Recipe–Cooking for the Year–Day 2 = Beef

If you had to take your kiddos shopping with you, I feel your pain.  If you were able to leave them home, I am jealous.  Today we cook beef.  We cook so much beef, that by the end of the day, we won’t ever want to see beef again.

Let’s get started.

First off, I pan seared the pot roast.  I only did two this year, and I am already regretting it.  Usually, I cook up about 4 – 5 small roasts.  I only have one Crock Pot as the other one died from being overworked.  Throw in the carrots and onions (no potatoes, as they don’t freeze well.) and seasoning.  I use Montreal Steak Seasoning and a bit of red vino.  I add a lot more water than normal as I want enough gravy to go around.  Cook them on low all day.  At the end of the day, we will divide the pot roast into containers for the freezer.

Next up.  Start the spaghetti sauce and the sauce for the lasagna.  For my spaghetti sauce, I use my adaptations on a recipe from Cook’s magazine called Weeknight Bolognese.  Unfortunately, I can’t share that recipe online as you must have a subscription to Cook’s Illustrated to use their online recipes.  I LOVE that magazine!!!, and the reason I love the magazine is that the writers tell you why they do the things they do.  I need that.  For example if the recipe says, “Cook on low for six hours.”, I think, “Why can’t I cook it on medium for 3 hours?”  I also love the fact that they talk about their cooking failures in the kitchen.  Do you know of any other cooking magazine that admits to cooking failures?

Bolognese to most of the world means a meat based spaghetti sauce (while a Marinara sauce is meatless.)  Italians however call their red sauce “ragu” which comes from the French words for “Awake the appetite.”  Either way, it is delicious.

Psst.  Can you keep a secret?

I mean, can you promise to NEVER, EVER, EVER!!!! tell my kiddos something?

If you can promise, and are good for your word, I’ll let you in on something.

. . .

. . .

I put mushrooms in the ragu.  I diced them really, really, really, small, then sautéed them in lots-a, lots-a, lots-a butter.  And after sampling quite a few spoonfuls, I buried them deep in my ragu!!!!  If the kiddos knew, they wouldn’t eat my Bolognese sauce, so please don’t tell them.

The photo above shows the bacon, celery, carrots, onions, and one more undisclosed ingredient (remember our secret?) that I sautéed in olive oil.  I will add all this goodness to my tomato sauce.

I used to use my Bolognese sauce for both my spaghetti and my lasagna, but after I tried out Pioneer Woman’s Lasagna and all the kiddos licked their plates, I decided to make her lasagna recipe.  You can find it in her cookbook, “Pioneer Woman Cooks” (highly recommended) or on her website.

Here are some lasagna making photos.

Draining the meat.

The ragu–cook this sauce for 4 – 7 hours.  That is why we started it early in the morning.  It will taste divine if allowed to simmer all day.  Add water as it cooks down.

The cottage cheese mixture.

And the finished lasagnas ready for the freezer.  I use small 8×8 Glad heatable containers as my kiddos love lasagna the first day, and even the next day, but they don’t want to eat it for the entire week.  Someday this size of pan will be too small for our family, but right now it is just right.

Both the lasagna ragu and the Bolognese ragu (okay Italians, Ragu alla Bolognese) will take most of the day to simmer and get that “Mama-put-a-lot-of-love-and-time-in-this-recipe taste.”  While they are simmering away, we can work with some beef dishes that we freeze without cooking (as the stove is kind of busy right now.)

Meat loaf and Meat balls.  If you need a recipe for meat loaf, I recomment Pioneer Woman’s recipe.  Her recipes always go over with the kiddos as they are basic and delicious.

Here are some meatloaf making photos.

Put the meatloaves into containers to shape them while they freeze.  Tomorrow you will take them out (fully frozen), remove the plastic container, wrap them in bacon, and then cover them with Saran Wrap and foil.

The meatballs that I make are the same ones that were served at my wedding.

In my family, we call them Sharon’s Meatballs as she gave us the recipe.  We were first served them at her house and loved them.  I am sure that you will also.  Here’s a page out of a cookbook my sister made for me.

Make up the meatballs.  I put them in my Glad 8X8 heatable containers.  I also freeze two cookie sheets of meatballs.  I let them freeze, then the next day I put them all into a Ziploc bag.  That way I can get out the exact number of meatballs that I need.

Don’t worry about making the BBQ sauce today.  I usually add the sauce after the meatballs in the 8X8 Glad heatable containers are frozen.

I am going to use corn in my Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe tomorrow.  I cooked up the corn on the cob today to save me a step tomorrow.  I prefer fresh corn on the cob to canned corn as I grew up on a farm and was/am spoiled.

Our last beef entre is chili.  Once again, I used a PW recipe.  If you don’t have a favorite chili recipe, I recommend trying out hers.

Here’s a pot of chili boiling up.

Now you can start filling Tupperware/Glad containers with all of your hard work.  LABEL!  LABEL, LABEL!!!

(I know, I misspelled “spaghetti”.  It was a long day.  And remember?  I have bi-polar spelling.)

Don’t forget the pot roast that has been cooking all day.

Once everything is in a container, labeled, and the dishes are done, you have one more step.  Tonight, you are going to cook the red beans so that they will be ready in the morning.  Clean out the crock pot and add the red/black beans, water, ham bone, and seasonings.  I included my red bean/black bean recipe in this post.

I know you are exhausted, but just think.  The only thing you have left to do is cook supper!!  🙂  Hopefully, you put some of those BBQ Meatballs in the oven.  Put some of the cooked corn in a pan with some cream and for a “veggie”. . . .how about canned peaches or pears or applesauce.  I know, nothing is green and fresh and vitamin packed, but . . .just this once. . .because you deserve a break. . .because you are going to be on your feet all day tomorrow cooking chicken. . . .because mama said so!

thanks for coming along on this cooking adventure ordeal!


P.S.  Here is where Little Man went when he got underfoot.

P.S.S.  What shoes was I wearing on this day?

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12 Responses to Recipe–Cooking for the Year–Day 2 = Beef

  1. Laura M says:

    Black(or dark blue) open-toed sandals… exhaust me R!!! I don’t know how you do it all!! God’s blessings!!


  2. Oh wow, this looks incredibly lovely. I adore the photos.


  3. Sharon B says:

    I would probably guess black or blue open-toed sandals, but then I didn’t noticed your shoes when you were visiting here..(I much more enjoyed a hug and a visit!!:)) By the way, we had meatballs last night! How quick and easy it was to take them out of the freezer, put in the oven and along with baked potatoes, have a wonderful meal that really took little time to prepare! Very rarely do I not have meatballs in my freezer..:) I LOVE reading your blog–keep it up!!


  4. Bel McCoy says:

    Can I come over for some of that lasagne?? Dark blue with pink painted toes showing… 🙂


  5. Debbie says:

    Impressive ….. and overwhelming. But the outcome is over-the-top fabulous! Looking forward to trying some of these recipes from PW!!! Footgear looks to be navy sandals. Yesterday I made a batch of “Marinara” sauce to freeze from our ever multiplying tomatoe plants!! It’s so nice to have food made up ahead after a long day of work!!!


  6. Lisa Buchanan says:

    Nice work!


  7. whitsendmom says:

    Thank you, Mama.


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