Slow Cooker Beef Tips & Gravy

I have another slow cooker recipe for y’all! Slow Cooker Beef Tips & Gravy is something that I grew up eating in Texas. Unfortunately, I never got my mom’s recipe before she passed away but I think she would approve of my version. It is SO easy and tastes like you put much more effort into it than you do! You don’t even have to brown the meat beforehand. Just add everything to your slow cooker and let it do all the work for you!

This is such a great way to use stew meat instead of just making stew. The meat turns out so tender and melts in your mouth! The use of the gravy mix adds thickness and lots of rich flavor. If you happen to be a mushroom hater, you can leave them out. You can also use fresh or dried parsley. Serve these delicious beef tips over mashed potatoes, rice, or egg noodles. As you can see, we prefer them over creamy, buttery mashed potatoes. Yum!

I love the McCormick Organic Brown Gravy mix!

This would also make a fantastic freezer meal. Just add everything (raw) to a freezer bag and save for later. Then on a busy or a “too tired to cook” night, you can just dump it in the slow cooker and be done with dinner!

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace.

Slow Cooker Beef Tips & Gravy

  • Servings: Serves 6-8
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Ingredients

3 lbs beef stew meat
8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 (14.5 oz) can beef broth
2 (.87 oz each) packets brown gravy mix
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon dried

Directions

Place stew meat, mushrooms, and onions in a slow cooker. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together broth, gravy mixes, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.

Pour over meat and vegetables. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Just before serving, stir in parsley. Serve over mashed potatoes, rice, or egg noodles.

Note: If you want the sauce thicker, take the lid off of the slow cooker for 30 minutes before serving (but leave heat on).

Gnocchi Shepherd’s Pie

January felt like forever, February flew by, and I can’t believe we are already mid-March. Of course, I’m thinking about St. Patrick’s Day recipes for y’all! I don’t go too crazy with the holiday but do try to make something green or Irish themed for my family’s dinner. I absolutely love Shepherd’s Pie. It is so comforting and delicious! It’s not the quickest thing to make, though, unless I happen to have leftover mashed potatoes. That doesn’t happen often so I thought I’d try a quicker alternative using gnocchi (potato dumplings). My Gnocchi Shepherd’s Pie is the yummiest twist on this classic Irish dish!

Have you ever had gnocchi? I fell in love with the little potato dumplings about 4 years ago when we went to a restaurant in New York City called Butter. They had a Gnocchi Mac n Cheese that I still dream about! Gnocchi is easy to find near the dried pasta in the grocery store and is reasonably priced. I can usually find it for about $3-4.

The ground beef and vegetable mixture is very simple and fast. I highly recommend using a cast iron or oven safe skillet because it makes this a ONE DISH dinner. I love it when that happens!

After the beef mixture is cooked, you just place the gnocchi on top. No need to cook the gnocchi ahead of time! Then top with a generous amount of sharp white cheddar and place in the oven. The cheese melts into the meat and crisps up on the gnocchi that comes out nice and soft. So easy!

My Gnocchi Shepherd’s Pie is perfect St. Patrick’s Day or any day!

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Items on sale the week of March 10-16: ground beef, yellow onions, ketchup, frozen mixed vegetables, gnocchi

Gnocchi Shepherd's Pie

  • Servings: Serves 4-6
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Ingredients

2 lbs ground beef
1 small onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons beef base (Better than Bouillon)
1 cup water
⅓ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 ½ teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
12 oz frozen mixed vegetables
16 oz gnocchi
2 cups sharp white cheddar, grated

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Heat a cast iron skillet (or oven safe skillet) to medium-high heat and add ground beef. Cook and crumble until browned then drain grease.

Add onions, garlic, beef base, water, ketchup, Worcestershire, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add parsley and vegetables then stir to combine. Turn off heat. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Arrange gnocchi along the top of the ground beef mixture then top with cheese. Carefully place non-stick foil over the top of skillet then place in oven. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove foil and cook for 10 more minutes. Serve immediately.

Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

I have another quick, easy, and healthy dinner for y’all! This is really more of an idea than a recipe because it is so versatile and there are so many delicious filling ideas. I actually used to HATE sweet potatoes until about 7 years ago when I created the hash linked here. I love them now and am always looking for ways to add them to our dinners.

Y’all know that I always have Mexican food on my mind and tacos are my favorite food ever. How did it take me so long to start making Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes?!? They are so good and so simple! For the ones pictured here, I used ground beef cooked with bell pepper and my favorite Frontera taco sauce. Then I topped them with shredded cheddar, pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, and green onions. There are so many more options too! For the actual “recipe,” I listed what was used for the picture but check the notes for more yummy ideas. I love this family dinner because everyone can customize their sweet potato to their liking!

My favorite taco sauce!

Did you know that just one sweet potato contains 400% of your daily Vitamin A? They are such a great source of fiber, beta-carotene, antioxidants and potassium too. Skip the tortilla for this meal and fill a sweet potato with all the taco goodness that you love!

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Items on sale the week of February 25-March 2: Ground beef (2 days only-Friday and Saturday), taco seasoning (several brands), bell pepper, sour cream, shredded cheese

Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

4 sweet potatoes
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pouch Frontera Taco Skillet Sauce
1 bell pepper, chopped
Pico de gallo
Shredded cheddar
Sour cream
Green onions, sliced
Guacamole

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with foil and prick (clean) sweet potatoes with a fork. Bake until tender, about 45-60 minutes depending on size.

In a large skillet, brown ground beef with bell pepper. Drain if needed. Add taco sauce and cook until warmed through.

Open up sweet potatoes and fill with taco meat, cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream and green onions.

Notes:
1. Ground turkey can be used instead.
2. Other topping ideas: black beans, salsa, sliced avocado, black olives, corn, jalapenos, lettuce, fresh tomatoes

Korean Beef & Veggie Bowls

Happy New Year! This is my first post of 2020 and I’m so excited to share it with y’all. I have so many delicious recipes and foodie projects planned this year and I feel it in my bones that this year is going to be amazing!

A few weeks ago I asked my awesome followers on Instagram what kind of recipes that they were looking for now that the holidays are over. 99% of the responses were “quick, easy, and healthy.” Surprise, surprise. Ha! I am definitely known for my cheesy, indulgent, Tex-Mex recipes but I also have quite a few healthy ones. I love to balance comfort food with healthy! My philosophy on healthy recipes is that they must still have big, bold flavors. Taste should never be sacrificed for a healthy meal because it doesn’t have to!

The first recipe that came to mind was this one. My Korean Beef & Veggie Bowls are so flavorful and so delicious that you’ll be putting it on your regular dinner rotation. Now, don’t @ me because of the sugar! Ha! “Healthy” is a relative term because everyone is on a different eating plan these days. Sugar to some is a huge “no no” but for me, if it’s full of veggies and has healthy, lean protein, then I’m sold! You could definitely experiment with sugar alternatives and use even leaner meats like ground turkey or chicken.

“Easy” was another big request and this one definitely checks that box. I had my veggies chopped and dinner served in 30 minutes! My kids loved it! You could also double the recipe and use it for meal prep for the week. I love how versatile this is!

This is a sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Items on sale the week of January 14-20: ground beef, bell pepper, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice

Korean Beef & Veggie Bowls

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil (or other light oil)
2 cups zucchini, sliced
1 cup carrot, sliced into matchsticks
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 bunch green onions, sliced and divided
1 lb lean ground beef
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoons sesame oil
2-3 tablespoons Gochujang sauce
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¾ teaspoon garlic powder
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups cooked white or brown rice
Sriracha sauce (optional)

Directions

Heat a large non-stick skillet to medium-high. Add olive oil then add zucchini, carrot, bell pepper, and about ¾ of the green onions. Sauté until vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes.

Push vegetables to the side of the pan and add ground beef. Cook and crumble then stir into the vegetables. Drain grease if needed (use lean meat so you don’t have to).

To the pan, add brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, Gochujang, ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine, reduce heat to medium, and let cook for 5-10 more minutes.

Serve on top of rice and garnish with remaining green onions and sriracha sauce.

Note: Gochujang can be found in the Asian section of most grocery stores. Don’t leave it out! It’s worth the buy and adds amazing flavor.

Sweet Bacon Chili

This post is going to make a lot of people very happy. Why? Because this chili has been winning church cook-offs for 7 years and I’m FINALLY getting it on the blog! Seriously, half of the congregation at my church is ticked when I bring it because they want their chili to win and the other half would be super ticked if I didn’t bring it! Ha! I also made it for one of my cooking demonstrations at the Utah State Fair last month and promised everyone that I’d get it on the blog soon. Sorry it took so long!

This chili is also the “recipe that started it all” with my TV cooking. Three years ago this month I happened to be watching Good Things Utah when they announced a chili contest that they were doing. I thought, “My chili is awesome and always wins the church cook-off, why not?” I submitted my recipe and 2 weeks later got a call from the producer telling me that I was a finalist. I thought, “What in the world have I gotten myself into???” I had never cooked on TV or done any kind of public cooking demonstration. I was so nervous but as soon as I walked in to the television studio, my nerves melted away and I felt so excited. I rocked my demonstration and it felt like I was fulfilling a dream that I didn’t even know was possible. It was amazing!

Cooking on TV is a dream that was DEEP in my heart for years. Being able to do it regularly now is so awesome and I’m so grateful that I get to do it! Having this opportunity has lead to so many other things and I’m having the BEST time. I feel like I’m finally becoming the person that I was meant to be and honestly fulfilling my destiny (as cheesy as that sounds).

Ok, back to the chili! Crispy bacon. That’s a major thing that sets this apart. And I know what you’re thinking, “You’re a Texan and you put beans in your chili???” Ha! Yes I certainly do! That’s why I say my recipes have a ‘Texas twist” because they’re not all perfectly authentic. I really like the texture that the beans add to it. This is such a simple chili but the technique makes it AMAZING. You crisp the bacon first then cook the onions, jalapeno, and garlic in the bacon drippings. It adds so much flavor! The rest is pretty simple! My Sweet Bacon Chili will be your new “go to” chili recipe and if you take it to any chili cook-offs, expect to win! (Just give me the credit! Ha!) Here’s a really important tip too…ALWAYS double this recipe! Trust me.
(Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace)

Items on sale at Lee’s October 15-21: ground beef (organic), bacon, onions, chili beans, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce

Sweet Bacon Chili

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

1 lb lean ground beef
1 medium yellow or white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
4-5 slices bacon, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 can mild chili beans (15 oz)
1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
1 can stewed tomatoes, *chopped (15 oz)
2/3 C ketchup
1/4 C brown sugar
1 TB Worcestershire sauce
1 TB chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions

Cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove from pan and set aside to drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Drain bacon grease from pan leaving about 1 TB. Add onion and jalapeño then cook for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Drain excess grease from pan.

Add all remaining ingredients including bacon. Stir together then let simmer, covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Taste and add more cayenne and salt if needed. Just a pinch at a time.

**Note: Use kitchen scissors to “chop” stewed tomatoes while they’re still in the can.

The Best Lasagna

My dilemma when writing this recipe…what do I call it? Classic lasagna? Traditional lasagna? Perfect lasagna? I finally settled on “The Best Lasagna” because that’s what we proclaim over and over every time we eat it. It’s simply the BEST!

This is a very close version to a recipe I printed back in 2009 for “World’s Best Lasagna” from the Allrecipes site. Yes I’ve been making it for TEN years! It’s one of those recipes that you make for something classic like lasagna and it’s so amazing you never try another recipe. Tried and true! Over the years I’ve made a few tweaks to make it my own. The ingredients are basically the same but the measurements are different. I mean, of course I increased the garlic and cheeses! Ha! I also switched to “oven-ready” lasagna because it’s amazing and it saves a lot of time not having to boil the pasta first.

Make sure to read the notes after the directions! This is not a hard recipe at all but does take some time. Like, 2 1/2-3 hours to be exact, so be prepared. It’s totally 100% worth the effort though because it is simply the best homemade lasagna you’ll ever make. You’ll feel like a rock star when your family “oohs and ahhs” over this at the dinner table!

It’s been forever since I’ve done a recipe for Lee’s Marketplace! I’ve been so busy with the fair but now I’m back to my weekly recipes and am so happy. I love doing them! This one worked out so perfectly because out of 19 total ingredients, 12 of them are on sale this week at Lee’s! Woohoo!

***Here’s what’s on sale Sept 23-30: Italian sausage, ground beef, yellow onion, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar, lasagna, ricotta, eggs, mozzarella, Parmesan (sponsored post)

The Best Lasagna

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

1 pound mild Italian sausage
1 pound lean ground beef
3/4 cup yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
12 oz tomato paste
16 oz tomato sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
5 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
9 oz package “Oven-Ready” lasagna
16 oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
16 oz mozzarella, shredded
1 cup Parmesan, shredded

Directions

In a large, deep skillet cook ground beef, sausage, and onion until browned. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water, then stir. Add sugar, Italian seasoning, basil, fennel, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley, then stir. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 375. In a medium-sized bowl, combine egg, ricotta, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons parsley.

To assemble, spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray then ladle in enough sauce to cover bottom of pan. Add 4-6 pieces of lasagna over sauce (it’s ok if they overlap a little). Add 1/3 of ricotta mixture and carefully spread across pasta. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella, and 1/3 of the Parmesan. Repeat layers two more times.

Cover tightly with nonstick foil (or spray regular foil with cooking spray). Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and cook for 20-25 additional minutes. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving. Garnish with remaining parsley.

Notes:
1. Give yourself PLENTY of time to make this. You need about 2 1/2-3 hours from start to finish.
2. If you don’t have enough pasta for the final layer, it’s ok. Just place what you have on it!
3. Freezes perfectly! Can easily be made in two smaller pans so that you can stash one in the freezer for later. (Freeze before baking!)
4. If you choose to use traditional lasagna, follow package instructions for boiling before assembling.

Those crispy edges are my favorite!