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Beef

Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs & Potatoes

September 24, 2022

Is there a better stick-to-your-ribs comfort food than meat and potatoes? My kids love this combo in all its forms (beef stew, burgers & fries, pot roast with mashed potatoes, shepherd’s pie – all hits). So when I saw someone make this Swedish Meatballs with Potatoes on Instagram, I new it would be a great fall dinner to add to our rotation. I couldn’t find their recipe so I came up with this one and was SO good. You will seriously want to lick your plate when you are done. My kids might have even fought over the leftovers.

We needed some new crock pot meals now that fall sports are underway (4 kids in sports is no joke. Also, I can’t believe I have 2 high schoolers now!). Having a hot dinner ready when we come home is the best, and when people get home at different times crock pot dinners saves them from having to reheat dinner. We were starting to get tired of our regular standbys, so it is great to have a new one. My oldest son LOVES this dinner. Which is good, because during football season he needs a lot of food. I actually doubled this recipe to have leftovers for him (ok, fine, for me too). I’ve been trying to serve whole foods, so I love that this dinner is comforting and good for you.


This dinner is so easy – its basically just making meatballs & gravy. Once you add all the meatball ingredients and form into balls, you fry them for a few minutes in butter (yum). Then you transfer the meatballs to the slow cooker and make the gravy. You start by making a roux, and when you add the broth, scrape up all the browned bits in the pan for that yummy homemade flavor. Then add the sour cream (or cream if you want to substitute) and stir to combine. Taste gravy and add any additional salt or pepper if needed. Then pour over the meatballs and potatoes, and 4 hours later you have this:

Add some peas, and top with extra sour cream and dill, and dig in.


Bonus points if you make this on a rainy night. Who wouldn’t want tuck into a bowl of this? I know your crew will love this dinner so hope you get to try it soon!

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs & Potatoes

1 lb. ground beef

1 lb. ground pork

1 small onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 egg

1/2 bread crumbs

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup chopped dill (optional)

4 T. butter + more for frying

2 lb. small potatoes, halved

1/2 cup flour

4 cups beef stock

1 cup sour cream (or heavy cream)

2 T. Dijion mustard

 

Directions:  

Combine meat, egg, bread crumbs, salt & pepper and herbs in a bowl. Form into small balls. Heat 2 T. butter in a large frying pan. Add meatballs to pan and let brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn over and brown for an additional 3 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker. Put potatoes on top. In pan over medium heat melt 4 T. butter and then whisk in 1/2 cup flour, cooking the roux for 1 minute. Slowly add beef stock, stirring to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes until thick, then add sour cream and Dijion mustard. Taste gravy for seasoning, adding salt or pepper if needed. Take gravy and pour into slow cooker on top of potatoes and meatballs. Let cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. Serve with more sour cream and dill if desired.

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):

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  • 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

 

Directions:

  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

Monday

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.

Tuesday 

Stuffed Chicken Breasts 

Wednesday

Eggplant Parm

Thursday 

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🙂

Ingredients

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

Directions

{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🙂

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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.