Category Archives: Beefy McBeefy

Recipe Reviver: Part II

Winter Squash Carbonara with Pancetta and Sage
Winter Squash Carbonara with Pancetta and Sage from Bon Appetit Magazine

So, I wanted to let you know that I had a slew of new recipes for you, but then my blog was hacked and temporarily disabled…so this time I was not a lazy panda. First up, is my reviews from the gloriousness that was the new Bon Appetit. Well, did I call it or did I call it gang? So far we have tried the three recipes below and none have disappointed. My favorites in order and a brief description of each:

  • Braised Beef with Red Onion and Gremolata: Jeez Louise, this was ALL kinds of good. No seriously, absolutely amazing and would be a great crowd pleaser at a dinner party.
  • Winter Squash Carbonara with Pancetta and Sage: Did you know you can make pasta feel like a cheesy dish with winter squash? Well you can, and this dish is a perfect example of easy, cheesy, breezy it is. My mind is racing with where else I can apply this method…so many opportunities!
  • Chicken and Dumplings with Mushrooms: This was really good. David liked it more than I did as it was a little heavy on the mushrooms for my liking. While I think mushrooms have their place in this world, in my stomach is not one of them.

More to come poppets from Real Simple and Cooking Light including one that had us bickering over the larger leftovers!


Cremini Mushroom Meat Loaf

I can’t help myself, but every time I type the word meat loaf, I think of that song that was SO popular in the 90s, “I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).” Remember how EPIC this video was? WOW. It’s so bad looking at it now. Did you know the video was directed by Michael Bay? I’m not surprised one bit.

Well, I can tell you that I would do just about anything for this Cremini Mushroom Meat Loaf recipe from Cooking Light. YUMMEH! The cremini mushrooms all blended up with the sautéed onions and thyme made the perfect moist meatloaf with that certain  je ne sais quois (insert my poor French accent here) to it. The Cauliflower Mash was just as excellent and the perfect complement to the meatloaf. I roasted some Brussels sprouts in some extra virgin olive oil and dinner was done.



This meat loaf recipe is going down as my second favorite meat loaf recipe of all time and number one if you are looking at traditional recipes of this classic dish. This one from Bon Appetit is still the all time favorite in my book. Either way, make this when it gets cold and rainy outside – you’ll thank me later!

Seduced by the Slow Cooker & Christmas 2013

Cooking Light hit my sweet, er savory spot with not one, not two, but a whole section devoted to the sultry workhorse of the kitchen – The Slow Cooker.  In their Slow Cooker Recipes to Feed a Crowd feature I made four of the recipes including the Classic Slow Cooker Beef Stew; Slow Cooker Chicken Tagine; Tangy Italian Beef Sandwiches and Sweet & Tangy Short Ribs.  Most of these were knock your socks off good, but the hands down winner has to be the Chicken Tagine. Nom, nom, nom. This is a new go-to when I don’t feel like doing much in the kitchen but want something spectacular when I get home.


David and I made the short ribs together, followed it to the letter and boy, we were not fans. The Sambal Oeelek (which usually we can both handle) was HOT. I mean on fire, I was choking a bit hot. Not sure what happened, but we are going to try again and see if it was user error. David and I are still both scratching our heads on what went wrong. Regardless, give the the other three a try. They are simply delightful and easy to prep. I just love coming home to the smells of something in the slow cooker don’t you?

Now on to the BIG DAY – CHRISTMAS! I am one of the biggest nerds on the planet for Christmas and last night, David and I were talking about why. On the surface, I love all the smells, colors and flavors of the season – it’s all up my alley. But more importantly I feel this time of year is when things are a little slower and people are just a bit kinder towards one another. Goodness, I sound just like the opening to Love Actually don’t I? But I truly do believe it!

Enough of this gushy stuff, let’s get to the food. So I had to make this perfect roast chicken again and yes, once again, it turned out perfect. So, so, so perfect. I don’t think I will ever follow another roast chicken recipe again. I also made this Stupid Simple Roast Beef with Horseradish Cream from Food & Wine magazine – jeez, this was outrageously delicious. It was perfectly medium rare and juicy to boot. Was it stupid simple? You bet! We smeared and smothered the spicy, creamy horseradish sauce all over the meat and ate with abandon. I also roasted some red potatoes along with meat and then tossed them in the pan drippings when done. These were cracktastic. At one point, Lila had eaten all of her potatoes and when David asked the table if there were any more, one of guests was trying to hide his – he didn’t want to share, hahahaha. I also served a simple side salad of roasted beets, kale, shaved parmesan and roasted hazelnuts with a lemon infused creme fraiche sauce.  Easy, breezy and mostly healthy – it has kale and beets, come on!

Stupid Simple

The only misstep for us was the Dark Chocolate Pudding with Pretzels from Bon Appetit. I followed this to the “T” (as I always do duh, but especially so since it’s a pudding and those can be tricky) and it was waaaay too rich for the table; even with the salty pretzels. People took a few bites and then kindly set it to the side. Good thing we had cheesecake as a backup! Overall, Christmas 2013 dinner was a success but more importantly, we were so grateful to be with amazing family and friends. Hope you and yours had happy holidays and who is ready for 2014?

The Absolute, Hands Down, Best Way to Cook a Steak…

Sooooo, I’m a red meat lover, big time. I recall when I use to travel a lot for work, the one thing I wanted when I got off the plane was a big, juicy steak, well, and a glass of wine (or two). I’ve tried cooking steak every which way you can imagine – on the grill; on a myriad of pans on the stove or in the oven; broiling, blah, blah, blah, blah, and it never seemed to really get it just right. A few years ago we went for a blogger tour of Ruth Chris’ Steak House and THAT was a perfect steak. We kept searching for a similar method of how they cook their steaks until one night my husband came across this brilliant one from the oh-so-loved Sir Alton Brown. Yes, I Sir’ed him because if this man was British he would be knighted for his contributions to the food community.

What I love about this method, is that while it works beautifully on a big ol’ ribeye, it can work on just about any cut of steak. You get a nice crisp sear and a perfectly cooked interior. If you want a little more well done, just up to cooking times on each side and in the oven to get it to your desired degree of doneness. We actually have tossed out all other methods since this one nails it every time. Fair warning though, turn off your smoke detector for the duration of cooking because there will be some smoke from you oven with it being that high in temperature. Trust me, you won’t mind once you’ve taken one bite of your perfectly cooked steak. Wow, I really want a steak right now, who’s with me?

Chile Braised Short Ribs



It’s no secret that The Hubs and I like short ribs, heck, we had them at our wedding (bless you Primizie, bless you) and when I see a recipe for them I have to make it, it’s like an itch I gotta scratch!

With that, I just had to make these Chile Braised Short Ribs from Bon Appetit because of our aforementioned love of short ribs and because I randomly had a ton of dried New Mexico chiles in our pantry. What an odd thing to have a lot of huh? I was worried that this dish was going to be too spicy for my gentle husband, who loves spice but let’s just say it doesn’t love him back. Actually, the weren’t spicy at all but instead had a great smoke flavor and they were perfect in the falling off the bone department that all great short rib dishes require. We also loved the addition of the fingerling potatoes, carrots and the salty olives. I served this over some braised collard greens since it is my goal for us to eat a leafy green each day. We will be healthy damnit!

I would recommend this for people who have been around the short rib block a few times and want to try a new avenue of short rib deliciousness – you won’t be disappointed, trust me!

“A David Favorite”


These are three words I love hearing during or after a meal from my adorable husband David. One of the many things I loved about him right off the bat was his love and appreciation of food which was very important to me when I was looking for “the one”.  I love exploring new foods, restaurants, wines and cocktails and David is always right there with me having the same great time. What I’m even more excited about is that we get to pass this love and appreciation for food on to our daughter (10 more weeks if you can believe it!). I can’t wait to share baking tips with her, or the right way to balance a dish, or heck, how to enjoy a good ol’ slab of chicken fry.

I know it’s been a while since I posted, and in between being insanely busy with The Pie Society (check it out! to getting ready for baby, it’s been a whirlwind past few months. Who knew that preparing for a thing so small could be so much work? Between appointments, getting the house ready, hospital details, I feel a bit like I’m getting off a Tilt-A-Whirl sometimes. Any advice from marathon moms out there?

Back to food! We had a lot of these “A David Favorite” moments going on in the house when I did have time to cook and let me just say, all of these are Emily favorites too. What I appreciated about all of them was they were fast, easy-to-follow, and very, very tasty. If I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be the Summer Beef-and-Rice Casserole from Everyday Food. We had leftovers for days and it kept getting better and better each day. Here’s our round-up of all of them and next up, my new favorite restaurant in Austin!

Everyday Food’s Summer Beef-and-Rice Casserole: YUM with amazing leftovers for days or an hour if you are pregnant.

Everyday Food’s Gnochhi with Quick Meat Sauce: Fast and easy. I used pre-made gnocchi from Whole Foods Market because they do amazing with those little potato pillows and that meat sauce is fantastico! Look it’s a demo video!

Bon Appetit’s Kerla-Style Beef Stew: reserve this for a night when it gets a little chilly and enjoy with some buttery toasty bread. You’ll thank me later. Oohh this was a stunner!

Cooking Light’s Crisp Chicken Marina: This felt like a fun spin on chicken Parmesan that was healthy to boot. I stirred in a cup of spinach until it wilted for an additional veggie oomph. You’ll be glad you had leftovers lambs.


Knock Your Socks Off Meatloaf


With a slathering of hoisin sauce and other Asian-inspired flavors such as ginger, Chinese five-spice powder, and rice vinegar stuffed inside, this was one of the most unique and flavorful meatloaf dishes I’ve ever made, and definitely my new favorite. In recent years, I’ve been attached to a meatloaf recipe from my beloved Neiman Marcus cookbook but I believe this Hoisin-Glazed Meatloaf Sandwiches from Bon Appetit has officially taken the top spot.

Each time I took a bite of this I’d go “mmmmmm! MMMMMMMM! Can you believe how good this is?” We loved the perfect crispy crust on the outside, the moist and flavorful interior and the fresh and crisp salad of radishes, carrots, cucumbers and cilantro on top (I’m telling you, don’t skip this part!). It actually reminded us of the Bahn Mi sandwiches we had at Elizabeth Street Cafe a few weeks ago. Even though meatloaf can feel a little heavy, I think this one is light enough with the salad on top that it can be enjoyed year round and is going on rotation in our house fo sho.

Pantry Party!

Typically through my menu planning process, I go through pretty much everything I purchase if not in the first week, then definitely in the next. But there are those rare occasions were the beckoning of a Polvo’s Crackerita is too strong or I’m just too darned tired to cook after baking in the kitchen. I decided to check my pantry for these rare occasion relics that might be lurking in my pantry and found cream of mushroom soup, piquillo peppers in a jar and canned whole cranberries. As I sat trying to remember what recipes these ingredients were for originally, I started researching some new fun ones to try and voila lambs, I found two!

Bobby Flay’s Loin of Lamb Marinated in Merlot, Garlic and Parsley with Piquillo Pesto. Now I didn’t change much except for, well, the main protein. We are on a tight budget after all the wedding festivities so I turned to my most favorite, cost-effective cut of meat – flank steak. It’s juicy, flavorful and worked beautifully with this marinade. Talk about simple and quick. I marinated the steak, made the pesto (in our new food processor, yippee!!) and then when David got home, I threw the steak on the grill and bam dinner was done. I turned this into a small salad with arugula, bleu cheese, halved cherry tomatoes and then placed the steak on the greens and drizzled the pesto on top. I also had enough pesto the next day to make David a snack with pita chips. Am I getting good wife points yet?

Moving on to the cranberries. I found this Jack Quesadillas with Cranberry Salsa from Cooking Light…yum! Keep this one in mind for the upcoming Thanksgiving holidays for sure. Although I substituted

Jack Quesadillas with Cranberry Salsa (Photo by Randy Mayor)

rotisserie chicken for turkey, what really makes it is the salsa. I can see canning this and giving it as pretty holiday gifts or it would even be great over some baked brie or on an old shoe, seriously it’s really good. I made extra and now we both have quesadillas and cranberry salsa for lunch today. YAY!

Now, what the heck am I going to do with that Cream of Mushroom soup?

Beef Tenderloin with Cherry-Black Pepper Sauce

I’ve been meaning to post this Cooking Light recipe since I made it because it was absolutely INSANELY good.  And get this, it’s only five ingredients. Tack on three more and you’ve got a eight ingredient meal that was sinfully delicious and fast to boot.

If we were a band name while eating this it would Snarfy McSnarf and the Snarftones. We inhaled this in no time flat. I mean, how can you go wrong? Beef Tenderloin with cherry preserves, balsamic vinegar, shallot and butter? Yep, here’s your drool cup. To make this even better – yes it’s possible – I boiled chopped parsnips until fork tender and then mashed with a smidge of low-fat milk and creme fraiche, plus a little salt and pepper. Serve the tenderloin over the parsnip puree and you’ve got a winner for dinner. Here’s the before and after photos for proof the of the tenderloin annihilation.

Make this right now! I don’t care if it’s midnight, go, go, go!





Cabernet Braised Short Ribs with Parmesan Polenta

Cabernet Braised Short Ribs with Parmesan Polenta


Oh jeebus folks. WOW to infinity. I just ate this so my belly is really happy right now and I kinda have no words. Savory, beefy, herbalicious, melt-in-your-mouth polenta and cheesy – could this be any better AND it’s a Cooking Light recipe. Nom, nom, nom.

As you might know. I love doing low and slow things on Sundays, and since ACL is going on right in our backyard and we are hunkered down here in the casa, why not? Sure, there are a lot of ingredients, but once you get past all of the chopping it’s pretty easy. I did add two things. One, once the rib sauce started to boil down, I added a tablespoon of tomato paste plus a dash of nutmeg and half and half to the polenta to give it a bit more oomph.  We loved the fall-off-the-bone ribs, over the creamy polenta with the wicked sauce and that special touch of parsley gremolata that gave it a fresh zing. Plus, there are delicious leftovers the next day. I’ll be you that sauce is even better tomorrow!



Ribs braising in the sauce. YUM!

I couldn’t find the recipe online, so here you go:


  • 16 (3-ounce) bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed
  • 5/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons, olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 2 1/2 cups cabernet sauvignon or other dry red wine
  • 1 1/4 cups lower-sodium beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 garlic clove, minced


  • 3 cups fat-free milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 5/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup quick-cooking polenta
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to pan. Add 8 ribs, and sauté for 6 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove ribs. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 teaspoon oil and the next 5 ingredients (through rosemary) to pan; sauté 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine to pan, and bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook for 13 minutes or until reduced to 2 cups.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Add broth to pan, and bring to a boil. Return ribs to pan. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, turning ribs after 45 minutes. Remove ribs from pan and strain liquid through a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl. Discard the solid. Skim fat; discard.  Return cooking liquid to pan. Combine flour and 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl, stirring well. Add to pan, and bring to a boil. Cook for 11 minutes or until reduced to about 1 cup. Stir in vinegar.

4. To prepare gremolata, combine 1/3 cup parsley, 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind and minced garlic.

5. To prepare polenta, bring 3 cups milk, 1 cup water, 5/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper to a boil over medium heat. Slowly stir in 1 cup polenta. Cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Stir in cheese. Place 1/2 cup polenta in each of 8 shallow bowls, and top each serving with 2 ribs, 2 tablespoons sauce and about 2 teaspoons gremolata.