Beef Salad

Beef Salad is perfect for elegant cocktail parties and casual get-togethers.  It’s all in the presentation with this one.

It is easy enough that even beginners should be able to pull off beef salad so long as they own a food processor or blender.  I might be possible to mince the meat with a knife, but I have never done it.  I am too lazy for all of that, and patience is NOT by strong suit.

This recipe can be scaled down to use leftover roast beef.  I used to make it this way until I discovered that so many people liked it that I actually needed to make a full roast just for beef salad.  This is another one of those dishes that I carry to others’ parties as an appetizer.

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Beef Tips and Mushrooms

Growing up, my mom made a version of beef tips that I always thought was kind of flavorless and tough.  But this meant she would making rice.  She hated rice and rarely made it.   If rice so much as touched her plate, she was done eating.  Imagine going out to a Japanese steak house with that……….

When I first made this myself, I immediately added beef base to the recipe.  It definitely gave it some added flavor, but it was still quite tough.

Since this was one of the first recipes I ever attempted on my own as a young cook in my own kitchen, I have had many years of perfecting this recipe for my tastes.

Mushrooms and onions have joined the party over the years, and green peppers made an appearance for some years.  If you like green peppers, feel free to add some during the last few minutes of cooking.

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Beef Stew

Slow Cooker Beef Stew is one of my absolute favorite meals to cook when the weather turns cooler.  It is easy to put together and the smell coming from the kitchen reminds you there is going to be something yummy served up.

Beef stew is fairly adaptable too.  I stick with the traditional potatoes, carrots, and peas because that’s what I like.  Sweet potatoes, parsnips, rutabagas or any other sturdy vegetable could be added.

I do not use any tomato base in mine, but feel free to add it.  I prefer the pure beef flavor that shines through without it.

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Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce

My Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce recipe doesn’t have a whole lot of family history. However, I love BBQ and this is one of my default sauces that I make for just about every party and gathering we host where we have something BBQ. My wife and I have experimented with this recipe for the last few years and its one we have settled on.

Even though we love this recipe and we consider it our standard, it’s something we still like to experiment with every now and then.This recipe is easily tweak-able and super friendly to experiment with. Want it less sweet? Back off the sugar. Want it more tart? add more vinegar. Want more heat? Add more cayenne. I tend to tweak this recipe based on what I’m cooking it with. For grilled foods like chicken and pork chops, I tend like to leave this recipe a little on the sweeter side. I like to use more vinegar when cooking fattier cuts of meat like brisket and pork shoulder. I think the vinegar helps balance and cut through the fat a bit better.

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Party Cheese Spread

This addictive Party Cheese Spread is filled with cream cheese, meat, green onions, and cheddar cheese and can easily be adapted into a cheeseball or any shape to match the holiday.  It can be rolled into nuts, parsley, or any topping you prefer.  It can also be made thinned out with extra mayonnaise to make it more of a dip.

As with most of my recipes, you can add and subtract ingredients to fit your tastes and needs.  Sometimes I use boiled or baked deli ham in place of the Buddig beef.  I bet bacon would also be a great substitute or addition, I just have not tried it.

No matter which way you choose to make this, spread, dip, or cheeseball, it will soften more the longer it sits out being served.  The consistency you have will making it, will be the consistency you have when it has been at room temperature for an hour or so.  Plan accordingly when adding mayonnaise when making.

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Sauce Buns and Red Hots

Sauce buns and red hots were a summertime tradition back home and seem to be regional specialties not know to those outside of the small town I grew up in.  Sauce buns are just like the name implies, sauce on a bun, but if you added a hot dog it became a red hot.  These cannot be described as chili dogs or Coney dogs because they are sweeter than that.  If you bite into one of these expecting a chili dog you will be disappointed.  However, if you know going in that this is something totally different than that, you just might love them.

This recipe is inspired by Jaenicke’s in Kankakee, the local hot dog stand where we used to eat these.  I might be dating myself, but I remember getting a baby beer with my hot dog.  It was the smallest root beer mug I have ever seen, filled with their homemade root beer, delivered by a carhop.  There was only one location back then, “down by the river.”

These sauce buns have a sweet red meat sauce that is flavored with chili powdered, resembles chili, but doesn’t actually taste like chili.  They are very hard to explain to anyone who has never had one or has never been to an old fashioned root beer stand in the Midwest prior to big franchises.  It’s kind of like sloppy joe and chili dog sauce rolled into one.

I have never eaten at an A & W, but I have heard these might be similar.  I have had Coney dogs, not the same.  This is also not Cincinnati chili or Skyline chili.

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Italian Beef

Here I go again with another recipe designed to cure a craving for a food that I can’t seem to find outside of the Chicago area.  There, Italian beefs were easily accessible at almost every pizza or hot dog place.  You can search high and low outside of that area and never find one.  Finding a good Chicago style hot dog is also another challenge.

These are nowhere near an original Italian Beef that can easily be found in that area.  Those are made with beef roasts cooked to rare in a flavorful broth, then sliced into thin perfection pieces of meat.  The meat is dipped back into that wonderful broth and slapped onto a sturdy Gonnella roll (which are unfortunately only available in and around the Chicago area grocery stores). Continue reading “Italian Beef”

Beef and Noodles

Beef and Noodles fit the bill perfectly for those days when all I want to do is eat carbs.  Simple comforting carbs.  Even when I have overcooked, undercooked, or even flat out screwed up this recipe, I eat it for dinner and then microwave leftovers until I have run out of noodles.  Corn, tomatoes, and some buttered white bread is all I need to make this meal complete.

I tend to make this with homemade noodles, but frozen noodles, and even dry noodles when I can find a decent dried kluski noodle somewhere will do.

As the food industry shifts its focus to please more and more “foodies”, basic, easy to make foods that even picky kids will eat, are getting hard to find and edged out of the market.  Like kluski noodles.  Which, by the way, were the only way I used to make beef and noodles until they became scarce.

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Chili-Mac

Chili Mac has been a part of my life as long as I can remember.  Growing up, Wally’s Drive-In was the best place in the world for a hamburger, onion rings, or a chili-mac. I suppose they had other things on the menu, but I wouldn’t know. I never wanted or ordered anything besides those 3 items.

Wally’s had been a staple in my hometown and it was a sad day when the last carhop delivery was made and the doors were locked permanently.

It would be a long time before a genuine chili-mac made an appearance in my life. Oh, I’d seen chili-macs on menus and saw recipes for chili-mac, but let’s face it, those were never anything more than chili, with or without beans, glopped on top of spaghetti noodles. Continue reading “Chili-Mac”