Category: Meat

Rosemary and Thyme Roasted Chicken with Fresh Lemon Juice

Rosemary and Thyme Roasted Chicken with Fresh Lemon
The PERFECT, cozy,  hot date dinner for these cold winter nights….

Who doesn’t love a perfectly, juicy roast chicken dinner?!?  Thyme and Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Fresh Lemon will certainly impress for your hot date dinner this weekend.  Serve this with roasted fingerlings (potatoes) and broccoli  and this dinner will rival any you have out on the town.  (more…)

Beef Ragu Slow Cooked with Vegetables and Shiitakes

Beef Ragu, Slow Cooked with Vegetables and Shiitake Mushrooms
Irresistible on a cold winter night, beef ragu with vegetables and shiitake mushrooms is comforting and scrumptious..

It gets cold here in MN this time of year and almost automatically I start thinking about slow-cooked, hearty, delicious food!!  Beef ragu that is slow cooked with vegetables and shiitakes is EXACTLY what I am thinking.  Ragu by definition is a northern Italian dish that  typically uses minced, chopped or ground meat, cooked with sauteed vegetables in a liquid. The meats may include one or more of  beef, chicken, pork, duck, goose, lamb, mutton, veal, or game.   (If you are looking for a similar vegetarian sauce, consider my roasted tomato marinara,  http://www.hotdatedinner.com/roasted-tomato-marinara/).   In this recipe I am using a boneless beef chuck roast with carrots, onions, celery, tomatoes and shiitake mushrooms.  The liquid part is a combination of beef broth, juice from the tomatoes and wait for it…RED WINE!!  Now, do I have your attention?!?!

This is the perfect hot date dinner on a cold winter night!  Prep is minimal and you can let this simmer on your stove for a good part of the day or let your crock pot do the work and it will be waiting for you.  Tim LOVES homemade gnocchi (http://www.finecooking.com/recipe/potato-gnocchi) so that is what I usually serve this with, but pappardelle pasta or your favorite pasta would work beautifully with this as well.  Let’s cook..

First, reconstitute the dried mushrooms by soaking them in boiling water...
First, reconstitute the dried mushrooms by soaking them in boiling water for 20-30 minutes…the addition of the mushrooms and the broth will be a delightful flavor boost to your beef ragu..

Isn’t that a beautiful picture??  Have you ever used dried mushrooms?  Even know they exist?  They can be found at some grocery stores on online  (https://www.amazon.com/Mushroom-House-Dried-Mushrooms-Shiitake/dp/B00PXRL39C/ref=sr_1_5_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1513781648&sr=8-5&keywords=dried+shiitake) and by reconstituting them in boiling water you will have the added bonus of a flavorful broth that can be a big enhancement to any dish.  Cooking with dried mushrooms also allows you to enjoy mushrooms when they aren’t in season, and it allows you to use mushroom varieties that may not be readily available to you in fresh form.   For more information on dried mushrooms check out  https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-substitute-dried-mushrooms-for-fresh-mushrooms-1388871.  

A beautiful, boneless, beef chuck roast will be the star of this dish....
A beautiful, boneless, beef chuck roast will be the star of this dish….

The chuck cut comes from the shoulder of the cow, an area of the animal that is continually exercised, which allows the muscle tissues to develop more flavor.  This cut requires low, slow cooking which makes it ideal for this dish.

Cut the roast into 8 equal portions, season all sides with salt and freshly ground pepper and brown all sides evenly...
Cut the roast into 8 equal portions, season all sides with salt and freshly ground pepper and brown all sides evenly…
Once the beef is browned, place in a large Dutch oven (this could also be done in a crock pot) on top of the sauteed vegetables. Next, comes all of the liquid, followed by time...
Once the beef is browned, place in a large Dutch oven (this could also be done in a crock pot) on top of the sauteed vegetables. Next, comes all of the liquid, followed by time…
All ingredients into the pot and now it slowly simmers for 2 1/2 -3 hours (or all day on low in your crockpot)....
All ingredients into the pot and now it slowly simmers for 2 1/2 -3 hours (or all day on low in your crock pot)….

Your house is now smelling ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!  Once the ragu has simmered for 21/2-3 hours, it is time to remove the meat, shred it and add it back to the pot.

Slow cooking with the wine and tomatoes will tenderize the meat to the point that it will easily tear with two forks...
Slow cooking with the wine and tomatoes will tenderize the meat to the point that it will easily tear with two forks…
Add the shredded beef back into the pan and allow the ragu to simmer for an additional 30 minutes to thicken up and you are ready to serve. Make this a day or 2 in advance and the flavors will only improve with time...
Add the shredded beef back into the pan and allow the ragu to simmer for an additional 30 minutes to thicken up and you are ready to serve. Make this a day or 2 in advance and the flavors will only improve with time…
Cheers to hot date dinner!!
Cheers to hot date dinner!!
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Beef Ragu Slow Cooked with Vegetables and Shittakes

Add the shredded beef back into the pan and allow the ragu to simmer for an additional 30 minutes to thicken up and you are ready to serve. Make this a day or 2 in advance and the flavors will only improve with time...

5 from 1 reviews

NOTHING is more comforting on a cold winter night than beef ragu that is slow cooked with vegetables and shiitake mushrooms.  Make this ragu, let it cook a good part of the day and serve it over pasta or gnocchi.  No one will be able to resist!!  This recipes makes enough to feed a crowd, but also freezes very well.

  • Author: Emily
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 1/2-3 hours
  • Total Time: 3-3 1/2 hours
  • Yield: 12 + servings

Ingredients

1 oz dried shittake mushrooms (use any dried mushrooms you prefer), rehydrated and broth reserved

3/12 pounds beef chuck roast (boneless), cut into 8 pieces

Salt and freshly ground pepper

6 T evoo, separated

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 onions, chopped

3 carrots, diced

4 stalks celery, diced

2 28 oz cans whole tomatoes

6 T tomato paste

2 cups full bodied red wine (I prefer Cabernet)

2 cups beef broth

1 cup mushroom broth from re-hydrating mushrooms (substitute beef broth if you wish)

6 sprigs fresh thyme

4 bay leaves

pinch of sugar (optional)

Instructions

Reconstitute dried mushrooms by covering in 2 cups of boiling water.  Let the mushrooms sit for at least 30 minutes.  Drain and RESERVE 1 CUP of the broth, set aside.  Slice mushrooms.  

Pat the beef dry and season on all sides with salt and pepper.  Heat 3 T of evoo in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat and sear on all sides, about 3 minutes per side.  Remove from pan and set aside.  

Turn down the heat to medium low and add remaining 3 T of evoo.  Saute garlic, onions, carrots, celery and (reserved) sliced mushrooms for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

Add the remaining ingredients and reserved beef with juices.  Bring mixture to a low boil, turn down to low simmer, cover and cook about 2 1/2 hours.  

Remove the beef and coarsely shred with 2 forks.  Return beef to pot, simmer an additional 30 minutes until sauce is reduced by 1/2 and thickened.   Season to taste with salt, pepper and pinch of sugar (optional, as needed).  Serve ragu over your favorite pasta, polenta or gnocchi.  Cheers!!

Notes

Pair this rich meaty sauce with an Italian Barbera wine which is produced from a Northern Italian grape that tends to have happy cherry fruit and tart acidity that’s great with rich sauces.  Look for bottles from  Vietti or Cavallotto   (http://www.foodandwine.com/blogs/3-best-wines-pair-pasta-bolognese).

This recipe improves over time so make a day or two in advance.  To freeze, place in zip-loc bags and lay flat to freeze.

Turkey Legs Brined in Buttermilk and Smoked on the Grill

Turkey Legs Brined in Buttermilk and Smoked on the Grill
Looking for something new? A new way to do turkey for the holidays, for game day or for that special hot date dinner?? These turkey legs brined in buttermilk and herbs and then smoked on the grill are something to DEFINITELY consider. When I brought up this idea, my son, Danny said, “they will never be as good as the ones at the State Fair.” I took that challenge and in his own words…”mom, you won.” 

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Apple Wood Smoked Pulled Pork with Maple Chili Sauce

Apple Wood Smoked Pulled Pork with Maple Chili Sauce
Slow and steady on the grill over hot coals and apple wood chips…this is the perfect game day recipe….with leftovers to use throughout the week..(coleslaw and pickle comments)

THIS!!!!  Whether you are watching the game, planning a party or doing yard work and have time to tend to the grill (5-6 hours of time) this apple wood pulled pork with maple chili sauce is worth the 5-6 hours of on the grill time that it takes.  Prep is minimal, the pork shoulder roast is rubbed with spices, placed on the preheated grill and then cooked by simply turning every hour until the proper internal temperature is reached or for 5-6 hours.  We don’t have a smoker at our house, but it is simple to do on your grill by soaking the wood chips in water for at least an hour and then placing them on the hot coals halfway through cooking and allowing them to “smoke”= FLAVOR!!  Let us begin….   (more…)

Cider Braised Pork with Caramelized Apples and Onions

 

Cider-Braised Pork with Caramelized Apples and Onions
MAKE AHEAD HOT DATE DINNER!!! This one can cook all afternoon and will be ready when you are..cider-braised pork with caramelized apples and onions…

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Turkey and Black Bean Chili

Packed with protein, perfect for that make-ahead meal this week!
Packed with protein, perfect for that make-ahead meal this week!  This Fall (or anytime for that matter) add 1 cup of pumpkin to this recipe for the perfect autumn treat……(noted in recipe)

ATTENTION to all my hard working friends who want something hearty, healthy and warm for dinner this week….this turkey and black bean chili with fire roasted tomatoes is the make-ahead meal for you!  In my recipe, I used a pan on the stove, but all of the ingredients could be prepped and the cooking could be done in a crock pot if that is your go-to means of cooking.  Feel free to use chipotle chili powder or throw in a diced jalapeno or 2, if you like things with a lot more heat.  If vegetarian is more your thing, try this one http://www.hotdatedinner.com/vegetarian-chili-fresh-sweet-corn/ .You will have left-overs so pack your own lunch or freeze it for another night.  Let’s get cooking….. (more…)

Chowder of Fresh Corn, Wild Rice and Kielbasa

Fresh Corn, Wild Rice and Kielbasa Chowder
Fresh, sweet, hearty the perfect make ahead meal for a cool Fall day..

School begins and although the calendar does not indicate it is quite Fall yet, we can all feel it in the air.  Here in MN this first week of school has been particularly cool so, what to make for dinner??  SOUP!!!  This fresh corn, wild rice and kielbasa chowder is a crowd-pleaser and like almost every single soup I make, it just gets better with time.  I will tell you, that when I make soup my kids smell it as they are coming into the garage after school and it is a bee-line for who can get the first taste.  ♥  This is the perfect meal to make a few days in advance for that evening that is extra bonkers during the week.  All you have to do is heat up the chowder, tear up some bread and a warm, HEALTHY dinner is ready!  Fresh corn is still peaking right now, so let’s take advantage of it.  This chowder can also be made and frozen for those dark cold months when anything fresh here in MN, anyway, is NOWHERE to be found.  Here we go…. (more…)

Pepperoni, Mushroom and Pepperoncini Pizza with Oregano

Pepperoni, Mushroom and Pepperoncini Pizza
The raw ingredients for this incredible pizza..

THIS just might be THE ONE, MY FAVORITE!!!   It is the perfect hot date dinner, everyone LOVES pizza, right!!  So some pizza, a little wine, maybe a movie or endless chatter is what happens in my kitchen….its the weekend, CHILL!!  Flavors in this pepperoni, mushroom and pepperoncini pizza are on point for that slice you are craving.  Salty, pickley, a little bit spicy with a hint of earthiness from the mushrooms and oregano…try this one friends, everyone will LOVE IT!!  It is that pizza that screams Italian, it screams original and it will have you thinking about it long after you make it.  Another plug for home cooking and the freedom it gives you to control ingredients you are using and feeding to your family.  Pay attention to the sources of ingredients and the ingredient lists on packages.  If you are unsure what some or most of the listed ingredients are then find a better ingredient.   (more…)

BBQ Chicken Pizza with Grilled Corn and Red Onions

BBQ Chicken Pizza
I mean…seriously, how good does this look??  If you love BBQ chicken you will LOVE this pizza and so will anyone you make it for..

As I think I have mentioned, we LOVE pizza of all kinds and make different types all the time based on who is asking for what.  This BBQ chicken pizza is the perfect balance of sweet, salty and cheesy.  I love to use fresh corn on the cob whenever possible and on this pizza is no exception.  The chicken breasts and red onion are grilled so throw the corn on as well.  The charred, caramelized flavor that the grill provides to the chicken, corn and onion really make this pizza pop.  Try this one next time it is pizza night at your house OR make a little extra chicken next time  you BBQ to use on this one.   (more…)

Grilled Chicken and Peaches with Corn and Tomato Salad

Grilled Chicken and Peach Salad
Fresh and grilled with a touch of sweet, a touch of sour and a touch of heat…perfection

WE HAVE ARRIVED….it is that time of the summer which is so bittersweet, we are past the halfway point (which in my mind is mid July), but fresh,  sweet corn is appearing everywhere!!  This grilled chicken and peach salad with corn and tomatoes is what summer should taste like.  This salad is so fresh!!  The char from the grill, the sweetness of the peaches, corn and tomatoes, the tang from the lime zest and juice and the heat from the cayenne make this one of the most delicious combinations I have ever tasted.   Not to mention, taking it over the top with the addition of some garden fresh torn mint.  Amazing friends, TRY THIS ONE!! (more…)

Turkey and Black Bean Taco Salad

Turkey and black bean taco salad
Taco salad anyone??

Everyone LOVES a taco salad and this turkey and black bean salad is a quick, easy and healthy version.  Turkey and black beans are great sources of lean protein and the beans also provide a ton of fiber.   Onion and garlic along with some spices provide excellent taco flavor.  Using spices individually vs a spice packet allows you to control the amount of sodium and the specific ingredients added to your food.  Try this combination and you’ll forget about those packets for good.  This turkey and black bean combination can be made 1-3 days in advance and reheated as needed. (more…)

Greek Chicken Salad with Fresh Cucumber and Herbs

Greek Chicken Salad
Perfect for a picnic or to have as a quick meal for your busy week..

Are you in need of a picnic idea for this upcoming, beautiful summer weekend?  A BUSY week and no time to cook?  This Greek chicken salad is what you need to make.  It is packed with healthy protein from the chicken breasts and Greek yogurt, jazzed up with the addition of fresh dill, parsley and oregano and did I mention FETA??  Quick, easy and so delicious, you will make this one again and again. (more…)