Fettuccine with Braised Short Rib Tomato Sauce


Let’s talk pasta.  Versatile, filling, satisfying- pasta.  But this is not your ordinary pasta dish, this is something special.  It’s so special that I really hope you will make because it’s almost impossible to describe it’s amazingness in this post.  It’s the best meat sauce we have ever had- Bolognese- step aside- a new sauce is in town.  This recipe does take time to cook, but it is so simple to make so do not be intimidated.  Coming from the gal who loves a good marinara with fresh basil and mozzarella, I would trade up for this short rib sauce any day.  Jason’s been on a short rib kick, it’s been great, we’ve made this recipe, and then he ordered a Braised Short Rib Sugo dish at Homestead during restaurant week, and he was so blown away that we decided to try to re-create it at home.  We’re nerds like that.  So happens that Jason found the perfect recipe, from none other than Giada herself.  A few tweaks from our kitchen to make it even easier and we had perfection.  The chocolate shavings on top to finish the dish are imperative, weirdly necessary and so perfect paired with this meal in a bowl or on a plate.  Please make this recipe and be blown away like we were.  Short ribs are super affordable cuts of meat, and when cooked correctly like in this, they are transformed.  Let’s hope this broth based, veggie filled, meat sauce is the trick to kicking this cold I got to enjoy all weekend… I’ll let you know how that goes, in the meantime you go and Enjoy, cook, create, eat and Enjoy!!

0222Adapted from Giada’s Short Ribs with Tagliatelle

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time 3 hours and 30 minutes

Yields 4-6 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ounces chopped bacon
2 1/2 pounds short ribs
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley stems and leaves
3 cloves garlic
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 1/2 cups beef  stock, reduced sodium
3/4 cup red wine
1 pound fettuccine pasta
4 to 6 teaspoons shaved bittersweet chocolate

Place the olive oil in a large heavy soup pot over medium heat. Cook the bacon until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes. Meanwhile, season the short ribs with salt and pepper, and dredge in the flour. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pan to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown on all sides, about 7 minutes total.

Meanwhile, combine the onion, carrot, parsley and garlic in a food processor and blend until finely minced. Then add the tomatoes and tomato paste and pulse.

Once the short ribs are browned, carefully add the mixture from the food processor to the pot. Return the bacon to the pot and stir. Add the rosemary, thyme, oregano, beef broth, and wine. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for another 1 hour and 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the meat and bones from the pot. Discard the bones. Shred the meat and return it to the pot. Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the pot and stir to combine. Add the reserved pasta liquid 1/4 cup at a time, if needed, to moisten the pasta. Transfer to serving bowls, top each bowl with 1 teaspoon of chocolate shavings. Serve immediately.


Our Favorite Meatloaf



With the frozen tundra of winter we are experiencing in Chicago, comfort food that warms you from the heart is a must.  Meatloaf not only fits the bill for comfort food, but it is also very budget friendly and this one in particular happens to be healthier for you.  This is of course thanks to the recipe we alter slightly from Ellie Krieger called Mom’s Turkey Meatloaf.  The best part of her loaf is the addition of tomato sauce on top with sliced onions that caramelize while it bakes.  The original recipe calls for all ground turkey, but in an effort to get more iron, we have been mixing ours with 90/10 ground beef ( or better).  We served our meatloaf tonight with a baked potato and steamed broccoli.  This recipe makes a large loaf with 2 pounds of meat, but leftovers are always welcome here.  Making meatloaf sandwiches the next day is so gooood!  So crank up the oven and make this easy, budget friendly, heathy, delicious and favorite recipe of ours:

Adapted from Ellie Krieger, The Food You Crave , Mom’s Turkey Meatloaf

Makes 8 large slices

3/4 cup quick-cooking oats

1/2 cup skim milk

1 medium onion, peeled

1 pound ground turkey breast

1 pound 90/10 Ground Beef, or better

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 large eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats and milk, let sit while you prepare the remaining ingredients:  Quarter your onion, then thinly slice 1/4 of the onion and set aside. Finely chop the remaining onion.  Add chopped onion, bell pepper, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, salt and pepper to the turkey, beef, oat mixture. Mix just until well combined.

Transfer the mixture to a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and shape into a loaf about 5 inches wide and 2 1/2 inches high, with a flat top. Pour the tomato sauce over the meatloaf and sprinkle with the sliced onions. Bake for about 1 hour or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to15 minutes before slicing.

Braised Short Ribs with Bok Choy


Winter, snow, holidays, more snow, it’s already half way through December and Christmas is only 8 days away!  This recipe is a great dish to make on a cold Sunday night, but we forgot the ginger at the store, so ended up making this on a Monday night, after work, and ate dinner around 8:25pm.  I’ve added in the general cooking time and prep time below so you don’t make the same mistake; we didn’t read enough forward to see the additional cooking time was 2 hours, but if you like late dinner, go for it, it wasn’t so bad!  Anyhow, this is a great pot roast substitute since the meat is in small chunks it has it’s very own tenderizing flavor infusing bone.  The carrots and baby bok choy added beautiful brightness, freshness and color to the dish.  Even though the ingredients suggest an Asian flavor, this really tasted very all American.  The long cooking time really melts down the fat, so we recommend trimming the short ribs of most of it so you don’t end up with an inch of fat floating at the top of your bowl.  We served this with bread but brown rice would be a great side as well.  Enjoy!


Adapted from: William Sonoma’s the Best of Taste, serves 4

Cook Time 2 hours and 30 minutes

Prep Time: 10 minutes


8 beef short ribs (about 4lbs), trimmed of excess fat

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 large yellow onion halved and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic

1 tablespoon of finely chopped ginger

1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons ketchup

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

4 heads baby bok choy, leafy tops and hearts quartered and sliced lengthwise

2 carrots peeled and sliced


Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place ribs in a Dutch oven and sprinkle with salt. Top with onion slices. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

In a bowl, mix garlic, ginger, soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar, pepper and red pepper flakes . Remove pot from oven and pour sauce over ribs. Add 1.5 cups of water and stir. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Cover pot and cook until beef is fork tender about 1.5-2 hours.

Add diced bok choy and carrots and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Serve with crusty bread or over brown rice.

Beef Confetti Chili

Best Chili recipe so far, we used 93/7 lean ground beef and loads of fresh veggies, and this was the PERFECT hearty rich chili.  We love letting it meld together all day while we work, so when you get home there is no cooking, just eating and relaxing!

photo 3

16 oz  Beef, Ground, 93% Lean Meat / 7% Fat
small  onion, diced (1 cup)
medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced (1 cup)
1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
habenero pepper, seeded and diced
teaspoon  ground cumin
teaspoon  ground coriander
teaspoon  Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon  garlic powder
28 ounce  crushed tomatoes, with their juices
cups  Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth
tbsp  chipotle chile
1/2 teaspoon  dried oregano
14 ounces  canned reduced sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
28 ounces  low sodium pinto beans canned, drained and rinsed
cup  corn kernels
Salt and Pepper to taste

Saute onions with a bit of olive oil, add beef and brown till cooked through
Add all ingredients to crock pot, stir, cover and cook low 8 hours
Serve with cilantro and sour cream and cheddar cheese!

Sweet and Sour Brisket

We ran across this recipe in our favorite cookbook, The Food You Crave, by Ellie Krieger. It’s slow cooked brisket in a home made, and plate licking, sweet and sour sauce. We bought our brisket at Fulton Market and literally couldn’t wait to prepare this, but it takes some time! So make this on the weekend, and please let us know what you think, because we literally have never tasted any brisket more incredible then this one! We had to share. Some tricks we learned while making this… make sure you have a large stove top to oven pot, like our Le Creuset dutch oven with the heavy lid. Also, you have to let the roast rest and cool down for 45 minutes before slicing it- otherwise it will shread ( which is also yummy but not as ideal for sharing a sliced roast!) Just put the sliced meat back in to the sauce over the stovetop to heat it back up- and it’s perfection!

1 (3-pound) beef brisket, first-cut or flat-half cut, trimmed of any excess fat
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium onion, cut in 1/2, then thinly sliced into 1/2 moons
3 cloves garlic, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
One 15- oz. can tomato sauce, preferably no salt added
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth or water
3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup golden raisins
5 black peppercorns
1 allspice berry


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Pat the brisket dry and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or braising pot. Sear the brisket until it is browned, 4 minutes per side. Transfer the brisket to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pot and cook the onion, stirring a few times, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce, broth, brown sugar, 1/3 cup of the vinegar, the raisins, peppercorns, and allspice and stir to combine well. Bring mixture to a boil, return brisket and any accumulated juices to the pot, spoon some of the tomato-vinegar mixture over the brisket, cover tightly, and transfer to the oven. Cook until the brisket is fork tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Remove the brisket from the oven, transfer the meat to a cutting board, and let rest for 10 to 20 minutes or, if serving later, cover and refrigerate the meat and sauce for several hours or overnight. When you are ready to serve, cut the meat against the grain into 1/4- inch thick slices. Return the sliced brisket to the sauce until heated through, then serve.

Yield: 10 servings, serving size: 4-ounces brisket plus 3 tablespoons of sauce

adapted from 2007, Ellie Krieger, All rights reserved

Grilled NY strip steaks, corn on the cob and citrus-cucumber and cilantro salad

Tonight’s meal was exceptional and and highly over due. After all of the burgers, brats and hot dogs at BBQ’s this summer, we felt it was necessary to enjoy some steaks.

To start we lightly oiled our strip steaks with vegetable oil and then seasoned it generously with kosher salt, freshly cracked pepper and granulated garlic. Cooking steaks works best after the meat has set out for an hour or so. Doing this ensures that the mean will cook more evenly. Cook the steaks on the grill over indirect heat for 5-7 min per side (depending on how hot your grill is) for medium steak. After cooking, let the steaks rest for 10 minutes before serving to lock in the juices!
Next, we trimmed the wispy ends of the corn cobs and soaked each ear in water for 1/2 hour. If you dry grill the corn, it burns, soaking the ears helps to prevent this from happening. Don’t worry if the corn shucks blacken a bit, the corn is safe inside. Grill the corn for 10-12 minutes per side over direct heat. Pinch the ear for doneness- it should be soft but not mushy. To serve, pull the husks back (careful it’s HOT) and use them as your eating handle. Rub down with butter and sprinkle with Kosher salt.
The citrus-cucumber and cilantro salad was a nice hodge podge of some left over fresh veggies/ herbs from the farmer’s market and our pizza night. First, slice 2 medium cucumbers into 1/8″ slices and then cut in half to make half moons. Toss in a bowl with 1 teaspoon Kosher salt to pull out some of the water from the cucumbers (this will make your salad less watery and more delish)for at least 15 minutes. Next, rinse them with cold water really well, and drain/dry to get all excess moisture off, put them all back in the bowl. Then you can add to the bowl 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion, 1 teaspoon EVOO, 1 teaspoon White Wine Vinegar, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, a pinch of salt, a grind of pepper, and you’ve got a salad!