So, I feel like a recipe for Chili is something some people hold sacred, as in this is “THEIR” chili recipe, often with secret ingredients or their own special twists. I can say that I have been working and reworking “MY” chili recipe for quite some time, constantly tweaking the various spices and ingredients. Tonight, I think we finally hit on the combination that is just right. It was spicy without too much heat. It was meaty with some beans, had a few veggies in it without being overly heavy on vegetables. Even my 5 year old ate an entire bowl. Victory!!!
So, here is MY chili recipe. The seasoning is easy to mix up ahead of time and store in the cupboard until you need it. I have done it in a double batch before and used half and kept half for another time. Makes that second time of making chili a little quicker.
*If you like a lot of heat in your chili, add 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper to this recipe. We omit it because it otherwise becomes too spicy for the kids.
1 green pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
2 small (6 oz.) cans tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes
3 c. chicken broth
1 can kidney beans
1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 1/2 tsp. cumin
3 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. Hungarian paprika
1 heaping tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. mustard
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 bay leaf
In a large skillet, saute pepper, onion, and celery until tender and slightly browned. Add ground beef and continue to cook until beef is no longer pink.
Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until slightly thickened. The longer you simmer, the more the flavors merge and the better it gets. In fact, I prefer my chili a day old as the leftovers are always better than the first day.
Once thickened, serve hot. My family likes it with some crackers and cheese on top. I like mine just plain. Enjoy!
Husband Rating: 9 out of 10
I love spaghetti squash! I wanted to have it for dinner but didn’t just want it as a side or a base for a red sauce. I found a recipe on www.wholeliving.com that I liked the look of and then adapted it to make it gluten-free and with a few different veggies. It was unique and delicious! My husband couldn’t believe the meatballs were just beef… and not some type of sausage. He thought they were the best tasting meatballs I have made yet. We will definitely want to hang onto this recipe!
Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs
1 spaghetti squash
2 Tbsp. butter, melted and divided
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. gluten-free breadcrumbs (see note)
1 lb. grass-free ground beef
2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
1 c. beef broth
4-5 c. fresh spinach
1 pint cherry tomatoes
parmesan cheese for garnish/topping
*I had a loaf of gluten-free bread that bombed so I ground it up in the food processor and froze it to use a bread crumbs. If you don’t have bread crumbs, you can grind up gluten-free oatmeal, or use flaxseed meal or even ground up chia seeds.
Cut spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Brush with 1 Tbsp. butter and sprinkle with salt/pepper. Bake in the oven on a baking sheet, face down, at 375 for about 45 minutes or until tender. Once cooked, scoop out of shell with a fork and set aside.
In a skillet, heat remaining Tbsp. butter. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender. Remove from heat to a small bowl to cool. Once cooled, add oregano, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, and ground beef. Combine with your hands and mold into meatballs. Mine were between 1-2 inches.
Heat oil in a skillet. Add meatballs and cook until browned on the outside. Remove from pan. Add additional oil if needed and cherry tomatoes. Be sure to scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add broth, spinach, and meatballs back into the pan. Cook until spinach is fully wilted and meatballs are cooked through.
Place a scoop of spaghetti squash onto each plate. Top with meatball/veggie combo and garnish with parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
Husband Rating: 7 out of 10
For a long time now, I have been eying all these “rice” recipes that use cauliflower in place of the actual rice grain with skepticism. I mean, really, could cauliflower really taste like rice? So, I have put it off and put it off… even though I have made cauliflower crust pizza (and loved it) and made mashed faux-tatoes (mashed cauliflower, which my 2 year old LOVED and used as dip for the rest of his meal). Why wait any longer to make cauliflower rice! I adapted a recipe I found for Spanish “Rice” and to be honest, no one in my family even knew it wasn’t real rice! My husband was so surprised that it contained no actual rice. And, I loved that our meal was so good for you on so many levels.
The Copycat Chipotle Barbacoa Beef turned out great as well. I have to say that the whole cloves were a little strong for me and I will probably reduce the amount in half next time I make it. They added nice flavor but just a little too much flavor for me. The beef, by the way, was about the easiest thing to make and we have a ton left over so I know I will be eating it, with pleasure, for lunch the rest of the week.
We served the whole meal a few different ways. My 2 and 4 year olds prefer everything separate on their plates: beef, rice, tomatoes, avocados, greens (spinach and kale blend), shredded cheese, olives, and sprouted grain corn tortillas from “Food is Life” brand. That way they could assemble the burritos themselves and with whatever filling they prefer. My husband had his as a bowl a la Chipotle. I did mine as a big salad, pictured below.
Copycat Chipotle Barbacoa Shredded Beef
Recipe adapted from www.againstallgrain.com
3 lb. center cut beef rib roast
2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1/4 c. lime juice
1.4 c. tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3-4 tsp. cumin (depending on your taste preferences)
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. sea salt
3/4 c. beef broth
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. whole cloves
In a food processor or blender, combine chili powder, onion, lime juice, tomato paste, garlic, apple cider vinegar, cumin, oregano, and salt. Blend until well combined.
Place roast in the bottom of your slow cooker. Pour tomato mixture over the top. Add broth, bay leaves, and cloves. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours. Remove roast from liquid and shred.
Return to slow cooker and continue cooking another 1-2 hours or until meat is very tender. Serve in tacos, bowls, burritos, or a taco salad.
Recipe adapted from www.maximizedliving.com
1 head of cauliflower, riced (see below)
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. grape seed oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 heaping tsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/4 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. salsa (I used the mild fresh salsa from Trader Joe’s)
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 – 1/2 c. chopped black olives
To rice the cauliflower, chop cauliflower into florets. Place in a food processor and cover with water. Process until cauliflower is in small bits, rice like consistency. Drain in a fine mesh sieve.
Heat oil in a large skillet, add onion and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until tender. Add chicken stock,
“rice”, seasonings, and salsa. Bring to a light boil, reduce heat and continue to simmer until most of the liquid is cooked off.
Stir in black olives. Texture should be slightly firmer than regular rice.
Husband Rating: 7 out of 10
Made a great stir-fry for dinner tonight and three out of the four of us liked it… I served it on top of cooked millet tonight instead of on rice or quinoa and we enjoyed it. It had a nice texture and flavor to it. I highly recommend trying if you get a chance!
Ginger Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
Recipe adapted from http://www.paleoplan.com/2010/07-20/gingery-broccoli-beef/
1 lb. sirloin steak (best if 100% grass-fed), sliced
2 Tbsp. coconut oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 c. broccoli florets
2 c. carrots, sliced
2 c. snow peas
1 Tbsp. flaxseed meal
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
2 tsp. black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 c. chicken broth
1-2 Tbsp. gluten-free tamari/soy sauce
In a small bowl, combine flaxseed meal, lemon juice, ginger, peppers, broth, and soy sauce. Set aside.
In a large pan, heat 1 Tbsp. coconut oil and garlic over medium-high heat. Add sliced sirloin and cook until just browned and still pink in the middle. Set aside in a bowl.
Add remaining Tbsp. of coconut oil into the pan. Add vegetables and flaxseed mixture. Stir well to coat vegetables. Cook until veggies are tender crisp. Add beef back into the mixture, stirring to coat and cooking for another few minutes.
Husband Rating: 7 out of 10
We have been working on a landscaping project in our backyard and now that we are another step closer to the finish we wanted to grill out and enjoy our beautiful new patio area. I figured I would try a new burger and this sounded delicious to me. It was SUPER simple to make and we loved them. The burgers actually turned out sweet tasting which was really nice. I served it with a gluten-free tabbouleh and some of my red cabbage sauerkraut.
Gorgonzola Stuffed Burgers with Caramelized Onions
1 lb. ground beef (preferably 100% grass-fed)
3-4 Tbsp. crumbled gorgonzola cheese
salt/pepper to taste
1 sweet onion, sliced
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
Divide ground beef into 8 balls. Flatten into 8 thin patties. In the middle of 4 of the patties, place a few tsp. to a Tbsp. of gorgonzola. Place another patty on top and press the edges together. Season with salt/pepper.
In a small pan, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until golden and caramelized.
Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Cook for 4-6 minutes on each side or until desired doneness. Serve topped with caramelized onions.
(For you non-g/f people, you could serve it on a bun but I didn’t think it needed it!)
Husband Rating: 6 out of 10
First of all, I just have to share my excitement at the birthday present I got this week – new stainless steel cookware! I feel like a real chef now! 🙂 Aren’t they pretty!!! I do realize I will have to do a bit of retraining as I was using non-stick before but I am up for it. Not only are they great for cooking with, they are toxin free – nothing getting into my food from the non-stick coatings of my previous set! Yay!
Now, onto tonight’s dinner which was a complete winner (and I think it was because I got to use my new pans!). Just kidding… but truly, this meal was amazing! I have been trying to use up the meat in our deep freeze because we are planning on buying a 1/4 of a grass-fed cow and will need the space. I also didn’t have time to grocery shop this past weekend so have been just cooking from what is available in the pantry, fridge, and freezer. With that being said, I am glad that I had on hand what I did because this dinner was a 10!!!
And, Wilford clan, you will get to try this as I plan on doing this for our meal over the 4th of July at the cabin. It was so easy to make that I know I can easily do it for our group of 8 adults and 3 kids. Although I cooked this recipe inside (due to our lovely unpredictable MN weather), I think it all could easily be grilled too!
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Taco Packets
1 lb. beef sirloin
1/4 c. lemon juice or lime juice (I used lemon simply because I was out of lime but either would be tasty)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 c. fresh spinach, chopped
2-3 Tbsp. butter
1 can tomato sauce
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Seasoning for foil packets: oregano, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt, pepper (*see note below re: amounts)
2 Tbsp. grape seed oil or coconut oil
taco shells (I found some G/F ones made with organic corn at Trader Joe’s)
shredded sharp cheddar
Optional: tomatoes, guacamole, avocado, salsa
*Seasonings Note: I didn’t actually measure the amounts of seasoning I put in the foil packets… just did a few shakes of each. However, if you are someone who needs measurements, I would recommend using your favorite taco seasoning and just put about a 1-2 teaspoons of it in each packet.
In a large zipper bag, combine olive oil, juice, cumin, oregano, garlic, salt/pepper. Mix together and add sirloin. Marinate for at least 4 hours – the longer you marinate, the more tender the steak will be. Cut into bite-sized pieces. (If grilling, see “Food for Thought” before cutting up.)
Set out 6 squares of tin foil. In each square, add 1/6 of the sweet potato, spinach, tomato sauce, and black beans. Add a pat of butter and seasonings. Seal the packets (see below) and place in an oven preheated to 425 degrees. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until sweet potato is tender.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan. Add sirloin pieces and cook in medium high heat for 2-4 minutes or until desired done-ness.
Carefully open foil packets. Layer each taco shell with meat, shredded cheese, and sweet potato fillings. Add any other optional toppings you wish to add and enjoy!
Husband Rating: 10 out of 10
Food for thought: If you are grilling this meal, I would recommend leaving the steaks whole and grilling to your desired done-ness and slicing afterwards. Just make sure you let them sit for a few minutes after you remove them from the grill to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. The foil packets should take a similar amount of time on a grill at a medium-high heat.
I also think that if you are looking for a good meatless meal option, simply have just the foil packets on tacos and leave out the steak. It definitely could stand on its own and be a great meal!
(Forgive any typos or formatting errors… our computer is once again getting fixed for the third time for the same problem!!! I am ready to ask for a new one!)
I love meatballs and spaghetti so going gluten free I had to rethink one of my favorite meals. First, I needed a g/f replacement for those darn breadcrumbs in meatballs. I haven’t yet made any g/f bread or seen g/f breadcrumbs in the store but after some research found several options for what to use instead. I did a combination of coconut flour and flaxseed meal but some other ideas I saw included g/f rolled oats, chia seed meal, or saving the crumbs from the bottom of a box of Chex cereal and using those crumbs.
The other challenge with spaghetti was what to use for the noodles. I could do some g/f pasta but instead decided to try spaghetti squash for the first time. I roasted the squash in the oven until tender and easy to pull apart to “noodles”.
The results of my experiment? Everyone liked the meatballs (which I serve with a tomato basil marinara – store bought) and I was the only one to like the spaghetti squash base. I thought it was great but not so much for the men in my life… Next time I will have to try g/f pasta!
Gluten Free Meatballs
1 1/2 lb ground beef
2 tsp parsley
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/4 c. Flaxseed meal
1/4 c. Coconut flour
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
1/2 c milk
1 egg lightly beaten
Tonight I tried a new recipe for pot roast. It was delicious, super easy, and made quite a bit so we will be able to eat it for leftovers. Everyone in the house liked it too! (Even the little boys!) I served this with Roasted Cauliflower with Red Bell Pepper, Green Olives, and Pinenuts.
Balsamic Onion Pot Roast
Recipe adapted from www.shecookshecleans.net
3 lb. chuck beef roast
sea salt/pepper to taste
1 strip bacon, crumbled
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
4 c. beef broth
In a large crock pot, combine all ingredients except the beef roast. Stir well to combine. Add roast and turn crock pot on to low. Cook for 8-10 hours until beef is tender (can be cut with a fork). About 20 minutes before serving, remove 2 c. of the cooking liquid. Skim as much fat off the top as possible and place liquid in a small pot. Bring to a boil and simmer 10-15 minutes to reduce to a thicker consistency. Serve roast with reduced sauce.
Husband Rating: 9 out of 10 (when served with the Roasted Cauliflower with Red Pepper, Green Olives, and Pinenuts.)
Food for Thought: This would be an easy meal to prepare ahead of time and toss in the freezer. Simply combine all the ingredients and store in a freezer bag. Thaw in the fridge the night before cooking.
I HEART French Dip sandwiches! I’m not really sure why but I just do. I love to order them at restaurants/deli’s and love to make this recipe for them even more. It’s such a simple meal and yet so delicious! I could eat like 10 of them… Ok, I didn’t eat really 10 tonight but I ate 3 sandwiches.
They are so good that I really don’t even care that we had a poorly timed trip to Costco today (i.e. the kids at a few too many samples right before dinner and thus didn’t eat any of their dinner tonight) because I ended up eating their sandwiches as well as mine! Yes, I love these French Dip sandwiches!
Oh, and as a bonus… it makes a large quantity so I was able to freeze most of the leftovers which will reheat super easily for another meal in a few weeks! Love it!
French Dip Sandwiches
3-4 lbs. beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat
1/2 c. soy sauce
2c. beef broth
2 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. fresh minced garlic
10 black peppercorns
cheese of choice (I prefer provolone)
Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on high 4-5 hours or on low for 8-10 hours. (It’s better if you can do it on low… the meat seems to turn out a little more tender the slower you cook it.)
Remove the meat from cooking juice and shred. Return to juice to keep warm. Serve meat hot on rolls with cheese. Use remaining cooking juice for dipping sauce.
Food For Thought: There are two ways to do this meal as a freezer meal. One way is to put all of the ingredients in a Ziploc baggie and keep in your freezer until the day you want to cook them. Then, thaw overnight before cooking and pop into your crock pot. Another is to cook it up and freeze the meat after cooking. Be sure to put plenty of the cooking liquid in with the meat before you freeze it so that when you thaw and reheat the meat, it will stay tender. All you have to do to reheat is microwave!
This recipe started out as one thing and ended as something completely different than I intended… and sometimes that is the best result! This was originally listed on my menu plan as the Spicy Southwest Beef Torta, a recipe I found in a free cookbook I got from Costco. What I actually made was not spicy, nor a torta (or a flatbread style entrée). But, what it was turned out to be a savory Southwest inspired shredded beef sandwich that both my 2 and 3 year old enjoyed and actually ate! (I wish that it didn’t always surprise me when they both like a meal on the same night, but I guess for a while until they are older it will!) We ate it simply with fresh tomatoes on the side. It was delicious and simple!
Shredded Southwest Beef Sandwiches
2 1/2 lbs. boneless beef chuck pot roast
1 white onion, thinly sliced
2 c. beef broth
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
salt/pepper to taste
dash lime juice
1 can refried black beans
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
6 sandwich rolls
Place roast, onion, and beef broth in crock pot and cook on high for 3-4 hours, until beef is fork-tender. When meat is tender, remove from liquid and shred. Set aside. Remove onions from the crock pot and add to shredded beef. Scoop out about 1/2 c. of the cooking liquid and add to the meat. Add cumin, chili powder, salt/pepper, and lime juice and stir. Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste preferences. Keep warm.
Warm refried beans slightly. Slice each bun in half. Spread a layer of beans on the bottom of each roll. Add a layer of shredded beef. Top with avocadoes and cilantro. Enjoy!
Food for Thought: This would probably also taste good as a shredded beef for tacos or nachos or quesadillas. Though I haven’t tried it, I imagine that any leftover cooked meat would freeze and reheat well. I would add additional liquid from the leftover cooking liquid to whatever you plan to freeze or when thawing add additional beef broth to ensure the meat does not get dried out. If you try this, let me know how it turns out. If I try it, I will do the same!