Category Archives: Beef

Shredded Beef & Gravy over Mashed Potatoes

4-20160329_185002This was truly a delicious home cooked dinner.  It doesn’t get much more satisfying than fork-tender roast beef with gravy and tender vegetables, all swimming in a fluffy pile of buttery mashed potatoes. That’s comfort food in every way! And, if you are trying to cook more meals without using pre-packaged ingredients and more whole foods, you’ll want to add this to your list!

Serves 4-6

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Hamburger Rice and Cheese Dinner

20150121_175122I’m always on the look-out for yummy dinners that use ground beef, since it’s such an economical cut.

Add to that- budget friendly, and healthy, and free of packaged and preserved foods, and the options narrow down quite a bit.

But, I’ve decided this one is a keeper for my recipe books. My inspiration came from an old casserole recipe that I used to enjoy as a child.

Not only is this new and improved version really tasty, it’s also “cleaner”, using all real food- nothing processed or packaged. Budget-friendly ingredients like Ground Beef, Brown Rice, and chicken broth are key players, so it’s easy on the wallet, too.

Fresh basil adds the perfect little compliment to the creamy rice and beef- it really gives this dish a special flavor. And who doesn’t like bubbly, gooey cheese to top it all off? As a bonus, this reheats really well for great leftovers, too.

Serve up with 1 or 2 veggies as side dishes. Enjoy!

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Homemade Chili

P1050218I love chili! Don’t you? It’s a cold weather classic- perfect for fall parties, chilly nights, football games, or even as yummy leftovers for lunch! (Hubby and I both thought it tasted even better the next day!)

This is a hearty, traditional and family-friendly chili made with tomatoes, onion, garlic, beans, herbs, spices, and ground beef- and not super spicy. (This is one of those recipes I like to use some of my preserved tomatoes from the summer’s garden!)

Growing up, Mom always served chili over rice with cheese on top that melted into the chili to make something delicious! So, that’s how I do it too!

If you like, think ahead and prepare the beans in the slow cooker earlier on in the day. (instead of buying them canned) and bake a dish of Baked Brown Rice while the chili is cooking!

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Spicy Chipotle Steaks

P1050111Here’s a great Do-It-Yourself spice rub that is perfect for steaks with a little kick!

Chipotle is a fairly popular flavor these days, often seen in Mexican dishes. Many recipes with Chipotle will call for you to use a little can of chipotle peppers that are packed in a sauce. Though I do like the unique smoky flavor these peppers contribute, I almost always find it to be too overpowering in dishes for my taste, perhaps because the flavors are so concentrated in the canned peppers.

Then I decided to try Ground Chipotle Pepper- found in your spices at the grocery store. Basically, it’s the same product in different form. It’s just dried chipotle peppers, ground up! I have enjoyed this much more- still achieving the smoky flavor, but now not so overpowering.

So, this steak rub lends a hint of that great smoky chipotle to your beef with a nice spicy kick, too!

I think some my kids thought the steaks were a little bit too spicy. (though they did eat them, I will note!) But Tim and I loved the flavor and the spiciness level, too!

Here’s what you need:


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Meat Sauce (made with fresh tomatoes)

P1040767I love Italian food! In fact, spaghetti with my mom’s homemade sauce is still what I ask Mom to make every year for my birthday dinner- and that has been my request almost every year since I was a little girl.

So, imagine my dilemma when I found out that my husband, Tim, really did not care for Italian dishes- particularly red sauce. He’s not a picky eater. But, he’s fairly adamant about this.

Well, for the first half of our marriage, I really did not fix very much “red sauce” meals other than the occasional lasagna or homemade sauce when I just really really craved some beloved Italian, but I knew he wasn’t enjoying those meals.

But then, a year or two ago, I decided that I was going to try to come up with a sauce that he enjoyed- so we could both be happy. Surely I could change his mind with the right recipe!

So, after playing with it a little bit, I came up with this fresh sauce. Tim now ASKS me to make it and loves eating it! Woo-Hoo!!!! Welcome back to the table, Spaghetti!

I either use tomatoes directly from our garden, or in the fall and winter, I use tomatoes that I have preserved by freezing. (you could also use canned, if that’s all you have available.) This sauce is not a thick sauce like you might find in the bottled variety. It is much thinner, due to the fact that I only use tomatoes- no prepackaged tomato sauce or paste. It is also very full of meat- ground beef in our case, though you could also use sausage, if that’s what your prefer. Other fresh ingredients like peppers, fresh herbs, garlic and onion also add delicious flavor.

Every now and then, I might play around with a different sauce, like this Roasted Tomato Sauce, but this one here is definitely my go-to and favorite. It also makes great left-overs, since the flavors have all that time to meld together even more.

Please note, too, that sauces are one of those things that might take different amounts of ingredients each time- and you can add more or less of something to make it better fit your tastes. But the amounts I’ve included here on the blog, are a good standard to start with. Add as you see fit for your family!

A homemade sauce is a labor of love. It does take more than 20 minutes to whip together. Allow at least an hour to let it simmer. And depending on where you are starting in the process with the tomatoes, allow another 30 minutes-1 hour to put it together.


Here’s what you need:

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How-to-Make Tender Chuck Roast with Brown Gravy (Slow cooker)

P1040434Wondering how to make the perfect chuck roast? Tender, fall-apart meat- juicy and flavorful?

What if I told you that the key is to make it in your slow-cooker, with only about 10 minutes of prep and only a few ingredients? Yep. It is that easy!

Some roasts taste best when roasted slowly in the oven- like the eye-of-round or bottom-of-the-round. But, when it comes to a chuck roast or shoulder roast- I think P1040439the best results come from using the slow-cooker. That moist heat, low temp, and slow cooking give you a winner every time.

After the roast cooks, all you have to do is make the delicious brown gravy- also easier than you might think.

So, here’s how. You will be ‘wow-ing’ the family in no time!
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Roasted Tomato Sauce and Meatballs on Spaghetti


How does Spaghetti with an absolutely homemade sauce (not even canned tomatoes!), made-from-scratch tender meatballs, on top of spaghetti with Parmesan cheese sound for dinner? Yum!

And if the taste wasn’t reason enough to prepare this dish, the aroma that will fill your house while the veggies are roasting in the oven is just intoxicating. Open your windows and soon the whole neighborhood will be over to see what’s cooking!

Here’s the overview:

Forget the store-bought stuff. (Who wants high fructose corn syrup in their sauce anyway?) This sauce is made with fresh tomatoes, garlic, onions, and peppers- this would be a GREAT way to use summer produce from the garden! It is so simple and does not require a lot of time cooking on the stovetop in order to get good, deep flavors. By roasting the tomatoes and other veggies, the flavors become concentrated and deep in a short amount of time.- and the oven does all the work.

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Meat-and-Potato-Man Dinner (aka “Snow on the Mountain”)

P1030279I must say, this is one of those dishes that is super simple on every count. It’s simple to prepare, simple in ingredients, and simple in concept. So, if you are looking for something fancy or clever, this would not be it. However, it really is a “Meat and Potatoes” meal, if ever there was one. And, that would probably explain why it has always been one of my hubby’s favorite dinners for me to prepare- he is definitely one of those “meat and potato” men.

When I was little, my mom would make this for dinner, and, (probably tired of dealing with picky eaters) gave it a ‘fun name’- “Snow on the Mountain” for us kids to call it. Cute, Mom.

So, what is this dish? It is simply ground beef with diced up onions, that has been browned and then topped with cheese. Then you top that with fluffy mashed potatoes- and mix in cheese with that. All of this is baked for a few minutes to get it hot, melt the cheeses, and give the potatoes a nice golden and almost- crusted top. And that’s it! Super simple, huh?

It is good, though. I mean, what’s not to like? Cheesy beef and cheesy, fluffy, scrumptious mashed potatoes- yeah, it’ll do!

So, forego that new salad you’ve been wanting to try (you know, the one with all the stuff in it that your man will look at like a calf at a new gate) and prepare him a classic, no-fuss, no-surprises “meat and potato” dish that he will certainly love.

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Steak and Cheese Calzones

P1020991I Love a good Steak and Cheese sandwich. Yum, Yum! So, this dish gives the popular steak and cheese a different twist…it becomes a calzone!

A homemade (very easy) dough that always turns out beautifully is rolled out thin and then filled with sirloin steak, peppers, onions, and mozzarella cheese. Then you wrap the dough back over and seal it shut. Bake it up- and when it’s done- the dough is golden, flaky, and the filling is hot, gooey, and full of flavor! 

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Favorite Mexican Lasagna


Soooo good!

We love Mexican-style dishes in our home, and this casserole includes all those great components that make Mexican food so delicious- gooey cheese, creamy sour cream, flavorful beef, and spicy salsa!

You could serve this with black beans or corn, avocado, or tortilla chips.

It’s a excellent week-night dinner that never disappoints!

  • 1 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced small
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 9 corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup oil for frying the tortillas
  • 1 16oz. jar of salsa (I like “Herdez” brand because it uses mostly natural ingredients)
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 2 cups (8oz block) mozzarella cheese, freshly shredded

Brown the beef along with the onion and garlic. Drain.


Return the beef to the pan and add the chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and water. Simmer for 10 minutes.

While the beef is simmering, you can work on the tortillas.


Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add a tortilla and allow to cook on each side for about 30 seconds….just until it gets slightly puffy and golden- not brown and crisp) Repeat until you have done this to all 8. You can lay them on a plate with a paper towel as you move along.

Time to Assemble:

Use 9×13 baking dish. Pour 1/2 cup salsa onto the bottom and spread out so that it covers the entire bottom.

Next, tear 3 of the tortillas into pieces and arrange on top of the salsa. (I tear each one into three pieces, usually. We’re not looking for tiny shreds here)

Pour on another 1/2 cup of salsa. Spread over the tortillas.

Tear 3 more tortillas into pieces. Arrange on top.

Now, add all the ground beef. Smooth it over the tortillas.

Drop the sour cream by large spoonfuls all over the top of the beef. Then, spread it out.

Sprinkle with 1/2 of the cheese (1 cup)

Tear the last 3 tortillas into pieces and arrange on top of the cheese.

Pour on the remaining salsa and spread it out to cover as much as possible.

Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes- until is it a little bubbly and the cheese is melted


Let it sit for about 5 minutes and then use a knife to cut it, and a large spatula to remove it from the dish.


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