0 Beef & Noodles - Family Favorite Crockpot Recipe

13 January 2014

Beef & Noodles

Serves 8 adults


5 pounds stew beef
8-10 cups beef broth
1/2 bottle red wine
1 onion, sliced thin
8 large carrots, cut into thirds
8 celery stalks, cut into thirds
1 garlic clove minced
2 package Boursin herb cheese
2 packages pappardelle egg noodles
kosher salt
gravy flour
olive oil


  1. Prep large crockpot and plug in on low.
  2. Add stew beef, wine, onion, 6 carrots, 8 celery stalks, garlic, pinch of kosher salt, 1/2 tsp pepper. Add enough beef broth to cover the meet. Stir to combine.
  3. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. If you are leaving the crockpot unattended, add extra beef broth - a cup or two. You can also cook this on high for 5-6 hours.
  4. Your meat is done when you spoon out a piece and it pulls apart on its own. Remove the large pieces of carrot and celery. Dice the cooked celery and carrots into bite-size slices. Slice the other two carrots and add to crockpot to soften.
  5. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Cook noodles according to package directions until they are al dente. If the noodles are in long pieces, break apart to about 2-3 inch pieces before cooking.
  6. Add both boursin cheese packages to crockpot and stir until melted and combined.
  7. While the noodles are cooking, you will make the sauce thicker. Start by laddeling a few spoonful of just the liquid from the beef into a medium bowl. Add 1-2 tablespoons of gravy flour. Mix until no clumps. Add this back to the crockpot and stir to combine. Repeat 2-3 times until gravy is a little thicker - not "turkey gravy thick" but not soup thin. Somewhere in between. You may need to add additional beef broth to get to the consistency you prefer.
  8. Drain noodles, leaving about 4 tablespoons of the boiled water in pot. Toss cooked noodles with the water in the pot. This helps the noodles not stick to each other.
  9. Plate in low bowls by putting the noodles on the bottom and topped with a helping of the beef and gravy. Optional topping is Italian Parsley.
  10. Enjoy! This meal (minus the noodles) freezes really well!

0 Beef and Butternut Squash Stew

09 September 2013


"Wow! Smells great, babe! What's for dinner?"

"Beef and butternut squash stew," she replied.

"I don't think I like stews."

She handed him his bowl. "Add a sprinkle of Italian parsley and freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano."

"I like cheese!" he said with a skeptical smile.

He finishes his bowl of stew and sets his spoon down. "I'm getting seconds. This is amazing, babe! And I don't even like stew!"

Beef and Butternut Squash Stew

4-6 servings

adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 pounds stew beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup Marsala wine
  • 3 1/2 cups 2-inch cubed butternut squash (raw)
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes - no oil
  • 3-4 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
  • optional - Parmesan Reggiano
  • optional - fresh baguette for serving

  1. In a heavy bottom soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, rosemary leaves and thyme. Sautee until onions are tender - about 4 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the flour, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Mix.
  4. Dredge the beef cubes in the salt and pepper until coated - doesn't have to evenly coat, just lightly.
  5. Turn the stove heat to medium-high and add the beef cubes.
  6. Cook about 5 minutes until the beef edges are mostly brown - toss with a wooden spoon often.
  7. Add the Marsala wine. Using the wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any brown bits. The bits will blend into the stew, however if you don't scrape them now, they will burn.
  8. Add the butternut squash and sun-dried tomatoes. Stir to combine.
  9. Add enough beef broth to cover the meat. Stir. Add more beef broth if necessary.
  10. Bring stew to a boil then reduce to low, add the lid and simmer for 1 hour. Stir occassionally during the hour, scraping any pieces from the bottom of the pan.
  11. At one hour, taste a piece of meat and butternut squash. Add salt and pepper in small quantities if needed.
  12. Serve the stew in low bowls. Sprinkle each serving with some chopped parsley and freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano.

Cook's Notes
  • Optional Serving Suggestion - Serve with a warmed, crusty baguette. I like to put the baguette in the center of the table on a cutting board and let guests tear off chunks. On a weeknight, I don't usually serve bread with this dish as it is hearty.
  • Salad Serving Suggestion - Pair with a basic, non-fishy, Caesar salad or mixed greens, tomatoes and creamy balsamic dressing.
  • Make this dish for company! It presents well and can be made ahead, then reheated. This dish freezes very well!

2 Simple Kale Salad

17 April 2013

Kale Salad

If you like kale, you'll love this salad! Add grilled chicken or steak to make a more filling meal. Shallots are also a delicious addition! This salad takes less than 5 minutes to prep and will keep for 24 hours in the fridge. Be sure you give the kale a gentle massage after you add the lemon juice and olive oil; it helps break it down and absorb the flavors. I prefer green kale for this salad. Enjoy!

Simple Kale Salad

Serves 2 entree or 4 side

  • 1 head green kale, rinsed, stems removed and torn into pieces
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • 1-2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil (I like to use tangerine olive oil, but regular is good, too)
  • small handful of sun-dried tomatoes
  • small handful of toasted walnut pieces
  • small handful of feta
  • salt
  • pepper

  1. Massage lemon juice and olive oil into kale for about 30 seconds. Be gentle!
  2. Add other ingredients.
  3. Toss.
  4. Enjoy!

6 Roadside Chicken Tacos

21 January 2013

Roadside Chicken Tacos

A few years ago I stumbled on a PBS food show - "Mexico One Plate at a Time" with Rick Bayless. The salsa episode. Chunky salsa. Roasted salsa. Chipotle Tomatillo Salsa. He was talking my language - Mexican food made with healthy, whole, and fresh ingredients that my local grocery store sells. I immediately ordered his latest cookbook, Mexican Everyday. As the Amazon preview aptly states, "Mexican Everyday is written with the time sensitivities of modern life in mind." I've cooked about half the recipes in the book, each one being a dish that Mr. Rauth and I want to eat for the entire week. Even better? Mexican Everyday has some fifty main dish recipes,  all of which are meals on their own and most require less than 30 minuets of hands-on time.

The Grilled Roadside Chicken is a staple for us. I always have the ingredients and I always make twice as much meat as we will eat in one meal. You can grill the chicken or bake it - I do both, depending on the day (above is baked). Rick's original recipe calls for grilling a whole chicken - I rarely use a whole chicken. I prefer using boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but have also used bone-in thighs, wings and breasts. I like to serve all the fixings on one large platter (or cutting board) - this is the perfect meal for casual, family dining. Put the platter in the  middle of the table or picnic blanket and everyone grabs their desired taco fixings.

Grilled Roadside Chicken

adapted from Mexican Everyday
marinade makes enough for 1 - 1/2 pounds of boneless chicken breasts or bone-in pieces or one 3-pound whole bird

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground ancho chili powder or valle del sol chili powder (available at Whole Foods)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • heaping 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 - 1 1/2 pounds of chicken
--serving ingredients--
  • corn tortillas
  • Cotija cheese - comes in a disk, use a fork to crumble
  • thinly sliced cabbage
  • chopped onions
  • chopped cilantro
  • salsa
  • sour cream

Directions for Baking
  1. In a large Ziploc bag, combine chili powder, dried oregano, cloves, cinnamon, garlic, apple cider vinegar, orange juice and salt. Zip the bag and squish with your hands to combine the ingredients.
  2. Add the chicken to the bag with the marinade inside. Zip the bag. Shake or massage to cover chicken in marinade.
  3. Let marinade for at least 30 minutes. You can marinade overnight or freeze the uncooked chicken in the marinade, too.
  4. Turn oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Prep a baking dish with non-stick spray.
  6. Place chicken in the baking dish and bake for 40-55 minutes, until juices run clear. A note on baking chicken - your baking time is all dependent on how cold your chicken is to start. I start checking the chicken around 35 minutes to be sure that I don't over bake and dry out the chicken. Sometimes my chicken is done in 35 minutes, most of the time it's between 40-55 minutes.
  7. Remove chicken from oven and cover with foil. Let it rest for about 5 minutes (basically the time it takes you to put the serving ingredients on a platter or cutting board).
  8. Place chicken on a platter or cutting board and slice thinly (if chicken breasts) or leave whole (if bone-in).
  9. Serve with a bunch of forks for easy taco making.

Directions for Grilling
  1. In a large Ziploc bag, combine chili powder, dried oregano, cloves, cinnamon, garlic, apple cider vinegar, orange juice and salt. Zip the bag and squish with your hands to combine the ingredients.
  2. Add the chicken to the bag with the marinade inside. Zip the bag. Shake or massage to cover chicken in marinade.
  3. Let marinade for at least 30 minutes. You can marinade overnight or freeze the uncooked chicken in the marinade, too.
  4. Heat grill on high until hot.

  5. Turn grill to medium/medium low and place chicken on the grill. Grill for 7-9 minutes each side, until juices run clear. A note on grilling chicken - your grilling time is all dependent on how cold your chicken is to start and how thick the meat cut is. Start with 7 minutes each side, check juices and do another 1-2 minutes total based on the juice color.
  6. Remove chicken from the grill and cover with foil. Let it rest for about 5 minutes (basically the time it takes you to put the serving ingredients on a platter or cutting board).
  7. Place chicken on a platter or cutting board and slice thinly (if chicken breasts) or leave whole (if bone-in).
  8. Serve with a bunch of forks for easy taco making.

Cook's Notes
  • Chili Powder - Be sure you get one of the two chili powders listed. They have a Mexican/Latin flavor that regular chili powder does not.
  • Oregano - I typically use regular dried oregano because that's always in my spice cupboard. If you have Mexican oregano, that is preferred.
  • Cinnamon - I use Penzeys Cinnamon, which is a blend of four types of cinnamon (China cinnamon, Vietnamese cinnamon, Korintje cinnamon and Ceylon - Mexican - cinnamon). This blend gives the dish fantastic, complex flavor. You can also use Mexican cinnamon - Ceylon cinnamon.
  • Orange juice - I never have a container of orange juice, but I always have oranges. =)
**I am not being compensated to recommend Mexican Everyday. The Amazon link above is not an affiliate link. Mexican Everyday is a cookbook that I use regularly, recommend and gift all the time! Oh - take the book jacket off, it's a great orange and green hardcover!

8 Better than Take-out Pasta

15 January 2013

Better than Take-out Pasta

During my weekly grocery store trip, I managed to forget three main ingredients for the soup I was going to make tonight and somehow came home with a bag of frozen asparagus and container of creme fraiche that I didn't add to my cart. I realized the asparagus and creme fraiche while putting away the groceries. Actually, Mr. Rauth discovered them because I don't buy frozen asparagus and he wanted to know what I was baking with the creme fraiche. Smart man.

Those two mystery items came in handy when I realized, as I was prepping ingredients for the soup, that I didn't said soup ingredients. That frozen asparagus and creme fraiche made dinner so tasty that my orange-chicken-and-fried-rice-loving husband declared this dinner better than takeout and put dibs on the leftovers.


Better than Take-out Pasta

serves 4

  • 1 package spinach and chive pasta (or any type of linguine pasta)
  • 8-12 ounce package of frozen asparagus, thawed, and stems removed so you only have the tips (about the top 2 inches or so of each spear)
  • 4-6 ounces of white mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons of julienned sun-dried tomatoes (I like the kind in olive oil)
  • 3-4 artichoke hearts (not marinated)
  • 6 ounces of fresh baby spinach
  • 3-5 tablespoons creme fraiche (post edit - use goat cheese or cream cheese if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • pinch of crushed garlic
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  1. Bring a pot of water to boil large enough to cook the pasta in.
  2. In a non-stick pan, heat the olive oil.
  3. Add asparagus, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, pinch of crushed garlic, pinch of kosher salt and pepper.  Sauteed until the mushrooms are tender. About 10 minutes.
  4. While the veggies are sauteeing, cook the pasta according to directions.
  5. Once veggies are tender, add spinach ontop and let slightly wilt while you drain the pasta.
  6. Return the pasta to the cooking pot. Add the vegetables to the pasta. Add creme fraiche, Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir to combine and melt cheeses and wilt spinach until the leaves are a dark green.
  7. Serve immediately.
Cook's Notes
  • You can roast the asparagus first, too. Take the tips, toss with drizzle of olive oil, dash of kosher salt and pepper. Roast at 400 for about 10 minutes.
  • Add chicken or Italian sausage for those who require meat or to use up some leftovers.

4 Boursin Chive Meatballs, Cauliflower Puree & Marsala Mushrooms


Mr. Rauth and I love Boursin Chive Meatballs - I first blogged the recipe back in May of 2011. They are fantastic! Easy to make, freeze well and always taste delicious. They are a staple in our freezer. When I added it to our Weekly Menu, I wanted to serve it with something healthier than mashed potatoes or pasta. I was nervous about pureed cauliflower - what would it taste like? Texture? Worth the effort?

We spent the entire meal mmming and repeating "this is so good," "this is a make again," "is this really cauliflower puree?"

Pureed Cauliflower (my recipe below) is a new staple in our house. Mr. Rauth says he likes this recipe just as much as mashed potatoes, which is a big deal coming from my meat and potatoes husband.

Boursin Chive Meatballs, Cauliflower Puree & Marsala Mushrooms

makes 20-28 meatballs, depending on size
makes 4 servings of cauliflower puree
makes 4 servings of mushrooms

for the Boursin Chive Meatballs
  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds 85%-90% lean ground beef
  • 3/4 of one 5.2 ounce package of garlic and herb Boursin cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Olive oil cooking spray
for the Cauliflower Puree
  • 2 pounds of cauliflower florets (I buy the bags at Trader Joe's)
  • 1/4 of one 5.2 ounce package of garlic and herb Boursin cheese
  • generous grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano (maybe 3 tablespoons)
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • pinch of pepper
for the Marsala Mushrooms
  • 6 ounces of white or cremini mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • pinch of crushed garlic
  • 4 tablespoons Marsala wine
serving option
serve with chopped Italian Parsley

Directions for the entire meal
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, combine ground beef, Boursin cheese, chives, shallot, salt and pepper. With your hands, mix until combined, but don't overmix or squeeze meat. You want to keep the integrity of the ground beef and just mix the ingredients into the meat.
  3. Roll 1 1/2 inch or so balls from the meat mixture and set onto a plate.
  4. Using a non-stick pan, heat olive oil and spray pan with olive oil cooking spray.
  5. Pull out a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray.
  6. Put a pot of water on the stove to boil - large enough to hold the cauliflower.
  7. In two or three batches, fry the meatballs until they are brown on all sides, but not cooked all the way through. You'll turn the meatballs a few times to get them brown on all the sides. Place the meatballs onto the cookie sheet. Do not drain fat and juices from the non-stick pan.
  8. Once all the meatballs are browned on the outside and on the cookie sheet, put the cookie sheet into the oven and cook for about 20 minutes.
  9. While the meatballs are baking, toss the cauliflower into the boiling water and cook until tender - about 10 minutes.
  10. While the cauliflower is cooking, heat the fat and juices from browning the meatballs and add the olive oil. Add the sliced mushrooms, salt, pepper, garlic and Marsala wine into the pan. Mix to combine and let sautee and juices reduce completely - will take about 10 minutes. Stir periodically when it reduces.
  11. Drain the cauliflower and in batches, puree the cauliflower in your food processor (I use a mini one most often, so batches is how I get it smooth). Put the pureed cauliflower back into the pot you boiled the cauliflower in (and drained the water from already). Add the remainder of the Boursin cheese (1/4 of the package), Parmigiano-Reggiano, a pinch of kosher salt and pinch of pepper. Over very low heat, mix to combine and melt cheese. You can leave this on very low heat for about 15 minutes, as long as you stir frequently so it doesn't burn to the bottom.
  12. Remove the meatballs from the oven.
  13. It is time to plate and eat! Onto the center of the plate, scoop a generous helping of pureed cauliflower. Place several meatballs onto the cauliflower. Top with Marsala mushrooms. Sprinkle some chopped Italian Parsley onto, if desired.
Cook's Notes
  • To only make the meatballs, follow steps 1-5, 7-8 and 12.
  • To only make the cauliflower, follow steps 6, 9 and 11.
  • To only make the Marsala mushrooms, follow step 10. You might need 2 teaspoons of olive oil if you aren't using the liquid from browning the meatballs, but it isn't necessary since you aren't browning the meatballs.

2 Meyer Lemon Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies

20 December 2012

 Meyer Lemon Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies

Crisp, buttery cookie. Sweet, tart Meyer Lemon Curd covered in a decadent cheesecake dollop.

Make these cookies!

They are the perfect one bite dessert. Or breakfast. Or afternoon snack with a cup of Trader Joe's Cinnamon Vanilla Black Tea.

Even better? They freeze really well! Don't let the number of steps deter you from making these. They are simple and worth the effort!

Meyer Lemon Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies 

adapted from Martha Stewart
makes 20 cookies

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sour cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon quality, pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Meyer Lemon Curd
  • Zest from 1 Meyer Lemon for garnish

  1. Using your electric mixer and the whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese at medium for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. You'll need to scrape down the sides periodically.
  2. Add a 1/4 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt to the cream cheese. Beat until smooth.
  3. Add 1 egg yolk, sour cream and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
  4. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  6. Using your electric mixer and the paddle attachment, cream butter and 1/4 cup sugar on medium until combined. You'll need to scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically.
  7. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and one egg yolk and beat until combined.
  8. With mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture, beating until just combined.
  9. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. I used a tablespoon, scooped out the dough (didn't level the dough in the tablespoon) and gently and quickly, rolled into a ball. Place the balls on the parchment lined baking sheet.
  10. With the back of an ice cream scooper, tablespoon, your thumb or wine cork, press in the center of the balls to make an indentation. This is where the Lemon Curd and Cheesecake filling will go, so give it a good press without going all the way to the bottom. See the photo at the bottom.
  11. Bake 10 minutes and remove from the oven.
  12. Using the ice cream scooper, very gently press the indentations down again.
  13. Return the cookie sheet to the oven and bake 7-9 minutes more, just until the edges begin to turn golden.
  14. Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes.
  15. Leave the oven on!
  16. After that 20 minutes, put the cookies back on the cookie sheet. You can fit them all on one sheet this time since they won't spread anymore in their cooking.
  17. Spread about 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of Meyer Lemon Curd into each cookie center. Top with about 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture from the fridge. I used the back of a teaspoon to move it around to cover the entire center well.
  18. Return the cookies to the oven and bake for 7-8 minutes, until the filling is firm. Don't over bake.
  19. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  20. Top with lemon zest.
  21. Refrigerate for at least four hours before serving so the cream cheese sets.
  22. Store in an airtight container in the fridge (5 days) or freezer (3 months).
Cook's Notes
  • Double this recipe! They freeze freeze well and are a great cookie.
  • See my photo below for the depth of my indentations.
  • Don't make the balls too big. The cookie is a soft, buttery cookie. A perfect one-bite cookie.
  • A lime curd and zest would be delicious on this cookie, too. Simply switch lime for lemon in the Meyer Lemon Curd recipe and zest.

Chesecake Thumbprint Cookies
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