The Beau and I have been going in different directions for weeks, so I wanted to make a special Sunday Supper. Whenever I want to make something lovely, I drift toward the incomparable Julia Child and her beef bourguignon, or at least my version of it.

Tonight’s take on the classic French beef stew uses a rioja rather than a burgundy, and has more of an au jus than a stew-y sauce.


5 slices thick cut, uncured bacon, cut into large pieces
4 beef tenderloins, cut into large pieces
1 cup beef stock
1 cup Rioja (Spanish red wine)
1 tbs minced garlic
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tsp dried thyme
1 lb frozen pearl onions
1 lb fresh carrots, peeled, cut long-ways
2 cups crimini mushrooms, cleaned, sliced


How I Made It

Cook the bacon in a non-stick skillet. Transfer the bacon to the slow cooker/crock pot with a slotted spoon. Brown the tenderloin pieces in the bacon fat, and then transfer them with a slotted spoon to the crock pot. Add the frozen pearl onions on top.


Add the wine to the skillet and scrape the brown bits up with a spoon or spatula.  When it starts to bubble and all the bits have been incorporated, add the beef broth.  Then add the garlic, tomato paste, and thyme and stir to combine. Let it cook on medium-high heat for a minute or two before pouring the sauce into the slow cooker.

Cover and let the concoction cook on low heat for 8 hours.  Add the mushrooms at 4 hours, and the carrots an hour or two before the end (depending on how crisp you want them).

Serve over mashed potatoes. If you need more veggies, green beans are a perfect side.

How It Turned Out

The Beau made all sorts of happy sounds at the table, and was quick to take a big bowl of leftovers for his lunch tomorrow.  I think I might like it better than the original, not just because it’s easier but because the sauce is a bit lighter.


Of course, this is not a recipe for some sort of astronaut food.  It is, however, the revelation that prime rib is perhaps the easiest “fancy food” to make.

Go ahead and splurge on a really beautiful rib roast. It will be spendy but it is worth it.

To cook it, place a rack toward the bottom of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees.  Line the bottom of a roasting pan with heavy foil, and place the roasting rack on top of the foil.

Rinse and pat the rib roast dry.  Place it on the rack in the roasting pan.  Season it some, but do not be seduced into using a heavy rub.  A used a basic garlic and herb mix from Spice Islands.

Put the rib roast in the oven and let it cook, uncovered, until it reaches the desired temperature (check out this Prime Rib Cooking Chart).  Mine was 7 pounds and I let it cook about three and a half hours (but we don’t like our meat too rare — the ends were medium, and the middle was medium rare.).

20151225_133757 (2)

That’s it. No fuss, no muss. A decadent meal to share with friends and family (and all the mess in the pan goes straight into the trash).

I served it with Stonewall Kitchen Cranberry Horseradish Sauce (which I love!) and traditional horseradish. Yummy!

(Have you noticed that I don’t always have photos of the food I make, or of the final product before it’s eaten?  That’s because the food is made to be eaten, and too often I forget to grab the camera before everyone starts eating.  For a while I didn’t post a recipe if I didn’t get a “final” photo, but I think I’ll relax a bit about that from now on.)

Fall weather creates a craving for comfort food — especially hot, creamy casseroles. This easy peasy way to make beef stroganoff results in a lovely jubbly homemade meal while you spend the day outside in the pumpkin patch.


1 lb organic grass fed stew beef, cubed
2 cups sliced fresh baby portobello mushrooms
1 cup diced onion (frozen or fresh)
16 ounces organic low sodium or no salt added beef broth
1 tbs organic tomato paste
1 tbs Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp Gourmet Garden garlic paste
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup organic sour cream
egg noodles or other pasta, cooked al dente

How I Made It:

Rinse and pat dry the beef cubes before putting them in the slow cooker.  Cover the beef with the onions and mushrooms.  In a bowl, whisk together the beef broth, Worcestershire, and little dab of garlic.  Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.  Set the slow cooker to low and go play for 6-7 hours.

About half an hour before you’re ready to eat, dissolve the flour in a bit of water. It should be of a consistency between wallpaper paste and milk paint. Stir the flour mixture into the sauce and let it cook for 30 minutes more.  Cook the pasta and then, right before you are ready to serve, stir the sour cream into the sauce and combine thoroughly.

Serve the stroganoff sauce over noodles.  Add a salad or steamed carrots for a balanced meal.

How It Turned Out:

YUM-MEE!  It is satisfyingly creamy, with big chunks of tender beef and rich mushroom flavor. I used veggie noodles, both for the vitamins and the harvest colors.


When you cook for one, you often default to cereal or the microwave instead of cooking something from scratch. recipestarters_mushroom

That’s why finding shortcuts to scrumptious is so important.  This recipe calls for just three ingredients: left over roast (like my walnut oil and sage beef roast or this wonderful bison roast), stroganoff noodles, and a can of Progresso Portabella Mushroom Recipe Starter Sauce.

Heat the left over roast, cut into 1 inch cubes, in the mushroom sauce while you cook the noodles.  Drain the noodles and then combine them with the sauce.

Voila! Single Girl Special Stroganoff!


I know that They will revoke my Feminist Membership when I say this, but . . . I enjoy cooking for Hungry Men. (And toddlers.) You couldn’t ask for a more appreciative audience for your culinary creations. And, they are more than forgiving if your concoction isn’t perfect (as long as there’s Tabasco or ketchup to smother it with, of course).

I made these meatballs with spaghetti for two of my favorite Hungry Men, and they were a big hit.  No Tabasco necessary.

Here’s an In the Kitchen with Kate tip: cooking each meatball separately in a muffin tin shortens the cooking time to just 20-25 minutes.


1 pound ground sirloin
1 pound mild Italian sausage
1 egg
1 cup Progresso Italian style bread crumbs
1 box spaghetti, prepared according to directions
1 jar organic tomato and basil sauce
1 box Pomi strained tomatoes

How I Made Them:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Spray a nonstick muffin tin with olive oil or cooking spray.

Combine the meats with the egg and bread crumbs in a large bowl.  Even though it feels gross, use your hands.  A spoon or spatula won’t do as good a job.  With your hands, form 12 medium-sized meatballs.  You aren’t making meatloaves, just meatballs.  They shouldn’t fill the muffin cups.

Meatballs in the Oven

Bake the meatballs for 20-25 minutes, turning once halfway through so they don’t stick.  Because it’s pretty lean meat, you will not get a lot of oil or fat in the muffin cups.

While the meatballs bake, cook your pasta.  Combine the jarred sauce and the strained tomatoes in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.

When the meatballs are done, serve with the pasta and sauce.

How They Turned Out:

No leftovers and two happy dinner guests.

Spaghetti Meatballs

It’s been a month since I fell and broke my ankle, a month since I planned a dinner party, a month since I cooked anything more exciting than a lean cuisine.  It’s been a very long month.

So I invited my best friend and her family over for Sunday Supper and set out to find something wonderful that I could prepare sitting down or balanced on my knee walker, something that didn’t involve the scary hot stovetop. A little perusal of Pinterest resulted in inspiration from Table for Two‘s crock pot broccoli and beef recipe.  I adjusted it to serve eight, reducing the soy sauce (too much sodium) and adding more vegetables.


2 cups Swanson beef broth
3/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 and 2/3 tbs of Gourmet Garden organic garlic minced garlic paste
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 lbs of beef flank steak, sliced across the grain
4 tbs cornstarch
4 cups fresh organic broccoli florets
2 cups of organic baby carrots, sliced lengthways
1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms

How I Made It:

Whisk the beef broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, and garlic together in the crock pot.  Add the sliced beef and ensure that all the pieces are covered in the cooking liquid.  Cook on low for 6 hours.

With a half hour to go, add the cornstarch by whisking it into a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid and then return it to the crock pot.  Add the broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms and continue cooking for 30 minutes.  You want the veggies cooked by still firm.  Serve over brown rice.

How It Turned Out:

Pretty tasty, this is definitely a recipe I’ll make again.

Beef and Broccoli

Makes 8 servings.
7 Weight Watchers Points Plus per serving.

A lovely holiday or Sunday dinner is just 3 steps and 3 hours away.


5 lb boneless beef top loin roast
salt and pepper
walnut oil
dried bay leaves (8-10)

How I Made It

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Line a roasting pan with non-stick aluminum foil.  Drizzle 1/8 of a cup of walnut oil in the bottom of the pan.  Place the bay leaves in the center of the pan, spacing them a bit but creating a a bed for the roast.

Rinse and pat the roast dry. Place it with the fat layer down on top of the sage and oil.  Season it with salt and pepper, and drizzle just a little more of the oil over it.

Cover the roast with foil and roast for 2 hours.  Roast another 30-45 minutes uncovered, watching so that it doesn’t get too done on the outside.

My family like their meat done medium to charcoal, so I let it roast until the meat thermometer read 135 degrees (it reached 145degrees by the time we were done carving it). This gave us well done ends and a pink but not bloody middle.  Perfect!

Roast Beast

How It Turned Out

I did sacrifice a little tenderness for the ease of making this roast.  It wasn’t dry or tough, but it wasn’t as tender as it would have been with marination or roasting in more liquid.  But with a little red wine sauce, it was just right.  And leftovers were great for a breakfast of steak and eggs.