6. Transfer the hot skillet to a heat-safe surface like the stove. Top with crumbled feta, fresh parsley, and red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve in bowls with crusty bread or pita on the side.

Notes

Don’t have an oven-safe pan or cast-iron pan? No problem! Once you have cracked the eggs into the skillet, lower the heat and place a lid on top and cook until the desired doneness.

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plate of white bean shakshuka with poached egg and a slice of bread

FAQ:

What if I don’t have a cast-iron pan?

Not a problem! Once you have cracked the eggs into the skillet, lower the heat and place a lid on top and cook until the desired doneness.

What if I can’t find fire-roasted tomatoes?

You can use regular crushed tomatoes for this recipe! If you are looking for an extra smoky flavor, then add a little extra smoked paprika.

What if I don’t prefer the smoky flavor?

Use plain crushed tomatoes and paprika (not smoked).

Salmon Burgers with Lemon Dill Horseradish Sauce

Rethink the classic burger with a seafood twist. Add these salmon burgers, made with Norweigan salmon, with lemon dill horseradish sauce to your menu rotation.

salmon burger with creamy sauce on a brioche bun

This post is sponsored by the Norwegian Seafood Council. Thank you for supporting brands that make this blog possible!

One perk of COVID-19 (always trying to find the positive) is that people are cooking more at home. The downside, we don’t necessarily have access to certain ingredients and are limiting grocery store trips.

Being strategic when grocery shopping and relying on pantry staples is key. Here in New Jersey, there are limits on amounts of certain proteins like chicken and eggs. At the grocery store, there is a whole department dedicated just to seafood. Don’t skip it!

opened face salmon burger with creamy dill sauce

Salmon is one of the most popular species consumed. With the high demand, the safest and most efficient way to feed the population is with farm-raised salmon. Norway is the world leader in the production of ocean-farmed sustainable salmon.

Understanding aquaculture

Aquaculture provides safeguarding to the environment and fish stocks for the future is the only way its aquaculture industry can remain sustainable. Sustainability has been one of the main objectives of the Norwegian fishing industry, and they are committed to producing seafood in a safe, controlled, and sustainable manner with strict regulations.

seafood from norway

Seafood from Norway

In Norway, salmon farmers monitor fish conditions carefully, control the salmon’s feed, and keep parasites out. This farmed environment helps resist disease. In Norway, farm-raised salmon live in their natural habitat and have plenty of room to swim. One of the myths about salmon farming is that the fish lives in crowded pens. The fact is, Norwegian salmon has plenty of space to grow as the pen holds 97.5% water and just 2.5% fish. Their pens are designed to ensure optimal growth and living conditions for the dish. Norwegian aquaculture industry sets the standard for high-quality, safe, and sustainably farmed salmon.

salmon burgers in a cast iron skillet
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salmon burger with creamy sauce on a brioche bun

Salmon Burger with Lemon Dill Horseradish Sauce

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Scale

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs salmon fillets skin and bones removed, chopped
3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons fresh dill chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
canola oil for frying (can also use olive oil)

Yogurt-Dill Sauce:
1 cup plain full-fat yogurt
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup dill, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons) and zested (about 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon horseradish

To serve:
Brioche buns
Butter lettuce


Instructions

  1. In a food processor add salmon. Pulse a few times until the salmon breaks down into small pieces. (Tip: Pulse a few times vs. running the food processor)
  2. In a large bowl, combine salmon, breadcrumbs, egg, dill, salt, garlic powder, and lemon juice. Mix well, but make sure to not overwork the mixture. Shape into 6 burgers.
  3. For the yogurt-dill sauce: In a small bowl, stir together yogurt, mustard, dill, lemon juice, lemon zest, and horseradish. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add salmon burgers and cook on each side for about 2-3 minutes or until internal temperature reaches at least 145 F.
  5. To serve: Place a few pieces of butter lettuce on the bottom half of the bun, top with a burger, and a generous dollop of the yogurt-dill sauce.

Keywords: salmon, salmon burger, burger, seafood, omega3, heart healthy

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salmon burger with creamy sauce on a bun

FAQ

Can I freeze these salmon burgers?

Yes! Form the salmon into patties. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (so they don’t freeze to the pan!) and freeze until solid. Once frozen, wrap each individually with plastic wrap, then foil, then store in a freezer bag removing as much air as possible.

Can I grill these salmon burgers?

Yes, of course! I like using a cast-iron skillet to get a good sear, but grilling works great too! Tip for if you decide to grill – After forming the patties, refrigerate them for 10-20 minutes so they firm up a little to prevent them from falling apart on the grill.

How else can I use the salmon burgers?

These salmon burgers as leftovers are delicious! Here are a few suggestions:

  • Add to leafy greens
  • Crumble and scramble with eggs
  • Chop and add to a wrap
  • Serve with a sunny side egg on top

What else can I use the lemon dill horseradish sauce with?

Utilize this sauce any way you would utilize any other condiments! This pairs well with many foods.

bowl of lemon dill horseradish sauce

Other recipes you may enjoy

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Ultimate Greek Burger

Serve these Ultimate Greek Burgers at your next barbecue. Highlighting fresh Greek-inspired flavors, this recipe will kick your burger game up a notch.

Greek Burger on a toasted bun with tzatziki sauce and tomato salad

This post is sponsored by the Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative a subcontractor to the Beef Checkoff. Thank you for supporting brands that make this blog possible!

How these Ultimate Greek Burgers will step your burger game up a notch

There is nothing better than a juicy burger right off the grill. A beef patty is a classic, but after hosting and attending so many barbecues, it’s time to switch things up! Don’t worry, we are keeping the beef patty, but enhancing it with Greek-inspired flavors. As a chef, I love Mediterranean flavors and as a dietitian, I love the health benefits that come along with following a Mediterranean style diet.

bite taken out of a Greek burger

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean-style eating pattern encompasses a wide variety of foods and flavors from the countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea. While the cuisines of each country differ slightly, they all have a few things in common. To build a healthy Mediterranean plate, start with fresh vegetables and fruits, add lean protein and whole grains, and enhance with dairy and healthy fats.

Why lean beef is included in the Mediterranean Diet

The eating pattern allows a wide variety of proteins (including fresh lean beef, pork, poultry, and fish) that support heart health. Lean beef contains important nutrients, like protein, iron, zinc, and B-vitamins that your body needs.

What does “lean beef” mean?

Beef can only be claimed as “lean” if the cut of beef is less than 10g total fat, 4.5g or less saturated fat and less than 95 mg of cholesterol per 100-gram serving.

overhead image of greek burger topped with tzatziki sauce and tomatoes

What’s different about this Greek Burger?

Ripe summer produce like tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh herbs are essential to Greek cooking. Flavors are incorporated within the lean beef as well as adding layers of additional flavors and textures as you build the burger.

Why I love this recipe

Can’t go wrong with a delicious burger, am I right? I love the fact the burger is stuffed with spinach and onion, along with plenty of seasonings. I’m not a fan of raw onion on top of my burger (caramelized onions – that’s a different story!), so the addition of them minced within the burger adds a subtle flavor vs. overpowering. The addition of the added veggies helps keep the lean burger moist and juice.

I kind of kept traditional burger toppings on here. The tomato salad adds a tanginess while the tzatziki adds a cooling creamy effect. I never said this wasn’t going to be a messy eating kind of burger!

Chef’s Tips

  • Invest in a digital thermometer. DO NOT cut open the burgers to check their doneness. This will release all their juices leaving you with a dry burger.
  • Take the time to squeeze out the excess liquid from the cucumbers. This will prevent your tzatziki sauce from being watery.
  • Oil your grill grates. Dip a bunched-up paper towel into a high-heat cooking oil (such as canola oil or olive oil). Be careful not to saturate the paper towel. You want enough oil on it to coat the grill grate, but you don’t want it dripping everywhere. Using an oven mitt and tongs, carefully wipe the paper down on the grill grate.

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Greek Burger on a toasted bun with tzatziki sauce and tomato salad

Ultimate Greek Burger

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 12
  • Total Time: 27 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: Greek

Description

Serve these Ultimate Greek Burgers at your next barbecue. Highlighting fresh Greek-inspired flavors, this recipe will kick your burger game up a notch.


Ingredients

For the tomato salad:
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons red onion, finely minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the tzatziki sauce:
1 English cucumber
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
½ tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt

For the burgers:
1 lb. 93% lean ground beef
1 cup spinach, finely chopped
½ small red onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 hamburger buns


Instructions

For the tomato salad:

  1. In a bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, parsley, vinegar, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the tzatziki sauce:

  1. Using a cheese grater, grate the English cucumber. Using a thin dish towel or paper towels, press out any excess liquid. 
  2. In a bowl, mix together yogurt, lemon juice, garlic powder, and salt. Fold in the cucumber.

For the burgers:

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Grease grill grates.
  2. In a large bowl, combine beef, spinach, onion, garlic, dill, feta, oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix until all ingredients are well combined. Do not overwork the meat mixture. Form into 4 beef patties.
  3. Grill the burgers for approximately 4-6 minutes then flip over and grill another 4-6 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center registers 160°F.
  4. Add burgers to a bun and top with tzatziki sauce and tomato salad.

Notes

  • Invest in a digital thermometer. DO NOT cut open the burgers to check their doneness. This will release all their juices leaving you with a dry burger.
  • Take the time to squeeze out the excess liquid from the cucumbers. This will prevent your tzatziki sauce from being watery.
  • Oil your grill grates. Dip a bunched up paper towel into a high-heat cooking oil (such as canola oil or olive oil). Be careful not to saturate the paper towel. You want enough oil on it to coat the grill grate, but you don’t want it dripping everywhere. Using an oven mitt and tongs, carefully wipe the paper down on the grill grate.

Keywords: burger, Greek recipe, Greek burger, beef

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FAQ

How do I know when the burgers are done?

See the chef tip above. Invest in a digital thermometer. Cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center registers 160°F.

What can I serve these burgers with?

You can’t go wrong with serving fries with these Ultimate Greek Burgers! If at a BBQ other ideas can be veggie sticks, seasonal fruit, like watermelon or grilled pineapple, potato salad, or a simple mixed green salad.

How else can I use lean ground beef?

Ways to repurpose this Greek burger

  • Greek burger salad. Add the tomato salad and other veggies you have on hand, a heated patty, quinoa (or a different whole grain), and add the tzatziki as a salad dressing.
  • Greek pita. Ran out of burger buns? No problem. Crumble up a burger and stuff it in a pita with the tomato salad and tzatziki sauce.

Other recipes you may enjoy

Resources:

O’Connor LE, et al. A Mediterranean-style eating pattern with lean, unprocessed red meat has cardiometabolic benefits for adults who are overweight or obese in a randomized, crossover, controlled feeding trial. Am J Clin Nutr 2018, nqy075.
https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/advance-article/doi/10.1093/ajcn/nqy075/5036105

Leidy HJ,et al. The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr 2015;101:1320S-9S

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory. USDA National Nutrient Database for
Standard Reference Legacy Release, April 2018. Available at: http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl

Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef Tacos

Revamp taco night with a kick of spice with these Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef Tacos. This flavorful meat is deliciously seasoned and cooked until perfectly tender. Layer it in tortillas with all your favorite toppings your next taco night!

open-faced tacos with beef barbacoa

This post is sponsored by the Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative a subcontractor to the Beef Checkoff. Thank you for supporting brands that make this blog possible!

Did you get gifted an Instant Pot this holiday season? The Instant Pot is a single appliance that does the job of seven (yes, seven!) different kitchen appliances. It can handle the tasks of a slow cooker, electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, sauté/browning pan, and a warming pot. Think of all those appliances taking up space in your kitchen that can be replaced by one.

Don’t be intimidated by this new appliance. Read up on these 7 Things You Need to Know About Your Instant Pot before you get started.

Beef barbacoa in the Instant Pot

What is barbacoa?

Barbacoa refers to the method of cooking meat. Barbacoa is an authentic Mexican dish typically made with a cut of beef head meat, like beef cheek. When cooked long and slow it becomes extra tender. It is traditionally seasoned with dried chilies and spices and slowly cooked.

Barbacoa is now used to refer to a seasoned beef, that has been slow-cooked. 

open-faced beef barbacoa taco on a flour tortilla

Choosing lean beef

Forget about sacrificing taste for nutrition. These lean beef cuts are chock-full of flavor and 10 essential nutrients. Beef can only be claimed as “lean” if the cut of beef is less than 10g total fat, 4.5g or less saturated fat and less than 95 mg of cholesterol per 100-gram serving.

Beef chuck

Beef chuck is a primal cut that comes from the shoulder area and yields cuts known for their rich, beefy flavor. Beef chuck is ideal for slow cooking to yield tender beef.

beef barbacoa tacos with toppings
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open-faced taco with Barbacoa Beef

Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef Tacos

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Yield: 6
  • Category: meat
  • Method: instant pot
  • Cuisine: mexican

Description

Revamp taco night with these Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef Tacos! This flavorful meat is deliciously seasoned and cooked until perfectly tender. Layer it in tortillas with all your favorite toppings your next taco night!


Ingredients

For the beef barbacoa:
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 chipotle peppers (from a can in adobo sauce – reserve sauce), chopped
2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from the chipotle peppers)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 pounds beef chuck, fat trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 bay leaves

For the tacos:
Tortillas, soft or hard shells
Sliced avocado
Pickled onions
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped cilantro
Lime wedges


Instructions

  1. Press the “saute” setting on the Instant Pot. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil until heated and shimmering. Add the onion and garlic, saute for 1-2 minutes until the onion begins to turn translucent. Add the chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper, and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Press “cancel” to turn off the heat.
  2. Remove contents from the Instant Pot into a food processor and add beef broth, apple cider vinegar, and lime juice. Pulse until smooth and set aside.
  3. Press the “saute” setting on the Instant Pot. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until heated and shimmering. In batches, add beef and brown all sides. Be mindful not to overcrowd the pan. Repeat until all beef is browned. Press “cancel” and turn off the heat.
  4. Add all the beef, bay leaves, and reserved sauce in the Instant Pot. Stir well to combine. Close lid securely and set vent to “sealing”. Press “manual”, then press “Pressure” until the light on “High Pressure” lights up, then add 60 minutes of cook time.
  5. When cook time is complete, very carefully, turn the vent to “venting” for quick release, and wait until all of the steam has released.
  6. Remove the lid and discard the bay leaves. Using two forks, shred the beef into bite-sized pieces. Stir shredded beef with the juices so it can soak up all the flavor.
  7. Assemble tacos by layering beef barbacoa on a tortilla and top with avocado, onions, tomatoes, and cilantro. Serve with a lime wedge on the side.

Keywords: beef, tacos, barbacoa, instant pot

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Other ways to use beef barbacoa

This Instant Pot barbacoa beef is so flavorful and tender, and it’s so versatile!

  • Tacos
  • Burritos (wraps or bowls)
  • Salads
  • Nachos
  • Quesadillas
  • Enchiladas
  • Or just about any other use, you can think of for spicy shredded beef

Edamame Avocado Hummus

Move over chickpea hummus. There’s a new hummus in town – Edamame Avocado Hummus. 

Edamame Avocado Hummus ingredients in a food processor

I recently did a presentation about smart snacking. One thing I like to mention about smart snacking is to opt for real food first. Snacking is an opportunity for nourishment. 

Yes, grabbing a bar is quick (some bars do pack in great nutritional value), but really think about your snacks throughout the day. How many of them are real food vs. processed foods?

Edamame Avocado Hummus in a small white bowl

I’ve been challenging myself to include more veggies into my snacks. I go through snacking phases, and raw veggies have fallen out of my routine a little bit.

Snacking is more fun when you are dunking. I love dunking my veggies into hummus, but I decided to switch it up a bit and use edamame as the base instead of chickpeas. Edamame, a plant-based protein is a young soybean that has been harvested before the beans have had a chance to harden.

Edamame Avocado Hummus in a white bowl with carrots and crackers

Adding avocado to the edamame helps make this dip creamy. Avocados can act as a booster to help your body absorb fat-soluble nutrients from the foods eaten with them, like vitamin A. Vitamin A foods, like carrots, contain carotenoids, which not only promote healthy skin but benefit the heart and immune system as well. This vitamin is a potent antioxidant that protects the skin from free radicals. So, pair carrot sticks with this delicious dip!

carrot being dunked into green dip
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Edamame Avocado Hummus in a white bowl

Edamame Avocado Hummus

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: dip
  • Method: no-cook

Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  • 1/2 large avocado
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil (can sub olive oil)

Instructions

  1. Add edamame, avocado, lemon juice, garlic, tahini, onion powder, pepper and salt in a food processor. Pulse for 30 seconds and scrape down sides.
  2. Slowly drizzle in oil while motor is running and pulse until reach desired consistency.

Keywords: hummus, avocado, edamame, dip

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Balsamic Marinated Skirt Steak

This post is sponsored by The Beef Checkoff. Thanks for supporting brands that make this blog possible!

For the novice chef, cooking beef can sometimes be intimidating. What cut to choose? What cooking technique would work best? Is beef healthy to serve my family?

I’m here to help answer many of these questions for you, but you can also utilize the resource Chuck Knows Beef. Powered by Google Artificial Intelligence, Chuck is the new virtual go-to expert on all things beef. Chuck can be easily accessed at ChuckKnowsBeef.com or by simply enabling Chuck Knows Beef with Amazon Alexa or Google Home Assistant devices. You will have a beef expert on hand whenever you need it!

For busy families everywhere, there is nothing more challenging than getting a balanced meal on the table each night. A simple marinated skirt steak is a flavorful and quick dish that can be whipped up any night. Pair with a side of your favorite veggie and grain for a complete meal.

The purpose of a marinade

First, what is your marinade for? There are two purposes for a marinade – to infuse flavor and/or to tenderize the cut of meat which all comes down to the time the cut of meat is being marinated.

Just looking to add flavor? Marinate for 15 minutes to 2 hours. Looking to tenderize cuts? Marinate for 6 to 24 hours.

ingredients for Balsamic Marinated Strip Steak recipe on a marble slab

What is the most affordable cut of beef? How do I cook it?

Aside from ground beef, the cuts that are typically most affordable come from the end meats – chuck and round. These are also typically less tender cuts and benefit from slow cooking with moist heat. Roasting, stewing, braising, etc.

Head over to Beef It’s What’s For Dinner for more information.

computer graphic with information about affordable beef cuts for families

Besides ground beef, which cut of beef is the easiest to work with that is “forgiving” for a novice chef?

Slow roasting end cuts from the chuck or round can be a simple starting point for those just starting to cook beef. If grilling a steak, be sure to choose a cut at least ½ inch thick to avoid overcooking with high heat. Sirloin steak and strip steaks are both forgiving and economical cuts, to begin with.

What are the temperatures for rare, medium-rare, and medium for my steak? Should I pull it from the grill before that since it still cooks after it is removed?

The USDA cooking guidelines are as follows: For medium rare the temperature should read 145°F, the temperature for medium steaks should read 160°F, and well done is 170°F. Ground beef should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F. Steaks and roasts will continue to cook and rise 5ºF to 15ºF after removing from the cooking source.

Here is more information about cooking temperatures

Balsamic Marinated Strip Steak with green beans on a white plate

Why does my beef always come out dry?

Usually, the reason for dry beef is overcooking. Thinner cuts of beef tend to cook more quickly so consider reducing the heat and the time over the heat for thinner cuts. Overcooking roasts in a crockpot or oven, even when adding liquid, can also cause the meat to be dry. Another good tip is to match the cut of beef with the appropriate cooking method. End cuts from the chuck and round will usually benefit from moist cooking methods while well-marbled middle meat cuts from the rib and loin can be cooked with dry heat.

Not sure what cooking method is best? Ask Chuck or see more information here.

What’s the difference between grass-fed and organic beef?

Organic beef means the cattle meet the strict guidelines set forth by the USDA for the type of feed they consume and the supplements/medications they are given (or not given). The feed must be certified organic but that could include both grasses and grains. Organic beef is never given antibiotics or administered hormone implants.

Grass-fed beef is harder to define as the USDA no longer recognizes an official certification for grass-fed/finished cattle. Therefore, the definition can vary depending on the adopted standards of the beef producer. In general, grass-fed (technically grass-finished) beef is raised solely on grass feed stuffs without the addition of grain. Grass-fed is not necessarily organic but often is.

Learn more about beef labeling here and utilize this infographic for more details.

How do I reheat leftovers without causing the beef to become tough and chewy?

Reheating beef can be challenging – especially if it was prepared to medium-well or well done, to begin with. Microwaving beef is typically not recommended. Steaks and roasts can be reheated in the oven at a lower temperature of 200 – 250 degrees. An alternative to reheating a roast or steak is to consider slicing it thin and enjoying over a salad or as a sandwich.

Balsamic Marinated Strip Steak with green beans and almonds on a white plate

I have high cholesterol. Is it still okay to eat beef?

Research shows that a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle that includes lean beef, even daily, improved cholesterol levels. About half the fatty acids found in beef are called monounsaturated fatty acids, the same kind found in olive oil, and, as part of a heart-healthy diet, can reduce cholesterol levels.

I’m unsure to feed my family beef because of the hormones. What is the truth?

All hormones used in beef production must be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  It starts with a comprehensive, multi-step scientific review process. If a product fails even one test or step in the process, it will not be approved.

The FDA and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversee the safety of food products. The FDA sets a tolerance on hormone residue levels that can be found in food. The USDA conducts random sampling of beef to check for residues.

Extensive research shows that supplemental hormones are metabolized quickly and clear an animal’s system before entering the food supply.  Furthermore, decades of research have looked at the effect of using hormones in livestock production, but none have found any human health impact.

Learn more about hormone usage in cattle ranching.

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piece of skirt steak on a white plate with green beans

Balsamic Marinated Skirt Steak

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: beef
  • Method: grilling
  • Cuisine: American

Scale

Ingredients

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
1 teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon ground pepper, divided
1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, cut crosswise into 24 equal pieces
1 tablespoon avocado oil


Instructions

  1. In a resealable plastic bag, combine vinegar, sugar, garlic, rosemary, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add meat to marinade, and turn to coat. Let marinate at room temperature at least 15 minutes, or cover and refrigerate up to 1 day.
  2. In a grill pan over medium-high heat, add oil. Remove steaks from marinade, allowing excess to drip off. Grill steaks 2 to 3 minutes then flip and cook another 2-4 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate; cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest 5 minutes.

Keywords: beef, steak, skirt steak, dinner, beef checkoff, heart-healthy

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https://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/
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Blueberry Chia Jam

This Blueberry Chia Jam has now become a staple in my refrigerator. With just four simple ingredients you have a delicious and flavorful jam without excess sugar. Mix and match or combine different berries for a variety of flavor combinations.

Blueberry Chia Jam in a small mason jar with a wooden spoon

HOW TO MAKE CHIA JAM

You might see a few variations of chia jam recipes floating around the internet, but after testing this recipe a few times, here are some tips I’ve gathered.

STOVETOP METHOD

Simply heat frozen berries and water over low-medium heat and gently simmer for the berries to defrost and their natural sugars begin to breakdown. Avoid using high heat as the berries will not defrost evenly and the natural sugars of the berries will scorch the bottom of your pan.

Using a potato masher or the back of a fork, mash the blueberries so they burst. The jam may look still very liquidy at this point. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, chia seeds, and sweetener, if using. The chia seeds thicken the jam as it rests and begins to cool.

MASHED VS. BLENDED

Simply leave the jam as is, mashed and chia seeds fully intact if you enjoy the texture and a chunkier jam. Or opt for a smoother consistency and pulse in a food processor or blender until you reach the desired consistency.

Blueberry Chia Jam on a slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter

HEALTH BENEFITS OF WILD BLUEBERRIES

All blueberries are not alike! By nature, wild ones have a more intense flavor, deeper blue color, and 2x the antioxidants than their regular cultivated blueberries.

Ever wonder why you can only find wild blueberries in the frozen department? Wild Blueberries are frozen fresh within 24 hours of harvest when their flavor and antioxidant goodness are at their peak. In fact, tiny, potent wild ones contain less water than regular blueberries, so they freeze better than ordinary, larger blueberries.

FLAVOR VARIATIONS

Utilize this recipe as the base and mix and match with other berries or berry combinations. Try a mixed berry combination using blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries or go for a bold combination of a mixture of cherries and blackberries. Thinking about going tropical and using pineapple or mango? I would recommend using white chia seeds vs. black chia seeds.

ADJUST FOR SWEETNESS

This is a much lower sugar jam than those found on the grocery store shelves. Highlighting the fruits natural sugars is the star of this recipe, but an optional sweetener can be added in if desired.

Blueberry Chia Jam in a small mason jar

HOW TO USE CHIA JAM

Use this jam anywhere you would typically use any jam or jelly. Spread on toast, top on oatmeal, or swirl into yogurt.

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Small mason jar filled with blueberry jam

Blueberry Chia Jam

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x
  • Category: dip/spread
  • Method: stove top

Description

A few simple ingredients and you can whip up this jam in no time. Mix and match with different berries for a variety of flavors.


Scale

Ingredients

1 cup frozen wild blueberries
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
optional sweetener: 1 tablespoon maple syrup or sugar


Instructions

  1. Add frozen blueberries to a small saucepan and heat over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once the berries have thawed and started to break down, use a fork or potato masher to break them down further. 
  2. Stir in vanilla extract, chia seeds, and sweetener of choice, if using. Remove from heat and allow jam to cool and thicken for about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Spoon into a mason jar as is and store in the refrigerator. (Alternative method: Add jam to a food processor or blender and puree until desired consistency is reached. Spoon into a mason jar and store in the refrigerator. 

Notes

Store jam in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

Keywords: blueberry chia jam, jam, chia, blueberries, wild blueberries, low sugar

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Green Bean Potato Salad

Gearing up for picnics and barbecues this summer? Add this Green Bean Potato Salad to the menu.

Green Bean Potato Salad in a wooden bowl

One of my jobs during summers at college, I was working at this outdoor catering company, where we prepared food on-site at graduation parties, barbecues, picnics, etc. When working in catering, you have to prepare recipes in large quantities to feed the masses. One of my least favorite things to prepare is the potato salad.

Green Bean Potato Salad in a wooden bowl

Traditional potato salad is dressed with mayonnaise. That is one condiment that I just never enjoyed. Now, just imagine preparing potato salad for 100+ people at one time. The amount of mayo I had to scoop daily was unreal.

Since I don’t personally enjoy mayonnaise, I wanted to create a non-mayo based dressing for potato salad with an added twist by adding green beans and corn. Don’t be afraid to switch up a classic and bring something new to the table, like this Green Bean Potato Salad.

Why use red bliss potatoes for this Green Bean Potato Salad

Red potatoes have smooth thin skin. Its skin is edible, so it’s not necessary to peel or remove it after cooking. Like many waxy varieties, red potatoes are low in starch and won’t produce a light, fluffy texture. They are best used for boiling and roasting and work well in dishes that would benefit from a potato that holds its shape, even when sliced and diced, like for this Green Bean Potato Salad.

Health benefits of potatoes

Poor potatoes have a bad reputation in some people’s eyes. “Oh, I can’t eat potatoes because they are too starchy” Yes, potatoes are starchy because they are carbohydrates and carbohydrates give us energy. Also, there are many nutritional benefits that potatoes provide our bodies. They are high in potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. When enjoyed in moderation and prepared in a healthy way, potatoes can be a nutritious addition to your diet.

Culinary term: blanching & shocking

The word blanch refers to a cooking technique in which food is briefly immersed in steam or boiling water, usually followed by shocking, which is rapidly cooling the food in an ice bath or with cold air.

When you blanch food for the right amount of time it helps maintain flavor, color, texture, and nutritional value. No one wants limp and soggy green beans.

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green bean potato salad in a wooden bowl

Green Bean Potato Salad

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American

Scale

Ingredients

1 pound red bliss potatoes
2 ears of corn, shucked
1 pound French green beans, cut in half
1 lemon, juiced (or 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste


Instructions

  1. In a large pot add potatoes. Fill with water and bring to a boil and season with salt. Cook potatoes until fork tender, about 20 minutes (depending on the size of your potatoes).
  2. Using tongs, carefully remove the potatoes and let cool. Add corn to the boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes, or until corn is tender.
  3. Using tongs, carefully remove the corn and let cool. Add the string beans to the boiling water. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until green beans are tender. Drain green beans and immediately put them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. When cooled drain green beans and let dry. 
  4. When potatoes are cooled, dice into cubes. Cut corn off the cob. (see notes below for a tip to do this easily)
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and olive oil. Add potatoes, corn, and green beans. Toss to coat.
  6. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Let the potato salad sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to let all the flavors marinate.

Notes

Tip to cut corn off the cob.

Substitution tip: Don’t have corn on the cob? Swap for sweet canned corn or frozen corn kernels. 

Keywords: potato salad, green beans, corn, potatoes, side dish, recipe

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This recipe was originally posted in July 2013. The photos and content of the post have been updated.

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Tomato Cucumber Salad

With just five simple ingredients, this Tomato Cucumber Salad will become a regular side dish to serve up with any spring or summer recipe.

Tomato Cucumber Salad in a wooden bowl

Why I love this Tomato Cucumber Salad recipe

Who says salads have to start with a bed of lettuce? We’ve chatted before about how salads don’t have to be boring! What I love the most about this recipe is simple its ingredients, taking less than 10 minutes to put together, and can turn into so many new variations. (see below)

Using mini cucumbers is key

While any kind of cucumber can work in this recipe, I urge you to seek our mini cucumbers, because I think it really makes the recipe. No need to peel the skin. The skin of mini cucumbers is tender and delicate. Just simply slice into coins and they are ready to go.

When I develop a recipe, I always think about the perfect bite. When slicing mini cucumbers into a coin, it takes the same shape and size of the cherry tomatoes so you are able to get everything all in one bite. Plus, it’s more time consuming to peel, seed, and quarter a regular cucumber.

Recipe Tip

If you are using a conventional cucumber, I recommend removing the seeds. Why? Because they are bitter and don’t want any bitterness added to the dish. For a conventional cucumber, peel, scoop out the seeds, slice and cut in quarters for this recipe.
For other cooking tips, go here.

Tomato Cucumber Salad in a wooden bowl

How to make this Tomato Cucumber Salad

  1. Chop vegetables.
  2. Whisk together dressing.
  3. Toss together.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
    It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Storage Tip

Keep this Tomato Cucumber Salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Tomato Cucumber Salad in a wooden bowl

Variations

Additions

Chickpeas: Drain and rinse a can or two of chickpeas and add to the mixture. This will add different textures, plus a good source of plant-based proteins

Feta cheese: I love feta cheese. Hold off on seasoning with salt and pepper at the end after tasting with the feta cheese. Feta cheese will add salt to the dish, so maybe a little sprinkle of pepper will be fine. Also, if making this dish in advance, add feta just before serving.

Red onions: The key is to thinly slice red onions, so they don’t overpower the whole dish. If you are looking for something a little sweeter or more tang, try adding my Quick Pickled Onions.

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baby cucumbers with cherry tomatoes in a wooden bowl

Tomato Cucumber Salad

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Total Time: 10
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: salad
  • Method: no cook
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Light and refreshing salad to compliment any spring or summer dish. 


Scale

Ingredients

3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
8 mini cucumbers, sliced into coins
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
salt and ground black pepper, to taste


Instructions

  1. Add cherry tomatoes and cucumbers to a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and red wine vinegar. Drizzle over cucumber and tomatoes. Add basil.
  3. Toss everything to coat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Notes

Variations:
– Add chickpeas
– Add feta cheese

Keywords: cucumber, tomato, salad, no cook, vegetables, low carb, recipe

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