Category Archives: Beef

Back to School Make Ahead Dinners: 5 to Keep You Alive

With the school year starting back up, so many of us will soon be thrown into that business of the after-school hustle. So who can’t use a few easy tricks to getting meals on the table a little faster. Some weeks I am a pre-chopper and other times I am a pre-cooker. All of these meals are meals that you can make on the weekend, or whenever you have time, and then they reheat well when it’s time serve them. The other great thing about these dishes is that because the stand up to re-heating you can easily pack them for lunch, or bring to a pot luck. I hope you enjoy these.

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Goat Cheese Enchiladas

Goat Cheese Enchiladas are a sophisticated Mexican meal that are definitely suitable for entertaining. A delicious combination of goat cheese and green chiles give this traditional comfort food a little glam power.

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Cobb Hand Pies

Chicken Cobb Hand Pies are my favorite salad tucked inside a pastry crust. Who wouldn’t love that? I love a good sandwich with a side salad, and this pocket sammy is amped up because it’s stuffed inside of dough!

 

 

 

 

Stuffed Peppers
Chicken Stuffed Peppers

Chicken Stuffed Peppers are a healthier version of the traditional pork and beef stuffed favorite, but just as tender and moist. These reheat really well, so make a batch or two and send them for lunch too.

 

 

 

 

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Veggie filled Chili

Chili what more do I need to say? OK, a little more would be good. This is a fabulous veggie chili that holds its own filled with spices that with keep your mouth begging for more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditional Meatballs
Traditional Meatballs

Traditional Meatballs are one of my tests of a good Italian restaurant. I am super picky to say the least about meatballs, as most Italians are. These are a classic recipe with my favorite homemade marinara to boot!

 

 

 

 

 

Bonus Make Ahead Meal: Pesto Chicken. Sorry no photo for this one, but it’s super simple! Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 8 x 8 inch glass baking dish with non-stick spray. Spread 1/2 cup of pesto on the bottom of the pan. Top with 2 cups of pre-cooked chicken or shredded rotisserie chicken. Spread the chicken with another 1/2 cup of pesto and top with 1/2 cup of your favorite cheese shredded (I used white cheddar). Bake for 15 minutes until bubbly and hot all the way through. Serve this over pasta or brown rice.

A Healthier Side of Chili

P1060572It’s been ages since I’ve updated this blog!   And of course with my New Year’s Resolution of a healthier lifestyle just a flash-in-the-pan behind me, I can’t forget how much I’ve ignored my readers this past year. I apologize and hope that you will all be satiated with a delectable dish for a cold winter’s night–Chili.

Ok, so it’s not all that cold this afternoon in Southern California, but I’m banking on the fact that our weather will flip-flop back to its fogginess in a few days anyway.  And who doesn’t love to whip up a bowl of chili after a busy day at work? Yes, in just 30 minutes or less!

I know most people think of chili as something that simmers away all day, and there are certainly some great slow cooking recipes out there that work magic, but so many of them have you prep way too much before you turn on the machine. I hate that! I mean, really, who wants to get up earlier just to get dinner going before you head out for the day? My kind of slow cooking is really dumping it all in and letting it all work its own magic….ok I’ll admit it–slow cooking is for my way too hectic days where I know I will be too lazy to cook at the end, and I want to avoid going the fast food route.

So if you are craving a little chili, but don’t want to waste your slow cooker day (mine is Wednesday, btw) give this recipe a try. I think you’ll really enjoy the fresh flavors and the added vegetables that give it a slight sweetness.

Shopping List:

1 pound ground beef, I prefer 7-15 % fat organic

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 medium zucchini, quartered and diced

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1-28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon of chili powder

2 teaspoons of cumin

2 teaspoons of ancho chili powder

salt to taste

Suggested toppings: sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, red onion, black olives, radishes, tortilla chips, corn chips…ok, so basically anything you like.

Instructions:

1. In a large sauté pan, sauté on medium-high heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the garlic until the garlic begins to brown.

2. Add the ground beef to the pan and brown it for approximately 5 minutes until it is mostly cooked. A little pink is still ok, since you will continue cooking it from this point.

3. Push the meat to the edges of the pan, and add the zucchini and corn to the center, and then let it cook for 5-7 minutes until the meat and vegetables are nicely caramelized.

4. Reduce the heat on the pan and begin to season dish with the cumin, the chili powders and the tomatoes. Let this simmer at low for another 5-7 minutes. Then taste it! You might want to add some salt or of course your favorite hot sauce. Now it’s ready to enjoy with any (or none) of those yummy toppings.

Serves: 4-6

A Welcome Back Recipe: An Ode to Mom and Dad, Meatballs with Marinara

i_2013010312371990Hi there. It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe, huh?  That doesn’t mean that I’ve gone off the grid or anything. In fact, I’ve been doing just what my blog is about: helping family. Continue reading A Welcome Back Recipe: An Ode to Mom and Dad, Meatballs with Marinara

Middle Eastern-ish Grilled Kabobs

It’s that time of year where everyone is throwing stuff on the grill. Whether you’re born to BBQ, or not this is a pretty simple marinade that I recreated after watching an episode of Dinners, Drive-ins and Dives a while back.

I thought that the addition of cinnamon to a basic herb marinade sounded delightful, and after I tested it out I realized why the place was featured on the show. It’s delicious. The sublty of the spice makes you wonder what it is, since it’s not one of those totally in-your-face types of spices. Most of the time I just marinate steaks in it, but here I’ve cut up the steaks into smaller bites to create kabobs. How very summery of me, huh? This marinade works well with both beef and chicken, although I prefer it with the beef.

1 1/2 pounds boneless Rib Eye (or your favorite cut of meat), cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks

One onion quartered

1/4 cup your favorite olive oil

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

1/2 cup of fresh cilantro roughly chopped

2 red peppers, cut into 1 1/2 inch squares

8 ounces of whole mushrooms

Instructions:

1. The night before you plan to serve the meat, in a gallon-sized ziplock bag combine the cut up steaks, olive oil, cinnamon, onion and cilantro. Seal the bag and let it marinate in the fridge overnight.

2. When you are about 30 minutes from serving the meal, pull the meat out of the refrigerator and start to create the kabobs by alternating the veggies with the meat on a skewer. here I used metal skewers which I recommend for more even cooking and stability. If you must resort to bamboo skewers, which are sold everywhere, make sure to soak them in water for 30 minutes before threading the meat and veggies.

3. Next, get your grill nice and hot so you can get a good crust on the meat and seal in the juices. Also, make sure to oil your grate before putting the kabobs on the grill to prevent sticking.

4. Cook the kabobs on the grill for about 4-5 minutes per side.

Serves: 4-5

Short Ribs

Lazy Sunday Dinner

Sundays get a bad rap, but in my book they’re great way to laze around the house and get stuff checked off my list.  I really do like to clean and organize the house on Sundays, in between meals and trips to the park of course. There’s something about doing the laundry, filing the mail and vacuuming the floors that makes me pretty happy. I know I’m a freak of nature here, but really, I like starting the week this way.

OK enough, now, back to food. Sundays are also a good day to make a meal that cooks slowly all day and is full of flavor. I find it more and more seductive that I can throw a few ingredients in a pot and let them simmer (on the stove or in a slow cooker or in the oven) all day. For some reason these meals always end up tasting so luxurious, but really the effort is minimal. I think of this as the ideal Sunday supper because you could just sit around and do nothing once you put it in the oven and it would still taste sublime. Also, these taste fantastic the next day in a sandwich or a soft taco.

Shopping List:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

coarse salt and pepper

2.5 lbs. bone-in beef short ribs (I had about 10 ribs)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 carrots, cut into large chunks

1 onion, quartered

1/2 cup red wine

2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 can diced tomatoes, no salt added

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Also, heat the oil in a 6 quart Dutch oven or heavy oven-proof pot over medium heat.

2. Place flour in a plastic zippered bag and season with salt and pepper (I used about 1/2 teaspoon each). Toss the ribs with the flour mixture and shake off excess.

3. Place the ribs in the pot and cook until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. If you need to use two plates to do this that’s ok.

4. Once browned move the ribs to a plate temporarily ,while you add the carrots and onions to the pot. Stir up any browned bits and cook until the veggies are lightly browned too, about 3-5 minutes.

5. Next add the wine, broth, thyme and tomatoes. Nestle the ribs back into the pot and bring it all to a boil.

6. Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven to cook one hour.

7. After one hour, reduce the heat to 350 degrees and cook about an hour more. Serve with the sauce over rice or pasta, or let cool and refrigerate up to one day.

Serves: 4