Archive for the ‘Beef’ Category

So, I have to confess… I am not a huge meatloaf lover. My hubby however, is a HUGE meatloaf fan! So every once in a while I break down and make it for him. Unfortunately for him, my meatloaf recipes are mostly like my meatball recipes… (see BB: Real Spaghetti & Meatballs for details). UNTIL NOW! Mwahahahaha!

Once again, Ina has worked her magic. This meatloaf was simple and delicious and got thumbs up from all 3 of us! Try it and let me know what you think! 

Special thanks to Tonya of What’s On My Plate for choosing one of March’s Barefoot Bloggers recipe!

Here is the link to the recipe as I currently have an almost 4 year old throwing stuffed animals up in the air behind me and don’t have time to type it out….the only change I really made was subbing the meatloaf mix for the chuck… you know.. the 3 little mounds in the butcher section… beef/pork/veal. Enjoy!

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spaghetti-al-bianco-2The little trivia portion for this recipe says that “When Italians feel the need to look after themselves, they cook “al bianco”, or “white” food without the acidity of tomatoes.”  So, since 1. I’m part Italian and 2. I’m not feeling well as I’ve got a cold, I decided to try it out.  And it did make me feel better! Ah, the magic of Italian food!  Now, I’ve never had spaghetti al bianco before so I have nothing to compare it to but this was really, really good and a nice change from tomato sauce!  It was super easy to make too!  Saute the veggies and add the meat, mushrooms, and stock and let it simmer. How hard is that? It’s not!  The end result is a light pasta dish, with just a hint of lemony freshness at the end.  Seriously, it does make you feel better…. as did the glass of wine I had with it!

So, since hubby is away and I have enough for like 8 servings I’ll be eating this for a while.  Too bad he missed out!

Here is the recipe:

Spaghetti al Bianco

Source: Good Cooking, The New Basics by Jill Dupleix

Serves 4 (but those are big servings)


  • 1/3 oz dried wild mushrooms ( I used a full 1 oz of dried porcini)
  • 1 leek, trimmed
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 thyme sprigs ( I may have added extra? I wasn’t sure what to do.. do you pull the little bits off the stem? throw it in whole? I ended up doing a bit of both… it was good anyway)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 1/2 lb lean ground beef ( I only used 1 lb as that is what I had.. it was fine)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • sea salt & pepper
  • 2 cups hot stock or water (I used 2 cups of beef stock made with one of those Knorr cubes)
  • 14 oz spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

How to pull it all together:

  • Soak the dried mushrooms in 1 cup boiling water for 30 minutes. 
  • Finely slice the leek and celery, finely dice the carrots.
  • Heat the olive oil and butter in a pan and cook the leek for 5 minutes.
  • Add the carrots, celery, thyme, and parsley, and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the beef and cook, stirring, until nicely browned.  Sprinkle with the flour, sea salt, and pepper, and stir for a minute or two to cook the flour.
  • Add the mushrooms with their soaking water, discarding any sediment. Gradually stir in the hot stock or water, then simmer, partly covered, for 45 minutes or longer. ( I simmered for @ 1 hour)
  • Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling, salted water until al dente-tender but firm to the bite.  Drain well, then toss with the meat sauce and add the grated lemon zest. (Don’t leave out the lemon zest, it makes the dish in my opinion)
  • Serve with grated Parmesan

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When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore!  Sorry, don’t you just have to sing Italian when eating/cooking Italian? We like to listen to Mob Hits & Louis Prima in our house when we do!  With that said, this recipe was really yummy! I have never bothered to follow a meatball recipe. They all seemed kind of plain… so I would “wing it” each time. I’ve never had really bad results.. sometimes they are really delicious, however they come out different every time I make them.  Sometimes they are too wet, some too dry, some too much flavor, some not enough you get the idea. This recipe was awesome! Even with the substitution I made (I used 1 lb pork instead of 1/2 pork and 1/2 veal, since my grocery store over here didn’t have veal) it was excellent.  I’ll definitely keep this recipe around and keep it in mind when I want to make sauce. I would probably double the recipe for the sauce as it didn’t make that much… Also, I ended up with a lot more meatballs then expected. I probably just made them too small…. Oh well, we’ll definitely have these again!

Oh yeah, the other “tweaks” I made:  I had to season my own breadcrumbs since they don’t sell them over here. I added garlic powder and onion powder and Italian seasoning to the crumbs. Not sure how much, I just eyeballed it.

Also, I don’t fry (at least when it’s not necessary), and I didn’t feel it was necessary for this recipe. I used instead @ 2 tablespoons of olive oil and olive oil cooking spray as needed.

And, I used extra lean ground beef and extra lean ground pork for the meatballs but they were still juicy and flavorful. I think that is it on my “tweaks”.

Here is the recipe:

Real Meatballs and Spaghetti

Source: Barefoot Contessa Family Style, Ina Garten


For the Meatballs:

  • 1/2 lb ground veal   (I couldn’t get veal so I did 1 lb of pork )
  • 1/2 lb ground pork (see above)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
  • 1/2 cup seasoned dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 extra-large egg, beaten
  • Vegetable oil
  • Olive oil

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For serving:

  • 1 1/2 pounds spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
  • Freshly grated Parmesan

How to pull it all together:

  • Place the grounds meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl.  Combine lightly with a fork.  Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs.
  • Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch.  Heat the oil.  Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or fork.  This should take about 10 minutes for each batch.  Don’t crowd the meatballs.  Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels.  Discard the oils but don’t clean the pan.
  • For the sauce, heat the olive oil in the same pan.  Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5-10 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.  Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper.
  • Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25-30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.  Serve hot on cooked spaghetti and pass the grated Parmesan.


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