Beef Burgundy.

I’ve been on a bit of a crock pot frenzy lately.  Toss in a few ingredients & several hours later… POOF!  Magic in my plate.  I also gravitate towards it because my kids eat at different times due to swim practice so this can be ready when they are therefore making my life so much easier.

1 c of all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2.5 chuck roast, trimmed and cubed
3 tbl of vegetable oil, canola oil or olive oil
2 c of a dry, full-bodied red wine
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
24 baby white onions

Combine the flour and salt in a ziploc baggie.  Shake to combine.  Add the meat and shake to coat.  Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat with 2 tbl of oil.  Brown the meat in batches – should take about 5-7 minutes.  Using tongs, remove and place on a plate with paper towels to drain.  Then add the meat to the crock pot.

Add the wine to the pan and deglaze (scraping up the brown bits).  Stir frequently until it begins to thicken.  Add some salt to taste.  Then add the garlic, thyme and bay leaves.  Pour over beef.  Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

One hour prior to the stew begin served peel and trim the onions.  Leave them whole but just remove the outer layer.  Over a medium flame, place 1 tbl of the oil in the pan.  Then add the onions.  Cook until browned.  Then add them to the crock pot.

Serve over rice, whole wheat egg noodles etc.  Great on a cold winter night.


Seoul Short Ribs & roasted carrots/fingerlings.

This is the second recipe I’ve tried from Cooking in Everyday English by Todd English.  My friend Regina met Todd and got a signed copy of his cookbook for me for my 40th birthday.  I found this recipe and knew I had to make it.  My family loves short ribs!

This recipe was super easy but you do need to marinade the ribs for 24 hours.  So this isn’t a quirky recipe – you must plan accordingly.  But once the ribs start cooking… your house will smell incredible.  I was glad I was home all afternoon to enjoy that aroma.

1 Asian Pear
2 c of Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1/4 c Sweet Rice wine
3 tbl of chopped fresh ginger
2 tbl of granulated sugar
2 tbl Sriracha sauce
2 tbl dark sesame oil
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 lbs of short ribs
1 tbl of vegetable oil
1 -32 oz of beef broth (I didn’t have beef so I used chicken)

1.  Grate the pear using the large holes on your box grater.  Whisk together pear, soy sauce, and the next 6 ingredients in a bowl or ziploc baggie.  Add the ribs and cover.  Refrigerate for 24 hours.

2.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove the ribs from the marinade and reserve the marinade.  Cook the ribs in hot oil in your Dutch oven over medium high heat.  3-4 minutes on each side.  Remove from pan and place on a dish.  Drain the liquid in the bottom of the pan.

3.  Add broth and the marinade liquid.  Scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan (deglazing).  Bring to a boil.  Turn off the heat and add the ribs.  Cover and place in the oven for 3-4 hours.  When the meat falls  off the bone, they’re ready!  I served this with olive oil roasted carrots and purple fingerlings & a tossed green salad.


Kira’s Spinach & garlic burgers.

I’m so proud of my daughter!  She created & made this recipe all on her own!  While grocery shopping today, I asked what she would like for dinner.  I figured tacos or hamburgers…. Hamburgers won out!  So we purchased our goodies & off we went.

I’m a firm believe that when children are involved in growing, selecting and cooking their food… they will see the value, understand the importance and eat more because they had a hand in the preparation.  This was definitely a great example of that… she ate everything tonight :)

Here is her list of ingredients:

1.25 lbs of organic lean ground beef (85% lean).  I wouldn’t go any leaner as the meat will be too dry for grilling.
1 handful of baby spinach leaves
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/2 of a medium sized onion
1 tbl of Montreal grilling hamburger seasoning
1 tsp of garlic salt
1/4 c of Panko bread crumbs
1 egg
Salt & Pepper to taste

In you food processor, blend the spinach leaves, garlic and onion until finely chopped.   Then transfer that to your mixing bowl with the paddle attachment.  Then add the remaining ingredients and blend until everything is incorporated into the meat.  Avoid over mixing.  If the meat mixture is too wet, add some additional bread crumbs.

Here is a valuable tip.  Pinch a small amount of the meat mixture in your fingers and cook it on the stove (in a small pan) until done.  Sample it to ensure the seasoning mixture is just right.  Adjust it in the main mixture accordingly and then grill all of your burgers.



Pot Roast in the crock pot.

It is, without a doubt, one of the most comforting meals.  This recipe is perfect for several reasons.  One, you get to throw everything in your crock pot and not worry about dinner.  Two, you can clean out your veggie drawer and toss everything you have in this dish.  And finally, you can use a lesser quality meat and the end result will be divine!

This recipe is super flexible.  I use what I have!

3-4 lb chuck roast
Olive Oil
Salt and pepper
1.5 -2 c of broth (I used vegetable b/c I already had it open but beef would also work well.)
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
3 carrots, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
3 sweet potatoes, sliced into medium sized pieces
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 medium sized onion, diced
2 tsp of oregano
2 tsp of dried parsley
1 tsp of cumin
1 tsp of onion salt
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
1 crushed bouillon cube

Heat a skillet over a medium flame and add a drizzle of olive oil.  Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper.  Add it to the pan and brown it on both sides for about 5 minutes each.  Remove from heat.

Add the meat and juices to the crock pot (setting on low).  Then add the remaining ingredients on top.  Cover and cook for 6-8 hours.

This dish can be served over egg noodles or brown rice.  Cook your choice according to the package directions.  Serve the meat and vegetables over top and enjoy!


Crock Pot Beef Stew.

We don’t normally eat a lot of red meat in our home but when the cold weather rolls in, as it has, there is something about a pipping hot bowl of beef stew that just warms you up.  I served this stew over whole wheat egg noodles.  The family loved it!  Another benefit, it was made in the crock pot so dinner was remarkably easy.  I served this with the crusty bread I made yesterday.  Great pairing!


2 tbl of olive oil
5 carrots, finely cubed or run through your food processor grater attachment
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced or run through the food processor as well
3 celery stalks, finely chopped (or use the food processor)
3 lb beef chuck roast, fat trimmed and then cubed into bite-sized pieces
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 c of beef broth
5 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 bag of whole wheat egg noodles

In a skillet over medium flame, add the olive oil.  Add the carrots, onion & celery & cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring often.  Then remove and add to the crock pot.  Add the cubed chuck roast along with tomatoes, broth, garlic, pepper flakes, salt & pepper.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.  If you have less time, cook on the high setting for 4-6 hours.  Right before serving, cook the pasta according to the manufacturer’s directions.  Drain and plate.  Pour the beef stew over top and serve with a good crusty bread.


Peppercorn encrusted filet mignon topped with gorgonzola with a side of asparagus zucchini risotto*.

Okay so not every meal I eat has to be over-the-top healthy! ;)  My filet was thinly sliced & oh so good.  We had leftover filet mignon from the holidays that we wanted to cook.  So we encrusted the filet with peppercorns (on one side) and grilled it over a gas flame.  Once it was almost cooked to our preference, we topped it with a tablespoon of gorgonzola crumbles and covered the grill.  Once melted, remove promptly, place on a platter & tent with foil for about 5-6 minutes for the juices to return back into the meat.

Risotto is one of the fabulously decadent foods that I love but despise making because you need to babysit it the entire time.  I’m a bit of a multi-tasker in the kitchen so I prefer not to sit and watch a pot but I made the sacrifice.  The recipe is as follows:

2 tbl of olive oil
1/2 of a medium yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 c of Arborio rice
1/3 c of white wine, preferably dry
4 c of chicken broth
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced

First, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Place the asparagus in the pot & cover. Cook for 4 minutes.  While that’s cooking, get a large bowl of ice water prepared for blanching.  Once 4 minutes is up, drain & place the asparagus in the ice bath to stop the cooking process.  Remove once the stalks are cold and bright green.  Slice in half and keep off to the side.

In your large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion & garlic.  Stirring constantly.  After 3 minutes, add the rice and constantly stir.  This will toast the rice up nicely.  After about 4-5 minutes of toasting, add the white wine.  Stirring, constantly.  This should evaporate in 1-2 minutes.  Once that has, add 1.5c of the chicken stock to the rice.  Keep stirring until the rice absorbs all of the liquid.  This takes a few minutes.  Then repeat with another 1.5c of chicken stock.  Stir until absorbed.  Finally, add the final cup of chicken stock.  Stirring for about 2-3 minutes.  Then you will add the zucchini disks to cook.  At this point I added a splash more of the stock and covered the pot for about 2 minutes.  (Add more broth or water if necessary).  Uncover an stir again.  Then add your asparagus to heat through.  Serve immediately.  *Can be served alone for a vegetarian dish as well!