Sweet and Spicy Short Rib Tacos

short rib tacos 002


Have you noticed that they price of meat, ANY meat, is outrageously priced these days? Cuts of meat that were once very reasonable are almost as expensive as a steak! Feeding a family of four is expensive! When I recently found beef short ribs on sale I decided to take a chance. I had never bought them before, but the lady working at the store assured me that they cook up tender and delicious. After doing a little research, I decided to try this recipe by Marcela Valladolid. It was extremely easy, and my family loved these tacos.

Don’t let “spicy” scare you. I didn’t think the tacos were spicy at all. I was unable to find ancho chiles in my area, so I substituted Guajillo chiles. The beef will improve in flavor if cooked a couple of days before serving.

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Sweet and Spicy Short Rib Tacos
  • 4 dried ancho chiles (or 8 Guajillo chiles), stemmed, seeded, and ribs discarded
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • ⅓ c. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 6 lb. beef short ribs
  • Vegetable oil
  • warm corn and/or flour tortillas
  • Mexican crema or sour cream
  • ½ c. chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  1. Soak the ancho or Guajillo chiles in boiling water until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain and discard the liquid. Transfer the softened chiles to a blender. Add the onion, garlic, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, beef broth, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper. Puree until smooth.
  2. Pat the ribs dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Brown the ribs in batches, turning occasionally. Transfer browned ribs to a slow cooker.
  3. Pour the sauce over the ribs (liquid should reach about halfway up sides of meat). Cover and cook for 7 hours on high until very tender. All the ribs to cool slightly in the sauce.
  4. Remove the ribs from the sauce. Discard the bones and fat and shred the meat into a large bowl. Skim the fat from the surface of the sauce and discard. Mix the sauce into the meat and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spoon the meat and sauce into a warm tortilla and serve with Mexican crema and chopped fresh cilantro. (We like ours serve with Cowboy Beans also.)
The ribs improve in flavor if cooked 2 days ahead. Cool completely, uncovered, then chill, cover and refrigerate. Remove any solidified fat before reheating.

The ribs can also be cooked in a 350°F oven for 3½ hours.


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Beef Stew



When we first married I depended heavily on McCormick’s Seasoning packets.  That is the only way I made beef stew for YEARS!   About 15 years ago I found a beef stew recipe in a church cookbook. That recipe was a little different from the one it has become today.  However, just like this recipe the original stew recipe had a beer in it.  Yep, you read that correctly, I got that recipe from a church cookbook. Some of you reading this may know that I’m a Baptist preacher’s daughter.  Well, I can assure you that it was not in one of my beloved Baptist cookbooks. Now, I am not a beer drinker, nor have I ever been, but I do like to cook with it.  It lends such a rich, wonderful flavor that you can’t get from anything else.

I found this interesting tidbit at food network.com…

“Why cook with beer? Beer adds a rich, earthy flavor to soups and stews that makes them taste like they’ve been simmering for hours. Beers with a sweet or nutty taste can add depth to desserts. And don’t worry about getting drunk – virtually all of the alcohol evaporates during the cooking process.”

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/holidays-and-parties/articles/cooking-with-beer.html?oc=linkback

Like I mentioned, the recipe has evolved over the years. I have slowly made it my own. At the suggestion of my friend, Melanie, I use chuck roast in this stew. I cut it into approximately 2-inch cubes a day or two before preparing the stew. Put the beef into a large ziplock bag, place the bag in a large bowl, then let the beef stand in the refrigerator at least 24 hours. When you are ready to prepare the stew, drain the meat and dry each piece using paper towels. I usually do this by lining a large sheet pan with paper towels, spread the beef in a single layer and then blot it dry with additional paper towels. At this point, I remove the paper towels and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and flour. Toss to coat on the pan. Then it’s time to start browning the beef.

This recipe makes a huge pot of stew. I make my stew in a 5-quart crock pot, and it is almost full. Skim off as much fat as possible before serving. After it has been refrigerated, you can remove the fat that rises to the top.

Beef Stew
  • 4 to 5 lb. beef chuck roast, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • flour to coat
  • 6 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered or cut smaller if using large potatoes
  • 1 lg. onion, quartered
  • 1 lb. mushrooms, optional
  • 12-oz. amber beer
  • 32-oz. beef broth
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. hot sauce
  • 4 to 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Additional salt and pepper
  1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven. Sprinkle beef cubes with salt and pepper, then coat with flour. Brown the beef in the Dutch oven. Work in batches and do not over crowd the pan. Add more oil when needed.
  2. Remove the beef from the Dutch oven and place into a large crock pot.
  3. Add the carrots, potatoes, onion, and mushrooms.
  4. Add the beer, beef broth, paprika, hot sauce, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  5. Cover and cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or low for 8 hours.





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Field Peas

The definition of matriarch is a highly respected woman who is a mother.  I would define all the mothers who have come before me in this catagory.  The mothers who have taught me much about God, life, love, and so much more.  I know many matriarch’s who aren’t related to me, but to whom I look up to with much respect and love.

Many of the matriarch’s in my life are no longer with us, however I am blessed to still have my mother and mother-in-law.  My mother had a stroke 3 years ago and although she still lives by herself, drives to church, the grocery store, and a few other places, she is limited in what she can do.  She no longer cooks the meals that I remember her cooking for so many years.  My mother-in-law still cooks, but because of everyones busy schedule we rarely sit down to eat at her table except on holidays.

Savannah said it perfect a few weeks ago when she told me, “you are a good cook, but Nan and Grammy cook everything better.”  I think most of us feel this way.  What Savannah don’t know yet is that there’s hope for me yet.  Mothers join that list once you’re older and cooking for yourself.

These peas are so simple, but they will remind you of Sunday lunch at Grandma’s table.  Black-eyed peas or pink-eyes work in this recipe.  Also, I buy thick cut (1/4-inch thick) bacon at the meat market and keep it in the freezer for things like this.

I have decided to take Thanksgiving week off to spend with family.  Greg and I will also be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary the week of Thanksgiving.  I’ll be back November 26, 2012 to start bringing you special Christmas recipes.  What fun that is going to be!  Take a moment to count your blessings.  My wish for you is a Thanksgiving filled with love, peace and happiness.  Happy Thanksgiving!


Field Peas
  • 1 (4-inch) thick cut bacon
  • 4 c. frozen field peas
  • 32-oz. beef broth
  • 2 beef bouillion cubes
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a skillet, on top of stove, brown the bacon on both sides in a little oil. Transfer to a crockpot. Add peas, broth, beef bouillion cubes, chopped onion, salt and pepper to crockpot. Cook on low for 2 - 3 hours.
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I guess everyone has a favorite Chili recipe.  As for me, I’ve made chili for years.  I’ve made it the way mama made it, the way Greg makes it, tried other recipes and used all the mixes out there.  However, they always left me less than thrilled.  Finally, back in the fall I decided to come up with my own recipe.  First of all figuring out what I didn’t like about all of the chili that I had made in the past.  Not only did I decide that I’m not crazy about kidney beans, but I decided I needed more depth of flavor.  I love chili powder and cumin but I didn’t want to leave it up to those two ingredients to carry the flavor alone.  What I came up with was a hit in our house.  I serve with shredded cheese, sour cream and chopped onions.  Wes likes to top his chili with yellow mustard.  Leftovers are good for making super nachos too!


  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 14.5-oz. can beef broth
  • 1 29-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5-oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 16-oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 packet Sazon Goya (found with Mexican items)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3½ tbsp. chili powder, or to taste
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  1. Brown beef, drain. Add remaining ingredients, stir to combine. Simmer 30 - 45 minutes.

Another serving suggestion! Top a hot baked potato with chili, shredded cheese, sliced jalapeños, and chopped scallions or chopped onion.
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