Rediscovering the Joy of Cooking

October 13, 2009

Sweet-and-Sour Brisket

Filed under: beef, freezer, main dish, make ahead — Emily @ 8:48 am

This brisket is unbelievable. My husband actually said “this is the best meat dish I’ve ever eaten…” and yet, it is very easy to throw together. It is best if you make it a day or two in advance and let it marinate for awhile—it just continues to get better and better. After eating it for a day or two, buy some big, crusty sandwich rolls and enjoy it with a side of jus. Since it’s essentially just slabs of meat, the picture really doesn’t do it justice. But I promise, you will not regret making this dish.

Sweet-and-Sour Brisket

1/2 cup red wine

1 can (14 ounces) low-sodium beef broth

3/4 cup chili sauce, such as Heinz

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1 brisket (about 5 pounds)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 medium yellow onions, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the sweet-and-sour sauce:

Combine the wine, broth, chili sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, thyme, and bay leaf in a medium bowl. Set aside.

To prepare the brisket:

Season the brisket on both sides with kosher salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 6-quart pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the brisket, fat-side down, and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn the brisket over and cook until browned, 3 to 4 minutes more. Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pot. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Place the brisket on top of the onions and cover with the sauce.

Cover the pot, place in the oven, and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board, scrape off the excess fat, and cut across the grain of the meat into 1/8-1/4-inch-thick slices. Return the slices to the pot, overlapping them. Spoon the sauce over the brisket, covering the meat well. Bake until the meat is fork tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours more.

For the best flavor, let the brisket cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the brisket in a large pot and smother with the sweet-and-sour sauce to enhance the flavor and preserve moistness. Cover and bake for 20 to 30 minutes.

Tip: This brisket freezes beautifully. Because the flavors get better over time, we refrigerate the brisket for a day or two before freezing (if you can resist eating it!) Thaw the brisket before reheating it.

Source: Bride and Groom First and Forever


October 11, 2009

Easy Appetizer: Chili Cream Cheese Dip

Filed under: appetizers, beef, dips — Emily @ 8:00 am

This easy dip takes about 5 minute from start to finish to put together. It has 3 ingredients and is really delicious–perfect for throwing together a quick appetizer for impromptu guests or to bring to a sporting event.  All you need is a microwave!

Chili Cream Cheese Dip

1 package of cream cheese (nonfat or regular), at room temp

1 can of chili with beans (or homemade chili)

1/2 package of mild Cheddar or Mexican blend cheese

Spread the cream cheese on the bottom of a microwave-safe dish. Pour the chili over the cream cheese and sprinkle the cheese on top. Heat in the microwave for approximately 3-5 minutes (varies depending on your microwave). Alternatively, you can heat in the oven. Just looking to heat and melt the cheese on top.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Source: my mom

October 10, 2009

Meatballs with Sour Cream and Mushrooms

Filed under: appetizers, beef, make ahead — Emily @ 11:28 am

This is a really unique recipe for meatballs. I’ve never had them before with this combination of flavors. And they definitely work! You can make these ahead of time and keep them warm in the crockpot, which is what I did. The picture isn’t the greatest. I made these for a football party and didn’t really have time to take a good picture. You can also make these into delicious meatball sandwiches!

Meatballs with Sour Cream and Mushrooms

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup white wine and/or low-sodium chicken broth

1-2 gloves chopped garlic

handful of dried mushrooms, crumbled and sprinkled

a few tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

fresh chopped dill, to taste

salt and pepper, to taste

2 pounds meatballs

Mix all the ingredients together except the meatballs to make the sauce.

Brown the meatballs in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the sauce to the meatballs (either in the pan or in a crock pot) and heat the sauce.

Source: my mom’s friend

October 1, 2009

Spaghetti with Beef and Mushroom Sauce

Filed under: beef, freezer, main dish, pasta — Emily @ 9:52 am

This dish was definitely comfort food! It was creamy and delicious–and very easy to throw together quickly.

Spaghetti with Beef and Mushroom Sauce

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1 (10 3/4 oz.) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (10 3/4 oz.) can condensed tomato soup
  • 1 (4 oz.) can sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 t. dried Italian seasoning, crushed
  • 1/2 t. chili powder
  • 1/4 t. black pepper
  • 12 oz. dried spaghetti
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese

In a large saucepan or a dutch oven cook ground beef and onion until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain. Stir in msuhroom soup, tomato soup, mushrooms, seasonings. Bring sauce to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer covered, for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain. Serve sauce over hot spaghetti. If desired, sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese.

Source: Carrie’s Sweet Life (originally from Better Homes and Gardens)

August 26, 2009

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Filed under: appetizers, beef — Emily @ 3:50 am

These stuffed mushrooms with sausage are absolutely to die for! They are amazing. The sausage adds just a fabulous flavor. Whenever I’ve made these for a party, they are usually snatched up in a few minutes. And these are so easy to make that you simply must try them! It makes a lot of filling, so depending on how big your mushroom caps are, you may need more than the amount recommended in this recipe.

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

3 Italian sausages (casings removed)

1 1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

8 oz. cream cheese (at room temp)

Salt and pepper

1 large egg yolk

olive oil

24-30 large mushroom caps

1/3 c. dry white wine

Saute the sausage with oregano and white wine. Transfer to a bowl and cool.

Mix in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese to the sausage. Add Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and cream cheese. Season mixture with salt and pepper. Mix in egg yolk.

Brush baking pan and inside of mushrooms caps with olive oil.

Fill each mushroom cap with the sausage mixture and top with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes (until heated through).

September 23, 2008

Red Wine Beef Stew with Potatoes & Green Beans

Filed under: beef, soup — Emily @ 3:45 am

This beef stew recipe was simply amazing. The red wine (my $2 buck Chuck shiraz worked perfectly) was mouth-watering, not at all overpowering. It was one of the best soup recipes I have ever had. Pay attention to the time though—while it is relatively easy to throw together, it requires some simmer time (all in all, probably 2 hours total prep) to get the flavors perfect. So keep that in mind before you start this dish! I was also excited to have an opportunity to use my new blue Dutch oven that I got on clearance from a Linens ‘N Things closeout sale.

Red Wine Beef Stew with Potatoes & Green Beans


2 pounds beef chuck for stew, cut into 1-inch cubes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons butter

4 medium carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise, and cut into 1-inch chunks

3 small onions, diced

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2- 14.6 ounce cans reduced-sodium beef or chicken broth

2 cups dry red wine

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

1 6-inch sprig fresh rosemary

2 medium russet or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

2 handfuls green beans, ends trimmed

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Season the beef cubes lightly with salt and black pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy 6-quart pot over medium heat. As soon as the butter starts to turn brown, add half the beef and raise the heat to high. At first, the beef will give off some liquid, but once that evaporates, the beef will start to brown. Cook, turning the beef cubes on all sides until the pieces are as evenly browned as possible, about 5 or 6 minutes after the water has boiled off. If the pan starts to get too brown at any point, just turn down the heat a little. Scoop the browned beef into a bowl and brown the rest of the beef the same way using the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.

Scoop out the second batch of beef, then add the carrots and onions and adjust the heat to medium-high. Cook until the onion starts to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour until it has been worked into the veggies and you can’t see it any more. Pour in the beef or chicken broth, wine, and crushed tomatoes , and toss in the rosemary. Slide the beef back into the pot and bring the liquid to a boil. Turn down the heat so the liquid is just breaking a gentle simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook 50 minutes. Stir the stew several times while simmering so it cooks evenly and nothing sticks to the bottom.

Stir the potatoes into the stew, cover the pot completely and cook until the potatoes and beef are tender, stirring occasionally, about another 45 minutes. Add the green beans and cook for another 5 minutes until they turn bright green and are cooked through but still have a nice snap to them. Stir in the parsley.

Yield: about 10 servings

Source: Food Network Favorites: Recipes from Our All-Star Chefs

September 17, 2008

Taco Soup

Filed under: beef, soup — Emily @ 1:07 am

This soup is delicious! It is perfect for a cool, Fall day or a football-watching party. It is very similar to chili, except it has more veggies! The recipe makes a TON, so save some to freeze. I like to serve with an assortment of toppings: Fritos, sour cream and cheese.

Taco Soup


2 pounds ground beef
2 cups diced onions
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can pink kidney beans
1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles
2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chiles
1 (4.6-ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced, optional (I omit these–not a fan of olives)
1/2 cup green olives, sliced, optional (I omit these)
1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix
Corn chips, for serving
Sour cream, for garnish
Grated cheese, for garnish
Chopped green onions, for garnish
Pickled jalapenos, for garnish


Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, black olives, green olives, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove. To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and ladle soup over them. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onions and jalapenos.


Source: Paula Deen

August 13, 2008

Healthier Sloppy Joes and Mashed Cauliflower

Filed under: beef, side dish, vegetables, Weight Watchers — Emily @ 4:06 am

I saw this on a friend’s blog and decided to try it out! I’m always looking for healthy, easy recipes. The other thing I really like about the cauliflower recipe is that it had a ton of flavor without sacrificing the nutritional value. I always thought that eating broccoli drenched in a fatty cheese sauce kind of defeated the purpose! I adapted a little bit, but they both turned out great. Aaron told me that these were the best sloppy joes he’s ever had. Well, great!

Healthier Sloppy Joes


1 lb. lean ground beef (I used 4% fat)

1/2 cup onion, small-diced

2 cloves garlic (I used Trader Joe’s frozen garlic cubes–love these things)

Pam spray

1 1/2 Tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. oregano

1 Tbsp. cumin

1 tsp. cayenne (if you want a little heat)

1/2 cup no salt added tomato sauce

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

1/4 cup water

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

1/4 cup ketchup

salt and pepper to taste

Heat in a medium sized skillet over medium heat and add the Pam spray. Add onions and cook until translucent.

Add extra lean ground beef and break up with a wooden spoon.

Add herbs, spices and garlic and cook until meat is browned.

Add tomato products, water, brown sugar and ketchup. Simmer until thickened, about 5-8 minutes.

Serve on whole wheat buns.

Mashed Cauliflower


1 bag (16 oz.) frozen cauliflower

2 Tbsp. fat free or low-fat cream cheese

2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup skim milk

salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Put cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and cook for approximately 6 minutes (or until heated through).

Add remaining ingredients and put in microwave for another 2 minutes.

Using a blender, process cauliflower until it reaches the desired consistency (best if not pureed too much!)

Source: Adapted from Culinary Infatuations by Ally

August 11, 2008

Stuffed Burgers

Filed under: beef, Weight Watchers — Emily @ 6:47 am

This is a pretty simple recipe that is fairly healthy. In an effort to eat a little healthier (I know, I know–the huge potato with toppings)—however, these little burgers are only 2 Weight Watcher points per serving—not bad at all. For the potato I used the new Sargento Potato Finishers, which are not all that bad for you. I’ve tried both types—and they are both excellent. Would make a great meal by themselves.

Stuffed Burgers:

11 patties/2 points each


1/4 c. egg beaters
1 c. water
1 (6 oz) box Stove Top stuffing
1/2 tsp. minced garlic (from jar)
2 green onions, slice thin
1 pound lean ground beef

1. In medium bowl, combine egg substitute & water. Stir in stuffing & let sit for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the garlic, onions, and ground beef. Mix well w/hands to combine.
3. Divide into 11 balls.
4. Place 4-5 balls in skillet w/cooking spray, then flatten w/spatula. Cook over medium heat on each side until meat is no longer pink inside.

Can freeze the remaining patties for later use!

Source: Teale’s Meals

July 16, 2008

Marinated Skirt Steak (carne asada)

Filed under: beef — Emily @ 3:53 am

I know the picture leaves a little to be desired—but this recipe is AMAZING!! So simple and tasty. Ready for it:

Equal parts:

Italian dressing

Soy sauce

Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce (or any other sweet sauce)

Marinade for approximately 10-20 minutes and then grill.

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at