Cowboy Casserole

Here is a recipe that we’ve been testing for our hot lunch program. This is the kids version. I think I would throw in some chopped green chilis!I hope they like it!


Cowboy Casserole

Serves 12

1 lb of ground beef
1 small onion, minced
3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs flat leaf parsley
10¾ oz can of tomato soup
15 oz can of corn
3 Tbs dried mustard
32 oz package of tater tots
salt & pepper, to taste
4 cups mozzarella cheese, grated

Brown ground beef with the onions – drain. Then add the Worcestershire sauce, parsley, tomato soup, corn, dried mustard and simmer for about 10 minutes.

In a greased 9×13 baking dish, arrange tater tots in single layer. Cover with 2 cups of cheese. Pour ground beef mixture over top and cover with remaining cheese.

Bake in a 350F oven for 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.


Veal Goulash with Egg Noodles

One of my clients that I personal chef for requested I make this dish. I made this healthy version using non-fat sour cream, no salt, canola oil spray instead of butter and No Yokes Noodles.  It got rave reviews.  Eric wants me to make this for us soon.  I know most people are horrified about using veal, if so, use beef instead.


Veal Goulash with Egg Noodles

Serves 8

4 Tbs unsalted butter
2 lbs veal, cut into 1½ inch cubes
1½ cups onion, sliced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbs paprika
2 Tbs caraway seed, crushed in a mortar with pestle
3 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped
12 oz flat egg noodles, cooked and tossed with 1 Tbs butter

Heat butter in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Pat dry the cubed veal. Sprinkle with salt and add to pan. Working in batches, sauté the meat until the meat is just beginning to brown.

Add the onions to the pan with the veal, cook for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add a teaspoon of salt, a half teaspoon of black pepper, and the tomatoes. Add enough water to just barely cover the meat, about 2 cups or so, depending on the size and shape of your pan.

Increase the heat to bring the mixture to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain a low simmer, uncovered. Cook until the meat is almost cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the veal from the pan to a bowl to temporarily set aside. Increase the heat to high and let the liquid boil until it is reduced by half. Lower the heat to medium. Add the meat back to the pan.

Add the sour cream, paprika, and crushed caraway seeds, and simmer uncovered for another 20 minutes. Stir in parsley.

Serve over egg noodles.

Slow-Cooker Corned Beef & Cabbage

If you’re enough lucky to be Irish… You’re lucky enough!
When our Aunt Ter was with us, she always used to say “It’s such a pretty dinner!” We miss you Aunt Ter, here’s to you!


Slow-Cooker Corned Beef & Cabbage

2-3 lb corned beef brisket with seasoning packet
6 carrots, cut into chunks
8 small white potatoes, cut into quarters
4 turnips, cut into chunks
½ cabbage, cut into wedges

Place the corned beef brisket fat side up in the crockpot. Sprinkle the spice packet evenly over the top. Add enough water to come up 1-inch. Place lid on top of slow cooker and set to HIGH for 4-5 hours, or LOW for 8-10 hours.

If you are cooking it on HIGH, add the carrots, potatoes and turnips after THREE hours. Place lid back on top and continue cooking. Add the cabbage during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.

If you are cooking on LOW, add vegetables after SIX hours. Place lid back on top and continue cooking. Add the cabbage during the last 60 minutes of cooking time.

The corned beef will be done when it is very tender and easily shreds with a fork. The vegetables should be tender, but not mushy. Remove everything from the slow cooker. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and remove the layer of fat on top. Slice the corned beef on an angle against the grain of the meat. Transfer to a large platter and arrange the vegetables along the side.

Serve with grainy mustard, and Irish soda bread.

Note:  If the vegetables don’t fit in the crockpot, put them in a pot on the stove and add several cups of the juice from the corned beef and cook until the vegetables are tender.

Marinade for Kabobs

For Valentine’s Day, I bought my husband a bag of Hardwood Briquettes from Trader Joe’s. Yes, I know, very romantic!  Unlike most of the charcoal on the market, Trader Joe’s 100% All Natural Hardwood Briquettes is made with 100% hardwood that’s sustainably grown and harvested. Most conventional charcoal is loaded with additives. These briquettes have only two ingredients: natural hardwood and cornstarch. It produces very little ash, and since the resulting ash is made up of calcium carbonate and potassium, you can use it as compost for your garden. It also burns longer than most, and lends excellent flavor to grilled food. (Your welcome Trader Joe’s for the free plug!)

I hate going out to dinner on Valentines’ Day. It’s one big scam – over priced, mediocre, prix fixe meals all with a “complimentary” glass of cheap champagne. Ditto New Year’s eve and Mother’s Day. Though on a side note, Mother’s Day is the best day to golf. You’ve got the whole course to yourself!

Anyway, I will stop ranting. I marinated some beef for 24 hours to make beef kabobs. They were delicious.


Marinade for Kabobs

(Beef, Pork, Lamb and Chicken)

1½ cups oil
¾ cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
3 Tbs chopped fresh parsley or 2 tsp dry parsley flakes
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper ( or to taste)
1/2 cup wine vinegar
1 – 2 Tbs fresh minced garlic
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup honey
2 small green onions, chopped (optional)

Put all ingredients into a blender (except the green onions, if using add them in after blending). Blend for 30-40 seconds. Mix in in green onions.

This recipe makes 3-1/2 cups of marinade, but may be stored in the refrigerator tightly covered in a glass container for up to 3 weeks.

Note – marinate the beef, pork or lamb for 8 hours or up to 24 hours chicken up to 8 hours.

Shake Shack ShackBurger

Shake Shack originated as a hot dog cart in Manhattan in 2004 and has now grown to 21 locations across the United States with another 13 international locations.

They are known for their shakes, fries, hot dogs and of course burgers.  The secret to the ShackBurger is the blend of sirloin, chuck and brisket beef.

This is the Shake Shack at Grand Central Station, my favorite building in the world.


Shake Shack ShackBurger

Serves 4

16 oz ground beef (ask your butcher for a mixture of sirloin, chuck and brisket)
2 Tbs butter, melted
4 Martin’s Sandwich Rolls
4 Tbs Shack Sauce (see recipe below)
4 leaves of green-leaf lettuce, clipped
8 center-cut slices ripe plum tomatoes
1/2 tsp vegetable oil
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
4 slices yellow American cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbs ketchup
1 Tbs yellow mustard
4 slices kosher dill pickle
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper

Form into four round patties, about 2-inches tall, and 2.5-inches wide. Refrigerate until ready for use.

Open buns but do not split hinge. Brush lightly with butter, then place under broiler or in toaster oven until golden brown, about 1 minute. Spread 1 tablespoon Shack Sauce on top half of each bun. Place 1 leaf lettuce and 2 slices tomato on top half of each bun.

Rub inside of heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet with vegetable oil, then place over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke. Season beef pucks on top side with salt and pepper, then place, seasoned side down, in skillet. Using back of heavy, flat spatula, press down on beef pucks firmly to form 4-inch round patties, being careful not to let it stick to bottom of spatula. Season top side with salt and pepper. Cook until crisp brown crust has formed about 2-minutes.

Carefully scrape patties from skillet, and flip. Top each patty with 1 slice American cheese. Cook until cheese is melted, about 1 minute longer. Transfer patties to burger bun bottoms, close sandwiches, and serve.

Shack Sauce
Combine all ingredients in blender until smooth, scraping down sides of blender with rubber spatula as necessary. Makes about 3/4 cup sauce.

Dry Rubbed Flank Steak

My daughter, Zoe, requested MEAT for her last meal at home before flying out today to go back to the east coast. However, her flight was cancelled. I guess she’ll get another last meal or should I say last supper! This rub is absolutely delicious, by the way.



Dry Rubbed Flank Steak

Serves 6

1 Tbs ground mustard
1 Tbs onion powder
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp cayenne
¼ tsp allspice
3 lbs flank steak

Preheat a grill pan over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes

Combine the mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, cayenne and allspice in a small bowl. Rub the flank steak all over with the mix and let sit for 10 minutes.

Put the steak on the hot grill and cook 5 minutes per side. Remove and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Sloppy Joes

A sloppy joe is a sandwich, originating in the United States, consisting of ground beef, onions, tomato sauce or ketchup and other seasonings, served on a hamburger bun. It’s a loose meat sandwich!

Several variations of the sloppy joe exist in North America. In Quebec, Canada, a sandwich of stewed ground beef called pain à la viande, which is usually served on a hot dog bun. A similar sandwich, the “dynamite“, exists in the area around Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and is distinguished by the use of onions, bell peppers, and sometimes celery. Since my daughter, Zoe, goes to school in Rhode Island, I am sending her on an expedition! I want a full report!

I have several different sloppy joes recipes (Sloppy Bombay Joes and Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes), but this is the classic.


Sloppy Joes

Serves 4

1 lb ground beef
1 Tbs olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
½ cup ketchup
½ cup tomato sauce
¼ cup water
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
dash of black pepper
Tabasco sauce, to taste (optional)
Hamburger buns

Brown the beef in a skillet and drain the fat. Remove the beef from the pan and set aside. Sauté the onion, celery and green pepper in olive oil until soft.

Stir in remaining ingredients and cook for 10 minutes. Serve on hamburger buns.

Pan Seared New York Strip Steak with Ponzu

My daughter, Zoe, came home from Rhode Island last night for her month long winter break. She said she needed protein! All she eats in the cafeteria is pasta, pizza and peas. This is one of her favorite meals, a simple steak dipped in Ponzu sauce. Ponzu is a Japanese sauce made with lemon juice or rice vinegar, soy sauce, mirin and/or sake, kombu (seaweed) and dried bonito flakes. You can find it at most supermarkets in the Asian section. I was so excited that she is home, that I forgot to take a picture!

New York Strip Steak


Pan Seared New York Strip Steak with Ponzu

extra-virgin olive oil
sirloin steaks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
ponzu sauce

Oil the steaks, coating them on both sides with about 1 tablespoon for each steak. Season the steaks generously with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a cast-iron skillet over high heat, cook for about 3 minutes on the first side and about 2½ minutes on the second side for rare, depending on thickness and desired doneness. They should be deep golden brown. Transfer the steaks to a plate to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Beef & Broccoli in a Crockpot

I have been really busy lately and needed something to throw in the crockpot. This is so easy and delicious. It gets rave reviews.

I used my new crockpot. The handle broke off my old Rival crockpot. I contacted the company and ask them if I could have a new handle. They said that they would just send you a new one! Talk about customer service!

I could not find beef consommé at the store, so I used beef broth. I googled the difference between the two and this is what came up, which is obnoxious!

The distinctions between stock, broth and consommé are not immediately obvious to the layperson.

Broth is made by simmering vegetables or meat and bones for some time, until the flavor of the simmered food has infused the water. The stock or broth is then usually poured through a strainer to remove most of the particles, bones, skin, and the meat. It’s used this way, with no further processing.

Consommé is cleared by adding a step: after sieving as above, egg whites are added to the hot broth or stock. As the egg whites cook, they precipitate into the stock, and begin to bind with some of the particles in the broth. They then rise to the top, appearing as scum or foam. Once the foam cap has formed, pouring off the broth from below, while leaving the cap undisturbed will produce consommé – a broth as clear of suspended particles as water.



Beef & Broccoli in a Crockpot

1 lb boneless beef chuck roast, sliced into thin strips
1 cup beef consommé
½ cup soy sauce
⅓ cup brown sugar or honey
1 Tbs sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs cornstarch
2 Tbs cooled sauce from the crock pot after being cooked

Fresh broccoli florets (as many as desired)
Hot cooked rice

Place beef in a crock pot.

In a small bowl, combine consommé, soy sauce, brown sugar/honey, oil, and garlic. Pour over beef. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

In a cup, stir cornstarch and sauce form the crock pot until smooth. Add to crock pot. Stir well to combine. (If your sauce is not thickening, try bringing your sauce to a boil on the stovetop with the corn starch mixture. Boil until your desired consistency is reached).

Add broccoli to the crock pot. Stir to combine.

Cover and cook an additional 30 minutes on high.

Serve over hot cooked rice.