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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.


Buffalo: My Favorite Food Town

August 28, 2016

This summer has been chock full of great trips which feels novel after having kids in diapers the past 10 years. But visiting my best friend in Buffalo for her birthday along with our besties Laurie, Meg & Mike has to be up there at the top of the list. Not only is she adorable, she is a NICU doctor and saves babies lives for a living. She also just bought the cutest house.


Buffalonians just have good food in their veins/water supply. Or it could be the long cold winters with nothing to do but dream up good, smart food. I mean, they invented the BUFFALO WING. I could leave it at that. The buffalo wing plus the fact that my best friend lives there means it is officially my favorite food town.

But they also have this hipster food vibe that yields original, amazing food. The first dinner we had was at a restaurant called Marble & Rye.


It was so dark in the restaurant I didn’t take any pics, so I’ll just have to walk you through the drool-worthy meal. I am still dreaming of it, it was so good. We started with eggplant Bolognese with cinnamon in the velvety sauce and homemade noodles, a smoky grilled chicken wing with pomegranate seeds and creamy dressing drizzled over it, and ended with a burger that was quite possibly the best thing I have ever eaten.

For breakfast the next morning, we went to Betty’s. There was a wait out the door so you knew it was going to be good. And it was also dark inside so I got no pictures, but the turkey sausage hash was amazing, as was Megan’s dish that can only be described as a mexican breakfast lasagna, with layers of tortilla and a mixture of sweet potatoes, corn and black beans and an enchilada sauce with cumin and cayenne, all with creamy queso fresco, guac, and cilantro in the mix. Recipe on this one coming soon, I promise, since I must recreate it.




After we stuffed ourselves, we said goodbye to Meg & Mike who had to return to Conneticut and headed over to my favorite grocery store EVER – Wegmans – to get the makings for a housewarming BBQ at Megan’s.


Fun fact: I learned to cook because when we were first married I lived across the street from a Wegmans, with tons of gorgeous ingredients and tons of time.

This time the yummy food was up to us. I can think of nothing better then hanging out in Megan’s new kitchen cooking for her party and listening to good music with a beer. I marinated 3 flank steaks using Tyler Florence’s Carne Asada recipe. The citrus juices totally tenderize the meat and the flavors from the lime and orange along with garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro make it so tasty. I also made a ton of burgers, since I was still dreaming about the one from Marble & Rye. I make burgers with Worcestershire and minced onion, salt and pepper. Easy and delicious. (See end for recipe for both). I also made Ina Garten’s Panzanella Salad and the Zucchini tart I posted last week.

On Sunday afternoon, as the weekend came to an end, we went to Lloyd’s. Lloyd’s started as a food truck and became so popular due to their delicious food (and from what I gather a really fun social media spin that involved finding the food truck under the guise of a “Where’s Lloyd?” marketing shtick). Knowing how good the food is, I would want to know ‘Where’s Lloyd?’ too.  They soon opened up an eatery complete with a killer cocktail list. They make their own tortillas and rumor has it, the man they were ordering them from in the beginning came out from California to show them how to make their own and never left.  image

This is Anthony, a great example of how people in Buffalo just hang out and talk to each other. He steered me towards this Sunset cocktail which I was not sad about and made us belly laugh because he was hilarious (hi Anthony – still think you should become a stand up comedian).


We ordered the Breakfast BLT, the cheesy Shrimp and Grits, and the Huevos Rancheros. I can. not. even. tell you how good the shrimp and grits were. They are not what I think of when I think of taco truck, and I have not really had many good grits (usually they are runny and flavorless). But Lloyd’s did them right. Think all the creaminess of a good mashed potato casserole that has been cooking all day in a pool of butter and salt and creamy cheese, so that the edges get chewy, and you are approximating the dish. And that spice infused concoction on top with onions and tomatoes should just have it’s own name, as in ‘flavor bomb tomato onion cumin sauce’ or something.


Hueveos rancheros is always a favorite, and with all these fresh toppings it has to be good.And the BLT (sorry, ate it before I snapped a pic) was deceptively simple – just pork belly, cooked until it was chewy and crispy, fresh tomatoes, lettuce and scrambled egg on a fresh tortilla. Did I mention it only costs $1.99? (Any New Englander would just do a happy dance at Buffalo food prices.)

We tried so many new places that I had to wait until the airport to visit my very favorite restaurant, home of the Buffalo Wing, The Anchor Bar.


I even brought some home for Rob, because he loves them too. While I ate my way through Buffalo he held down the fort with the kids, so he deserved something.

Ok, off to have a Super Sunday. Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Carne Asada (recipe from Tyler Florence):

Tyler Florence has you making the marinade (what he calls the mojo) in a mortar and pestle, but I just threw them all in to a blender the first time, and used an immersion blender the second, and I love how it distributed the ingredients well so the meat was coated evenly with all that flavor.

2 pounds flank or skirt steak, trimmed of excess fat
1 recipe Mojo, recipe follows
Olive oil, for coating the grill
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 large handful fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 limes, juiced
1 orange, juiced
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil


In a mortar and pestle or bowl, mash together the garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, salt, and pepper to make a paste. Put the paste in a glass jar or plastic container. Add the lime juice, orange juice, vinegar, and oil. Shake it up really well to combine. Use as a marinade for chicken or beef or as a table condiment.
Yield: approximately 1 1/4 cups

Lay the flank steak in a large baking dish and pour the mojo over it. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 8 hours, so the flavors can sink into the meat. Don’t marinate the steak for more than 8 hours though, or the fibers break down too much and the meat gets mushy.
Preheat an outdoor grill or a ridged grill pan over medium-high flame (you can also use a broiler). Brush the grates with a little oil to prevent the meat from sticking. Pull the steak out of the mojo marinade and season the steak on both sides with salt and pepper. Grill (or broil) the steak for 7 to 10 minutes per side, turning once, until medium-rare. Remove the steak to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes to allow the juices to settle. Thinly slice the steak across the grain on a diagonal.
See his post on the Food Network website for a great Pico De Gallo recipe and other ideas for toppings. 


Ok, these are so simple I am reluctant to post but so many people this summer have asked me how I made my burgers. They are flavorful and moist and the easiest way to entertain. I easily triple or quadruple this recipe, and for parties I serve caramelized onions (just found this great post about them) and sautéed mushrooms along with the usual burger toppings.

Curtis Burgers:

1 lb. grass fed ground beef

2 T. Worcestershire sauce

2 T. minced onion

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper


Mix the ground beef with the seasonings and form into 4 patties. Be sure to push a thumb print down in the middle to ensure they will cook flat, otherwise they will puff up in the middle.

Cook in a pre-heated pan or grill, about 5 minutes per side.

Slow Cooker Meatballs & Spaghetti Squash

September 29, 2015

Every kitchen needs some workhorse recipes.



This Slow Cooker Meatballs and Sauce recipe is mine.

It takes 15 minutes to throw it into the crock pot and we can eat forever. If you are in a hurry, you can just throw jarred sauce into the crock pot, then add the meatballs (this kind is my favorite spaghetti sauce of all time but any sauce will do since it is slow cooking with other flavors and meatballs.) Either way, I love how tender they end up, just like a real Italian restaurant or deli. And you notice there are no breadcrumbs in this recipe, making it totally low carb. If you are so inclined.

But if you have 5 minutes, it is so easy to make this sauce. First you sauté onions, garlic, whatever veggies you like (I used spinach since my kids can’t pick it out and tend to eat it) with tomato paste.


The sauce and the meatballs took me about 15 minutes. I threw it all in the crock pot and at dinner I had this:


I tend to double the recipe to freeze some or use some for subs, but if you do any more the 6 qt. pot can’t hold it (I tried).

Spaghetti is one of my kids favorite dinners, so we have it almost every week. But to make it healthier lately I have been using spaghetti squash for mine (and my husbands who loves to eat low carb). It makes this meal perfect for everyone.

If you have never cooked spaghetti squash before, here is the method I learned a long time ago at Wegman’s (which you might remember me talking about in this post). They actually had a lady demonstrating how to cook spaghetti squash. One more reason I miss them so.  You slice it in half and scoop out the seeds. Then you place it in a microwave safe baking dish with about an inch of water. Then throw plastic wrap on top. Cook for 20 minutes.

When it is done, you have this gorgeous squash that has actual strands of squash, just like spaghetti. Blows my mind every time:


I drizzle a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and honestly I could dive right in to this alone:


But it totally can take the place of spaghetti without missing a thing.



So in case you don’t already have a meatball recipe you love (or one for the crock pot!), here you go! Buon Appetito.




Slow Cooker Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash (printer version here): 

(Serves 6-8, but doubles easily so freeze half)


For the Sauce:

2-3 T. olive oil

1 yellow onion diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and drained

1 t. garlic salt  + ½ t. pepper

1 can tomato paste (3 oz)

2 cans (28 oz.) crushed tomoatoes

2 t. dried Italian seasoning

1 t. garlic powder

1 t. salt + ¼  t. pepper

crushed red pepper optional (I leave out for my kids and add to mine)

pinch of sugar

For the Meatballs:

1 + ½ lbs. beef/pork/veal mix

2 eggs

½ cup grated Parmesan

3 T. yellow onion, minced

3 garlic cloves minced

2 T. chopped fresh parsley

2 t. salt + ½ pepper


2 Spaghetti Squash, split in half and seeded



Heat oil in large pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and spinach. Season well with salt and pepper. Cook about 10 minutes until soft. Add the tomato past into the onion and garlic and cook 2-3 minutes. Add mixture to the crock pot with the crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, pinch of sugar and salt and pepper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the bround meat, eggs, Parm, oinion, garlic, parsley and salt and pepper together. Scoop up mixture and roll into a ball the size of a walnut. Carefully drop into the crock pot. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.

Cook on high 4-5 hours or on low 6-8. Taste and season sauce as needed during the last hour. (Note: We ate them after 3 hours and they were still good, but sauce deepens if it cooks longer).  Serve with fresh basil and Parmesan.

To cook squash:

Place spaghetti squash in microwave safe pan and add 1 cup water. Cover with plastic wrap and cook for 20 minutes. Alternatively you can roast a whole one at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool before you cut it in half.

Note: I found this on the internet years ago but my printed out copy that I have been using doesn’t have a source and is super worn. So my apologies to whoever provided me with this recipe. Many thanks!


Mini Turkey Meatloaves with Honey Mustard Sauce and Roasted Potatoes

September 1, 2015

So can I get an Hallelujah? And an Amen?


The kids are back in school.

But I still love them.

That’s why I make a traditional back to school dinner that is a favorite for everyone.  This year’s version was my easiest and healthiest yet so I am passing it on to all of you wonderful people. All my nurturing mommy neuroses come out at the start of school, and I have about a month’s worth of healthy breakfast, lunches, dinners and snacks in my kitchen. Of course this will last about a month until I declare I am burnt out until Christmas break. Jk. Sort of.

Anyway, besides the fact that EVERYONE loves this dish and it is my most requested dinner in my repertoire, I love it because it only takes 25-30 minutes. 20 of that is roasting time where I get the kitchen clean, bags cleaned out and packed again (I am tired just typing that). So when we sit down to dinner we get to talk about everyone’s first day and have minimal clean up and go. to. bed. (Note, I did post a variation on mini meatloaves before but I like this version better).


First, I preheat the oven to 425. That’s right – crazy hot. It will make it cook fast.

Then mix together 2 Tablespoons each ketchup and honey mustard.


Then I mix together the meat loaf. You can use anything – beef, turkey, chicken, a favorite meatloaf mixture. I used turkey and I loved it, so nice and light but filling. Ground meat, egg, 1/2 c. panko breadcrumbs, 1/2 c. white cheddar, and salt and pepper.

Then, you brush a sheet pan with oil so they don’t stick. And get a yummy crusty bottom.



Then you form the meat mixture into little loaves, brush them with the ketchup-honey mustard mixture and then sprinkle the remaining 1/2 c. white cheddar (you can use yellow too) on top.

Then, you slice up 1 lb. (or use 1 potato per person) of white potatoes.


imageToss them with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Place the meatloaves on top and the potatoes on the bottom rack. Cook for 10 minutes, then rotate for 10 more. Then remove the meatloaves, letting the potatoes roast for 5 more minutes.


While they do, microwave a bag of Green Beans.



Ok, fine, you can par boil your ones from the farmer’s market. This time I went the easy route and they were yummy. I tossed them in a skillet with 2 T. butter, 2 chopped cloves garlic and 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 pepper. Love.



Every time I make these, I am always amazed at how fast they are. And how yummy.

Hope this helps you multi-task your lights out.

xoxo Katie


Mini Turkey Meatloaves with Honey Mustard Sauce & Roasted Potatoes (printer version here)-

2 T. olive oil (plus more for baking sheet)

2 T. honey mustard

2 T. ketchup

1 pound ground Turkey (or lean beef)

1 large egg

½ cup panko bread crumbs

1 cup shredded white cheddar, divided

1 t. salt and ½ t. pepper

1 pound new potatoes, scrubbed and quartered

1 package green beans

2 T. butter

2 cloves garlic, minced





  1. Preheat oven to 425, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Brush a rimmed backed sheet with oil. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons mustard and ketchup.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine beef, egg, panko, ½ c. cheddar, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ t. pepper. Form into four 2 x 4 inch loaves; place on baking sheet. Brush with mustard mixture; top with remaining ½ c. cheddar. On another rimmed baking sheet, toss potatoes with 1 T. oil, season with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer meatloaves to upper rack of oven, and place potatoes on lower rack. Bake until loaves are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating sheets after 10 minutes. Remove loaves from oven; continue to roast potatoes until tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook green beans in microwavable bag, or parboil for 3 minutes in boiling water. Drain. Heat butter in pan, add garlic for one minute, then add green beans. Cook through, stirring so garlic doesn’t burn, about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

This recipe was adapted from Everyday Food by Martha Stewart




Creamy Roast Beef & Avocado Wrap

May 29, 2015

It is that time of year again, when cooking is the last thing you want to do, and running to the beach and lake and picnic and backyard lulls you into ignoring everything else on your to do list.

Enter wraps. With lots of flavor. They are great for parties, picnics, or just lunch for one out on the deck.

I was thinking these summer thoughts and I remembered a creamy, vinegary roast beef wrap I had 8 years ago. I don’t even know where I got the recipe but it was an actual recipe, and I used to make these when we would pack a cooler to go to the horse races in Saratoga Springs (where we lived for 5 years) or to the lake.


The reason why I had a craving for them eight years later is because this is not just any roast beef wrap. You take the roast beef and you toss it with a dressing made of cider vinegar, dijon mustard, and oil. And if you are like me, anything that has a vinegar kick to it tends to stay in the memory and put down deep, deep roots.


Then you add in creamy avocado and the moisture from the oil and tartness from the vinegar, and it all mixes together to make a texture that is unlike anything I’ve ever had. Add in some crunchy scallions and it is perfection.IMG_6210

In fact, I may or may not have searched through two huge recipe binders to look for it.

Just. For. You.

(Ok maybe a little bit for me too.)


I also don’t think the original recipe called for horseradish cheddar cheese, so if you don’t have it no worries, it is still delicious. But I had some and it is just perfect on this wrap. I will be dreaming of these until the next time I have an excuse to make them. Trust me if you or anyone in your crew like roast beef, you will cement this into your summer menus. 

Wraps are also so great for entertaining. You can make them ahead, no one is intimidated and most people can find something they like. Maybe even love with these other flavorful wrap ideas:

{Turkey with thinly sliced cheddar, apples and mango chutney mayo (mix the mayo with the chutney and spread on wrap)}

{Chicken, bacon and shredded white cheddar with avocado cilantro yogurt dressing like this one. SO good.}

{Chicken salad mixed with curry mayo and grapes}

{Buffalo chicken salad with chopped celery and blue cheese dressing}

{Asian Wraps with Shredded Chicken, Carrots, Scallions, lettuce and Sesame Ginger Dressing}

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Creamy Roast Beef and Avocado Wrap (printer version here):

Makes 3-4 wraps

1 package 9″ tortillas or your favorite flat bread (I used whole wheat Flatbread brand)

1/3 c. olive oil (or canola oil)

3 Tbs. cider vinegar

1 Tbs. dijion mustard

3/4 lb. roast beef – shaved is great or slice it into strips

2 avocados, peeled and cubed

2 scallions, chopped

1/4 salt, dash of pepper

4 sliced or horseradish cheddar

Whisk together oil, vinegar, and mustard. Add other ingredients and toss together. Put on a tortilla with cheese and wrap.