Picadillo Cubano (Cuban Ground Beef and Olives)

This is a dish that grew on me.  The first time I tasted it, it was strange since I hadn’t had much experience with green olives.  And pairing it with raisins?  It sounded weird.  And it was, a little bit.  But, after I got over my initial reaction, I found I was looking forward to eating leftovers.  By the time we ate the last serving, we were sad that it was gone.  All that to say, this may be out of your comfort zone, but if you’re looking for a new taste, go ahead and give it a try and let me know what you think!



1/4 c. olive oil

2 pounds ground beef

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp oregano

1 bay leaf

1 large onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

5 garlic cloves, minced

salt and pepper to taste

1- 8 oz. can tomato sauce

1 T. tomato paste

1 c. white wine

1/2 c. Spanish olives, cut in slices

1/3 c. raisins

Cooked white rice, for serving



Cook the ground beef and drain off the fat (unless you’re using grass fed- then don’t waste anything!).  Add the olive oil and heat.  Stir in the cumin, oregano, bay leaf, onion, green pepper, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.  Add tomato sauce and paste, white wine, olives and raisins.  Cook for another 30 minutes to allow the wine to cook off and to allow the flavors to combine.  I think I didn’t let it cook for the full 30 minutes the first time and maybe that’s part of the reason that the leftovers tasted better.  Serve over rice and don’t eat the bay leaf!


Original recipe:




Vegetable Beef Soup

We received a dutch oven for our wedding and I finally initiated it with this dish!  I have been wanting to make vegetable soup for awhile, but in my mind it was this super long and hard task, so I avoided it.  I finally broke down and made it, and much to my surprise, it wasn’t that hard at all. I hope you find a nice new dish for your repertoire in this soup.  It filled my dutch oven to the brim, so make sure you are using a large pot!



2 1/2 T. olive oil

1 1/2 c. chopped onions

2 c. peeled and chopped carrots

1 1/4 c. chopped celery

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 cans chicken broth (I think I used Swansons)- use vegetable broth if vegetarian

2 cans diced tomatoes with juice

3 cups diced potatoes (1/2 in, skins on)

1/2 c. fresh parsley, chopped

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 1/2 c. frozen green beans

1 1/4 c. frozen corn

1 c. frozen peas

2 c. cooked ground beef (optional)- omit for vegetarian

Optional: add cooked noodles (I added Schar Bonta d’Italia gluten free anellini)


Heat olive oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven.  Add onions, celery and carrots and cook for about 3-4 minutes, add garlic, and cook for another minute.  Add broth, tomatoes, potatoes, parsley, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper.  Allow it to begin to boil and then add green beans.  Reduce heat and cook on medium-low for 30 minutes or  until potatoes are soft.  Add beef and frozen vegetables.  Cook 5-10 minutes or until beef and vegetables are heated through.  Add cooked noodles if desired.  For best yumminess, serve on a cold night :-).


Original recipe:

Vegetable Soup

Easy Crockpot Beef Brisket

I have had this recipe printed off for a long time and I finally got around to trying it.  It was SO easy.  The best part is, the brisket I bought was so big that I have more of it in the freezer.  I cut it into sections that would fit in my crockpot and froze the rest in crockpot-size parts.



2 onions, thinly sliced

4 lbs beef brisket (not corned)

2 T. ketchup

1 T. red wine vinegar

1 T. brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

4 cloves minced garlic

water to cover bottom of pot



Strew onions in bottom of crockpot.  Place brisket on top of the onions with the fatty part on the top.  Stir together the ketchup, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Rub onto the brisket.  Sprinkle garlic on top of the brisket.  Pour in just enough water to cover the bottom of the pot.  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.  I served this by itself first and poured some of the juice and onions on my plate with it.  I also made brisket sandwiches and put the onions from the bottom of the pan on the sandwich.  So delicious!

When it is done, it will shred like this:



When I was typing the tag for this recipe, I accidentally labeled it diary free.  Fortunately, no diaries are required for the making of this dish.  Neither is any dairy.  I LOVED this dish as a kid, and I thought it would be a goner since it relied heavily on sour cream.  Fortunately, Tofutti makes something called Better Than Sour Cream that does the trick.  I served it over my mashed potatoes.


1 pound beef tenderloin, sirloin steak, or round steak (really any steak will do), cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 T. butter (I used SmartBalance- the green container)

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced (I have actually never put this in but it sounds good)

1 medium onion, sliced

1 can (10 1/2 oz) chicken broth or beef broth

4-6 T. ketchup (I always end up adding more at the end until it’s the color I want.)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp salt

3 T. flour (I sometimes use brown rice flour but this time I used 2 T. arrowroot and 1 T. cornstarch because I was out of brown rice flour)

1 c. sour cream (I used Tofutti)

Mashed potatoes or cooked pasta for serving.



Cut meat into 1/2 inch strips (against the grain).  Melt butter over medium heat in skillet.  Cook the mushrooms and onions in the butter until tender.  Set onions and mushrooms aside in a bowl and then cook the meat in the same pan.  When it is light brown, set aside 1/3 c. of the chicken or beef broth and add the rest into the skillet with the meat.  Add in the ketchup, garlic, and salt and simmer while covered for 15 min.  Combine the 1/3 c. broth with the flour and then add it into the meat while making sure to stir so it doesn’t clump.  Return the mushrooms and onions to the pan and turn up the heat a little while continuing to stir until it boils.  After a minute of boiling, reduce the heat and add in the sour cream.  Stir in more ketchup if it is not orange enough for you.  Serve with noodles or mashed potatoes.



Hamburger Salad

This is one of the things I do when I run out of hamburger buns.  It’s really easy, but it does require a fork and a knife.



One hamburger, grilled

3-4 bacon slices, cooked to desired crispness

large slice of a red pepper

Handful of pickles

2 tomato slices

Handful of spinach

Ketchup or other desired condiments



Cook hamburger and bacon.  Put the red pepper slice in a pan, drizzle with oil, and cook at medium until it softens and starts to blacken.  You may want to use a splatter shield because of the oil.

Serve all ingredients on a bed of spinach.


My husband said, “Make sure to save this recipe for if/when we have kids.”  It makes a lot and it tastes similar to the goulash I ate growing up.  It’s supposed to be a one-dish wonder, but I was afraid the noodles wouldn’t hold up, so I did them separately.  So now it’s a two-dish wonder :-).


2 pounds ground beef

1 onion, chopped

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

1 large can of diced tomatoes (1 lb, 12 oz)

4-8 oz cans of tomato sauce (32 oz total)

3 bay leaves

3 T. soy sauce (I use Kikkoman’s Gluten Free Soy Sauce)

2 T. Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp garlic powder

2 c. macaroni noodles (I used HEB’s gluten free elbow noodles)



Cook the ground beef in a deep skillet or wok.  Add onions and garlic and cook until they soften, maybe 5 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients except for the noodles.  Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring water to a boil and cook macaroni noodles according to the package’s directions.  Once cooked, drain and then add to beef mixture.  We served it with a side of green beans.



Original recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/bobbys-goulash-recipe.html


Orange Beef and Broccoli

I have started this thing where I am trying to use up sauces and such that I have just sitting around.  I have had rice vinegar in my cabinet for awhile and it is time for it to get moving.  Fortunately, I found this recipe.  My advice it to chop, juice, and zest all ingredients before starting to cook.  The way I made it, it wasn’t very spicy, but you could always leave the jalapeño seeds in or add in some chili peppers to spice it up.

Sauce Ingredients:

1 T. oil (I used canola)

1 and 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

1 jalapeño, chopped (I easily removed the seeds with a grapefruit spoon)

2 T. orange zest from a navel orange

3 garlic cloves, minced

juice of the navel orange that you just zested

1/4 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. rice vinegar (not the seasoned kind)

1/4 c. soy sauce (make sure it’s gluten free if you are eating gluten free)

1 T. fish sauce (I know Thai Kitchen is gluten free- not sure about the others)


Beef Ingredients:

1 egg (I used 1 Ener-G egg which is 1 1/2 tsp of the powder plus 2 T. water)

1 T. cornstarch

1 pinch of sea salt

1 to 1 1/2 pounds of steak, cut into 1-inch slivers (I used sirloin steak I think, but flank or rib-eye would do also)

1/4 c. canola oil

1 bunch of green onion, sliced into one inch pieces with white and green parts separated

Broccoli, optional


Sauce directions:

Heat oil in a 2-quart saucepan.  Add in ginger, orange zest, and jalapeños.  Stir for 1-2 minutes to heat them up, then add garlic.  Stir for another 1-2 minutes.  Add remaining sauce ingredients to the pan and stir well.  Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer while continuing to stir.  Sauce should thicken and reduce a little.

Beef directions:

In a medium bowl, make Ener-G egg (see directions on the box) if not using real eggs.  Add in cornstarch and salt and stir well.   Add sliced beef and mix well (I used my hands.)  Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet.  Add in beef and cook for 1-2 minutes on one side, add the white parts of the green onions, and then turn the beef over.  It will be medium/medium-rare at this point.  Cook until the outside of the meat is browned and then pour in sauce and green onions.  Mix in steamed broccoli.  Serve over basmati rice.


Original recipe:


Easiest Enchiladas

These enchiladas were ridiculously easy.  I just skipped the whole rolling up part and put enchiladas on the top and bottom of everything.  There is real cheese pictured here.  You could either use real cheese, skip the cheese altogether, or use a dairy free “cheese”.


1/2 bag of black beans, pre-cooked in crockpot (about 8 oz)

1 1/2 lb ground beef, cooked

1 onion, chopped

1 small can of Rotel (10 oz)

1 large can of Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce (28 oz)

1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)

12 corn tortillas

1 c. white cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, or non-dairy cheese (optional)



Pre-cook the beans and beef separately.  Reserve 1/4 of the can of enchilada sauce for later. Combine all ingredients except the tortillas and cheese in a skillet and cook until warm.  Grease a 9×13 pan.  Put 1/2 of reserved enchilada sauce on bottom of pan to help keep tortillas moist.  Lay down a layer of 6 tortillas.  Pour in all of the ground beef and bean mixture and 1/2 c. of cheese.  Put down a second layer of 6 tortillas.  Top with the remaining enchilada sauce and make sure to cover every piece of exposed tortilla with a little sauce.  Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.


Gnocci and Spaghetti Sauce


Our store carries gluten free gnocci.  If yours doesn’t, I’m sorry and the link at the bottom has  recipe for gnocci.  If you need to to be gluten free, I would probably just blend some brown rice flour, tapioca starch and potato flour together instead of the all-purpose flour, but I haven’t actually tried that so I don’t know how it would go…  If you can’t find gnocci or you don’t want to make it, you could sub in spaghetti or macaroni noodles.



1 pound ground beef

1 onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves

4 cans tomato sauce (8 oz each)

1 can diced tomatoes (15 oz)

1 tsp dried oregano (I used 1 T. fresh)

1 tsp dried basil (I used 1 T. fresh)

1/2 tsp dried rosemary (I used 1 T. fresh)

1 to 2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper



Brown ground beef.  Add all ingredients and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Boil gnocci until it floats to the top.  Scoop out the pieces that have floated to the top until all pieces are cooked.  Stir into meat sauce.

See this link for gnocci and the original meatsauce recipe:



Quick Korean BBQ

I have been looking for new ways to use ground beef.  This recipe was really simple and was quite different than our normal go-to’s of spaghetti, tacos, curry, etc.  The only specialty ingredient it needs is gluten free soy sauce.  I happened to have sesame oil on hand, but you might be able to sub in another oil.  I’m not sure how it would affect the taste though…  We ended up adding in some Asian veggies later and it turned into a nice 1-pot wonder.


1/3 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. gluten free soy sauce

1 T. sesame oil

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1 t. vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound ground beef

2 green onions, thinly sliced (it’s ok to use more if you have more around)

Cooked rice



Stir together brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and ginger.  Put vegetable oil in a large frying pan/skillet and heat over medium high heat.  Add garlic and stir for one minute.  Add beef and cook thoroughly, stirring to break it up.  Drain off the fat if you don’t want it and add the sauce mixture and green onions.  Cook for another 2 minutes and serve over rice.


I actually made this from frozen, pre-cooked ground beef that I had cooked myself.  I freeze it in containers and then it makes the meal even quicker.  If you are doing likewise, just defrost it and make sure it warms up enough in the pan.

Original recipe: http://damdelicious.net/2013/07/07/korean-beef-bowl/


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