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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- After marinading, remove the beef to a plate and pat thoroughly dry.
- Strain the marinade into a bowl, separating the liquid and vegetables but reserving both.
- Heat a large dutch oven to medium high heat. Brown the bacon and remove, leaving the fat behind (about 2 tbsp).
- Brown the beef in batches in the bacon fat, transfer the browned pieces back to the plate.
- Cook the vegetables in the bacon fat and fond until softened and browned, about 5 minutes.
- 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.
- After boiling for a minute, reduce the heat to low and cook covered for about an hour or until beef is fork tender.
- After an hour, add the mushrooms if using. Cook an additional 20 minutes, covered.
- Skim any fat on the surface and remove the bay leaf. Add chopped parsley and additional salt or pepper to taste.
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.
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.
Speaking of reasons to trot back inside…
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.
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
- 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.
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!
(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!Pin It
I’m back with one last Lenten meal for you. This one is another healthier-than-fish-fry kind of meal courtesy of Cooking Light. I love that this recipe uses asparagus that’s in season (unless you live somewhere that just had another 14 inches of snow like I did) and has some of that delicious gnocchi I cannot get enough of lately.
This meal only takes about 10 minutes to cook and there aren’t many dishes so you can use your Friday night for something other than dinner. Do any of you do a blackout night on Friday? I’ve tried stepping away from the computer and phone for those nights to just devote to some couple time or some reading. It’s easier some nights than others (if the husband is gaming it’s hard for me to stay offline too) but I made it through 3 books last weekend and got back on track for my Goodreads goal.
Have a good Easter to you all! I’ll be back next week with some color inspiration.
- 1 lb asparagus
- 1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp
- 2 quarts water
- 1 (16-ounce) package gnocchi
- 1/2 cup pesto
- Chop asparagus into 1 inch pieces. Heat up a skillet.
- Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in large pot. Add gnocchi and boil for 2-3 minutes until the gnocchi rises to the surface. Strain.
- While the gnocchi is cooking, saute the asparagus in the skillet for 4 minutes. Add the shrimp and saute for another minute. Mix in the gnocchi and the 1/2 cup of pesto and cook for another 3 minutes until done.
If you’re like me you’re 2 Fridays away from the end of Lent and are maybe a little sick of all that fried fish. Don’t get me wrong, I love seafood and love fish fry (St. Ferdinand in Florissant has the best in STL if you were wondering) but this is the time of year I’m usually just about done with the same meal over and over again.
As a lighter alternative, salmon and cheese ravioli seems a good change. You can throw in a fresh lemon and some fresh spinach to really embrace the spring produce coming into season. This recipe takes only about 20-30 minutes so it’s weeknight friendly so it’s perfect for a Friday or any other night.
- 1-8 oz package refrigerated four cheese ravioli
- 1 lemon
- 2-6 oz frozen salmon fillets, thawed
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1-6 oz package baby spinach
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- Cut lemon in half. Make a thin slice from each side and reserve.
- Spray a glass pan with aluminum foil. Place salmon in pan and drizzle one half of the lemon over both pieces of salmon. Top each filet with a slice of lemon and 1/2 tablespoon pat of butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until flakey.
- While salmon is baking, boil water and cook the ravioli until it floats to the top. Drain.
- About 5 minutes before the ravioli and salmon are done, heat olive oil in a pan. Saute the spinach and garlic in the pan and squeeze the remaining lemon half on top.
- Serve with salmon on top of spinach and the ravioli on the side.
I’ve never cooked a turkey before. It’s one of those dishes I like only around the holidays and then I’m done with it. I also hate carving birds and pulling out their insides. Thankfully, I’ve found an easy way to avoid being grossed out by the big bird- buying a turkey breast. My local grocer had some frozen bone-in whole turkey breast cuts on sale a few weeks ago. No giblets or organs inside this bird.
I didn’t want my oven to be roasting all day so I decided to try putting my bird inside the crockpot. After thawing my bird in the fridge for a few days, I coated the breast in olive oil and sprinkled it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then I stuffed the inside of it with a stick of butter, an onion and an apple. Not all of it fit in the bird so I just layered it around the turkey. A word of caution- I had a 5.5 pound turkey and it just barely fit in my crockpot so do some planning if you don’t have an extra large slow cooker. After placing the bird breast side up, I poured in 2 cups of pinot grigio around the turkey and cooked it on low for 6 hours. Make sure the breast reaches 170 degrees before removing it from your crockpot for safety reasons.
If you want that golden color a roasted turkey has, you can plop your bird into a roasting pan and broil it for about 6 minutes. Let it rest and then carve it. The key to this recipe is to drizzle some of the stock that forms all over your carved pieces for maximum flavor.
- 5.5 lb turkey breast
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 stick butter
- 1 large onion
- 1 apple
- 2 cups pinot grigio
- Rinse out the cavity of the turkey breast dry it with paper towels. Coat the turkey breast in olive oil and sprinkle on salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Cut the onion and apple into eighths and the stick of butter into quarters. Stuff the pieces into the turkey's cavity, saving any additional pieces. Turn the bird breast up and layer the extra pieces around the turkey.
- Pour 2 cups of wine around the turkey and cook on low for 6 hours or until the thickest part of the turkey reaches 170 degrees.
- Optional: Broil the turkey in a roasting pan for 8 minutes until it reaches a golden brown color.
- Let the turkey rest 10-20 minutes and carve, pouring drippings over the bird.
In the summer there’s nothing better than throwing food on the grill and eating leftovers for days. Just because I like to eat some tasty food doesn’t mean I don’t love an effortless meal. When I saw the idea of these Pesto Chicken Skewers that La Kocinera shared, I knew I had to try them.
To prep for this recipe I soaked 7 skewers in water so they wouldn’t catch fire on the grill. I also pulled out 3 of my frozen pesto cubes to thaw during the day. The only other ingredients you’ll need are 2 chicken breasts and a half pint of grape tomatoes. Just cut up the chicken into bite-sized pieces and alternate the pieces on the skewer with the tomatoes. Brush on some pesto and grill until the chicken is done. That’s it! It’s so easy you barely even need a recipe.
I served this recipe with some sirloin skewers and some of my frozen twice-baked potatoes along with a salad. Like I said, my goal is to eat off a meal for days and we had a weekend’s worth of food with this meal.
Recipe from La Kocinera
- 2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 pint grape tomatoes
- 1/4 cup prepared pesto
- If using wooden skewers, soak in water for at least 20 minutes to prevent burning on the grill.
- Alternate sliding chicken pieces and grape tomatoes onto your skewers. Brush with pesto.
- Heat your grill to a medium heat and cook about 5 minutes per side until the chicken juices run clear.
My current job has me working later than my husband. He gets home about an hour before I do and our dinner time has shifted an hour later than it used to be. Our meal planning has changed around. I now prep meals the night before or when I stop in during my lunch break as I often do. We’re really utilizing all those freezer meals I’ve stocked up on and we’re taking advantage of the crockpot too. Some nights we just want a quick and filling meal without all the work so that way we can switch to project mode as soon as our plates are clean.
That’s where the BLT salad comes in. If you like BLTs then this salad is almost a clone of your favorite sandwich. You can make croutons from old bread ahead of time; just drizzle some olive oil, salt, and pepper over some diced bread and bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. They stay crunchy and fresh for days but if you make them fresh then they’ll be chewy just like the bread of a BLT. Then you’ll toss some bacon, lettuce, and grape tomatoes together with those croutons. Last up is the dressing; the combination of mayonnaise and buttermilk is the perfect touch for the salad. Just toss and serve with some french bread. If you’re a little hungrier, serve this salad with some soup or a sandwich, maybe even a BLT if that’s not a BLT overload.
- 1/2 baguette, sliced into cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 pound romaine, chopped
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- Start by making sure your bacon is cooked. You can do this on the stovetop or in the oven with the croutons by baking for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss bread with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake until golden, around 20 minutes.
- In a medium bowl whisk together buttermilk, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese and vinegar.
- In a large bowl, mix together lettuce, tomatoes, and croutons. Toss with dressing, sprinkle with bacon and serve.
My latest obsession is with goat cheese. I’ve never been much of a cheese eater but Aldi has these little 4 ounce packages of goat cheese and I just can’t get enough of them. My favorite way to eat goat cheese right now is to make patties, fry them in panko breading, and plop them right on a salad. They’re the perfect size for 2 people to enjoy with dinner.
To make the goat cheese easier to fry, just pop it in the freezer for 30 minutes before breading them and back into the fridge for another 30 minutes before frying. This way you’ll have soft cheese that stays right inside the breading. I like to top the salad with a vinaigrette dressing. Tomorrow I’ll show you my second favorite way to use these goat cheese packages- and it’s a perfect pairing with this salad.
- 4 ounce goat cheese log
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 dash dried parsley
- 1 dash dried thyme
- 1 dash garlic powder
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup of flour
- olive oil
- 4 cups salad greens
- Dressing of your choice
- Chill your goat cheese in the freezer an hour ahead of cooking
- While chilling, set up your dredging station. Mix your panko bread crumbs with parsley, thyme and garlic powder. Use one small bowl to hold your beaten egg and use another small bowl to hold your flour. Set up your station with flour first, then egg, then your breadcrumb mix.
- Half an hour before cooking, pull your cheese out of the fridge and cut into four slices, wiping the blade in between each cut.
- Dip your cheese into the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs, coating on both sides.
- Place cheese on a baking sheet covered in waxed paper and chill another half an hour.
- Heat your stovetop to medium heat and warm the olive oil. Fry each side of the goat cheese until golden.
- While cooking, prep your salad greens onto two plates and drizzle with dressing. Top with cheese and serve warm.
I haven’t talked a ton about my husband Daniel but here’s one thing you have to know about him: he loves salad. He eats salad with Chinese food, he layers it on his lasagna, and I have to buy lettuce in bulk at Costco. In an effort to appease his salad love, I concocted the idea of a cobb salad with all his favorite things on it. In addition to salads, Daniel loves ham, sandwiches, bacon, ranch, hard-boiled eggs, and cheese. This is how the club cobb salad was born.
You’ll want to cut up a mix of salad greens into finely chopped pieces. Mine had spinach, arugula, and romaine lettuce in it. Then form rows with all your ingredients. I used cheddar cheese, sliced deli turkey, hard-boiled eggs, diced ham, bacon, monterey jack cheese, grape tomatoes, and green onions. They key to this salad is lining up the ingredients in rows so it looks pretty. When you’re ready to eat just toss it up and serve with a good dressing. I like honey mustard but my husband is more of a ranch person. Serve it with some toast and you’ve got yourself a club sandwich in a salad.
- 6 cups finely chopped mixed salad greens
- 1 dozen grape tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped bacon bits (homemade or store bought)
- 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded monteray jack cheese
- 1 cup diced ham
- 2 hard-boiled large eggs, separated, the yolk finely chopped and the white finely chopped
- 8 slices turkey deli meat
- 2 tablespoons diced green onions
- If you are making fresh bacon bits then cook your bacon and crumble it. Set aside.
- Fill a large bowl or platter with fresh salad greens.
- Arrange the ingredients in lines starting from the center. Use tomatoes, bacon bits, ham, egg whites, and turkey forming a mirror image from the center.
- Layer the egg yolks on top of the egg whites and place cheeses over the bacon and turkey.
- Sprinkle on the green onions to taste.
- Serve with either a ranch or honey mustard dressing.
There seems to be two camps when it comes to chicken and dumplings. The northerners love a dumpling that is more ball-shaped and is light and fluffy and the sauce is broth-based. The southerners love a dumpling that is more biscuit and chewy while the sauce is more of a gravy. Living in Missouri my life has always been a mix of northern and southern traditions so chicken and dumplings are always a hot topic. The average southern style is always better than the average northern style but the best northern style will ALWAYS beat the best southern style. That’s just how it is for me.
Thankfully, this recipe is one of those best northern style chicken and dumpling recipes. Pam from For the Love of Cooking has tweaked a Cooking Light recipe to be amazing. She even understands my irrational hatred of rosemary and uses basil as her herb of choice. Rather than repost her recipe I want Pam to have all the credit so if you need to try some of the best northern chicken and dumplings out there, try Pam’s Chicken and Basil Dumplings.
How about you? What’s your favorite style of chicken and dumplings? I’d love to be convinced by your recipes.Pin It