Mahogany Beef Stew

I was looking for a beef stew with a different type of flavor, something to set it apart from the usual. The hoisin sauce REALLY makes it!! I also decided to add a touch of dijon. This stew is really fantastic.  I adapted this recipe from Epicurious, but I wanted to do it in the crock pot.  This really is a comfort food meal.  I served it over egg noodles, but over mashed potatoes would also be great!


  • 2.5-3 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 2 inch cubes
  • For the beef: 2 TBSP olive oil, salt and pepper, dash of cayenne,  1 TBSP flour
  • 1 onion, chopped (+ 2 TBSP butter)
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp each basil, oregano, and thyme (either dried or fresh is fine)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth or stock (will add cornstarch to this)
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, drained
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  •  2 TBSP dijon mustard
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 carrots, sliced into one inch pieces
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup peas (can be frozen, no need to thaw)


  • Heat a dutch oven (or large saute pan) on high.  Add olive oil until bubbly, toss meat with the olive oil, generously season with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and dash of cayenne.  When the meat has a good sear on all sides, add the flour and mix to coat well.  Put the meat in your crock pot.
  • Heat butter in same pan on medium-high heat.  Add onions and garlic and saute 8-10 minutes, scraping up whatever was left from the meat.
  • Add wine, herbs, hoisin, and dijon. Bring to a boil, stir well, and transfer to the crock pot.  Add the bay leaves, carrots, celery, & peas to crock pot.  Set to cook on low for 8 hours.
  • In the same pan, bring the beef stock to a boil and then switch heat to low.  Slowly whisk in 1 TBSP cornstarch at a time until the stock is nice and thick.  Add that to the crock pot.
  • When the stew is done, remove bay leaves and taste.  Add more s&p if needed.  Enjoy!


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Clean Eating – Thai Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

These were really good.  A friend on FB posted this recipe a while ago and I finally got around to trying.  It calls for spice, but I left it out in the hopes the kids would like it since it has zucchini in it and that is one veggie they don’t like.  No such luck. Oh well more for me! I will be enjoying these all week!

A couple things. I thought I had red curry paste but turns out mine was green.  No biggie, they were still great, BUT I do think they would be better with red.  I was able to use more paste though since the green isn’t really spicy (I used about 1/4 cup). I definitely used more garlic than it called for. I mean more garlic can never be bad right?!  The main thing though – you MUST salt the ground turkey when you add the other ingredients. I really can’t recall a time I didn’t salt meat. This would be REALLY bland otherwise. I typically always use sea salt. I am not exactly sure how much I used, I am not a big measurer unless baking.  But I would say definitely 1 TBSP, probably a little more for turkey as opposed to ground beef.  The other thing is, make sure to really get the water out of the zucchini. I peeled mine, but you can leave the skin on if you like.  I have a small colander and I grated it right into there. Then I used my hands to press all the water out.  When you make these into meatballs, they will be sticky and seem like they won’t hold together like when you make regular meatballs. That is because there is no breadcrumbs in it, which is why I love it though.  No gluten!  Once you fry them up a bit, they hold together fine.  Make sure to keep turning them though and get all the sides browned. I actually think these would have been great with some curry powder added also.  Next time.

You could serve this an an appetizer, or for dinner over rice if you wish!  Enjoy!

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Spicy whole roasted cauliflower!

Though I just don’t have time to keep up with a traditional food blog, people still ask me for recipes.  I cook a lot of great meals and would still like to share them.  Plus, now that I haven’t been posting I lose track of my favorite recipes.  So I will continue to post my tried, true, and delicious recipes; however, I won’t be making life more difficult by re-writing recipes that are already out there.  I will definitely post any changes I make to the recipe though.  I will link directly to the recipe I used and give that recipe its credit!

This cauliflower was so easy and SO delicious. I over salted a tad (didn’t measure) so will cut that back next time.  Also, this was pretty spicy because I used chipotle chili powder. If you like it less spicy just use regular chili powder.  I did NOT use vegetable oil, or oil of any kind. It doesn’t need it!  I loved it and will indeed make it again soon!–roast-the-whole-damn-cauliflower.htm


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My favorite risotto – thanks to Rachel Ray!

I seriously think this risotto rivals any found in Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants!  You need some time to make this, it takes about 15-20 minutes of prep and another 25 minutes to cook.  With risotto, you can’t just leave it covered on the stove to cook like other rices, you have to babysit and stir it the entire time.  It’s not difficult, just time consuming.  I can’t figure out why the people on Hell’s Kitchen can’t ever seem to cook it properly?!  If you’re having company over and don’t want to spend the whole time in the kitchen, you can cook this ahead of time and just reheat it when you’re ready to eat.  This is enough to feed 6 adults.  This is an excellent side dish for a nice steak dinner!


  • 1 32 ounce container chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup (packed) fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1/3 cup grated pecorino-romano cheese
  • 3 TBSP shelled pistachios, toasted
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small lime, zested and juiced
  • 1/3 -1/2 cup EVOO
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 TBSP butter


  • Warm the chicken broth in a small saucepan
  • In a food processor, pulse the parsley, mint, tarragon, cheese, pistachios, garlic, lime zest + juice, and half the peas; season with salt and pepper.  Pour in 4 TBSP EVOO and pulse into a thick pesto.  If too thick, add 1 or 2 more TBSP EVOO.


  • In a large, deep saucepan, heat 2 TBSP butter over medium-high heat.  Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, until starting to brown.  Add the onion and continue cooking until onions become translucent (3-5 mins).  Stir in the rice and stir to coat for 1 minute. 


  • Stir in the wine and cook to evaporate, about 2 minutes.  Ladle in the warm stock a 2 ladlefuls at a time, stirring to develop the starch and waiting until all the liquid is absorbed before adding more. 
  • During the last minute of cooking, stir in the additional 2 TBSP butter (optional), the pesto, and the remaining peas. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if necessary.



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The only prime rib recipe you’ll ever need!

I searched a ton of recipes and read a ton of reviews before choosing this one.  The cooking style of this really intrigued me (a high temp the whole time), but I was also hesitant because when you buy an expensive piece of meat, you want it to turn out perfectly.  I’ve accidentally overcooked filet and leg of lamb in the past before and it makes me so mad!!  So I watched over this like a hawk.  If you don’t have a digital meat thermometer that stays in the meat while it cooks, I strongly encourage you to get one.  Timing the meat based on xx minutes per pound doesn’t always work.  When I read reviews I generally only pick recipes that have a much higher percentage of good reviews (as I am sure most do).  So if there are 10 reviews and 5 are bad, skip.  The recipe I chose for this had 197 reviews and I think only 10 were bad.  It came out AMAZING.  The inside was incredibly juicy and the outside was crispy and delicious.  However, since none of the juice leaves the meat during cooking, you won’t have drippings to make au jus if that matters to you.  I served it with horseradish sauce.

My prime rib was 4.5 pounds (2 ribs) and to get the perfect medium rare, I took it out of the oven at 138 degrees, covered it in aluminum, and let it rest for 25 minutes.  This took about 90 minutes from when I put it in the oven until I sliced it.  The ends were crispy and medium well and though I hate any meat cooked past medium, these ends were so tasty!  This size was enough for 4-5 people.

This is the recipe I used if anyone is interested in reading the reviews and the reasoning behind the flour coating.  I am actually going to do this with my leg of lamb for Easter.  I did change the spices that went into it though.  You can pretty much use any spices you like!


  1. 1 4-5 pound bone-in prime rib roast
  2. 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  3. 1 TBSP freshly ground sea salt
  4. 2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  5. 2 tsp horseradish powder
  6. 1 TBSP rosemary, minced
  7. 2 tsp hot Hungarian paprika
  8. 10-15 slivers of fresh sliced garlic


  1. Remove prime rib from refrigerator and allow the meat to come to room temperature, approximately 2 hours, but could be more depending on the size of roast.
  2. Preheat oven to 425º. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil.
  3. Unwrap the roast and place onto roasting pan; blot with paper towels to ensure it’s very dry.
  4. Using a very sharp knife, make as many small slits all over the roast as garlic slivers you have.  Insert the garlic into the roast.
  5. Sift together flour and spices into a small bowl.  Heavily coat the roast all over with the flour mixture making sure to get it in all the crevices.
  6. Roast in preheated oven until your desired degree of doneness –

So I was so excited to eat this I forgot to take a pic LOL!!!!!!!  This one looks so similar though.  How good does this look?????  I am drooling again.


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Traditional shepherd’s pie gets a new twist!

Sunday I was in the mood for shepherd’s pie, but I was also in the mood for beef stew.  What to do??  Mix the two!!  I also topped it with mashed cauliflower to save a few calories/carbs.  You wouldn’t even miss the potato!  Well, maybe a little.  My neighbor had some ground elk she wanted me to put it in so that was also a different twist, but of course you can use whatever meat you like.  Is this healthy?  Well, it has a fair amount of butter throughout, but other than that, nothing is fattening or unhealthy in this dish.  Unless you eat the entire pan (which is possible because it’s delicious) I think you’re ok.  This did take me a decent amount of time to prep, but as always, any really great meal takes time.  I fed 6 adults with this (healthy portions) with a little bit to spare.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound sirloin steak, cubed
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ bag frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 package mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 leek stalk, top and bottom removed, sliced thin (optional)
  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 1 17.6 oz container College Inn bold beef stock
  • 1 package Lipton onion mushroom dry soup mix
  • ½ cup light sour cream
  • Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 3 TBSP butter & flour for roux, 1 TBSP butter for cauliflower, 2 TBSP butter for sautéing vegetables
  • ¼ cup red cooking wine
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Shredded or grated parmesan cheese


  • Season the cubed sirloin with salt & pepper.  Add the sirloin, mushrooms, carrots, celery, beef stock, and Lipton soup mix to a crock pot, mix well and cook on high for 4 hours.  I started it at noon so the rest of the meal would be ready to prep at 4pm and ready to eat by 6pm.  You can of course start it in the morning.
  • With about 30 mins left on crock pot, heat a large saute pot on med-high heat and sauté the ground beef with salt and pepper until no pink remains.  Pour the meat into a colander to remove excess grease.  Add to a 9×13 baking dish or pan.
  • Start a medium sized pot of water to boil.  Cut the stems off the cauliflower and boil it until it’s slightly tender, about 6/7 mins (you do not want to overcook it).  Strain, add back to pot, add ½ cup light sour cream, 1 TBSP butter, salt & pepper to taste, and hand mash. 
  • Re-heat the saute pan you used for the ground beef (you do not need to clean it) over med-high heat, melt 2 TBSP butter, add leeks, onion, garlic, some salt & pepper, and sauté until tender and edges of onions starting to brown, about 8-10 mins.  Add these vegetables and the peas to the 9×13 dish.
  • You can turn the crock pot off now if it’s not already done.  Remove 5 ladles of the beef stock from the crock pot and add to a small bowl.  Drain the rest of the ingredients into a colander to remove any remaining stock.  Add those ingredients to the 9×13 dish and mix well.  You may want to test the beef to see it needs additional salt & pepper.
  • Pre-heat your oven to 375º
  • Heat a small sauce pan over med-high heat.  Melt 3 TBSP butter and start whisking in 1 TBSP flour at a time until you have a nice, thick paste.  For more info on making a roux (  Add the red cooking wine and whisk.  Add 1 ladle of the beef stock at a time to this mixture, continually whisking until you have a nice, thick gravy.  You may not need all 5 ladles.  Pour this gravy all over the ingredients in your 9×13 pan.


  • Spread the mashed cauliflower to cover the entire 9×13 dish.  Add panko bread crumbs, followed by parmesan cheese, and bake for 45 mins. 





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Yummy weeknight baked cod with ginger and cilantro

You think you can’t cook healthy, quick, AND delicious on weeknights?  WRONG!  I found this recipe on Pinterest, though it uses tilapia and I like cod better.  Cod is a much meatier fish.  Tilapia, for me, is too flimsy and doesn’t seem to hold any flavors well.  This cod came out REALLY delicious – the flavors sort of pop in your mouth.  This is a keeper!  The recipe comes from but I made some modifications.  I had 1.2 lbs of cod and it was enough for 2 adults and 2 kids with a piece leftover.  You can prep this AND eat within 30 minutes.


  • 1 lb (or more) of cod
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Large handful fresh cilantro, stems removed (the recipe calls for 1/3 cup chopped – I didn’t measure this.  I just took approx 1/4 of a small bunch of cilantro)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4 slices fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed (optional)
  • 1/4 cup white wine (I used white cooking wine)
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • Chopped scallions for garnish


  • Pre-heat oven to 450°
  • Lay fish down in glass baking dish and season with salt & pepper.
  • Put cilantro, garlic, ginger, jalapeno, white wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil in food processor (I have a mini one) or blender and pulse until chunks are gone.  Do not OVER blend and make it soupy.  Let stand for 5 minutes; it will thicken up just a bit.


  • Using a spoon, coat the fish really well with this mixture.  The mixture will be thicker on top than underneath.  Make sure to pull out any thicker areas of the mixture and press that into the fish. 
  • Bake for 15 minutes (I actually did an additional 2 minutes on broil also).  Cod takes longer to cook than tilapia since it’s thicker.  Garnish with thinly sliced scallions.



I served this with roasted garlic quinoa (yes, it’s boxed, but it’s healthy and it’s a weeknight!) and steamed broccoli with sea salt and lemon.  PERFECT!


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