Tag Archives: beef

Everything is Awesome

Today’s 12 Days of Oscar installment brings us to this year’s nominees.  The Lego Movie has been nominated for Best Original Song (“Everything is Awesome,” a song we like so much we made sure to play it at our wedding).  The Lego Movie tells the story of minifigure Emmett Brickowski who seems to be an ordinary guy . . . until he goes on an adventure to save everyone from evil President Business.   Many agree that The Lego Movie was snubbed by the Academy this year when it wasn’t nominated for Best Animated Film.   I agree with that assessment, and I love Director Philip Lord’s “It’s okay, made my own” reaction.

In The Lego Movie, Lord Business plans to lure all of the citizens out for Taco Tuesday where they will be given a free taco.  His real plan is to freeze the citizens in place with his special weapon, “The Kragle.”  Considering the frequency with which Moe’s manages to lure me out to one of their establishments I’d say the plan would have had a pretty good chance.  Lately we’ve been staying home for dinner and I was glad to have taco Tuesday right at home by making this really easy taco pie.  This takes less than an hour from start to finish, and you can top it with your favorite taco toppings.  I make my own version of Bisquick and I also make my own taco seasoning but you can use store bought versions and they would work just fine.  If you need to you can also make this up to 24 hours ahead of time, cover it and refrigerate it.  Remove the pie from the refrigerator while the oven preheats and allow additional baking time.

impossibly easy taco pie

Easy Taco Pie


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. taco seasoning (or 1 envelope of store bought taco seasoning)
  • 1 4.5 oz. can of chopped green chiles, drained
  • 1 C. milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C. Bisquick mix (or a homemade version)
  • 3/4 c. shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
  • optional- salsa, sour cream, or any other taco toppings you enjoy


Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease a 9 inch pie plate.

In a 10 inch skillet, cook the ground beef and onion over medium heat.  Stir occasionally and cook until beef is brown.

Drain the beef mixture.

Stir in the taco seasoning.

Spoon the beef mixture into the prepared pie plate and top with the green chiles.

In a small bowl, stir together the Bisquick mix, milk, and eggs.

Pour the Bisquick mixture into the pie plate (pour it over the beef mixture, it will settle to the bottom on its own).

Bake for 25 minute or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Top with the shredded cheese and bake for 8-10 additional minutes.

Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Top with your favorite toppings.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: slightly adapted from Betty Crocker

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The Way We Were

Today’s installment of 12 Days of Oscar brings us the last Oscar winner in this year’s lineup.  The 1973 film The Way We Were tells, mainly in flashbacks, the story of Katie Morosky (Barbara Streisand) and Hubbell Gardiner (Robert Redford) who meet in college and despite their immense differences are drawn to each other.   Their differences continue to put a wedge between them despite numerous attempts at making the relationship work.  Finally they part ways and ultimately realize that all they really share are the memories.  The Way We Were won two Oscars: Best Original Song (“The Way We Were”) and Best Music, Original Score.  The Way We Were was also nominated for four additional Oscars: Best Actress in a Lead Role (Barbara Streisand, lost to Glenda Jackson for A Touch of Class), Best Cinematography (lost to Cries & Whispers), Best Set Decoration (lost to The Sting), and Best Costume Design (lost to The Sting).

Hubbell calls Katie during World War II, unable to find a hotel room in New York City and asking if he can stay at her place for a few days.  She excitedly agrees and when she gets home after rushing through a grocery store, Hubbell is leaving her apartment.  Bags of groceries in hand, she calls to him and then explains that she planned on making dinner.  Excitedly she explains that she has planned on baked potatoes, and steak, and salad, and fresh baked pie and that she would have made a pot roast but didn’t know if Hubbell had ever had pot roast, or if he liked pot roast and how anyway there wasn’t time for pot roast and so she bought steaks.  Later in the movie, Katie tells Hubbell “Tell me I’m not good enough. Tell me you don’t like my politics. Tell me I talk too much. You don’t like my perfume, my family, my pot roast.”

Unlike Katie, pot roast is simple and uncomplicated. Actually it’s a very basic dish and there isn’t much fuss to making a perfect pot roast. Season the beef, sear the beef, add it to the pot with some vegetables and let your oven do the rest.  When it’s so tender it falls apart, it’s ready to serve.  I like to serve this with some mashed potatoes because they soak up the pan sauce so well. Some recipes call for the potatoes to cook along with the meat and the carrots and while that isn’t wrong, I do find that I like it much better with the mashed potatoes instead.  Be sure to choose a well-marbled roast, and allow plenty of time.

pot roast

Pot Roast


  • 1 4-5 pound chuck roast
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 whole onions
  • 6-8 whole carrots or 1 1/2- 2 C. baby carrots
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 C. red wine or beef broth
  • 2-3 C. beef stock
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary


Heat the oven to 275 degrees.

Liberally sprinkle the roast all over with salt and pepper.

Heat a large oven-safe pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat.

Add 2-3 Tbsp. of olive oil to the heated pot.

Slice off the end and the tip of each onion, peel off the outer layer, and cut each onion into two halves.

If using whole carrots, cut them into 2 inch slices (large chunks).  You can peel them if you want to but just rinsing them is sufficient.

When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the halved onions and let them brown on one side (1-2 minutes). Turn them and let them brown on the other side, and then remove them to a plate.

Put the carrots into the same very hot pan and stir them around for 1-2 minutes until they’re slightly browned.  The idea is to add some color, not to cook the carrots.  Remove the carrots to the same plate as the onions.

If necessary, add a little more olive oil to the hot pan.

Place the meat in the pan and sear it for about 1-2 minutes per side, until the roast is brown all over.

Remove the roast to a plate.

With the burner still on medium-high pour either red wine or beef broth into the pan and deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom of the pot to pull up the flavor.

Place the roast back into the pan and add about 2-3 C. of beef stock- enough to cover the roast halfway.

Add the onion and carrots to the pan, along with the rosemary and thyme.

Put a lid on the pot and roast for 3-4 hours (3 hours for a 3 lb. roast, 4 hours for a 4-5 lb. roast).

To serve, remove the roast from the pot (as best you can, it will be falling apart) and roughly slice it or shred it with two forks.  Serve with the carrots and onions (and if desired, some mashed potatoes).

Source: The Pioneer Woman

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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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