Posts tagged ‘beef’

November 4, 2011

Beef and Cabbage Casserole

Let me preface this by saying, I’m typically not a fan of casseroles. But this one is actually good—and worth sharing. It doesn’t call for canned cream of mushroom or canned cream of chicken. And it’s neither overly salty nor low on flavor. It’s super simple and tasty, a lazy woman’s version of cabbage rolls.

I happened upon this recipe when we were on a grain-free diet last year. The kids liked it so much that they asked me to bring it back after our diet was over. Now, that tells you something. I also made it for my friend, R, and her kids. She tells me it has made its way into their weekday dinner rotation.

The recipe is adaptable, so you can include rice if you’d like, which is more like true cabbage rolls. Or, if you’re on a grain-free diet, like GAPS, Nourishing Traditions, or Paleo, just stick with the beef (I like to use ground bison) and cabbage. In either case, don’t leave out the cloves and cinnamon—it’s what makes the dish stand out. Serve with a salad or on its own. After all, your kids are getting plenty of vegetables from the cabbage.

This morning, as S was watching me pack leftovers in her lunch, she asked me, “Can I have a bigger piece of casserole?”

Happiness is your child asking for more cabbage.

Beef and Cabbage Casserole


1 lb. ground beef

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 – 3/4 tsp salt

15 oz. tomato sauce (I like the organic strained tomatoes that come in a tall glass jar from Bionaturae)

1/8 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. thyme

1/4 tsp. basil

4 to 5 cups cabbage, shredded


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown the ground beef in a large skillet with the onions and the garlic. Drain off the fat. Add the remaining ingredients except cabbage to the meat mixture and simmer for 10 minutes.

Put half of the cabbage into a 2-quart casserole dish, top with half the meat mixture, top with the remaining cabbage, and finally top the cabbage with the remaining meat mixture. (The casserole dish will be rather full, but that’s okay because it’ll all cook down.)

Cover the casserole with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

*** Note: If you want to include rice in the casserole, I suggest 1/2 cup of uncooked rice and 1 cup of water. Add it at the same time you’re adding the spices and tomato sauce. Then, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Continue with the recipe as follows.

October 18, 2011


Is there anyone out there who doesn’t like meatballs? Especially homemade meatballs?! I admit: it’s time consuming to make a batch, but if you cook 100  (especially if you’re baking them) and freeze them it’s worth your while. Then, when you need some, whether for lunch or dinner, they’re ready to go.

 I’ve experimented with meatballs many times, but I’ve never made them          with elk—until now. In fact, I’ve never cooked elk. But I found some ground  elk at Sprouts a couple weeks ago frozen for $7.99/lb. and bought a  package. Game meat is much leaner than beef, and free of hormones and  other artificial growth stimulants, so I thought it was worth a try. But  because I thought it might be too gamey for the kids, I mixed it with grass-  fed ground beef. Half and half.

Then, I stumbled upon a recipe for mozzarella-stuffed elk meatballs. My    first response? Ewww. It reminded me too much of Pizza Hut’s ads for    cheese-stuffed pizza crusts. You could feel a heart attack coming on just watching the commercial. But then, I conceded that I don’t know much about cooking wild game, unlike the folks at the site dedicated to wild-game recipes. Besides, those little mozzarella pearls are so tasty on their own. I decided to make half the batch plain and the other half with mozzarella.

You know what? They were really, really scrumptious. The cheese was nice and soft in the center, and the meat just fell apart in your mouth.The funny thing is, my husband and I liked the mozzarella ones and the kids didn’t. And S and C weren’t put off by the slight gaminess. In fact, S told me she preferred them over my usual meatballs. You know what? I did, too. I see elk in our future.

As for the recipe, I combined a few different ones I’ve tried in the past. In a nutshell, it includes the ground meat (you can combine beef, pork, turkey, veal, elk, bison, etc.), sautéed onions and garlic with rosemary, thyme and oregano; eggs; breadcrumbs soaked in milk; finely chopped parsley; grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese; and, of course, salt and pepper. If you want to try the mozzarella-stuffed version, simply mold the meat around the pearl.

You know what else is great about meatballs? They are so versatile. The possibilities are endless. For today, S got some meatballs with marinara sauce and a piece of olive bread.

September 7, 2011

Hump Day Calls for Leftover Beef Stir-Fry

Leftovers: love it or hate it? Thankfully, at my house the kids are happy to have the same meal again. And this makes packing lunch a little easier.

Last night, I stir-fried beef with broccoli, carrots and baby corn for dinner. As usual, it was a hit with my son, C. But, for reasons that I can’t understand, S is not a fan of stir-fries. She’ll eat them, but likes to remind me, “It’s not my favorite.”  Yeah, well, this is one of my favorite stir-fries, and I do the cooking. So, there will be plenty of stir-fries in her future. She does, however, love baby corn.

In any case, she found it in her lunchbox today. On the bright side, stir-fries are easy to pack and hold up really well. I checked the Thermos when she got home, and pretty much everything was eaten except for some rice. Oh, yeah, S doesn’t really like rice either. Unless it’s rolled in seaweed. In which case, she loves it.

Here’s the adapted recipe from The Food of China. In the cookbook, it’s a crispy noodle dish with beef and snow peas, but I’ve changed it to a rice dish. Feel free to try it both ways, and use any fresh vegetables you have on hand.

Warning: this is really yummy!

Beef Stir-fry with Broccoli, Carrots and Baby Corn

3/4 lb. flank steak or top round  (cut against the grain into 1 1/2″ squares that are 1/8″ thick)

1 TB dark soy sauce (light is fine, too)

1/2 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp Shaoxing rice wine

1/2 tsp sugar

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tsp cornstarch

2  cups broccoli florets

3/4 cup carrots, 1/4″ thick cut on the diagonal

1 can baby corn, cut up

2 TB vegetable oil


1 TB finely chopped ginger

1 1/4 cups chicken stock

3 TB oyster sauce

1 TB Shaoxing rice wine

1/2 tsp dark or light soy sauce

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp sesame oil

1 1/2 TB cornstarch (2 TB, if you want a thicker sauce)

Serves 4

Combine the beef, soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, garlic, cornstarch (1 tsp), and sesame oil (1/2 tsp), and toss lightly. Marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Blanch the broccoli in a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain and refresh immediately in cold water. Dry thoroughly.

Heat a wok over high heat, add 2 TB oil and heat until very hot. Drain the beef and stir-fry in batches for 1 minute, or until the beef changes color. Remove with a wire strainer or slotted spoon, and drain. Reserve the oil.

To make the sauce, mix all the sauce ingredients together except for the ginger and stir well, making sure the cornstarch is well combined.

Reheat the reserved oil over high heat until very hot and stir-fry the ginger for 10 seconds. Add the carrots, broccoli and baby corn, and cook for for 1 – 2 minutes. Pour in the sauce ingredients and simmer until thickened. Add the beef, toss to coat with the sauce, and serve over steamed rice.

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