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Sunday Supper Movement

Beef

We’re having unseasonably warm weather this year, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not craving your typical winter comfort foods, like pastas and stews. A very busy month has had me looking towards recipes that require little extra work from me and meals that make large quantities so that we’re set for leftovers for a couple days (or in this case, almost the entire week). This stew recipe, heavily adapted from my uncle’s recipe, fits that bill. It makes 14 HUGE, filling servings and with the exception of a few minutes chopping of some veggies, the dish can be set and forget to cook all day long.

I know I’ll be making this recipe a couple times over the next two months. Not just because we enjoy it, but because this week, both my hubby and I got hit with some craziness at work. Over the next 6 weeks, we each have a week of training, which tends to equate to long days with the other parent doing the majority of the kid-duties. Add that to a looming deadline for me on a huge project at work… life is going to be busy and a bit rough until mid-March.

I plan to do my best and continue posting as much as possible, but please forgive me if there’s a lack of posts on here or on social media. Please send positive thoughts that everything goes smoothly!

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

By Books n’ Cooks

Makes 14 2-Cup Servings

Add the following to a 7-quart (or larger) slow cooker and whisk to combine.

  • 32 oz. low-sodium beef broth
  • 32 oz. low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 6 Tbs. homemade stew seasoning (or 2 packets, if purchasing store-bought)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Then add the meat, potatoes, and vegetables:

  • 8 oz. sliced white button mushrooms
  • 7-8 oz. frozen peas
  • 1/2 an onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 lbs. lean stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces (trimmed of fat, if needed)
  • 6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 9-10 hours, until potatoes are soft and meat is tender.

A couple tablespoons at a time, whisk in:

  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

and allow stew to cook and thicken with the lid cracked another 15-30 minutes.

Serve hot, with a side salad and/or dinner roll.

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November was supposed to be a quiet month for me. October was crazy but November was completely open. It was supposed to be a chance for me to relax and recharge before the Christmas holiday season kicked into gear.

As hard as I tried to keep the month open, my plan didn’t really work out. I’m not even completely sure how the month got so busy, or what, exactly, we did. We had a houseguest for a couple days, that we didn’t previously plan, but I think that other than that, it was just very busy with some long days (including weekends) at work, a week of sick kiddos, and struggling to keep up with housework. As the month ended, I ended up feeling more exhausted than refreshed.

beef-sausage-lasaga

The crazy month is why this recipe has taken a bit longer than I wanted to post. This lasagna is a go-to recipe for me, particularly for cooler weather and large-scale entertaining. While it is a good bit of work (it probably takes an hour or so to put together), it has 3 qualities that make it a favorite.

1) It can be made in advance and refrigerated or frozen.
2) It makes a huge dish and can easily serve 8-12 people. Or, it makes a lot of leftovers for weekday lunches or busy weeks when leftovers are all that we have for dinner.
3) Everyone loves it.

Unlike a lot of other lasagnas, it’s light on the cheese and full of meat. Also a little different from other recipes, I added a few extra layers – for a total of 4 layers of noodles – as we like a nice, thick slice.

This recipe has been heavily adapted from my mom’s old Good Housekeeping cookbook, Step by Step.

Make Ahead: This recipe can be made in advance, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, and frozen for at least a couple of months. Lasagna should be allowed to defrost completely (about 2 days in the fridge) before baking according the the instructions below. If lasagna isn’t completely thawed, keep covered and bake until lasagna is hot throughout, before removing foil and cooking uncovered for the last 15 minutes.

beef-sausage-lasaga

Beef & Sausage Lasagna

Makes one large (9×13) lasagna

Serves 10

Ingredients:

  • 1-16 oz. package lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/2 lb. spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1/2 lb. mild Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 medium onion, small dice
  • 1 Tbs. minced or crushed garlic
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tbs. dried basil
  • 1-15 oz. container part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 c. fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 c. (8 oz.) shredded part-skim mozzarella
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Make the Meat Sauce: In a large skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef and both sausages, using a wooden spoon to break up any large chunks. Add onion and garlic, and continue to cook until translucent. Discard any excess fat, and add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, kosher salt, sugar, Italian seasoning, and basil. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and lower heat, simmering for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package. When done, use tongs to remove noodles from water and lay noodles flat on a clean dishtowel on the counter. Allow to cool until you’re able to handle them with your hands.

Make the Ricotta Layer: In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, egg and parsley.

Assemble the Lasagna: On a clean countertop, line up meat sauce, lasagna noodles on the towel, ricotta, a small bowl filled with the shredded mozzarella, and a large (9×13 at least) baking dish. It will make assembly easier and cleaner if everything is in one single work area.

First, spread a couple of spoonfuls of the sauce (I like to avoid the meat chunks for the bottom later) across the bottom of the baking dish, so that lasagna noodles don’t stick. Next, add a layer of lasagna noodles, followed by one-third of the ricotta, about 1/2 c. of the mozzarella, and about a quarter of the meat sauce. Do this two more times, so that you have 3 complete layers.

Add the final layer of lasagna noodles. If you have extra ricotta, you can add it here. Otherwise, top with remaining meat sauce, remaining mozzarella, and the grated Parmesan cheese. Feel free to add a little extra of either or both cheeses, if lasagna is not sufficiently covered.

Bake covered with aluminum foil for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted and starting to brown. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Serve hot with a side salad and your favorite fresh bread or garlic bread.

beef-sausage-lasagna-from-books-n-cooks

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After three weeks of rain and abnormally chilly weather, it looks like some semblance of spring or early summer is finally here, and I’m thrilled. I’m done with heavy meals, the stove and oven heating up the kitchen. I’ve been longing for lighter fare – grilled meats and veggies, lots of fresh fruit and herbs… everything cooked outside with the windows and doors open. And FINALLY! That time is here. And what perfect timing, because this week, the #SundaySupper tastemakers are heating up the grill and showing off some great recipes that will keep you grilling all summer long.

Bourbon Brown Sugar Steak

Due to our busy schedules, we’re frequently grilling with premade marinades or a quick rub of spices or even just kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. But on the weekends, I have a little extra time for those few extra steps that turn a simple grilled steak into something a little extra special. This recipe is one I’ve made several times. The  marinade loans a great flavor to the meat, and later gets heated to a boiling point to create a sweet syrup to drizzle on the grilled steak.

Bourbon Brown Sugar Steak

Bourbon & Brown Sugar Marinated Grilled Steak

Adapted from Fine Cooking Grilling, 2008 (p. 33)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 c. bourbon
  • 1/2 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • 2 lbs. steak (I used flank steak)

Marinade: Combine soy sauce, bourbon, brown sugar, mustard and hot sauce in a large ziplock bag. Add steak and marinate at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.

Cook: Meanwhile, preheat grill, with settings on medium.

Remove steak from marinade (save marinade) and grill to desired doneness – about 5-6 minutes per side for medium-rare.While steaks cook, place leftover marinade in a small pot on the stove and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes until thick and syrupy.

Allow steaks to rest for 5 minutes before slicing thinly, across the grain.

Serve with a drizzle of sauce and your favorite summer sides.

Looking to change up your summer grilling routine? The #SundaySupper tastemakers have everything from drinks to entrees, sides, and desserts. Check ’em out!

Patio Libations

Let’s Get This BBQ Started!

The Main Event

On a Side Note

Saucy Sentiments and Rebellious Rubs

Finishing Touches

Plus Piri Piri Sauce and Recipes for Summer Grilling from Sunday Supper Movement

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

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Beef Wellington

I feel like Beef Wellington is one of those dishes you indulge in. It’s expensive and while not difficult to make, it does take a little bit of time. However, this recipe has become of of my favorite beef recipes and my go-to entree for special occasions, particularly for Easter. The beef is incredibly tender and the stuffing is full of flavor. I usually pair it with a simple potato dish, a roasted vegetable, and a salad – the beef is the star of the show and there’s no need to detract from it with fancy sides.

I’ve used this recipe (scaled accordingly) to make both individual Beef Wellingtons as well as one large Beef Wellington, which we then sliced. While I like the idea of everyone having their own individual serving, the larger one was easier to put together and honestly easier to accommodate appetites of varying sizes.

Beef Wellington 

Heavily adapted (simplified) from Tyler Florence

Serves 6-8

Ingredients for the Mushroom Duxelles: 

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 pints (1 1/2 lbs.) white button mushrooms
  • 2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Ingredients for the Beef:

  • 3 lbs. center-cut beef tenderloin, trimmed
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • all-purpose flour
  • 1 lb. puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • cooking spray
  • coarse sea salt

Make the Duxelles: On the stove, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. When hot, add butter and olive oil.

Meanwhile, in a large food processor, pulse the mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and thyme until finely chopped. Add to skillet with melted butter and olive oil. Sautee for about 10 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

I’ve made this step several hours ahead of time, and simply refrigerated it until ready to prepare the beef.

Prep the Beef: In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil.

While the oil is heating, season all sides of the beef tenderloin with salt and pepper. Sear meat on all sides for only a few minutes, to seal in juices.

Beef Wellington

Assemble the Beef Wellington:  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425F and lightly flour the counter. Roll out puff pastry to 1/4-inch thickness, overlapping the two sheets of puff pastry as necessary. Spread duxelles in the center, to the approximate length and width of the puff pastry. Set seared beef tenderloin on top.

Combine beaten egg with a little bit of water to create an egg wash. Brush long sides of puff pastry with egg wash and then fold over, sealing in meat. Trim ends, if necessary. Brush with egg wash and fold over.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Gently place beef on prepared baking sheet, seam side down. Brush top with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Cut slits into top to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 30-45 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the beef comes out at 125F. Allow to rest for 15 minutes, which will allow the meat to continue to cool until it reaches medium, about 140 degrees.

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Manly Meaty Chili

Several years ago, some friends of ours entered the chili cook off contest at Pumpkin Chunkin. We never got to go, but we did get to test their award-winning (2nd place!) chili. This recipe is mine and my husband’s version of that recipe. Over the years, we’ve changed the prep and cooking methods slightly. We’ve also amended the ingredient list to better align with our kitchen staples and to omit some of the ingredients that are harder to find.

This chili is thick and meaty. It makes a huge batch. It’s a weekend recipe, because it takes a good 1-2 hours of prep and cook time followed by another couple of hours of simmering. We like to make it and have a bunch of friends over to help us eat it. When there’s leftovers, my husband will eat it for lunch every day until it’s gone.

Manly Meaty Chili & Bacon Corn Bread

Manly Meaty Chili

By Books n’ Cooks

Makes a ton

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the following meats. As each browns, move to a plate or bowl until ready to add to the stockpot:

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. hot Italian sausage
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
1 lb. bacon or turkey bacon (optional)

Meanwhile, set a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add

a little vegetable oil

When hot, add the following veggies, sauteing until soft:

2 bell peppers, small dice
2 large vidalia onions, small dice
10 cloves garlic, minced

When the veggies have softened, deglaze pan with

1 c. bourbon

Stir in the following ingredients and bring to a boil:

2 Tbs. taco seasoning
2 Tbs. chili powder
1 cap full of Hot Mrs. Dash or McCormick’s Perfect Pinch Southwest Blend
1/4 c. dried oregano
1/4 c. dried basil
24 oz. lager
2-8 oz. cans Rotelle
12 oz. tomato paste
28 oz. tomato sauce
8 oz. semi-sweet baker’s chocolate

When boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and add cooked meats as well as

1-15 oz. can kidney beans
1-15 oz. can black beans
1-15 oz. can Great Northern beans
1-15 oz. can pinto beans

Stir to combine. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and allow to cook for 2-3 hours.

Serve hot with your choice of toppings (i.e shredded cheddar cheese, minced onions, etc.) and side (i.e. tortilla chips, traditional corn bread, bacon corn bread (pictured above), etc)

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I’m not feeling very inspired to write today. Maybe it’s because me and sloppy joes don’t really have a history. I had them at my in-law house one of the first times I went home with my hubby. Something about this recipe struck me and I ended up loving it. I think it’s the slight tang of the sauce. Sloppy joes quickly became a regular in our weeknight menu – it’s healthy & filling; it comes together pretty quickly; and it’s one of my favorite leftovers to take to work. Enjoy!

Above, served with mixed berry salad with vanilla syrup.

Sloppy Joes

Adapted from Ellie Krieger’s The Food You Crave p. 91

Makes 6-8 sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 tsp. minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded & small diced
  • 1-15.5 oz. can low-sodium red beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 1/2 c. no salt added tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. unsulfured molasses
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 8 burger buns or sandwich thins for serving

Instructions:

  1. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, brown meat and onions until meat is mostly browned.
  2. Remove drippings from pan – pour or use a turkey baster to remove them – and add bell pepper and garlic, cooking for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, minus the burger buns. Cook for another 5 minutes until flavors meld together.

Serve on burger buns or sandwich this.

Make ahead and reheat in a crock-pot on low for 2-4 hours.

Nutrition: 1/2 c. of the sloppy joe mixture is 220 calories and will yield a full 8 servings.

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When Borders was closing, I stalked the cookbook section, hoping that the cookbooks for my favorite chefs would end up dirt cheap. No such luck – they sold out long before that point, but I did score one major find. Borders had William Sonoma Cooking at Home marked for to $7, and then an extra 30% on top of that. The book didn’t have any photos, which I normally want in a cookbook, but I had heard such great things about WS recipes that I knew this was a good investment. No, a fabulous investment.

So far, I’ve only made a couple recipes from it – country fried chicken, buttermilk dinner rolls (recipe coming up) and this beef bourguignon recipe. I think I have a new favorite cookbook. This beef bourguignon blew me away. I’ve made it twice over the past month, a pretty big statement when it takes a good 4 hours from start to finish. The flavors were outstanding. I felt so warm and cozy while eating it, I kept expecting to see snow on the ground!

Recipe Notes: I skipped the salt pork called for in the recipe. I used it the first time, because everything was supposed to be fried in the fat rendered from it. However, the brand I got (Hornell) yielded no fat. In the below, I replaced the pork fat with Crisco and liberally salted the dish with kosher salt before baking it. (If you want to use it, fry pork fat until fat is rendered. Remove fat from pan and set aside. Fry veggies and beef in fat. Sprinkle fried salt pork on top of dish upon completion.) I also skipped the 1/4 cognac (to deglaze pan) and simply used some of the red wine, as we don’t usually keep cognac in the house. Finally, I skipped out on the pearl onions (saute 18-24 peeled pearl onions in an extra 2 Tbs. of butter, and add to dish at the same time as the mushrooms if you’d like to include them).

Beef Bourguignon

Adapted from Williams Sonoma Cooking at Home p. 274

Yields 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • Crisco
  • 8 shallots, minced
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled & diced
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • nutmeg
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 lb. beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 2 c. beef broth
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary
  • 3 c. dry red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 lb. white or cremini mushrooms
  • chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley, for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Heat 2-3 Tbs. Crisco in a large cast iron sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots, onions, carrots, and garlic. Sprinkle with a generous teaspoon of kosher salt and saute until soft.
  2. While veggies are cooking, combine flour, nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a bowl. Coat beef with flour mixture, shaking off the excess.
  3. When veggies are soft, move to a plate with a slotted spoon, leaving as much of the grease as possible. In batches as not to overcrowd meat, brown the beef on all sides. Add more Crisco if needed. When browned, use a slotted spoon to transfer to a waiting Dutch oven.
  4. Add 1/2 c. of the wine to the pan and deglaze, stirring with a wooden spoon to get up the bits at the bottom of the pan. Add deglazing liquid, the remaining 2 1/2 c. wine, the beef broth, and thyme/rosemary to the Dutch oven with beef.
  5. Move Dutch oven to stove burner still set to medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Simmer on the stove or in an oven preheated to 324F for 2 1/2 hours.
  6. At the 2 hour mark, start preparing the mushrooms. Clean and trim stems, if you haven’t done so already. Melt 3 Tbs. butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
  7. At the 2 1/2 hour mark, add mushrooms to beef. Cook for another 30 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven. Discard thyme/rosemary springs and bay leaf. Sprinkle with parsley and serve hot with crusty bread.

Preparation time: 4 hours

Cooking time: 3 hours

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Lately, my work schedule has been crazy and it has been hard to fit chores, working out, and friends into my after work hours. And when I can fit it in, I just don’t want to. I usually want to veg out on the couch with some mindless tv or a quick mystery novel. Since I’m pretty much useless after work these days, I’ve gotten into the habit of making a nice big meal on Sundays, so that the hubby and I have leftovers for lunch or even dinner during the week. In summer months, we usually grill, but it’s harder during the winter. We end up with a lot of pasta, meatloaf, and other warm cozy meals. Shepherd’s pie recently earned itself a spot in our winter dinner rotation.

I came up with this recipe after some trial and error. I’ve never found a recipe out there that I loved completely. Some recipes called for ingredients that I didn’t normally have on hand. Others just didn’t appeal to me for one reason or another. The one I came up with uses ingredients I almost always have on hand. The filling is just a little bit thick, with most of the flavor coming from the Worcestershire sauce.

I like this recipe because it’s pretty forgiving. I use ground beef or turkey, depending on what I have on hand or what’s on sale. I might use more veggies to bulk up the mixture or simply change up the veggies I include (such as the extra carrots and no peas pictured above) depending on what’s in the fridge or in season. Even the mashed potatoes – sometimes I use leftovers, sometimes I make them from scratch with a little cheddar cheese thrown in for some extra flavor. Have fun with it – it’s hard to mess up!

Shepherd’s Pie

By Books n’ Cooks

Yields 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef or turkey
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled & diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 3/4 c. water or beef broth (1 c. for a slightly more liquidy consistency)
  • 3 Tbs. flour
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 4 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • Black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 c. frozen peas
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/3 c. sour cream
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. cheddar (optional, for cheddar mashed potatoes)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. In a large skillet or oven-proof skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add ground beef/turkey, carrots, onion, and garlic. Cook, breaking up chunks of ground beef with a wooden spoon, until meat is browned and vegetables are softened.
  3. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes until soft. Drain and put back into pot with sour cream and milk. Mash to desired consistency, adding more sour cream/milk if desired. Season with salt, pepper, and cheddar cheese. Set aside.
  4. When the beef is browned and the veggies are soft, add water, flour, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce. Season with a little salt and pepper. Stir in peas. Allow to simmer another 5 minutes, until slightly thickened.
  5. Pour into a 9×13 oven-safe dish and top with mashed potatoes. Bake for 15 minutes until heated throughout.
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Earlier this year, a friend and her husband hosted our regular book club meeting. They grilled a fabulous skirt steak with a Brazilian “vinaigrette,” what I would consider to be a chimichurri. After jokes about our “hunk of Brazilian meat” (referring both to our dinner as well as our chef) we dove in, leaving little leftover.

While I’ve yet to acquire the recipe for the Brazilian vinaigrette, this chimichurri will suffice for a substitute. The hubby and I loved the flavor it added to the grilled steak and enjoyed the leftovers with our beer bread. The best part? It took only a few minutes to throw together, making this a wonderful quick and easy weeknight meal.

Grilled Steak

By Books n’ Cooks

Ingredients:

  • 1-1 1/2 lb. flank steak or skirt steak
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Generously sprinkle both sides of steak with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before grilling.

Preheat gas or charcoal grill.

Place steak on hot grill. Cook for about 5 minutes before flipping and cooking for another 3-5 minutes, until steak reaches 135°F for medium-rare, or 140-145°F for medium.

Let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving with below chimichurri.

Cilantro Chimichurri

Adapted from Foodandwine.com

Makes 1/2 cup

Pulse the below ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

  • 3/4 c. finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper

May also add 1 jalapeño, with or without seeds, minced if you’d like a little spice.

Serve at room temperature.

According to Food and Wine, chimichurri may be made up to 4 hours ahead of time and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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The Barefoot Contessa is one of my go-to recipe sources when I’m looking for something new to try. Like Fine Cooking, Ina has never failed me. That’s why I  was so very excited to receive five of Ina’s cookbooks for Christmas (I now own her whole collection).

This recipe was from Ina’s newest cookbook, How Easy Is That? This weeknight bolognese was certainly quick and easy, and a nice change from my hubby’s favorite meat sauce. The bolognese sauce was a little sweeter than we’re used to (perhaps because I used shiraz I had on hand, instead of a drier red wine) but still really good.

Weeknight Bolognese

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa’s How Easy Is That? (p. 154)

Serves 5

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 lb. lean ground sirloin
  • 4 tsp. minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1 Tbs. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 c. dry red wine, divided
  • 1-28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1/4 chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • 3/4 lb. dried whole grain pasta, such as small shells

Make the Bolognese Sauce: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add ground sirloin, breaking up with a spoon and cooking until browned. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes – stirring and heating for just a minute. Add 1 c. of the red wine, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 Tbs. kosher salt, and 1 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Stir and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Start the Pasta: At this point,  start boiling water with a bit of kosher salt for pasta. Cook per directions on the box.

Finish the Bolognese: At the same time, add remaining 1/4 c. red wine, nutmeg, and basil to sauce. Stir and continue simmering until pasta is finished, about 10 minutes. (Sauce should thicken slightly).

Drain pasta. Toss pasta, bolognese, and Parmesan together.

Serve hot, with extra Parmesan sprinkled on top.

Nutrition: I eliminated the 1/4 c. heavy cream called for in the recipe (if you want to use it, add it with the nutmeg and basil) and whole grain pasta to make this dish a bit healthier. The above recipe, with 5 servings, was 560 calories per serving.

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