Braised Beef Tips & Noodles

This is an awesome dish to warm you up on a cold winters night!

This dish is similar to beef stew but without the carrots and potatoes. I highly recommend using chuck roast for the beef rather than round steak or sirloin. The chuck has to cook (braise) on low heat and takes a while but it becomes very tender and it oozes flavor when finished. It’s well worth the effort!

Braise is a cooking method by which food (usually meat or vegetables) is first browned in fat, then cooked, tightly covered, in a small amount of liquid at low heat for a lengthy period of time. The long, slow cooking develops flavor and tenderizes foods by gently breaking down their fibers. Braising can be done on top of the range or in the oven. A tight fitting lid is very important to prevent the liquid from evaporating.

—- from “Food Lover’s Companion”

Cook / Prep Time – about 3 hours

Servings – 2 or 3

Ingredients:
  • 6 oz dried egg noodles
  • 1 pound boneless chuck
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups of beef or bone broth
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 1 large rib of celery
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1/2 (14.5 oz) can of petite diced tomatoes (I put the other half can in a small freezer bag and store in the freezer for next time)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste (I recommend the tube type)
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp granulated onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 tbsp grape seed or canola oil

Trim the chuck and cut into 1 inch cubes and dry them on a paper towel. Mix the flour, salt, pepper and granulated onion together. in a cast iron or carbon steel skillet, heat the oil on medium heat. Dredge the beef cubes in the seasoned flour and shake off excess flour.

Slowly place the beef cubes in the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Cook in a couple batches if needed.

Brown the beef cubes on all sides. Peel and chop the onion and garlic while browning the beef. Slice the celery diagonally into 1/4 inch slices. When the beef is totally browned, add the onion, celery and garlic and continue to sauté on medium heat.

When the onions are starting to brown, turn to medium high heat and add the beef broth, wine, soy and Worcestershire sauce. Cook the mixture until it comes to a boil. Add the diced tomatoes and the tomato paste.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Pour the beef mixture into a Dutch oven and cover. The broth may seem watery at this point, but it will thicken in the oven.

Place the pot in the oven , cover and and cook for 1 hour, stirring about after 30 minutes. When the hour is up, stir again. Remove the lid and put back in the oven for another hour, stirring after the first 30 minutes. The beef tips should be very tender and the sauce thickened at this point. If not, continue to cook until the beef is very tender.

Cook the egg noodles according to the package instructions. Drain them and and add a little olive oil, salt and pepper to the noodles.

Serve the beef tips with or over noodles. That’s it!

Enjoy!

Suggested music for your listening pleasure while preparing the beef tips….

After watching an hour of the Grammy awards last night, I would suggest listening to some of the best from this talented piano player / singer songwriter, Alicia Keys. That girl is on fire! Check out her version of The Rolling Stones song “Wild Horses” among others, but I highly recommend not listening to “Earthquake” an absolutely horrible song performed by someone called “Tyler, the Creator” at the Grammy Awards. You’re welcome!

Pork Loin & Sauerkraut


Happy New Year! This delicious combination of pork, sauerkraut, shallots, apples and potatoes hits the mark of several taste sensations – sweet, sour, salty and savory. It’s also believed to bring good luck!
I fixed this on New Year’s Day this year because many cultures believe that this dish brings good luck and fortune because pigs root around with their snouts in a forward motion and we want to move forward, not backward in the new year. Pork is also rich in fat, promising prosperity. The long strands of sauerkraut represent a long life to be lived, and the green color of cabbage that sauerkraut is made from symbolizes cash money. Count me in!

Servings – 3-4

Cook / Prep time – about 3 1/2 hours

  • 1 1/2 lbs bone in pork loin (may use boneless)
  • 1 – 32 oz bag refrigerated sauerkraut
  • 2 Fuji apples
  • 1/2 lb small red potatoes
  • 3 shallots
  • 1/2 bottle Riesling ( or apple cider)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Score the fat cap on the pork loin. Season with salt and pepper and sear on all sides. Rinse the sauerkraut in a colander and place it in a Dutch oven. When the pork loin is seared, place it in the middle of the sauerkraut. Add the half bottle of Riesling or cider and drink the rest.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Dice the shallots and add around the sauerkraut. Sprinkle the brown sugar around the sauerkraut. Peel and dice the apples and add around the pork loin.

Sprinkle with the smoked paprika. Cover and place in the oven for 3 hours or until pork loin is 160 degrees. Rest pork loin for 15 minutes before slicing. Thats it!

Enjoy!

Side note – I won 10 dollars on a scratch off lottery last week. Coincidence? I think not!

Suggested songs to listen to while preparing the pork loin….

“ Luck Man” by Emerson, Lake & Palmer from their album “ Emerson, Lake & Palmer” released in 1970.

“You Got Lucky” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers from their 1982 album “Long After Dark”

“With a Little Luck” by Paul McCartney from his 1987 album “All the Best”

“Luck Be a Lady” by Frank Sinatra from his 1965 album “Sinatra ‘65: The Singer Today”

Loose Meat Sandwiches

Loose Meat Sandwiches, Tavern Sandwiches, or Maid-Rites – whatever you want to call them, call them delicious!

“It’s an Iowa thing!”

I referenced these sandwiches on my blog post from September 2019 “A Road Trip to American’s Heartland” after eating at a Maid-Rite sandwich while visiting my boyhood home of Davenport, Iowa.

It was so great to taste one of these sandwiches again that I had grown so fond of while growing up in Iowa that I had to find a way to duplicate that experience at home.

The Maid-Rite restaurant was one of our favorite places to go for “date night” while dating my soon to be wife Susan in the mid 1970’s.

These are definitely a Midwestern dish, and I haven’t been able to find a loose meat sandwich while living in the south.

Here is an interesting link from Wikipedia concerning the history of the “Tavern Sandwich” I am sure that all of the current presidential candidates campaigning in Iowa the last several months have been introduced and likely consumed some of these.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tavern_sandwich

These are not to be confused with sloppy joe’s because they no not have a “sauce”.

So….. for the last several months, I have been researching and experimenting with different recipes and different ingredients to try to perfect this delicious sandwich.

I tried using everything from cider vinegar to brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, chicken bouillon, Dijon mustard, honey, French onion soup mix, butter and smoked sea salt. They all tasted good, but just didn’t taste like the original, so it was back to the drawing board once again.

Since these sandwiches always include dill pickles, and they enhance the sandwich, I thought why not try a little dill pickle juice in the mixture?

Behold! I think I’ve got it!

Here is the recipe…..

Cook / Prep Time – 30-40 minutes

Servings – 4 sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound 80/20 ground beef

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1 1/2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dill pickle juice
  • 1 tsp granulated onion
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Sliced cheese any flavor (optional)

Instructions:

I made this in an InstaPot, but any skillet will do. Brown the ground beef on low heat, stirring constantly. If you do not stir it, it can become clumpy – you want the meat to be loose and crumbly. When fully cooked, drain the fat off the ground beef and return to the pan.

Add the chopped onions, beef broth, sugar, mustard, pickle juice, soy sauce, granulated onion and black pepper. Simmer on low heat, stirring often until the liquid has evaporated. Salt to taste if needed. Place a scoop of meat on a warm bun with mustard and dill pickles. Yummy!

Enjoy!

***** Bonus Weight Watcher’s Recipe using the loose meat****

Note – My lovely wife Susan joined Weight Watchers about a year and a half ago and has lost around 35 pounds since then. The have various plans based on point systems that encourage sensible eating. You can find out more about their plans at http://www.weightwatchers.com

I have not been paid or reimbursed by Weight Watchers for this endorsement.

Loose Meat Tortillas

Servings – 1

Weight Watcher points – 8

Ingredients: 3 ounces of loose meat from recipe above (4 points)

  • 1/4 cup fat free shredded mozzarella (0 points)
  • 3 Mission thin corn tortillas (4 points)
  • 1/2 cup canned fat free dried beans (0 points)
  • 1 sliced tomato (0 points)
  • Sliced jalapeños (0 points)
  • 1 chopped green onion (0 points)

Place the 3 tortillas on a sheet pan or air fryer rack. Divide the refried beans and spread onto the tortillas. Add 1 ounce of the loose meat to each tortilla. Slice the tomato and divide the slices onto the 3 tortillas. Divide the mozzarella and sprinkle on the 3 tortillas. Add some sliced jalapeños on the tortillas if desired.

Bake or air fry at 350 degrees until the cheese has melted. Top with the chopped green onions and serve.

Enjoy!

Suggested songs to listen to while preparing the loose meat….

“Maid Rites” by the Riptones from their 2003 album Slant 6.

Since these are also called “tavern sandwiches”, I recall a great song by Mary Hopkin called “Those Were The Days” from her 1968 album Those Were The Days” She was one of the first artists to be signed by The Beatles’ Apple records label, and the song was produced by Sir Paul McCartney. Here is the “tavern” lyric excerpt…

” Just tonight I stood before the tavern

Nothing seemed the way it used to be

In the glass I saw a strange reflection

Was that lonely woman really me”

If you have tried any of my recipes, feel free to comment or send me a snapshot. Thanks for reading!

Salmon Patties

This recipe, made from canned pink salmon, was one of the best selling items at my meat and three restaurant that I used to own. I made them every Thursday for 10 years and usually sold out of them. It is adapted from a Morrison’s Cafeteria recipe, and it was also a great selling item during my 17 years there.

Cook / Prep Time – About 30 minutes

Servings – 2 (about 6 3 oz. patties)

I forgot to put the shallots in this ingredient picture

Ingredients

  • 1 – 14.75 oz. can pink salmon
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. Butter

  • 1 tsp. Lemon pepper seasoning

  • 12 saltine crackers, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon wedges for garnish

  • 3 tbsp. Canola or grape seed oil

Peel and dice the shallots. Place them in a frying pan with the butter on medium heat and sauté them until translucent. Remove heat and let them cool.

Open the salmon and drain the juice. Sort the salmon to remove any skin and pin bones. I highly recommend using kitchen gloves to do this so that your hands do not smell like fish for a week. ( you may crush the bones and leave them in if desired for a little extra protein)

Place the salmon in a mixing bowl. Add the cooled shallot/butter mixture and mix well. Add the lemon juice, lemon pepper, lemon zest and crushed saltines.

Mix together and form into six 3 ounce patties. Feel free to form bigger, thicker patties if you prefer. I like them thin and crispy!

Add the oil to a cast iron or carbon steel skillet on medium high heat. Add the salmon patties and brown well on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Serve immediately with a few lemon wedges and your favorite side dish.

Enjoy!

Suggested songs to listen to while preparing the salmon patties….

“The Salmon Dance” by the Chemical Brothers from their album “We Are the Night” released in 2007.

“Fish Song” by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band from their album “All the Good Times” released in 1972.

Easy Smoked Sausage and Roasted Vegetable Sheet Pan Dinner

Did someone say Sausage Party? Let’s do this! This is a very easy rainy day meal to put together and is ready to eat in about an hour. Any precooked sausage will work. You could use Italian Sausage, Andouille, Kielbasa, Bratwurst or most any precooked sausage. I used a Vidalia onion and uncured bacon smoked sausage that I picked up at our local Kroger..
  • You could probably use raw sausage, but I would eliminate the olive oil and would turn more often while in the oven because of the fat being released from the raw sausage.

Servings – 3-4

Cook/Prep Time – about an hour

Ingredients…

  • 3 precooked 5-6 ox sausage links
  • 8 small gold or red potatoes
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1 rib celery
  • 2 small sweet peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 small fresh tomatoes
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 packet Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt should not be necessary

Preheat oven to 450. Peel the onions, carrots, shallot and garlic. Clean and wash all the vegetables. Cut the sausage diagonally. Halve the potatoes. Cut the other vegetables into about 1 1/2 inch chunks. Place in bowl. Add the Italian seasoning mix, pepper, paprika and olive oil and mix together.

Place in oven and cook 15 minutes. Turn the mixture with a spatula and cook another 10-15 minutes. Thats it!

Enjoy!

Songs for your listening pleasure while preparing this dish….

“We Built This City (on sausage rolls)” by Ladbaby (single only) released in the fall of 2018. This is a reworked version of Starship’s “We built This City” Ladbaby’s single went to number one in the U.K. in December 2018, knocking Ariane Grande off the top spot.

“(Ain’t Nothin’ But a) House Party” From the album “Bloodshot” by the J. Geils Band released in April 1973 while I was a Senior in high school. I had the album and it was a really cool red vinyl. The other standout track on this album is “Give it to Me”

“Smokey Robinson 18 Greatest Hits” released in 1983 featuring “The Tracks of My Tears” , “I Second That Emotion” and “Cruisin’ “

“Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again” by The Fortunes from their album “Here Comes That Ring Day Feeling Again” released in May 1971

*UPDATE – I had to add my favorite Monkee’s song since Peter Tork passed today… “Daydream Believer” from their album “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” released in October 1967 when I was 12 years old. I remember watching their show every Monday evening preceding our Boy Scout meetings at our Scoutmaster’s house. R.I.P. Peter!