Posts Tagged With: Beef

Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry


I just realized that my queue of posts ran out on Friday and I missed my Monday post.  Whoops.  I promise I have a full queue of yummy things from Pork Butt Chile Verde to Lightened Up Spinach and Artichoke dip (and the best blueberry pancakes ever and homemade marshmallows and an interesting pizza and…more!).  Until then, enjoy this super short but delicious post!

This is a super easy, fast weeknight meal that packed TONS of flavor and hit the nail of my Chinese craving right on the head.


  • 2 (3 1/2-ounce) bags boil-in-bag long-grain white rice
  • 2 TBS dry sherry, divided
  • 2 TBS lower-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 lb. boneless sirloin steak, cut diagonally across grain into thin slices
  • 1/2 c. lower-sodium beef broth
  • 1 TBS cornstarch
  • 1 TBS hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp. Sriracha (hot chile sauce) or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 TBS canola oil, divided
  • 1 TBS bottled ground fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 4 c. broccoli florets, chopped
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1/3 c. sliced green onions

Cook rice according to directions.

While rice cooks, combine 1 tablespoon sherry, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, sugar, and beef. Stir together 1 tablespoon sherry, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, broth, cornstarch, hoisin, and Sriracha.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef mixture; sauté 3 minutes or until browned. Remove beef from pan. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Add ginger and garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add broccoli and 1/4 cup water; cook 1 minute. Add onions; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add broth mixture and beef mixture; cook 2 minutes or until beef is thoroughly heated and sauce is slightly thick. Serve beef mixture over rice.

Cooking Light

Categories: Asian, Chinese, Entrees, Recipes | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Hot Tamales!

The “main dish” at our little Mexican-themed New Year’s party were beef tamales.  I’ve never made them before but have always wanted to try…and I have to say, they turned out pretty darn good.  My only change would be next time I will make the masa just a little bit thinner…or just fill with a bit more meat.

Don’t be intimidated by tamales, I was actually shocked at how easy they were to make!  Best part?  Not only were they delicious fresh, but they can be frozen and steamed later.  Hello snacks on demand!

Little tip: traditional tamales are tied with pieces of corn husk.  None of that nonsense – kitchen twine is so much easier (and it won’t leave you frustrated because it won’t tear)!  Also, I don’t own a fancy veggie steamer, so I simply put a colander in my stock pot, making sure that the water in the bottom didn’t make contact with the tamales.  Easy enough.



  • 1 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. beef stew meat
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 TBS all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground dried red New Mexico chile
  • 16 large dried cornhusks


  • 3 c. masa harina
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 TBS butter, melted
  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 1 c. fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
  • 1 c. water

Additional “Ingredient”:

  • 16 pieces of kitchen twine

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare filling, heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until onion is tender. Add beef; sauté 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Stir in 1 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring mixture to a boil. Cover and bake 1 1/2 hours or until beef is tender.

Transfer beef to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Pour drippings into a glass measure. Add enough water to drippings to equal 1 cup. Wipe pan with paper towels.

Shred beef into bite-sized pieces. Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Return beef to pan; sprinkle with flour. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in ground chile; stir in drippings mixture. Reduce heat, and cook 7 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring often. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature.

Place whole cornhusks in a large bowl; cover with water. Weight husks down with a can; soak 30 minutes. Drain husks.

To prepare dough, combine masa and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add butter and oil; stir well. Add broth and 1 cup water; stir until a soft dough forms.

Working with one husk at a time, place about 1/4 cup masa dough in the center of the husk; press dough into a 4 x 3-inch rectangle. Spoon about 2 tablespoons beef mixture down one side of the dough. Using the corn husk as your guide, roll tamale up, jelly-roll style; fold bottom ends of the husk under. Tie 1 piece of twine around tamale to secure; stand upright in a vegetable steamer. Repeat procedure with the remaining whole corn husks, masa dough, beef mixture, and twine. Steam tamales, covered, 50 minutes, or until the dough is firm. Remove tamales from vegetable steamer; let stand 5 minutes. Serve with Red Chile Sauce, if desired.


Categories: Appetizers, Entrees, Mexican, Recipes, Snacks | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Pastitsio: Attempt I

Branden loves Pastitsio and ever since his favorite Greek restaurant closed its doors forever, he has been yearning for a Pastitsio that even compares.  There are a million different recipes for Pastisio, some with beef, some with lamb; some with a thick red sauce, some with a creamy bechamel.  Branden and I both prefer the bechamel variety with lamb (or a lamb/beef combo), but we’ve been pretty hard pressed to find a recipe that comes close to what we like.  We have finally found a recipe though that is a good starting point.  I figured I’d start with posting the original recipe because we did follow it completely (okay, so we added an additional 1/2 lb. of meat – and swapped veal for a beef/lamb combo, but I swear that’s it!!).

This recipe was good, but we have some ideas for the next time…starting with the bechamel.  It was fine, but lacking a tad in flavor.  Next time, the plan is to add some white pepper and a bit more nutmeg.  We also couldn’t find the Greek Kefalotyri cheese, so we went with a young parm and I just don’t think it was sharp enough.  We’ll be moving towards a slightly sharper parm (or driving the distance to track down Kefalotyri) for a bit more flavor.  For the meat “sauce,” we decided we needed a bit more wine, more garlic and more salt…and maybe a pinch more of rosemary.

Now don’t get me wrong, this recipe was very good as written, we just were looking for something a bit different.  Its all about personal preference when cooking.  Aaaaaand trying to recreate food memories.  We’ll get there…eventually.

By the way, here’s the original recipe.  This guy’s blog is pretty cool and has some authentic Greek recipes…reminds me of my month in Greece.  Sigh.  Enjoy!

Categories: Entrees, Greek, Pasta, Recipes | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Cider-Braised Beef with Root Vegetables

Here’s a good cold weather recipe for you that’s pretty hearty (and easy to make!).  The flavors in this dish are awesome and I like that root vegetables are used instead of traditional pot roast veggies (don’t get me wrong, I like those, too!).  This is also one of those dishes that make excellent leftovers.  If you’re like my Dad, you would turn this into hash the next morning for breakfast, but since I have a bit of an issue with my foods all mixed together, I will be eating it again in this form.


  • 2 pounds beef bottom round roast, trimmed
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple cider
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 onions, cut into wedges
  • 2 tsp dried thyme

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper to taste. Heat oil in dutch oven over medium high heat. Add beef and sear on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add cider and wine and garlic, and bring to boil. Cover, transfer pot to oven, and bake for 1 hour, turning once halfway through.

Stir in vegetables and thyme. Cover and bake until beef and vegetables are tender, about 2 hours. Transfer beef to cutting board and let cool for about 10 minutes. Cut into 16 slices and serve with vegetables and broth.

Courtesy of Weight Watchers


Categories: American, Entrees, Recipes | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Short Rib Ragu over Homemade Pappardelle

Being a chef herself, my Mom likes to do food-themed gifts for Christmas.  I once had a baking Christmas focused on pies and tarts; I got pie plates, cookbooks, pie weights, a good rolling pin, etc.  Bliss.  This past Christmas was the year of pasta!  She got Branden and I a pasta cookbook, pasta drying rack, a hand-crank pasta roller/cutter, and the pasta attachment to our Kitchen Aid mixer.  Sad to say, we finally just had the time to dedicate to making homemade pasta – I just wish it would’ve happened sooner!

Branden found this recipe in our Pasta cookbook on Christmas Day and has been drooling over it ever since so of course, this is where we decided to start on our pasta adventure.

We’ve also recently stumbled upon a couple local butcher shops lately that we are in love with (and they only source local meat…SCORE!).  We really like both The Spoon Market and The Butcher Block and Deli.  Today’s meat came from The Butcher Block – we couldn’t beat $2.49/lb. for beef short ribs!

The meat...they didn't have 4 lbs of short ribs, so we added a soup bone cut to ensure we had enough meat in our ragu. Worked like a charm!

Now the fun begins, you have to sear all sides of the meat before letting it melt for 3 hours in a Dutch oven.  Golly do we love our Dutch oven for dishes like this!   Now that we’re all good and seared, its time to prepare for the magic to begin!  Throw those veggies in the Dutch oven.  No need at all to clean up after the meat searing.  This recipe is getting better and better (I’ve only used one pot!).
Branden and I ALWAYS fight over who gets to stir. So childish!
Everything is resting beautifully in the Dutch oven and we’re on to making the pasta.  This definitely took some teamwork!  Homemade noodles are really quite easy to make, its just a labor-intensive process.  I’ve got two pieces of good news for you, though: 1) Homemade noodles are really inexpensive.  Seriously.  2) Homemade noodles can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator or freezer.  So take a day and make some noodles, its so worth it!

Rolling out the pasta by hand. I think we eventually got the hang of it.

 And here’s the finished drying rack of pasta: (we ended up cutting our noodles with a pizza cutter because we needed thicker noodles.  Clearly we were a little bit inconsistent with our noodle width).

A tree of carbs! My dream come true!

Once our pot of heaven was down melting down, it was time to pull the meat apart and discard the remaining fat and bones.  This is a man’s job…thank goodness we were making this meal together!

Its really a shame that this is what we had to throw out. That’s a LOT of fat but it makes the meal oh-so-delicious!

And the trimmed meat goes back in the pot where it belongs.  It smells like heaven!!  Before we dig in, we have to actually cook the pasta that we left hanging on the “carb tree.”  Here’s where a pasta insert for our stock pot would come in handy because unlike dried pastas, the cooking time is only a matter of seconds, so you have to work quickly or you’ll end up with mush…and nobody likes mush!

We don't own a pasta pot, so Branden tied some kitchen twine around the handles of our metal colander. #kitchenmacgyver

Okay, so you’ve been really patient through all these pictures (this is one of those meals that I thought multiple pictures would be nice for), so here’s the grand finale…the finished product at last.  The quintessential fall dish, heaven in a bowl! 

The 3+ hours of waiting for this was totally worth it!

Short Rib Ragu:
  • 4 lb. beef short rubs, each 2″ long or 2 lb. beef top round
  • 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz. port fatback or proscuitto fat, cut into matchsticks, or 4 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick, 3 inches long
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 TBS tomato paste, diluted with 3-4 TBS water
  • 1/2 c. full-bodied dry red wine
  • 3 1/2 c. beef stock
  • Egg Pasta (next page)
  • 2 TBS unsalted butter
  • 3 oz. fresh wild mushrooms, brushed clean, tough stems removed, and sliced
  • Kosher salt for cooking pasta
Trim the beef of excess fat. If using the beef round, cut into 1 1/2″ dice. Past the meat dry thoroughly with paper towels.In a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot over medium heat, warm 1 TBS of the olive oil. If using the fatback or prosciutto fat, add to the pan with the olive oil and saute until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large platter and reserve.
If using the butter, melt it with the olive oil. Working in batches to avoid crowding, add the beef to the pan and brown on all sides, about 12 minutes for each batch. Transfer the beef and its juices to the platter with the fatback.
Add the remaining 2 TBS olive oil to the pot over medium heat and stir in the onion, carrot, garlic, bay leaves, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, and cardamom. Saute until the vegetables are softened, lightly colored, and aromatic, about 10 minutes. Return the beef and fatback (if used) to the pan, add 1 tsp. sea salt and several grinds of pepper, and stir well. Stir in diluted tomato paste, the wine, and enough stock to just cover the meat. Cover partially, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally and adding additional broth or water as needed to prevent the pan from drying out, until the meat is tender, about 3 hours.
While the sauce is cooking, make the pasta dough as directed, then roll out and cut into pappardelle. Let dry for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.
Just before sauce is ready, in a frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and move and discard the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Fold in the mushrooms, cover, and let rest while you cook the pasta. In a large pot, bring 5 quarts water to a rapid boil. Add 2 TBS kosher salt and the pasta and cover the pot. When the water returns to a boil, incover, cook for about 5 seconds, and then drain. Transfer the pasta to a warmed large, shallow serving bowl or individual shallow bowl. Top with sauce and serve immediately.
Egg Pasta (in a machine, because its easier that way.  And cleaner.  Okay, cleaner is debatable)
  • 2 1/2 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp. olive oil

Fit a food processor with the metal blade. Add all but 1/2 cup of the flour and salt to the bowl and pulse to mix. Set the reserved flour aside; you will use it later to adjust the consistency of the dough.

Crack the eggs into a liquid measuring cup and remove any stray shells. Add the oil; there is no need to stir. Pour the eggs and oil into the food processor work bowl.

Process until the flour is evenly moistened and crumbly, about 10 seconds. Test the dough by pinching it; if it is very sticky, add more flour, one tablespoon at a time, processing until it is incorporated. After about 30 seconds total, the dough should come together in a loose ball and feel moist, but not sticky.

Dust a clean work surface with flour. Remove the ball of dough from the work bowl and place it in the center of the floured surface. Using your handsm flatten the dough into a disk.

Using the heel of your hand, push the dough down and away from you, fold it in half back towards you, rotate a quarter turn, and repeat the kneading motion. After about 10 minutes, the dought should be smooth and elastic.

Shape the dough into a ball, cover with an overturned bowl, and let rest for 15 minutes before you roll it out. The gluten in the flour will relax, making the dough easier to roll. Do not let it rest longer or it will be too dry.

Roll out the dough using a pasta machine and until its about 1mm thick. Cut into strands 3/4 to 1 inch wide.

Hang to dry for 30 minutes and up to 3 hours before cooking or storing in refrigerator or freezer.


Recipes courtesy of Pasta by Williams-Sonoma


Categories: Entrees, Italian, Pasta, Recipes | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Beef, Black Bean, and Chorizo Chili

It was really cold and rainy here the other day so it was perfect chili weather.  I’ve been looking for a new red chili recipe because red beans (kidney beans) don’t sit so well with Branden…yes I know, I could just substitute for different beans or leave them out altogether with, but I like exploring my options.  Honestly, I think from now on, this is going to be my go-to red chili.  This thing is amazing and I am totally hooked on the beef chunks AND chorizo.  Meat lovers rejoice!

This is kind of spicy from the chipotle peppers, so try cutting them in half for a milder chili if desired.


  • 2 links Spanish chorizo sausage (about 6 1/2 ounces), thinly sliced (I used ground this time…it was easier)
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans less-sodium beef stock
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons masa harina
  • 1 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chorizo to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until browned. Remove chorizo from pan. Add half of beef to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until browned. Remove beef from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining beef. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes.

Remove 4 chipotle chiles from can, and chop. Reserve remaining chiles and sauce for another use. Add chorizo, beef, chopped chiles, tomato paste, and next 6 ingredients (through ground cumin) to pan, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in red wine, lime juice, beef broth, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Gradually stir in masa harina. Add pinto beans and black beans; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.

Adapted from Cooking Light

Categories: American, Entrees, Recipes, Soup | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Beef & Peach Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

After eating out waaaaaay too much on vacation (we ate ourselves silly since we were near fresh seafood!), I really just needed a salad for dinner.  I also was craving some beef seeing as I was practically a vegetarian the week before eating zucchini for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  So that led me to Cooking Light again and I used their recipe as a benchmark for this salad.  The peaches up here are awesome right now (I got some of Bauman’s Orchard’s peaches), so this was a winner. The vinaigrette was awesome and light as well.  So what are you waiting for…run out and get you some peaches while they’re ripe and make yourself a salad!

  • 2 bunches of watercress or 4 c. artisan lettuce
  • 1 English cucumber, roughly chopped
  • 5 ripe peaches, cut into wedges
  • 1/4 c. red onion, finely diced
  • 1 lb roast beef, cubed
  • 1/4 c. fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. finely grated ginger
  • 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced

In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, cucumbers, red onions, peaches, and beef*

Pour the lime juice into a smal bowl and whisk in the sugar and 1/2 tsp salt dissolved.  Add the garlic, ginger, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Slowly add the oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly until emulisified.  Stir in the shallots.  Transfer the salad to a serving bowl or platter and drizzle the vinaigrette over the top.

*I seared my tip roast in a cast iron skillet on both sides before placing the pan in the 325° oven until the internal temperature of the beef was 145° (for medium rare).  Let set for 10 minutes before cutting into cubes for the salad.

Categories: American, Entrees, Recipes, Salads | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps

I had some super-lean hamburger in the freezer that is obviously not good for making burgers on the grill, so I decided to try something different.  I found this recipe when looking for Korean recipes this week and decided to give it a shot.  I deviated from the original recipe a bit and overall, I think they turned out well.  This was a super easy week night meal that was fast and required only a few ingredients, most of which I already had on hand (I’m slowly building a good pantry which is extremely helpful and makes it easier to play with food when I have lots of vinegar, spices, herbs, and oils).

The flavors in this dish are definitely Asian inspired and unless you tinker with the recipe, there’s not a ton of heat (you obviously can kick it up with some red pepper and a spicier chile sauce).  This was my first time really experimenting with red chile sauce and I settled on Taste of Thai’s Chile Sauce.  Not too bad, but I think I may try Sriracha chile sauce instead for increased heat.  I mostly chose Taste of Thai this time when comparing ingredients and realized it did not contain preservatives, which I always appreciate.  I may also experiment with some chile peppers, too.  Oh the decisions!


  • 1 lb. raw extra lean ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBS sherry cooking wine or dry vermouth
  • 1 TBS soy sauce
  • 2 TBS red chile sauce, Asian variety
  • 2 tsp. packed brown sugar
  • 1 TBS fresh ground ginger
  • 1 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 8 pieces of Boston lettuce
  • 1 medium English cucumber, julienned
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, seeded and julienned
  1. Mix the ground beef, garlic, sherry, soy sauce, red chile sauce, brown sugar, and ginger in a medium bowl until well browned.
  2. Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium heat.  Add the beef mixture and cook, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 3 minutes.  Stir in sesame oil.
  3. To serve, place 1/4 cup cooked ground beef mixture in each of the lettuce leaves.  Top each with sliced cucumber and sliced red pepper and drizzle with additional chile sauce if desired.  Serve at once.

Yield: 4 servings.

~Adapted from WeightWatchers

Categories: Entrees, Korean, Recipes | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Penne with Beef & Arugula

I found this recipe several years ago and absolutely love it.  I don’t make it very often because its not really that healthy, but my oh my its delicious!  I think its the perfect summer time pasta– the fresh greens and balsamic vinegar just scream warm weather and dinner outside!  This is also a great pasta for a picnic or a pot luck because its just as delicious at room temperature (perhaps even better).


Penne with Beef & Arugula

  • 2 New York Strip Steaks, 8 oz. each (I’ve also substituted 1 1/2 pounds flank steak cooked to medium rare without disappointment)
  • Salt & fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. Herbs de Provence
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3/4 c. plus 3 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 lb. Penne Pasta
  • 1/4 c. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 TBS. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 c. chopped arugula
  1. Season steak with salt, pepper, herbs de Provence, and minced garlic.  In a skillet, heat 3 TBS olive oil over medium heat.  Cook the steaks for about 7 minutes per side.  Remove the meat to a cutting board and let rest while cooking pasta.
  2. 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, 8 to 10 minutes.  Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 c. of cooking water.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar , dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, basil, parsley, and 3/4 cup olive oil.  In a large bowl, toss the pasta with half the salad dressing and reserved pasta water.  Set aside.
  4. Slice the steaks thin and add the pasta with arugula.  Add more dressing and season with salt and pepper as needed.

~Courtesty of Giada DeLaurentis

Categories: Entrees, Italian, Recipes | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Lighten Up: Pastitsio

I found this recipe while clicking around the Weight Watchers website looking for healthy recipes in which use some leftover red wine I had.  Branden loves Pastitsio and isn’t home this week, so I figured I’d give this “skinny” version a shot so if it was terrible, I didn’t have to listen to him whine about how “diet” food doesn’t have any flavor.  surprisingly, this recipe wasn’t too bad at all!

So what makes this version healthier?  First of all, the use of 93/7 ground beef helps out a bit in terms of fat compared to the traditional ground lamb.  The other obvious difference between this recipe and its full-fat counterpart is that fact that this recipe only uses 8 oz. of dry pasta instead of a whole pound.  Less pasta, less carbs (which usually translates to less happy in my mind, but there’s enough other stuff going on here that you don’t miss it…unless you’re starving).  Next, this recipe replaces whole milk with fat free evaporated milk and cuts out most of the butter traditionally used.  I know what you’re thinking, that’s the good stuff.  Honestly, I was pretty shocked myself, but this recipe works out pretty well.  While I obviously prefer the full-fat version, this is a pretty decent substitute that I don’t feel guilty eating.  I might actually make it again for Branden…

Before we go on to the recipe, I have a couple comments.  First of all, while this recipe isn’t overly difficult, it does take time.  I think total I spent about 1.5 hours preparing this meal.  Second, I made a couple changes based on preference and stubbornness:

  1. I used more wine then called for mostly because I wanted to get rid of the wine I had left (I didn’t want to have to find another recipe to use red wine in and I certainly wasn’t dumping it).  I probably ended up using closer to 3/4 c. of wine and honestly would probably do it again.
  2. I have to be in the right mood for whole wheat pasta, so I used enriched white pasta instead.  Branden and I really like Ronzoni’s Smart Pasta (in the purple box)- it has all the nutritional values of whole wheat pasta, but looks and tastes just like traditional white pasta.
  3. I added more salt and about 1/4 tsp. white pepper to the white sauce.  Without these additions, I thought it was going to be a bit bland.


  • 1 lb raw lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 oz. canned tomato sauce
  • 1/4 c. red wine, dry
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 8 oz. uncooked whole-wheat pasta, such as penne
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 c. fat-free evaporated milk
  • 1 TBS butter or margarine
  • 2 TBS all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 1/2 c. fat-free evaporated milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350º.  Coat a 9×12 glass baking dish with cooking spray.

To make meat sauce, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook beef and onion, stirring frequently, until meat is brown and onion is tender, about 10 minutes; drain off fat.  Stir in tomato sauce, wine, and cinnamon.  Bring to boil and then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.  Combine 1 beaten egg, 3/4 c. of evaporated milk and cooked pasta in a large bowl; toss to combine and set aside.

To make cream sauce, melt butter or margarine in a small saucepan over medium heat, stir in flour, salt and pepper.  Gradually add 1 1/2 c. of evaporated milk, cook, stirring until thickened and slightly bubbly, about 5-8 minutes.  Very gradually stir in 1 beaten egg and egg whites into hot milk mixture (be careful not to scramble the eggs); set aside.

Layer half of pasta mixture in prepared dish; spread with meat sauce and sprinkle with 1/4 c of cheese.  Top with remaining pasta mixture, pour cream sauce over top and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Cover and bake for 20 minutes.  Uncover and continue baking for about 15 minutes more or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Let stand 15 minutes before slicing into 8 pieces.

Categories: Entrees, Greek, Recipes | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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