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Cheeseburger Soup

February 7, 2019

What good is having a food blog if you can’t share the strangest – and yummy and easy – dinner your kids started to love?

I mean, the soup itself has been circulating through the interwebs but the toppings are very strange and VERY satisfying.

Chopped pickles? Shredded lettuce? And YELLOW MUSTARD? And yet, it has all the comfort and flavors of a McDonald’s cheeseburger. I have no idea why I decided to use these toppings, since none of the pics of this soup anywhere do, but the textures and the familiar flavors all combine to make something so fun and delicious.

My oldest son and husband are meat lovers, so I used a whole pound of ground beef in this soup (I actually used two since I doubled the recipe – leftovers are always a good idea.)  And my 9-year old loves potatoes so she loved it. And everyone loves Velveta – it’s actually why I used this recipe since it was the only one that called for it. It is amazing but if you’re a hater you can swap other kinds of cheese.

So if you feel like fast food one night but you know you need to make a home cooked meal – try this one! And definitely make some leftovers because it gets better the second day.

Happy Eating!

xoxo Katie


Cheeseburger Soup (printer version here):


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1-3/4 pounds (about 4 cups) cubed peeled potatoes
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 to 4 cups shredded Velveeta processed cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • Toppings: shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, onions, or mustard


  • 1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook and crumble beef until no longer pink; drain and set aside. In same saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Saute onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes, ground beef and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, 10-12 minutes.
  • 2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt remaining butter. Add flour; cook and stir until bubbly, 3-5 minutes. Add to soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cheese, milk, salt and pepper; cook until cheese melts. Remove from heat; blend in sour cream.
  • Serve with desired toppings

Adapted from Taste of Home


Slow Cooker Sauce Bolognese

November 16, 2018

A few weeks ago, right before I went to meet our farmer in Vermont and pick up our grass fed beef, I was running a 5k and thinking about all the different cuts we were going to get. I was like a kid in a candy store, and I thought to myself what should I make first??

This sauce popped into my head. It is so good, and one I used to make a lot at our ski condo since it is from the very aptly named Ski House Cookbook. I love that it cooks all day in the crock pot and then when you go to make dinner, you just boil a box of pasta.

They even recommend freezing half so it is always ready for you at your condo. I might be at home but I still took their advice, and I’m going to cook it this weekend when my sister comes over for her birthday so we can just catch up and relax.

This dish is a classic for a reason – the wine and the milk do some special alchemy to make this an elevated pasta sauce, and it it sticks to your ribs with not one but two kinds of beef – ground and cubed that are super tender from cooking all day. (If you’re in a pinch you can just used ground beef). And kids love this dish (don’t worry about the wine, all the alcohol evaporates) so it makes for great family dinners.

Definitely taste it for seasoning and add more salt if it needs it! Or just heaping piles of parm like I do.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Slow Cooker Sauce Bolognese (printer version here): 

3 Tablespoons canola oil

1 pound chuck stew meat, cut into ¾ inch pieces

2 small carrots, finely chopped

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

1 pound ground beef

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 ½ cups dry white wine

1 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 (28-ounce) can crushed or pureed tomatoes

Freshly ground black pepper



  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the cubed meat to the pan in one layer (you will most likely need to do this in batches) and brown it on all sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer the browned beef to the slow cooker. Repeat until all the cubes are browned.
  2. Return to the skillet to medium heat, add the carrots, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the onion and continue cooking until the vegetables are softened, about 4 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook , breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. When the meat is nearly cooked through (but not brown), about 5 minutes, add the garlic and continue cooking for 2 more minutes.
  3. Add the wine and simmer until nearly all of the liquid is evaporated, about 6 minutes. Add the milk and simmer until nearly all of the liquid evaporates, about 4 minutes.
  4. Transfer the ground beef mixture to the cooker and add the salt. Stir in the diced and crushed tomatoes. Cover the slow cooker and set it to low heat for 6 hours.
  5. Stir the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and serve immediately, or cool, cover and freeze in small containers for up to 1 month. Reheat over medium-low heat until simmering, adding a little water if needed to prevent scorching.

Adapted from The Ski House Cookbook by Tina Anderson and Sarah Pinneo


Weekly Meal Plan 10/2

October 4, 2018

Hello October!

Fall is my favorite. We’re planning on heading north for the long weekend, and will be eating out at our favorite places to keep it simple. But I’m planning on doubling the beef stew just in case! It travels really well and gets better each day.

Here’s what we’re having this week. Happy Fall! xoxo Katie


Root Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie – this was my daughter’s dinner choice since it was her Saint’s Day, St. Therese the Little Flower. I am linking my Root Vegetable version (usually post my Easy Shepherd’s Pie) for a little change.


Stuffed Chicken Breasts 


Eggplant Parm


Instapot Beef Stew 

Friday, Saturday, Sunday 

Going North & Eating Out – Time to look at all the peak foliage in the White Mountains.

Easy Shepherd’s Pie

April 19, 2018

On my last meal plan, I linked to Ina Garten’s Chicken Pot Pie, a favorite among my kids. I do tend to chuckle a bit though when I’m scrolling through her recipe and see her steps for ‘making your own puff pastry’. This seems a lovely thing to know how to do, along with making all my own baby food and growing my garden from seedlings. But, as Shauna Niequist once said, the baby food people do a really good job at making baby food so she just let them, and outsourced that part of her life. Apart from adding water and an immersion blender to what I’m making everyone else, I follow this logic and buy my baby food. And you know what? Pepperidge Farm does a really good job at making puff pastry, so I just use theirs, and use Ina’s recipe for the filler because it’s delicious. The whole thing comes together in less than 30 minutes and tastes like from scratch cooking.

There is something to this idea of finding ways to outsource what you can in the kitchen. The last time I made Shepherd’s Pie, which my family loves, I got to thinking…

What if I let the mashed potato people do their job?

I ordered all natural mashed potatoes from my grocery delivery service, and I was very skeptical, but you know what? They tasted like they were homemade.

The next time I made Shepherd’s Pie, I used ready-made mashed potatoes and was stunned by how easy it all was. I use Alton Brown’s recipe, but now I chuckle when I scroll past all the steps to make the potatoes.

Even though his recipe yields amazing mashed potatoes, I really love skipping a half hour of work. I use his recipe for the filling, and then open up two packages of store-bought mashed potatoes and smear it on top. (One half is the Oprah Cauliflower kind for the adults who are trying to be a little healthy, and one half is all natural regular). Last time I mixed in an egg, which Alton’s recipe calls for in the potatoes and there wasn’t a huge difference.

Isn’t it great having options in pulling together dinner? Some days there’s time to make things from scratch, but on the days there isn’t (…cough, twin babies…), short cuts that don’t skimp on flavor and aren’t filled up with junk like preservatives and chemicals are always welcome.

We made it again last night because now it is moved to our easy meal list. My daughter said, “I love how comforting this dinner is.” If everything else in this week is a bust, we’ve got that.

Here’s hoping this brings Shepherd’s Pie to your family table a little more regularly.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Easy Shepherd’s Pie (printer version here🙂


For the potatoes: You can use 2 pre-made potato packages and skip this step

  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg yolk

For the meat filling:

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced small

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste

  • 1 cup chicken broth

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves

  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves

  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas


{SKIP IF USING PRE-MADE POTATOES: Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.}

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the lamb, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

Add the corn and peas to the lamb mixture and spread evenly into an 11 by 7-inch glass baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from Alton Brown’s on The Food Network


Corned Beef & Cabbage

March 16, 2017

Hi Friends! I wanted to repost this yummy Corned Beef & Cabbage meal in honor of St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow. Our Internet was down due to winter storm Stella. But hope you are celebrating! Slàinte!

I grew up in a big Irish family, and every St. Paddy’s Day we had a yummy boiled dinner of Corned Beef, cabbage, carrots and potatoes. I remember the tang of Cider Vinegar making the meat and the veggies delicious, and I was surprised when none of the online recipes I scoured included Apple Cider Vinegar. So I added some to mine and it turned out just like I remember, tangy and salty and tender. (I put some carrots on my son’s plate and he tasted it, and said, “I’ll need about 20 more of these!”).

The key to doing a boiled dinner is to cook it low & slow. Give yourself time – this one takes 3 hours, though the prep time is 10 min. and you can leave it on the stove – and to keep the heat LOW.  A crockpot works too.

Don’t forget to pick up some brown bread or rye bread on the side, and serve with plenty of mustard and horseradish.

Corned Beef Dinner with Cider Vinegar and Vegetables (printer version here🙂


2-3 lbs. corned beef

5 carrots, peeled and chopped

4 potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 small cabbage, cut into wedges

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 T. salt

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

2 bay leaves

enough water to cover beef


Place corned beef in dutch oven, big heavy pot, or Crock pot and fill with water to cover the beef.

Stovetop: Place heat on high and bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer for 1 hour, skimming the top of any fat or foam, and then adding vinegar, seasonings, and vegetables. Cook for 2 more hours on low simmer or until vegetables are tender.

The key is to cook it low and slow, to tenderize the meat. If the meat is cooked at too high for too long it gets tough.

Crockpot: Place meat and water in crockpot with enough water to just cover brisket. Cook on low setting for 2 hours. Then add vinegar, seasonings, and vegetables, and cook for another 4 hours or until vegetables are tender.

Serve with brown bread, mustard and horseradish.

Best Instapot Beef Stew

January 22, 2017

Oh, my goodness. This is Heaven in a bowl.


This recipe makes me so glad that I am still blogging about food. (Novel almost finished! A week or two before I hit send to the publisher and I am so, so proud of how it’s turned out. Will keep you posted when they tell me its available.)

After I did an IG story where I made beef stew in the Instapot, I had a bunch of people ask me how I make it, so I was determined to snap some pics the next time we had it. Lucky for you, we made it last night. The sun set while it was cooking away and we took a nature walk, so these last few shots are only lit with artificial lights, which is my photo pet peeve. But the recipe is SO amazing, I have to spread the love, sub-par pics and all.


To start with, you just shake your cubed meat in a ziplock bag with the flour and salt and pepper. I tend to buy the already cubed meat from my farmer or local grocer, but cutting up a chuck roast or pot roast or even steak are fine too. Then brown them. (If you are trying to make this whole30 compliant, skip the flour and use Coconut Aminos instead of Soy Sauce. I think Worcestershire sauce is ok? If you want to be on the safe side use 2 cups beef broth + 1 cube beef bullion).


Note: This recipe calls for 2-2.5 lbs of meat, or enough for 6+ servings.  You can sauté them in the Instapot on the sauté setting. But the bottom of the Instapot is small, so you have to do it in batches so you don’t crowd the pan. I usually just heat 2 T. oil in each pan and brown half in the instant (top picture) and half in the stovetop pan (bottom picture). You can see that both yield that lovely caramel brown color on the meat that adds so much flavor.


The key is to get the browned bits up with the beef stock, so don’t forget to de-glaze the pan with a cup or so of beef stock or the liquid mixture after you dump the meat into the Instapot. This is just 2 cups beef stock, 1 T. Worcestershire, 1 T. Soy sauce, and 3 T. tomato sauce.

Once all the browned meat is nestled into the Instapot with the liquid mixture and brown bits, add 2 bay leaves and 4 or so thyme branches, then put the lid on. Turn the Instapot “Meat/Stew” setting on, and it might default to 50 minutes, or 30 minutes. Use the +/- buttons to set it to 40 minutes. It will first just say “On” like this, but as the minutes start to tick down you will see the number of minutes left.


When it is done cooking you can see the amazing dark gravy that the Instapot produces:


While this cooks, chop up your veggies. I use 4 carrots, 4 potatoes, 2 celery, all cut to 2-inch size pieces, plus 2 onions sliced. When the 40 minutes is up, just toss all the veggies in, and add 1 t. salt and 1/2 t. pepper on top.


Then, hit the Meat/Stew setting again, and using the +/- buttons set it for 15 minutes. When it is done you get:

IMG_0160 IMG_0161IMG_0162

What is in the bowl can be Whole30 compliant. What is outside of the bowl cannot.

The Instapot is fairly easy to use, the only thing that stresses me out is getting the lid on and off sometimes, but otherwise it is strait forward. If you have any questions using it feel free to leave me a comment or message me on IG.

I am blown away for the third time by how delicious this recipe is in the Instapot. I am convinced it makes the meat even more flavorful and tender than any other method. I hope you get to try this soon with your family. Mine licked their bowls. So so yummy.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie


Best Instapot Beef Stew (printer version here): 

Serves 6

4 T. extra virgin olive oil*

2-2.5 lbs. cubed stew meat

2 t. salt

1 t. Pepper

4 T. flour* (omit for whole30)

2 c. beef stock


1 T. Worcestershire sauce*

1 T. soy sauce*

3 T. tomato paste

3-4 sprigs thyme

2 bay leaves

4 carrots

4 potatoes

2 celery stalks

2 onions, sliced

* Items with asterisk may be omitted or substituted to make recipe whole30 compliant



Cook Times:  Brown Meat = 5-10 minutes – Meat + Liquids = 40 min. – Veggies = 15 min. Total = 60-70 min.

Set Instapot to Saute setting and let it get to Hot, then add 2 T oil. (You will need to cook the meat in batches to not crowd the bottom of the Instapot. To save time, you can cook half in Instapot and half in a pan. I preheat a large pan on stove to medium high heat and add the other 2 T. oil and cook half in pan while first half cooks in Instapot.)

Add cubed meat to ziplock bag, and add flour, salt and pepper. Shake well to coat evenly.

Add half of seasoned meat to Instapot, half to hot pan (or cook in 2 batches in the Instapot). Cook until meat in each until it is browned, about 5-6 minutes, stirring both pans frequently to brown all sides. While it cooks, mix together beef stock, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste and mix together.

When meat is browned, put all meat into Instapot along with bay leaves and thyme. Deglaze pan with some of liquid mixture, scraping up brown bits, and add along with the rest of the liquids to Instapot. Add lid, and set Instapot to Meat/Saute setting for 40 minutes. Allow steam to release when done.
While meat cooks, chop carrots, celery and potatoes into 2 inch chunks. When meat is done, add to pot along with 1 t. salt and ½ t. Pepper. Add lid and set Meat/Saute setting to 15 minutes. When done, let steam out and then remove lid.