Maureen Fraîche

Mixing Business and Pleasure in the Kitchen

Archive for the category “Beef”

Meaty Mac

Meaty Mac

Cooler temps are just around the bend and already I’m in the mood for some gooey comfort food.  The stick-to-yer-ribs type.

This recipe fit the bill splendidly.  Though it surely ain’t sexy, it is totally delicious.  We’re talkin’ perfectly seasoned ground beef folded into creamy, homemade macaroni and cheese and then baked until bubbly.  I kept it simple this time around, but you could easily add sauteed veggies, different spices–whatever your heart desires.  You could also swap in ground chicken or turkey for the beef and a whole grain mac, such as Barilla Plus, for the regular variety.

So next time you’re looking for something cozy–or just a new way to use that ground beef–give this recipe a whirl.  It’s sure to please anyone from your favorite football fan to those angelic children of yours.

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Pepper-Crusted Top Sirloin with Pinot Noir and Dried Cherries

Pepper-Crusted Top Sirloin with Pinot Noir and Dried Cherries

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so I thought it might be fun to post something to impress your sweet darling…or roommate.  Whatever.

Pan sauces are such an easy way to make any ole’ dinner special.  And, though it may seem like a little extra work, that deglazing will actually save you time come clean-up when you don’t have a crusty pan to hack away at.

I served this up to my man and the pack of monkeys just a few nights ago (I skipped the pepper crust for the kiddos’ meat) along with some star pasta (again, because I loves the kiddos) and steamed veggies.  Not a bite was left for breakfast, so I’d consider that a win!

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The Spaghetti Sub

Spaghetti Sub

Howdy folks.

So let me tell you about this beast of a sandwich.  You might be thinking to yourself, What sort of crazy person makes a spaghetti sub??  Honestly, I had never even heard of such a thing, though apparently they do exist and even have quite a little following at the restaurants that offer them.  I think the idea actually came to us one night over a spaghetti dinner.  We were sitting there happily slurping our spaghetti and wiping our plates with crusty bread when the husband had a flash of genius.  Why not stuff a loaf of garlic bread with the spaghetti? The conversation then quickly turned to a better garlic bread, great sauce, and–the crowning glory–bubbly mozzarella cheese.

So here it is.

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Mongolian Beef with Broccoli

Mongolian Beef with Broccoli

This is so delicious.  I would say it’s like your favorite Chinese take-out, but it’s probably better.  Stir-fried strips of steak, lightly steamed broccoli, and crisp water chestnuts are tossed in a sweet and savory sauce with just the right amount of heat for a quick dinner any night of the week.  This time around, I happened to serve it atop udon noodles, though I’ve often done rice instead.  Either way, you are going to love it.

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Lasagne al Forno

Lasagne

Lasagne al Forno.  So delicious.  Homemade ragu bolognese, fresh pasta, creamy balsamella, nutty parmigiano throughout with a sprinkling of mozzarella to top things off–this dish is so worth the effort and the leftovers are amazing.

If you’ve been following my posts leading up to this grand finale, you’ve had a sweet peek into each of the delicious ingredients in this authentic Italian lasagne.  Yes, this dish is a labor of love, but the results are nothing short of delizioso.

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Beef Gyros with Tzatziki

Beef Gyro

I wish I could somehow post the smell of this marinated beef.  I need to dab my chin just thinking about it.  Of course, I’ve always had a thing for the smell of wine-soaked cuisine…though I’m more of a beer drinker than a wine-bibber.  Go figure.

So anyway, on to the recipe!  I wanted to do something particularly delicious for Valentine’s Day, so I thought I’d whip up something a la Grecque for dinner.  The menu?  Beef gyros with tzatziki dressing.  Homemade hummus.  Marinated goat cheese.  Tapas.  Everything turned out just loverly and I hope next time you’ve got the craving for a little Mediterranean cuisine, you’ll give these a try.  The great thing with a dinner like this is that it can be as easy or fussy as you want it to be.  Most grocery stores now offer all sorts of ready-to-eat tapas, from marinated cheeses to a variety of olives and preserved veggies.  Personally, I almost always have a huge jar of marinated artichoke hearts in the fridge for just such an occasion (though if I’m honest, I have them for an afternoon snack on an almost daily basis).  For this particular dinner, I happened to make the hummus, tzatziki, and marinated goat cheese, but you could put together a lovely meal with store-bought items and significantly less work.  Do what makes you happy and keeps the peace in your house, I say.

Allow me a small reminiscence here.

I very clearly remember the first time I had goat cheese.  I had just started working at the Pasta & Co. on Queen Anne and a co-worker offered me a bite of something on a cracker.  I’d describe the taste like a slap in the face, except I don’t think I’d enjoy being slapped in the face.  It was all at once tangy, pungent, savory, salty…purely delicious.  What my co-worker had given me was a bite of our house-marinated Chevre.  You’ll understand when I say I immediately purchased several slices of the stuff to take home after my shift.  The marinade was really an amazing thing–extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, salt and pepper.  Though the ingredients were simple, the flavors together somehow seemed greater than its parts.  Since I had some fresh goat cheese just waiting patiently in the fridge, I decided I would try to duplicate my experience from memory.  While I’m sure it wasn’t exact, the results were delicious just the same.  I will share that one with you in a separate post.  But for now, bring on the beef!

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Italian Braised Beef

Nothing beats a delicious braise on a cold, rainy day.  And, though you might be tempted by the relative ease of a Crock Pot, nothing beats the performance of enameled cast iron.  Yes, there are often more steps involved and you can’t simply dump your ingredients and hit the ‘on’ button, but the exchange in flavor development is immeasurable.  Now, lest I be caught out on this one, I am sure that at some point, I’ll post a Crock Pot recipe.  But not today.  Vive Le Creuset!

This recipe is an adaptation of Giada’s Short Ribs with Tagliatelle.  Though I do enjoy short ribs, they can be rather fatty and I can’t say I relish getting a mouthful of fat goobers when I’m expecting a bite of meat.  Chuck offers nice flavor and is much leaner.  I’ve also adjusted the braising liquid to my taste–that is, more wine, less beef broth.  Finally I really prefer to braise in the oven versus on the stove top.  Not only does it keep my stove top clear for the cooking of other dishes, but the heat is much more even and consistent.

If you happen to be watching your waistline, definitely add this recipe to your line-up.  Forget about low-cal meals with lackluster flavor; though wonderfully rich and satisfying, this dish clocks in at a modest 525 calories when served with 1 cup of pasta.

Click here for the recipe!

Savory Supper Pie

Next time you need something cozy for dinner, make this.  Pretentious?  No.  Delicious?  Oh yes.  Sauteed onions and leek with ground beef baked beneath a cheesy scone crust…doesn’t that just sound good on a bleary day?  My particular take on this little number was very much inspired by Nigella Lawson’s Supper Onion Pie, found in one of my favorite cookbooks, How to be a Domestic Goddess

One thought–I used ground beef because it was quick, easy, and on hand.  What would take this dish to the next level would most definitely be some braised beef, perhaps leftover from Beef Burguignon?  That would truly be amazing and I have a feeling I’ll be cooking up some extra beef with that in mind next time Julia’s famous recipe calls my name.

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Teriyaki Udon with Beef or Chicken

My family loves this dish.  Stir-fried veggies, a good dose of garlic and ginger, udon noodles, sweet and savory teriyaki sauce–what’s not to love?  I’ve made this a couple times now, once with chicken and today with beef.  In both cases, I marinated the meat for a few hours in teriyaki sauce before throwing onto the grill.  Easy peasy.  For my veg friends, some crispy tofu–fried in the hot pan and then removed before adding the veggies–would most certainly be delicious as well. (Might just make that next time, come to think of it…)

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