Thai Lettuce Cups with Vegan and Gluten-Free Options

Thai Lettuce Cups with Vegan and Gluten-Free Options

Winter is finally leaving! The transition from winter to spring always makes me happy, however this year, it’s making me downright ecstatic since it seemed as if it would never stop snowing or get warm. Join me in welcoming spring with these colorful, delicious, and easy to put together Thai Lettuce Cups. Pair these with pre-made dumplings for a complete dinner that’s on the table and ready to enjoy in under 30 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 head of butterhead lettuce
  • 1 1/2 TB canola oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 TB finely chopped or minced ginger
  • 2 small or 1 large clove of garlic minced
  • 1 lb ground beef ground capon, plain ground pork, or finely chopped mushrooms
  • 1 TB soy sauce or tamari if gluten-free
  • 1 TB fish sauce or umami paste optional – if not using, add an additional 1/2 TB of soy sauce
  • 2 TB dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1 1/2 TB fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 scallion white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 TB chopped fresh mint
  • 2 TB chopped cashews

Optional for serving:

  • Sriracha
  • Matchstick cut carrots
  • Lime wedges
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Dumplings

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, cook 1 minute longer.
  • Increase heat to medium-high and add the ground meat or chopped mushrooms. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, breaking apart the meat as it cooks. Add the soy sauce, fish sauce (or umami paste), brown sugar, lime zest, lime juice, and red pepper flakes. Continue cooking until meat is cooked through, or an additional 4 minutes if using mushrooms.
  • Off the heat, stir in the scallion, cilantro, mint, and nuts. Spoon into lettuce cups and serve with garnishes and dumplings for an easy weeknight, or any night dinner or lunch.

Notes

Leftover filling can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week, or frozen for up to 3 months. Simply gently reheat on the stove top or in the microwave.

Old Fashioned Sorghum Caramels

Old Fashioned Sorghum Caramels

Preparation Time 15 min. Cook Time 25 min (or longer depending on your pot & the weather) Cooling: 3+ hours

Ingredients

  • 7 ounces 14 tablespoons unsalted WW Homestead butter (if you use a different butter, stick with something with a high butterfat & lower water content than commercial butter
  • 8 ounces 1 cup plus 2½ tablespoons, packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup Maasdam Mills sorghum syrup
  • 10 ounces 1¼ cups Hansen Dairy heavy cream
  • Special equipment: candy thermometer & heavy bottom pot preferably enamel on cast iron

Instructions

  • Line an 8″x8″ pan with parchment paper. Make sure the paper sticks out all around the edges. (This will help you lift the caramels out later.)
  • In a 5-quart heavy bottomed pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
  • Add the brown sugar, sorghum, and cream and stir together.
  • Bring this mixture to a boil cooking over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.
  • Continue stirring scraping the sides with a silicone spatula to prevent crystals forming on the sides of the pot. Do not rush.
  • Cook until the mixture reaches 248 degrees (hard ball stage). Cooking further could make the candy too hard.
  • Pour the caramel into the prepared pan, and allow to cool in an undisturbed area for about 3 hours.
  • Once set and cooled to room temperature, lift the caramels out of the pan by lifting up the parchment paper edges.
  • Flip the caramels over on to a clean cutting surface & peel off the parchment paper.
  • Use a buttered knife to cut into bite size pieces & either wrap in parchment paper or dip in melted chocolate then place in mini cupcake liners for packaging.

Notes

These should keep for several weeks in the refrigerator & months in the freezer.

3 Easy Take-Out Fake-Outs for Beef Stir-Fry, Chicken Fried Rice and Chicken Quesadillas

3 Easy Take-Out Fake-Outs for Beef Stir-Fry, Chicken Fried Rice and Chicken Quesadillas

Life gets, well, busy. It seems as if we’re often running from one thing to another – work, errands, events – and it takes a toll, usually on the amount of time we have left to cook. Hey, I get it, and so do all the drive-thru places, take-out restaurants, and meal kit delivery services. Sometimes we want something quick and easy. Well, here are 2 super easy meals and one snack (who am I kidding, I totally eat quesadillas for dinner on a regular basis) that you can have on the table in about the time it takes to get take-out and drive home. How? By cooking a chicken ahead of time (I frequently have cooked chicken in the fridge for quick dishes) and using some pre-made items from our wonderful producer, Des Fresh! Now who wants beef stir-fry with veggies, chicken fried rice, and chicken quesadillas? Yeah, me too! NOTE: for vegetarian dishes, you can absolutely substitute sliced mushrooms or tofu in place of the meat.

Ingredients

For the beef stir-fry:

  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs flat steak think flank, skirt, or iron
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy or tamari sauce note: tamari is gluten-free
  • 3 TB sherry
  • 2 TB light brown sugar
  • 2 TB cornstarch
  • 1 TB minced fresh ginger
  • 3 – 4 cups chopped vegetables snow peas, carrots, celery, broccoli, mushrooms, onions – whatever you have on hand and like
  • 3 TB cooking oil
  • Precooked dumplings and fried rice use half for this and the other half for fried rice – yay, two meals! from Des Fresh

For the chicken fried rice:

  • 1/2 container of vegetable fried rice from Des Fresh
  • 1 cup of precooked chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 3 – 4 TB soy or tamari sauce

For the chicken quesadillas:

  • 3 TB cooking oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion – red or yellow
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 – 6 minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce use more or less dending on your spice preference
  • 4 ripe tomatoes seeded and diced
  • 3 scallions thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 TB honey
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked chicken shredded or diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
  • 6 or 7 8″ flour tortillas
  • 4 cups 2 8 oz. blocks shredded cheddar and/or jack cheese
  • sour cream & salsa for serving

Instructions

For the beef stir-fry:

  • In a medium bowl, mix together soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, cornstarch, and ginger. Set aside half of the liquid, add the sliced beef to the bowl and toss to coat well.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables in batches – heavier, courser vegetables such as carrots, peppers, and celery should be added first, followed by mushrooms – broccoli and snow peas should be added last to prevent overcooking. Stir the vegetables frequently and cook until tender-crisp. Remove to a clean plate or bowl.
  • Allow the pan to get hot again, then add the beef in small batches, being careful to leave most of the marinade in the bowl. Allow the meat to cook for a minute or two before stirring. Turn or stir, to cook both sides – about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes total time. Remove to a separate bowl and repeat with remaing beef.
  • When the last batch of beef has been added to the skillet, return the cooked beef to the pan, followed by the vegetables. Pour the reserved marinade over everything and allow to cook, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds.
  • Serve immediately with fried rice and dumplings for a complete Asian-style dinner.

For the chicken fried rice:

  • In a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray or misted with oil, scramble the egg over medium-low heat & then remove to small dish to be used later.
  • To the same skillet, add the precooked fried rice, chicken, and 2 TB soy sauce. Gently warm the rice, stirring frequently and adding additional soy sauce if needed. Once the rice and chicken are completely warmed, about 10 minutes, gently stir in the scrambled egg.
  • Serve with dumplings for a complete Chinese take-out style dinner.

For the chicken quesadillas:

  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft – about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the chipotles, adobo, and tomatoes. Cook until the liquid from the tomatoes has evaporated and the mixture has thickened – about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the honey, chicken, scallions (if using), salt, and cilantro. Keep warm while you prep to tortillas.
  • Heat a second skillet or griddle over medium heat, spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Lay a tortilla in the pan, and heat until hot to the touch, but not crisp. Flip the tortilla over, then sprinkle with shredded cheese. Once the cheese is mostly melted, spoon the chicken mixture on half of the tortilla and fold over. Continue cooking until the tortilla is crisp, and then flip over to crisp the other side. Remove from the heat and allow to rest for 2 or 3 minutes before cutting into wedges.

Notes

Serve with sour cream and salsa

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned beef and cabbage – ah, the quintessential Saint Patrick’s day fare! With this easy recipe, there’s no need to shy away from making this staple at home. The brine does all the heavy lifting, and since it can cure in as little as 2 days (though 4 is much better) it doesn’t require too much advanced planning. So pull up a stool, breakout the shamrock’s and enjoy this dish at home.

Ingredients

  • 1 flat cut beef brisket 2 – 5 lbs
  • 3/4 cup table kosher, or pickling salt
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp pink curing salt #1
  • 6 peeled garlic cloves divided
  • 6 bay leaves divided
  • 5 allspice berries
  • 2 TB peppercorns divided
  • 1 TB coriander seeds
  • 1 12 oz bottle of stout beer
  • 6 carrots peeled, halved crosswise, thick ends halved lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes unpeeled
  • 1 head green cabbage uncored, cut into 8 wedges

Instructions

  • To cure the beef: Trim all but 1/8″ of fat from the outside of the brisket. Add 4 quarts of water to a large container (should be large enough to completely immerse the brisket). Add the curing salt, salt, and brown sugar – stir until everything is dissolved. Add 3 garlic cloves, 4 bay leaves, allspice berries, 1 TB of peppercorns, and coriander seeds to brine. Add the brisket and weigh it down with a heavy plate. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 6 days. The meat will turn gray on the outside, but will change to pink when it’s cooked.
  • Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Remove beef from the brine and rinse. Make a spice bundle by stacking 3 8″ squares of cheesecloth and placing 3 garlic cloves, 2 bay leaves, and 1 TB of peppercorns in the center. Tie the bundle securely with kitchen twine. Place the brisket, spice bundle, beer, and 1 1/2 cups of water in a heavy dutch oven. Over high heat, bring everything to a simmer; cover and transfer to the oven. Bake until a fork easily slides into the meat – about 2 1/2 hours to 3 hours.
  • Remove the brisket to heat safe, covered, baking dish, and add 1 cup of cooking liquid. Transfer to the oven to keep warm.
  • Add a steamer basket to the Dutch oven and place over high heat. Once the liquid is boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and add potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, covered. Add the carrots and cook, covered for another 5 minutes. Add the cabbage wedges and cook for another 10 – 15 minutes, or until the cabbage is cooked through.
  • While the cabbage is cooking, slice the beef, across the grain in 1/4″ – 1/2″ pieces. Transfer to a serving platter and slightly moisten with cooking liquid. Transfer the cooked vegetables to the platter; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

Serve with mustard or Irish soda bread for an authentic Saint Patrick’s Day meal.

IFC Distribution is Today (corrected version)!

The email that got sent at 7 am this morning with info on distribution included this verbiage: 

NOTE: We’ll are monitoring the situation with regards to the forecast for Saturday morning. If need be, we’ll move our Saturday pick up to Sunday, but we’ll let folks who know if we do.

Please disregard. That was a remnant from the email we sent for last cycle.

And as always, thanks for your orders. See you later today or tomorrow in Ames or Saturday morning.

IFC Distribution is Today (or Tomorrow in Ames)!

This is being sent to everyone who ordered. Today is distribution at all our sites except Ames, which will be tomorrow. Our alternative pick up is Saturday from 10:30 am to noon at our Franklin Plaza site.

NOTE: We’ll are monitoring the situation with regards to the forecast for Saturday morning. If need be, we’ll move our Saturday pick up to Sunday, but we’ll let folks who know if we do.

Thanks for your orders. See you later today or Saturday. If for some reason you need to call, use 515.450.6812.

Valentine’s Day Menu

Valentine’s Day Menu

Whether for Valentine’s Day, an anniversary, a birthday, or any occasion, this is my go-to steak dinner that’s sure to impress. Instead of heading out to a restaurant, treat yourself and a special someone to a lovely dinner in because this steakhouse quality dinner at home won’t let you down.

Ingredients

  • 2 steaks beef tenderloin, NY strip, top sirloin, ribeye – whatever makes you happy
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese such as Gouda Parmesan, or Lost Lake special reserve
  • 4 1/4 ” thick red bell pepper rings
  • 3 cups of 1/2″ cubed butternut squash
  • 2 TB honey or maple syrup
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 2 slices of bacon diced and fried
  • Creamy salad dressing such as creamy Italian
  • 1 TB + 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp ghee
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450F. Toss the cubed squash in 1 TB of olive oil and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt & pepper. Roast until easily pierced with a fork – about 20 minutes.
  • While the squash is roasting, heat a heavy, oven safe skillet (I break out my cast iron for this) over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, and the pepper rings. Cook until slightly charred on each side about 2 minutes per side. Set aside. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels (this helps you to get a nice sear). Add the ghee to the skillet, once melted, add the steaks. Sprinkle with a liberal amount salt and little pepper to taste. Allow the steaks to sear without moving them for 2 to 3 minutes, flip and sear for another 1 minute. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook to desired doneness – about 5 to 6 minutes for rare/medium-rare, 8 minutes for medium. Remove skillet from oven and sprinkle on shredded cheese. Return to oven and allow cheese to mostly melt – about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from oven, twist pepper rings into a figure 8 and place 2 on each steak. Allow steak to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Using a fork, mash the cooked squash, stir in the honey or maple syrup and a pinch of cayenne (more or less depending on your preference). Set aside.
  • Trim the end off the romaine, leaving the connecting stalk intact, and cut the head in half from stalk to tip. Arrange each half on a place or in a shallow bowl. Divide the blue cheese and bacon between each wedge and drizzle with the dressing of your choice.
  • Pour a glass of wine, beer, or mix up your favorite cocktail. Serve the steaks with the mashed butternut squash and enjoy your incredibly easy steak dinner that rivals anything you can find in a steakhouse.

Notes

For an extra special treat, serve one of our amazing baked goods for dessert – this meal pairs perfectly with cheesecake or cream puffs.

IFC Distribution is Today (or Tomorrow in Ames)!

This is being sent to everyone who ordered. Today is distribution at all our sites except Ames, which will be tomorrow. Our alternative pick up is Saturday from 10:30 am to noon at our Franklin Plaza site.

NOTE: We want folks to be careful and safe today, so if it ends up you aren’t able to make your pick up, we’ll work with you to get your orders to you. The number to use to call today is 515-450-6812.

And thanks for your orders. See you later today or Saturday.

Super Bowl Pork Nachos/Tacos

Super Bowl Pork Nachos/Tacos

Who’s ready for some football? Whether you’re cheering for the NE Pats or the LA Rams, you and your friends will surely be cheering for these easy to make, great to eat nachos & tacos. Grab a few friends, your favorite beer, and get ready for kick-off because this recipe can easily be made the day before and warmed up in crock pot for the big game.

Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 pounds pork shoulder/Boston butt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 TB salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder or 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 2 TB white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 TB onion powder or 1 whole onion, finely minced

For serving: flour tortillas, butter lettuce, tortilla chips, charred bell pepper slices, lime wedges, sour cream, jack or cheddar cheese

    Instructions

    • In a small bowl, combine oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, garlic, olive oil, white wine vinegar, brown sugar, and onion. Mix well – if you’re using garlic cloves or a whole onion, puree everything in a blender. Pour mixture over meat, coating all sides.
    • Either preheat oven to 300 degrees, place coated meat in a Dutch oven, and pour 2 cups of water into the pot. Cover and roast for 5 hours, or until meat is fork tender. Alternatively, place meat in a crock pot with 1/2 cup of water, and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. This can also be made in an Instant Pot, by using 1 cup of water and cooking on high pressure for 75 minutes, with a natural pressure release.
    • Remove the meat, shred or cube, and then return to the liquid to prevent drying out.

    Notes

    Serve as pork tacos, over nachos, a mixed salad, or in lettuce cups with your favorite toppings. Squeezing a bit of lime over it before serving, gives it a nice, fresh, pop of flavor.

    IFC Distribution is Today (or Tomorrow in Ames)!

    This is being sent to everyone who ordered. Today is distribution at all our sites except Ames, which will be tomorrow. Our alternative pick up is Saturday from 10:30 am to noon at our Franklin Plaza site.

    NOTE: We’ll are monitoring the situation with regards to the forecast for Saturday morning. If need be, we’ll move our Saturday pick up to Sunday, but we’ll let folks who know if we do.

    Thanks for your orders. See you later today or Saturday. If for some reason you need to call, use 515.450.6812.