Printable Version is temporarily down
These hearty one pot meals especially during the Winter is LIFE! I think I get more use out of the slow cooker during the colder months than any other time of year, but with that comes big batch cooking for even tastier leftovers along with really easy prepping so that you can do whatever you need to do for the day while it slowly cooks.
This Beef Short Ribs Ragu recipe is among my favorite next to my Braciole & Italian Sausage recipe. It’s perfect for cold days and also for the holidays. But I’ll admit I’ve made this when it wasn’t cold because it’s that good. And often when I’m being good with my choice of eats, I won’t ignore the craving for this! Okay, believe it or not it doesn’t require anything fancy to make. Cooking it long and slow is the main ingredient to making this taste amazing. Normally I would use 1/2 cup of a dry red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon but there have been times I didn’t have any or forgot to get wine and it came out just as good.
There is one ingredient you don’t want to ditch when making this, and that’s the pecorino Romano cheese. Make sure you go to the cheese section and buy the block of pecorino. Not the grated. It is often compared to parmesan cheese but the difference is that it’s made of sheeps milk; giving that much stronger pungent taste. AND IT GOES SO PERFECT WITH THIS DISH! Trust me. You can use the leftover block of Romano in place of Parmesan cheese, over any pasta dish, or shaved over salads. It can also be stored tight in a freezer bag in the freezer for future uses if you don’t plan to use the rest of it so quickly before the expiration date.
One last thing! If you’re not feeling pasta, you can definitely serve this over a baked potato, polenta, Italian inspired quesadillas, and even top a homemade pizza with the shredded meat. Never feel you’re limited to only one dish when you make a big batch of food. Enjoy!
Makes 8 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt & fresh ground pepper
2.5 lbs beef short ribs
½ cup beef broth
1 Spanish onion, chopped super fine
1 large carrot, chopped super fine
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning (equal parts basil, rosemary, oregano & thyme)
1 bay leaf
1 28oz can tomato puree
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
½ cup dry red wine (optional)
4 inch long (and about ½” thick) chunk pecorino Romano cheese, broken apart
Sea salt to taste
1 pound tagliatelle or rigatoni
Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Place about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan and bring to high heat. Brown all sides of the short ribs about a minute each side. Lay the short ribs into a slow cooker set for 8 hours on low.
Drain the excess oil from the pan, place back on the stove on medium heat. Add the beef broth and scrape up the brown bits at the bottom of the pan then add the onions, carrot, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Stir for about two minutes then transfer into the slow cooker.
Add the bay leaf, tomato puree, crushed tomatoes, dry red wine (optional) and Romano cheese chunks. Stir gently and cover the slow cooker to cook. Feel free to stir everything once half way through if you like. It should be ready in as little as 6 hours but 8 hours is perfect.
Remove each short rib onto a large cutting board and use two forks to shred the meat. Place the shredded meat back into the slow cooker, add salt as needed, stir, and serve.
Serve over pasta.
NOTE: I recommend using a spoon to scoop the pools of fat at the top. You can also do so by scraping the solidified fat at the top after it’s been refrigerated.
Printable Version is temporarily down
Gorgonzola Butter in my opinion is the yummiest way to enjoy gorgonzola cheese. For those who love Blue Cheese would definitely appreciate gorgonzola, especially mixed up with fresh chives and homemade butter melted on top of your favorite cut of steak; which mind you is ridiculously easy to make! You should give a try at least once, here’s my simple step-by-step recipe, Homemade Butter. I stumbled upon this idea of butter when I had leftover king crab meat, little bit of gorgonzola, chives that needed to be used fast and I had just bought filets. So I made the Gorgonzola Butter, let that melt on top of the steak straight out of the oven and then piled the top of all that with the crab meat. I’ll just say that any time I eat king crab, I’m always going to purposely leave just enough leftovers to do this again.
Making decked out butters for all sorts of culinary purposes is really fun because there are so infinite flavors you can turn butter into, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. I did a Tarragon Chive Butter for one of my recent recipe posts: Bison Filet With Tarragon Chive Butter. If you want to try a more milder profile, give that one a guy to start with. But feel free to throw in chopped sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, fresh grated horseradish, any of your favorite spices, whatever you love most and enjoy!
Makes about ¾ – 1 cup
¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup heaping, crumbled gorgonzola cheese
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste (optional)
Mix everything together in a bowl until well combined. Place on a sheet of plastic wrap, wrap it up and shape the butter into a 1 ½” thick log. Refrigerate to harden, about a couple hours.
It’s finally starting to cool down and stay cool. Now that Fall is here, I’m ready to plant my face in bowls of all sorts of soup. This Sausage & Cannellini Cioppino is one of my absolute favorites because it’s a fast, easy one pot meal with a whole lot of healthy going on that doesn’t taste necessarily “healthy.” It’s bold flavors are given credit to the Italian sausage of course. I used TURKEY Italian sausage rather than pork to keep the grease level down. You really can not taste a difference whatsoever. They make a chicken Italian sausage too, I’m not a huge fan of it as I believe I CAN taste the difference but by all means, if you want to use it, do so!
For those who aren’t a fan of kale or never tried it, this is one of the best ways to try kale. Baby steps! It literally doesn’t have much of a flavor as it absorbs everything else in the soup but the importance of getting greens is huge. There are different kinds of kale, feel free to use any of them. The curly kale is great and more hearty than lacinto or dino kale but they all taste fairly similar. Also, extremely important! When buying broth, read the ingredients label! You will discover that most broth is hardly much REAL broth and riddled with MSG. The best way to get quality broth is to look at the ones packaged in a box and low-sodium. Pacific is one of my favorite brands. Just make sure it doesn’t have MSG. You can control your salt intake yourself very easily by just adding sea salt if needed.
Sometimes I love throwing in 1/2 pound of shrimp instead of beans or in addition to. Of course you can do whatever you want and make it your own as I always love to encourage that. If you’re new to cooking, it may be easiest for you to follow the recipe to get a feel for it and then next time make it by adding your own flare to it. Regardless, I hope you guys enjoy this cioppino as much as I do. It’s even better when you dunk homemade garlic bread into it!
4 – 6 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 fennel bulb, trimmed & chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 brown onion, chopped
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon thyme
5 turkey Italian sausages, casings removed
2 cups pinot grigio wine
¼ cup tomato paste
3 cups vegetable broth
1 14 oz. can stewed or diced tomatoes
1 large dried bay leaf
1 14 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed & drained
3 large kale leaves, stem removed & rough chopped
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the fennel, garlic, onion, sea salt, and pepper. Let cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are softened about 5 minutes. Add the basil, thyme, sausage, and use a wood spoon to break the sausage up. Cook for about 5 minutes until almost cooked through.
Add the wine, stir by scrapping up the bits from the bottom of the pan then stir in the tomato paste, vegetable broth, stewed tomatoes, and bay leaf. Bring everything to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and let cook for 20 minutes, stirring once in a while.
Lastly, add the beans and kale. Stir and let cook for another five minutes. Remove the bay leaf, add more sea salt and pepper to taste.
What’s with all the exotic meats in my recipes lately? I know, I know. I’ve been feeling adventurous and curious about these healthier meat options. It’s been very fun so far and extremely successful. Just because it’s a meat most of us is unfamiliar with, doesn’t mean it has to be anymore complicated than working with something common like beef. It seems as though as long as you know the fat content, then you know when cooking it you may need more or less olive oil to prevent it from being dry. And of course, proper spices! If you’re all for trying new meats, you’ll likely love my Wild Boar Ragu which is to die for.
So with elk, I literally treated it like ground beef. And it was a huge success. It has a less greasy taste to it and more rich flavor. In a chili, it’s not so distinctive at all given all the spices involved. So, if you want to give elk a try this may be the best way to try it out! If you’re not about elk, feel free to use any kind of ground meat. There are no strict rules to this at all. Oh and last thing… you could throw all of this in a slow cooker on low for 8hrs if you’re strapped for time. Just leave the beans out of it until the last few minutes before serving and you’re good to go!
6 – 8 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
1 4 oz. can green chilies
1 14 oz. can stewed tomatoes
1 pound ground elk
½ tablespoon worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 14 oz. crushed tomatoes
1/8 cup dark brown sugar (optional)
1 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
2 year aged sharp cheddar, shredded for garnish
In a large pot over medium-high heat drizzle the olive oil and sauté the onions for about 5 minutes. Add the green chilies and stewed tomatoes, stir for 2 minutes.
Then, add the ground elk, worcestershire sauce, chili powder, ground cumin, oregano, garlic powder, salt and cayenne pepper; breaking up the ground elk with a wooden spoon. Cook and stir until the meat is mostly cooked through.
Lastly, add the crushed tomatoes, brown sugar and let everything come to a boil. Once it comes to a boil reduce the heat to low so it can simmer for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally and add the kidney beans the last 5 minutes.
If you love stuffed cabbage rolls, then you’ll love this recipe! It takes the whole dish to a whole new level. I know some people are purists but you’ll be surprised to find there are many cultures including the Middle East that have their own variation of stuffed cabbage or some other kind of leaf. So I took the concept of the traditional Polish stuffed cabbage and used a more flavorful meat like ground lamb and complimenting it using the proper spices for it. Yet another fusion dish perhaps that is worth the prep work, I swear!
I’ll say though, it may sound like a lot of work but it really isn’t. You can make the lamb mixture the day before which is super fast. Then take care of the rest later. One major word of advice though is make sure you have a big, tall pot one you’d use to cook spaghetti in. Also, a hand held strainer that would fit a cabbage head in. This will make removing a piping hot cabbage head so much easier preventing burnt hands.
One last thing, the very end of the leaf can have a very thick spine which makes it difficult sometimes to roll the cabbage leaf. In the picture above you can see I cut an upside-down “V” to remove most of it off. It does make a big difference. Don’t worry about ruining the leaf! If you are confused and have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!
6 – 8 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped (1/4 of it set aside)
3 large garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound ground lamb
¾ cup jasmine rice, mostly or fully cooked
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cabbage head, bottom core removed
2 bay leaves
½ tablespoon garlic powder
Sea salt and pepper
1 cup tomato puree
2 ½ cups vegetable broth
¼ – ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
In a pan over medium-high heat drizzle the olive oil and sauté the onions, garlic, black pepper, cumin, and cinnamon together until the onions are softened, about 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Mix the ground lamb, rice, cooled onion mixture, fresh cilantro and salt thoroughly in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
Fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Place the cabbage head carefully into the boiling hot water using a large strainer with a handle for about 5minutes. You want the leaves to appear bright green.
Remove the cabbage head into a large bowl. Peel off some of the softened leaves and place onto a plate covered with paper towels. Place the cabbage back into the boiling water for a few minutes until the next layer of leaves are ready to be peeled. Do this a few times until you peel most of the leaves off the head. Save the damaged and/or outer leaves to cover the bottom and top of the baking dish.
Using a knife cut an upside-down “V” to remove the toughest part of the spine at the bottom of each leaf. This will make rolling the leaves easier. Place each cabbage leaf sideways, spoon about ¼ cup give or take of the lamb mixture onto the bottom part of the leaf. Roll it up and tuck in the sides before completely rolling it up.
Line a 9” x 13” baking dish with imperfect cabbage leaves, place the stuffed cabbage rolls into the baking dish and sprinkle the top with garlic powder, sea salt and pepper. Add the bay leaves and vegetable broth. Top the rolls with tomato puree, the remaining fresh chopped onion and feta crumbles.
Cover everything with remaining leftover cabbage leaves and aluminum foil. Bake at 350 F for about an 1h 15min to 1hr 30min. Everything should be boiling hot.
This is a very straight forward recipe that only takes minutes to cook. It’s so simple and so good for you. Most of the meal prepping I do is literally veggie dishes so I can easily heat up and only worry about the main deal. This recipe goes great with practically anything. Bake, pan sear/fry whatever it may be your favorite fish, or chicken breast, steak and lay it on top a bed of the Shredded Radicchio & Brussels. I’ve added a small handful of it to a rough chopped salad among whatever other random goodies I have in the fridge for a quick, lazy lunch or even dinner. BUT, my absolute fav is creating a circle of this in an oiled iron skillet, leaving a 4-5inch in diameter space in the center where I crack an egg or two in the center. Place the lid on top and let cook on medium-high heat for several minutes. Cajun seasoning sprinkled on top is divine! With toast and the oozing yolk, OH MY GOODNESS!
Sooo my point is, make a big batch of this ahead of time. Use it in all sorts of things. Make your life easy. Get your veggies. Be healthier, feel healthier. And life is good. Hey, feel free to add or replace ingredients too. I love it when you guys go outside the box, after all that’s the whole point of this food blog. Creativity and options is endless. Last thing though… To make life that much easier, I buy the bags of shredded carrot but by all means feel free to save some money by using the good ole cheese grater. You can do the same with the brussels sprouts. Personally, I prefer using a very sharp knife and making thin slices to each one. The radicchio though, you’ll have to use a knife to get the shredded effect. It’s about 1/4 of a radicchio head to get a solid cup of thin slices. Okay, I’m done babbling. Go make nowwww!
2 cups shredded raw brussels sprouts (about 20-25)
1 cup shredded radicchio
1 large leak, halved then sliced
½ cup shredded carrots
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ large lemon, juiced
Sea salt & pepper to taste
In a large saute pan over medium-high heat drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil and add everything except the lemon juice. Stir frequently for about 5-7minutes or until the brussels sprouts turn a vibrant green.
Then, squeeze the lemon juice, add salt and pepper. Stir for about 30 seconds and remove from heat.
Here’s another peach recipe I recently went crazy over. Buying a half bushel of peaches from The Peach Truck over at the Nashville Farmers Market was one of the more fun things I’ve done this year. Shhh, don’t judge! I’m a simpleton. And I must say, cooking with bourbon is a new thing for me, which I’m loving! It must have something to do with living in Tennessee the last few years, hmm I dunno. I think it’s important to share that you don’t have to like bourbon to enjoy this dessert. The bourbon mixed with butter and sugar truly gives a very caramel-like flavor. And it just pairs so well with peaches. I wouldn’t want peaches any other way in a crumble!
You don’t have to be a baker to make a crumble. Trust me, I’m not a baker! You can easily put this together very quickly; in fact I think cutting the peaches is the longest part LOL. It’s so worth it though! So the fun part, you know… all the ways you can enjoy a crumble. Of course you can eat as is, piping hot. Yet it’s amazing straight out of the fridge too. Serve it over ice cream if you dare. I pretty much learned from my Father that you can put anything yummy on ice cream LOL. And I know this may sound strange but, this is good over toast or an English muffin. It’s not too far from a jam! All I’m saying is, this won’t last long when you make it. Prepare to have to make it again. Enjoy!
10 peaches, seed removed & cubed
¼ cup bourbon
1/8 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ tablespoons arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
FOR THE CRUMBLE
½ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup chilled unsalted butter, small cubes
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon sea sat
Place the peaches in a 9” x 9” baking dish.
Put the bourbon, vanilla extract, and butter in a small sauce pan, stir until it comes to a boil. Add the brown sugar, whisk while it simmers for about 3 minutes. Let cool.
In a food processor add all the ingredients for the crumble topping making sure the butter is cold and cut in small cubes. Pulse everything about a dozen times until everything resembles coarse meal.
Drizzle the bourbon butter mixture over the peaches and sprinkle the crumble on top evenly.
Bake at 375 F degrees for about 25 minutes or until everything is gold brown on top.
This is the ultimate special occasion recipe whether it’s for someone special or you want something easy and elegant for a group. I’m not going to try and deceive people with the idea that Bison filet is affordable. It is not cheap. You’ll probably pay around $34.99 per pound. But it is worth every damn cent. For a lesser expensive option you can go with beef filet instead. It wasn’t long ago I went to Whole Foods with the intention to buy two filets but they were all out. Grass-fed bison filet was my only filet option, um YES PLEASE. FORCE ME, TAKE THE MONEY! No regrets. Every bite was heaven. And that is why I’m sharing this with you. Because I don’t eat steak often, when I do it’s filet. And now, I prefer bison over beef every damn time. UGH damn foodies.
The recipe is very straight forward and takes no time at all to do. The finishing butter is to die for especially if you make Homemade Butter. Because there’s not a whole lot of time required to make this, you could make it extra special by making your own homemade butter in about 15 minutes. Some times putting a little more time and effort into something shows you care. People tend to appreciate that a lot. I know I do. The delectable side dish in the picture is my Maple Capocollo Wrapped Haricot Verts. It’s my absolute favorite to go with the bison filet because it also doesn’t take much time to assemble and you let the oven do all the cooking.
2 Bison filets (about 1 ½ inch thick)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
½ tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Sea salt & pepper
Cover a both sides of the bison filets with a generous amount of sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Let the filets sit until they’re about room temperature.
Using the back of a spoon, soften the butter and mix in the fresh tarragon and chives with a pinch of sea salt. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.
Heat an iron skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle the bottom with olive oil and sear the bison filets about 3 minutes on each side. Then place the iron skillet in the oven at 400 F for about 12-15 minutes for medium rare to medium.
Place the filets on their plate with a dollop of the tarragon chive butter on top. Let rest for 5 minutes.
Don’t roll your eyes and runaway! Hear me out. I came up with this concoction of an amazing pizza crust alternative for many reasons. NOT because gluten free and low carb is a fad these days. I’ll explain.
You don’t have to be gluten free or low carb to be healthy or to eat healthy rather. Not everyone is gluten intolerant (not allergic, big difference). But there are benefits to avoiding wheat flours in general. Not entirely as it varies from person to person. Although, obesity is a huge issue in the U.S. and now many other countries around the world. Diabetes and heart disease tends to go hand in hand with obesity at some point in a persons life. Keeping your carbohydrate intake to a moderation is one of the single best things you can do for yourself to PREVENT the above mentioned. Monitoring it is also one of the better things you can do for yourself if you’re already obese and/or have other health issues that can be easily managed by dietary habits. So, because I’m all about moderation and compromising on this food blog, THESE are the reasons why I wanted to make this and share this. Okay, on to the good stuff…
This is actually a very easy recipe to make and you can make it ahead of time, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate it until you’re ready to use. There’s no yeast involved and no hours of waiting for dough to rise, knead, rise yadda yadda. You can make many of these, freeze it until you’re ready to use. Win win especially with how tasty this is. You can use dairy-free cheese if you’re lactose intolerant or simply replace the cheese entirely with an extra egg. And just a heads up, you might have to eat this pizza with a fork… which I’m sure is the least of anyone’s worries so long as it tastes good. Most parts of Italy you’ll find eat their pizza with a knife and fork so it’s not a sin!
There’s no wrong way to dress a pizza. We all know this. If you’re looking for a good red sauce you can always use my go-to Homemade Marinara. If you like your pizza sauce on the sweeter side just add a little bit of sugar to the marinara when heating it up. Last thing, when squeezing the water out of the cauliflower be careful to start… it does retain heat for a long time so don’t burn yourself. And squeeze the heck out of it. You’ll be surprised how much water is in cauliflower. Have fun!
1 personal pizza
1 large cheesecloth
1 large cauliflower head
¼ cup grated Romano cheese
¼ heaping cup shredded mozzarella (low moisture)
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Cut the florets off the cauliflower head, place them into a food processor and run it through until everything is riced super fine. Place everything into a bowl and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 5 minutes.
Fold the cheesecloth in half and place over a strainer, pour the steamed cauliflower into the cheesecloth and let it cool for about 15-20 minutes. Grab all corners of the cheesecloth and squeeze the cauliflower over and over until all the water is removed.
Toss the cauliflower back into the bowel making sure it’s not hot still. Add the egg, Romano cheese, mozzarella, garlic powder, oregano and sea salt. Mix everything kneading it altogether like a dough.
Place some parchment paper onto a baking sheet and spread the cauliflower dough in any shape you like to no thicker than ¼ inch. Bake at 450 F for about 15-20 minutes.
Top the pizza crust with any of your favorite sauces, cheeses and/or toppings and bake for about another 10-15 minutes.
There’s nothing quite like homemade jam using fresh fruit. With peach season in full swing I snagged several peaches from my half bushel I got at the Nashville Farmers Market and decided to once again incorporate bourbon with peaches. It’s part jam and part fruit butter that can be used on ANYTHING! I’ve used this on toast, on ice cream, as a glaze for wild caught Alaskan salmon that turned out incredible.
But I must confess, one of my weaknesses is cheese and crackers. Not just any cheese though, a great strong tangy cheese will go great like swiss, sharp cheddar, a little gorgonzola or a soft cheese like camembert. And since we’re on the topic of cheese, you could totally make a quick crostata or galette with your favorite store bought dough. A little cheese, peach jam and nuts. SO GOOD! You know, just some ideas for you to enjoy!
Yields 13 oz. (about 1 ½ cups)
¼ cup bourbon
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter
1 lemon, juiced
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Make a very shallow cut like an “X” at the bottom of the peaches. Boil each peach for about 30 seconds. Remove from the water and peel the skin off. Cut the peach flesh off from around the pits and discard them.
Puree the peaches in a blender or food processor and set aside.
In a sauce pan melt the butter then add the peach puree, bourbon, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Let it come to a boil stirring frequently to prevent from burning.
Reduce the heat so it can reduce slowly while it simmers. Still stirring frequently, scraping down the sides from time to time. Do this for about 40 minutes or until fairly thick. Let it cool before placing in a jar.
NOTE: It will thicken more as it cools