Dinners

Recipe—Busy Mom’s Beef Wellington

Traditional beef wellington has got to be one of the most glamorous meals ever prepared. It is so rich and attractive but certainly not something you want to be making Monday–Friday. It is a wonderful dish but it is a lot of work! Certainly not in the regular rotation for this busy momma! I saw this recipe the other day for a beef wellington made from ground beef and had to give it a try. It was absolutely delicious! It was relatively easy to throw together and the flavors were very close to that of traditional wellington, just with some added veggies, which are always welcome in our house. This will most certainly be a go to recipe for me from here on out.

Note: Try to dice your veggies so that they are all about the same size. This will help them to cook evenly. This will make two wellington “logs”. Each log will feed 2–3 people. If you don’t think you will eat both, place one prepared and uncooked “log” on a wax paper lined baking sheet and freeze for 2–3 hours. Transfer to an airtight bag or seal o’ meal pouch and freeze for a future dinner. (See Steps below for cooking a frozen one.)

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 potato, cubed
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 portobello mushroom or 5 baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
2 tsp thyme
1 lb ground beef
salt and pepper
1 package puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
flour for dusting and rolling
1 egg

STEPS

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion, carrot, potato, garlic, mushrooms, and thyme to the skillet and sauté until your vegetables are fork tender and onions are translucent, about 8–10 minutes.
  • Transfer your cooked veggies to a bowl and place in the freezer for 10–15 minutes to cool.
  • While your veggies cool preheat the oven to 350º.
  • Remove the veggies from the freezer and add in the ground beef, salt, and pepper.
  • Mix everything together until well combined. (I recommend just getting in there and using your hands.)
  • Set your meat mixture to the side.
  • Dust a large cutting board with flour and unfold your pastry. Dust the side of the dough facing up with additional flour and roll out to 1/4″ thickness.
  • Divide your meat mixture into two portions and shape one of those portions into a log in the center of the dough.
  • Wrap the dough around the meat “log” like you would a burrito, making sure to tuck in both ends.
  • Place seam side down on a baking sheet.
  • In a small bowl whisk the egg until broken up.
  • Brush the egg wash over the entire outside of the prepared wellington.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes until it is a nice golden brown.
  • Transfer the baked wellington to a cutting board and allow it to sit for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
  • Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Jaime Oliver.

Brunch, Dinners

Recipe—Mushroom and Swiss Cheeseburger Pie

Finding family friendly low-carb recipes can be a struggle. One go to ingredient you can work miracles with are eggs. Yes, the incredible, edible egg! I love that you can mix in practically any ingredients with eggs, throw the mixture in a pie dish and voilá! Dinner is done! Call it a frittata, a quiche, a pie, whatever your heart desires. My son is a cheeseburger fanatic (what 3 year old boy isn’t?) so when I told him we were having a cheeseburger pie for dinner his little blue eyes lit up. (It amazes me that all I have to do to get him to try something new is give it a fun name. Now if only that trick worked with my husband…) When I initially made this it was for dinner, but I will tell you the leftovers make an awesome breakfast too. Who would have thought of throwing all your favorite hamburger toppings right into a pie dish? I will tell you who, this crazy diva!

INGREDIENTS
3/4–1 lb of lean ground beef
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 c slice white mushrooms
6 large eggs
3 tbsp milk
1 1/2 c shredded Swiss cheese

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • In a large skillet cook the ground beef over medium high heat.
  • When the meat is still a little pink add in the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion, and mushrooms.
  • Cook until the onions are translucent and meat cooked through.
  • Remove from heat and drain off any excess fat.
  • In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, and 1 cup of the shredded Swiss cheese.
  • Add the cooked meat mixture to the mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  • Transfer the egg mixture to a greased pie dish.
  • Sprinkle the remaining Swiss cheese over the top.
  • Bake for 25–35 minutes or until set and no longer “jiggly” in the middle.
  • Allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.
Dinners

Recipe—Rio Grande Spice Rub New York Steaks with Grilled Red Onions

My husband is the grill master. Whenever we are grilling up any kind of meat I let him handle the seasoning of the meat. This steak dinner is the exception. This is a recipe that I like to prepare for him. (He still does the grilling of course. Grills have a way of making the mascara on my eyelashes melt. Grilling is not my thing.) This is actually a recipe I found in one of my many Rachel Ray cookbooks and it is probably my favorite recipe of hers. The spicy rub is out of this world amazing if you like a little heat, and I do mean little, I promise your mouth wont’ be on fire or anything like that. When this tasty steak is paired with the sweet grilled red onions prepare for a party in your mouth. Oh man, tasty goodness! Ladies if you want to impress your man with an out of this world steak then cook him this. You will make his palette and his stomach very happy. So happy, you may even be able to get a nice foot massage out of it. *wink wink*

INGREDIENTS
4 New York Steaks (10–12 ounces each)
1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 tbsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 large red onion, cut into 1/3” thick slices
olive oil
salt and pepper

STEPS

  • In a small bowl combine chili powder, cumin, coriander, kosher slat, and cayenne pepper.
  • Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and run an even amount of the seasoning all over the steaks.
  • Set the steaks aside and allow to rest for a half hour.
  • While the steaks are marinating, drizzle the slices of red onion with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. (I use a toothpick inserted in the sides of the onion slices to help hold them together while on the grille.)
  • Preheat the grill to high heat.
  • Once the grill has reached temperature cook the onions and steaks for about 5–6 minutes on each side flipping once or until the steaks have reached desired temperature.
  • Transfer the steaks to a cutting board or serving dish and allow them to rest for 5 minutes for the juices to redistribute.
  • Garnish each steak with a pile of the grilled red onions.
  • Serve and chow down.

Recipe adapted from Rachel Ray.

Dinners, Sandwiches

Recipe—Patty Melt

Patty Melt

Whenever I am getting ready to go on my bi-annual cleanse I allow myself one binge day and of course that includes my “last meal.” (It’s not really a last meal per say, but my last “bad” meal for 11 days.) This round I knew I needed something completely indulgent. I decided on one of my favorite types of burgers, a classic patty melt. A juicy ground beef patty smothered in cheddar and Swiss cheeses, some caramelized onions, and of course some 1000 island dressing. Heaven between two toasted slices of buttered sourdough toast. Go big or go home right? Well if you are looking for one of the best burger recipes ever give this a try. It is totally basic and completely wonderful!

INGREDIENTS
1 lb ground beef
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
4 tbsp butter, divided
1 large yellow onion thinly sliced
4 slices cheddar cheese
4 slices Swiss cheese
8 slices sourdough bread
1000 island dressing

STEPS

  • Mix together the ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper.
  • Form the meet into four thin patties.
  • Melt two tablespoons of the butter in a skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add the sliced onions and cook stirring frequently until they are a nice golden brown color, about 15 minutes.
  • While the onions are cooking heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the patties.
  • Cook the patties for 5 minutes and then flip over.
  • Add a slice of Swiss and a slice of cheddar to each patty.
  • Continue cooking the burgers for another 5 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Toast the slices of sourdough bread and spread one side of each slice with butter.
  • Spread the opposite side of each slice with a generous amount of 1000 island and keep them dressing side up.
  • Place a heap of the caramelized onions on 4 slices of the bread.
  • Add the cooked patty to the piles of onions and place the remaining slices of bread on top, dressing side down.
  • Binge!
Dinners

Recipe—Oven Roasted Tri Tip with Veggies

My family eats our share of beef. We almost always have tri tip in the house because it’s affordable, flavorful, low in fat, and it is the most diverse piece of beef around. You can grille it, smoke it, braise it, or in this case, roast it. Every time I have made this recipe the meat comes out really tender, flavorful, and juicy. This is a perfect all in one meal that will save you time and dishes.

Note: If you have any leftover potatoes and veggies they are spectacular for breakfast! I just throw them in the skillet and fry them up for a few minutes. And if on the rare occasion you have leftover meat, dice that up and put them in a tortilla with scrambled eggs and the potatoes for a killer breakfast burrito.

INGREDIENTS
2 lb tri tip roast
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp pepper
2–4 c red potatoes, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 sweet onion, chopped into large pieces
5–7 cloves of garlic (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 425º.
  • In a small bowl combine rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  • Spread half of the seasoning mixture all over the roast.
  • Place the potatoes, bell peppers, onion, and whole garlic cloves (if you are using them) in a large bowl.
  • Drizzle the vegetables with the olive oil and add in the other half of the seasoning mixture. Toss to coat.
  • Place the roast fat side up in a large baking dish.
  • Arrange the vegetables around the roast.
  • Bake for 35–40 minutes for medium rare.
  • Allow roast to sit for 5–10 minutes and then transfer to a large cutting board. (Allowing your roast to sit helps the juices redistribute.)
  • Slice and serve alongside cooked veggies.
Dinners

Recipe—Cheesy Sausage Pasta

I can make a mean batch of homemade macaroni and cheese but the classic dish just doesn’t cut it as a main course in our house. Sometimes you need a grown up version of the classic dish but with a little more substance. This right here fits that bill. It is a creamy cheesy pasta dish with bits of tomatoes and sliced up smoky beef sausage. Delish! This is the perfect meal for a busy day since the whole things takes less than 25 minutes AND it only uses one pot! I love meals like that! Makes dish duty so much easier. Who am I kidding? I don’t do dishes. That’s the hubby’s job, so this recipe makes his job easier. This comfort dish screams simplicity and is easy on the wallet too. What’s not to love?

Note: This recipe is written to use a cast iron skillet. If you don’t have one, no biggie. Just use whatever large skillet you have and before placing in the oven transfer the pasta to a large baking dish and then top with the green onions and cheese and finish off under the broiler.

INGREDIENTS
1 tbsp olive oil
1 package beef sausage cut into rounds
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 tsp garlic, minced
2 c chicken broth
14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 c heavy cream
1/4 tsp pepper
8 oz uncooked penne pasta noodles
2 c Monterey jack cheese, shredded
2 green onions, thinly sliced
salt

STEPS

  • Heat oil over medium high heat in a cast iron skillet.
  • Add the sausage and onion and cook until lightly browned.
  • Add in the garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Add the chicken broth, petite diced tomatoes, heavy cream, and pepper.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Add pasta and simmer until the pasta is tender, about 12–15 minutes, stirring once or twice while cooking.
  • Turn on the oven broiler.
  • Remove the skillet from heat and stir in 1 cup of the cheese.
  • Add salt as needed.
  • Top with the green onions and remaining cheese.
  • Place skillet under the broiler and leave in the oven until the cheese is melted and lightly browned.
Dinners, Sauces

Recipe—Taco Seasoning

We have all probably bought an envelope of premade taco seasoning at the store one time or another. I used to get it almost weekly being that tacos are a regular dinner item in our house. One night I was out of the conveniently prepackaged mix and went into panic mode. Then I realized I probably already have all those same ingredients in my pantry. It took some finagling but this recipe is what I came up with. It turned out great! It probably has less sodium and fewer preservatives than what I was buying at the store. Best of all, it is cheaper to make your own. And who doesn’t like saving money these days?

Note:  This seasoning is great for chicken or beef. This proportion is for 1 lb worth of meat. Feel free to make a quadruple batch or more so that you have it ready to go in the future. If you make a large batch, use 3 heaping tablespoons of the premade seasoning per one pound of meat.

INGREDIENTS
1 tbsp dried minced onion
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (or 1 tsp table salt)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, add if you like it on the spicy side)

STEPS

  • Put all of the ingredients in a small bowl and stir to mix.
  • Cook one pound of meat in a large skillet until almost completely cooked.
  • Add in 1/4 cup of water and the mixed seasoning.
  • Continue to cook until meat is done and the liquid is cooked off.
Side Dishes, Soups

Recipe—Chili (The Classic Kind)

It’s finally cooling off here in California and that means I am cooking up lots of soups and one of my favorite winter comfort foods, chili, the classic kind. This is the good stuff, heavy on meat and beans, light on veggies. That’s how I like my chili. What better way to warm up at the end of a cold day then a big bowl of chili? This recipe really is perfect, it’s not too spicy, not too mild, it’s just right. Something Goldilocks would love, probably Momma, Daddy, and baby bear too. This recipe does take a couple of hours to cook but that’s what makes it so good. All those flavors get cooked into the meat giving you a really hearty and flavorful chili you are sure to enjoy.

Note: If you are someone that likes chili with a little more kick, just add in a couple dashes of cayenne pepper.

INGREDIENTS
2 lbs ground beef
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 c chili powder
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
2 (15 oz) cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz can tomato sauce
1–2 c beef broth

GARNISHES
shredded cheddar
sour cream
green onions, chopped
fritos
diced avocadoes

STEPS

  • In a large pot cook the beef, onions, and garlic over medium-high heat until no longer pink.
  • Drain off most of the fat leaving about 2 tbsp in the bottom.
  • Stir into the pot the chili powder, flour, oregano, cumin, sugar, and salt.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, beans, sauce, and 1 cup of the broth to the pot.
  • Cook for an additional 45–60 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Add more broth if you want a soupier chili.
  • Ladle the chili into a bowl and have fun garnishing it with your favorite toppings.
Dinners

Recipe—Sweet and Sour Meatballs

I have always been a lover of Chinese food. I mean come on, who isn’t? I remember as a kid that whenever we went out to eat Chinese food or ordered it to go that we got sweet and sour pork. I just love the tangy sweet sauce and the pineapple. Oh, that sweet yummy caramelized pineapple! When I saw this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Recipes Happen, I knew I had to give it a try.  I LOVE Chinese food and I LOVE meatballs! This recipe turned out awesome and was enjoyed by the whole family. My husband even went back for thirds! (I don’t know where that guy stores all the food he can consume.) I highly recommend serving this over white rice. It really soaks up the flavors of the sauce. We will certainly be making this again and again because it was super easy and absolutely delicious! Thanks Bonnie for posting this wonderful recipe, my family and I loved it!

Note: Bonnie’s recipe calls for breadcrumbs but I adapted it slightly and used panko since I had it on hand and I thought it went well with the Asian inspired dish. I bet this would also be great made with ground turkey or chicken to help cut a few calories. 

INGREDIENTS
1 egg
1 tbsp dried onion flakes
1 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c panko
ground pepper
1 lb ground beef
20 oz can pineapple chunks
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1/4 c brown sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 c sliced carrots
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the egg, dried onion, milk, ginger, salt, panko, pepper, and ground beef. (I recommend using your hands to thoroughly combine everything.)
  • Shape the beef mixture into 1” balls and place in a large baking dish making sure there is space between them.
  • Bake the meatballs for 30 minutes or until cooked through.
  • While the meatballs are cooking drain the pineapple juice into a measuring cup and set the pineapple aside.
  • If needed, add water to the juice so you have 1-cup worth of liquid.
  • Pour the juice mixture into a large skillet or wok and add in the vinegar, brown sugar, and soy sauce.
  • Over medium-high heat bring the liquid to a simmer and add in the carrots.
  • Simmer until the carrots are just barely fork tender and then add in the bell peppers and pineapple chunks.
  • Cook for approximately 4–5 minutes.
  • In a small bowl mix together the cornstarch and water until smooth.
  • Pour the cornstarch mixture into your skillet and stir constantly until incorporated.
  • Remove the meatballs from the oven and transfer them to the skillet making sure to leave the meat drippings in the baking dish.
  • Toss the meatballs to coat and simmer in the sauce for 2 minutes.
  • Serve over cooked rice and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Recipes Happen.

Dinners, Sauces

Recipe—Peppercorn Crusted Steak with Bourbon Cream Sauce

Usually when we have steak in our house my hubby does his magic on the grille. The other weekend he was taking his first of many architectural exams. I wanted to surprise him with a nice steak fit for a king to reward him for all his hard work, without having him fire up the barbie. These really turned out to be some great skillet cooked steaks. The sauce was rich and creamy and really dresses up what is already a fabulous cut of meat. This recipe is perfect for a romantic dinner in or a special indulgence.

STEAK INGREDIENTS
2 New York steaks, rib eyes, or filets
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

SAUCE INGREDIENTS
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp yellow onion, minced
1 tsp peppercorns
2 tbsp bourbon
1/2 c beef broth
1/2 c heavy whipping cream

STEAK STEPS

  • Season both sides of the steaks with salt and pepper making sure to rub it in.
  • Heat a medium sized skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add olive oil to the pan and heat.
  • Carefully add the steaks to the pan and cook for 4–5 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and flip the steaks.
  • Cook the steaks for another 4–5 minutes.
  • Transfer the steaks to a large plate and cover with foil.

SAUCE STEPS

  • Add oil to the skillet the steaks were cooked in.
  • Add garlic, onions, and peppercorns to the skillet and cook over medium heat until onions are translucent.
  • Carefully add the bourbon to the pan to deglaze. It may ignite so stand back and poor in slowly.
  • Use a whisk to stir and break up all the bits in the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the beef broth and the heavy cream to the pan and bring to a gentle boil.
  • Turn heat to low and simmer.
  • Cook sauce for 3–5 minutes until it begins to thicken, stirring occasionally.
  • Plate the steaks and pour the sauce over the top of them.