But Sugar is Sweeter

Beef

Beef Bourguignonne

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This French delicacy, labled by Julia Child as “certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man”,  comes to you from no other than my very own Mom.  That’s right, the lady who we tease about being “Irish”, and who would much prefer to set the table then make the food, made Beef Bourguignonne.  In fact, this isn’t the first time she has made it – I would go so far as to call this one of my mom’s signature dishes.  I can remember coming home from college to this meal.  It instantly became my perfect comfort food.  After a long week on a new service, mom invited us over for Sunday dinner, and this was the absolute perfect compliment to a snowy and cold February day.

At first I figured that because it came from a crock pot, it must be easy…. Don’t be fooled –  this recipe is actually quite a bit of work because everything has to be browned before slow cooking.   However, it’s great for company because all the work can be done early morning and then you can relax the rest of the day and actually visit with your guests.  It is a stick to your ribs kind of meal that will certainly get you through this seemingly endless winter.  

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Beef Bourguignonne

Serves 8-10

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 5 lbs. beef stew meat, in 1 inch pieces
  • salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 4 bacon slices, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 5-7 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 2 yellow onions, slices 1/4 inch thick
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 fresh tyme springs
  • 6 fresh parsley sprigs
  • 1 lb. white button mushrooms, halved
  • 1 bottle Pinot Noir (from Burgundy if you want to be fancy)
  • 1 Tbs. beef demi-glace
  • Steamed baby red potatoes (about 4 per person)

Place the flour in a large bowl. Season the beef with salt and pepper, add to the flour and stir to coat evenly. Transfer to a plate, shaking off the excess flour.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until almost smoking. Working in batches, brown the beef on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a slow cooker.Add the bacon, carrots, onions and garlic to the sauté pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker along with the bay leaves, thyme, parsley and mushrooms.

Off the heat, pour the wine into the sauté pan and set over medium-high heat. Whisk in the demi-glace and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Add to the slow cooker, cover and cook until the meat is fork tender, 6 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Discard the bay leaves.

Transfer the beef bourguignonne to a platter and serve with steamed potatoes. Serves 10.

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Quick and Easy Chinese Orange Beef

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It is not very often that I like to make something twice, and it is also rare that I like to eat leftovers… so the fact that I made this twice in one week, AND had the leftovers for lunch, should tell you that this meal was a total winner.  The first time I made it, I wasn’t expecting much.  I mostly just made it to add some variety to our menu, as I have a hard time incorporating lean beef.  Then I made it and completely fell in love.   For non-marinated flank steak, it was incredibly tender and orange flavor really shines through.  Plus, any meal that satisfies my sweet tooth with something nutritious and delicious, is an obvious A+ (Think Blueberry Salmon, Mango Salmon, and  Strawberry Pizza). I think this will be a regular in our rotation, because it really does make great lunches the rest of the week.

This meal is ready from start to finish in less then 30 minutes, but some of the steps are more time consuming then the others.  For example, the zesting the orange and grating the ginger.  To save time even more time you could easily buy the ginger in a squeeze bottle in the refrigerator section, or make the sauce ahead of time.  Be sure to start the rice early so it’s ready when the meat is done! IMG_4740

Quick and Easy Chinese Orange Beef

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
2-3 teaspoons grated orange zest (I just zest 1 whole orange)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons Asian chili sauce
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons cornstarch
vegetable oil for pan
1-1/2 pounds flank steak (to clarify: that’s one steak, that weighs about 1.5 pounds)
3-4 green onions, sliced
hot white or brown rice for serving

Instructions

Trim fat from flank steak, then slice as thin as possible across the grain. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Whisk orange zest and orange juice, brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, chili sauce, ginger, and cornstarch together in a bowl.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Drizzle pan with oil and tilt to coat.  Add half of beef, breaking up any clumps and let cook without stirring for one minute.  Stir beef and continue to cook until browned, about 2 minutes; transfer to a bowl and cover.  Repeat with remaining beef and transfer to bowl.

Whisk sauce to recombine, add to now-empty skillet, and cook over medium heat until thickened, about 2-3 minutes.  Return cooked beef, with any accumulated juices, to skillet and toss to combine.  Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.

Source: Our Best Bites


Three Bean and Beef Chili

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As much as I love an interesting dessert, or a buttery breakfast baked good, usually when I am scouring the internet for recipes, I am looking for dinner.  After all, it is technically possible to go a day without dessert (well not for me, but for some people); but most everyone would agree that at least one meal is a necessity.  So while classic chili might not be the most exciting thing ever posted here, I can say that this is a tried and true recipe that will keep you warm on a wintery night.  This is a real crowd pleaser, and my mom even requested that we make it as her birthday meal.  Personally, I would’ve gone with the Lobster and Corn Chowder, but I guess that’s why it’s her birthday ;-).

For the longest time I only liked turkey chili, but I’ve found that extra lean beef actually has the same amount of fat as turkey, with the added benefits of a healthy dose of iron and a lot more flavor.   Be careful though, because using anything less than 90/10 will give you that greasy chili that I personally think is gross. (I prefer my fats disguised in baked goods, not floating on top of my soup).  This chili is not particularly spicy, but can easily be toned down or up with the addition of extra jalepenos or crushed red pepper.  Similar to the Cincinnati Chili, this recipe uses bittersweet chocolate, which really adds a dimension of flavor so don’t leave it out.
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Classic Beef and Bean Chili

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 large onions, chopped (2 cups)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-4 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups beer (or water)
  • 1 15-oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-oz can chili beans, in sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 ounce semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • Crushed red pepper, if desired
  • Shredded cheddar, green onions, additional jalapeños and corn chips for topping

Directions:
Brown the beef in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat. Drain off fat if necessary. Add the onions, garlic and jalapeños and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, until starting to soften. Add the chili powder and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomato sauce and beer (or water) and increase heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes.

While the beef mixture is cooking, place one can of beans in a medium bowl and mash with a fork. Stir the remaining two cans of beans, along with the mashed beans, into the chili and return to a simmer. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salt, cilantro and chocolate. Continue stirring until the chocolate has melted. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve with desired toppings.

Adapted from Cook Like a Champion 


Beef and Barley Stew

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Ah.  Real Food.  This is what January was meant to be.  Not including the peanut M&Ms (which I mistakenly bought a XXL bag of  because I was hungry at Costco….never a good thing)  the food around here has most definitely taken a turn for the more wholesome.  I can’t really promise that this will last long, but while I’m craving healthy food, I might as well take advantage.  There is nothing quite like a warm, hearty, filling and yet healthy stew to warm up with on chilly January evening.  Or considering the 40-50 degree days we have been having I should probably say, “On a abnormally warm, almost balmy  January evening in Ohio”, but it just doesn’t have the same ring.  Global warming is seriously ruining seasonal eating.

No matter what the weather, I could probably eat this stew.  Well I might be lying slightly.  I wouldn’t eat it in the summer.  That would be like some kind of sin- hot stew in the summer?  But anytime September through April would be fine if you are lucky enough to live in a place like tropical Toledo. (Can you sense my bitterness at winter – and this is even after I got an automatic car starter for Christmas!).  But in all seriousness, the first time I made this stew was back in Louisiana, where the humidity never drops below 100% – and it was still good.  It’s the kind of stew that feels well balanced because you get vegetables, grain, and protein all in one place.  I really love the addition of barley because it makes this stew seem extra hearty and yet also somewhat gourmet.

One caution is that the barley continues to absorb water after cooking.  When you go to get leftovers the next day you may find that all the liquid is gone and the barley has doubled in size – but never fear – just add a bit more water, and reheat.  If you are trying to make this in advance, or if you’d like to freeze it, I would probably make it without the barley, and then just add the barley when reheating it.
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Beef and Barley Stew

Serves 6-8

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 2 ½ cups chopped leaks (about 3 leeks including green stems)
  • 2 ½ cups sliced carrot
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 – 14 oz cans beef broth
  • 1 cup uncooked medium pearled barley

1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add half of beef; cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining beef.

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2. Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add leek, carrot, and garlic; sauté 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Return beef to pan. Add all ingredients EXCEPT barley and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, or longer if desired. Add barley; cook 30 minutes or until beef and barley are tender. Discard bay leaves.
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Adapted from Cooking Light


Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

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If you start taking pictures of the food that you cook at home, it doesn’t take long to realize that a lot of homemade meals are just not that photogenic.  Unfortunately, we don’t eat cookies, cupcakes and sushi all the time .  But I don’t want to fall into the rut of only posting things that turn out pretty – because, well that would mean I’d be making (and eating) an awful lot of baked goods.  Plus, I wanted this blog to be a mix of everything that is good to eat.  Hopefully, if my photography skills improve, I’ll be able to make even “un-photogenic” foods look as delicious as they are.  But for now, you’ll just have to trust me.

This soup doesn’t look like much, but I really love it.  This week is “test week”, so I can pretty much assure you that If I get around to posting anything,   it will be easy to make.  I like to use cooking as a break from sitting, all alone, in the room that John and I like to call “The Dungeon”.  But during a really busy week, being away from my books for more than an hour starts to stress me out.  So sometimes, I just bring my books with me, to the kitchen, or the gym, or the couch… But seriously, this dinner takes about 15 minutes of prep and packs a lot of flavor.  It’s a lot less work than actually stuffing green peppers, but it’s very hearty and will warm you up on a cold winter night.   Really it’s not a “soup” in the sense that you could probably eat it with a fork if you’d like, but there was really not another word to use to describe it.

Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

Makes about 4 servings

  • 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 green peppers, seeded and chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 a large onion)
  • A dash of crushed red pepper & a Pinch of black pepper
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (10.75 oz)condensed tomato soup, undiluted
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) of low sodium beef broth
  • Hot white rice (I usually make 3-4cups of rice – it’s cheap and I’d rather have more than enough)

In a dutch oven, over medium heat, cook the ground beef for 3-5 minutes, or until brown and crumbly.  Add the green pepper and chopped onion and cook for about 8 minutes or until slightly softened.  Add a dash of crushed red pepper (or more if you like spice) and a pinch of black pepper.  Pour in the can of tomatoes, tomato soup and beef broth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.  Serve over hot white rice.

Barely adapted from Cooking Light


Cincinnati Chili

Growing up in Ohio, Cincinnati Chili was always a go-to meal for my family, so I have very fond memories of it.   Because of this I might not be the best critic,  but I have to say that I LOVE this dinner.  If you haven’t had Cincinnati Style chili, you really must try it!  It’s often called 5 way chili, because you serve: 1) the uniquely flavored chili, 2) over pasta, 3) with cheese, 4) with beans, 5) with onion, and then I like to add a little bit of sour cream.  It is NOT a spicy chili.  It’s actually more on the savory/sweet side.  In fact,  it even has chocolate in the recipe, which is probably why I love it so much.

I think one of the reasons that we often had this as kids was because there is a fancy little seasoning packet you can buy that makes this dinner super easy.  Being up in Toledo,  I couldn’t find it at our store and I really had a craving for it,  so I decided that I would make this chili from scratch.  I know – “way to complicate things again, Jacqueline,” but sometimes I just feel like you can taste the work that went into the food, and I like the taste of effort.  I have since found a place that sells the seasoning, but I don’t think I will ever go back – I like this recipe too much!  I was a little intimidated when I found it, because the ingredient list looked really long, but once I actually went through it I realized the only things I had to buy at the store were the turkey & sirloin, onions, and a can of tomato puree!  (I do have a large collection of spices). This dinner is quite easy to throw together, and just remember, this isn’t baking – you definitely don’t really need to measure exactly.   I just eyeballed it using a regular old silverware,  and it goes a lot quicker.

Cincinnati Chili

– Prep/Active Time: 20 minutes           Cooking time: 45 minutes.
– Serves 5-6
  • 1  pound  ground turkey
  • 1/2  pound  ground sirloin
  • 2  cups  chopped onion (about 1 very large onion)
  • 3  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  cup  water
  • 2  Tablespoons  brown sugar
  • 3  Tablespoons  spicy barbecue sauce (ketchup would probably substitute fine)
  • 4  teaspoons  white vinegar
  • 2  Tablespoons  chili powder
  • 3/4  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 3/4  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground allspice
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground coriander
  • 1/2  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2  ounce  unsweetened chocolate, chopped (I used chocolate chips this time but it was better when I used the unsweetenend chocolate.  You could also substitue cocoa powder if need be.)
  • 1  (10 3/4-ounce) can tomato puree (I could only find a 28 oz can, so I just used half of it)

For Serving:

  • Hot Cooked spaghetti
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Kidney beans (rinsed, drained & warmed)
  • Chopped Onion
  • Light Sour Cream
  • Oyster crackers (if desired)

1. Coat a large dutch oven with cooking spray and heat over medium-high.

2. Brown the turkey and sirloin in the dutch oven. (About 5 minutes)

3. Add the onions & garlic to the pan and cook until tender (Again about 5 minutes).

4. Add the rest of the ingredients (water, brown sugar, bbq sauce, spices, chocolate, tomato puree) and bring to a boil.

5. Turn the heat down and simmer for about 45 minutes (or longer).

6. To serve: Place a scoop of spaghetti on each plate, top with a ladle of chili.  Add  cheese, kidney beans, onions, sour cream and crackers as desired.

Originally from Cooking Light