I’ve heard it said many times that Lebanese cooking is the best cuisine the Middle Eastern countries have to offer. Lebanese restaurants are the go to places when one has a yen for Arabic or Middle Eastern food. This seems to be one of the few things that Arabs from around the world can mostly agree on.
I must confess that in my experience this is usually true. Lebanese cooking is definitely top notch and any where we travel we look for a Lebanese restaurant. Among my favorites are Al Halabi in Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates and Wafi Gourmet in both the Dubai Mall and Wafi Mall; Reem Al Bawadi in Amman; and Mandaloun not far from the Spanish Steps in Rome.
But what makes Lebanese cuisine so great? I’m not exactly sure, but I believe that one of its secrets are the spices they use. Their Lebanese 7 Spices Mix in my opinion is the key to their delicious entrees.
Lebanese 7 Spices Mix contains many of the spices found in cuisine in and around that region. It has cumin and coriander for sure and 6 other spices making it actually an 8 spices mix. Why it’s called 7 Spices is beyond me unless the ground black pepper isn’t counted as a spice.
Anyway whatever you call it seasoning grilled meats and stews with this Lebanese 7 Spices Mix makes for a delicious meal! I like to keep a jar on hand and use it in marinades and of course for one of the family’s favorite dishes Mesaf or Fatiyeh, a dish of stewed meat in yogurt sauce.
You can mix up a batch of Lebanese 7 Spices Mix to add to your stews too. Just be sure you store it in an airtight container. I use pint sized mason jars to store all my spice mixes.
As I’ve said so many times the secret to well seasoned meat dishes start with the meat rub or seasoning. The same holds true for one of my favorite types of cuisine, Mexican or Tex-Mex.
Whether you’re making fajitas, steaks, or taco and burrito filling if you’re filling that tortilla with any type of meat you’re going to need a meat rub. That’s where my Tex-Mex Meat Rub comes in handy.
I usually make a large batch, large meaning enough to fill a pint sized Mason Jar, to season chicken, beef, and even seafood for any kind to Tex-Mex dish I want to make. That way I don’t have to make the mix every time I feel like having flautas or nachos or whatever. I always have enough to rub on my meats; assuming I don’t forget to replenish the jar!
This Tex-Mex Meat Rub is super easy to whip up and makes your meat filling taste incredible! I use just enough pepper in it to give the meat a little kick, but you can adjust the “hotness” according to your preference just by increasing or decreasing the amount of pepper powder you use. Once you’re done just store the rub in a sealed jar and place it in a cool dry place, like your pantry. The Tex-Mex Meat Rub should keep about 3 months, if you can manage not to use it all the first week!
To use the rub you’ll need 1 Tbs. of Tex-Mex Meat per pound of meat. Make a paste with it by adding it to 1 Tbs. Olive Oil and 1/2 Tbs. Apple Cider Vinegar. This is enough to season 3 large chicken breasts.
Rub the paste all over your meat then place the meat in a covered dish or ziplock bag in the fridge. Let the meat marinate in the rub for at least an hour but no more than 24 hours. Overnight works great!
Depending on the dish you are trying to create you can either slice the meat into strips for fajitas or leave it whole and shred after cooking. Then cook the meat the way you want, fry, grill, bake, or in an Instant Pot!
Use the seasoned meat for nachos, fajitas, burritos, tacos, or whatever you like.
Chimichangas are my favorite Mexican dish. It’s always what I order at Mexican restaurants. They are delicious!
You may be wondering what exactly are chimichangas. It’s really nothing more than a deep fried burrito! I’m not a burrito fan at all, but I’m definitely a chimichanga fan!
Actually you can turn just about any burrito into a chimichanga by simply frying it. In fact I’ve deep fried frozen store bought burritos. Of course they don’t taste as good as homemade, but they’ll do when you’re in a rush to get dinner on the table.
Now you can fill chimichangas with just about anything. Shredded Beef, Chicken, or Pork seem to be the most popular filling. But I’ve had seafood chimichangas as well as bean filled ones. One of our family favorites are ground beef chimichangas. They’re the easiest to make.
I serve them with shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole on the side. Everyone can add their own toppings. It goes great with Spanish Rice and Refried Beans.
Today I’m sharing my recipe. Hope you love it!
Ground Beef Chimichanga
1 lb. Lean Ground Beef
1 Tbs. Garlic Powder
2 Tbs. Chili Powder
1 Tsp. Ground Cumin
1 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
1 Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper flakes
1 Cup Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
10 Flour Tortillas, the 8″ size
Oil for frying
Toppings of your choice (salsa, sour cream, guacamole, etc.)
Place beef in a pan over medium heat
Add all the spices and cook until beef is crumbly
Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheese
Place about 1/4 cup of beef filling on the middle of a tortilla, fold in ends and roll like a burrito
If you haven’t guessed by now I love Mexican Food! I can eat it everyday! One of my favorite Mexican dishes are chicken tacos. I love them wrapped in fresh warm flour tortillas. The chicken filling is real easy to make, if you’re pinched for time you can even use taco seasoning packets to give it that Mexican flavor. But I like to make it from scratch and sometimes I experiment a bit with the ingredients. Recently I came up with these Margarita Chicken Tacos, they are delicious!
What makes these Margarita Chicken Tacos different is that the chicken is marinated in, you guessed it, tequila and lime juice; hence the name Margarita Chicken Tacos! They really are easy to make and are too yummy!
I marinate the chicken about an hour before I sauté it. I serve it fresh wrapped in warm flour tortillas and topped with chopped cilantro, cheese, sour cream, and salsa. It’s a complete meal in a tortilla.
Here’s the recipe. I hope you’ll love it as much as we do.
8 Pieces Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs – cut into cubes
Hawaiian Style Hamburger Steak, wow, sounds exciting doesn’t it? Well, it’s really nothing more than a beef patty smothered in brown gravy and served with a scoop or two of white rice.
But seriously Hamburger Steak is a staple at most of the local restaurants that sell “plate lunches”. In Hawaii plate lunches are a local favorite. It’s a serving of meat, starch, and possibly a veggie, although in most cases it’s macaroni salad or “Mac Salad” as we fondly call it.
And Hamburger Steak is definitely a local fave. I don’t think you can live on the islands without having it at least once. It’s my husband’s favorite plate lunch. That’s all he orders when we go to Zippy’s a local restaurant chain.
Really Hawaiian Style Hamburger Steak is literally a hamburger without the bun. I’m thinking it’s because of our predominantly Asian and Pacific Islander population that the bun was replaced by white rice. We all love our sticky white rice!
As I mentioned my husband loves his Hamburger Steak, I’m not a big fan. I never order it! But I don’t mind making it at home, I think my version tastes so much better! and probably less fatty. I serve it with brown gravy, mashed potatoes, and fresh fruit or veggies.
1 Lb. Lean Ground Beef
1 Tbs. Minced Garlic
1/2 Onion, finely minced
2 Tbs. Worchestershire Sauce
1/2 Tsp. Ground Cumin
1/4 Tsp. Sea Salt
1/4 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
Combine all ingredients except gravy in a large mixing bowl.
Mix very well.
Grill or fry patties until well done.
Make your favorite brown gravy or use the packaged powder and make it as directed on the package.
Serve with your choice of starch and veggies and cover the patty with brown gravy.