Tag Archives: ground beef

Couscous Stuffed Peppers.

As much as I love to cook, there are many days where I just don’t feel like making a meal that takes a lot of work.  On those days, we usually order takeout.  Other days, I’ll make the effort to cook a meal that takes a good amount of preparation only to not want to dirty a ton of dishes, because we all know that washing dishes is the worst part about cooking.  But there is a solution to this problem:  Enter the one dish meal.  Only one dish gets dirtied (minus the prep bowl), only one dish needs to be cleaned!

I have to admit that I was a bit leery about the recipe given to me for this week’s swap since the peppers essentially are cooked by steaming and the stuffing called for raw meat.  I’ve never steam-cooked raw meat before, so I cooked the peppers for an additional 20 minutes, just to be safe.

The peppers were cooked just perfectly, and we all really enjoyed this meal.  Even the Fruitaholic, who’s been on a hunger strike lately, took a few bites.  I decided to swap out the rice with couscous since I had some left over from another meal, and added toasted pine nuts for a little bit of crunch.  The flavor was amazing, and I loved only having to wash a saucepan and a bowl.

Couscous Stuffed Peppers – slightly adapted from DeLish

  • 6 Bell Peppers, any color of your choosing
  • 1 Lb. Ground Beef
  • 14 oz. Tomato Sauce (I used a roasted vegetable marinara)
  • 2 Cups Couscous, cooked
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • small handful each of Fresh Parsley, Basil and Oregano, chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts

Cut off the tops of the bell peppers and set aside.  Carefully clean out the insides of the peppers, removing the ribs and seeds.

Mix together ground beef, tomato sauce, couscous, parmesan, parsley, basil, oregano and garlic.  Scoop mixture into peppers, then replace the pepper tops.

Place the peppers standing upright in a saucepan.  Pour about one cup of water into the bottom of the pan so that the peppers are slightly immersed.

Simmer, covered, on low to medium low heat for 1 hour 20 minutes.

Cheesy Chili Mac.

The other day was really cold and dreary and all I wanted was a big bowl of chili but I didn’t have a ton of time to spend on making dinner.  Enter Cheesy Chili Mac.  A similar recipe has been passed around the blogosphere like hotcakes with many rave reviews, and now you can add me to the list as well.  It was the perfect chili substitute and was so easy to make that I’ll definitely be making it again in the future.

What I loved most about this recipe is that the pasta is boiled in the sauce in the skillet.  It is truly a one-dish meal!  I added a can of diced tomatoes and a can of black beans as well as a few ounces of cream cheese to make it extra creamy and cheesy.  I really wish that I had thought to pick up some sour cream and green onions to top it off, but it was still good without.

Cheesy Chili Mac – adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

  • 1 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Onion, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbsp. Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • 1 Lb. Ground Beef
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 15 oz. Can Tomato Sauce
  • 2 Cups. Pasta (I used Pipette)
  • 1 15 oz. Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz. Can Diced Tomatoes, drained
  • 4 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 2 Cups Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
  • 1/4 Cup Cilantro, chopped

Heat a 12 inch skillet over medium and add the oil.  Heat until shimmering.  Add the onion, chili powder, cumin and salt to the pan.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the garlic and brown sugar and cook an additional 1 minute.  Add the ground beef and cook through.

Stir in the water and tomato sauce then add the pasta and stir again.  Cover and increase heat to medium-high.  Cook until al dente, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the tomatoes and black beans, then the cream cheese and stir until the cream cheese is incorporated.

Remove the pan from the heat and add 1 cup of cheese.  Stir until combined.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and cover.  Let stand for 2 minutes, until the cheese has melted.   Top with cilantro and garnish with sour cream, if desired.

Ultimate Sriracha Burger.

After a couple of days which teased us with sunny 80 degree temps, the weather in Chicago took a turn for the worse, leaving us with plummeting temperatures, howling winds and sideways rain.  Yet last night, we fired up the grill for the first time since last summer.  The occasion you may ask?  Ultimate Sriracha Burgers were on the menu, and what a worthy occasion it was.

Sriracha is also commonly known as “rooster sauce,” due to the picture of a rooster on the bottle.  It is a staple in my pantry, so when Ultimate Sriracha Burgers made it’s first appearance on What’s Cooking, they’ve been on my radar ever since.  I mean, burgers are great to begin with, but adding the beloved rooster sauce to them?  Genius.

These burgers packed a huge punch of flavor due to the sriracha both in the meat and in the sauce.  They stayed plump and juicy, but whether that was due to the Husby’s mad grilling skills or the farm-fresh beef used for the patties remains to be seen.  The toppings, with their sweet and nutty flavors, provided an excellent complement to the heat, and the crispy bun just brought everything over the top.

The next time you’re looking for something new to shake up your burger routine, try these Ultimate Sriracha Burgers.  I promise you won’t be sorry.

Ultimate Sriracha Burger – very slightly adapted from Oiishi Food, from The Sriracha Cookbook

  • 1 1/2 Lbs. Ground Beef
  • 2 Tbsp. Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 4 Tbsp. Sriracha, divided
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 4 Slices of Bacon
  • 1 Sweet Onion, diced
  • 3/4 Cup Blue Cheese Dressing
  • 4 Burger Buns
  • 4 Slices Swiss Cheese
  • 1 Tomato, sliced
  • Several Handfuls of Arugula

In a large bowl, combine ground beef with soy sauce and 2 Tbsp. sriracha** and, using your hands, mix until just combined.  Form into patties and set aside on a parchment lined plate in the refrigerator.

Preheat your grill to medium-high.  Add bacon to a skillet and heat over medium-low until cooked through and slightly crispy.  Drain bacon on a paper towel, reserving the extra bacon grease in the pan.  Add the onions and allow to caramelize, about 25-30 minutes.  Dice the bacon and add back to the pan with the onions.  Keep warm.

In a small bowl, combine the blue cheese dressing with the remaining 2 Tbsp. sriracha** and set aside.

Grill the patties for 4 1/2 minutes per side for medium rare (a meat thermometer should read 130-135 degrees).  During the last minute of cooking, toast the buns on the grill and add a slice of swiss cheese on top of each burger.

Assemble the burgers as follows:

Spread the blue cheese sauce onto each half of the burger buns, followed by the swiss cheese covered beef patty, bacon and caramelized onion mixture, tomato slice and arugula.

Chances are, you’ll have extra sauce.  Take advantage of its awesomeness and serve your burgers alongside sweet potato fries for dipping, and make sure to have an icy cold beer or glass of milk nearby!

**Sriracha has a lot of heat, so if you’re not sure how much you can handle, start with 1 Tbsp. and add more to your preferred level of fire.

Recipe Swap: Cincinnati Chili.

I’ve only been to Ohio once.  Back in the days before the Fruitaholic was born, a group of us used to do a baseball trip every summer, and one year it brought us to Cleveland and the Jake to see the Indians play.  That was as close as I’ve ever gotten to Cincinnati.

When I received this copycat recipe for this week’s swap, I was excited to make it, but realized that I wouldn’t be able to compare it to the original.  Enter our friends, PSquared: The Ohioans.  After a quick phone call, they were ringing our doorbell in 4 minutes flat.

Cincinnati Chili can be served 5 ways, as follows:

  1. One Way: Chili only.
  2. Two Way: Spaghetti topped with Chili
  3. Three Way: Spaghetti, Chili and Finely Shredded Mild Cheddar
  4. Four Way: Spaghetti, Chili, Cheese and Red Kidney Beans OR Chopped Onions
  5. Five Way: Spaghetti, Chili, Cheese, Beans AND Onions

Cincinnati Chili is generally served with Oyster Crackers and generous amounts of hot sauce.

The Husby and I enjoyed ours Five Way while PSquared had theirs Four Way without the beans.  Their verdict?  This was pretty close to the original.  Our verdict?  Pretty damn tasty.  In fact, I may have just had an omelette for breakfast with the leftovers.

Cincinnati Chili – as seen on Christine’s Kitchen Chronicles

  • 3 Lbs. Lean Ground Beef, uncooked
  • 2 Qts. Water
  • 2 Onions, finely chopped
  • 29 Oz. Can Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. Allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 5 Tbsp. Chili Powder
  • 2 Tbsp. White Vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 3 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 10 Drops Tabasco Sauce (I used 6 drops Habañero Tabasco)

In a large pot, whisk together ground beef, water and onions until the beef is broken up.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, 2 to 3 hours until liquid has greatly reduced and chili is thick.

Serve it one of five ways as mentioned above.

This recipe makes a TON of chili.  Luckily, the leftovers freeze incredibly well.