Beef & Guinness Hand Pies

Beef & Guinness Hand Pies

I never knew how diverse hand pies could be until I started looking around for them. Turns out hand pies can be made savory or sweet, depending on what you fancy. In theory, you could have hand pies for dinner AND dessert if you so desired. You can definitely get creative with these recipes, but hopefully not as creative as Sweeney Todd (sorry). These are actually a lot of fun to make though they are a bit labor intensive. Probably best for a weekend project since it will take you a couple hours assembling the dough and pies together. The process of making the filling made the kitchen smell amazing and after this I resolved to start cooking with Guinness more often! The alcohol burns off and what you’re left with is a wonderful flavor from the Guinness. The filling is also flavored with Worcestershire, thyme and aged white cheddar. The outside of the crust is made with pastry dough which gets nice and flaky after baking.
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Slow Cooker Beef & Vegetable Soup

Slowcooker Beef and Vegetable Soup

I used to eat alphabet soup with beef and veggies all the time as a kid. This recipe brings me back to those days. Even though this soup knocks anything canned out of the park, the flavors remind me just a bit of the soup I used to have back in the day. This recipe is easy to throw together, and then the slow cooker does the rest of the work for you. Something about the slow cooker really brings together the flavors of the beef, the vegetables and the herbs. I used high quality ground beef for the meat and fresh oregano and thyme for seasoning. While this soup is great for winter time, it also works perfectly year round as an easy weeknight meal.
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Beef and Tomato Macaroni Soup

Beef and Tomato Macaroni Soup 2

For week night meals, I like to make a big pot of something tasty on Sunday to last me several days into the week. This is a great recipe for week night meals. It’s easy to throw together and the leftovers are just as good as the first day. The soup comes fully loaded with ground beef, elbow macaroni and the flavors of veggies, tomatoes and fresh herbs. This recipe calls for fresh thyme and marjoram, and I would recommend picking up some of the fresh stuff instead of the dried. It does impart way more flavor than dried herbs can. The combination of the fresh herbs with Worcestershire, tomatoes and ground beef were delicious. Garnish with a little grated parmesan and thyme springs and serve with some crusty french bread. As always with soups that have pasta, the noodles tend to soak up all the tasty broth if you add them in all at once. Make small batches and add a serving of noodles to each bowl so that none of the broth gets wasted.
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Beef Enchilada Soup

Enchilada Soup

Tex-mex food is awesome in pretty much every form, including soup! A lot of the U.S. has been dealing with some epic winter weather so to all of you fighting the deluge of snow (hey Chicago!), enchiladas are the perfect winter comfort food. This recipe is super easy to make with hardly any prep time involved. You can buy pre-made enchilada sauce at the grocery store but it’s fresher and easy to make at home. In my opinion it’s worth it to whip up a batch before you start cooking the soup. It can be made several days ahead of time as well if you’re short on cooking time. Possible toppings include: tortilla chips/strips, avocado slices, cilantro, lime slices, diced red onion, cheddar cheese, sour cream…I could go on. The end result was delicious with minimal effort. It can be easily converted to the slow cooker, just add everything into the pot on low and cook for 6-8 hours or 3-4 hours on high!
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Stuffed Pepper Soup

Stuffed Pepper Soup 2

I’m a big fan of stuffed pepper recipes. Peppers make for a great food “vessel,” but eating a whole pepper can be a bit awkward. I’ve found that the filling-to-pepper ratio can be a little out of wack and most of the time I’m left with too much pepper and not enough filling. This soup takes care of that problem quite well and combines all the flavors of a stuffed pepper without the ratio problems. I was surprised at how similar it tasted to your basic stuffed pepper recipe! One trick I advise using with this recipe: In order to avoid the rice from absorbing too much of the valuable broth I cook the servings separately and add them in to each bowl. I’ve learned that pasta, noodles and rice love to soak up the broth you took pains to prepare and I use this trick on almost every soup recipe now. This recipe has become a staple weeknight meal and makes a lot for several days. Makes for some tasty leftovers when you’re too busy to make dinner each night.
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Classic Beef Tacos with Chipotle Tomato Salsa

Classic Beef Tacos with Chipotle Tomato Salsa

Even though it isn’t summer anymore it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a good taco! If you’re craving food truck style tacos this is the recipe you need to make it at home. Seasoned ground beef comes together with smoky chipotle salsa, sharp cheddar and slices of avocado. The beef is seasoned in a simple combination of garlic, jalapenos, paprika and cumin. Finish it off with fresh lime juice and cilantro and you have one flavorful taco (or 10)!
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Green Chile and Chorizo Soup with Smokey Croutons

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I love soups and tex-mex food and this recipe combines the best of both worlds! This soup combines a delicious mix of green chilies and tomatillos, chorizo, hominy, potatoes and spices.  I went a little overboard with the garnishes and topped the soup with crumbled queso fresco, green onion,  fresh lime, cilantro and smokey baked croutons.  Even the croutons alone in this recipe are stand out awesome and could easily be snacked on alone!  The recipe does require a lot of ingredients and time to prepare but it is totally worth it in the end. I actually never made anything with hominy before and I thought it worked really nicely with the other ingredients.  The soup was hardy, with multiple layers of sweet, spicy and savory flavors.  I chose a beef chorizo for the meat but soy and pork varieties would work fine in this soup.  All of the ingredients blended together so well and I was happy with how it came out!

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Classic Beef Chili

I guess I always overlooked beef chili a bit. This is probably because I didn’t care much for ground beef for a long time. Lately I have been enjoying this chili recipe because it is so simple and tasty. It gets points for the amount of ingredients (you can count them on one hand.) That is definitely not the norm for chilies which can require up to 20 ingredients! This chili should be cooked on a heavy bottomed saute pan where it slow cooks for about an hour. I like the taste of grass-fed ground beef so I use it for this recipe.  The amount of hot sauce to add into the chili is really up to personal tastes. I like it on the spicy side so I add approximately 1/4 cup.  I topped the chili with sharp cheddar and it can be served on top of rice or with corn bread.

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Malaysian Beef Rendang

Malaysian Rendang is a delicious slow cooked beef dish simmered in coconut milk and spices.   The cut of beef used is usually a cheap cut that is good for slow cooking.  Eventually the tough part of the meat breaks down over time and becomes tender.  The dish starts off with a lot of liquid and slowly evaporates as it’s cooking.  Eventually the liquid cooks almost completely off, coating the beef with tasty coconut flavor, tamarind, and spices.  This is a great weekend project to try as the results are really satisfying but it’s also a labor intensive dish that requires a lot of time and effort.  If you have trouble finding the ingredients at grocery stores, I would recommend going to a local asian or Thai market which might carry the more obscure ingredients.  The dish is popular in Southeast Asia and once I made it I could see why!  The beef was tender and bursting with flavor.  I served it with a side of Malaysian flat bread called ‘Roti’ which was a perfect accompaniment to scoop up the last bits of sauce.

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Korean Kalbi Beef Tacos with Cilantro Lime Salsa

Since Korean food works great with Tex-mex I wanted to try Korean-style tacos again! Usually “kalbi” refers to Korean BBQ short ribs but I really wanted to try the kalbi marinade on skirt steak since it’s a great meat for tacos. The marinade consists of ginger, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and asian pears so it was really easy to throw together.  If you can’t find asian pears I think it would be alright to substitute in regular pears.  I marinated the steak for about an hour before grilling. I used a flat pan to saute the beef at a high temperature, but I’m sure grilling the beef would be a great way to get extra flavor.  The tacos were really tasty! I loved the sear on the beef along with the flavors of the kalbi marinade.  I really enjoyed the sweet and savory kalbi beef with the tangy sesame soy dressing. I topped the tacos with chopped tomatoes, a cilantro lime salsa and sesame soy sauce dressing.

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