Korean spiced beef and rice

This super quick and very easy beef recipe will be a welcome addition to your busy weeknight repertoire.  Ground beef is sauteed with garlic and spices, garnished with green onions and sesame seeds and served with rice.  It also makes a delicious filling for lettuce wraps. Read More

Ropa Vieja (Cuban Shredded Beef )

Ah, Havana!   So much to see, to hear, to smell, and take in…street performers on stilts leading parades of festive cigar- smoking women; turquoise, pink and lime green buildings; palm trees and the sea beyond the Malecon; uniformed school children, and of course the beloved vintage cars.   The food is simple, but robust and equally memorable, with Spanish and Caribbean flavors.  A favorite is “Ropa Vieja”, or shredded beef.   The name means literally “shredded clothes” because after slow cooking, the meat will fall apart into the delicious sauce.  Serve it with rice and beans and fix yourself a Mojito! Read More

Family masterpiece… Nanna’s stew

On the recipe bucket list remains this item:   Boeuf Bourguignon, the famous Julia Child recipe.  It is a classic from the 1960’s, a French masterpiece of layered flavors and quality ingredients, requiring a formidable investment of time and energy, not to mention quite a chunk from the wallet.  But it is apparently most swoon worthy, memorable and absolutely worthwhile.  Maybe one day…..

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Kicking off Chili Week!

Is it even possible to have a favorite chili?  It’s a bit like a vacation dilemma: do I return to the idyllic island where I had the best week of my life or do I open that email about the new winter cruise or — or– or– so many possibilities… And so it is with chili, the old favorites vs. new and appealing recipes or ideas.  I have several of the former and even more of the latter, so this week is hereby declared Frills Chili Week!

Entry # 1:  Bean and steak chili.  This is rich and beefy, with a nice tomato and onion flavor, decently spicy but still kid friendly.  It gets better the next day and it freezes very well, so it’s a great meal to take to a family with a new baby or otherwise in need of a pick-me-up.

The beans called for can be any type of bean you like or have on hand.  Black is particularly yummy and flavorful.

Beefy Beany Chili


  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 2 lbs. beef sirloin, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 4  (14 1/2 oz.) cans of beans, black, pinto or other combination

Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Add the onion, garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin and red pepper flakes and cook over medium heat until the onions are golden.  Add the beef, in batches if necessary, and brown on all sides.

Stir in the tomatoes, stock, tomato paste, and cocoa powder.  Simmer, uncovered, until the beef is tender, about two hours.  Add beans and cook through.  If too thick, thin with extra broth.

Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheese or chives if desired.   Freezes well.

beefy beany chili closeup 2

Traditional meat lasagna

If you’ve got a crowd to feed, a potluck to attend or you really, really need a comfort meal, then lasagna is your best friend.  It’s meaty, cheesy, carb- laden and so easy to tote, make ahead or freeze.  This is a traditional recipe that takes a bit of preparation but is very worthwhile.  Add a simple green salad, some good bread and some red wine and you have a feast. Read More