Category Archives: beef

Guess who’s back…back again…

Erin’s back…tell a friend…

Hello!!! Miss me?? 😉 LOL.

I’m beyond thrilled to announce that I successfully completed the NaNoWriMo challenge and finished my 50k word novel on Thanksgiving afternoon. I gotta be honest though…I still haven’t read it from start to finish, so I’m pretty sure it sucks and makes no sense but I’m so tired of looking at it now, that I’ve decided to just put that aside for a while and get back to blogging! I’ve got boatloads of updates to do and now that the holiday cooking and baking season is here (yay!) I’m sure there will be a lot more coming in the month of December.

Eric and I were talking in the car on our way home that once it gets to be December 1, bets are off as far as the weather goes. Winter is officially here. What would have been some minor flurries just one week ago turns into a major storm as soon as the calendar clicks over to December. We actually had to cut our weekend at home short and head on back to Iowa to beat the snow…one day shy of the December 1 deadline! So here I am, cuddly and warm on my couch, watching the flakes fall outside our picture window and dreaming of a big bowl of comfort. Although it’s technically been weeks since I made this chili, tonight would be the perfect night to enjoy a big old helping of this. Mmmmm….

This is my absolute favorite chili recipe. Let me tell you why I love it…I’m telling you, it’s the BBQ baked beans in it. They give the whole dish a bold, smokey flavor that I adore. I also like the mixture of beef and sausage, it keeps things interesting. And I had never tried making anything with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce but…wow, love that smokey heat! I don’t care for chili when it’s all soupy…it needs to be thick and hearty. This one has the perfect texture.

I’m just going to say it flat out…this is the best chili ever. Seriously…ever. 🙂 It makes a HUGE pot and it freezes beautifully. Perfect for when you want something warm and quick.

TEXAS CHILI (Recipe Source: Bride & Groom First and Forever Cookbook)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon bacon grease or vegetable oil (I use veggie oil)
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 pound ground beef chuck (I use a 96% lean, but that’s just my preference)
  • 1 pound Italian sausage links, removed from casings and crumbled (I use turkey Italian sausage, again – just my preference)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 2 cans (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 oz) BBQ baked beans, drained
  • 1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, plus more as needed.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat oil in an 8 quart heavy-bottom stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, 7 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin and oregano and stir until the spices are well combined. Add the ground beef, sausage, and 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt.
  3. Increase heat to medium-high and cook the meat, stirring frequently, until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in remaining ingredients. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Adjust the seasonings with more kosher salt or chipotle chiles if necessary. Serve with your favorite chili fixin’s. (I’m a purist…just shredded cheddar for me!)

ENJOY! 🙂

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I made ’em extra SLOPPY for ya’s!

“Lady, you’re scaring us!”

Okay, so I have every single line from Billy Madison mesmorized. I’ve only seen it, oh, half a million times in my ife. Still funny. Admit it…it’s funny. Yeah, that’s what I thought.

I served up this tasty little sammy to Eric last night and on his first bite, he promptly dribbled it all over his shirt. That’s when we had to start breaking out the classic Billy Madison lunch lady talk. And then spent the next few minutes laughing like a couple of kids. Hey, laughter is the spice of life, right? Who cares if it’s at something so outrageously silly!

You would think sloppy joes would be the kind of thing you STOP eating when you get older, not start eating. When I was a kid, I didn’t care for sloppy joes. I’m not really sure why…it’s very kid friendly. Maybe I was traumatized by this lunch room favorite as a small child and refused to eat it again. I don’t really remember. My mom actually made them herself…it wasn’t the canned Manwich stuff or anything. I can’t explain my dislike…but she always kept a bit of the meat aside and made me a hamburger instead. Thanks, Mom! 🙂

I tried this recipe as something easy that Eric would like because, hey, if kids really like it, that probably means my husband really likes it too. 😉 Turns out, it’s very good. I wouldn’t’ want to eat it everyday, but it was perfect for a lazy night of football. I have to admit though…it tasted WAY better the next day!

SLOW COOKER SLOPPY JOES (Recipe adapted from: Crock*Pot Slow Cooker Favorites)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 1/2 tbs. firmly packed brown sugar
  • Hamburger buns

    DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add all ingredients (except buns) to slow cooker, stir to combine.
  2. Cook, covered, on low for 4 to 6 hours or on high for 2 to 3 hours. Serve on hamburger buns.

ENJOY! 🙂

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Beef – It’s what he wants for dinner

Let me tell you a little something about Eric and me. We are what some might call…a bit of an odd match. So here I am, a suburban girl through and through. I grew up in the land of subdivisions, malls, 30 screen movie theaters , huge schools, crowds, traffic…pretty much all the things my adoring husband can’t stand.  It’s just not his thing.

See, Eric is a bonafide country boy. Corn-fed and farm raised. Dairy farm raised. (See, get it?? Dairy…Milk…The Milkman’s Wife! HA!) I knew nothing of the country life before I met Eric. I knew nothing of Southern Illinois. (Come on…southern Illinois is anything south of I-80, right? Kankakee was southern Illinois when I was growing up!)  Seriously, it’s like a different world down there. There are hills and thick forests of trees. Milder winters and slight southern drawls. Nothing at all like the flat, wind-swept prairies and city skyscrapers you see in other parts of the state. And I certainly had never stepped foot on a real working farm before.  He and I come from two completely different worlds. I don’t know how it works…it just does. We complement each other perfectly. Plus, we are both good communicators and compromisers. I know he doesn’t want the big city life, he knows I’m probably not cut out for country living, so we settled somewhere in between. Not too small…not too big! We are like peas and carrots!

Well, of course, everyone has disagreements every now and then and we are no exception. A while back, I stayed behind at home while Eric went to visit his family on their farm for a long weekend. He returned with an entire third of a steer. Turns out, his parents were butchering (they have a small beef operation on the farm) and he decided to buy in, with his aunt and uncle picking up the last third. I was beyond shocked. Do you realize how much beef that is??? It’s hundreds and hundreds of pounds of meat. I couldn’t believe he agreed to do that without consulting with me first. We had to go buy and extra freezer to store it. Needless to say, I was rather annoyed. Well, I got over it…seeing it as a chance to try new things.

I am STILL trying to figure out how in the world to use all this beef…I use the hamburger and stuff for chili and tacos, but I have a hard time with the steaks, I just don’t love it. I only like it when it’s done exceptionally well, and I’m just not that talented. Plus there are a couple mystery cuts I’m not that thrilled to dig into (what the heck is a cube steak?? Sounds awful…) And beef roasts are not my favorite either. I guess I just don’t love red meat. I’d be perfectly content to never eat it again. LOL! Eric would flip! Forget I said that….

I will continue to try out recipes like this one from Cooking Light (September 2008 cover recipe)…to keep my corn fed, farm raised, red meat eater happy. Even I enjoyed this. Very flavorful, and so easy! It came together so fast, I had call Eric in from his mowing way earlier than I thought I would have to. He sat at the table, all sweaty and dirty and chowed down on this.

I cooked my potatoes a bit too long, so I’d make sure and check them after 30. Mine were a tad on the crisp side. I was going to serve with some roasted broccoli but some how I managed to forget…oops. So I just threw together a tossed salad to serve on the side instead. Plenty of food!

My photo looks a little like something you might find if you looked down into the depths of a trash can at McDonalds…a pile of slop surrounded by french fries, but I SWEAR this is really really good! LOL! That’s just brown food for ya…not very camera friendly.

STEAK FRITES WITH SHALLOT PAN REDUCTION (Recipe Source: Cooking Light, September 2008)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 3/4  pounds  baking potatoes (about 2 large potatoes), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch sticks
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4  teaspoon  kosher salt, divided
  • 2  teaspoons  chopped fresh thyme, divided
  • 1  pound  boneless sirloin steak, trimmed
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2  tablespoons  finely chopped shallots
  • 2  tablespoons  brandy (I didn’t have any brandy and didn’t want to buy a whole bottle so I just deglazed with two tablespoons of the wine we drank with dinner.)
  • 3/4  cup  less-sodium beef broth
  • 1  tablespoon  Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  butter

DIRECTIONS:

1. Position 1 oven rack on the highest setting. Position another rack on the lowest setting.

2. Preheat oven to 450°.

3. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on baking sheets. Coat with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Bake at 450° for 40 minutes or until golden brown, stirring potatoes and rotating pans halfway through. Toss potatoes with 1 teaspoon thyme. (Check those potatoes after 30…they cook up quicker than you think! I cooked mine too long!)

4. Heat a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle both sides of steak with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Add steak to pan; sauté 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from pan; keep steak warm.

5. Add shallots to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Add brandy; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add beef broth, Dijon mustard, and remaining 1 teaspoon thyme; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 2/3 cup (about 3 minutes). Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Add butter, stirring with a whisk.

6. Slice steak. Serve with shallot pan reduction sauce and potatoes.

ENJOY! 🙂

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A Man-Pleasing Meal

Ahhh…it’s good to be back to blogging. I’ve been running around like crazy the last couple weeks with my new job and all the traveling we have been doing. I feel like I haven’t been in the kitchen in months!

Today was a cloudy, rainy, cold day here in northeast Iowa. A sure sign that fall is on the way. I was craving something warm and comforting for dinner. Since Eric is really busy with school and work,  and he was really a trooper going all the way to Indianapolis with my family this weekend even though he’s completely swamped, I thought he deserved a meal I knew he’d love. I have a tendency to put my own tastes before his because…well, I guess I’m a selfish, terrible wife. Heh….

This was way yummy and totally hit the spot on a cold day. The original recipe calls for grilling the calzones, which would be delicious I’m sure. I baked mine…because there was no way I was going to stand out there in this weather!! The perfect meal for hard working, meat loving man!

BACON CHEESEBURGER CALZONES WITH SPICY CAJUN KETCHUP (Recipe Adapted from: Everyday with Rachael Ray)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound refrigerated pizza dough
  • 1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used closer to a cup, I like lots of cheese
  • Salt
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400*, divide the pizza dough and form into two balls. Place in a large bowl greased with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temp for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the beef over medium heat, breaking up the meat, until browned, about 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  3. In the same skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Reserve the drippings in the skillet (I soaked up a bit of the drippings with a paper towel and reserved about 1/2 tbs.). Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes; add to beef. Crumble the bacon into the beef mixture and stir in the cheese; season with salt.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1ball of dough into a 12-inch round and transfer to a large oiled baking sheet. Place half the beef mixture on one side of the round. Top with half the tomatoes. Fold over the dough to form a half moon; crimp the edge to seal. Repeat with the remaining dough. Brush the calzones with olive oil. Pierce a vent in the top of each calzone. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.

**Note:** I ended up with about a quarter of the filling left, probably because I didn’t roll my dough enough and I got nervous about filling them too much because I thought they’d burst. You could probably get away with only 1/2 pound of meet and two slices of bacon for two people.

SPICY CAJUN KETCHUP (for dipping!)

  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 3-4 drops hot pepper sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning

Combine and enjoy! 🙂

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Recipe or Marketing Ploy?

There are tons of great resources for recipes out there. One of the places I’m NOT likely to look is the back of packages of conveinece foods from the grocery store. I don’t know…I just feel like it’s less about good food and more about selling their prodects. I don’t need some marketing person telling me what’s good! LOL!

There are two exceptions to this….one is the delicious Jell-O pudding, Philly cream cheese, Cool-Whip laden desserts from Kraft. Ha! Can’t resist those. And the other is this recipe for Taco Bake that I discovred on the back of a box of Ortega taco shells. It’s sooo good! A great cure for the common taco!

TACO BAKE (Recipe Source: Ortega)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup (1 small) chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup Taco Sauce
  • 1 4 oz can Diced Green Chiles  
  • 1 package Taco Seasoning Mix
  • 1 package (12) Ortega® Taco Shells or (12) Ortega® White Corn Taco Shells, broken, divided
  • 2 cups Mild Cheddar Cheese, divided
  • Chopped tomatoes (optional)
  • Sliced green onions (optional)
  • DIRECTIONS:

    1. Preheat your oven to 375º F.
    2. Cook beef, onion and garlic in a large saucepan until beef is browned.
    3. Stir in water, taco sauce, chiles, 1/4 cup olives and seasoning mix.
    4. Let this simmer over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
    5. Lay out half of the broken shells on the bottom of a greased 12 x 8-inch baking dish.
    6. Cover with half of the meat sauce. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese, then repeat with remaining taco shells, meat sauce and cheese to create layers of the different ingredients.
    7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.
    8. Top the casserole with tomatoes and green onions.

    ENJOY! 🙂

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    Encilada Deja Vu

    I laughed when I took my pic of this enchilada slop I made because it looked alarmingly similar to this recipe that I make quite frequently. The general consensus is…looks bad, tastes good. I have decided that enchiladas are just ugly. What are you gonna do, ya know? They are sloppy. And they are messy. And, oh my goodness, they are heaven on a plate.

    Enchiladas are quickly becoming one of my favorite thing to make and eat at home. They are so simple, filled with ingredients I almost always have on hand, and taste even better the next day! This time, I tried a different recipe for the red sauce. Now, I’m a red sauce fan. I’d try a green sauce but that would scare Eric so I think I’ll stick with red for now. I can’t do a sour cream or cheese based sauce though…not my style. This one was simple and delicious! I stuffed my enchiladas this time a mixture of ground beef, brown rice, salsa and cheese. Yum!

    BEEF AND RICE ENCHILADAS WITH RED SAUCE (Sauce recipe: allrecipes.com)

    **Note**: You will notice that the original recipe calls for a 6 oz can of tomato sauce. Then you probably notice, when you attempt to purchase such a thing, that a 6 oz can of tomato sauce doesn’t exist. Ha! Reviewers of the recipe concluded that there was an error and what is actually required is a 6 oz can of tomato PASTE. Which, low and behold, does in fact exist. So that is what I used. Came out great! I changed the ingredient list below to reflect that. Other changes are in italics.

    Annnnddd…cue the ugly photo. Ready, GO!

    SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon minced onion (I upped this, I probably added closer to 1 1/2 tsps. What can I say…I like onion)
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (I used 1 tsp. of fresh)
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil  (I used 1 tsp. of fresh)
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
    • 1/4 cup salsa
    • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
    • 1 1/2 cups water

    ENCHILADA INGREDIENTS

    • 1 lb. lean ground beef, turkey or chicken
    • 1 cup cooked rice (I’m on brown rice kick…better for you and I notice no difference in taste)
    • Salt & Pepper to taste
    • 1/4 cup salsa
    • 8 flour or corn tortillas
    • Your favorite shredded cheese (I used a cheddar jack blend this time)

    DIRECTIONS:

    1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the onion, oregano, chili powder, basil, ground black pepper, salt, cumin, parsley, salsa and tomato paste.
    2. Mix together and then stir in the water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brown beef in a large skillet. Drain. Return to skillet, add cooked rice, s&p and salsa and simmer until heated through.
    4. Grease a 9×13 baking dish and coat the bottom with about a quarter cup of sauce. Heat tortillas, fill with beef mixture, sprinkle with about a tablespoon of cheese. Roll tightly and place seam side down in the dish.
    5. Pour remaining sauce over the top of enchiladas and cover the entire dish with cheese. (I like lots of cheese…I probably used about 1 1/2 cups. Feel free to adjust)
    6. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional ten minutes or until cheese is brown and bubbly. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

    ENJOY! 🙂

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    Putting a Little Fun into Monday

    I got home after working out this morning and flipped on the last half hour of the Today show. They were talking to Jimmy Buffet’s sister Lucy about her new cookbook. She showed off some delightful little burgers that looked just like the ones I like to get when we go the Cheeseburgers in Paradise. I love that place! So much fun!

    I thought mini-burgers would be a fun meal to chase away the Monday blues. Lucy mentioned she made the mini-buns from refrigerated french bread dough dipped in sesame seeds. What a great idea! I could totally do that! We had a lot of fun loading the toppings on these little babies! Made Monday a lot more fun!

    MINI-CHEESEBURGERS (Recipe Insipiration: Lucy Buffet as seen on the Today Show 7.28.08)

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 2 loaves refrigerated french bread dough (I used Pilsbury)
    • Sesame Seeds
    • 1 lb. ground beef
    • Your favorite seasonings and toppings. Time to get creative! (I did colby jack cheese, a bit of caramelized onion and this fun cranberry BBQ sauce my BIL bought for me on a trip to Oregon with this past spring.)

    DIRECTIONS:

    1. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll into balls. Dip the tops into sesame seeds. Place on a greased cookie sheet and flatten a bit with a the back of a spatula so they are about 2.5 to 3 inches in diameter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
    2. Prepare your ground beef however you like it by adding any seasonings/veggies/breadcrumbs/eggs to the mix. (I just added a bit of steak seasoning.)Form into twelve small patties. Grill approximately 5 mins. on each side until desired doneness.
    3. Add to buns, add your toppings and start having fun with your dinner!

    ENJOY! 🙂

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