Friday, August 23, 2013

Pressure Cooker Beef Tacos

     I love Mexican food and I think that I might be part latin, at least on the inside.  I do hate going out to the chain restuarants,  I am usually dissapointed, finding the food lacking in flavor and passion.  What American's call Mexican food is laughable.  Especially the fast food taco shops.  I don't need to name them, we all know who they are.  The food sometimes is ok, but it really cannot be called Mexican food.

     My other love is Pressure Cooking.  I adore pressure cookers and cannot imagine life without a pressure cooker.   From my carnitas to Mexican rice, I use a pressure cooker.  The main reason, is not the speed, it is the fact that the flavors taste so much better when cooked in a pressure cooker.  The speed is great also, but the flavor is amazing.  

     Meats cooked in the pressure cooker are perfect for Mexican foods. Especially for taco or burrito meat.  They shred to perfection after cooking in the pressure cooker and the pressure cooker does not leave them lacking in flavor.   Maybe some of the so called Mexican cafes should use pressure cookers!

     I hope you enjoy this picture recipe of how to cook the perfect machaca beef tacos.    

       While the meat is cooking in the pressure cooker,  I slice onions and sweet red peppers.  I take the seeds out of the sweet red peppers before I slice them.  Set aside and prepare to saute in olive oil.


      When the meat is done, place the peppers and onions in a large saute pan with olive oil and saute.

        This is the meat,   it was pressured on high pressure for 45 minutes.  I just used a splash of balsamic vinegar.   After is is cooker I shred it with a fork or you can place it in the Bosch mixer in small portions and it will shred it perfectly.

      Once the onions and peppers are tender and lightly browned add the meat and season.   Let cook until the meat is starting to be crispy.

       I use Arizona Dreaming from Penzeys Spices.  It is lovely.
It has the perfect Mexican spice.   Season to taste.

This is the meat, seasoned and cooked perfectly.  So simple, yet wonderful.  


      The next step is to warm the tortillas.  I use the lodge cast iron pizza pan for my tortilla griddle.   I cook them with a small drop of butter to crisp them up.

      I turn them over and top with cheese, so the cheese melts perfectly.  It does make a difference.
After the cheese is melted I top with the meat and a drop of sour cream or creme fresh.  Perfect.
Now here is a great machaca beef taco.  Easy and fast and oh so wonderful.  
The Recipe
Machaca Beef Tacos

3 onions, sliced thin
4 sweet red peppers, seeded and sliced thin
3 lb. chuck roast or your choice 
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Arizona Dreaming Spice
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sour Cream

In pressure cooker place meat and splash with balsamic vinegar.  Place lid on pressure cooker and pressure on high pressure for 45 minutes.  Remove from pressure cooker and shred.  

In saute pan,  add olive oil and saute onions and peppers.  Saute until tender and crispy around the edges.   Add meat and seasoning and saute until meat is crispy.  Warm tortillas on griddle and melt cheese in tortilla.  Place meat in center and top with sour cream and enjoy.  

Pressure cooking is great.  You should be using it on a regular basis.  Foods really do taste better when cooked in a pressure cooker.  Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Day with Chef Brad

     Recently I hosted a day cooking event in my training center in Mesa Az.  It is really a house next to my home in Mesa that I have converted into a training center, test kitchen, and demonstration kitchen.  It's where all the magic starts, and where I create all my recipes.  I love this home and every year it gets better and better.  We do garden parties here and other events. This fall I am offering day events and information will be posted soon on my website.  This post is all about a recent "Day with Chef Brad".
     A "Day with Chef Brad" is just what it sounds like. The day starts at 9:00 and ends at 4:00.   It is filled with classes, fun, and food.  From bread making to pressure cooking, and everything else I can fit in between.  It is filled from the time it starts until it ends.  Testimonials are at the end of this blog and you can e-mail me if you are interested in attending or sponsoring a "Day with Chef Brad".   Sponsering is when someone, usually a mother, grandmother, mother-in-law or friend sponsers by paying for others to attend the event.  You can e-mail me at if you want more information about a "Day with Chef Brad".  There are four different "days" or topics to choose from, each one is designed with certian topics, but the underlying theme is always Health and Nutrition, feeding our families in todays unhealthy world.  

     I hope you enjoy the visual tour of a "Day with Chef Brad".  Perhaps I will see you at one of these events in the future.  A "Day with Chef Brad" will change your life forever.  Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy

The room is ready and waiting for class to begin. 

The gift bags are filled and ready.

The Beverage station is ready.  I always serve great beverages.  This time it was
 Ginger Lemonade and Lavendar Lemonade

     I have to say that to be healthy you need three peices of equipment, every home needs them to be healthy.  A mixer,  a mill, and a pressure cooker.

Fresh baked cookies and jars for vinegar bottles we made in the class. 

The Happy Group,  ready to learn.  I love to keep them small, 8 to 10 is ideal.  

Freah baked rolls.  

One of the best parts is eating and yes we do a lot of that in the "Day with Chef Brad".

I love gift bags.  I always give them and each event is different.  I think it is important and it adds so much to the day.

     I have to say I love these classes.  They are the highlight of all I do.  It is the perfect teaching day.  On this event I asked at the beginning why they were here, the response from serveral was that they were there for Mom and didn't know what to expect.  Please read the testimonials below.  Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy

Testimonials for Day with Chef Brad 

Thank you for such a great time! 

Who knew grains and eating healthy could be so fun! I am so motivated to cook healthier for my family! Thank you for the wealth of information and the tasty treats! I feel I can cook healthier on my own with the help of your wonder advice and cook books! Chef Brad is such a treasure waiting to be found by those who enjoy food and life! I had a blast and can't wait to take more classes!

Thanks again! My two oldest sons were jealous and want to take a class too some day!


I thoroughly enjoyed my day at Chef Brads cooking class!! I loved learning about Grains I didn't even know existed!! His ideas about adding Grains to meals you already make are brilliant! I also enjoyed his 80/20 idea...teach your family to like healthier foods by letting them enjoy the healthy with some of the less healthy!! I think his ideas are completely doable and I am excited to put them into play in my own home! I would recommend Chef Brads class to all my friends! Can't wait to go to his Pressure Cooking Class!!! 


I attended a small class with Chef Brad. I was amazed at how much I learned. I was so excited to go home and try out new grains and use my Bosch mixer and pressure cooker for quick nutritious meals.  
The next day after class I made five loaves of the best tasting and healthiest bread I have ever made, and it took less than two hours from pouring ingredients to taking it out of the oven! My family loved it! Then I used my pressure cooker for the first time and made a healthy dinner in record time! This was just what I needed as a mom of three who works full time. 
That one day was a life changing experience, not only for me, but for my family. I cannot thank you enough Chef Brad!

Danielle H.

Thank you so much Chef Brad! I really, really enjoyed your class. I have to admit that i wasn't really excited about spending an entire Saturday learning how to eat healthy, but I ended up loving it & am so glad i was there. I loved learning that you don't have to give up ALL the good things your family likes to be eating healthy. How you can add grains to your casseroles, veggies, salads & breads & still enjoy the butter, sour cream & salad dressings.

it was so nice to hear about all the different grains out there & what their nutritional values are & what they can do for my body.  I never knew there were so many, WOW, & that they taste so good. I loved the pearled barley! It was delicious in the salad & added to the bread. I didn't even know I was eating healthy it was that good, & I it was very satisfying, I wasn't even hungry for dinner :-)   (It would be nice to be able to sample more of them, maybe in another class)

It was great to see that making bread & rolls is not an all day event!! I can do that & still have a day for me.

Probably the thing that hit me hardest was when you were talking about vandalism & dirt on & inside churches & nice buildings. That we need to treat our bodies like we would a church or special building. If I were to see the inside of my body it wouldn't be very clean & healthy. Talking about that really made me want to eat healthier, and feed my family healthier so we can feel cleaner, special and be ready for inspiration. 

I loved learning about the different oils & vinegars & how you can combine all kinds of different ones to get different flavors, I didn't know there were so many different flavors of those either & they are delicious too!

I just absolutely loved everything about the class! I'm no where near where you are but I hope to be one day. I'm starting small right now & making changes where I can.

Thanks for the gifts and cookbooks, I've already used the cookbooks several times! Thank you again for doing the class & spending your Saturday with us, it was definitely time well spent for me & the time flew by! Can't wait to take more of your classes!!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

July Third Sunday Dinner Report

     Third Sunday Dinner in July was great.  It is the last one until September.  I take August off for travel reasons.  This summer has been a busy one and it seems I have been on the go a lot.  It has been a fun summer, but busy.  The heat makes it hard to plan the food.  It needs to be somewhat cool or we need to eat indoors.  This month as you can see the house was packed.  I love it.  

     I have a neighbor that brings things over for me to use on my Third Sunday Dinner.  This month he brought over a whole bunch of biscuits, you know the kind, pop and bake.  I normally don't use them, but I had them and it seemed a perfect thing to use.  I did however make a whole grain milk gravy to go with them.   It was actually bacon whole grain milk gravy.  Sometimes you just have to do it.   I also was looking in my work freezer and found serveral big bags of pot stickers.  What a combo.  Biscuits and gravy and pot stickers.  I was a little nervous about serving them, but it was a huge success.  Everyone loved the combo.  I guess you cannot go wrong when you fix two of the most popular comfort foods around.  

     I baked up some brownies, served some salads and we were ready to go.  A few neighbors brought some salads and desserts.  It amazes me how it always works out and everyone has a great time.  It just takes desire and faith and the magic happens.  Here is a picture view of July's Third Sunday Dinner.   Enjoy the adventure.   Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy

Don't you just love the Mormon Missionaries.  They are always welcome at my house.

The Missionaries again and good friends.  I love Third Sunday

The Single Women really look forward to getting out and we love them so much. 

Rainy always brings wonderful things.  She is a wonderful neighbor that we have gotten really close with.  Third Sunday Dinner is not the same when she does not come.

Good Friends quickly become family.  This is one of my sons house companions from his mission.  We instantly loved him and welcomed him into our home.  He loved dinner.
The Trick with pot stickers is to first steam them and then pan fry them to crispy.

Pot Stickers in the Thermador Steam Oven

Pot Stickers ready to steam.

      Sometimes the simple things work the best.  Often we don't entertain because we expect to much and worry to much about what our guest expect.  Simple always wins, no matter the occasion.
Biscuits, ready to bake.

Oven Baked Smores.  

Look how great the pot stickers and biscuits look on the buffet table.  

    Happy faces.  Food does that. Food, friends, and a place to eat is all we really need to make life more enjoyable.

     Until next Third Sunday Dinner, enjoy your culinary adventures.  Everyday is an adventure in food.  Especially when you include others.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Cashew Cream Chicken and Pasta

     Last year I discovered Cashew Cream and have fallen in love with it and all its uses.  It takes the place of cream in many of my dishes.  It is heavenly, creamy, and delightful.  I love the creamy texture and the flavor.  I do not even miss cream after using this.  And most importantly, it is better for you.  It makes the best alfredo type sauces or cheese sauce.  I love it.

    This is a dish I just made with carrots, bacon, onions, garlic,  and chicken.  I first sauted the bacon with the carrots until the carrots are almost tender.  After the carrots are tender I added the chicken.  Sauted the chicken until done.  When the chicken was done I added the cashew cream.
The last thing I did was add cooked pasta.  I love to use Quinoa pasta from Andean Dream.  I adore their pasta,  it is amazing.
Chicken, carrots, onion, garlic, and chicken.  

       To make cashew cream you will need raw cashews, a pressure cooker, and a powerful blender.  I used the RPM lequip blender.  It is powerful and easy to use.

    Place desire amount of cashews in pressure cooker and cover with water.  Pressure for six minutes on high.  Remove from heat and drain off water.  Place in pressure cooker and cover with water.  The amount of water depends on how thick you need the cream.  More water the lighter the cream.

      Blend it until creamy and your ready to go.  It stores well and can be used in anything you need cream.  I love to use it in soups and sauces.  Some times I have used salted cashews and it works well with them.  Cooking them for 6 minutes in the pressure cooker softens them and makes them creamy.   Sometimes I add chicken stock to the cashews for more flavor.  I only do that if I am making a savory dish.

Cashew Cream Chicken 

Cashew Cream Chicken and Pasta 

2 cups raw cashews
4 cups water
1 pound baby carrots
1 onion
8 slices of bacon
4 garlic cloves
4 boneless breast of chicken or boneless chicken thighs
2 lbs. of cooked pasta, your choice
salt and pepper to taste

In pressure cooker place cashews and water and pressure for 6 minutes on high pressure.   Remove and drain water and place cashews in blender cover with water or chicken stock.  Blend until smooth.  Set aside.  

In large saute pan place bacon, carrots,  and onions and saute until carrots are almost tender.   Add garlic and chicken.  Cook until chicken is done.  Add sauced and pasta.  Season to taste.  Enjoy

Cashew cream is a wonderful way to cook dishes that need a heavy cream.   It adds so much flavor.  Don't be afraid to experiement and I am sure it will become a staple in your kitchen.   It has become one  of my favorites.  Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy