Mel’s Menu – 3 new dishes

This weekend I tried 3 new recipes, listed in the order they were made. Here’s how it went.

#1 – The Ultimate Paella from Tyler Florence. Here’s a collage of some of the many steps that go into this dish.

I almost made a seafood only version, but decided I liked the variety of meats in this one. As I shopped, I forgot that the mussels on my list were for the seafood only version, but I had them on hand so I included them.

This is the first time I have cooked with fresh clams and mussels. Silly me, I didn’t know they are still alive until you cook them. Once I started to research how to Debeard  mussels and clams, I realized I didn’t have them stored properly. I called my meat department and he walked me through how to store them and make sure they are still good. They need to breathe so remove them from the packaging as soon as you get home from the store. Place them in a bowl and place in the coldest part of the fridge. Do Not put them in water. If any of them start to open, here’s how you determine if they are still alive. Take them and knock them together, at least three times. If they are still alive they will slowly close up tightly. If they don’t throw it away and move on.

Other substitutions on this recipe, I used a diced green mango instead of the can of tomatoes. It may sound crazy, but it works! Green mango’s have a tartness to them that resembles tomatoes. This was my first recipe without tomatoes. I decided to add just a little tomato paste and some chicken broth so they had some liquid, like if I had used the canned tomatoes and the juice. In hindsight, I will stick to just the green mango now that I know it works so well.

The dish was amazing, and so were the leftovers.

#2 – Slow Cooker Orange Beef

I made the sauce and poured it over the roast the night before. Instead of white sugar I used stevia, but not as much, it’s very strong. I only used 1 packet. A lesson I learned from the Spring Roll sauce in last weeks blog. I had to double the amount of sauce I needed to cut down the sweetness. In the morning I popped it in the slow cooker on low and set it for 10 hours, recipe recommends 8-12. It smelled wonderful when I got home and looked ready to go. So I completed the remaining steps and made some instant rice to go with it.

I will always be completely honest with you in these blogs. Slow Cooker Orange Beef was “Okay”. It needed some spice to balance out the orange. I was hoping it was more like the flavor of PF Chang’s Orange Beef. I ended up freezing all of the leftovers. I will do some research and decide what exactly to add to make it more to my liking. If I can perfect it, I will let you know in future blogs.

#3 – Slow Cooker Pork with Indian Spices. This is an original creation.


  • 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder
  • 8 small red potatoes, cut in cubes
  • 2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • Baby carrots as many or as little as you like, I wish I had added a whole bag not just half of one.
  • 1 shallot, cut in half then sliced
  • 1 large onion, cut in quarters then sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, whole
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger from a jar (available by the chopped and minced garlic section)
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • At least a cup of frozen peas.

Set on low for 8 hours. When you are almost ready to serve, toss in at least a cup of frozen peas. I also added some rice I had left over from the Orange Beef recipe. This doesn’t have to be added. If you prefer you can serve it over rice instead.

I love the way this dish turned out. Once I was ready to put away the left overs. I cut the pork into smaller pieces, gave it a good stir then put some of the leftovers in freezer bags. The rest came to work with me for lunches this week.

Well that’s all for this installment. Thanks for reading.

Manga, Manga…

  • Mel McKay


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