Tag Archives: beef

Life of the Party

We’re oh-so-close to the Oscars on Sunday, and with just three entries left in this year’s 12 Days of Oscar we’re at our second film in the series that is nominated for an Oscar this year.  Dallas Buyer’s Club has been nominated for six Oscars.  Taking place in 1985 Dallas, the film stars Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodruf who is diagnosed with AIDS and told he has thirty days to live.  After driving to Mexico for AZT, he meets a doctor who prescribes him other drugs that have not yet been approved in the U.S.  With the help of Rayon (Jared Leto), an HIV positive transgender woman Ron forms the Dallas Buyer’s Club, bringing these drugs over the border and selling them to other patients.

There’s not much food actually in this movie, so instead I considered a Texas theme.  When I thought about Texas, I kept coming back to the idea of chili.  I know that Texas chili doesn’t have beans.  I know.  I like my chili with beans, and so the beans stay.  Since everything’s bigger in Texas I made a huge batch of chili, in the crockpot, with beans.  There is nothing simpler than throwing some ingredients into the crock pot and having about four meals’ worth of chili to store in the freezer.  Oh, and double points because I am over this cold weather and would rather be in Texas right now.

big batch crock pot chili

Crock Pot Big-Batch Chili


  • 4 lbs. ground chuck
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 (14.5 oz. each) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 (8 oz. each) cans tomato sauce
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1/4 C. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 (16 oz. each) cans light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained


In a large skillet, brown the ground chuck over medium-high heat, working in batches.

Crumble, drain, and place the beef into a 6 quart or larger slow cooker.

Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Cover and cook on high for 5 to 6 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours.

Remove and discard bay leaf before serving.

Source: Pass the Sushi, originally from Southern Living Slow-Cooker Cookbook

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Back in Time

We’re seven days into the 12 Days of Oscar, and today’s film is a personal favorite of mine.  The 1985 movie Back to the Future was nominated for four Oscars: Best Music- Original Song, Best Writing- Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Best Sound, and Best Effects- Sound Effects Editing.  Back to the Future won the Oscar for Best Effects, and went on to be quoted in Ronald Reagan’s 1986 State of the Union Address.  If you haven’t seen it already (what are you waiting for?!), Back to the Future stars Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, who travels back in time to 1955 in a DeLorean and must repair the ensuing damage this causes to history with the help of Doc Martin (Christopher Lloyd).

There are so many memorable moments in this film, and among them is a scene where Marty has dinner in 1955 with his mother, Lorraine (Lea Thompson), and her family.  Of course they don’t know that he’s come from the future and so when Marty comments that he’s seen an episode of Honeymooners as a rerun, everyone pauses from eating their meatloaf.

It’s not impossible that any family eating meatloaf in 1955 was eating meatloaf made from a 1950 Life magazine recipe.  When I found this recipe, it became my go-to meatloaf recipe.  Typically I don’t make a whole meatloaf, despite owning a meatloaf pan, and instead make individual portions because they cook a little more quickly and I can freeze extras for another day.  Then, I make this and remember how awesome it is when you put a leftover slice into a skillet to get both sides a little crispy before you make it into a sandwich.

1950 life magazine meatloaf

1950 Life Magazine Meatloaf


  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 1/4 C. diced yellow onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 C. bread crumbs
  • 2 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp. pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 C. ketchup, divided


Preheat 300 degrees.

Put all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl except for the ketchup.

Using clean hands (or a wooden spoon if you must), combine the ingredients, then add 3/4 C. of the ketchup and combine thoroughly.

Place the mixture into a meatloaf pan (a regular loaf pan is fine as well, but the fat won’t drain out of the meatloaf so keep an eye on it while it’s in the oven).

Spread the remaining ketchup over the meatloaf.

Bake for 1 hour.

Source: MacGregor Ale House, NC (who claim this is the recipe from 1950 Life magazine, which I was unable to confirm)

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Turn Me ‘Round

If you missed it yesterday the U.S. men’s ice hockey team defeated Russia 3-2.  The game that ended with T.J. Oshie landing the winning shot at the end of a long shoot out.  Matt Antoine won a bronze medal for the U.S. in the men’s skeleton competition, the first U.S. men’s medal in the event in twelve years.  The Swedish women’s 4x5km ski relay team won Sweden’s first gold medal of the Sochi Olympics.

The halfway point in the Winter Olympics feature brings us to the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.  These were the first Olympics to hold the speed skating events indoors.  Katarina Witt became the second woman in history to defend her gold medal, winning gold in the women’s figure skating competition after winning gold in Sarajevo in 1984.  The 1988 Calgary Olympics were the first to extend to sixteen days, and more tickets were sold for events at this Winter Games than were sold at the three Winter Olympics before it combined.

There are a lot of foods that come to mind when you’re trying to think up a recipe to represent Canada.  One that might not immediately come to mind as Canadian fare is a dish called Calgary ginger beef.  This dish is a westernized version of Chinese fare, most likely created by chef George Wong in Calgary.  Strips of beef are marinated, battered and fried, and then stir-fried in a ginger garlic sauce with peppers.  The end result is fantastic and I can guarantee I’m going to be making this more often.

calgary ginger beef

Calgary Ginger Beef


for the marinade:

  • 1 lb. beef flank or sirloin, partially frozen
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. sherry or rice wine
  • 2 tsp. sugar

for the batter:

  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 C. water
  • 1/4 C. cornstarch
  • 1/4 C. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

for the sauce:

  • 1/4 C. chicken stock
  • 1/4 C. light soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. rice wine or sherry vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. sherry or rice wine
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1/4 C. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch

to finish:

  • 2 dried red chili peppers
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, sliced thin or julienned
  • 1 bell pepper (any color), cut into thin strips
  • oil, for deep frying


Slice the beef into thin strips.

Add the beef and all marinade ingredients into a bowl and stir so the ingredients are combined and the beef is coated.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To make the batter, beat the egg white with the water, then stir in the cornstarch, salt, and flour and set aside.

In a separate bowl, stir together the sauce ingredients.

Have all of the other ingredients ready at this point.

Heat 4-5 C. of vegetable oil in a wok over medium-high heat (or use a deep fryer).

Mix the batter into the beef strip mixture.

Drop 1/3 of the battered beef into the hot oil and fry 3-4 minutes until it is browned and crispy.

Remove the beef with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate.

Repeat this until all of the beef mixture has been fried.

Remove all but 2 Tbsp. of the oil from the wok (if you used a deep fryer, add 2 Tbsp. of oil to a wok before proceeding) and return to medium-high heat.

Add the dried peppers to the oil and stir-fry for 30 seconds.

Add the scallions, ginger, and garlic to the wok and stir-fry for 1 minute.

Add the bell pepper and carrot and stir-fry until the vegetables are cooked through but still slightly crunchy.

Reduce the heat to medium-low.

Give the sauce mixture a stir to combine the ingredients and pour it into the wok, stirring it into the vegetable mixture.

Cook for a few minutes until the sauce thickens slightly, then toss in the fried beef.

Cook to heat through, then serve over cooked rice.

Source: adapted from What’s 4 Eats

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Just a Dream Away

In Olympics news yesterday, Yuzuru Hanyu won gold in the men’s figure skating competition winning Japan’s first men’s figure skating gold medal.  In the women’s skeleton event Noelle Pikus-Pace of the U.S. won silver, ending an incredibly emotional career on a high note.  The U.S. men’s curling team beat Germany 8-5, but was defeated by Russia who won by one point.

Today is day seven of our Winter Games feature, and that brings us to the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics.  These were the first Winter Olympics held in a Communist state.  At these Olympics, British figure skating pair Torvill and Dean earned perfect scores for artistic expression in the free dance portion of the ice dancing competition.  This has not been accomplished since.  U.S. skier Bill Johnson became the first American man to win a downhill skiing event when he won gold in the downhill competition, and he was also the first skier from outside the Alps to win an Olympic downhill event.

sarajevo burek

Depending on where you get it, burek goes by many variations of the name.  In Sarajevo, it’s called burek and it’s pretty popular.  Burek is essentially a flaky pastry (such as filo or yufka dough) surrounding a meat, cheese, or vegetable filling (or some combination of the three).  These are tasty as a meal or a snack, and incredibly easy to make.  To make these, you can use packaged filo dough or make your own dough.  Either method is equally time-consuming, but to make the dough yourself you will need a very large work space (think kitchen table sized) so you can stretch the dough out as thin as you need to.

sarajevo burek open

Meat Burek


for the dough (or use store-bought filo dough):

  • 3 C. instant blending flour (such as Wondra)
  • 1 1/3 C. warm water
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. vinegar
  • pinch of salt

for the filling:

  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • chili powder, to taste (optional)


To make the dough, combine the flour, salt, water, oil and vinegar in a mixing bowl, using your hands to knead the ingredients together.

Knead for a few minutes until the dough begins to form, adding a small amount of flour if necessary.

When the dough has formed, remove it from the bowl and slap it against the counter about 25-30 times to break down the gluten and make the dough more elastic.

Return the dough to the bowl and continue to knead it normally for about 10 minutes, until you see little air bubbles starting to form or until it stops sticking to the dish.

Sprinkle flour over the dough, cover with a clean towel, and let it sit for about an hour.

Put a clean table cloth (I suggest either a vinyl one that can be easily wiped down/ washed/ parted with or a cheap plastic disposable one) onto your table and sprinkle flour over it.

When the dough is ready, flip it out of the bowl onto your hands and use the back of your hands to gently stretch the dough slightly. Be very careful not to snag the dough on any jewelry (I suggest removing it first) or your nails- it will tear very easily.

Place the dough onto the table and coat it with a generous layer of oil, spreading the oil with your fingertips.   Let the oil absorb for 5-10 minutes.

Use your fingertips to gently stretch the dough toward you, lifting one side of the dough with your palms.  Do this to stretch the dough until you can nearly see through it.  Continue around the table until all of the dough has been evenly stretched this thin.  If your table isn’t big enough, see if you can get the dough to drape over the edges.

*If you are using store-bought dough, you can skip to here.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare the meat filling by mixing together the meat, onion, and spices.

If you have made your own dough, you will distribute the meat mixture evenly around the edge of the dough, around the table.  Leave a gap a few inches wide without any meat mixture on it.  Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the dough from the center to the edge where you have left a gap.  Eventually you will have one very long thin roll that circles the edge of the table.  If you are using store-bought filo you will make individual size portions.  Start by spreading the meat mixture evenly down the long end of 10 sheets of filo dough.

If you are using the homemade dough, work your way around the table gently rolling the edges in toward the center (like you are rolling a giant circular jelly roll).  As you go, you will need to continue cutting the dough until you eventually have two long rolls.  If you are using filo dough, roll each sheet up starting from the long edge where you put the meat mixture.

Spread oil on a baking sheet.

If you are using homemade dough, cut the long piece evenly into 8 pieces and coil them up like snakes.  Coil them up in the same fashion if you are using filo dough.  Place the coils on the prepared baking sheet and brush them with oil.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until the outside is golden brown and the meat mixture is cooked.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: adapted from  The Domesticated Feminist

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Stick On

When life is hectic, it’s nice to wind down at the end of the day.  Lately, winding down comes mainly in the form of listening to chatter from the Yankees game on TV while hanging out on Pinterest until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore.  I’m still spending way more time on the Food and Drink and DIY boards than I should considering the lack of time I have to be making the food and drinks, or the amazing DIY projects I see.  On a recent evening, while peeling myself away from staring at gorgeous wedding photos on the Weddings board, I came across a beef satay recipe that looked so simple and so tasty that it immediately went on the upcoming meal plan.  Of course, I also saw a centerpiece I loved so much that it immediately went on the upcoming wedding plan.  I digress.

The beef satay recipe was perfect for our schedule.  I mixed up the marinade and let the sliced beef hang out in the marinade bath overnight in the refrigerator.  Lane threaded the beef onto skewers and grilled it while I drove home and whipped up the peanut dipping sauce.  I also made rice the night before (waiting an hour for brown rice isn’t in the weeknight schedule) and we had a pretty fantastic meal in no time.  The original recipe included a “sweet hot dipping sauce” that sounded incredible, but I didn’t have ingredients on hand for that like I did for the beef skewers and peanut sauce.  I know beef and peanut butter might not seem like the most obvious combination, but trust me it’s fantastic.  I will definitely make this again, and I’ll be sure to keep you posted about the original dipping sauce.

beef satay

Beef Satay with Easy Peanut Dipping Sauce


for the beef skewers:

  • 2 lbs. flank steak, cut into approximately 1-inch wide strips
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3 shallots, quartered
  • 1/4 C. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

for the peanut dipping sauce:

  • 1/2 C. creamy or crunchy peanut butter (I used creamy this time)
  • 1 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3-6 Tbsp. milk
  • pinch of dried red pepper flakes


To make the marinade, combine all of the ingredients except for the beef in a resealable bag or plastic container with a lid.

Whisk until the brown sugar is dissolved.

Add the beef and stir to make sure that all of the beef has been coated in the marinade.

Seal the bag or cover the container and refrigerate at least 1 hour, up to overnight.

When ready to grill, heat the grill to medium-high heat.

While you’re waiting for the grill to be hot enough, thread each piece of beef onto a skewer.  Metal skewers are fine, I use wooden skewers that I soak in water ahead of time (you can also soak the skewers and freeze them in a large resealable bag ahead of time, then pull out the quantity you need before grilling).

Place the skewered beef onto the grill and grill for 5-6 minutes, turning once.  Discard the extra marinade.

To make the peanut sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat.

Stir constantly until the mixture is blended and smooth, and the peanut butter reaches a pourable consistency.  Start with 3 Tbsp. of milk and add more, 1 Tbsp. at a time until the desired consistency is reached.

Source: beef satay adapted from Chef’s Catalog; peanut sauce Diana Dishes original

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Rough Cut

For some people, summer is when things slow down a little and it’s time to relax.  This summer isn’t turning out that way as we’ve been very busy with family and other events.  We’ve enjoyed each and every place we’ve been to and the time spent with family and friends but it’s nice to be able to stop and catch my breath for a minute before the next wave of activity starts.  The two weddings, four baseball games, two bridal showers and baby shower that have taken up these weekends are going to be hard to top, but we’re looking forward to many more upcoming celebrations.  Somewhere in the middle of the backlog of food photos and the backlog of photos of all of the fun things we’ve been up to, I also started a new job.  I decided it was time to have a regular schedule and let my fledgling photography business go back to where it started- a fun way to do something I love and make extra money.  It turns out that I enjoy putting on business appropriate clothing instead of workout clothes and flip-flops, and having a desk that is nowhere near the washer and dryer.  I’ll still be posting here, but it’s going to trickle in slowly for a little while until I get used to a new routine.

The highlight of a busy summer is that after we’ve been away from home for more than a day or two, Lane misses his grill.  That means he grills up a tasty dinner while I fold what seems like a limitless supply of laundry.  Okay, I should give myself more credit than that- I did whisk together a few things to marinade this London broil.  London broil refers more to a manner of cooking than it does to an actual cut of beef.  In my local stores, I’ve seen it labeled both “London broil” and “top round steak for London broil.”  Either way, it’s a tougher cut of meat that benefits from a long time in a marinade.  After that, grilling it or broiling it then slicing it into thin slices against the grain makes this cut into something really fantastic.  That’s exactly what we did here.  I made a simple marinade, let the beef hang out in its marinade bath for the day, and then Lane grilled and sliced it.  Teamwork has never tasted so good.  We did marinate two pounds of beef so that we could cook once and eat at least twice (Mondays are hectic around here now), and we weren’t disappointed.  Grilled with corn on the cob the first night, or heated with gravy and rice the second night this made for some fantastic meals.

grilled london broil sliced

Grilled Marinated London Broil


  • 2 lbs. top round steak (about 1 1/4 inches thick, sometimes sold as “London broil”)
  • 1/2 C. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 C. red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper


In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients except for the beef.

Place the beef into a large resealable bag or plastic container with lid.

Pour the marinade mixture over the beef, then flip the beef so both sides are coated in the marinade.

Cover and refrigerate for 4-8 hours, flipping the beef once halfway through.

To grill this on a charcoal grill, heat the coals and grill the beef over indirect heat for about 7 minutes per side, to cook to medium or medium-rare (cooking the beef beyond medium is not recommended for this cut of beef).

To grill on a gas grill, heat the grill to 500 or 550 degrees.  Grill for about 6 minutes per side, to cook to medium or medium-rare.

Remove the beef to a cutting board, cover with foil, and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before slicing it.

To slice the beef, cut thin (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch) slices, against the grain of the meat.

Makes about 10 servings.

Source: Diana Dishes original

whole grilled london broil

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