Beef roast in a multi-cooker

Sunday comfort food for a cold winter’s night is the theme of this recipe that I made a month ago.  We limit red meat in our home, and use it as a treat once or twice a year.  For those special nights, this is a great recipe that provides enough food for a family of six.

Begin with a 3 pound beef chuck roast and sear the meat in a multi-cooker at 350 degrees with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Season the roast with salt and pepper to taste.  Add 3/4 cup chopped large yellow onion, 5-6 red potatoes cut into squares, 1/2 bag small carrots and 3 cups beef broth.  Cook for 8 hours on low.

Remove the meat from the pot and place on a dish while preparing the rest of the recipe. Separate from the vegetables. Mix 2 tablespoons Wondra Flour into 1/4 cup water.  Drain and separate the broth from the cooker, removing the excess fat.Return the broth to the cooker. Increase the cooker to 350 degrees to boil the liquid.  Add in the flour mixture twice if desired for thicker gravy.  Return the meat and vegetables to the pot and continue to heat through for 10-15 more minutes.  Serve.

in love with my staub

So, I am not certain how this love affair happened.  But, over time I have collected an amazing grouping of wonderful pots that I use for cooking, roasting, and overall food preparation.

I guess it happened over a period of 25 years, and there is no way that I could replicate the array of lovely pieces I use and enjoy in my kitchen.  I say this because, I am in love with my kitchen tools.  All of them, everything that I have collected.  And, not just the pots, but the casseroles, baking dishes, serving dishes, bowls, platters, and all of my utensils.

So, why another pot?  Well, I did not have a Staub pot.  My Emile Henry and my Le Creuset pots were amazing, but this Staub pot combines technology with the classic enameled cast iron “one pot” cooking performance.  The pot gives every dish a non-stick environment within which to cook, but it provides a self-basting surround that enhances flavor and food satisfaction. I have read about these pots for years.


Chefs from around the world use Staub.  And, this year, a collection of white pots were introduced.  That is when I fell in love.  A white pot for my white kitchen.  Yes please–with white enamel that glistens and has the look of a new shiny sports car.

And so the story goes, another new pot will be baptized soon and brought into the fold of the others.  To be used and admired, to be appreciated and praised, and to pass on to those who come after me.  Staub pots are made in France and for the generations. Love. Love. Love.

To be continued….



Pasta Minestrone soup

Cooler weather encourages me to find my best slow cooker recipes and get ready for several months of comfort food.  I love a fresh pot of homemade soup.  There is no comparison to soups that simmer in a crock pot to any can or mix in the market.  This soup recipe is very low-cost and will make six generous servings.  It freezes well and can be warmed up quickly for another meal another day.


A minestrone soup is a classic Italian favorite and this recipe includes any type of shell pasta currently in the pantry.  I love to try different shapes of noodles in this one, but the classic would always be the shell shapes.

Gather these ingredients along with your favorite slow cooker and begin:   1 large carrot chopped, 1 large celery stalk chopped, 1/2 cup frozen peas, 2 small potatoes cubed, 4 sliced green onions, 28 ounces of chicken broth (made from stock base), 1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning, 2 medium cans of diced tomatoes, red pepper to taste, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup chopped romaine lettuce, 1/2 cup shell pasta, 1/2 cup fresh parsley or parsley flakes, and Parmesan cheese for the topping.

Combine all of the ingredients EXCEPT the lettuce, pasta, parsley and cheese in a crock pot.  Cook on low for at least 6 hours or on high for 5 hours.

During the last 20 minutes of cooking time, add the lettuce to the top as well as the dried pasta noodles.  Allow to cook for the last 20 minutes.  Serve in large bowls topping with parsley and cheese.  A side salad and crusty bread completes this comfort meal.

I love the taste and the hearty feel to this vegetarian soup.  If chicken broth is not desirable, this recipe will also work with vegetable broth.



spinach lasagna


since we are still suffering with extremely cold temperatures in Michigan, i decided to pull out a recipe from one of my garden club friends.  the ultimate comfort food for those cold winter days has to be lasagna.  instead of making the traditional meat lasagna, i opted for a vegetarian recipe of spinach lasagna.  this was an excellent recipe and one that i will make again

the recipe was taken from our garden club cookbook that was published a couple of years ago. the cookbook is filled with so many home cooked favorites of friends of mine in midland.

i made the recipe exactly as written and it was delicious.  here is the recipe:

28 ounces spaghetti sauce, 2 eggs, 15 ounces ricotta cheese, 1/2 tsp salt, 10 ounces frozen spinach, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 pound grated mozzarella cheese, 1/2 pound uncooked lasagna noodles.

preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  thaw and drain the spinach.  beat eggs in bowl, add ricotta, spinach, salt and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.  lightly spray bottom of baking dish with oil.  start the layers with the sauce.  cover bottom of dish, layer noodles, half ricotta mixture, half mozzarella cheese, then sauce.  repeat.

sprinkle the top with the remaining parmesan cheese. cover the dish with foil.  bake 40 minutes and uncover for 20 minutes for a total of 60 minutes bake time.  let stand for about 5 minutes before serving in squares.


dinner meatloaf muffins




do you have a red meat-eater in your house? if so, and you are looking for small portion sized meals, here is one that is perfect to serve, even for guests.  sometimes, meatloaf is considered comfort food, and this dish steps up the serving into a more upscale presentation.  i think the portion size is very presentable on the plate and two meatloaf muffins are considered one serving with only 8 grams of fat and 21 carbohydrates.  i have had this recipe for some time, and have lost track of where i found it along the way.  however; it is a good stand by for those weeknights, when someone in your home feels like meatloaf, but you have 30 minutes for meal preparation.

to make the meatloaf muffins:  preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  heat one teaspoon olive oil in a skillet and brown 1 cup finely chopped onion with 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots.  add one teaspoon dried oregano and minced garlic to taste.  while that is cooking, gather the other meatloaf ingredients.  1/2 cup ketchup, 1 1/2 pound lean ground beef, 1 cup panko bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, ground black pepper, 2 large eggs and cooking spray.  

when the onion mixture is tender, add everything except the cooking spray to a large bowl and combine well.  spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray, and spoon the mixture into the tin. top each muffin with additional ketchup, about 2 teaspoons per muffin.

bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.  the muffins will release from the pan perfectly and can be served with traditional mashed potatoes and a green vegetable. these mini meatloaves are delicious. the carrots and other ingredients make them taste upscale.