February 10, 2023 at 1:35 p.m.

Football or Valentine's Day? Hmm...


By by JEFF NORTON- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

As the football season has run longer and longer (I’m old enough to remember when Super Bowls were played at the end of January) it’s gotten closer and closer to Valentine’s Day. This year, it’s only a couple days apart from the big game and the big date.

Aly and I don’t get too extravagant on Valentine’s Day, and we don’t throw a huge Super Bowl party, but we are going to have a couple friends over, and I’m going to share some of the recipes I’m going to use.  Then I’ll end with the main course that we’re making together on Valentine’s Day. That way we get the best of both worlds!

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The absolute MOST important thing when making country style ribs is to know which type you’re using. Labels don’t typically make it easy to know, but a good look will determine for you. Country style ribs from the loin are very lean, without much fat on them visually, usually cheaper, are typically boneless and are available widely.

Country style ribs from the shoulder are more fattier, typically have the bone on them and are a bit more expensive.

If you’re doing a low and slow type cook, which this  recipe is, make SURE you have the fatty cuts from the shoulder. Otherwise, you will end up with mostly dry, leathery ribs. Country style ribs from the loin are meant to be cooked at a higher heat faster and not finish at such a high temp. They’re closer to steaks than they are to ribs.

COUNTRY STYLE RIBS IN A SLOW COOKER
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. chili powder *
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 c. smoky BBQ sauce (divided, plus extra for dipping)
4 lbs. Country Style Ribs
2 medium yellow onions (sliced)
Fresh diced parsley (option, for garnish)

Lightly grease a six quart crock pot with cooking spray and add the onions to the bottom of the pot.

In a medium bowl, add 1/2 cup of the BBQ sauce to the spices. Mix together to make a glaze, and brush it evenly over the ribs covering them on all sides.
Place the ribs over the onion bed and cover the slow cooker with a lid.

Cook the ribs on LOW for 6 - 8 hours or on HIGH for 3 - 4 hours (the low setting is preferable for this cut of meat, and I would recommend cooking it on low if it’s at all possible with your available time). Check to see how they are doing at the lower time. Ribs should read an internal temperature of 170 degrees on an instant read meat thermometer, and should be pull apart tender.

When the ribs are done, heat up the rest of the BBQ sauce in a skillet over medium-low heat and gently toss the ribs and onions in the sauce. Plate, then garnish with parsley and serve.

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I believe I did this recipe a couple years ago, but it’s always such a hit at the Super Bowl gatherings and it’s so simple that I feel like I need to share it again.

ROTEL DIP
1 lb. ground beef or pork sausage
1 10-oz. can Rotel tomatoes
1 16-oz. package Velveeta cheese, cubed
1/2 tsp. chili powder (optional)
Chopped fresh cilantro and tortilla chips, for serving

In a medium pot or saucepan over medium-high heat, cook beef, stirring frequently, until browned, about five minutes. Drain and discard fat, leaving meat in pot.

Reduce heat to medium, then add tomatoes and cheese. Cook, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in chili powder (if using).

Serve dip warm in skillet or a serving bowl. Top with cilantro (if using) and serve with chips alongside.

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Here’s what Aly and I are going to make together for our Valentine’s Day dinner main course. It works great because I can focus on the steak and she can work on the chimichurri. Working in the kitchen together is a fun way to interact with someone, and we love doing it on Valentine’s Day because it gives you another avenue to connect.

CHIMICHURRI STEAK
2 ribeye steaks, cut 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
1 c. firmly packed fresh cilantro
1 c. firmly packed fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsely leaves
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, cut up
1/2 tsp. kosher salt or regular salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 c. olive oil

Allow steaks to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400. Pat steaks dry with paper towel. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and the freshly ground black pepper over all sides of steaks; set aside. Coat a large oven-safe grill pan or skillet lightly with cooking spray (I prefer cast iron for this). Heat over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium. Add steaks; cook about four minutes or until browned, turning once halfway through cooking time. Transfer pan to oven. Roast for 10 to 13 minutes or until medium-rare doneness (an instant-read thermometer registers 130-135 degrees when inserted in centers of steaks). Transfer steaks to a serving platter. Cover with foil; let stand for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, for chimichurri, in a food processor or blender combine cilantro, parsley, vinegar, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, the cumin, and the crushed red pepper. With processor or blender running, slowly add oil in a thin steady stream through opening in lid, blending until mixture is smooth. Serve chimichurri with steaks.

TFD: “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” - Charles Schulz

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