Tag Archives: ground beef

Make your own pizza, male and female style

You may think I’m weird for saying this, but I don’t like pizza that much. I know, how un-American of me. I will eat it if it’s around, and I get an occasional craving for a weird one like chicken bacon ranch, but in general if asked what I want for dinner, the answer will not be Little Caesars.
.
My current S.O. could literally live off pizza and burritos. So we found a compromise, making our own pizza. That way I can have the things I want on it (veggies) and control the sauce, and he can have what he wants (as much meat as possible) at the same time. This is our version of men are from Mars, women are from Venus, in the kitchen.
.
Ingredients:
1 tube pizza dough (about $2 at grocery store)
1 jar pizza sauce (~$2)
.
Toppings of choice: Female half
Spinach & mixed greens
Onions & peppers julienned
Zucchini
Mozzarella cheese
Pineapple
.
Toppings of choice: Male half
Deli ham
Ground beef (pre-cooked, left over from burritos actually)
Bacon
Mozzarella cheese
Pineapple
.
Step 1: Cook the meat if needed, spray a 9×13 oven safe pan. Roll the pizza dough out flat and press to the sides of the pan.
.
Step 2: Spread on as much sauce as you like. I don’t like most pizzas because I end up scraping a cup of sauce off my slices, so I put it on thin.
.
Step 3: Layer the toppings.

Step 4: Cover in as much cheese as you can handle. Because cheese is sent from heaven to make all foods taste better. Some calories are just worth it.

Step 5: Bake at 425 for ~20 minutes or until crust is brown and crispy and cheese is bubbling.

This recipe is as varied as your imagination, nearly any meat or vegetable can be a pizza topping, so if you like it then go crazy! You can use veggies left over from other meals. It’s easy to make a vegetarian (or even vegan without the cheese) pizza.

You can fold the dough in half to make a smaller deep-dish pizza. Try a bunch of variations and find what you like best.  No matter what you put on yours, its likely to still be much cheaper and healthier than a purchased one.

Moroccan Beef & Couscous

.
So this is another one where I had some odds & ends, found a recipe that used most of the ingredients, then changed it to fit what I felt like making. Original recipe is from GoodHousekeeping.
.
Ingredients:
1 pound ground beef
1 can chickpeas
1/2 zucchini, diced
1/2 yellow squash, diced
1/2 cup carrot, sliced
2 tbsp dried onion (I would have preferred a whole onion diced, but didn’t have one)
2 tbsp dried cranberries
Cinnamon, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper
1 box wheat couscous
1 cup chicken stock

Step 1: Dice the vegetables and saute in a frying pan over medium heat.

Step 2: The recipe called for the beef to be cooked in the same pan, but if I were to do it again I’d cook the beef separately so I could drain the fat easier. Cook the beef until no longer pink.

 
Step 3: Add 2 tbsp of the cumin and paprika, and 1 tbsp of garlic and cinnamon.
.
Step 4: Open and drain the chickpeas, add to the pan and heat through. Stir in the cranberries and cover 2 minutes.

Step 5: Cook the couscous as directed. I put it in a microwave-safe pan with a cover, added the stock and included spice packet and microwaved on high 5 minutes.

Step 6: Fluff the cooked couscous. Put about 1/4 cup in a bowl, and spoon 1/2 cup beef and veggie mix on top. Enjoy!

I was given the advice to add onion (which I definitely will next time) and pineapple to add a bit of sweet, which I totally agree with. I might try adding eggplant too. You could use any vegetable you like, and try different spices too. The beefy, soft veggie, sweetness combo is perfect over soft fluffy couscous.

Inside-out stuffed peppers

.
I have to credit this post to my friend Maribeth. She is also an excellent cook, and is allowing me to post this recipe here. We both needed some serious girl-talk time, so cooking dinner together and enjoying some wine was of course the natural choice. This is her recipe.
.
Ingredients:
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 box rice pilaf
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • 1 tbsp diced garlic
  • 1 cup Spaghetti sauce
  • black pepper
Step 1: Dice the onion into small pieces and the bell pepper into strips.
Step 2: Cook the ground beef fully, then add the onion, pepper and garlic. Cover tightly and steam for about 10 minutes, until pepper is fully cooked. (You can of course omit the ground beef or use tofu instead for vegetarians.)
Step 3: Meanwhile, cook the rice pilaf according to instructions. Once peppers are soft, add the rice and pesto and mix well.
Step 4: Season to taste with black pepper and any other seasonings you like.

Step 5: Scoop a big pile onto a plate, and cover with the sauce.
Step 6: Try to stop yourself from having seconds!

Inside out stuffed peppers. Delicious!

 

Multi-Mexi

One of my favorite kinds of food is Mexican inspired food. Why?

  1. It is usually cheap
  2. It is pretty easy to make
  3. A little goes a long way towards fulfilling hunger
  4. It is so versatile! 

I made a few favorites this week with a handful of ingredients. Let me walk you through my multi-mexi recipes.

This is a case where one meal gets transformed into a new one, and then another one! This keeps you from wasting leftovers and prevents food boredom.

Here’s a list of everything I used all week:
1 can diced tomatoes with green chili peppers
2 roma tomatoes
1/2 cup minced cilantro
1/2 medium onion, diced
Lime juice
Lemon juice
Garlic powder
1 can refried beans
Cheddar cheese, shredded
1.2 lb ground beef
Taco seasoning

Ok, so meal #1:
I made my own salsa from the can of tomatoes and chilis, diced up fresh tomatoes and the onion. Added the cilantro and a dash of garlic, plus lemon & lime juice. Delicious with chips or as a topping!

Meal #2:
After 2 days, I still had plenty of salsa and was bored. So I heated a can of refried beans in the microwave, added all the rest of the salsa, topped it with some shredded cheddar cheese. You will be amazed at how delicious this simple dip is!

Meal #3:
Another 2 days goes by and it isn’t likely I will finish the huge amount of dip this made, so I browned the ground beef, drained it, and added taco seasoning. To this I added all the bean & salsa dip. This made for some very hearty tacos! Put over tortilla chips or wrap in a tortilla with lettuce, sour cream and cheese.

This is just one example of the many ways you can re-purpose leftovers into a different meal. It is thrifty, creative, and just an all-around good idea!

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

.
A Slovak classic, cabbage rolls stuffed with rice and ground beef. There are of course many variations on the recipe, including ground pork or turkey or sausage, various forms of tomato sauce/paste, etc. This is my take on what I could remember from my grandmother’s recipe.

ROLLS

  • 1 large head cabbage
  • 1.5 lb ground beef
  • 1 med onion
  • 1.5 cups rice
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • Spices – garlic, italian seasoning, salt, pepper, paprika

SAUCE

  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

Step 1: Boil a huge pot of water. Carefully remove the outer large leaves and blanch in boiling water for 5 minutes or until soft. Remove and drain.

Step 2: Add all sauce ingredients and simmer on low. Brown the ground beef. I also made mashed potatoes to go with the rolls. Just peel and dice up several potatoes and boil until soft.

The picture looks foggy bc there was so much steam from boiling the cabbage and rice

Step 3: If you’re making mashed potatoes too, add butter, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup sour cream and some salt, and mash together.

Then I put the potatoes in a small crock pot to keep warm because I was transporting them. Also I sprinkled some paprika on top.

Mashed potatoes are always a good choice. Especially with anything tomato-ey involved.

Step 4: Drain the ground beef. Add diced onions and cook 5 more minutes until soft, and add any desired spices. Also, boil or microwave the rice. Mix beef, rice, and tomato paste together. Fill cabbage leaves with about 1/4 cup (fist-sized) of mix. Fold over one end, tuck both sides, and then roll tightly.

Step 5: The extra cabbage from inside I also boiled, poured some tomato sauce over, and added to the bottom of a sprayed crock pot. The rolls I began layering over the cabbage.

Step 6: Pour the sauce over the rolls, and then enjoy! (I was taking them to class for lunch. Lucky classmates right?!)

Stuffed pepper casserole

.
If you’ve been following along, you know I love stuffed pepper. You also know I love my crock pot. Stuffed peppers in the crock pot tend to come out a little mushy, so I decided to try making a casserole instead of leaving the peppers whole. They get cut into tiny pieces when you eat it anyways right?
Ingredients:
4 large red bell peppers
1.5 lb ground beef
1.5 cups rice
1.5 cups chicken broth
1 can tomato sauce
Garlic, italian spices, pepper, salt
Step 1: First cut the peppers into small chunks and line the crock pot.

Step 2: Then add the chicken broth to the rice and cook, following directions for the type of rice you use… the chicken broth just gives it more flavor, if you’re watching your sodium you can omit it.

Step 3: While that’s cooking, brown the ground beef.

Step 4: Then mix the rice, sauce and beef together. Pour over the peppers. I actually added 1/2 a chopped onion to the beef to give it more flavor. Season with whatever spices you like.

Step 5: Cook on low for 1 -2 hours and enjoy!

Crock Pot miracles – Stuffed Peppers & Strawberry Apple Crisp

.
Crock Pots are miracle workers for students, busy moms, professionals, anyone who is pressed for time but still wants a healthy, home-cooked meal at the end of the day. As a full-time graduate student writing her thesis, with 2 other jobs and several PhD interviews to prepare for, I have been running a pretty hectic schedule lately.
It goes something like this:
7am – wake up, go to lab, begin an experiment.
8 am – rec, run or elliptical.
9 am – home, shower, breakfast, maybe an hour of free time.
10/11 – meetings.
12-2 find time for lunch.
Afternoon – classes and more experiments.
4 – 9: work or write, depending on the day.
So, in the one hour of free time I had the other morning, I realized I had 3 red bell peppers, minute rice, and ground beef. Plus two old apples and baking supplies I hadn’t used in ages. Therefore…

Crock pot stuffed peppers:
3 red bell peppers
1 pound ground beef
1 cup rice
1 can tomato sauce
Spices to taste (garlic, italian, black pepper)
Step 1: Brown the ground beef and cook the rice.Step 2: Cut tops off peppers and remove seeds. In a large bowl, mix the cooked rice and beef and 1 can tomato sauce, plus any spices. Stuff each pepper with mixture.
Step 3: Put in Crock Pot on LOW for 2-4 hours.
Dinner and dessert, will be ready and waiting when I get home.
The pepper, exploded on my plate. =)

 

Dessert went from plain apple crisp to strawberry apple crisp because I couldn’t find any plain oatmeal. So I made do with what I had. And I’m glad I did!

Crock Pot Strawberry Apple Crisp:
2 apples, 1 red & 1 green
1 packet strawberries & cream oatmeal
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter/margerine
Cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract

Step 1: Dice the apples and mix in a bowl with a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. Put apples into a sprayed slow cooker.

Step 2: Mix the sugars, oatmeal, flour, butter, 1 tbsp. vanilla and another sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg in a separate bowl.

Step 3: Sprinkle a tbsp sugar over the spiced apples in the crock pot, and cover with crumble mixture. Cook on LOW for 2-4 hours. The sugars carmelize, the apples are soft and tangy, it tastes like heaven warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!!!

This is so completely fabulous I can’t even describe it!

Goat cheese lasagna

 

Well, as December is chock-full of holidays and I spend half of it at home, I did not do much cooking past the 20th. It’s nice to be at home where someone else cooks for me and does the dishes. Like a restaurant, but with more love and fighting.

Anyhow, it’s 2012 now, time for some more creative kitchen adventures. I’m sure I will have plenty of old standbys like tacos and ramen noodles, but there are also some recipes on my mind I’d like to try soon. Plus, I’ve resolved to eat healthier and exercise more because the holiday weight gain really snuck up on me this year. So hopefully you will see lots of salads, soups and veggies.

Since I have not yet made anything spectacular, today I will post the last meal of 2011 that I made, goat cheese lasagna! This stuff is amazingly delicious, and terribly detrimental to the health of anyone kidney-stone-prone. But I had goat cheese and I love the stuff, so I went ahead and made it anyways as an end-of-the-year treat.

Ingredients:
Lasagna noodles
Pasta sauce
Ground beef
Goat cheese
Ricotta or cottage cheese

Step 1: Boil a large pot of water. Add the noodles once fully boiling and boil for 7-9 minutes. Once al dente, drain.

Step 2: While water is boiling, brown about 1 pound ground beef and drain excess grease. If you want, you can combine the meat and sauce in a bowl.

Step 3: Mix the cheeses together well in a separate bowl.

Step 4: In a baking pan or crock pot, layer the noodles, cheese, sauce and meat. Bake at 375 for 1 hour, or on high for 4-5 hours. You can also sprinkle some mozarella on top.

Then just sit back and enjoy! The salty tang of the goat cheese is phenomenal. I’d recommend adding a layer of spinach in there to healthify it and add extra nutrients.

Slow cooker enchiladas

Since I have no oven in my current apartment, I have been looking for new and creative recipes to try in the slow cooker. I found one for enchiladas on Allrecipes.com and decided to use that as the basis for dinner tonight. Of course, I am terrible about measurements, so maybe you’ll want to look up their recipe if you want exact amounts.
Ingredients:
~1.5 lbs ground beef
1/2 cup taco seasoning
1/4 cup water
1 can cream of chicken
1 cup salsa
handful of fresh cilantro (because it was on sale 0.74 a bunch!)
Corn tortillas
Shredded cheese
Step 1: Brown the ground beef in a skillet. Drain off as much of the grease as you can. Add the taco seasoning and water, and cook the seasoning into the beef until most is absorbed. This is the second layer over the tortillas.
Step 2: Mix the chicken soup, salsa and diced cilantro in a bowl. This will be your third layer.


Step 3: Spray the inside of the crock pot so hopefully there will be no burnt-on mess later. Put down a layer or 2 of tortillas. Then a layer of meat. Then the cheese mixture. Over the topmost layer of beef, I added some slices of pepper jack to give it an extra little kick.

Keep layering until you use all the beef and soup mixture. Put a top layer of tortillas on and sprinkle with more cheese. 
Put on High for 45 minutes to 1 hour. We will see in an hour how well I did!

Stuffed peppers

.
Stuffed peppers have become known as my signature dish among certain people. I made them once, my friend fell in love and shared them with his family, who also loved them. Through trial and error, I have perfected the recipe and learned that shortcuts are usually not worth sacrificing taste!
.
The typical stuffed pepper is made with a green bell pepper and stuffed with a combination of meat, rice, and spices. I like using the red ones so much better because they are sweeter. As always, there is plenty of room for experimentation, and they can easily be made vegetarian. I made some yellow ones stuffed with a combination of quinoa, carrots, brown sugar, celery and raisins that were quite delicious.
.
However, this is “the” recipe for my famous peppers. Perhaps I shouldn’t share, but they are so good I feel everyone should have a chance to make and try them!
.
The most recent batch I made was a dozen for myself and my friend’s family. If you are only making 2 or 4, the recipe can easily be pared down, just cut amounts by 1/4 or whatever you need.
.
Ingredients:

12 red bell peppers (ok, 2 were yellow)
~1.5 pounds ground beef
~2 cups rice
2 cups chicken broth or 2 bouillon cubes
1 packet onion soup mix
1 large can (24 oz?) tomato sauce or 3-4 smaller ones
Nature’s Seasons

Step 1: Boil the rice in the chicken broth. This gives the rice extra flavor and saltiness.
.
Step 2: Brown the ground beef. Put it in a pan and cook over medium heat until there is no more pink. Drain the excess grease.
.
Step 3: In a large bowl, mix the cooked meat, the cooked rice, the seasonings and the sauce. (Honestly, I could just eat this mixture itself with a spoon!)
.
Step 4: Cut the tops off the peppers and pull out the white rinds and seeds.
.
Step 5: Stuff the mixture into the peppers.
.
Step 6: Bake at 350 for at least 1 hour. Be sure to add some water to the pan so they don’t dry out or burn. You can rinse the tomato sauce can and use that for extra flavor. Depending on how tender you want your peppers to be, you can leave them in a little longer or shorter. You can also add some shredded cheese on top during the last 5-10 minutes of baking.
.
You will know they are ready when the skin is soft to the touch and wrinkled, and the tops are nicely browned. You can also cook these on high in a crock pot for 1-2 hours, they will just not develop the crispy brown top. Enjoy!
They also reheat great for lunch or dinner the next day!