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.

Dinners, Sandwiches

Recipe—Lamburgers

Growing up my dad used to live on the edge of Wyoming, right up against the Idaho border. I would go out and visit him several times a year. He lived in this gorgeous 3-story ranch house right next to a sheep farm. I always loved looking at the sheep. Especially in winter when those cute little white fluffy lambs were out in a snow-covered field. It wasn’t until I was a young teenager that I discovered that those cute little fluffy white sheep were raised to be someone’s dinner. I was appalled that anyone could eat such a cute little creature! That is, until I got my first taste of lamb. Yum-o! Sorry lamby, you taste too good not to eat.

Lamb is absolutely delicious and, in my opinion, like no other meat. It has this absolutely delicious rich flavor that is unlike any other meat. I have been wanting to try making lamburgers at home for sometime now but it can be difficult to find ground lamb. Just about every year my dad purchases and entire lamb from the sheep farm. When I saw him a couple of weeks ago he happened to still have some of the ground lamb leftover from his last purchase, so I bummed it off him just so that I could make these exotic burgers. These were mind blowing good. I felt so bad for my husband because he happened to have a cold when I made them and was unable to taste much of anything. Looks like I am going to have to make them again very soon. Aw shucks!

INGREDIENTS
1/2 c mayonnaise
2 tsp cumin
1–1 1/2 lb ground lamb
salt and pepper
olive oil
block of feta cheese sliced
red onion slices
green leaf lettuce
4 burger buns

STEPS

  • In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise and cumin and set in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Season the ground lamb with salt and pepper.
  • Form the ground meat into 4 thin patties.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the meat patties to the hot skillet and cook for 3–4 minutes.
  • Flip the patties and add the slices of feta cheese to the patties.
  • Continue cooking the lamburgers for another 4 minutes.
  • While the meat is cooking, lightly toast the buns in the oven.
  • Reduce the heat to low, and while the cheese finishes melting spread a good amount of the cumin mayonnaise onto the cut side of both the top and bottom buns.
  • Arrange the lettuce and red onion on the bottom half of each bun.
  • Top with the most delicious lamburger patty ever.
  • Add the top of the bun to your masterpiece and enjoy!
Appetizers

Recipe—Bacon Jalapeño Cheese Ball

I have always loved the idea of cheese balls, but have been turned off by the fake processed taste of the premade ones you get at the store. Well cheese balls seem to be redeeming themselves with all the creative gourmet versions popping up all over the place. I recently threw my husband a little birthday bbq and wanted an appetizer that could be prepared ahead of time and then just set out once the party started. When I saw this recipe on Pinterest I knew it was exactly what I was looking for! My husband loves bacon, and of course loves the spice of jalapeños. (Don’t all men? Okay I guess vegetarians may be repulsed by the bacon but there are substitutes for that.) Once I had the bacon cooked and the jalapeños chopped this recipe came together in about 5 minutes. It was super quick and easy. A perfect recipe for any social events you may have coming up. By the end of the night I had several people asking for the recipe, which, in my mind, is a very good sign.

Note: This can be made a day ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

INGREDIENTS
8 oz cream cheese
3/4 c cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tbsp green onions, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
dash cayenne pepper
1 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 jalapeños, deseeded, deveined, and finely chopped, divided
6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided
1/4 c pecans, chopped

STEPS

  • In a medium mixing bowl stir together the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, green onions, garlic, cumin, salt, cayenne pepper, lime juice, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Fold in half of the chopped jalapeños and half of the crumbled bacon until well blended.
  • On a large plate combine the remaining jalapeños, remaining bacon, and the pecans and mix together.
  • Using your hands shape the cream cheese mixture into a large even ball.
  • Once you have formed the ball roll it in the pecan mixture until it is evenly coated.
  • Place the finished cheese ball on a plate and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
  • Serve with your favorite crackers.

Recipe adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures.