7UP CHILI LOOSE MEAT SANDWICHES

I originally found a recipe, 7-UP CHILIBURGERS, in a loose bound cookbook from 1977.  It was one of those compilation style books written for fundraisers for schools or churches.  I’ve modified it over time, but we love it.

7UP CHILI LOOSE MEAT SAMMIES
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped small
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon WONDRA flour
7.5 ounce can 7UP or Sprite
3/4 cup Jalapeno ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Franks, original hot sauce
Havarti slices

  • Melt butter in cast iron large skillet.
  • Add beef and chopped onion, browning until crumbly.
  • Drain off excess fat.
  • Return meat to pan and sprinkle with flour, stirring to absorb.
  • Whisk together the ketchup, Worcestershire, 7UP, hot sauce, chili powder and garlic powder.
  • Add to meat mixture and bring to a simmer.
  • Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cover and cook 10 minutes.
  • Split ciabatta buns in half.
  • Lay a slice of cheese on top of bread.
  • Spoon loose meat over cheese and enjoy!  They are also GREAT, but MESSY as whole sandwiches.

NOTE:  This is a good recipe to make double of and freeze half for a quick weeknight meal.

BACON WRAPPED TENDERLOIN TIPS

These will make a HUGE hit at your next party!  They are the perfect guy food too making them perfect for backyard get togethers or tailgating parties!

BACON WRAPPED TENDERLOIN TIPS
1 pound beef Tenderloin Tips
Precooked Bacon
1/4 cup avocado oil
Thin slices of Gruyere cheese
1 teaspoon Zero to Hero Sweet BBQ rub
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar glaze, reduced slightly
2 tablespoons minced chives

  • Preheat a cast iron skillet on high.
  • Blot dry the Tenderloin Tips.
  • Trim the pieces so they are about 1 1/2 inches long and 3/4 inches wide.
  • Season the meat with the BBQ rub.
  • Add the oil to the cast iron skillet and heat briefly.
  • Add the seasoned tips the skillet and cook for 1 minute while stirring JUST long enough the sear the sides but keep the center raw.
  • Quickly remove the meat from the skillet and cool in fridge.
  • Lay a piece of cheese on each beef tip.
  • Wrap seared tips with bacon and hold them together with a tooth pick.
  • Stand the wrapped tips up on a sheet pan so that the bacon is on its side leaving some space in between.
  • Cover pan with plastic film and refrigerate until ready to bake.
  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • Bake 5-8 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  • Remove from oven and transfer to serving plate.
  • Drizzle with balsamic vinegar glaze and sprinkle with minced chives before serving.

SHORT RIBS ala INSTA POT with CREAMY POLENTA

SHORT RIBS ala INSTA POT serves 4
2 pounds bone-in short ribs
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon Avocado oil
2 small carrots, chopped
2 large green onion, sliced
1 large stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 cups chardonnay or merlot
14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 teablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup beef broth
1-2 sprigs thyme

  • Pat short ribs dry.
  • GENEROUSLY season with FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Set INSTA POT to saute’.
  • Add avocado oil.
  • Brown short ribs on all sides.
  • Transfer short ribs to plate.
  • Add carrots, celery, onions and garlic, stirring often 5-6 minutes until tender and fragrant.  Generously season with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Arrange vegetables around edges and add tomato paste to the center, cooking a minute or two until browned.
  • Add wine and simmer 10-15 minutes until reduced to about 1/4 cup.
  • Stir in tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, chicken broth and thyme.
  • Return short ribs to the INSTA POT.
  • Press cancel.
  • Lock lid and cook on HIGH 30-35 minutes.
  • Use natural release for 10 minutes.
  • Remove meat from sauce.
  • Discard thyme and any loose bones.
  • Skim off any fat.
  • Reserve 3/4 cup of vegetables.
  • Use an immersion blender and puree’ remaining vegetable into sauce until smooth.
  • Cut beef into large pieces or shred and return to the sauce.
  • Serve over polenta.

NOTE: Original recipe called for red wine, red wine and I don’t like each other much. I substituted the chardonnay and even hubby loved it so I think this was a win-win!

POLENTA
2 cups WHOLE milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
scant 3/4 cup polenta (4 ounces)
1/4 cup finely grated Asiago cheese

  • Bring milk, butter and salt to a boil in a sauce pan.
  • Whisk in polenta.
  • Cook, stirring constantly 3-4 minutes, until thick and creamy.
  • Stir in cheese, adding 3-4 tablespoons of water if too thick.
  • Serve short ribs and sauce over polenta.

BBQ HOISIN BRISKET ala SLOW COOKER

This is one of the tastiest AND the simplest of recipes.  The combination of the BBQ sauce and the Hoisin sauce is well paired for a bit of salty AND spicy with JUST a hint of sweet in every bite.

BBQ HOISIN BRISKET ala SLOW COOKER for 2-4
2 pound brisket*
2 cups Hoisin sauce
1 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s Original BBQ sauce
1 cup Beef Broth

  • Whisk together the Hoisin sauce, BBQ sauce and beef broth.
  • Spray the crock insert with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Place brisket in insert, fat cap up.
  • Pour Hoisin mixture over top.
  • Cover and set on low for 7-8 hours.

NOTES:

  • I buy a 4 pound brisket, cut it in half and freeze half for the next time. It seems impossible to find a brisket under 4 pounds anyway.
  • Buy a cut with the largest fat cap you can find – they are the MOST flavorful!

MEXICAN SOFRITO

I wanted to use what I had on hand so made a Mexican version of my Beef Ragu.  Naming it was an entirely different story! 

I found tons of words to replace ragu like goulash, pot-au-feu, gumbo, suey, cassoulet, chowder… You get the idea, but I couldn’t find a word in Spanish.  Finding a word for word translation of RAGU was challenging. 

Turns out there isn’t a DIRECT word for translation so I read until I found an acceptable translation for this Mexican version of my Beef Ragu recipe. The word soffritto is still Italian, but I found the same word with a single f and single t (sofrito) used for Puerto Rican and Latin American recipes.  Close enough for me! 

A Ragu is meat based with a little sauce added.

MEXICAN SOFRITO ala SLOW COOKER
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, sliced paper thin
4 slices bacon, chopped
2 ½ -3 pound chuck roast
1 tablespoon House Seasoning (see below)
28 ounces crushed tomatoes, with cumin and chili powder to taste
1 large can chopped green chiles
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 cup beef broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
Cotija cheese

  • Spray a large slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Arrange the onions, garlic, green chiles and bacon pieces in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • Generously season roast with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper on both sides.
  • Arrange roast on top of the onion mixture.
  • Sprinkle the carrots on top of the roast.
  • In a medium bowl, blend together the tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth, red wine vinegar and cilantro.
  • Pour over the roast.
  • Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours until the beef is EXTREMELY tender and falls apart.
  • Skim any fat from the top.
  • Use 2 forks to shred the beef.
  • Stir beef into the sauce.
  • Adjust seasonings.
  • Re-cover and cook for another hour to allow the flavored to meld together.
  • Serve with corn tortillas and top with Cotija cheese sprinkles.

This is an adapted version of my Beef Ragu recipe.

PINEAPPLE CHILI MEATBALLS

This recipe makes 70 meatballs making it perfect for a crowd, tailgating party, church potluck or freeze in batches for quick weeknight meals.

HONEY GARLIC GLAZED MEATBALLS
2 pounds ground beef
1 cup PANKO bread crumbs
2 LARGE eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons each FRESH sea salt and black pepper
1/2 cup finely diced Vidalia onion
3 LARGE cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon butter

SAUCE
1/2 cup Smucker’s Pineapple Preserves
1/3 cup Sweet Red Chili Sauce
6 ounces orange juice
3 tablespoons Teriyaki sauce

  • Spray baking racks with non-stick cooking spray and place on baking trays. Set aside.
  • Whisk together the milk and eggs in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add bread crumbs, onion, salt and pepper, stirring to combine.
  • Crumble ground beef over milk mixture and combine well.
  • Shape into ping pong size balls.
  • Place each meatball on a baking rack.
  • Baked uncovered 12-15 minutes until cooked through.

While meatballs are baking start sauce.

  • Whisk together all the ingredients and bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes more.
  • Add meatballs to sauce, gently turning to coat.
  • Cook for 5-10 minutes.

HONEY GARLIC GLAZED MEATBALLS

This recipe makes 70 meatballs making it perfect for a crowd, tailgating party, church potluck or freeze in batches for quick weeknight meals.

HONEY GARLIC GLAZED MEATBALLS
2 pounds ground beef
1 cup PANKO bread crumbs
2 LARGE eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons each FRESH sea salt and black pepper
1/2 cup finely diced Vidalia onion
3 LARGE cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup jalapeno ketchup
1/3 cup honey
3 tablespoons BRAGG’s liquid aminos

  • Spray baking racks with non-stick cooking spray and place on baking trays. Set aside.
  • Whisk together the milk and eggs in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add bread crumbs, onion, salt and pepper, stirring to combine.
  • Crumble ground beef over milk mixture and combine well.
  • Shape into ping pong size balls.
  • Place each meatball on a baking rack.
  • Baked uncovered 12-15 minutes until cooked through.

While meatballs are baking start sauce.

  • Melt butter in a LARGE sauce pan.
  • Add garlic, cooking until aromatic.
  • Whisk in the ketchup, honey and liquid aminos.
  • Bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes more.
  • Add meatballs to sauce, gently turning to coat.
  • Cook for 5-10 minutes.

CHILI TAMALE PIE

CHILI TAMALE PIE
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 small red pepper, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed well
2 1/2 cups mild enchilada sauce
1 can shoepeg corn, drained
12 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar and Jack)
1 Jalapeno pepper, optional

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Spray 2 quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Start browning ground beef in large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add onions, garlic, chili powder and salt cooking 5 minutes or so, stirring often.
  • Add beans and half of the sauce, bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Add corn and return to simmer 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Spread half of the remaining sauce in the baking dish.
  • Top with 4 tortillas, overlapping as needed.
  • Top with half the cheese followed by half the filling mixture.
  • Add 4 more tortillas.
  • Repeat layering with 1/2 cup cheese and remaining filling.
  • Top with last 4 tortillas, remaining sauce, remaining cheese and jalapenos if using.
  • Grease one side of a sheet of foil and place greased side on top of baking dish.
  • Bake 20 minutes.
  • Uncover and bake 5 more minutes.

CHOPPED STEAKS

These are super quick and deliciously flavorful making them great for weeknight dinners!!

CHOPPED STEAKS
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
2 eggs
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup crushed saltine crackers
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
avocado oil

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Combine everything except the meat until well blended.
  • Add the meat and mix well.
  • Shape into 4 patties.
  • Heat oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add patties and sear until browned.
  • Flip and move pan to the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  • Transfer steaks to platter and tent with foil.

GRAVY
2 tablespoons butter
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/4 cup minced Italian Parsley
2 tablespoons WONDRA flour
2 cups beef broth

  • Add butter to the pan you cooked the steaks in.
  • When butter is melted add shallots and mushrooms, sauteing 8-10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle flour over the onion mixture and stir well.
  • Add broth and blend well.
  • Cook 3-5 minutes until desired thickness.

NOTE:

  • Hubby hates mushrooms. So, many times I omit the mushrooms and double the shallots or add green onions and it tastes just as great!
  • If gravy doesn’t thicken as much as you would like, add a small amount of cornstarch slurry.

BALSAMIC BROWN SUGAR BRISKET

BALSAMIC BROWN SUGAR BRISKET

4-5 pound beef brisket
3 tablespoons avocado oil
3 red onions, halved and thinly sliced (4-6 cups)
1 whole bulb garlic, cleaned and minced
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1/3 cup QUALITY balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • Generously season brisket with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a dutch oven.
  • Add brisket and sear each side until browned, about 4 minutes per side.
  • Remove brisket and set aside.
  • Add remaining oil to pan.
  • Add onions, garlic and bay leaves. Cook stirring often, 5-10 minutes, until fragrant and onions have softened.
  • In a bowl whisk together the beef broth, vinegars, brown sugar, onion powder and garlic powder.
  • Transfer the onion mixture to a roasting pan.
  • Top with brisket.
  • Pour broth mixture over brisket.
  • Cover and cook 2 hours.
  • Flip meat over, recover tightly and cook another 2-2 1/2 hours until fork tender.
  • Transfer meat to cutting board and loosely cover with foil, resting 10 minutes.
  • Slice meat against the grain and put on platter.
  • Using a slotted spoon arrange the onions around the brisket, discarding the bay leaves.
  • Skim fat from pan juices and discard. Pour juices over the onions and brisket.

HERB BUTTER & LONDON BROIL

LONDON BROIL began as a preparation process of marinating and then searing or broiling the meat at a HIGH temperature, NOT a cut of meat.  The process became so popular that eventually grocery stores began selling top round under the name “LONDON BROIL”.  Top-round steak, is sometimes sold as “London broil” or “Flank steak” is the traditional cut of beef used for London broil because it takes so  well to marinades.

HERB BUTTER & LONDON BROIL

1 (2 pound) London broil top-round steak
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/4 cup avocado oil
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, brown sugar, Worcestershire, and garlic.
  • Generously season entire London Broil with salt and pepper.
  • Rub oil mixture all over meat. Place on baking sheet.
  • Let sit at room temperature for an hour. (it can also be refrigerated over night)
  • Preheat broiler.
  • Brush off garlic then place steak on a sheet pan.
  • Place pan on middle rack in the center of the oven and broil 10 to 15 minutes (depending on desired doneness), until top is charred.
  • Flip and broil 10 to 15 minutes more (depending on desired doneness), until internal temperature reaches 125° for medium rare.
  • Let rest 10 minutes before carving.  It is VERY important that you carve AGAINST the grain!
  • Serve with herb butter.

NOTES:  Any leftovers dice up very nicely into pieces for chili.

HERB BUTTER
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped parsley
2 teaspoons FRESH chopped chives
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon FRESH ground black pepper
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

  • In a small bowl, mix butter with herbs, lemon zest, salt, and red pepper flakes until smooth.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use.

SWEET & SOUR CABBAGE ROLLS

SWEET & SOUR CABBAGE ROLLS
8 WHOLE cabbage leaves
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 large Vidalia onion, diced
1 cup carrot sticks
1/2 cup sliced red pepper
1/3 pound ground sirloin
1/3 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped thyme
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons PURE maple syrup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 3/4 cups tomato sauce
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Stack leaves in a large dutch oven and cover with boiling water.
  • Cover and bring to a boil for 4-6 minutes until cabbage is JUST tender enough to be pliable.
  • DRAIN and cool leaves on towel.
  • In a large skillet heat oil.
  • Brown beef and pork JUST until crumbly.
  • Add onion and saute’ 5 minutes.
  • Add carrots and peppers, sauteing a couple minutes more.
  • Add tomato paste and stir to coat.
  • Add Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and syrup, stirring to mix well and stirring often.
  • Bring to a simmer.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Spoon 1/4-1/3 cup of mixture into each cabbage leaf rolling and tucking in the edges.
  • Arrange rolls in baking dish seam side down.
  • Top with tomato sauce, cover and bake 20 minutes.
  • Add mozzarella and return to oven uncovered until cheese melts and rolls are heated through.
  • Let stand 5 minutes before serving.