Category Archives: Beef

Stubbs Pumpkin Slow Cooker Chili

Stubbs Pumpkin Slow Cooker Chili

Hey look! I have a recipe for you! Actually it’s more like I have a dinner idea that includes using Stubbs new Chili Cookin’ Sauce and a bunch of yummy add-ons.  I was excited to get my recent Stubbs package and see that it included some of their new products including this “Chili Fixins” kit.  I’m so into chili right now that the weather is cold.  Just throw a whole bunch of stuff in the slow cooker and a few hours later your house smells all spicy and cozy and you have a big bowl of healthy goodness to dive into at dinner time.  I’m sure this probably would have been good as is but in true food blogger fashion, I had to doctor it up with some extra goodies.

Stubbs Pumpkin Slow Cooker Chili

I’ve been loving pumpkin purée lately so I’ve been throwing it in everything.  I’ve read its nutritious for the babies and of course its delicious and its fall and we have to make pumpkin everything all the time.  SO, of course I threw the pumpkin in here as well.  It doesn’t give it a super strong pumpkin flavor but I think it adds a little complexity to the flavor and richness in texture.  My other favorite way to enjoy pumpkin lately is to mix it up with plain greek yogurt, a little maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice and top it with some crunchy granola, yum!

Stubbs Pumpkin Slow Cooker Chili

The Stubbs Cookin’ Sauce bag comes with a packet of sauce and a spice pack.  Just mix it up with meat in the slow cooker, turn it on and forget about it.  I wanted a little more texture and chunkiness in mine so this is what I added:

1 lb ground beef

1 small can diced green chiles

1 can organic pumpkin

1 can organic black beans

1 can organic kidney beans

1 tablespoon cocoa powder (not pictured)

I used a little over half of the spice pack and it was HOT! Like holy moly spicy! It was good but it may have been too hot for many peoples taste since I like stuff pretty hot.  I would suggest using only half of the packet and then taste it before you serve it, you can always add more then if you prefer more heat.  It’s a lot easier to add spice and flavor than to mellow it out if you make it too hot.

Stubbs Pumpkin Slow Cooker Chili

This was SO good, I didn’t mind having it for leftovers 3 days in a row.  I served it with some shredded cheese and a dollop of plain greek yogurt.

Stubbs Pumpkin Slow Cooker Chili

If you see these at your store, I recommend picking up a few bags, it makes an easy dinner even easier! Perfect meal for a big crowd!

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

My baby shower 🙂

BabyShower

I had my baby shower last weekend and it was so much fun.  It made me realize how lucky I am to have so many amazing friends and family members in my life, I was so overwhelmed by all of their love and support! It’s always fun to have events like this that bring together friends you’ve made during all different parts of your life; childhood, college and beyond! Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate with us and to all those who couldn’t make it for sending your love and thoughts, these are going to be two lucky boys!

P.S. The nursery is almost done! I’ll check back in soon with some photos since I don’t have much food stuff to share these days 🙂

 

 

 

 

Mexican Sweet Potato Puff Pie

Mexican Sweet Potato Puff Pie

Ok guys, I hope you’re ready for this one, it’s a keeper!  This is somewhere in-between two previous recipes I’ve posted: my Shredded Chicken Mexican Pie & my Mexican Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie.  The thing I love about these is that you get all of those awesome Mexican flavors in a dish but you can skip the whole tortilla thing to hold it all together.  The tortilla is just a vessel for the goodness and this time we’re just throwing all of the goodness right into a pie dish.

Mexican Sweet Potato Puff Pie

As we were eating it, Tom asked me what made me think of doing this.  I admitted that I was actually going to make the same Mexican Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie I’d made in the past but when I was at the grocery store shopping, I had made it all the way past the produce aisle without getting sweet potatoes and really didn’t feel like walking back to get them.  Then I looked in the freezer case and remembered my awesome friends at Alexia had these sweet potato puffs that I could use as a substitute.

Mexican Sweet Potato Puff Pie

If you haven’t tried them before, you seriously need to get on it and throw some Alexia items next time you’re at the store.  They’ve been a design client of mine for over 5 years now and they are some of the best people to work with.  They put a lot of care into the products they create AND they’re working on getting a lot of their products Non-GMO Project Verified which is pretty awesome as well.

I was so excited when they came out with these sweet potato puffs, nothing is better than a good potato puff and to fill it with the healthier sweet potato? Sign me up!  I actually get a little nostalgic when I think of potato puffs, they bring me back to my college years. Saturday mornings at the dining hall, you would see all these zombie’s walking around with trays full of 10 glasses of water and a HEAPING pile of tater tots.  I’m surprised our bodies survived those days, talk about resiliency!

Mexican Sweet Potato Puff Pie

Ok, this is how freaking easy this is.  First, cook the potato puffs according to the package directions.  Then sauté some peppers & onions until soft and season with a little taco seasoning.

Mexican Sweet Potato Puff Pie

Then you sauté some ground beef with the remaining taco seasoning and salsa and add in a layer on top of the peppers & onions.

Mexican Sweet Potato Puff Pie

Then you pile all those crispy sweet potato puffs on top of the ground beef.

Mexican Sweet Potato Puff Pie

Then you make a layer of shredded cheese on top, throw it in the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted & bam! You’ve got dinner on the table!

Mexican Sweet Potato Puff Pie

I really wanted to top this with some chopped scallions but I didn’t have any on hand so I clipped some chives and threw those on top for a little greenness.  Just serve this with a simple salad and the family will be oh so happy!

Mexican Sweet Potato Puff Pie

Leftovers of this were pretty delicious as well even though the potato puffs weren’t that crispy any more, the flavors were all still there.  Hope you guys love this as much as we did, this one will be going into the make-again category!

 

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

Eating on the water.

LunchLast weekend I popped over to Marblehead with some friends and we ate lunch at a restaurant with a deck right on the water.  It’s so nice to soak up the sun while watching the boats go by in the harbor.  I had a huge spinach salad with lobster on top and it was summer perfection.  I’ll be holding on to that simple summer memory as the snow drifts and wind move in this winter.

Mexican Sweet Potato Puff Pie

Serves 4-6
Allergy Milk
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot

Ingredients

  • 1 bag Alexia Sweet Potato Puffs
  • 1 Medium Onion (sliced)
  • 1 Medium red pepper (sliced into strips)
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • shredded mexican cheese

Directions

1. Bake the Alexia Sweet Potato puffs according to the package instructions. Keep oven on at 400 F after they are done cooking.
2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Add peppers & onions and sauté for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft & lightly browned. Season with 2 teaspoons of taco seasoning. Transfer the mixture to the pie dish.
3. Add the ground beef to the pan with the remaining taco seasoning.
4. Cook until nicely browned and cooked through. Then stir in the salsa. Add the meat mixture to the pie dish on top of the peppers & onions.
5. Create a layer of sweet potato puffs on top of the ground beef and top off with a sprinkling of shredded cheese.
6. Transfer the pie dish to the oven and cook until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.
7. Serve topped with diced chives or green onions (optional).

 

 

Chicken Satay Marinade

Easy Chicken Satay Marinade

Hey!!!  I don’t have too much time to chat because its been a busy week but I wanted to stop in and share one of my favorite go-to marinades for summer grilling season.  You know that delicious, melt-in-your-mouth chicken or beef you get at Thai restaurants with the awesome peanut dipping sauce?  Well this is it!!  This recipe is from my dad and I made sure I wrote it down when I started cooking on my own.  I’m actually surprised I haven’t shared it with you yet, I searched the blog convinced that I must have but lo and behold! I’ve been holding out on you!

Easy Chicken Satay Marinade

Simply marinate the chicken (or beef) in the marinade for a few hours or overnight and then grill it up and you’ve got yourself some OH SO TASTY chicken.  Its so good you don’t even need the peanut sauce but obviously everything is always better with a little peanut sauce.

Easy Chicken Satay Marinade

The best part about this marinade?  I almost always have the ingredients on-hand.  All you need is fish sauce, brown sugar, oil, curry powder & lemon juice.  Easy peasy!  I was actually out of lemons when I made this last so I used a little powdered lemon with water and a splash of rice vinegar to replace it and it was still awesome.

Easy Chicken Satay Marinade

You can use chicken breast or thighs but I find that thighs are much better for grilling, they stay really moist and have a great flavor.

Hope this becomes a regular in your house too! Enjoy!

 

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

The “Rude” station on Pandora.

PandoraRudeRadio

If you’ve heard that new song on the radio called “Rude” it is seriously jammable (is that a word??, it is now)!  I tried out a Pandora station using that song and it is seriously the best summer music EVA!  Every song makes you want to be in a convertible with the top down jamming out at sunset.  I’m discovering all sorts of new artists through it as well as hearing classics from Bob Marley & Sublime and few throwbacks that bring me back to high school.  Seriously, check it out! #summerlovin

Chicken Satay Marinade

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions

1. Whisk all of the ingredients together until combined well.
2. Pour into a sealed plastic bag with chicken breasts, thighs or beef.
3. Marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
4. Grill until cooked through.

Beef Brisket w/ Pickled Green Tomatoes

Shredded Beef Brisket with Pickled Green Tomatoes

Hey there!  Hope you all had a great long weekend if you were lucky enough to have yesterday off!  Happy Veteran’s Day to everyone who has served this country, we truly appreciate all that you do!  I can’t remember if I told you this story last year so I’m sorry if I’m repeating myself but Veteran’s Day brings back some memories from my childhood.  One day when I was in second grade I woke up and was having breakfast before school.  My dad said “Happy Vet’s Day!” I asked him “What’s Vet’s Day??”  He proceeded to tell me that its a day to commemorate our Veterinarian’s because they do such a good job taking care of our pets.  Our pets are very important because they are like a part of the family, blah blah blah..

Little naive Mai-Lis went to school that day and sure enough, the teacher asked, “Does anyone know what day it is today?”  OOH OOH, me me, pick me!! I know what it is!  I proceeded to give her the whole lengthy explanation my dad had given me.  I knew by her face that I was WAYY off.  I was kind of a goody two shoes in school so needless to say, I was NOT happy.  Let’s just say I decided to give my Dad the silent treatment for a while after that.  I ‘m pretty sure for a few years after the incident every time he would say something I would turn to my Mom and say “Is that true Mom?”

I forgive you Dad.  Happy Vet’s Day!

Shredded Beef Brisket With Pickled Green Tomatoes

Is anyone else starting to get into the Christmas spirit?  I usually have a strict “after Thanksgiving” rule every year, but something about this colder weather is making me tempted to start with the Christmas music.  We’ve been playing a bunch of Nat King Cole & Frank Sinatra so that we can “feel” like we’re listening to Christmas music without actually doing it.  It makes it that much more special when you have to wait for it right?  I’m so glad my husband is on-board with the x-mas music love!

Shredded Beef Brisket With Pickled Green Tomatoes

This year I had a bunch of green tomatoes left on the vine that decided they weren’t going to ripen.  They’ve been sitting on our counter and I’ve been meaning to make some pickles with them.  I couldn’t seem to find time to get it done so I ended up just slicing them up and throwing them in some of the leftover liquid I had from pickles I had bought.  I let them sit in there for a few days and holy moly! They were SO good!  The moral of the story?  Go ahead and be ambitious if you want but they are just as good if you buy some pickles, eat them, and reuse the pickling liquid.

Shredded Beef Brisket With Pickled Green Tomatoes

I made the beef brisket using the slow cooker recipe I posted a while back.  Yum, so good! It went perfectly with the crunchy pickled green tomatoes.

Enjoy!

 

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

That moment when you have all of your laundry done and put away.

laundry

It doesn’t last very long but doesn’t it feel good while it lasts??

 

Butternut Squash Sloppy Joes

Butternut Squash Sloppy Joes

Woohoo, its Friday! It’s a Friday before a gorgeous fall weekend and we don’t have any plans on Saturday for the first time in a century and we can do whatever we want! woohoo!  Let’s scream a little more for these sloppy joes! They have BUTTERNUT SQUASH in them and cute little green peppers that we grew ALL ON OUR OWN and they were DELICIOUS, woohooo!

Butternut Squash Sloppy Joes

We don’t have one of those awesome gardens that some people have where they can go out and harvest every species of vegetable, we just have a few items in containers but it makes them that much more precious.  Our little peppers are like shiny green gems, I feel like I have to treat them with the utmost respect.  Like let them hang out with butternut squash and tomatoes and beef cause we all know how fun beef is.

Butternut Squash Sloppy Joes

I just happened to have some butternut squash leftover so I decided to add it in there and I’m so glad I did! It added a great sweetness without having to add much extra sugar.  BTW- can I just tell you how much use I got out of this butternut squash?  I made some roasted butternut squash for dinner one night, then we had people over on Monday and I made a squash, carrot parsnip purée, and then I used it in the sloppy joes and THEN, last night I made a curried squash carrot soup with it.  Yup, one butternut squash. It was like the clown car of vegetables.

Butternut Squash Sloppy Joes

The meat was so flavorful, it was delicious just eating it out of a bowl but I figured I’d photograph it in a bun for you because there’s not much you can do to make a pile of meat photograph well.

Butternut Squash Sloppy Joes

SO, you should totally give these a try because they are quick and easy and delicious which makes it the best weeknight meal! I served it with a little side of kale & beet salad so we could get some more veggies in there.

 

WHAT MAKES MAKE HAPPY:

Bootcamp.

Bootcamp

I’m sure you guys have heard me talk about my bootcamp on here before.  Its an amazing fitness family I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of for the past 2 1/2 years.  I joined 2 summers ago when I wanted to get in shape for our wedding and figured I would do it for a month or two, but here I am almost 3 years later, still waking up at 5:15 in the morning to go work out on the beach.  They found a great new space to rent for the winter which is super exciting for them but unfortunately for me it means I won’t be able to continue participating.  Its about 35 minutes each way which just makes for a lot of driving in the morning and getting up before 5:00.  I’m motivated and all, but not motivated enough to get up at 4:45 when I work from home.

Its been such an amazing experience, it has taught me so much about myself, pushing my limits and of course I’ve made great friends along with way.  I’ve been working out with the same girls almost every morning for over 2 years so it was definitely tough to say goodbye to them this morning after my last session.  Hopefully I’ll be back out with them on the beach next summer but until then, so long bootcamp 🙁 Love you guys!

Butternut Squash Sloppy Joes

Ingredients

  • 1lb grass fed beef
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 Medium onion (diced)
  • 3/4 cups butternut squash (peeled & finely diced)
  • 1 Medium green pepper (diced)
  • 14.5oz fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

Directions

1. In a large sauté pan heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, green peppers and butternut squash to the oil. Cook for 8-10 minutes stirring occasionally.
2. Mix all of the spices together in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Add the ground beef to the onion mixture and cook for 5-10 minutes until meat is cooked through and lightly browned stirring occasionally. Evenly add the spice mixture and stir to coat the meat.
4. Add the tomatoes and worcestershire sauce to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes or until reduced.
5. Serve sloppy joe mixture on a roll.

 

Maple Bourbon Flank Steak

Maple Bourbon Flank Steak

Ok, so I’m about to talk simultaneously the most manly thing (bourbon steak) and the most girly thing (frolicking with hundreds of pretty fabrics).  If you’re having a hard time focusing on fabrics with a pile of steak in your face, you might as well skip down a few paragraphs.  If you like fabrics & patterns and are a pillow freak like me, then stay right here.

Zimmans

I just got back from this AH-mazing fabric store in Lynn.  I love finding these diamonds in the rough.  I used to live in New Bedford and for a town that gets a bad rap, they’ve got some pretty amazing little places.  Well this little (or should I say HUGE) gem is certainly one of the redeeming qualities of Lynn.  For those of you who don’t live in Massachusetts, let’s just say that Lynn doesn’t really have the best reputation.  The saying goes “Lynn, Lynn, City of Sin, You never come out the way you went in.”  Yah, I’ll just leave it at that.

So I probably already mentioned this before but I have a slight pillow obsession.  By slight obsession, I mean I might need to start a pillows anonymous group, its kind of a problem.  We have closets stuffed with pillows.  Our guest bed currently has 7 pillows on it, the two couches in our living room have 10 pillows…I could keep going but its a little embarrassing.  SO, rather than stop purchasing pillows all together, I’ve started just buying fabric and sewing new cases for them so that it seeeeems like we have new pillows, but we don’t have to find more storage for pillow graveyards.  So I took a little trip there tonight and was once again completely overwhelmed because its literally filled with amazing fabrics from the floor to the ceiling.  After wandering aimlessly for about 45 minutes, I finally decided on a nice coral fabric for the pillows on our new patio.

zimmans2

I’ll share some pics once they’ve been sewn and the patio is all set up.  Can’t wait to see it all come together!

Maple Bourbon Flank Steak

Ok, let’s pump some more testosterone back up in here.  Steak. Grunt. Bourbon. Chew Tobacca, Chew Tobacca, Chew Tobacca Spit.  Have you heard that country song?  So catchy! Damn, stuck in my head already.

Maple Bourbon Flank Steak

Ok, no chewing tobacco, that’s nasty.  Just delicious, tender, grass-fed flank steak marinated in a maple bourbon marinade and grilled to PERFECTION!  I love cooking with whiskey, despite the fact that I hate drinking it.  Fortunately I have a husband who likes it so we tend to always have some on-hand.  If you’re not a whiskey person but you want to cook with it, remember you can always buy the nips at the counter.  That way you don’t have some massive bottle sitting around of something you’ll never drink.

Maple Bourbon Flank Steak

I got this steak at the farmer’s market from a local farm & it was SO good.  Flank steak is great, just marinate it overnight, grill it up, let it sit so all those yummy juices get pulled into the meat and you’ve got yourself a pretty amazing simple dinner.

Maple Bourbon Flank Steak

You’ll want to thinly slice the flank steak against the grain of the meat to make for the most tender pieces.

Enjoy!!

 

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

The smell of dark roasted coffee beans.

CoffeeBeans

MMMMMM, how good is that smell?? Love it!  If you ever go to the store and see all the smelly hole things pushed in on all the coffee bags, you’ll know I’ve been there.  Just kidding. Maybe.

Maple Bourbon Flank Steak

Allergy Soy
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 flank steak (1-2 lb)

Directions

1. Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Pour into a bowl or plastic bag with the flank steak and marinate for 8-24 hours.
2. Heat the grill to medium heat. Cook until it reaches your desired doneness (about 6-8 minutes each side) 130-135 degrees F.
3. Remove from the grill and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. Slice into thin slices against the grain of the meat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spiced Ground Beef over Grilled Eggplant

Spiced Ground Beef over Grilled Eggplant

Ok, I take back all of my complaining about the crappy weather last weekend, this weekend TOTALLY made up for it.  We pretty much beached it all weekend, took the paddle boards out for their maiden 2013 voyage, cooked up a bunch of steamers for dinner, played some golf and listened to a jazz band.  If that’s not a perfect summer weekend, I don’t know what is.  Right now I’m sitting out on our patio with the sun shining through the trees and an amazing breeze.  As much as I would love to live in a place that has this type of weather year round, I know I would probably take it for granted and not appreciate it.  Today, I appreciate it.

Spiced Ground Beef over Grilled Eggplant

So I mentioned last week that I was in a little bit of a cooking rut and didn’t feel like doing much but one day I had a big burst of energy and busted out this dinner.  It was SO GOOD.  For Easter this year, I made a moussaka for the first time and I really loved the flavors.  This is basically a deconstructed moussaka, minus the hours or labor-intensive prep work.  I grilled up some eggplant, cooked the ground beef with tomato paste, red wine and a bunch of spices and then topped it all off with a creamy bechamel sauce and crumbled goat cheese.  The flavors worked together perfectly, I might have to keep this one in my back pocket the next time we have people over for dinner.

Spiced Ground Beef over Grilled Eggplant

We go in on a cow share each year so we always have ground beef coming out our ears. Ok, not literally, that’s disgusting.  But there’s only so many times we can eat burgers before it gets a little old so it has forced me to get creative and figure out some alternatives.

 Spiced Ground Beef over Grilled Eggplant

I made the bechamel using almond milk which you can do if you’d like to keep it a little lighter but if you want to go the decadent route you can go all-out with butter and cream.

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend, I’m going to go enjoy the last few moments of this beautiful day and soak it all in…

 

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

Summer weekends like this one.

Weekend

Weekends where you can wear flip flops all day.  Weekends where you can leave all the windows open to let the curtains dance in the warm breeze.  Weekends where you can forget about everything and just enjoy great friends, family and the amazing place you live.  Looking forward to many more of these this summer!

Spiced Beef over Grilled Eggplant

Serves 2-4
Allergy Milk, Wheat
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 1 Large eggplant (sliced crosswise)
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1/2 Large onion (diced)
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • sprinkle cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Optional

  • crumbled goat cheese

Bechamel Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk (or whole milk or cream)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • sprinkle nutmeg
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Directions

1. Mix all of the spices together in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add the onions with a little olive oil. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the ground beef and cook until beef is cooked through and nicely browned.
3. While beef is cooking, start the bechamel. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Whisk the flour in and continue whisking constantly for 2-3 minutes. Slowly add the almond milk in a steady stream while whisking constantly. Add the bay leaf and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes stirring often.
4. When beef is cooked, stir in the tomato paste, red wine and spice mixture. Continue cooking for about 15 minutes until sauce is reduced.
5. While the beef and bechamel are finishing up, preheat the grill. Brush the eggplant lightly with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Grill over high heat about 3-5 minutes on each side.
6. Remove the bay leaf from the bechamel and season with salt, pepper & nutmeg.
7. Serve grilled eggplant topped with beef mixture and a drizzle of bechamel. Top off with crumbled goat cheese.

 

 

 

 

 

Mexican Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie

Mexican Sweet Potato Shepherd Pie

Holy moly, what a Friday, huh??  I had plans to post this recipe Friday morning but then when I woke up at like 4:45 AM for boot camp, and then, well, I guess you can probably imagine that I was a little distracted about the crisis that was unfolding in Watertown.  My brother was staying in Watertown Thursday night and was awoken in the middle of the night to the sound of gunfire and what sounded like a full fireworks show.  Before I left for boot camp I tried to “quietly” tell Tom while he was sleeping that he probably shouldn’t go into work for the day since his office was right in the middle of the chaos in Watertown.  I guess my “whispers” about shoot outs and bombs weren’t done subtly enough to let him sleep longer so we were both up early in the morning watching the madness unfold.

I was glued to the news, police scanners and twitter all day, trying to follow every step and every development while also trying to have a productive work day. I really couldn’t believe that a 19-year-old had shut down an entire city and eluded 9,000 police officers, it just didn’t seem possible.  I can only imagine how exhausted all of the police and first-responders were since I was completely exhausted from watching TV and sitting on my ass.

Mexican Sweet Potato Shepherd Pie

Those poor news reporters too!! This one guy on Channel 7 was so exhausted by the end of the night he could barely hold his head up, he had been reporting and chasing the story around for 30 hours straight.  I can’t even tell you how amazing it was when we found out that they got him and he was alive!

We went out to a local bar right after they captured him and you could just feel the stress melting off of people’s shoulders.  Smiles were finally emerging again and deep breaths were being taken by all.

I don’t want to get too much into the politics of it all but I do want to make one statement based on some of the incredibly hateful and ignorant statements I’ve seen on Twitter & Facebook.  Yes, I do believe that these men did terrible, unspeakable things. Yes, of course I want him to pay for what he’s done and be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  No, I am not going to let this feeling turn into hate and start saying things about how he should be tortured and killed and making generalizations about his religion and ethnicity.  I couldn’t believe some of the things people were saying about what we should do to him.  I don’t know if it’s just me but I don’t think I’m physically capable of ever thinking those things about another human being, no matter how “evil” they may be.  It just doesn’t make sense to me. Didn’t we just say that killing people is wrong? Oh, but it’s ok when we kill someone who killed someone? If killing is wrong. It’s wrong. Period.

Mexican Sweet Potato Shepherd Pie

Not only did this all unfold outside of the window of my husband’s office, but this terrorist attended Cambridge Rindge Latin School, which is school where I sit on the advisory board. On top of all of that, he was currently attending UMass Dartmouth which is where I went to school, and was living in the dorm building right next to the building I lived in for two years.  I spent a lot of time visiting friends in Pine Dale so its very possible I’ve spent time in the same room he was living in.  This was all just a little too close to home.  Did this really happen or was it just a movie and some big dream I’m going to wake up from?

I could probably talk for hours about what the people of Boston endured last week but I’d like to move forward and allow the week from hell to make its place in the past.  I’d like to take a deep breath and try to think about happier things like the sunny weekend we had full of fun with friends, golf, running a 5 mile race & lots of good eats.

Let’s talk about this shepherds pie, shall we?

MexicanShepherdsPie4

I had some reservations naming this “shepherds pie” since it conjures up memories of mounds of disgusting grey “beef” and fake mashed potatoes they used to serve at the school cafeteria.  This is NOTHING like that.  It’s a blend of spiced grass-fed beef, fresh sautéed vegetables topped with creamy sweet potatoes and salsa.  See? NOTHING like the shepherd’s pie of your past.

Mexican Sweet Potato Shepherd Pie

I added a little bit of shredded cheddar cheese and milk to the sweet potatoes in this one but if you took that out, this dish would be paleo, and actually pretty healthy despite the amazing decadent flavors.  This is a great one if you’re looking to feed quite a few mouths for not much money.  Just a pound of ground beef, a few sweet potatoes and vegetables and you’ve got yourself a meal that serves 6-8.

Here’s to hoping we are starting a MUCH better week!

Mexican Sweet Potato Shepherd Pie

Serves 6-8
Allergy Milk
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Hot

Ingredients

  • 3 Large sweet potatoes (peeled & diced)
  • 1lb grass fed ground beef
  • 2 Large bell peppers (red, green, yellow or orange) (diced)
  • 1 Medium onion (diced)
  • 4oz fire roasted green chilis
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/3 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/3 cup milk

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Steam sweet potatoes in a steamer basket until soft or wrap whole potatoes in a paper towel and microwave each for 5-6 minutes until soft.
3. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and spray lightly with olive oil. Add ground beef and cook until cooked through and nicely browned. Season well with salt & pepper. Transfer cooked beef to a bowl and set aside.
4. Add the onions and peppers to the skillet and cook for 5-10 minutes until nicely browned. Add beef, tomatoes, green chilis, garlic powder, chili powder & smoked paprika and cook for another 5 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, mash sweet potatoes with milk, salsa and cheese. Season with salt & pepper.
6. Pour the meat mixture into a 9x9 baking dish. Spread sweet potato mixture on top.
7. Bake for 20 minutes and then finish off by broiling for 5-10 minutes until top is nicely browned.

 

 

Shredded Brisket with Bourbon Espresso Glaze

Beef Brisket w/Bourbon Espresso Glaze

Slow cooker season is quickly coming to an close so I’ve been getting some good use out of it lately.  I can’t wait to put it away for the summer and get back outside grilling!  Don’t worry little guy, you’re not going into complete hibernation, I’ll be pulling you out a few times for pulled pork or shredded chicken.

I tend to feel a little less crazed in the morning so it’s easier for me to set aside some time for chopping & prepping.  It’s so nice for dinner time to arrive and you have an amazing meal waiting for you in the slow cooker.  Isn’t there something so soothing about prepping for a meal?  Cutting vegetables and working my way through the kitchen is almost a sort of meditation for me.  I allow my mind to completely focus on the task at hand and I’m able to push all of the stressful thoughts out of my head.

Brisket with Bourbon Espresso Glaze

I have such great memories of our vacation to Lake Champlain last summer so whenever I pull out this vinegar it brings back memories of biking into town and walking along Church street on a gorgeous summer evening.  We wandered into an olive oil shop and ended up taste testing a bunch of AMAZING vinegars & oils from Saratoga Olive Oil Co.

I’m guessing that most people do not have access to an amazing espresso vinegar like this so I did a little taste-testing and altered the recipe to use instant espresso powder and balsamic vinegar which will result in a similar taste.

Brisket with Bourbon Espresso Glaze

You’ll notice that the recipe for the sauce contains ketchup which is not something I normally cook with but we got this great spicy ketchup recently that has a limited ingredient list and no high fructose corn syrup.  Feel free to use whatever you have in hand or a mixture of some tomato paste and a little sugar.

SpicyKetchup

I decided to serve this over some sweet potato cakes.  I didn’t write down the recipe but I basically steamed sweet potatoes, mashed them, added an egg, some almond flour, spices and some onions from the brisket liquid and then cooked them on a skillet until nicely browned on each side.

Brisket with Bourbon Espresso Glaze

If you don’t have bourbon on hand but like to cook with it occasionally, don’t forget you can always buy the little bottles they have by the counter.  I always used to forget about that and I have a liquor cabinet full of liqueurs that I bought only for recipes.

Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!!

Slow Cooker Beef Brisket with Bourbon Espresso Glaze

Meal type Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot

Ingredients

Brisket

  • 1.5lb beef brisket (trimmed of fat)
  • 1 Medium onion (sliced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

Sauce

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 Medium shallot
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce

Directions

1. Place the onion and garlic in a single layer at the bottom of the slow cooker. Season brisket with salt & pepper and place on top of the onion layer. Stir together vinegar, bourbon and espresso powder. Pour over brisket, cover and set to cook on low for 8 hours.
2. Add olive oil to a medium sauce pan and sauté shallot for about 5 minutes. Add remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a slow simmer.
3. When the brisket is done, remove and shred using two forks. Add a little bit of the leftover liquid to the meat to keep moist.
4. Serve shredded brisket covered with bourbon espresso glaze.

 

 

 

 

Boeuf Bourguignon

Now you might be thinking I misspelled BEEF in today’s title, but nope, just being super fancy and pretending I speak French today which I totally do, I can say all sorts of French phrases like “Au Revoir” and “Parlez Vous Frances” and “No.” Whatever, who needs to say anything else when you’ve got Boeuf Bourguignon?  (just kidding by the way, I totally hate that Americans travel to every country and just expect that everyone should speak English to them, who are we? what makes us special? at least give it a try people! the slightest effort! you are in THEIR country!)

Anyways, this is a completely awesome recipe that will fill your house with the aroma of cozy yummy goodness and then when you taste it, you’ll realize that it also tastes like cozy yummy goodness.  The great part about making a stew like this is that you can use cheaper cuts of meat like chuck steak, it will become melt-in-your-mouth tender after simmering on the stove for hours.

You know how every house has a certain smell?  Like the smell of a certain laundry detergent or potpourri?  Well my house growing up always smelled like whatever delicious concoction was being whipped up in the kitchen. My dad used to make this all the time so the smell of this simmering on the stove brings me back home.  This is pretty close to the recipe that he uses (I say that even though you’ll never see my dad looking at a recipe).  There are probably some slight variations I made since I did a really bad job writing it down, I might have changed a few things up but it tasted pretty spot on! Dad, I know you’re reading this, let me know how I did.

We used to always eat this over egg noodles when my dad made it, but I decided to just serve it with some vegetables since Tom’s trying to limit his carbs these days.  The egg noodles are awesome though, the perfect thing to help you slurp up the rest of the delicious sauce!  And since it’s served on pasta, top it off with some PARMESAN CHEESE! (I always used to do this and it drove my dad CRAZY! YOU DON’T PUT CHEESE ON BEEF STEW!)  I’m sorry, but YES I DO!  And it’s DELICIOUS!  Love you 🙂

 

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

Dogs in clothing.

OH, go ahead, say it’s CRUEL!  I’m sorry, but it’s not cruel, it’s HILARIOUS! You want to know what’s cruel? When he poops and I go down to pick it up and he kicks leaves in my face. That’s cruel.  Or when he squirms his way onto the back of my desk chair and I spend the day working on the edge of my chair getting a stiff back. That’s cruel.  Or how about when he jumped on our bed, looked at us and then peed ALL over our comforter? That was cruel.

This?  This is payback.  Sorry buddy, it’s a small price to pay, you’ve got to make up for this stuff somehow 🙂  Letting us dress you up a few times a year and being our live-in comedian, that’s all we ask from you.

We even got him to howl in his Christmas outfit this year. HA, I LOVE IT!!

Boeuf Bourguignon

Serves 4
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Gourmet, Serve Hot

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-2lb beef chuck (cubed)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup onions (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup red peppers (finely diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • flour

Directions

1. Season meat with salt and pepper and toss lightly in flour until coated (I like to use a plastic bag).
2. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat. Add meat in batches and sear nicely on all sides, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
3. Add butter to the pan along with the onions and sauté for a few minutes until softened. Deglaze the pan by adding the water and scraping up drippings on the pan. Whisk until it becomes thick and pasty, you may need to add a little more flour if it doesn't seem to be thickening. When the roux is created, add the remaining ingredients (including seared meat) and stir well.
4. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce to low heat and simmer covered for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste.
5. Serve over egg noodles.