Spice Rubbed grilled Flank steak with Chimichurri (WHOA Garlic!)

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Beef Dishes, Main Course, September 2011


I love steak.  I love sauces. I love spices.

Because of this, I thought the recipe I saw on The Rachael Ray show would be right up my alley and by GOD I was right.

I have only ever had flank steak once before. It was at Club Ambiance in Jamaica. I went to Jamaica in November 2009 to surprise a friend with another friend from Calgary who was ALSO going to surprise a friend for his birthday (did you follow that? I was there and still just got lost in the description). It was a whirlwind trip that I think lasted a total of 53 hours. I don’t remember a whole lot about the trip, it was kind of a blur but I remember the flank steak. 🙂

So on the show she made a mixed grill of steak, shrimp and sausage with an Argentinian chimichurri sauce. I had never had chimichurri before but there was nothing in it I didn’t like and it looked sort of like pesto, which I am familiar with so I thought i’d give it a go.

For the chimichurri sauce you will need:

Fresh flat leaf parsley

Fresh oregano

Fresh thyme

Fresh cilantro

garlic cloves, 2-3 peeled

sweet red pepper

fresno pepper (can substitute jalapeno or cherry pepper)

lime zest and juice

red onion

red wine vinegar

olive oil



Wash your fresh herbs and towel dry. Pull the leaves off the parsley and throw out the stems.

You will need approximately 2 cups of parsley. Place in the food processor.

Fresh oregano can be very overpowering if you use too much. Use about 15 leaves in the chimichurri.

Take 3-4 springs of thyme and put the leaves in the food processor.

The easiest way to remove the leaves from the woody stick is to pinch between your thumb and forefinger and slide in the opposite direction from the way in which they grow.

I like to use a generous amount of cilantro. I think the fruitiness really adds a little something extra to the sauce. You will want about  1/2 cup of cilantro leaves.

Slice and take out the ribs and seeds from your hot pepper…I like the Fresno pepper for the color and the fact that its only about a 2 out of 10 on the hot factor (about the same as a jalapeno). Give it a rough chop and add to the processor. Add about 1/4 of a small red onion as well.

Do the same to the sweet red pepper, I only used about half of it.

Take the lime and zest into the processor. Try not to get any of the white part (pith) into the sauce. It can be very bitter.

Zest in the garlic as well. It is a garlicky recipe but the last thing you want to do is get a big chunk of raw garlic in a mouthful of sauce. NOT pleasant.

Squeeze the juice of the lime in as well. Add 1/4 cup of Olive Oil and 3Tbsps of Red wine vinegar. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper and blend well.

Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving. It will just help to blend the flavors.

Meanwhile mix together the spices for the steak.

Take a teaspoon of sweet paprika, smoky cumin and ground coriander. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Drizzle the steak generously with Olive oil and coat with the spice mix.

Grill for 6-8 minutes on each side on a medium-high BBQ for a nice pink center.If you like your steaks more well done, grill for 10-12 minutes on each side.

Let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing with the grain of the meat.


If you have time, a wonderful accompaniment with this dish is slow roasted tomatoes.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Take the core out of the tomato and drizzle with Olive oil, salt and pepper.

Roast for an hour and a half. You don’t want them to dry out…these tomatoes are still juicy but the roasting brings out this incredible sweetness.


I served the meal with a gently warmed, crusty bread. It was great for sopping up all the juices, spice mix with steak, tomato mixed with salt. YUM!!!!



love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick





A Quick and Simple Chili

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Beef Dishes, Main Course, September 2011


It was always comforting to me on a cold, winters day to have a big bowl of stew or chili. Since the days have been getting shorter and there is now a distinct chill in the air I thought I would make a big batch of chili and freeze some. Winter is on its way and its lovely to have some chili in the freezer so all you have to do is take it out, pop it in the microwave (or I prefer a double boiler) and within minutes you’ll have that steaming bowl to warm up your insides.

I have been having a recent love affair with hot dogs too and I must admit, I LOVE me some chili dogs.  If you have never had a chili dogs with coleslaw on it you are MISSING out…it may sound weird to you but all those West Virginians can’t be wrong!

Another great use for leftover chili (because you KNOW I can’t make a small batch) is baked potatoes. See my post in July (http://acoopedupchick.com/july-2011/super-stuffed-taco-chili-potato/). It started out like a whatever-you-can-find-in the-fridge potato and turned into one of the yummiest potatoes I have ever eaten!!! Don’t forget the bacon!! It makes it!

I love to re-purpose leftovers. Sure its cool to just reheat what you had yesterday but that gets boring after awhile and lets face it, as a single mom on a budget I have gotten pretty good at making large, cheap batches of soups, stews, casseroles and the like. You need to figure out ways to make yesterdays dinner into a completely different meal tomorrow or a finicky 15yr old just may not eat it. Even if all that is is adding some nacho chips to dip in the chili. It makes it different then the day before.

For this chili recipe you will need:

1 lb of browned ground beef (I like lean)

1 small sweet onion, in the food processor or diced fine

1 small green pepper, diced

2 ribs of celery, in the food processor or diced fine

mushrooms (I prefer fresh but you can use canned)

1 can of diced tomatoes (you could use crushed if you like a “smoother” chili without hunks of tomato)

1 can of tomato sauce

1 can of kidney beans, rinsed well

1 can of baked beans in molasses

2 cloves of chopped garlic

1 can of tomato paste or cornmeal to thicken (not required unless you like a really thick chili)

1/4 cup of chili powder (adjust to your personal tastes and you can either use Hot chili powder or regular)


Start by browning your meat in a frying pan. Set aside in some paper towel to soak up most of the fat.

Add some olive or vegetable oil to your stock pot (or large saucepan) and turn to medium. Add your onions and cook until almost translucent. This is sweating the onions. It is just to soften them and bring out the natural sweetness. You can add just a dash of salt to help the onions sweat faster and add a lid to the pot. Periodically stir the onions with a rubber spatula. This will only take about 4 minutes.

Add your chopped mushrooms and celery. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or until the mushrooms are softened. Add your chopped garlic and saute for a minute.

Now its time to add your browned hamburger into the pot and cook for a couple of minutes to incorporate the flavors.I add a dash of Jamaican Jerk seasoning here. Its not necessary but I love Jamaican spice and think it adds just another level of spice to the chili but I know not everyone has access to a good Jerk.

Pour in your tin of tomatoes and tomato sauce.

You have to rinse your kidney beans before adding to the pot. They have almost a slimy coating before rinsing and I don’t know about you but its not very appetizing to me. Just place the tin of beans in a colander and rinse with cool water until no longer slimy. Get your hands in there and move them around.

Add your brown beans and the rinsed kidney beans.

Add the chili powder and adjust to your own taste. Start by putting only half of the recommended amount and simmer the chili for 10 minutes or so. Taste. If you want more….add more. Remember, you can always ADD more spice….its more difficult to correct if you have added too much. It will take approximately 10 minutes after every addition of spice for it to incorporate into the chili so don’t add it too quickly.

Simmer for at least one hour before eating. I like to allow it to simmer for 3-5 hours. It melds the flavors nicely and breaks down the peppers, onions and celery so its almost like they aren’t even there. It mellows the chili out more and turns a good chili into a GREAT one. If you find that your chili is not as thick as you would like then now is the time to add the tomato paste (you may have to add a little more chili powder if you do this) or a Tbsp of cornmeal. Just remember though, the longer you simmer your chili the thicker consistency you will get.


Oh and don’t forget the chili dogs! One of my favorite re-purposing recipes! Try it with fine diced onions and the coleslaw….you won’t be disappointed!


love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick




Parmesan encrusted striploin with spicy sauteed shrimp

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Beef Dishes, July 2011, Main Course, Seafood Dishes


My friend Lisa has been making her steak like this for years and even though I am usually a “steak purest” (salt, pepper and BBQ sauce only!) it sounded so delicious when Lisa described it to me, I thought i’d give it a try.

Lisa suggested that when the steak is still frozen to sprinkle it with meat tenderizer but since I didn’t have any I just skipped that step. Minutes before grilling I sprinkled the steak with salt and pepper.

Start your grill on high and once it reached max temp throw on the meat. Sear each side quickly and then reduce the grill to medium and cook to your desired temperature. Brendan and I like our steaks around ‘Medium’ to ‘Medium Rare’.

Add your BBQ sauce and Parmesan cheese. DO NOT use the fake, shredded, Kraft “shakey” cheese. Splurge on the fresh shredded cheese or small block and shred it yourself. Huge difference in taste.

Once the cheese has melted remove from the grill and let it rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting into it. If you do not allow your steak to rest then you will lose all the juicy goodness onto your cutting board/plate instead of into your mouth where it should be.

While your steak is resting start up a frying pan for your shrimp (I recommend cast iron if you have it). Get it good and hot and add some butter or margarine. Add your peeled and deveined shrimp and cook until pink.

To make it spicy, add more butter and some chopped garlic and chopped pickled hot peppers. Stir for 1-2 minutes and place on top of your steak.


Brendan does not like seafood in the slightest (are we SURE he’s my child??) so his is shrimpless….

These steaks were incredible. The spicyness of the shrimp, the smokiness of the BBQ sauce (I used ‘Sweet Baby Rays’) and the tanginess of the parm cheese went wonderful together. In fact I would LOVE to have another steak just like it right now. Guess i’ll just have to wait til the weekend!! Gives me something to look forward to!


Serve it with your favorite side dish. Here I have it with ‘Coopers potato salad’ but it would also be fab with a nice, green salad or pasta salad or grilled corn!


love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick

Jobchae, Japchae, Chapchae…its all the same thing.

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Beef Dishes, Main Course, March 2011


There is a little Korean restaurant in the City Market that has the BEST food and every time I am in the market I have to get some. Even if I am on my way to a restaurant elsewhere for supper! (yes, that happened twice last week!)

I love Love LOVE their japchae with sweet beef. I decided since the market is uptown and I rarely get there and since I dream about the japchae almost every night (sad I know….oh how our dreams change as we get old…er) I must learn how to make this lovely dish! PS- The Japchae does not ALWAYS take a starring role in my dreams, sometimes a drool worthy man is hand feeding me the japchae….sometimes I just see the sign for “Kims Korean Food”….ok, the explanation does not seem to make the admission any less strange.

For a definition of japchae I will defer to Wikipedia:

Japchae is a Korean dish made from cellophane noodles (called dangmyeon), stir fried in sesame oil with various vegetables (typically thinly-sliced carrots, onion, spinach, and mushrooms), sometimes served with beef, and flavoured with soy sauce, and sweetened with sugar. It is usually served garnished with sesame seeds and slivers of chili. It may be served either hot or cold.

This dish is served at Korean parties and special occasions, with seasonal vegetables added.

Japchae is most commonly served as a side dish, though it may be a main dish. It is often served on a bed of rice; together with rice it is known as japchae-bap, bap meaning “rice.”

Thank You Wikipedia!!!


I found that making japchae is not overly difficult. Its quite simple actually. The most difficult for me was finding the ingredients. The veggies were easy…onion, green onion, mushrooms, carrot, spinach and garlic. The Korean ingredients were a little more difficult to find since I live in a tiny little community. Oh well, off to the market for me! (YAY!!!! more japchae at Kims!) I picked up the sweet potato glass noodles at the Korean store in the market as well as the package of sesame seeds, the dried shiitake mushrooms, some really good sesame oil and soy sauce.I also bought Bulgogi marinade but this is not necessary. I LOVE beef bulgogi and thought it would go nicely with the japchae. Make sure your beef is super duper thinly sliced. I get the butcher to do it for me. The guys in the market at Deans meats are AWESOME!!!! If you are making bulgogi then get the beef into the marinade to soak overnight. If not then just slice it and put it into the fridge to add to the stirfry pan later.


I found a wonderful and easy recipe to follow online at: http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/japchae

It also has an instructional video which was awesome!!!

So what you will need is:

Next step is to get your dried shiitakes into some warm water to soak for a few hours. Once they are soft and pliable then squeeze out the extra moisture, slice them and set aside for later.

Slice up the rest of your veggies so they are all ready for the frying. Slice the mushrooms and onions thinly.

Slice the green onions in 2 inch pieces. Slice the carrots in matchsticks.

Next you should cook your noodles. In a boiling pot of water add your glass noodles and cook for 3 minutes. You will be able to tell if they are done if you take one noodle out of the pot and taste it and it is still firm and chewy but not hard and crunchy. It should be similar to an al dente spaghetti noodle.

Remove your noodles from the water and place in a large mixing bowl. Add about 2 Tbsps of sesame oil and 1 Tbsp of soy sauce and a sprinkle of sugar (about 1 tsp) to your hot noodles.

Do not drain the water because now you can add your spinach to the boiling water and get it cooked quickly. It only takes about 2 minutes for the spinach. Just until its wilted. Now you can drain the water. Rinse your spinach well to remove any dirt. Squeeze out any excess water and chop the spinach.


Next add the chopped spinach to the mixing bowl and drizzle a little more sesame oil and soy sauce.



Next add a tablespoon of olive oil to a hot frying pan and saute your carrot sticks about 2 minutes, just until slightly softened. You don’t want to overcook them and make them mushy so just keep tasting them until they are cooked slightly. Add to the mixing bowl.


Repeat the process with the mushrooms and onions (you can cook these together). Add the oil to the hot pan, saute for 2 minutes, until the onions are getting translucent.  Add to the mixing bowl.

Repeat again with the green onions.

It might be time consuming to cook all of these vegetables separately but since they all have different densities it is the only way to ensure they are all cooked properly. It will only take about 6-8 minutes to do and it will make all the difference in the world to the final product.

Next its time to cook your beef. Again heat the pan and add olive oil. Now this is where my recipe differs slightly from the recipe I got online. I fried the beef strips until done and then added 2 chopped garlic cloves.  Cooked 1 minute more and added everything to the mixing bowl.






Now if you are just using sliced beef, fry it the same way in a hot pan with olive oil but you need to then add 1/2 Tbsp of soy sauce and 1/2 Tbsp of granulated sugar to the beef in the pan before then adding to the mixing bowl.

Now using your hands (I tried using spoons, forks, everything …my hands worked best!) mix everything together in the bowl. I then added a little more sugar and soy sauce….about 1 Tbsp of sugar and 1 or 2 tsp of soy sauce. Mix well. Place your serving in a bowl and top with sesame seeds!

This was sooooo yummy! I will make this many, many, many times over. DOn’t worry Mr. Kim…I will still come and get my fix when at the market!!!

ps- fussy 14yr old boys, more than likely, will not eat this. This is OK. This reheats fabulously. Believe me, I have been eating it every day at lunch for a week!!


love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick


Quispam Cheese Steak (sure ain’t from Philly)

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Beef Dishes, February 2011, Main Course


I have to start by saying I have never been to Philly and I have never had a “REAL” cheese steak….this is my version of one. I needed to add that disclaimer so no one crucifys me!

I wasn’t sure, other than BEEF, what type of meat needed to be used. I once tried replicating a cheese steak using deli sliced roast beef. That didn’t work. It was just a warm roast beef sandwich.

So before heading out to the grocery store I used the modern day encyclopedia, Google. After perusing 15+ sites where people vehemently argued about REAL Philly cheesesteaks (which apparently can only be found if you are within 1 hours driving distance from South Philly) I realized I was only going to be able to make a poor substitution. I still wanted to get the meat part right.

Most sites said thinly sliced rib-eye, strip loin or eye of round are best suited for a cheese steak sandwich. As luck would have it there is a sale on this week at The SuperStore on eye of round roasts!!! YAY!!! I found an entire roast for $4 and had Mr. Butcher slice it up for me. SOOOO much better than paying $15-20 for a few slices of rib-eye. The only problem with eye of round is that its not as tender so I marinated it for an hour before cooking. Found a $0.99 packet of beef marinade at the grocery store and it was right within my price range! 🙂

Get your hoagies ready. Slice halfway through the bun and spread some garlic butter on. 3  minutes in an oven at 450 degrees just makes it all toasty, add some Provolone cheese and allow cheese to melt. Remove from oven.

Add 2 Tbsps oil to a frying pan. You’ll know when the oil is hot enough if you drop a bead of water in an it pops and sizzles. Add julienned onions and green peppers.

Saute until onions are transluscent. Remove from pan and add beef.

Cook beef a couple of minutes on each side for medium. Longer if you prefer your beef like shoe leather. 😛

Add the peppers and onions back to pan. Put meat mixture into hoagie and serve!

I found without slicing the beef after cooking it was to difficult to eat. So for the second sandwich just before putting the onions and peppers back in the pan I removed the beef and sliced it in strips. THEN put it back into the pan and added the pepper mixture and it was AMAZING!

I added a few dollops of Miracle Whip to the top and it was to die for.

Simple recipe, good fresh ingredients…easy for anyone to make.  Don’t be afraid to ask your butcher to slice up the meat for you. If that isn’t an option for you a good trick is to put your meat in the freezer for 30 minutes before slicing. It makes it easier to slice nice and thin.


love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick

My version of Bolognese (WITH homemade noodles!)

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Beef Dishes, January 2011, Main Course

Wow. There are so many different versions online of Bolognese sauce.  Approximately 83% claim to be “authentic” yet they are all different in some way. I, in no way shape or form, claim this sauce as authentic. I took bits and pieces of around 8 different recipes and created my own bastardized version. All I know is that it is rich and thick and yummy. Just like I like my sauces (and my men for that matter but that is a whole different type of blog).

Funny story. A few of the sites I was perusing said to be sure to use a great red wine, if you wouldn’t drink it don’t use it. Now for any one that knows me here in lies my first problem. I don’t like wine. At all. Unless you count Boones as wine then I don’t touch the stuff! So I sent out an S.O.S on Facebook asking for help (thanks Nicole for the suggestion even though I didn’t take it! :)) and sent a BBM to my friend the wino (Oh c’mon Steph, you know you are. Love ya!). I was still very confused but went to the liquor with purpose, planning on leaving with a good red wine. I get in the store and head to the wine section. There was a nice man there stocking the shelves. He nodded and smiled. I went to the reds. Hmm’d and scratched my chin and lifted a few bottles and read a label or two then immediately turned around, looked at the gentleman and said “Ok. I’m not even going to pretend. I have no idea what I am doing. Please Help me.” He took pity on me, probably because of the deer-in-the-headlights look on my face. I told him I needed a dry red wine at a  decent price and he handed me a bottle of 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz from Argentina called Las Moras.

Don’t ask me if its any good. I have no idea.

On the way to my car I looked at the bottle and realized it had a cork. Dammit. I only use screw off bottles tops. I called my parents house from my cel phone. Dad answered and I said I needed help. I had a bottle of wine that has a cork and I need to come over so he can open it. He said “Erin. You realize its only 12:17pm right?” Great, now my Dad is planning my intervention. Apparently he doesn’t know me at all. Now had I called him and said “I can’t get the screw top off my quart of rum” then he is allowed to worry.

Luckily Dad came to my rescue (note to self: buy a corkscrew) and opened my wine for me. Time to create a sauce!

Most of the recipes had the same type of beginning so I started the same way.

Everything is better with bacon. Some recipes used bacon, some used pancetta. Since I already had bacon in my fridge (I ALWAYS have bacon in my fridge!) I just diced up some bacon and added it to a hot stock pot with some olive oil. Then I added the mirepoix (or in Italian cuisine, soffrito) which is diced onion, carrot and celery. Let this sweat down for about 8 minutes or until the onions are translucent and everything is nicely carmelized.

Now its time to add the meat. Apparently this is the great debate and has caused virtual verbal fist-fights, throw downs, smack downs and Italian grandmothers to disown family members. At least that is what it says online. Then again it also says online that Big Foot exists and that Brad and Angelina got married over Christmas. I don’t know what to believe anymore. Ok. I digress. For my sauce I used ground beef and ground lamb. I have seen recipes that used ground pork or ground veal with the ground beef but the lamb was cheapest, and i’m frugal! I think the point is to used at least 2 types of ground meat and one of them should be beef. But I say…do whatever you want or whatever you can afford. Cook your meat until browned and looks something like this:

Add the wine, about a cup. If you need some let me know, I have 3/4 of a bottle of Shiraz just sitting here. 🙂

Cook this, stirring frequently, until the wine reduces. Most of the recipes I read now called for some beef stock. I didn’t have any (well I did but it had been in my fridge so long it was almost a solid and about 8 months beyond the expiry so I threw it out) so I added a 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Whatever. Beef, chicken, its a stock…it worked. 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. Come si come ca. Carpe Diem. Its all good.

Add your choice of tomatoes. I used a can of crushed tomatoes and it turned out perfect but I am sure that diced tomatoes would have been just as great.

One thing everyone agreed on is that this has to simmer to bring out all the flavors. For a very long time…almost until the end of time. I put this pot on at 1pm ish and let it cook on low/sim until we ate at 530pm. My stomach growled the entire time because my house smelled so scrumptious. I just kept tasting the sauce, because that is what a good cook does! Plus that was the only way to shut up my gut.

Now you could end here but the recipes that called themselves “AUTHENTIC” said that you have to add milk or cream to the bolognese sauce 5minutes or so before serving so that is what I did. I turned the sauce off for about 15 minutes…to let it cool down then started stirring in whipping cream.

It was the perfect addition. It cut down on the winey taste and just tied everything together. I then turned the sauce back on simmer while I waited for the salted water to boil for the noodles. Speaking of which….on to noodle creation.

I had won a 50-25-25 draw online on my friends website and decided to invest my winnings in a pasta maker. I had always wanted one but never had the extra money to buy one…or always found a pair of shoes or a purse to buy instead.

I bought a Shulle Pasta machine on ebay. Great price and including shipping it was only $50.98!

Found another great recipe online for pasta that had a video to accompany it. Since it was incredibly simple I decided that was the one for me.

2 cups of sifted all purpose flour

3 eggs

a pinch of salt

Add the flour to your food processor and pulse a couple of times…acts just like a sifter!

Add the eggs and a pinch of salt and pulse until combined. It is going to look like slightly lumpy cornmeal but if you pinch some between your fingers it should stick together.

Upend onto a clean surface that has been lightly floured and form into a ball. Let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Cut into 4 pieces and flatten into a disc shape ( i took the following picture after I had already rolled one out into noodles…I CAN count!)

Now follow the instructions on your pasta maker or if you don’t have one use a rolling pin until the dough is really really thin. Then roll up the dough like a jelly roll and cut into desired size noodles like fettuccine or tagliatelle.

Cook the fresh pasta in boiling, salted water for only 2 minutes. Literally. If you are using dried pasta cook 5-8 minutes or until al dente.

Serve immediately.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did. Lotsa leftover sauce here at the Cooper household….no noodles though!

love, peace and chicken grease,

– A Cooped Up Chick