Where’s the Beef—-steak?

Tomato, Squash, and Red Pepper Gratin

In this case the beefsteaks come in the form of juicy ripe tomatoes.  Combined with other fresh garden vegetables, quinoa, and eggs this casserole is a meal in itself.  We are making an effort to go meatless at least one day a week, so when I found  this recipe I decided to try it out.  It turned out to be  so hearty and satisfying all you need add is a green salad.

Quinoa is the new darling of the grain world and if you have not tried it yet this dish “hides” it so well you will not know it’s there.  Quinoa has double the protein and fiber of rice so I felt that I owed it to myself to give it a try.  I must admit I was not overly taken with it when served plain, but when combined with other ingredients it is enjoyable with its nutty flavor.   If you know someone who is a little hesitant to try something new,  this recipe will be a good way to introduce them to quinoa.




  • 5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 pound yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced basil, divided**
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme**
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat milk ( 2%)
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheese; Gruyere, Swiss or other good melting cheese.
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup seasoned croutons
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, cut into 8 slices

** If fresh basil and thyme are not available you may use the following dried herbs:  1 teaspoon basil and 1/2 teaspoon thyme.


1.   Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare an 11 x 7 inch glass or ceramic baking dish by coating with cooking spray.

2.  Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add 4  teaspoons oil; swirl to coat.  Add onion; cook for 3 minutes.  Add bell pepper; cook 2 minutes.

3.  Add squash and garlic; cook 4 minutes.  Place vegetable mixture in a large bowl.

Stir in quinoa, 1/4 cup basil, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper.

Egg mixture with dried herbs, added.

4.  Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, milk, eggs, and cheese in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add milk mixture to vegetable mixture, stirring until just combined.  Spoon into prepared baking dish.

5.  Place seasoned croutons in a food processor; pulse until coarse crumbs form.  Instead of that, I like to put them in a zip-lock bag and pound lightly with a meat mallet to form coarse crumbs.     (no extra dishes to wash!)

Ready for the oven.

6.  Arrange tomatoes evenly over vegetable mixture.  Top evenly with crumbs.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until topping is browned.  Sprinkle with remaining basil before serving.


SOURCE:   Cooking Light,  August, 2012


Slow Cooked Braised Beef Short Ribs

It doesn’t matter what season it is, I make frequent use of my crockpot, especially if I will be away most of the day.  I love to come home to the smell of something wonderful cooking.  Today I cooked beef  short ribs.

Braised Beef Short Ribs

Short-ribs are usually quite pricy at the market so we don’t have them very often, but this past week there was a special “truckload of beef” sale going on so I purchased some.  I have in my files several recipes for braised beef short-ribs, but for every one I was missing some key ingredient.  So I fused together two different recipes and come up with this one.  They came out very well;  finger-lickin good and falling off the bone, with a nice gravy that I thickened with some of the seasoned flour I used to brown the ribs initially.  I served this together with a mushroom risotto, and a medley of fresh garden vegetables.    This is how I made the ribs.


SERVES:    4


  • about 4 pounds beef short ribs,  4-6 pieces
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 jar prepared Beef Gravy with Mushrooms (such as Heinz)
  • 1 package dry onion soup mix (such as Lipton)


1.  Spray crock pot liner with non-stick cooking spray

2.  In a shallow bowl, mix together the flour, smoked paprika, and allspice.  Dredge the ribs in the flour mixture to coat.  Shake off excess flour.

3.  In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil to hot, brown the ribs on all sides, in batches if needed.

4.  Place a few ribs in the bottom of the crock pot .  Pour some of the gravy over them and sprinkle with some of the soup mix.  Repeat with the remaining ribs, gravy, and soup mix.

5.  Cook on LOW for 6-7 hours, or on HIGH for 3 1/2 – 4 hours.

6.  To serve:  Remove the ribs to a serving dish and keep warm.  Make a roux out of 2 Tablespoons butter and 2 Tablespoon flour (use any seasoned flour left from dredging the ribs).   Turn the crock pot up to HIGH so that the gravy simmers,  add the roux and stir to combine so the gravy thickens slightly.  Pour over the ribs and serve with noodles, mashed potatoes, or rice.


Roast Chicken with Brussels Sprouts

OK, so Brussels Sprouts may not be the most favorite vegetable of the year, but it is one vegetable I try to cycle through our meals once in a while because—–they’re good for you, and are low in calories and carbohydrates.  But up until several years ago I wouldn’t eat them,  I think because they were too strong in their cabbagy flavor.  Then I was having dinner out somewhere  –don’t remember where–and I was served these vegetables.  Not wanting to be rude I ate them and  SURPRISE,   I liked them because they had been cooked with bacon.  Now we know that bacon does wonders for most things, and Brussels Sprouts are no exception.  Therefore this recipe was a no-brainer for me when I first came across it.

This is a wonderful one-pan dinner that tastes like you cooked all day, but only takes a short while to get it ready for the oven.  The flavors meld together, and the sprouts are so good that next time I make this I will double the amount.  Did I really just say that?  The only adjustment I made was to leave out the potatoes because of our current low-carb diet plan.



  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 5 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 8 small red-skinned potatoes, quartered
  • 4 -5 pieces chicken (thighs with bone, or leg quarters work best)


1.  Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium -high heat, turning occasionally, until lightly browned but not crisp.  Drain the bacon on a paper-towel lined plate.  Save the drippings.

2.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Coat a large baking dish or cast iron skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil. ( My approach was to cook the bacon in a cast-iron skillet, save the drippings, and omit that 1 Tablespoon olive oil.)

3.  Arrange lemon slices in a single layer on the bottom of the baking dish.

4.  Stir remaining 5 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, kosher salt, and black pepper together in a large bowl.


5.  Toss the Brussels sprouts in lemon juice mixture to coat; transfer to the prepared baking dish with a slotted spoon, draining excess liquid back into the bowl.

6.   Place bacon on top of the Brussels sprouts.

7.  Toss potatoes in the same lemon juice mixture, remove with a slotted spoon and place around the inside edges of the baking dish.

8.  Coat chicken pieces thoroughly in the remaining lemon mixture, and place skin-side up on top of the vegetables in the skillet.  Pour any remaining lemon juice mixture over the chicken.

9.  Bake in the preheated oven until chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear, about 60 minutes.  Chicken should be nicely browned and crisp.

SOURCE:   All-Recipes.com

Pineapple Jerk Chicken and Rice

I made this dish for the very first time just a few days ago, and it came out so good I must tell you about it.  Normally I steer clear of dishes that I think will be very spicy.  From what I know about jerk seasoning, it is quite “hot”  since Scotch Bonnet peppers are usually  amongst the ingredients.  But on reviewing the ingredient list on the bottle of jerk seasoning marinade I became convinced that it would be OK.  So I purchased the suggested brand:  Lawrys Jerk Marinade, and proceeded with the recipe.

This is a one-dish meal featuring chicken breasts, pineapple, black beans, cilantro, onions and the jerk marinade served over brown rice.  It goes together quickly once you have everything prepped.   Mr. D.,  a person who likes spicy foods, was very complimentary when he tasted it.   It does have some heat to it especially with the jalapeño  chile in it, but I could tolerate and even enjoy it, so I know I will be making this dish again.



  • 2 cups brown rice,  or 2 bags Boil-in-Bag brown rice, such as Uncle Ben’s
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chile–stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 fresh pineapple cut into 3/4 inch pieces  (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup jerk marinade, such as Lawry’s
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1.  In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the rice, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until tender, about 30 minutes;  drain.  If using bagged rice, cook in boiling water 10-12 minutes, as package directs.

2.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and jalapeño and cook until the onion is browned, 7 minutes;  transfer to a bowl.

3.  Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to the same skillet and increase the heat to medium-high.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then add to the pan and cook until browned, 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the pineapple and jerk marinade and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, another 2-3 minutes.

4.  Stir in the onion mixture, black beans and cilantro; cook until the beans are heated through, about 1 minute.  Season with salt and pepper and serve over the rice.

SOURCE:   Every Day with Rachael Ray