Tagged with " beef"
29 Oct
2015
Posted in: Food
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The Perfect Fall Meal

I know most of the internet loves fall but it’s one of my least favorite seasons. It’s a reminder that winter is coming, that the days are growing shorter, and soon I’ll be trapped inside trying to avoid the cold. There are some nice things about fall: I can convince my husband that I should buy new clothes, I can stock up on seasonal teas and coffees, I can read lots of books curled up under blankets, and it’s the perfect hiking season.

To help me survive the transition, I’m always looking for meals that are warm, filling, and full of comfort. This meal does just that. The Beef Bourguignon doesn’t take as much time as Julia Child’s and dare I say, it tastes just as good if not better.

A good beef meal for me pairs well with mashed potatoes and these get that nice sweet and savory flavor you can only get from roasting the garlic first. I followed an Alton Brown recipe and you can’t go wrong with that. Try his potatoes with Beef Bourguignon or on Thanksgiving and you’ll be a happy camper.

The recipe itself calls for a red wine and you should be sure to drink some too. I opted for a Pinot Noir (Line 39, 2013) and it was perfect with the dish and still under $10.

Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon

Prep Time: 8 hours

Cook Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2-3 pounds boneless beef (I used a mix of shoulder chuck and beef stew meat)
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. roughly ground black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 ounces bacon, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups pearl frozen onions
  • 2 cups mushrooms, quartered (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Take a large bowl and fill with the red wine, olive oil, onion, carrot, celery, garlic clove, bay leaves, parsley, thyme, and peppercorns. Stir to combine.
  2. Cut your beef into 2-inch cubes. Add in the beef to the red wine marinade. Cover beef completely with red wine marinade and marinate from 1 to 24 hours tightly covered in the fridge. Rotate the meat every 6-8 hours.
  3. After marinading, remove the beef to a plate and pat thoroughly dry.
  4. Strain the marinade into a bowl, separating the liquid and vegetables but reserving both.
  5. Heat a large dutch oven to medium high heat. Brown the bacon and remove, leaving the fat behind (about 2 tbsp).
  6. Brown the beef in batches in the bacon fat, transfer the browned pieces back to the plate.
  7. Cook the vegetables in the bacon fat and fond until softened and browned, about 5 minutes.
  8. Add the flour to the vegetable mix and cook another minute until browning. Stir in the reserved marinade. Add the beef and bacon to the dutch oven and pour the pearl onions on top. Bring the dish to a boil.
  9. After boiling for a minute, reduce the heat to low and cook covered for about an hour or until beef is fork tender.
  10. After an hour, add the mushrooms if using. Cook an additional 20 minutes, covered.
  11. Skim any fat on the surface and remove the bay leaf. Add chopped parsley and additional salt or pepper to taste.
http://www.thehyperhouse.com/2015/10/the-perfect-fall-meal/

 

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28 May
2013
Posted in: Food, Life
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Time for Fun

This past weekend was a relaxing time. It started with a soccer game at Busch Stadium in downtown St. Louis. We got to watch Manchester City beat Chelsea. We aren’t the biggest soccer people living in a town without a pro team but it was great seeing everyone enjoying a game together.

st. louis soccer

I took Friday off work. It was nice since I haven’t missed work this year with the exception of being sick and that’s never a fun reason. It turned out to be the sunniest day of the weekend so I’m glad I did it. While I waited for my husband to get home, I took advantage of Ancestry.com’s bonus war records. Does anyone else do geneology? I like doing it on a weekend like Memorial Day when I can see all the past relatives who fought bravely. I feel like it can bring me closer to my family, even if I’m not with them all.

Thankfully I do have a great family. Nova, Daniel and I had fun taking a walk in the park. My little doggie was thrilled to finally have nice weather to take a nice walk. She’s used to running 5Ks but if the rain comes she will trot right back inside.

Nova-pooped

Speaking of reasons to trot back inside…

snapping turtle

This guy showed up in our yard this weekend. We’re used to squirrels, rabbits, opossums, racoons and a deer or turkey now and then but this weekend we saw a coyote and a snapping turtle. We live next to some underdeveloped park land that got a little makeover this week so I’m wondering if we’ll get more visitors.

It wasn’t just a yard full of animals though. We had a nice grilling session each night. Just us, the dog, some burgers and some beers. Oh, and of course some dessert.

burger bar

How do you dress up your burgers? We set up some fun burger creations for ourselves this weekend. Here were our top three:

Chicken Parm Burger

  • Ground chicken mixed with breadcrumbs and some seasonings, grilled
  • Top with provolone cheese and marinara

Pizza Burger

  • Ground beef mixed with Italian breadcrumbs, onion powder and Italian seasonings
  • Top with pepperoni, provolone cheese, marinara and some white cheddar

Western Burger (pictured above right)

  • Ground beef mixed with BBQ sauce, Monterrey cheddar cheese mix, seasoning salt, ground black pepper
  • Top with American cheese, BBQ sauce, pickle, mustard, and french fried onions

The fabulous strawberry pie pictured below came from The Country Cook. I wasn’t sure if I liked strawberry pie but I ended up loving it so I’m glad I tried some. I’m going to go eat some right now in fact.

strawberry pie

Before I run off for the night, I want to give you a tease about a project I started this weekend but will have to wait a couple months till it is ready. Don’t worry, I won’t hold you off that long!

citrus

(And no, those aren’t potatoes. They smell much nicer than that, they’re just a little naked right now)

I hope you all had a great weekend!

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23 Mar
2012
Posted in: Food, Household
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Bulk Cooking: The Meats

So the other day I shared my top 5 tips for freezer cooking and as promised I’m back to show you how I prepped 26 meals while I cooked dinner and cleaned the dishes. This big project focused on Step 2: Make Your Meals Speedy. Do you ever run into that dreaded feeling around 5 o’clock that you didn’t pull anything out to thaw and now dinner won’t be ready until the end of time when all you want to do is sit on the couch, drink some wine and watch some trash TV? I hope I’m not alone in those kind of days.

26 meals

The best way to avoid those days is to cook your meat ahead of time. I don’t suggest cooking all meats ahead of time by any means but ground beef and chicken cuts are the perfect thing to prepare and have ready in a pinch.

Supplies

Pay close attention to these supplies as you plan your freezer cooking. You’ll be cooking several meats so save money by shopping the sales (rule 5) and visiting Costco (rule 4). I also had luck at my local Aldi store since you can’t beat their celery prices most days.

You’ll need:

  • An empty dishwasher
  • A clean stockpot
  • A clean crockpot
  • 10 pounds ground beef
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 9 chicken breasts
  • Water, chicken broth, or a combination of the two
  • Measuring cup
  • Containers (I used Ziplock bags)
  • Labeling tools (sharpie, address labels)
  • Bonus: A kitchenaid mixer, a strainer, and a food processor

Preparation

The night before your cooking day, thaw some chicken breasts. Some people will stick frozen chicken breasts straight in a crockpot and while some modern crockpots may keep your food in a safe zone, it’s safer to put thawed chicken in your crockpot so that’s what we’ll be doing for this project.

About 4 hours before dinner, place your thawed chicken breasts in a crockpot. I have a small Rival crockpot so 9 chicken breasts fit about perfectly. This will vary based on the size of your crockpot and chicken pieces. You’ll want to fill the crockpot at least halfway with liquid. I like to pour in one can of chicken broth and fill the rest with water. Set your crockpot on high and cook about 4 hours.

Let the cooking begin!

I was making a long but hands off meal in the kitchen so I prepped my meal and my bulk cooking at the same time and finished assembling while dinner was in the oven.

The Beef

chopped celery

First, I chopped up the entire stalk of celery. Rather than waste time with a knife I just threw it in my food processor attachment and chopped it up very finely. I had two separate packs of ground beef I had gotten on sale so I chose the smaller pack (3.4 pounds) and threw it and the diced celery into the preheated stockpot on the stove. I use my Pampered Chef Mix n Chop to separate the beef, then I throw the lid on so the meat cooks faster. After about 10 minutes with some occasional stirring, all my meat was cooked and finely chopped. I poured the meat into a strainer to drain the fat and let it cool. While it was cooling I cooked the other 6.6 pounds of meat I had in the same method, sans celery. You can season these meat batches any way you want while cooking them.

The Chicken

chop up chicken

While the beef was cooking and dinner was still in the oven, I had strained my chicken of all the liquids. I then threw the chicken breasts into my Kitchenaid mixer with the batter blade attached and in seconds I had perfectly shredded chicken. I could easily chop the chicken by hand but remember, this is a speed run.

Packaging

measuring chicken

My dinner was nearing completion as I rushed to finish my last pre-dinner task. I used my handy Pampered Chef Measure-All Cup and set it for 2 cups. I had quart sized Ziplock bags* set aside and I filled each bag with 2 cups (1 lb) of whatever meat I had prepped. I threw an address label on some bags and wrote out what was in the bag (1 lb ground beef + veggies) and the date. I left all the bags open and on the counter to finish cooling (since steam=water=ice crystals=freezer burn) and I served up that night’s dinner while the cooling took place.

After dinner I came in, sealed the bags after squeezing out as much air as possible, and stacked them flat in my freezer. After frozen you can store the bags upright in a mail crate in your deep freeze. One person takes care of the bags while the other loads the dishwasher and you can still fit in your wine and TV time.

*Some people might freak out at Ziplock bags but here’s the deal: since you’re working with cooked meat you can reuse the bags and they take up the least amount of space in a freezer. Just cover up your old label with your new one each time you cook and you are good to go.

The Results

oamc meals

My chicken batch produced 7 1/2 cups of shredded chicken. This meant I had 3 bags plus a small container set aside for a lunch. I can thaw a bag of cooked chicken on the counter in 30 minutes, under hot water in 5 minutes, or it can go straight onto the stove. I use the shredded chicken for chicken salad, chicken pot pies, chicken burritos, or many other dishes. The chicken batch created 4 meals.

My ground beef mixed with celery started off as 3.4 pounds of meat but the vegetable added stretched it to 12 cups. I would have had 7 bags of meat but I cheated and used one bag’s worth of meat in that night’s dinner. I thaw it the same way as the chicken and I use the meat+veggie combo in tomato based dishes like sloppy joes and spaghetti. The ground beef plus veggies batch created 7 meals.

My plain ground beef batch started as 6.6 pounds of meat and created 25 cups of beef. I separated these into 10-2 cup batches that I’ll use for tacos and lasagna and 5-1 cup batches when I want a meal light on meat like ziti. The ground beef batch created 15 meals.

The average cost of my beef packs ended up at $1.40 per pack since my original 10 pounds of ground beef turned into 22 meals. I don’t remember the chicken price but I’ll take a look the next time I stop by Costco.

While I don’t have 26 complete meals on hand, I prepped ingredients so now none of the above recipes will take longer than boiling noodles. That’s a huge way to shave time off your cooking and with most of your prep work done on those meals, you’ll have more time to watch Game of Thrones or How I Met Your Mother.

Bonus

freezing pesto

I had some Costco pesto in my fridge nearing the expiration date so the night before my cook day I threw it into ice cube trays and froze it. While I was bagging all my other goods I put the ice cubes into some bags and stored them back in my freezer. Now I have perfect servings of pesto for baked potatoes or pasta, I didn’t waste my goods and I followed rule 5: freeze seasonally. If you can fit all 5 freezing rules into one cook day, you know you’ve done well.

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