Cold, windy, blustery, and a bit of snow flurries. Forecasted up to 5 inches, but i sure hope we miss that!
2 lbs grass finished ground beef
1/3 cup dried minced onion flakes or one large fresh onion chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder ((optional)
2 tablespoons dried cilantro or parsley flakes (double for fresh)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried minced garlic (or up to 10 cloves of fresh garlic)
6 cups water or beef broth
1/2 cup dried red kidney beans
1/2 cup dried navy beans
1/2 cup dried black beans
45 ounces or so tomato sauce
In a 6 quart kettle, brown the 2 lbs ground beef; drain if necessary. Add all ingredients except tomato sauce, to pot and bring to boil, stir, cover, and lower heat to slow boil. Simmer at least 3 hours or until beans are softened.
Stir in 45 ounces or so of tomato sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Notes: adjust ingredients as desired – flexibility is key in cooking – use whatever combination of beans you like. Chopped tomatoes work as well and gives a different texture to the chili. (see cover photo)
On Sunday afternoon, i threw a thawed 4 ish lb sirloin roast into a small electric roaster. I must admit, i use this little roast unrelentingly, yet only paid $5 for the thing! It was at a church fundraising bazaar and that is the price marked on it. I did not like the noisy little fan on the air roaster, so it was simply removed and the holecovered with tape. Done and done.
Day 1: Sliced roast with smashed sweet potato and fresh salad. Not much more to say, very delicious, simple, and filling. Pictured here is one small smashed sweet potato and about 3.5 ounces of beef roast and a ubiquitous power salad.
Day 2 – Beef & Vegetable Soup – was planning something else, but my husband came up croupy and sick with a cold, so switched gears to make a cold buster soup. Mix the broth created when the roast was cooking with the cooking water from the sweet potato preparation for a nutritionally powerful base for adding sliced carrots, diced scrubbed potatoes with skins, finely chopped onion, minced garlic, sliced celery, then salt and pepper to taste. The broth is strong, but i added 2-3 oz of roast chopped into small pieces to this dish. All in all this yielded about 5 cups of deliciousness. Bring to slight boil, then simmer 20 minutes, but longer doesn’t hurt, just mind keeping on the lid so the moisture doesn’t get away. Feel free to add water for a thinner soup.
Day 3: Crumbled roast in Scrambled eggs (Egg Frittata)
This is my go to when i’m short on time for anything – don’t even need meat. Saute a finely chopped small onion in the saved fat drippings from cooking the roast. After a couple minutes, cut or chop fresh spinach into the skillet, stir those around until softened, then add as much crumbled roast as you want, then add eggs. This is one of the recipes where you can add as much or as little as you need to make the meal. Plus, dress it up even more with sliced fresh mushrooms, sliced black olives, shredded cheese. Or exchange the spinach with any leftover greens you have in the frig.
Day 4: Cubed roast beef with smashed potatoes and white sauce, steamed broccoli
Since i used all the broth for the sick day soup, white gravy made with milk will be a great substitute. Onions are for healing, so finely chopped and sauteed in the beef fat before adding flour and milk creates more robust and healthful gravy.
Day 5 – Roast Beef Salad – an old fashioned favourite
To squeeze out another power soup, use the cooking water from potatoes and steamed broccoli – chop onions, carrots, and the stems of the broccoli – add to the water and bring to a boil. Season with salt, pepper, and even parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme to boost flavour if you like. Although i seldom use rosemary or thyme simply because i don’t like them!
So, there’s a small example of roast flexibility, whatever it’s worth!
Sometimes a stumbled upon recipe in a catalogue or magazine or flyer really resonates with your family and it becomes part of the regular menu lineup. This casserole is one such that i found probably 20 years ago. The beauty of it, is that it is easily modified to accommodate your own tastes and whatever you have on hand (within reason of course!)
The original recipe is pictured way below, but the one i made yesterday included my home raised green beans and home grown grass finished ground beef. For chopping the vegetables i use a mini food chopper and even chop the green beans if i’m preparing for Sunday’s meal with Allen’s 98-year-old Aunt June. She has lost her teeth and can’t keep track of dentures – so it is what it is.
Family sized version:
2 lbs grass-finished ground beef
1 medium sized onion – chopped
3 medium sized carrots – chopped
1-2 cups Asian long pole green beans – chopped
1 24 oz jar of Eden Organic tomatoes (normally i use my home raised tomatoes, but i’ve already run out!) Eden’s brand is excellent, but, honestly, to open them, i either need my stout son, Dallas, to do it, or i go get my long handled Channel Lock pliers. It’s really ridiculous.
2 cups of your favourite cheese, divided – 1 1/2 cups to stir into veggie/beef mix, 1/2 cup to top off the casserole. Or stir in 2 cups of cheese to melt – whatever your choice!
Brown the ground beef in a 4 quart pot and add all the vegetables, including the tomato sauce, throw in maybe a tablespoon of salt (check your tomato sauce – it may already have salt in it – i try to use straight tomatoes) and a teaspoon of black pepper -whatever suits ya, and let it simmer for 20 minutes or so. Add 1 1/2 cups of your favourite cheese and stir to melt.
Once the mix is ready, pour into a 9×13 inch pan, level it off, then top with biscuits. I make my own, but you can buy some to use. Then sprinkle about a cup of shredded cheese on top. Then add a sprinkling of parsley, basil, or oregano if you like.
Bake in a preheated oven of 375 F for about 28 minutes until cheese is melted and biscuits are golden brown. This makes 6-8 servings. Takes about an hour to make and bake, but if there are leftovers, it’s still a time saver. What does it cost? that will totally depend on the quality of ingredients you purchase.
Years ago, I put together little ‘thank you for your purchase’ packets of premixed spices for dishes which could be utilized with our grass finished beef. Customers who purchased a certain amount of beef or lamb from us would receive a packet or two. Although, I no longer offer fully grass-finished beef and lamb at the retail level, I try to keep a few of these on hand for gifts and such.
Here is one of our favourites!
Hungarian Beef Goulash
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2-2 lbs beef (stew meat, round steak, etc) cut into 3/4 inch cubes
2 cups water
8 ounces of chopped tomato or tomato sauce
3 medium onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant beef bouillon
1/2 teaspoon caraway seed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 medium potatoes, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 green peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
Heat oil in Dutch oven or deep 12-inch skillet until hot. Cook and stir beef in hot oil until brown about 15 minutes. Add water, tomatoes (with liquid), onions, garlic, paprika, Salt, bouillon, caraway seed, and Pepper. Break up tomatoes with fork. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 1 hour.
Add potatoes; cover and simmer until beef and potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Add green peppers; cover and simmer until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve in soup bowls with chunks of French bread for dipping into hot broth.
That’s it! My packet of spices makes it easy in that you don’t have to chop onions or garlic and there is no need to keep all those spices on hand. Additionally, my packets only contain certified organic or all natural ingredients and no preservatives. So these are best kept in the freezer for long term storage.
As with any recipe – be flexible with what you have on hand and what you like. We aren’t keen on cooked peppers, so i replace them with green beans or peas. It might accommodate sliced fresh okra as well, but haven’t tried that one. I suspect using grass-finished ground beef would work, too! Of course, you don’t have to use clean grass finished beef, but since that is what we raise, I tend to be biased that way!