The best beef bourguignon ever

This does not follow my theme for the year but I just had to share/brag/boast/whatever!

In a Dutch Oven sauté a handful of bacon ends and pieces with a teaspoon of jarred minced garlic. Add 2 small onions chopped in large chunks and continue cooking until onions are semi-tender. Set aside in a bowl. Dredge 1-2 pounds of beef stew meat chunks (from a Top Butt) in ½ cup flour with some salt and pepper. Add a bit more oil to the pot and brown the beef, turning once. Set this aside in the bowl with the bacon/onion mixture. Add one cup of red wine to the pot and deglaze the pan scraping the brown bits on the bottom. Add the beef, bacon, and onion mixture back into the pot along with 2 small potatoes chopped in large chunks and 2 small carrots which have been peeled and cut into one-inch chunks. Cover this with 2 cups of beef broth and 1-2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce. Add more broth if necessary to just cover the goodies in the pot but not to drown them. Stir and bring to boil. Reduce heat and let simmer. This was allowed to simmer for the two risings of the home-made bread dough. Meanwhile in separate skillet place 2 tablespoons of butter and sauté 4 large baby bella mushrooms which have been sliced. Cook just until mushrooms are slightly softened and browned. Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce and set aside. When ready to put the bread in the oven, or after two hours, stir the mushrooms into the pot along with the reserved flour from the dredging of the beef. Continue to simmer the pot for the duration of the bread baking or 30-35 minutes.

We ate most of this before taking a picture. Here is what the leftover in the pot looks like. But no, the pic is not appetizing so I am not posting it, and this stew was fantastic. I do not generally rave about my own cooking but this was aromatic, flavorful, and rich-tasting. I served this with a homemade loaf of bread which is essential to clean the bowl to get every last drop!


Dry-aged steaks

I was reading, again, my various Cook’s Illustrated magazines looking for seasonal recipes to try. A magazine reader had written in about dry-aged steaks and wondered if this could be done at home. (Reference the March-April 2010 edition of the magazine). The editors replied about their efforts and I decided to give it a try.

  • 2 top sirloin steaks (about 6 ounces each?)

Wrap thoroughly with cheesecloth and place on a rack in the back of the refrigerator (where it is coldest) for four days. Pan sear and enjoy. Supposedly these are tender and intensely flavorful like the more expensive dry-aged steaks. Cook’s used 2 rib-eye and 2 strip steaks.

  • I put mine in the fridge on a Monday and we cooked them on a Saturday so that was a bit longer than the magazine.
  • I wrapped mine while they were still frozen.

  • They had a nice flavor but were not particularly moist or tender.
  • Hubby says the verdict is still out as these were some of the leftover pieces from a top sirloin butt that he had cut up earlier this year.
  • He would like to try this with rib-eyes.


Bah Humbug!

Happy holidays to all! And I celebrate Christmas but you may not. So happy to you what you celebrate. Many people celebrating happiness and family and togetherness.

It’s been awhile. I thought I would make myself write. I have not been in a pleasant mood.

For our pre-thanksgiving feast I made a boxed cake and used tubs of store-bought frosting. Does it matter? I did not even read the ingredients. There could be high fructose corn syrup and unnatural colors and flavors in there! Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! I did make the pie crust from scratch and the traditional “Betty Crocker” pumpkin pie. Didn’t buy whipped cream though! I bought a nice little package of pearl onions to make creamed onions but did not do that either. And no homemade rolls. Cinderella was feeling lonely and tired. Everyone enjoyed the meal anyway. We had grilled Ribeyes, baked sweet and russet potatoes, green salad with lime dressing, cornbread (made earlier for lunch with homemade soup which no one ate), layered rainbow sprinkle cake and pumpkin pie. And granddaughter put two candles on the cake, one for her (3) and one for her daddy (33).

So now Hubby is making a Stroganoff with the leftovers from the Rib eye steaks. My idea but he is doing the work. He had the day off; I went to work.


Mise en place: 

  • leftover ribeye, cut from bone, 8-10 ounces
  • one onion, chopped fine
  • one half green pepper, chopped fine
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, diced
  • 1/4 stick butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire, divided
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 package egg noodles, cooked

Melt butter and saute onions until translucent. Add peppers and then mushrooms. Gave it a stir and then threw in the meat. Another stir and then add a dash or two of Worcestershire Sauce. Add the sour cream and yogurt. Mix and add Worcestershire all over low heat. Stir in cooked noodles. Serve in bowls. Enjoy!


Yummy dinner and all I had to do was type the instructions.

Note to cook: take a healthy sip of wine between each ingredient!

Also Hubby says  to add fresh snap peas when dish is hot for additional favors. ANd what is weird is that he dreamed all of this last night!

Beef Goulash

And then there was a recipe that looked interesting and people to feed.

Not sure why I got out The Best Recipe Book from Cook’s Illustrated (1999) but I did. I was looking through soup recipes originally thinking about a lentil soup. I came across Beef Goulash (page 278) and as luck would have it, I had all the ingredients or a reasonable proximity thereof. Making this used up the remainder of my Hungarian Paprika from Soulard Market Spice Shop but it was worth it. Here is my version.

  • top sirloin butt or other beef steak cut into cubes, lean; Hubby estimates this as 10 ounces. It might be closer to 2 pounds. The original recipe called for 3 pounds,
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • bacon, 3-4 ounces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 red mini-peppers, de-seeded and chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup homemade vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • bunch of baby carrots, halved; I think I used at least a dozen
  • 1/4 cup freshly minced parsley
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

I am not sure the weight of this beef. But it was plenty. Hubby had cut it into stew meat when he cut up a huge hunk of meat a while back. These were the bits and ends leftover from steaks.

I modified the recipe by cooking it in the crockpot. I do not usually have 3-4 hours to cook a stew on a weeknight. Goulash is good served over egg noodles and Hubby loves egg noodles. One girl was coming over as she is home from college for the summer. We like to feed her meat since her mom is vegetarian and this is her opportunity to be an omnivore. (I like meatless meals every so often but this evening was not the night for lentil soup.)

This took me 30 minutes in the morning to prep since I did take the time to brown the meat and cook the bacon. I freeze entire packages of bacon and hack off the ends as I need. This way the bacon is already diced. I also chopped up the vegetables and then just threw everything in the crockpot. The vegetables filled a four cup measure.

The aroma was marvelous as I walked in the door after work. Now for the chopping of the parsley. I love fresh herbs. And there are the plantings I just bought in the background to grow my own.20160519_214041540_iOS

I served this over egg noodles after stirring in the parsley and sour cream. For the future I would stir in some flour or cornstarch to thicken the broth, but it was fine. I also had leftovers for lunches. It was a hit with the family diners that evening. I served it with a small salad with blueberries and pecans.



Boeuf Bourguignonne “on the fly”

According to Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Boeuf Bourguignon is “Beef Stew in Red Wine, with Bacon, Onions, and Mushrooms” (page 315). And then on page 326, a variation is Saute de Boeuf a la Bourguignonne which is how “to entertain important guests in a hurry”. Well I have the ingredients and I had been thinking about making this. So one evening, I am barely motivated to cook dinner when it occurs to me that I could jump up from the sofa, walk into the kitchen, and make this before Hubby comes home. I even have half of a baguette to soak up the juices.

beef stew 001

I start pulling stuff together and decide I don’t like the looks of the mushrooms, so I don’t add them. I don’t follow the recipe directions at all. I use garlic powder instead of mincing up garlic cloves, but I do use the red wine, beef steak, onions, and bacon. Her recipe calls for a bit of tomato paste (I’ll use tomato sauce) and beef stock which I do not have. The bit of thyme I do. I do not use as much wine or as much butter either. Here are my ingredients. Adjust the seasonings as you see fit.

  • pound of beef steak, roughly cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 2-3 ounces bacon
  • butter, 1 Tab
  • 1-2 tablespoon olive oil
  • hefty sprinkle of garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth plus 1/2 cup water
  • good hearty splash of red wine

I put the cut beef in a bowl, add the flour, and mix it up to coat. Throw this into a pot with olive oil to sear. Remove to a bowl. Chop the onion and bacon and put in the skillet with a little more olive oil and the butter. I added the garlic powder and let that cook while chopping up the potatoes and carrot. I add those to the pot along with the broth, water, tomato sauce and thyme. Don’t forget the hearty dose of red wine! Add the beef back in and let simmer until the vegetables are tender. Without the potatoes and onions this stew takes about 25 minutes. With root vegetables it takes just a little longer.

Meanwhile I wrap the baguette in tinfoil and put it in the oven at 350 F to warm. I’ve got butter in my Butter Bell and wait for Hubby. I suppose I should set the table at this point, but I don’t. Energy and motivation fade again. Hubby must be caught in rush hour traffic as he is a bit later getting home than anticipated.Unless he took my suggestion to stop and get himself some “real beer” since there is only one chocolate stout “dessert beer” left in the fridge. And this is St Patty’s Day. Although he’s a Scot, I’m the Irish!

beef stew 006

So this is my version without mushrooms. I have made this exactly according to the Julia Child recipe in the past and the notation says  “fabulous!” Hubby says this meal is hearty and very good with nice thick gravy. He liked it a lot! Me too.


Easy dinner: leftover beef stir fry

I wanted to make something light for dinner. The scale keeps telling me I am gaining weight. I’m sure Girl Scout cookies have something to do with that. One can not have just one or two or three of those Thin Mints! So I am thinking “bunches of vegetables” but something for meat as well. Taking a peek into the freezer finds a bit of leftover steak and a stir-fry frozen vegetable package. That’s the start.

stir fry dinner 001The package of frozen veg is not going to be enough if I want this meal to be mostly vegetables. So I add a package of mushrooms and an onion. And then I decide I will cook some brown rice after all, thinking that I have a package of “instant” brown rice that will cook in 10 minutes. Nope! So I put regular brown rice on and figure that will give me time to prep the vegetables and cook the stir fry.

I cook the beef strips briefly and then remove them from the pan to cook the vegetables. I add the Teriyaki sauce to the meat and when vegetables are mostly tender I put it all back together with more Teriyaki. The best guess I have for this throw together meal is:

  • about a pound or a little less of beef steak, cut into strips
  • 1 package frozen stir-fry vegetable mix, this one is a sugar snap pea combination
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces of mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup of Teriyaki sauce, more or less to taste
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice, cook per package directions

This is a super simple dinner to prepare. Technically one could just cook the meat and throw it in with the frozen package, douse it with Teriyaki or Soy Sauce and the meal would be ready in 15 minutes. I chose to do a little bit more work that than. Note: brown rice takes twice as long to cook as white rice. My timing was a bit off but it’s all good!

stir fry dinner 009
served over rice

Seems to me I’ve been serving most of our dinners in bowls lately. Just works out that way I guess…and it saves on serving dishes to set around the table…and then to wash. There seems to always be dishes to wash!


Quinoa 2

Continuing on my quest to use interesting ingredients and healthy ones I have made another quinoa dish. This one I found on

This is an easy to prepare recipe as it is mostly assembly. I added ground beef and an onion so that had to be browned before putting it all in the dish to bake. I actually followed the directions exactly but for that. Sort of.

  • 1/2 pound ground beef, browned
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies (I used the store brand; the name brand is Rotel.)
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained (I forgot to buy black beans most recently so I substituted a can of pinto beans, drained.)
  • 1/4 cup sliced jalapeno
  • 1/2 can vegetable broth (I used chicken broth because that is what I had on hand.)
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • sour cream for serving

I had only whole cumin seeds and whole coriander in my spice cabinet so I got to use the mortar and pestle that my son brought back from his international travels. I believe he brought this from Morocco. So these are “roughly ground”!

Preheat oven to 400 F. After browning the onion and beef, all the ingredients except the cheese and sour cream are mixed together in a 2 quart casserole.

quinoa 2 007Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove and stir. (I was not sure if this meant to remove the foil for the next cooking segment, so I covered the dish again. Bake for another 20 minutes until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender.

At the 30 minute mark the quinoa still looks quite small and raw. But the next 20 minutes finished cooking it perfectly.

After the 20 minutes remove the foil, cover with cheese and broil until cheese is melted about 1-2 minutes only. Serve with sour cream.

quinoa 2 008

I served this with tortilla chips to add some crunch. This makes four servings so I will have leftovers. I’ll serve the leftovers with a big salad and freshly baked cornbread or rolls.

Note: This dish has heat. It is very spicy. I might leave out the jalapeno next time or use a can of regular diced tomatoes without the chilies.

Sunday Pot Roast: so many choices

When grocery shopping I wanted to buy a brisket but the discount grocery I went to only had corned beef briskets available. So hubby and I picked out a beef roast, round, sirloin tip. I asked hubby if this was a “nice” cut of beef and he replied that any beef cut was a nice cut of beef. He’s my carnivore!

quinoa and pot roast 016Instead of freezing this nice just-over-2-pound roast we thought we would make ourselves a nice roast dinner for Sunday. One could just throw the beef in a pot with potatoes, onions, and carrots but I wanted something a little different. I have many cookbooks to get ideas from and I had a full pantry and fridge from the grocery shopping. I think I looked through at least half a dozen books and laid out a few for hubby to choose from. These choices included Beef Bourguignon from Julia Child, New England Pot Roast by Betty Crocker, and a Swedish Pot Roast from the Better Homes and Garden book. I admit I have not actually perused the beef recipes sections in my cookbooks for some time. There were some interesting ideas.

The “winner” comes from my Anheuser-Busch Cookbook: Great Food Great Beer. I am originally from the St. Louis area so have an affinity for Anheuser-Busch even though we don’t drink their beer very often. I bought this cookbook in 2008 when we took the family to tour the brewery. We settled on New England-Style Pot Roast on page 206. It’s cooked in beer! For the weekend grocery shopping we also went to the liquor store next door. While waiting for hubby to bring the car around I went looking for Sam Adams Cream Stout which is his favorite beer. We like dark beer. I found a craft beer from a local brewery that is a chocolate stout. What a great combination! I bring it to him and tell him I found “dessert beer”! The point is that although the recipe calls for Michelob Amber Bock, we use the Hooker Chocolate Truffle Stout.

I have a two pound roast which is half the size of the one in the recipe but is plenty for the two of us with leftovers. Hubby and I are cooking together which is fun. I am working hard at not being the kitchen bully and telling him how to do things!

quinoa and pot roast 017Here’s what I used:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 large onions, sliced.
  • 2.05 pound round roast, sirloin tip
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper,  or whatever it takes to sprinkle all over the roast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken stock (the recipe calls for beef stock but I didn’t have any)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (I used 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 12-ounce bottle of beer: we used the chocolate stout
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch

First slice the onions and cook in the pot in the butter. Cook these stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. The recipe called for 40 minutes but hubby thought that was too long. Meanwhile rinse and pat dry the roast and sprinkle all over with the salt and pepper. Remove the onions to a platter, add the olive oil to the pot, and brown the beef on all sides. Add the onions back into the pot, add the thyme, the broth, and the beer.

Cover pot with lid and put in oven heated at 325 degrees F. Half way through the cooking time the roast will need to be turned. Since this is a 2-pound roast it should be medium rare in about one hour. So I turn it over in 30 minutes. At one hour the internal temperature was 155 degrees. The roast is removed from the pot and hubby slices it. Now for the gravy. This is where something wasn’t quite right. The original recipe calls for 1-teaspoon of flour to thicken the liquid that is left in the pot. There’s a least two, if not three cups of liquid here. I used cornstarch and brought it to boil for more than the minute called for in the directions. Perhaps I should have removed the onions as well as the meat? The gravy did not thicken but still was very tasty.

quinoa and pot roast 027
Served with mashed potatoes and peas

It did not quite look like the photo but tasted like roast beef dinner. The meat was tender and not overcooked so that also was a success!

Now on to the week!


Beef: it’s what’s for dinner.

The above title is not original to me. It is from a Beef Industry commercial that ran in the early 1990s. It was a very catchy commercial using music by the composer Aaron Copeland, sounding quite like the American West, eliciting images of ranches and herds of cows! Passing a field of cows on family trips as a kid always got a “hamburger on hoof” comment from my Dad.

I like cooking from recipes but do not always have the motivation/time/energy to do so. My husband does not cook from recipes. And he cooks dinner from time to time. (when I let him!!) A husband who cooks is a keeper.

Hubby loves red meat. I think he dreams of cheeseburgers! We have beef usually once a week or once every other week, or maybe three times a month. When we go out to eat I can count on him ordering something beefy to eat. For this week’s grocery shopping trip he picked out the beef. After all we have plenty of chicken and some pork in the house from our last major grocery shopping. And even though we have a bit of ground beef, the two remaining patties in the freezer are “too small” according to him. And I thought I made 1/3 pounders!

The beef was a “thin sirloin tip steak”.  When he took it out of the package it was thin but rolled into what had looked like a small roast. The weather is warmish so the steak will be grilled. Even if the weather were cold and snowy, the steak would be grilled. He seasons it with Soulard Grill spice/herb mixture (from the historic Soulard Market in St. Louis) and grills it to perfection: rare for him and medium rare, heavy on the medium, for me.

He also washed and cut the potatoes and boiled them for a hearty mashed potatoes as a side. There are leftovers to make a shepherd pie later in the week. I mashed these up and melted the butter first (not sure why) and threw that in the pot with a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream and a splash of milk. Good thick creamy mashed potatoes! Add salt and pepper to taste.

Then I made a bit of a Greek salad: lettuce, grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese. I dressed this with the buttermilk ranch dressing I had previously made. The buttermilk dressing is modified from Joy of Cooking. One doesn’t really need a recipe for salad dressings. Put your herbs of choice in the cruet or small jar, add some vinegar or lemon juice and stir together. Add your oil and shake vigorously. Add buttermilk to this and shake vigorously again. The oil can be reduced if using buttermilk or yogurt for a creamy dressing. Generally it is presumed 2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar but change this up to suit your own tastes. I have used equal parts as well as less oil than vinegar. You can also put your ingredients in an almost empty jelly jar for a fruity dressing.

Back to beef…hubby also cut up one red and one yellow onion to saute with olive oil to throw on top of the steak.

endofJan2016 014

Dinner without much fuss.