Tag Archives: beef

Vintage Gold Rush Meat Balls

1-recipe-1 2-recipe-2

I found this antique in my box of recipes, hand-typed on a yellowing, partially disintegrated index card. My great-grandmother developed this recipe, and it is no doubt the origin of the Gold Rush Meat Balls that my mom used to make. The original version was quite different from my mother’s recipe, however. Mamaw used pickles as well as cheese in her meat balls, and her gravy was made with evaporated milk and bouillon.

I did make one small alteration to the vintage version of this recipe: I reduced the amount of ground beef used per meat ball. The directions as written would have yielded 8 servings of 1 meat ball each, using about 1/4 pound of beef per meat ball. This is a bit much for me. :) I was able to get about 8 smaller meatballs out of 1 pound of ground beef, which made two fairly hearty servings. I’ve written the recipe below to serve 4.

I chose to serve this with vegetables, rather than following the original suggestion of cooked noodles. The low-carb eating plan is working well, and I’m happy to stick with it for now.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 16 (1-inch) cubes sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 16 (1/2-inch) cubes dill pickle
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Divide the beef into 16 equal portions.

3-meatball

Place 1 cheese cube and 1 pickle cube in the center of each portion, and mold the beef around them into a meat ball.

4-brown

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and pan-fry the meatballs until evenly browned.

Remove the meat balls, and pour off all but 1/4 cup of the residual fat.

5-onion

Add the chopped onion to the skillet, and sauté until clear.

6-flour

Add the flour, and whisk until combined.

7-milk

Add the evaporated milk and bouillon cubes, reduce the heat to low, and whisk until the sauce has thickened.

8-readd_meatballs

Salt and pepper the meat balls lightly, and return them to the sauce.

9-cover

Cover, and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

10-finished

Serves 4.

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Beef Kebabs

Lots of beef recipes on this blog lately. :) No complaints? Then I’ll keep going!

I love to grill. It’s one of the best summertime activities, and a great way to prepare large amounts of food. Unfortunately, where I live, there is a ban on open flame. No grilling, no joy. Enter the George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor Grill! It’s not *quite* the same as propane or charcoal, but for $80 dollars, I can’t complain. It lets me get outside and cook food, which is a major improvement. I’ve been grilling things all week!

Today’s dish is a recreation of something my mother used to make all the time: no-frills shish kebab. The secret to this one is a great little seasoning called Liquid Smoke. This is potent stuff — a little goes a VERY LONG WAY. It makes a great addition to most marinades, especially for grilled items. Most supermarkets will carry the stuff: it’s manufactured by Colgin.

Now go outside and get cooking!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound eye of round or lean beef of choice, sliced into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into large chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into large chunks
  • 8 ounces whole button mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into large chunks

Directions:

1-marinate

In a large bowl, combine the beef cubes, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, garlic, seasoning salt, and Liquid Smoke.

Cover with plastic wrap, and allow the meat to marinate for at least 1-2 hours.

2-skewer

Thread the meat, bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions onto bamboo skewers.

Grill over medium-high heat for 4 minutes, turn, and grill for another 4 minutes.

3-finished

Serves 4.

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Forgotten Minestrone (100th Post!)

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Yaaaay! I’ve finally hit 100 posts on this blog! I’ve been writing since the end of September last year, and it’s nearly July now. I love the motivation to try new things that this blog has given me; every week is a new adventure. I’ve met some great people along the way, as well… food bloggers, recipe testers, professional chefs, and home cooks. The food is great, too. :) Here’s to another 100 delicious posts!

I’ve been doing a lot of slow cooker recipes lately. They work well with my busy schedule; I love being able to add a bunch of things to a pot, leave it alone, and come back in several hours to food. Today’s recipe is super easy, very nutritious, and yields a huge quantity. My slow cooker was literally full to the brim!

I only made one change to the ingredient list: in respect of the low-carb guidelines I’m trying to follow, I omitted the pasta. Please feel free to include it if you would like.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean beef stew meat
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 2 tablespoons minced dried parsley
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups finely chopped cabbage
  • 1 (16-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to top

Directions:

2-crockpot

In a slow cooker, combine the beef, water, tomatoes, onion, bouillon cube, parsley, salt, thyme, and pepper.

Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours, or until the meat is tender.

3-pull_beef

Remove the meat to a plate, and pull into shreds using two forks.

4-add_veggies

Return the meat to the slow cooker, and add the zucchini, cabbage, and beans.

Cover and cook on high for 30-45 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

5-finished

Serves 8.

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Pulled Beef

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Lately, it seems that it either rains or it pours. I was just released from jury duty in time for several other situations to clamor for my attention. I haven’t been keeping up with this blog as well as I would like, as a result. Still, the goal is to be good, not to be perfect. My hope is that things will settle out over the next few weeks, and I’ll be able to strike some sort of a balance.

Today’s recipe is “inspired by” the original, and adapted for a slow cooker. I imagine that it would make a wonderful pulled beef sandwich (as recommended by the original author). Since we’re eating low-carb, I elected to serve the beef bunless with zucchini fries. The onions self-caramelized during the slow cooking process, and made an excellent garnish. Even without bread and potatoes, this is still a delicious meal!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (2-3 lb.) boneless chuck roast, or other lean beef of your choice
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

2-cooker

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker.

Cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until meat is extremely tender.

Pull meat into chunks, and serve with a generous amount of onions.

3-finished

Serves 4.

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Savory Sausage and Kraut Skillet

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Sometimes, real life and blogging do not mesh well. In today’s case, I made this recipe for dinner, and it was so delicious that we ate all of it before I realized I’d forgotten to take a “finished” picture :) As problems go, this is one I’m happy to have.

This recipe is not dissimilar to the Apple and Sauerkraut Sausage recipe I posted a while back, but I think I prefer this one: today’s recipe has potatoes, and uses less sugar. In addition, the apple in this recipe is grated, rather than sliced, so it “vanishes” into the kraut, leaving behind only a gentle sweetness. I enjoy the tart taste of sauerkraut, and it’s nice when the recipe doesn’t mask it too much. Definitely a good skillet dinner for those busy weeknights!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored, and grated
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 12 small red potatoes, washed and sliced in half
  • 1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, drained, rinsed, and packed
  • 1 pound smoked beef sausage or kielbasa, sliced into 2-inch pieces

Directions:

2-onions

In a large skillet, sauté the onion and green pepper in the butter over medium heat until tender.

3-kraut

Add the apple, brown sugar, caraway seed, potatoes, and sauerkraut, and mix well.

4-sausage

Place the sausage on top of the sauerkraut mixture.

5-cover

Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 30 minutes.

Serves 4-6.

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Roast Beef Po-Boys

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What’s better than vast amounts of delicious, juicy, seasoned meat? Putting said meat on a sandwich with pickles, spicy mustard, and cabbage. With a recipe like this, sandwiches are definitely dinner food – but you may want a fork and knife. The roast beef is so tender that it falls apart, and no amount of creative eating techniques will restrain the wonderful, messy potential. True aficionados may want to go the extra step towards authenticity and wrap these sandwiches in paper before serving.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 pounds eye of round or other lean cut of beef
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons celery seed
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • French bread
  • Pickles
  • Mayonnaise
  • Creole mustard
  • Sliced cabbage

Directions:

2-slow_cooker

Place the meat, parsley, thyme, oregano, celery seed, red pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder in a slow cooker, and add water to reach halfway up the slow cooker.

Cook on high for 6 hours.

Remove meat, slice thin, and build sandwiches on French bread with meat, pickles, mayonnaise, mustard, and cabbage.

3-sandwich

Serves 4-6.

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Company Casserole

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I deeply sympathize with all recipe writers, past and present, who have had to find a way to fit complex sets of ingredients and instructions onto a 3” x 5” index card. The compression methods I have seen range from the merely illegible to the truly Byzantine, and are often meant to be deciphered only by the author, or to serve as a set of memory cues. I had never encountered today’s recipe before, and I read through the instructions four times before I was certain that I understood what my mother had intended. There is no Rosetta Stone for these things.

The casserole, despite its translation issues, is excellent. I particularly enjoy the way that the flavor of the green onions permeates all of the layers. While the recipe is another variation on “what to do with ground beef”, it is a tasty and satisfying one which I plan to repeat.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces medium pasta, cooked according to package directions and drained
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2-ground_beef

In a large skillet, melt the butter and sauté the ground beef over medium heat until browned.

3-tomato_sauce

Add the tomato sauce, salt, and garlic powder, and simmer for 5 minutes.

4-cheese_mix

In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta, cottage cheese, sour cream, green onions, and pepper.

5-layer_noodles

In a 2-quart casserole dish, alternate layers of the noodle mixture,

6-layer_meat

and meat sauce.

7-top_cheese

Top with the grated Cheddar.

Bake for 30 minutes.

8-finished

Serves 4.

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Chuck Wagon Casserole

1-recipe

Success at last! Today’s recipe is a rework of the Chuck Wagon Skillet that I posted about a month ago. Regular readers may remember that recipe as one of my rare failures. I wrote a few notes on modifications I planned to make in order to improve the end result, and I am pleased to say that they work as expected.

I changed the procedure significantly from the original recipe, and I also modified a few of the ingredients and quantities. The pasta is cooked in advance, the beef and onions are cooked together, and everything is layered together in a 13” x 9” Pyrex casserole dish. I substituted diced tomatoes for stewed tomatoes, as they are easier to spread in an even layer. Half of the cheese goes in the middle, and the other half goes on top to help “glue” everything together. The only change I might make in the future would be to add a thin layer of sour cream somewhere in the dish: I put a dollop on top of some leftover casserole that I heated up, and it was really good!

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (16-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2-onions

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and saute the onion until tender.

3-meat

Add the ground beef, salt, and pepper, and cook until the beef is browned.

4-layer_pasta

In a 13” x 9” Pyrex baking dish, layer the pasta,

5-layer_meat

meat mixture,

6-layer_tomatoes_cheese

tomatoes, half of the cheese,

7-layer_celery

celery,

8-layer_olives

black olives,

9-top_cheese

and remaining half of the cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and casserole is heated through.

10-finished

Serves 6.

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Mom’s Homemade Lasagna

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Lasagna doesn’t have to be labor-intensive, contain ten thousand ingredients, or cost an extravagant amount to make: sometimes simple food is the best food. This is the recipe I grew up eating (and making), and it starts with a batch of Mom’s Spaghetti Sauce. The sauce may be made on the same day, or cooked earlier in the week and frozen. It will work well no matter what. There’s a combined pound and a half of cheese in this lasagna, so ditch the diet for a day, pour a glass of wine, and dive in. :)

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch Mom’s Spaghetti Sauce (see link for directions)
  • 8 ounces lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2-mix_cheese

In a small bowl, cream together the cottage cheese and cream cheese until well blended.

3-noodles

In a 13” x 9” Pyrex baking dish, layer the noodles,

4-sauce

spaghetti sauce,

5-cheese

cheese mixture,

6-mozzarella

and shredded mozzarella.

7-layered

Repeat the layers once more.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until heated through.

8-finished

Serves 6-8.

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Chuck Wagon Skillet

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“The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!”
— Robert Burns, “To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough”, 1785

All ingredients assembled per recipe directions? Check.

Heat reduced to low? Check.

Checking the food every ten minutes or so to make sure that all is well? Check.

Smell of burning? ……Dang. Check. :(

I had my trepidations about this recipe, and I ignored my gut feeling. The result was somewhat of a disaster. I’m noticing a pattern here: this recipe is from the same source as the failed Easy Pork Chop Rice Bake, and has a very similar problem. There simply was not enough liquid to prevent the dish from burning. Not a good sign for future reliability.

The flavor of the unburned portion was pretty good, but the pasta was still hard and crunchy. I think that I could rework this recipe without too much trouble, by doing the following:

– Cook the pasta in advance. Hoping that it will miraculously self-cook, as the author of this recipe seems to have done, is unrealistic.

– Brown the ground beef and onion together, and layer over the pasta in a 13” x 9” Pyrex dish.

– Layer the remaining ingredients per the original recipe directions, omit the extra water, cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about half an hour.

I really don’t think that this would be a difficult fix, and I’m a little disappointed that the original recipe led to a burned mess of what could have been a really delicious casserole. The next time that I attempt a “Peggy’s Kitchen” recipe from the Oklahoma Natural Gas Company, I’m going to follow my instincts. I have been fooled twice now, and it’s time to wise up. In the meantime, here are the pictures and directions for what I did cook. While today’s post is filed under the ‘fail’ tag, I took on this recipe blog with the intent to be transparent and honest whenever things didn’t go according to plan. If I can learn from my own mistakes, others can learn from them as well.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 2 cups medium noodles, uncooked
  • 1 (16-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions:

2-onions

In a large skillet, sauté the onion in the butter until tender.

3-meat

Add the ground beef, salt, and pepper, and cook until browned.

4-cheese

Layer into the skillet the cheese,

5-celery

celery,

6-olives

olives,

7-pasta

and noodles.

8-tomatoes

Pour the tomatoes and water over the top.

9-cover

Cover, and heat to steaming.

Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 25-30 minutes.

10-finished

Serves 6.

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