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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!

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BALSAMIC DIJON CHUCK ROAST
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Ingredients
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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.

BEEF SHORT RIBS RAGU

These hearty one pot meals especially during the Winter is LIFE! I think I get more use out of the slow cooker during the colder months than any other time of year, but with that comes big batch cooking for even tastier leftovers along with really easy prepping so that you can do whatever you need to do for the day while it slowly cooks.

This Beef Short Ribs Ragu recipe is among my favorite next to my Braciole & Italian Sausage recipe. It’s perfect for cold days and also for the holidays. But I’ll admit I’ve made this when it wasn’t cold because it’s that good. And often when I’m being good with my choice of eats, I won’t ignore the craving for this! Okay, believe it or not it doesn’t require anything fancy to make. Cooking it long and slow is the main ingredient to making this taste amazing. Normally I would use 1/2 cup of a dry red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon but there have been times I didn’t have any or forgot to get wine and it came out just as good.

There is one ingredient you don’t want to ditch when making this, and that’s the pecorino Romano cheese. Make sure you go to the cheese section and buy the block of pecorino. Not the grated. It is often compared to Parmesan cheese but the difference is that it’s made of sheep milk; giving that much stronger pungent taste. AND IT GOES SO PERFECT WITH THIS DISH! Trust me. You can use the leftover block of Romano in place of Parmesan cheese, over any pasta dish, or shaved over salads. It can also be stored tight in a freezer bag in the freezer for future uses if you don’t plan to use the rest of it so quickly before the expiration date.

One last thing! If you’re not feeling pasta, you can definitely serve this over a baked potato, polenta, Italian inspired quesadillas, and even top a homemade pizza with the shredded meat. Never feel you’re limited to only one dish when you make a big batch of food. Enjoy!

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BEEF SHORT RIBS RAGU
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Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Place about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan and bring to high heat. Brown all sides of the short ribs about a minute each side. Lay the short ribs into a slow cooker set for 8 hours on low.
  2. Drain the excess oil from the pan, place the pan back on the stove on medium heat. Add the beef broth and scrape up the brown bits at the bottom of the pan.
  3. Then, add the onions, carrot, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Stir for about two minutes and transfer into the slow cooker.
  4. Add the bay leaf, tomato puree, crushed tomatoes, dry red wine (optional), and Romano cheese chunks. Stir gently and cover the slow cooker to cook.
  5. Feel free to stir everything once half way through if you like. It should be ready in as little as 6 hours but 8 hours is perfect.
  6. Remove each short rib onto a large cutting board and use two forks to shred the meat. Place the shredded meat back into the slow cooker, add salt as needed, stir, and serve over pasta.
Recipe Notes

I recommend using a spoon to scoop the pools of fat at the top. You can also do so by scraping the solidified fat at the top after it’s been refrigerated.

SUMMER ITALIAN SHRIMP PASTA

There are so many people today who have a lot going on in their lives and unfortunately home cooked meals are typically one of the first things that get sacrificed in those busy schedules. So dishes like this is another one to go on the list of “quick and easy” as well as a perfect leftover for lunch or dinner throughout the week. It keeps great for a full week in the fridge.

This is one of my favorite recipes I never get sick of that I tend to make double batches of because I’m slightly addicted to its flavor and the convenience. I have used gluten-free pasta too and it tastes just as great. If you’re struggling to find a good gluten-free pasta try out ones made of brown rice like Tinkyada. Between texture and flavor they’re really the best I’ve found yet. You can typically find it in most stores but if not Amazon.com is awesome!

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SUMMER ITALIAN SHRIMP PASTA
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Instructions
  1. Fill a large pot of water to start the boil for the angel hair pasta.
  2. Heat a large pan on medium-high heat and pour in the olive oil. Saute the sun-dried tomatoes and leek for about 3 - 5 minutes until they start to soften.
  3. Add the minced garlic stirring constantly a few more minutes to prevent burning. Add the shrimp, stir and allow them to cook half way before adding the chopped kale. Once the shrimp turns pink, toss in the drained angel hair pasta.
  4. Drizzle any additional olive oil you may need to lightly coat everything. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Toss with desired amount of grated parmesano reggiano cheese right before serving.

MEXICAN INSPIRED PASTA

I remember it seemed so recent many of us were freezing our butts off and now the weather is heating up faster than I can even get anything done! Okay, so I’m exaggerating a little but seriously the heat seems to be kicking in gear quick. So let’s lighten things up a little why don’t we! I just spent a good amount of time home in California and it reinforced how much I miss the Mexican food there. A lot of it is very much so Baja Mexico influenced and so I wanted to bring that into the kitchen with a unique flare of fun all in one skillet.

There’s a lot of good health going on in this mix. If you’re watching your carb intake then just omit the pasta altogether. Or if you’re not feeling the pasta then replace it with your favorite rice. Keep it heart healthy by leaving out the cheese. I use a lot of ground turkey instead of ground beef for general health benefits but by all means it doesn’t mean you can’t use your choice of meat. On a busy day and not much of a desire to be in the kitchen for a long time, this is one of my latest favorite go to.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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MEXICAN INSPIRED PASTA
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servings
Ingredients
Servings
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Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta and set aside until you're ready.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the onions for two minutes.
  3. Add the ground turkey, salt, ground cumin, and use a wooden spoon to break up the ground turkey into fine pieces. Stir occasionally until it's almost cooked thoroughly.
  4. Then stir in the salsa and tomato sauce until everything is heated through. After a couple minutes, add in the black beans and corn. Stir for another minute or two, again until everything is heated through.
  5. Lastly, mix in the elbow pasta, cheese, tomatoes, and avocado for a minute before serving.
  6. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

ITALIAN WHITE BEAN CHILI

This super delicious, warm, hearty and perfect chili for the post holiday cold weather is the best for a little change in flavor from a traditional chili! It’s composed of all things good for you (if you use turkey Italian sausage instead of pork). Tons of warm and earthy spices. Enough to not have you missing ground beef over ground turkey. There’s plenty of veggies including one of the best super foods out there, Swiss chard. And the broth is really tasty, you’ll just have to make it to see what I’m talking about.


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ITALIAN WHITE BEAN CHILI
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
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Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat drizzle the bottom with olive oil, add the onions, bell peppers, and garlic stirring frequently until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the ground turkey, Italian sausage, salt, pepper, and break up the meat using a wooden spoon. Continue by adding the cumin, oregano, tarragon, chili powder, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Stir every so often until the turkey is cooked through, about several minutes.
  3. Then, add the chicken stock. Stir everything together thoroughly and let it come to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low to simmer and check every so often to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. Simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until the chili has thickened.
  5. Add the cannellini beans, corn, and Swiss chard. Add more salt and pepper to taste if needed.
  6. Garnish the top with some grated parmesan cheese.