Holiday Favorites, Weeknight Dinners

Sunday Night Beef Roast

It’s cold, damp and dark in Wisconsin, so it’s the perfect time to make a hearty and filling Beef Roast with Vegetables. So bring out your dutch oven, turn on your fireplace and snuggle in with this winter favorite recipe. It’s the perfect addition to your Sunday, especially if you’re hanging out with friends or family before your busy week starts. The yield on this is about 6-8.

We made it last week and it was excellent. I was busy searing the meat on the stove top, about 4 minutes on medium- high each side, when I realized I did not have any red wine to add to this recipe. Quickly, I called my daughter over and had her make a list of things I needed for the recipe from the downstairs pantry. It was a great way to have her help in the kitchen, and practice her spelling. And she nailed it! Seghesio’s Sangiovese was the perfect addition to my gravy + deglazed the pan wonderfully.

Ingredients

  • 1 (3-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped onion
  • 1 cup red wine, Seghesio works well!
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 (14-ounce) can beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces (short cut, baby carrots. no chopping or peeling, just dump them in)
  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Fresh thyme

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  3. Sprinkle chuck roast with salt and pepper. Add roast to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side to brown all sides. This adds a TON of flavor. be careful because the olive oil will spit and splatter since the pan is very hot to sear the meat.
  4. Remove roast from pan once it’s seared on all sides. Add onion to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until tender.
  5. Return browned roast to pan.
  6. Add the red wine, thyme sprigs, chopped garlic, beef broth, and bay leaf to pan; bring to a simmer.
  7. Cover pan and bake at 350° for 1 1/2 hours or until the roast is almost tender.
  8. Add carrots and potatoes to pan. Cover and bake an additional 1 hour or until vegetables are tender. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf from pan; discard. Shred meat with 2 forks. Serve roast with vegetable mixture and cooking liquid / gravy.

Image result for Beef Roast in Le Creuset pot

This photo is from Cooking Light Magazine. I failed to take a photo of our finished product since it was so delish, and quite late when we finished. The kids needed to get in bed. However, it looked EXACTLY like this one, same red dish and all. Your dutch oven will be quite messy from searing the meat. Make sure you use a wooden spoon to gently scrape down the sides with cooking liquid to make washing easy. It’s good to clean your pan when it is still nice and hot! Otherwise it gets caked on, and I’ve actually thrown pans away that I cannot get 100% clean. Well, that was when I was still using my oven for storage and binge watching Sex and the City. Things have changed since then 🙂

This week nutfreemomblog will feature our menus for Christmas weekend and a few fun snacks along the way. Have a great week!

Weeknight Dinners

Weeknight Lasagna

After eating the same boring flavor profile, aka, Thanksgiving leftovers, we are switching it up to Italian. Lasagna to be exact. I’ve got two kids in front of me right now fighting over a box, yes, a box. Why am I driving myself nuts over Christmas toys when apparently a box is the cats meow?! I’ll just skip right to the recipe since I need to referee…..

Campbell’s 30 Minute Weeknight Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese – Kraft is safe
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pound organic, lean ground beef
  • 1 jar (45 ounces) Prego® Traditional Italian Sauce or two jars (24 ounces each) Prego® Three Cheese Italian Sauce
  • 12 cooked lasagna noodles, drained – Barilla is safe
  • 12 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (about 3 cups)

Directions:

  1. Stir the ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and eggs in a medium bowl and set it aside.  Season the beef as desired.  In a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the beef until it’s well browned, stirring often to break up the meat. Pour off any fat. Stir the sauce in the saucepan.
  2. Spoon 2 cups beef mixture into a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Top with 4 lasagna noodles, half the ricotta cheese mixture and half the mozzarella. Repeat the layers. Top with the remaining 4 lasagna noodles, remaining beef mixture and the remaining Parmesan cheese.
  3. Bake at 400°F. for 30 minutes or until the lasagna is hot. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

We’re serving with a side salad and garlic bread.  FOr other quick weeknight dinners, don’t forget you can search my blog, just type in what you’re looking for on the right search column.

Have a great week!

Uncategorized, Weeknight Dinners

Weeknight Homemade Chicken Soup

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You don’t have to be sick to enjoy a good bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup. I’ve been craving this soup for a while. I made a version of it last week for a friend and I just couldn’t help myself today. I had to make it.

Ingredients:

  • One Rotisserie Chicken, you can find this at your grocers deli counter. Cube your chicken pieces and set aside.
  • 8 cups / two boxes of salted chicken stock (Rachael Ray is safe)
  • 1 carrot, peeled + thinly sliced
  • 3 ribs of celery, halved + thinly sliced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced small (can also use 1 palm/tbsp powdered onion)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced ( can also use 1 palm full/tbsp garlic powder)
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary – dry works too (Penzey’s Spices are safe)
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 2-3 handfuls of flat egg noodles

Directions:

  1. In a Dutch Oven, drizzle the two tbsp of evoo over medium high heat.
  2. Add carrots, celery and soften, about 8-10 minutes
  3. Add the garlic and onion and all the herbs, heat until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes
  4. Add all the chicken stock
  5. Bring to a boil
  6. Simmer
  7. Stir stir stir
  8. Add cubed chicken + your choice of pasta
  9. Simmer for 15-20 minutes + make sure your pasta is cooked through
  10. Enjoy! Yield: 8

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If you don’t want the pasta to get mushy, I would cook the pasta separately. This way, if you know you’ll have leftovers, you can save it for later in the week and have pre-made, non-mushy pasta each time! Nothing worse than soggy noodles.

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Holiday Favorites, Snacking, Uncategorized

NYT Rhubarb Crisp

My sweet sweet neighbor Maryellen gave me a TON of fresh rhubarb last week. We love rhubarb season. Today’s cookout was the perfect opportunity to debut this New York Times Rhubarb Crisp recipe.

(I LOVE the New York Times recipes, they ALWAYS are fabulous. And I love reading the paper. A dead medium, I know. But it’s relaxing to me).

Usually during this time of year we make rhubarb cake, but I wanted something a little lighter, faster and less cakey. Needless to say, this crisp was a crowd pleaser. My only regret is that I didn’t make a double batch to share with more friends! This dish is a 9 x 9 and if you dish out dessert like I do, it will only have 9 servings 🙂

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What made this recipe even better was that I made it with my sweet daughter. She’s a smart cookie in the kitchen and very helpful. She prepped the 9 x 9 pan, and got all of the ingredients ready on the counter top while I chopped 6 cups of rhubarb.

We had fun and dessert is that much sweeter when it’s made with love.

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for greasing pan
  • 2 ½ to 3 pounds rhubarb, trimmed, tough strings removed, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 5 to 6 cups)
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon, or to taste
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ cup rolled oats (Quaker Oats)

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square baking or gratin dish with a little butter. Toss rhubarb with white sugar, orange or lemon juice and zest, and spread in baking dish.
  2. Put the 6 tablespoons butter in a food processor along with brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt, and pulse for about 20 or 30 seconds, until it looks like small peas and just begins to clump together. Add oats and pecans and pulse just a few times to combine.
  3. Crumble the topping over rhubarb and bake until golden and beginning to brown, 45 to 50 minutes.

*a quick short cut if you do not want to get out your big food processor (ours is 12 cup and mammoth, then cleaning it, don’t even get me started) I used my nutribullet smoothie maker to blend up the dry ingredients. It doesn’t need to be perfect, just a few zaps. I added the oats and mixed in by hand, then dumped the entire container into my recipe.

Serve with ice cream, whip topping, yogurt, mint, or as is.

I hope you enjoy this fun, sweet, tart recipe as much as we did.

Birthday Parties, Uncategorized, Weeknight Dinners

May the 4th Be With You!

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Star Wars day was awesome. My kids are really into Star Wars right now, as is the hubs, so when we we were menu planning on Sunday, the kids REALLY wanted to do something fun for May 4th.

(Side bar: I’m drinking Valentine Coffee right now with 1 tsp of Nestle Quick Bunny Chocolate powder, and it’s amaze. You should try it. Seriously. 20 calories, but it has vitamins and tastes like a skinny mocha from Starbucks. No lie.)

Star Wars Day is also my mother-in-laws birthday! So we celebrated big time! Here is the menu:

May the 4th Menu

  • Obe-Wan Kebabies: skewered watermelon balls, strawberries, blackberries and grapes
  • Darth Vader Taters: made Oreida tater tots
  • Han-Burgers: patted out eight burger patties using grass fed organic beef from Madison
  • BB-8 Cake: Betty Crocker cake mix with homemade butter cream frosting. Safe, nut-free, black icing can be found at Target, Wilton Brand. Be careful with Wilton brand. They make a lot of cake decor and MOST of it is made in a facility with nuts. I really lucked out this time. Usually, I cannot buy their stuff. For the shape of the cake, I just used one 9 inch spring form cake pan and one 4 inch spring form cake pan. With each of them, make sure they cool completely, and use a serrated knife to take off the “dome” layer and even it out. With the 4 inch cake, trim the top accordingly and then cut about 1/4 off the bottom of the cake.
  • Luke Sky Water: Just water. Nothing special.
  • At the last minute, we found some Star Wars dinner plates, cake plates and napkins at Target in the kids party section. Also found some cardboard masks with all the popular characters. Except Rey. Seriously? I have so many feels about this topic, but that’s not for this blog post.

Until next time, May the Force Be With You! Thanks for stopping by…