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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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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.

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SHEPHERD'S PIE
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Ingredients
MEAT FILLING
MASHED POTATOES
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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.

RED SKIN MASHED POTATOES

This is my absolute favorite way to indulge in mashed potatoes, that does not have some kind of extra-indulgent aged cheddar in it. I don’t always follow this recipe specifically but I do come by fairly close. The last couple of years I’ve replaced milk with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and I honestly can’t taste a difference. If anything it lacks an extra thicker texture but flavor is still there. I also sometimes use vegetable stock if I don’t have chicken stock and it works just as great.

BUT unless you have a really good quality garlic powder that is super fine, not those tiny granules then you must use fresh garlic. Oh, and of course fresh ground pepper instead of store bought ground pepper makes a big difference. I NEVER not use fresh ground pepper. It’s a must! Okay, that’s all. ENJOY!

 

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RED SKIN MASHED POTATOES
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Instructions
  1. Place the potatoes in a large pot and fill with water just to the very top of the potatoes.
  2. Bring them to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Drain the potatoes into a colander. Place the butter and garlic into the pot, add the potatoes and mash them about half way. Add the chicken stock and milk then finish mashing until desired consistency. Add a little more chicken stock if the potatoes seem dry.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

ROASTED POTATO SALAD

Spring time is here and Summer is coming quick before you know it! And that means a lot of people are running to the grocery store to get store bought potato salad. YUCK! What is there to love about bland potatoes with tons of mayo? NOTHING! Nothing AT ALL!

Impress your friends at your next BBQ with this extremely flavorful roasted potato salad instead! Don’t let the ingredient list scare you. It’s quite easy to put together. While the potatoes are roasting you can do all the chopping so that when the potatoes are done all you have to do is mix it all together and throw in the fridge.

Just because potatoes are high in carbohydrates does not mean they’re unhealthy. In fact, potatoes pack a good punch of fiber helping your digestive tract stay happy and working. I like to go for the most colorful ones and bake them with the skin on! The healthiest part is the skin. The more color a fruit and/or vegetable is, the healthier it is! There are more nutrients as a whole in comparison to the brown potatoes.

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ROASTED POTATO SALAD
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Instructions
POTATO SALAD
  1. Place the red potatoes, pepper, salt, garlic powder, rosemary, and tarragon in a baking dish. Drizzle approximately two tablespoons of olive oil over it and stir until the potatoes are covered evenly. Place in the oven at 400 F degrees for about 40 minutes.
  2. While the potatoes are roasting place the red onion, garlic, eggs, pickles, pepperoncini’s, and their juice into a bowl.
  3. Once the potatoes are done roasting, make sure they’ve cooled down before throwing it together in the bowl. Then add the mayonnaise, brown mustard, and mix thoroughly.
HOW TO HARD BOIL EGGS
  1. Place the eggs in a pot and pour enough water to cover the eggs. Place the lid on the pot and turn the stove onto high. Once it comes to a roaring boil turn off the heat and let it sit covered for 12-15 minutes.
  2. Once the eggs are finished, place the eggs in a container with cold water and some ice cubes to cool the eggs down.