Tag Archives: family

German Beef Rouladen

This rich and hearty dish may be foreign and unheard of if you are not of German heritage or frequent European inspired restaurants.  Now being German myself and growing up attending Oktoberfest while eating sausages, kraut and warm, soft Bavarian pretzels in loads of beer cheese…I simply adore Rouladen.  Not because we had it often, rarely ever, but because it was mainly served as a Christmas dinner dish or perhaps a Sunday supper if you were lucky.  It’s a special treat, where it takes a bit of thought and tedious work in assembling, twining, searing and braising the beef…but oh-so worth it!

Another reason that many ‘non-Germans’ may have not tried this specialty dish is because the ingredients could sound a bit odd together.  I get it.  Rouladen usually consists of bacon, onions, mustard and pickles wrapped in thinly sliced beef which is then braised until the beef is about fork tender.   Yes, we like a bit of ‘saur’ to our meals, but this works wonderfully….and oh that bacon!!  It cooks inside the beef, which in turn actually bastes itself and creates SUCH a rich flavor and tender meat!…drooling now.

*If you cannot find pre-sliced beef (top round/chuck), your grocer’s butcher would be happy to help!  You’ll just have to pound it thin once you get home. 🙂

The Starting Lineup

  • Beef, thinly sliced and pounded 1/4″ thin to about 4″x6″ (chuck roast or top round slices).  I typically use about 8-10 slices.
  • Whole grain mustard/German mustard
  • 1 pckg Bacon (reserve 2 slices and chop up)
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into thin strips or chopped
  • Dill (or German) pickle spears, 8-10 
  • Sweet pickle relish, a couple Tbsp’s
  • Kosher salt & ground pepper
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped (I use the leftover from the Rouladen stuffing)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup Red wine
  • Beef broth
  • 1/4 cup Flour or cornstarch + milk slurry (to thicken)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (optional)
  • *Butcher twine or toothpicks’ to hold beef rolls together

Serve Alongside (optional)

  • Boiled potatoes, seasoned lightly with salt, pepper and dill (russet/peeled)
  • Warmed German red cabbage (jarred is fine)

The “hardest” part of this recipe is the assembling…once you get everything prepped (chopped, diced, rolled and secured) you’re in the clear and can enjoy a German bier while smelling the braised goodness!

When everything is in it’s place, begin by spreading about a tablespoon of the mustard on one side of the thinly pounded beef, sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper (easy on the salt).  Next lay 1-2 slices of bacon down lengthwise, followed by the onions, the sweet relish and finally the dill pickle slice horizontal to the length.  Roll up each prepared beef slice around that dill pickle and secure (as best you can) with the butcher twine or a bevy of toothpicks.

In a large heavy bottomed pot or Dutch-oven (I used my enameled Lodge cast-iron), add in the reserved 2 slices of chopped bacon and render the fat over medium heat.  When bacon is slightly crisped add in the rolled and secured Rouladen (about 1/3 – 1/2 the batch at a time) and brown all sides to create almost a crust.  Remove the seared beef rolls and continue with the rest of the batch (should take about 20 minutes for all).

To that bacon/beef grease (you may need to add 1 Tbsp more of vegetable oil depending), add in the carrots, onions and celery and allow to sweat down for 2-3 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.  Add in the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.  Next, pour in the red wine, again scraping the bottom of the pan for any brown bits…flavor!! and simmer, stirring for 4-5 minutes.

Add the seared Rouladen back into the pot with the veggies/wine and pour in the beef broth till it covers about 2/3rd the way up the meat.  Bring to a boil and then cover and let simmer on low for 1 1/2-2 hours.

Once finished, carefully remove the tender beef rolls to a platter.  Mix 1/4 cup of flour with 1/4 cup milk and whisk into the juices in the pot.  This will thicken and make a gravy.  Now, optional, you can whisk in the sour cream for more richness and a slight tang that the Germans love in their cooking.

To serve:  Thoroughly remove the butcher twine or toothpicks and place Rouladen on a plate, cover with a hearty amount of the gravy and serve with warmed German cabbage and boiled dill-flavored potatoes to help sop up that gravy with!  Prost!!

Rouladen3

Baked Spaghetti Pie

Back when we lived in hot and sunny Arizona, we would frequent a certain Italian food joint that was close to our home.  However, it wasn’t the close proximity that made us end up there, it was my husband’s love for their Baked Spaghetti that brought us.

Fast forward years and years and he still spoke of it…so I began to give it a whirl!  With much success, I give you my version which in using a spring form pan, gives many ooh’s & ah’s at dinnertime!  Looks quite impressive for such an easy recipe!

*If you do not have a spring-form, this recipe works just as well in a casserole dish or deep dish pie pan! 🙂

**Feel free to add in/change ingredients to suit your tastes and what you may have in your pantry and fridge!  I.e. Italian sausage, mushrooms, bell peppers, different cheeses, maybe no meat at all!

The Starting Lineup

  • 16oz spaghetti noodles (boiled 8-9 minutes/drained)
  • 24-32oz jar marinara sauce
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 container ricotta cheese
  • 2-3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, shredded/grated
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh basil, torn (optional garnish)

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.  Bring a stock pot of salted water to a boil (for the noodles) while you have a large skillet browning the ground beef with the chopped onions, minced garlic and olive oil.  *Feel free to add a pinch of salt and Italian seasonings of your choice if desired.

Once the noodles have finished (slightly under cook them at about 8-9 minutes, as they’ll finish in the oven), drain and toss in a large bowl with the beaten eggs, parmesan cheese and teaspoon of Italian seasoning.  Set aside.

As the ground beef becomes browned, pour in the marinara sauce of your choosing and stir together.

Now I used a lightly greased 10″ Spring-form pan for this (what you would typically make a cheesecake in), however, you can also use a deep dish pie tin, a 2-quart casserole dish, etc.  Just make sure to spray with a bit of non-stick.  **With the spring-form pan, I wrapped the bottom in foil just to ensure no leakage, which I didn’t have anyway.

First layer in the egg coated noodles and then top with dollops of the ricotta cheese.  Pour the meaty red sauce overtop, finally topping with the shredded mozzarella cheese.   Place your prepared spaghetti pie, covered, into the oven for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil cover and let bake another 10 minutes.

Once finished baking allow to rest for a good 5 minutes before slicing into.  If desired, top with a bit more parmesan cheese and freshly torn basil.  Enjoy!

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Loose Meat Philly Sandwiches

Philly sandwiches are delicious, plain and simple.  Trying to find an authentic Philly or even an unauthentic one for that matter can prove challenging.  Now my version here obviously falls into the “unauthentic” grouping, but it still carries that fantastic ooey-gooey, beefy, cheesy flavor throughout AND if you’re feeling old-school, than feel free to top with a dollop of Cheez-Whiz!  Now THAT up’s the legit’ness! 😉

*Plus, it’s much, much cheaper and easier than using rib-eye steak and can spread out for a family dinner or gathering!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 8oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup
  • Pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper
  • 8oz package of provolone cheese slices
  • 8 pack of hamburger buns/rolls
  • Cheez-Whiz (optional)

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In a large (cast-iron preferably) skillet, cook your ground beef until a deep brown crust occurs.  Next, you will carefully break apart, not too much to wear it crumbles, but is in rather larger chunks.  Again, cook these pieces to another deep brown crust.  Transfer the beef to a medium size bowl and set aside.

To the same skillet you cooked your beef in (you can leave most if not all of the grease), add in the butter along with the chopped, diced and sliced onions, bell peppers and mushrooms.  Let these veggies sit and brown for about 2 minutes, stir and let brown another 2 minutes.

Add your cooked ground beef back into the pan with the sautéed vegetables.

Meanwhile,  in the same bowl your cooked beef was in, pour in the beef broth and cornstarch and whisk together.  Pour this mixture into the skillet along with the Worcestershire, ketchup, and the salt & pepper.  Stir together and simmer for 5-7 minutes (liquids start to dissipate).

Next, cover the entire top of the beef mixture with the provolone slices.  Allow to sit for about 1-2 minutes, until cheese looks “melty” and the gently and thoroughly stir all together.  The cheese will help keep the loose beef and veggies together on your rolls…and be oh so gooey!!

Finally, I like to toast my rolls or buns just a bit and using a slotted spoon (please use a slotted spoon or else you’ll be eating your sandwich with a fork..which is ok too) and scoop a hefty amount onto the bottom bun.  Finish it off with the crusty top half and a napkin! 😉  ..maybe some seasoned French fries and dipping sauce as well.  Enjoy!

Loose Meat Philly Sandwiches

Taco Tarts

To be honest with everyone, my family are just a bunch of addicts…and our addiction of choice…tacos.

We seriously eat this most amazing dish at least 2-3 times a week, breakfast tacos anyone??   Also, like most of the country, we love our “Taco Tuesday” and have the full on taco bar and cervezas on ice.  However, this past Tuesday I wanted to change things up just for the heck of it.  I was also thinking of what may be easier to eat for my 3 and 5 year old boys.  

Given I had a couple boxes of pre-made pie dough on hand and my 3-year-old was begging for pop tarts, a genius foodie light bulb hit me!  Combine the pop tart idea with the taco ingredients and you have yourself a Taco Tart!!  Besides the oh so cute name, it can be eaten hand-held, so the lil’s are no longer picking up broken shells and ground beef crumbs!  Easy after dinner cleanup for momma!

*Makes 12

*Feel free to tweak the ingredients to your liking, i.e. ground turkey, corn, braised beef or pork, enchilada sauce (yes please!), jack cheese, etc. etc.

*You can absolutely individually wrap these and freeze them for a quick fix and lunch later on!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 boxes pie dough (i.e. Pillsbury, 4 sheets)
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 can beans, drained (pinto or black beans)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Jalapeños, sliced (optional)
  • 1 egg + 1 Tbsp water
  • Olive oil 

Garnish

  • Salsa (roja and/or verde)
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Pico de gallo


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line to baking sheets with foil or parchment paper.

In a large skillet heat 2 tbsps of olive oil over medium heat.  Add in the onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes, till just translucent.

Next, add the ground beef to the onions and cook through.  Drain the grease from the beef and add in the beans of choice, taco seasoning (plus 1 cup of water according to seasoning directions), tomato, cilantro and the optional jalapeños.  Stir together, bring to a boil and then cover and simmer until combined, about 12 minutes.  Once done, remove from heat and allow to slightly cool.

Meanwhile unroll the pie dough (I lightly flour the surface and thin out just a bit with my rolling pin, but that is optional), and using a pizza cutter, cut into 6 pieces.

Spoon the cooled meat mixture into the middle of each pastry square and add a good helping of shredded cheddar cheese.  Top with another pastry square and crimp the edges with a fork, also pierce the top to allow steam to escape.  Finally, brush the egg wash all over the top and place in the oven to bake till golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.

Once golden brown, remove from the oven and serve immediately alongside a couple of delicious salsas, guac, sour cream and fresh pico de gallo…say hello to the new “Taco Tart Tuesday” ;))  Ole! 


Guinness Irish Beef Stew

After a long summer, which seemed to extend into our Fall..dang it was unusually warm..we finally have that chilly, rainy day.  I’m sure sooner than later I’ll be far over having to get bundled up, but as of now bring on the fireplace, snuggly blankets and movies!

After a long day of said movies on the couch, I apparently get pretty hungry (hard work right?) and crave a big ol bowl of comfort to keep the day going.  Well, this does the trick!

This rich and flavorful stew will thicken as you cook (hence the quick flour step you’ll see below), so please take that extra minute to sear the meat and saute the vegetables for that added creaminess and flavor!  You can of course cook this all in a Dutch oven on your stove top, it will be done a bit quicker if so, but I just love my slowcooker and the ease of walking away ALL day..errr…laying on the couch.

The Starting Lineup 

  • 2lbs stew meat
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • Canola oil
  • 1 bottle Guinness beer
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup flat leaf parsely, chopped
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Garnish

  • Real deal mashed potatoes
  • Flat leaf parsely, chopped
  • Lots of Guiness!  


Begin by heating 2 Tbsps of canola oil over medium heat in a large heavy bottomed pan, while spraying your slowcooker with non-stick spray.

The oil will take a few minutes to heat up, so meanwhile cut and chop up those veggies and herbs.  

Also, in a gallon size ziplock bag or large bowl, coat the beef stew meat with the flour and salt and pepper to taste.


Next, add the flour-coated meat to the hot pot and sear all sides.  You will need to do this in about 4 batches as you do not want to overcrowd the pot.  That will steam the meat instead of giving it that nice crusty sear.  *Please KEEP the remaining Tbsp or 2 of seasoned flour thats leftover from the meat/ziplock bag. Once each batch as finished searing, transfer to the slowcooker.  *You will likely need to add another Tbsp of canola oil in between batches.

Now that the meat is done and in the slowcooker, toss the cut carrots and onion into the still hot pan with again, another tbsp of oil if needed.  Saute the vegetables for 5 minutes and then add in the garlic for 1 minute.  NOW, after you’ve swirled that garlic around a bit, pour in the leftover seasoned flour from the ziplock bag that the meat was in.  Toss to coat and pour all of this mixture into the slowcooker with the seared meat.



Along with the vegetables and meat, pour in the Guinness beer, beef broth, tomato paste, thyme, chopped parsely and bay leaf(s).  Stir and cover, set to low for 8 hours.  About 30-60 minutes prior to time, add in the frozen peas.  Recover and allow to cook.


Now that it’s close to dinner time, prepare your yummy mashed potatoes (I was gluttaonous and used a stick of butter, half-in-half and a head of roasted garlic..yummmmm!!).  

Serve a large ladle of the rich stew over your creamy mashed taters, top with a pinch more of fresh parsely, salt and pepper and a nice cold Guinness!  Enjoy!!

Simple Cheeseburger Pizza

Pizza?  Burger?  Pizza?  Burger??  How about both!!  Yep, this is such a fun take on everyone’s top two favorites!  

So my boys were ‘arguing’ over what to have for dinner the other night.  In true Parker fashion, he wanted pizza (hey it’s better than his other favorite, PB&J!) and just like I knew Brooks would, he voted for cheeseburgers.  Momma moment!! Let’s combine the two and have a happy family all around..and again, no PB&J sandwiches.

How easy is this you ask…For one, it’s done in under 30 minutes.  Two, both kids and adults love it.  Three, you likely have the majority of the ingredients on hand already!!  Please give it a try this week!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 large pizza crust, prebaked (homemade or store bought)
  • 1/2-1lb ground beef, cooked
  • 1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • Tomato, diced
  • 1/3 cup dill pickle slices, rough chop
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1/4 cup mustard 
  • 1 Tbsp dill pickle juice, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • Bacon, cooked & crumbled (optional)

In a small bowl combine the ketchup,  mayo,  mustard, onion powder and dill pickle juice.  Whisk together till smooth, taste and tweak to your liking.  Cover and set aside.  Also make sure to bake the pizza crust according to package directions.  *I typically undercook the crust just a couple minutes, you will be placing this back into the oven.

Next, simply brown the ground beef, season simply with salt, pepper and maybe a couple dashes of Worcestershire.  

While the ground beef is browning, you can shred the cheese and prep the toppings! (tomatoes, onions, pickles

Now for the fun part!  Take the ‘dressing’ you made earlier and spread it out all over the pizza crust, this acts as your pizza sauce!  Yummmm….Follow that with the cooked ground beef and shredded cheddar.  

Place back into the oven until warmed though and cheese is melted.  Remove from the oven and top with the tomatoes,  onions, pickles and an extra drizzle of that tangy dressing!!   Dig in!  

Slowcooker Maple Apple Bacon Pork Tenderloin

It’s a rainy day here in Texas.  A glorious, cool, rolling thunder sort of day, perhaps my very favorite kind of day there is.  Now rainy days (or any day really) make me want to bake, broil and roast in my kitchen for as long as humanly possible…but there’s just something about that slow-cooker on making the home smell of divine aromas!

So that is exactly what I chose to use on this puddle jumping day!  Let me tell you, I chose to walk outside numerous times just so I could return in to that smell of tenderloin, bacon, maple and apples.  I mean really??  What screams comfort and Fall more than that?!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 pckg pork tenderloin (they often come with two loins)
  • 6-8 strips bacon
  • 1 Apple, cored & sliced
  • 1/3 cup real maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 cups carrots 
  • 2 cups red potatoes 

We will begin by spraying your crockpot with a bit of non-stick spray, rinsing and chopping your produce and cooking the bacon.  Once bacon has crisped, remove from pan and rough chop.

In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, balsamic, Dijon, soy sauce and minced garlic. 

Next, place the onions, carrots and potatoes in the crockpot followed by the pork tenderloin(s).

Pour the maple glaze over top and then toss on the apple slices and chopped, cooked bacon. 

Cover and cook on the low setting for 6-8 hours… dinner is ready, enjoy!! xo 

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