Monday, September 8, 2014

Festivities and Fajitas

This is seconds before the words 'stop being weird' flew out of my mouth.
Yesterday we celebrated H's ninth birthday...a month late. Don't get me wrong, we had a fun day on his actual birthday, but his friend group is kind of small so planning his birthday party this year was a little tricky with summer vacation schedules and J's schedule to work around.

The whole summer I've just felt behind the ball. H requested a red velvet ice cream cake for his birthday, and I'd found the perfect recipe followed by a serendipitous posting by Our Best Bites for cheesecake ice cream. However, it slowly devolved from ice cream cake, to red velvet cupcakes with ice cream on the side to a very first for me; ordering the cake from a bakery for his party, which I felt needlessly guilty about. And you know what? We all enjoyed the cake and nobody will end up in therapy. Phew, glad I finally had that revelation.
Love the cake server? Check out ASpoonful and support a local mama-owned small busines!

My parents and sister came over for the party with my nieces yesterday and joined us for lunch beforehand. As I was putting away the leftover Papa Murphy's I spied the thawed flank steak that should have already been in the crock pot to be our dinner. Shoot! I groaned and debated for a few seconds just saving it for dinner the next night, but knew I'd come home from the party after four o'clock and be very sad that I hadn't taken the time to make a real dinner and we'd have crappy cereal or something. No judgement, but that's just been happening all too often this summer.

I quickly pulled out the crock pot, mixed up the seasonings, patted both sides of the flank steak, drizzled in 2T of soy sauce over the steak, chopped four bell peppers and an onion and added those to the pot and turned it to high for 4.5 hours, thinking it'd at least be ready for J and I to eat with the big boys after putting Jack to bed. 

When we pulled back into the garage after the party, I was so glad I'd taken the time to throw dinner together because it smelled delicious and I didn't have to think about dinner as J and I sat and stared into space nursing cake-overs and H and Charlie happily built the new lego spoils.
I love all the sunlight we get being direct west-facing in the evening, but it makes taking a decent photo a little challenging at the dinner table.

Fresh from the crock pot

I forgot to add the garlic and jalepeno in my rush, but it was all good, because I cracked open a can of last fall's green tomato salsa as one of the toppings. On corn tortillas with salsa, cilantro, avaocado and the meat/pepper mix, these were so good and, again, really filling. This would be a great addition to any week night rotation with busy days abounding now that school is back in session. These are definitely more 'pot roast' in flavor and texture than traditional steak fajitas, but still outstanding.

Slow Cooker Flank Steak Fajitas
100 Days of Real Food

1 ½ lbs flank steak, preferably grass fed 
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons soy sauce, preferably the low-sodium variety
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 – 5 bell peppers, any color
1 onion

Optional: whole-wheat or corn tortillas, grated cheese (I didn't use any cheese), avocado, cilantro, lime, greens, sour cream, salsa, etc.

Mix together the dry spices with a fork including the chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Rub the spice mixture over all sides of the flank steak and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker. Sprinkle the soy sauce on top. Top the flank steak with the diced jalapeno and minced garlic. Slice the bell peppers and onion and throw those on top of the steak as well. Turn the slow cooker onto HIGH and cook for 5 – 6 hours or until the steak can easily be shredded with two forks. Drain the meat and peppers well then serve with the recommended fajita “fixings” (listed above). 

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