French Beef Stew with Red Wine over Mashed Potatoes

What sets this French Beef Stew served over mashed potatoes apart from all the others? The wine – an entire bottle of your favorite wine! (And by that I don’t mean your favorite cooking wine, but the stuff you like to sip by the glassful). The whole house will smell like a winery as the stew simmers on the stove top. When selecting which red wine to use, keep in mind different wines will yield a different flavor – a sweeter red wine will render a sweeter stew, a deep red wine will produce a deep, rich broth. Since this stew relies on an entire bottle of red wine for its broth, make sure it’s one you truly enjoy. If you aren’t a fan of strong red wine flavors (and let me tell you this stew will pack one heck of a wine punch), you can cut back on the wine while adding beef stock to make up the difference. Don’t abandon the wine completely, as it is an important component to the overall flavor of the stew.

Just before serving, be sure to taste the stew and add salt just a pinch more if needed. Remember, the green olives will bring a salty flavor to the finished dish, so tasting at the end is important.

French Beef Stew with Red Wine
2 lb stew beef
Sea Salt, slightly coarse (but only a pinch)
White Pepper (lightly)
1 bottle of your favorite Red Wine
2 sprigs fresh thyme, more for garnish if desired
2 bay leaves
1 Cup Baby Carrots
1 orange, peeled and broken into natural segments
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced into rings
2 or 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 6-oz can tomato paste (10 tablespoons if using from a tube)
1/2 cup green olives, optional

Season meat with salt and pepper and set aside. Go lightly with the white pepper, it is a much finer grade than black pepper. You can always add a pinch or two more at the end, but you can never take back too much pepper.

Pour wine into a resealable bag or large marinating container. Add thyme, bay leaves, carrots, orange segments, onion rings and garlic. Mix well. If using a bag (my preferred method only because the bag can lay flat in the refrigerator), give the sealed bag a few good shakes. Place stew meat in same container as your wine marinade and allow to sit in the refrigerator overnight.

When ready to cook, heat olive oil in a large stock pot. Use just enough oil to lightly coat pot to prevent the meat from sticking. Using tongs, remove stew meat from bag and brown in hot oil, turning as needed to brown on all sides. DO NOT strain wine marinade. Pour contents of bag over browned stew meat and bring to a boil. Gently boil for about 5-8 minutes. Lower the heat to a simmer and add tomato paste. Stir well. Cover, and let simmer on low heat for about 2 or 3 hours, until meat is fork-tender.

Add olives (if using) and let stew simmer uncovered for about 15-20 minutes to thicken, creating a rich, flavorful reduced wine “gravy”.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
8 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
salt to taste
8 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 cup half & half,  warmed

Place cubed potatoes in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water, salt liberally, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil potatoes for about 10-15 minutes until they are fork-tender. Keep an eye on the potatoes as they boil to make sure they don’t boil over. If necessary, skim the top of the pot to remove any excessive “foam”.

Drain potatoes, then return to the sauce pan and “dry” them over low heat. Add garlic and warmed half & half. Heat until garlic is fragrant and cream begins to simmer.

Transfer to the large bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whip. Whip potatoes until completely smooth.

Ladle potatoes into bowls or rimmed plates. Ladle stew over potatoes. Garnish each serving with a sprig of thyme for added color, if desired.

Serve and enjoy. As with most stews, warm French bread is a great addition to lap up all the wonderful juices.

Easy Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

Way back in November 2014, I posted a recipe for Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy that had you make your own patties, fry ’em on a griddle; while making the gravy in a sauce pan. This created a bowl for clean up, the griddle and the skillet. Three things to wash. While that’s no big deal, especially for me since I don’t do KP duty (that’s for my guys to handle) – if we could make it easier and reduce the “mess” a little, why not?

My guys loved the new and improved Salisbury Steak. I’m not sure which they liked better; the steak or the clean up.

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy
Salisbury Steak
6 Hamburger Patties (preformed, not frozen)
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400-degrees.

In a large skillet, 12″ high-sided skilled over medium-high heat, sear meat well on both sides, about 5-6 minutes. Transfer to a large high rimmed glass casserole dish. If you need to overlap patties a little to get them to all fit, that’s okay.

Image result for knorr beef flavor boostMushroom Gravy
1 Tablespoon Flour
3 Tablespoons Butter, divided
1 Can Condensed French Onion Soup
1 Cup Beef Broth
2 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
½ Teaspoon Dry Mustard
1 Package Beef Flavor Booster (Knorr makes a nice one)
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 Cup Mushrooms

In the now-empty skillet, combine flour and 1 tablespoon butter, saute until well blended to create a roux.

Add French Onion Soup, beef broth, Worcestershire Sauce and dry mustard. Stir to blend, bring to a low boil. Add Flavor Booster. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

Remove gravy from heat, blend in remaining 2 tablespoons butter until smooth. Pour over Salisbury Steaks. Top with sliced mushrooms. Cover with foil and place in oven to bake for 20-25 minutes.

Remove Salisbury steaks from oven, and serve directly from casserole dish. When serving, generously spoon gravy over the steaks. Don’t forget the mashed potatoes and buttery corn!

French Beer Beef Stew over Mashed Potatoes

Did ya check out the photo for this recipe? This isn’t your typical Beef Stew. No carrots, no peas, none of your usual chunks of vegetables. Just stew meat, slowly simmered in a crock pot until fork-tender, a thick gravy made with beer, some herbs for seasoning . . . yeah strictly speaking this is meat and potatoes all the way. A man’s-man kind of stew.

With these cold nights ahead of us, a simple straightforward meat-and-potatoes dish seems a perfect fit.

French Beer Beef Stew over Mashed Potatoes
1 bouquet garni
3 tablespoons cooking oil
2 pounds stew beef, cubed in bite sized pieces
Salt & Pepper to taste
4 large onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoon raw sugar (if you don’t have this, substitute light brown sugar)
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups of beer (light or dark, personal preference)
4 slices slightly stale French bread spread on both sides with 2 tablespoons French mustard (optional)
Roux for thickening (2 tablespoons butter, melted and mixed with 1 tablespoon flour, browned).

Create Bouquet garni by bundling a little fresh parsley, 2-3 fresh Thyme Sprigs and two fresh bay leaves together with twine. Tie additional twine to bundle to aid in removing bundle at the end of cooking. Set aside until ready to use.

Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a sturdy skillet. Brown the meat on all sides, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Pour meat and juices into a large crock pot set on HIGH.

Return skillet to stove. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and add the onions. Sauté for 15 minutes on medium-low to medium heat, stirring frequently. Onions should brown slightly.

Stir in the garlic, sugar, and vinegar and cook for two more minutes. Sprinkle the flour on top of the onion mixture and stir to coat.

Pour onion mixture over meat. Pour on the beer and add the bouquet garni, allowing string to drape over top of pot.

Reduce heat on pot to LOW and allow to simmer throughout the day unattended.

If desired, 30 minutes before serving, place French Bread on top of stew. Traditional French Beer Stew call for placing pieces of mustard covered bread on top of the stew while it cooks. This melts into the stew, adding more flavor. It is purely optional. Cover and simmer 30 minutes longer.

Pull bouquet garni from pot. In a small saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter mixed with 1 tablespoon of flour to create a roux. Add to stew to thicken sauce, let cook 10 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve hot over a bed of mashed potatoes. (Recipe to follow)

OPTIONAL: Serve with thick slices of French Bread to soak up all the juices.

6 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
salt to taste
8 cloves garlic, cut in quarters
1/2 cup heavy cream

Place cubed potatoes in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water, salt liberally, and bring to a boil over medium heat.

Boil for 10-15 minutes until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, skimming starch foam from top occasionally and checking to keep from boiling over – lower heat if necessary. Drain potatoes and place in a blender.

Return saucepan to heat, lower heat to low, and add garlic and cream. Heat until garlic is fragrant and cream begins to simmer, then add to blender. Blend until potatoes are a totally smooth puree.

Add water or additional cream (gently heated in the microwave) as necessary to even out texture.

Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary just before serving.

Beefy-Corn Rice-A-Roni Taco Style

It’s amazing what one simple, little change can make.. For those of you who have followed my blog for a while, you might recognize the recipe for Beefy Corn Rice-A-Roni – When “Quick” is All That Matters originally posted in August 2014. It’s a simple family favorite for those nights when time is of the essences.  Recently, I whipped up the Rice-A-Roni based dish as I always do, with one tiny change. Instead of browning fresh ground beef; I used up the last of our left-over taco meat from earlier in the week. No sense in letting that taco meat go to waste, right? There really wasn’t enough to make burritos – but there was enough to use as a filler. That little change – using taco meat brought out a whole new dimension – a Mexican Spice flair to our familiar favorite. What a difference! There was nothing left of my Beefy-Corn dish – not even a spoonful!

Needless to say, I will be using  left-over taco meat more often when making Rice-A-Roni with sweet corn.

Beefy-Corn Rice-A-Roni Taco Style
1/2 lb Taco Meat (left over – more if you’ve got it)
4 tablespoons Butter
2 Boxes Beef Rice-A-Roni
1 Can Corn, drained well
4 Cups Water

Brown Rice-A-Roni (Beef flavor) in butter according to package direction. When pasta is nice and golden, add water and seasoning packages from box. Bring to a boil.

Drain corn, add to skillet. Add taco meat, return to a boil.

Lower heat. Simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is tender.

This goes well with tomato wedges or a simple salad. This flavorful rice still works well as a filling for stuffed Bell Peppers.

To use for stuffed Bell Pepper:

Stuffed Bell Pepper (1)Prepare Beefy Rice-A-Roni as above. While Rice-A-Roni is cooking, cut the tops from bell peppers and core. Place peppers in a pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes to help soften. Remove peppers from water, drain well.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange bell peppers on a glass baking dish with about a 2-inch rim.

Spoon rice mixture into peppers. Top with a little cheese. Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes.

Nachos are Tacos on a Chip

Nachos are so often thought of as a snack food or appetizers. Piled high with spicy taco meat, nachos can also be dinner. We love nachos on movie night or game night or just because. After all, what are nachos but a taco on a chip?  Hubby usually piles his plate a mile high with meat. Kiddo goes for plenty of Jalapeno Peppers. I love the gooey stuff – lots of sour cream, bubbly cheese and guacamole. Nachos are also a great way for casual entertainment. Put each of the “fixings” into a pretty bowl and set a buffet table. The meat can be kept warm in Chafers, the cheese in fondue pots. Make up a pitcher or two of margaritas. There ya go . . . a festively fun supper for friends.

Super Nacho Supper
Ingredients – Meat
1 lb Ground Chuck
1 lb Ground Chorizo Meat
2-3 Tablespoons Dry Taco Seasoning

Ingredients – Beans
1 Large Can Refried Beans
2 Tablespoons Bacon Drippings
2 Tablespoons Taco Sauce

Ingredients – All the Toppings
1 Jar Nacho Sliced Jalapenos
1 16-oz Container Salsa – Medium Heat
1 Large Jar Processed Nacho Cheese
1 Bunch Green Onions
3-4 Plum Tomatoes, chopped
8 oz Sour Cream
8 oz Guamola
Tortilla Chips (Regular or Doritos or Combination)

Optional: Big Pitcher of Margaritas

Chop tomatoes into small pieces, place in a small bowl and set aside. Chop green onions, place in a small bowl and set aside.

Brown ground chuck and ground chorizo together in a heavy cast iron skillet, crumbling meat to a fine grind. Drain off excess fat and season meat with dry taco seasoning. Keep warm until ready to serve.

While meat is cooking, heat Refried Beans in bacon drippings to thin, add 2 tablespoons taco sauce to beans. Keep warm until ready to serve.

While meat & beans are cooking; heat processed nacho cheese over low heat until warm, stirring frequently to prevent cheese from burning. Keep warm until ready to serve.

New Mexican Filet Mignon with Sizzling Chipotle Sauce

Before I begin, I must put out this important disclaimer – this dish is HOT. As in OMG unbelievably HOT. Continue if you dare, but consider yourself properly warned. This recipe was originally shared in November 2014. It remains one of our favorite “hot” recipes. Well worth a second look.

Many years ago, Hubby and I made a road trip from our home at the time in Southern Nevada to New Mexico. It was a beautiful drive. The landscape is breathtaking. Rugged rock formations stretching up to touch deep blue skies. New Mexico is like taking a step back in time.

One thing that stood out on our road trip was the cuisine of New Mexico. It is not to be confused with Mexican or Tex-Mex. The food of New Mexico is awesome – if you are a huge fan of heat – as in chili hot heat. Sit down at any authentic eatery in New Mexico and you’ll notice that sopapilla are brought to the table with your meal, along with a big bottle of honey. And for good reason – you need the honey to cool off your mouth between bites of incredibly spicy food. As huge fans of both spicy foods and sopapillas, we fell madly in love with New Mexican Cuisine.

For those of you brave enough to give this a try, let me further put out a warning – your kitchen is going to become a disaster area – this dish creates a major mess. If you are like me, you’ll want to serve these awesome steaks alongside some delicious from-scratch Black Beans and if possible a big helping of Sopapillas, all of which will amplify the mess. (You could skip some of the mess by frying up some canned black beans and serving a chaser of Mango Sorbet). Mess aside, the end result is so worth the effort. This recipe will feed 8, with plenty of sauce left over for other uses (maybe smothered chicken or to use in a crock pot recipe with chunks of pork). If cooking for less, don’t scrimp on the sauce – just plan on more leftover for other uses. You could even freeze the sauce for later use.

New Mexican Filet Mignon with Sizzling Chipotle Sauce
Ingredients – Chipotle Sauce
¼ Cup vegetable oil
2 Small cans Chipotle Chilies in Adobo Sauce
1 Tablespoon Chile Ancho
1 White onions, quarter
4 Garlic cloves, peeled
Salt to taste
3 Small Cans Tomatillos
½ cup Chopped Cilantro
1/2 Cup Beef Stock

P1020256Heat vegetable oil in frying pan. Add onions seasoned with Chile Ancho. Fry briefly, until onions become somewhat tender. While onions are frying, place canned Tomatillos in boiling water and boil briefly, about 2-3 minutes. Remove Tomatillos from water using a slotted spoon. Add to pan with onions. Continue to cook until everything is tender, about 10-15 minutes.

P1020257Remove from heat, pour mixture into a blender. Add cilantro and blend. (This can be done several hours ahead. Cover and keep at room temperature until ready to use).

Transfer sauce to a saucepan, add beef stock and simmer over low heat for 40 minutes. If sauce becomes too thick, add a little more beef stock. Taste and adjust seasoning. Keep warm and prepare steaks.

Ingredients – Filet Mignon
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Olive oil
8 beef filets (Filet Mignon) 5-6 oz each
Salt to taste
8 corn tortillas, 4-inch diameter; fried in oil
8 slices Monterey Jack cheese, 3 oz each

Remove steaks from refrigerator. Season with salt and set aside on the counter to rest.

P1020259Heat a heavy, dry frying pan for over low heat for 25 minutes. (Cast Iron skillet works nicely). Once skillet is hot, add a little butter and oil. Allow oil and butter to heat about 2-3 minutes. Without over crowding the pan, place steaks in the skillet to sear well. (If necessary, sear steaks in two batches). Cook filets for 3-4 minutes per side, turning once. Remove from skillet and keep warm. Repeat with remaining filets. Remove second batch of filets and keep warm.

P1020260To now empty skillet add about 1/2 of the sauce. Return filets to skillet and coat with sauce. Heat for about 5-8 minutes.

Place tortillas on a baking sheet. Place a steak on each tortilla. Top with cheese and pop under the broiler until cheese melts.

To serve: Generously ladle sauce from the pan onto plates. Top with tortilla and steak. If desired, ladle additional sauce over steak. Garnish with cilantro or parsley, if desired, and serve.


If desires, steak can be served “naked” – skip the cheese, ladle on the sauce as serve. Caution – this style of serving will be even hotter as the creamy Jack Cheese helps take some of the edge off.


Shredded Roast Beef Tacos

The absolute easiest way to make these tacos is to cook up a roast in the crock pot earlier in the week for a family meal. Select a roast that is larger than what you can eat in a single meal, and save the left over roast beef for the tacos. Or cook up a roast in a crock pot just for these tacos. You could cook the roast that morning, or several days in advance – whatever works best for you. Since I plan ahead, my shredded beef is in the refrigerator as we speak, just waiting to be “reborn” in a second round of roast beef goodness.

With the cost of a chuck roast these days, to get multiple meals is a great thing. It reminds me of growing up, when my parents (especially in the winter months when things were lean) would look for big cuts of meat to feed us throughout the week. While Roast Chicken was a big part of our Sundays, Roast Beef was a close second.

Traditionally speaking, roasted beef was the meat of choice in 17th century England, particularly in Yorkshire – said to be the birthplace of The Sunday Roast. Sunday Roast was also a tradition observed in Ireland and eventually expanded throughout Europe. It is believed that both religious practices and the industrial revolution were key factors in the birth of The Sunday Roast.

Families often worked six days a week, with Sundays held as a day of rest. A big rack of meat could be put into the oven on Sunday mornings, and then allowed to slow cook while the family attended church services. After church, the meal was nearly complete. The women-folk would add a few vegetables, mash a pot of boiled potatoes and whip up a gravy made from the pan drippings before joining their families for a day of leisure.  Generally, more meat was roasted than could be consumed on Sunday, and the cold meat became lunch for the better part of the following week.

Today, that left over roast can be more than a cold sandwich . . .


Go From this . . .


. . . to this . . .


. . . to this – yum!

Shredded Roast Beef Tacos
2 lbs Shredded Beef
1 Tablespoon Bacon Drippings
1 Small Can Tomato Sauce
4 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning
1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 Head Lettuce, Shredded
3 Tomatoes, chopped
12 Taco Shells, soft
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1 Cup Mexican Cheese

Heat bacon drippings in a large skillet. Gently fry shredded beef in drippings. Add tomato sauce. and season with taco seasoning, cayenne pepper. Simmer until meat is heated through. Taste and adjust seasoning.

While meat heats, shred lettuce and chop tomatoes. Set aside until ready to use.

Spray taco shells with cooking spray. In a flat skillet, warm tortilla shells until soft. Set aside.

Fill shells with shredded meat. Top with lettuce, tomatoes and cheese.

Crock Pot Irish Stew

If this stew contained Lamb, I would say it is a typical Irish Stew. However; if this stew contained Lamb I would be dining alone – or almost alone. Kiddo doesn’t mind Lamb. At Celtic Fairs, we gravitate to some of the vendors peddling Lamb meat. Lamb kabobs are some of my favorite. Kiddo has to be in the mood. And Hubby – well he would rather starve. There is nothing shy about the flavor of Lamb. Can you tell? It crossed my mind to substitute the cubes of beef for lamb, but I knew I would never get away with it.

Years ago, our Jewish neighbors brought over a lamb bone for our dog. It was a nice gesture. However; the dog went nuts. She began to howl and bark at the bone, every hair in her body standing on edge. Hubby thought maybe the bone needed to be cooked. He fired up our gas grill and placed the bone over the flames. As the bone began to brown, the dog became even more frightened, hiding at the far end of the yard and barking like crazy. We threw the bone away. She went to the trash can, sniffed around it and actually pushed the can just to make sure the bone wasn’t going to come out and get her. The dog spend the rest of the night hiding in the house. Every now and again, she raised her head, let out a yelp and listened. We haven’t had lamb in the house since.

I’ve jabbered away before about my Irish roots. I’ve always identified myself emotionally as an Irish Catholic – with very strong feelings on the subject. It was only recently that my brain clicked. I’m not part of a long line of Irish Catholics, despite my strong and stubborn feelings on the matter. Oh, I am Irish – my dad is Irish. His dad was Irish. However; Grandpa wasn’t Catholic. He was a preacher  – and Dad was raised Protestant. Dad converted to the Catholic Church as a young man. None of his brothers did. That meant my cousins on Dad’s side are all Irish Protestants. I am (and proudly so) first generation Irish Catholic. As a first generation, I have a responsibility of sorts – which might explain my deep love of both my Catholic faith and Irish roots.

Kiddo has been put in charge of a great deal of the cooking lately. I’m oh so grateful because there have been a few nights when I was just too pooped to even think about cooking. To show my gratitude, I’ve been selecting recipes that are very basic, simple. When I stumbled upon this recipe for Irish Stew, it was a no-brainier.  Chop a few vegetables, rinse the barley, add with seasoning and stew meat to a pot and walk away. No tending, no fuss – could not get much more simple than this. And what a stew! Thick, beefy broth. Plenty of veggies. Wow – we’ve found a new stew for the cold winter nights ahead!

Crock Pot Irish Stew
1 1/2 to 2 pounds stew beef, cubed
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
2 cups carrot slices (cut into about 1/2 inch pieces)
1 cups celery slices (cut into about 1/2 inch pieces)
1 cup onion slices (cut into about 1/2 inch pieces)
3/4 cup pearl barley (rinsed and drained)
5 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.

Mix well. Cover and cook over LOW heat for 7 1/2 to 8 hours.

Crock Pot Pot Roast with Potatoes and Carrots

The best thing about all these Crock Pot Suppers is that Kiddo has been the “cook”. All I need to is the planning and shopping, the rest is up to him. Which also explains the lack of step-by-step photos. He takes a few pictures for the blog, but not the details that I like to take. Oh well, if I have a choice between getting up early for pictures or letting Kiddo do it all – I’m getting a few extra winks.

We are taking a few days to get back to the basics of Mother’s Home Cooking. What could be more home-spun than a pot roast surrounded by chunks of potatoes and colorful carrots?

I used a nice waxy potato rather than a russet. Waxy potatoes hold their form better without turning completely to mush. Great for salads and long cooks.

Confession Time – Generally speaking, in the produce drawer of the refrigerator you will find whole carrots when recipes call for carrots. I like slicing, dicing or shredding as needed. This week, I was leaving Kiddo in charge of all the meal preparations.  While he knows how to slice, dice and shred, he is amazingly slow. So, I did something I’ve never done before – bought bags of already sliced and shredded carrots. The problem was, I didn’t tell him. Me bad. When it came time to cook, he looked in the produce drawer and did not see whole carrots. What he did see was an open bag of shredded carrots (remember the Quail with Vegetable Rice) – and did not see that further down was a bag of sliced carrots. He sprinkled shredded carrots into the pot. Oh my!

When I returned home and checked on dinner, I saw his mistake. No worried – I took the sliced carrots from the crisper, zapped them with butter, salt and a little garlic to serve alongside the pot roast. I wasn’t sure how the potatoes and roast would turn out with shredded carrots mixed in, but then there is a first time for everything. Oh my, the chunks of potatoes drenched in cooking juices from the roast and laced with shredded carrots were delicious!  As for the roast topped with shredded carrots – equally delicious. Just saying – sometimes a mistake is a good thing . . .

Crock Pot Pot Roast with Potatoes and Carrots
1 Small to medium size rump or chuck roast, about 3 lbs
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 yellow onion, sliced in slivers
1 stalk celery, sliced
2 or 3 medium to large size potatoes, cut into chunks
1 small bag sliced carrots
1 Can Beef Broth
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 envelope brown gravy mix
1 individual size serving apple sauce

Season roast with salt and pepper, sear well in a skillet with small amount of oil on all sides. While roast is searing, place onions and celery in the bottom of the crock pot.

Place roast in pot over celery mixture. Tuck potatoes around roast, then top with carrots.

Measure beef broth in a four-cup measuring cup. Add enough water to create 2 cups of liquid. Mix broth with onion soup mix, brown gravy mix and applesauce. Whisk to blend, then pour over roast and vegetables.

Set crock pot on low and let it cook for at least 8-10 hours. Longer is fine.

Spicy Chinese Beef and Broccoli

Be it delivery or carry-out; whenever we order Chinese it always seems to be the same favorites – Orange Chicken and Beef and Broccoli. While Lemon Chicken might be included (if available) – Orange Chicken and Beef and Broccoli are a must. Another favorite in our house is General Tsao’s Chicken – if for no other reason than the heat.

Every year, for Dad’s birthday, we get together for Chinese Take Out. Beef and Broccoli is always a part of Dad’s birthday celebration. I’ve never fully understood that – if for no other reason that the “heat” of a good Beef and Broccoli Chinese dish. Oh sure, it’s always a welcome hit with us, but the rest of my family tends to shy away from hot, spicy dishes. Yet year after year, they will order Beef and Broccoli, and then comment as to how hot it is. Every year the conversation around the table goes something like this: Someone will say something on their plate is really spicy. They all speculate as to what it might be. We tell them it’s the Beef and Broccoli. They say they need to remember that next year. The next year rolls around and lo and behold, Beef and Broccoli is with us once again. No matter; we love the stuff. Making it at home is almost as easy as calling for take-out. The only real difference is we don’t need to go anywhere to pick it up or wait for delivery.

Image result for images chinese take outSometimes, I think about getting some of those take-out containers if for no other reason that the fun presentation of a home-cooked meal served in take-out containers! Throw in some fortune cookies, a few packets of soy sauce and some chop sticks just for kicks.

Spicy Chinese Beef and Broccoli
1 pound of stir-fry meat or flank steak thinly sliced
1 head of broccoli cut into florets
2/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flake (or more for “hot”)

Begin by combining ingredients for sauce: soy sauce, chicken stock, honey, brown sugar, rice vinegar, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon olive oil, ginger, and pepper flake. Whisk until combined.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add beef cook for about 3-4 minutes total until just browned ( do not cook all the way through). Remove steak from pan and set aside.

Place broccoli in the now empty hot pan with the sauce and cook quickly until broccoli is just about tender (about 5 min).

Return beef back in pan, lower heat and simmer for another 2-3 minutes. If sauce needs to be thicker add a little more corn starch.

Serve immediately with steamed or fried rice. Also good with Spicy Asian Inspired Stir-Fry Spaghetti