A Taste For Spice »

Masthead header

Tag Archives: dinner ideas

BALSAMIC DIJON CHUCK ROAST

Who doesn’t love food that gives you a hug from the inside on these cooler nights? Or ONE POT MEALS? Are you tight for time? Don’t feel like standing in the kitchen long? Use a slow cooker or if you don’t have one, a dutch oven! Okay, this recipe is one of your answers of all possible options. It’s a nice rendition on a standard slow cooked chuck roast and I’m sure you’ll love it. So, if you’re going to be gone all day and want to walk in the door with dinner ready then, go the slow cooker method on low for 8hrs. Otherwise, you can do all the same quick prep work, put it in a dutch oven, and walk away for about 3 hours. Either way, you can’t mess this up!

If you plan on having guests over, this is a great way to have great food. You’ll be able to spend more time with your guests and focus on any of the other food items you plan to prepare. Personally, I’m a sucker for anything made in big batches because I love the convenience of leftovers. I love having days where I can dive deep into all the things I need and want to do where having something I can reheat quickly doesn’t take a lot of my time. Before you tackle this greatness make sure you use a decent quality balsamic vinegar. It doesn’t have to be super expensive but select your cooking balsamic like you would select your red wine. If you can’t imagine enjoying a particular balsamic vinegar in a dressing then you won’t enjoy cooking with it. If you don’t know what to select, my favorite go-to is Gran Reserva Balsamic Vinegar of Modena by Lucini.

Because this dish is very meat centric, you can keep this fairly low carb with a few baby golden potatoes and carrots. Also, feel free to add your own flare to this. Some times I like slicing a bunch of fresh garlic cloves in half and tossing it in the pot. Add more spices or other favorite veggies if you want. When it comes to one pot meals like this, you can add in anything you like. One of my favorites is rough chopped fennel. But when it comes to leftovers, you can totally slice the meat up super fine like shown in the images, make a beef sandwich, add Italian sweet cherry peppers, dip it into the au jus, and slather some damn good horseradish. You see what I’m saying? Okay good! Happy eatings!

Print Recipe
BALSAMIC DIJON CHUCK ROAST
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Rub both sides of the meat with salt. Drizzle a large pan with olive oil over high heat and sear each side of the chuck roast for about 3 minutes to get a nice crust.
  2. Place the chuck roast in a slow cooker or dutch oven.
  3. Saute the onions with garlic powder in the drippings over medium-high heat in the same large pan that you seared the meat in. After two minutes, add the balsamic vinegar. Let simmer and stir frequently until it becomes syrupy.
  4. Turn heat off and stir in the Dijon mustard. Add this balsamic Dijon mixture in with the meat. Throw in the thyme sprigs, baby potatoes, whole carrots, salt, pepper, and the beef broth.
  5. Cover and let it cook on low for 8 hours in a slow cooker. Or about 3 hours on 300 F degrees in the oven.
  6. Add the sliced mushrooms an hour before done.

SHEPHERD’S PIE

Oh man, you guys are gonna love this one! But first let me confess how I’ve been spelling Shepherd’s Pie as “Shepard’s Pie” for a while now and no one ever corrected me! As I got started typing up this food blog entry I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to double check the spelling. Glad I did! I’m kinda hoping I’m not alone in this LOL! Okay, so seriously I’m not exaggerating. You-guys-will-LOVE-this! This makes a big batch and depending on the size of your family, you could have the best tasting leftovers for DAYS.

This is truly a Shepherd’s Pie because I use ground lamb. Trust me, I tried ground beef the first time and it’s not the same as the best Shepherd’s Pie you’ve ever had wherever that may be. It must be lamb. Not half lamb, ALL ground lamb. If you’re hesitant to try lamb because you think it’s funky, let me reassure you that if you’re going to try ground lamb for the first time or give it another chance, this is the absolute way to go. I’m not just saying that, promise. Now that has been established, if you insist using ground beef or any other red meat by all means go for it… I do believe that changes it to a Cottage Pie though. This is important to know in case you do some traveling.

If you’re looking to make this meal low-carb, you just simply replace the mashed potatoes with your favorite cauliflower mashed potatoes recipe. There are tons of different recipes out there you can choose from but personally, I would just make my cauliflower mash the same way I would as my usual Red Skin Mashed Potatoes recipe. Just keep your eye on the amount of liquid when making them to get the right texture you want your cauliflower mash to be. As for using real potatoes, I keep the skin for extra fiber, vitamins, minerals, and all that jazz but feel free to peel them. Keeping the skin saves on time too!

You’ll see that I use quite a bit of Worcestershire sauce than your typical recipe. I have reasons! Any time I’ve used a few dashes or a few teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce to a recipe, I can’t taste it! It does nothing! Hardly at least. I want a big punch of flavor because that’s what comfort food is about. So just a heads up, start off not using salt at all. Maybe use half the amount of Worcestershire sauce to start, do a taste test. You can add more towards the end and also add salt to taste. It’s the only way you’re gonna master what you believe is the best Shepherd’s Pie!

One last thing, you can make this a day ahead. Just put the meat at the bottom of the baking pan, top with the mashed potatoes. When you’re ready to bake it, just pull it out of the fridge, top it with the cheese and bake. Some times I’ve made the meat filling ahead so that all I need to do was make the mashed potatoes or vice versa. It works in all ways.

Print Recipe
SHEPHERD'S PIE
Servings
servings
Ingredients
MEAT FILLING
MASHED POTATOES
Servings
servings
Ingredients
MEAT FILLING
MASHED POTATOES
Instructions
MEAT FILLING
  1. Saute the carrots and onion with the olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Once the onions start to become softened after a few minutes, add the garlic. If the pan is starting to get dry, add a little more olive oil.
  2. Add the ground lamb, rosemary, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Using a wooden spoon break up the ground lamb into small pieces letting it brown through.
  3. Once the lamb is nearly cooked through add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, flour, and half of the vegetable stock. Stir every thing really well. Let the stock cook down most of the way and add the rest. Stir frequently, reduce the heat and let everything simmer for about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add the peas and salt to taste if needed. Turn off heat and set aside.
MASHED POTATOES
  1. Place the cubed potatoes in a large pot, fill with water until it's about an inch above the potatoes. Bring to a boil and stir every so often.
  2. Strain the potatoes once they're softened. Turn off the heat. Place the pot back on the stove and add the butter. Pour the strained potatoes on top of the butter, add the pepper, milk, and half of the vegetable stock. Mash the potatoes to your desired consistency.
  3. Add more milk and/or stock as needed to avoid the potatoes from drying. Stir. Add more salt and pepper to taste as well.
ASSEMBLE
  1. Place the meat filling evenly in a 9" x 11" (or 9" x 13") baking dish.
  2. Then, top it with an even layer of the mashed potatoes.
  3. Top the mashed potatoes with an even layer of the shredded sharp white cheddar cheese.
  4. Bake at 400 F degrees for about 15 minutes or until everything is bubbling and the top is golden.

BEEF & ARUGULA PASTA

You can spend all the time in the world cooking in the kitchen making amazing food but you can also do so in a short amount of time too. This is one of those go-to dishes for something quick but elegant. I LOVE using filet mignon for this recipe the most but you can use any kind of cut you like. I’ve tried flank steak and it works fantastic so long as you slice against the grain. Also, if you’re watching your red meat intake, feel free to use chicken breast instead.

I’ve made slightly different variations of this recipe such as caramelized onions or none at all, saute mushrooms for more heartiness. You can replace the arugula with fresh baby spinach instead. It’s just as amazing. And as always, feel free to add or replace with any other of your favorite veggies. There’s no wrong way to make it taste good!

Print Recipe
BEEF & ARUGULA PASTA
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the packaging.
  2. In a bowl whisk together the balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, the remaining herbes de provence, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Cover the steak both sides with 1 tablespoon of herbes de provence, garlic powder, salt, and pepper by patting it firmly into the meat.
  4. In an iron skillet on medium-high heat, drizzle the bottom of the skillet with olive oil and sear the steak on both sides for about 5 - 7 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the steak. Then, let it finish in the oven at 400 F degrees for about 5 - 15 minutes depending on the thickness. When done, let the steak rest for about 10 minutes.
  5. In a large, deep sauté pan cook the onions in olive oil until they become translucent. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and sauté for another 5 minutes or until the onions are caramelized.
  6. Slice the steak thin into bite sized pieces.
  7. Toss the cooked pasta, steak, and arugula in with the onions and sun-dried tomatoes. Then add the balsamic vinegar mixture together. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil generously all across the top, about 1/4 cup and gently fold everything together until everything is well coated in the balsamic sauce.
  8. Serve with pecorino Romano cheese.

BALSAMIC CHICKEN SANDWICH

To make your grilling experience a little healthier by way of veggies simply add a few of your favorites to compliment the main attraction. Often times people do a cookout slapping whatever meat in between bread with a few wet condiments and call it a meal. Here’s a great sandwich that bursts with flavor and of course super easy to make. It only takes a few extra minutes to slice your onions and fresh mozzarella. Everything else can be applied to the sandwich without prep work. You can always make the spread days ahead of time, it’s much more flavorful that way anyways. Of course you can do this with any other meat you prefer and if you’re going low carb, wrap it up in some hearty lettuce to replace the bread. This easy balsamic marinade will go with practically anything. Enjoy!


Print Recipe
BALSAMIC CHICKEN SANDWICH
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Marinate the chicken cutlets in a bowl with the balsamic vinegar, sugar, and sea salt for at least one hour or even over night if you like.
  2. In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, sundried tomatoes, basil, garlic powder and pepper. Set asid
  3. Grill the chicken cutlets for about 2-3 minutes on each side over medium-high heat.
  4. Put some of the spread on one side of a hoagie roll and assemble it with the chicken, red onion, roasted bell pepper, mozzarella, and spinach.

GINGER BEEF STIR FRY

You know as much as I love being in the kitchen cooking all sorts of things, there are those busy days that don’t include test cooking and all I want is something quick and easy to set my days at ease. I’m a big fan of making meals that don’t require a whole lot of time so I can make time for other things in life. Says the moderation queen LOL! Anyways, this dish should only take 20 minutes including prep work. Get your rice cooking first so that by the time you’re done with the meat, it’s ready to go.

Make it spicy with some red pepper flakes when cooking or add Sriracha in the end. Feel free to use chicken or shrimp instead if you prefer. These are such universal flavors that it will go with anything even if you’re vegan/vegetarian and want to use tofu or a bunch of different veggies. The options are endless so make it exactly how you want it!

Print Recipe
GINGER BEEF STIR FRY
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Slice the meat very thin against the grain and place in a large glass bowl.
  2. In another bowl whisk together the soy sauce, sherry, dark brown sugar, arrowroot powder, and ginger. Pour half of the marinade over the meat and mix everything together really well.
  3. Drizzle a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat and saute the snow peas and shredded carrot for two minutes.
  4. Remove the veggies onto a plate and add the marinated meat and half the green onions. Let it cook undisturbed for about two minutes then stir. Let it cook for a few more minutes until it's a minute from being cooked through.
  5. Add the snow peas and shredded carrot back into the skillet with the meat, pour the remaining marinade, stir and let cook for one last minute.
  6. Garnish with the rest of the green onions and serve over jasmine rice.
Recipe Notes

To make this a diabetic friendly meal, avoid the rice and replace with additional veggies of your choice. I love adding broccoli and water chestnuts.