Category Archives: Beef

Barbie’s Beer Chili

Serving suggestion

This recipe is from Barbie Carson of Franklin, Virginia who I had the pleasure of meeting on Facebook. She is a friend of my Aunt Pam and Uncle Vernon on my dad’s side. Barbie’s beer chili can be modified to fit your favorite chili recipe. For that reason, I have listed two recipes below. Use the first one if you want to add beer to your own recipe. Use the second one if you need a complete recipe. For the second recipe, Barbie added beer to my Aunt Gail’s beef chili. Barbie says that “the magic of the beer is working to take the music right out of those beans and adds a great flavor!”

Recipe #1 (Beer added to your own chili recipe)

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 2-3 hours
Serves 6-8
Freeze any leftovers.


  • Fry your beef and onions together as usual.
  • Add kidney beans and one regular beer. (Not light beer, nor Lager beer, just regular cheap beer). It will foam up briefly.
  • Add the remainder of your regular ingredients per your favorite recipe and let it cook as usual. (Barbie’s cooks for at least 1 hour).

Recipe #2 (Beer added to Aunt Gail’s Beef Chili)

Barbie’s ingredients are highlighted in blue font below.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 2-3 hours
Serves 6-8
Freeze any leftovers.


  • 2 lbs (or more) lean ground chuck (ground beef)
  • 1-2 large sweet onions
  • 1 can of beer (not light beer or lager). The cheaper the better
  • 2 regular size cans dark red kidney beans inc. juice
  • 1 can light red kidney beans inc. juice
  • 1 large can petite diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 2 envelopes of Frenches Original Chillo Mix
  • I large can, maybe 2 tomato paste
  • 1 large can tomato sauce
  • Pepper to taste
  • Water if needed to thin it ( I like thick chili)


  • In a large Dutch oven (this is a large pot), brown the ground chuck with the onions, stirring constantly until the meat is no longer pink.
  • Drain all of the fat from the mixture.
  • Add all the beans and their juice (get it all now)!
  • Add the beer! All of it! None for the cook! Let it foam (for 2 minutes at most)
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and bring the mixture to a full simmer.
  • Reduce heat to low or medium low, depending on how your stove cooks and cook for 2-3 hours. Stir occasionally, tasting frequently on a cracker just because you cant wait for it to be done.
  • Mixture is done when the meat is tender and and the texture of the sauce is thick.
  • Salt if you must.
  • Enjoy! Serve with saltines and grated cheddar cheese.
Barbie’s Tips:
  • Left overs freeze well.
  • Always freeze a little container full for chili dogs later on. Just add a few shakes of Texas Pete Hot sauce to the mix!
Danielle’s Tips:
  • Use an extra large pot for cooking. Otherwise, the beans will bubble over and it can get VERY messy.
  • Stir frequently to prevent the bottom from burning.
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Posted by on November 5, 2011 in Beef, Entrees, Meat


Meat Lasagna with Eggplant, Zucchini, and Creamed Spinach

I conceived this recipe when I needed a dish to prepare for New Year’s Eve, 2010. I was at Trader Joe’s and felt like making a lasagna with eggplant, but couldn’t figure out what else would go well with it. Luckily for me, I came across a very helpful employee who gave me suggestions for how to construct my own lasagna!

My lasagna is unique in that it contains both meat and vegetables, but you can easily omit the meat or use a substitute.The frozen creamed spinach and eggplant/zucchini mixtures can only be found at Trader Joe’s, but you can use fresh vegetables instead.


  • 1 package Lasagna noodles
  • 1 large jar tomato sauce
  • 1 package Trader Joe’s frozen creamed spinach
  • 1 package Trader Joe’s frozen eggplant and zucchini
  • 1 package sausage
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 large container ricotta cheese
  • 1 large package mozzarella cheese
  • 1 large container parmasan cheese


  • Cook noodles according to directions on package.*
  • De-frost creamed spinach and eggplant/zucchini mixtures. Set aside and allow to cool.
  • Cook sausage in a frying pan with oil over medium heat until it is no longer pink. (If using pre-cooked sausage, you may skip this step).
  • In a large bowl, combine sausage and jar of tomato sauce, reserving some sauce for later.
  • In another large bowl, combine beaten egg, ricotta cheese, and parmasan cheese. Stir until thoroughly blended.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Pour a layer of plain tomato sauce into a large rectangular baking dish so that the entire bottom of the dish is covered.
  • Cover with noodles.
  • Add a layer of sauce with the sausage mixed in. (If not using sausage, you may skip this step).
  • Cover with noodles.
  • Add a layer of the creamed spinach mixture, spreading evenly on top of noodles.
  • Add a layer of the eggplant/zucchini mixture, organizing vegetables so that they fit neatly in the direction of the noodles. (This will make it easier to cut the lasagna later).
  • Cover with noodles.
  • Add layer of egg and cheese mixture.
  • Cover with noodles.
  • Add layer of plain sauce and generously cover with shredded mozzarella.
  • Bake for 1 hour or until done.

*Some noodles do not need to be pre-cooked. If you are using “no boil” noodles, simply lay the uncooked noodles in your baking pan. They will cook with the rest of the lasagna.

Chef’s Tips:

  • If you know ahead of time that you will need to cut your noodles in order to fit your pan, do not use “no boil” noodles! These are difficult to re-size.
  • Allow lasagna to cool for 15 minutes prior to serving. Otherwise it will be too runny.

Lasagna serving suggestion

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Posted by on June 30, 2011 in Beef, Entrees, Lasagna, Pasta


Beef Chili

Aunt Gail

This chili recipe is originally from my paternal grandmother, Inez who died long before I was born. Although I never had the opportunity to meet her, I have enjoyed many of Inez’s recipes through Aunt Gail’s cookbook, No Matter What, Just Keep On Cooking!

Below, is the story behind this recipe as told by Aunt Gail: 

“[My mother] made the best chili I have ever eaten and when years later I gave the recipe to my friend, Joe Sluder, he won a Chili Cooking Contest in Atlanta, GA! This also used to be my ‘just in case’ meal. That meant just in case my kids brought home two or three unexpected friends for dinner (which often happened), I could pop this on the stove in a hurry and be sure they would be happy!”

Preparation Time:
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves 6-8
Freeze any leftovers. 


  • 2 lbs lean ground chuck (ground beef)
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 regular size cans dark red kidney beans (drain juice from one of the cans)
  • 2 (14.5 oz. cans whole tomatoes with their juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 to 3 lbs. chili powder (add more if you are brave enough, but taste first)!
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. cumin (add more to taste in last 15 minutes of cooking if desired- Aunt Gail usually needs to do this)
  • 2 tsp. sugar


  • In a large Dutch oven (this is a large pot), brown the ground chuck with the onions, stirring constantly until the meat is no longer pink.
  • Drain all of the fat from the mixture.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients, squeezing the juice from each whole tomato and breaking the tomatoes up in your hands before adding them to the pot. (Be sure your hands are clean)!
  • Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low or medium low, depending on how your stove cooks and cook for 30-45 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Mixture is done when it has become rather thick. You don’t want runny chili.
  • Taste for seasonings and add more salt, chili, or cumin if needed. Some people can take it hotter than others.

Serving Suggestion:
Aunt Gail suggests serving with corn bread and turnip greens if you like “soul food.” Be sure to cook your turnip greens with a little fatback!

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Posted by on May 19, 2011 in Beef, Entrees


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All-American Lasagna

Aunt Jaymie

This is not the healthiest recipe in the world, but it is oh SO good! (Everything in moderation, right)?If you are trying to lure people to come over to your house, tell them you are making Aunt Jaymie’s lasagna and company will be knocking at your door. It certainly works for Anni and Roman.

Preparation Time:
Cooking Time:


  • 1lb. package lasagna noodles
  • 1lb. Italian sausage
  • Large bottle of spaghetti sauce such as Prego
  • 16 oz small curd cottage cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 12 slices American cheese
  • 2 cup package shredded mozzarella


  • Cook noodles.  Drain & rinse.  Put a little water back in the pot & straighten out the noodles until you’re ready to use them.
  • Remove sausage from casing & brown, pouring off fat.  Reserve 1 ½ cups of sauce in a bowl & pour the rest into the pan with the drained sausage.
  • Add cottage cheese and egg.  Mix well.
  • Grease a 13 x 9” pan.  Pour in ½ cup of reserved plain sauce, saving the rest for later.  Place a layer of noodles over this.  Depending on the size of your pan, it may take 3 noodles & sometimes half of another for the width, plus part of a noodle at the top of the pan.  Just cut up noodles to fit until you’ve covered the pan.
  • Add half of sauce with sausage, etc.
  • Cover with 6 slices of American Cheese.
  • Cover with another layer of noodles, piecing to fit pan.
  • Add rest of sauce.
  • Cover with 6 more slices of cheese.
  • Cover with another layer of noodles, piecing to fit.
  • Spread remaining reserved plain sauce over the top.
  • Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella, if you’re baking it right away.
  • You can bake this now, or refrigerate it, covered with foil.  If you decide to bake it later, don’t put on the mozzarella.
  • When ready to serve, bake it at 350, covered with foil, for about 30-40 minutes, until it starts to bubble.  If it’s been in the refrigerator, it will take about 10 extra minutes to bake.
  • Remove foil.  Sprinkle mozzarella on top & continue baking until bubbly & cheese is melted, about 15 minutes more.
  • Take out of the oven & let it sit for 15 minutes or longer before you cut it.  Otherwise it is too runny.
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Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Beef, Entrees, Lasagna, Pasta


Spaghetti and Meatballs


Next to Grandmama’s meatloaf, her spaghetti and meatballs was my favorite dinner she made. She usually served it at least once when we came to visit. This was my cousin Seth’s favorite “St. Clair meal.” Grandmama got the recipe in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Preparation Time:
Cooking Time: 2 ½ hours



  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced and browned in the olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed through garlic press
  • 1 large can tomatoes (or fresh summer tomatoes)
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar


  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • ½ cup dry bread crumbs
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 beaten egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Simmer sauce for 2 hours; then add the meatballs.
  • Simmer meatballs in the sauce for about 30 minutes.
  • Pour off any fat that might be on top and it is ready to serve.
  • Makes enough for ¾ to 1 lb. spaghetti noodles.

Serving Suggestion:
Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.


Rib-Eye Steak


This is a very simple recipe and tastes best if you use a grill, although a skillet may also be used. It is fantastic! (Even my picky little brother thinks so). Dad always uses 100% organic/farm raised beef which can be easily found at your local Whole Foods.


Total Preparation Time: 8 hours (Enough time to marinate overnight)
Active Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: Varies depending on how you like your steak cooked


  • 2 full size rib-eye steaks
  • Ginger/teriyaki sauce (Dad uses the Whole Foods brand)
  • Italian seasoning (may be substituted for oregano, tarragon, and marjoram)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Prepare a marinade of ginger teriyaki sauce (enough to lavishly cover both sides of steak).
  • Generously sprinkle your seasoning on both sides of the steak.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Marinate overnight.
  • When ready to cook, use inside/outside grill or skillet. Cook to desired perfection.

Serving Suggestion:
Dad usually serves this dish with baked sweet potatoes and broccoli. He also recommends a glass or two of red wine, preferably cabaret.

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Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Beef, Entrees, Meat


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I challenge you to find a better meatloaf recipe. Grandmama’s meatloaf was my favorite dinner growing up. She always made it for me when I came to visit her and Grandfather at St. Clair (their farm), and Aunt Jaymie did the same whenever I came to Richmond during my school breaks in college. Even after Aunt Jaymie started working at Merill Lynch, she was never too busy to make sure there was meatloaf waiting for me in the fridge. Mom usually substituted ground turkey for ground beef, so this can also be a turkey loaf depending on your dietary preferences. Perfect comfort food for a cold winter evening.

Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 ½ hours


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. sage
  • 1 stack saltine crackers (in the big box of individually wrapped stacks of square crackers)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 cups milk to moisten


  • Mix all ingredients with spoon or fork.
  • As you add the milk, work it with your hands. It should be quite moist, but not dripping.
  • Press into greased loaf pan or casserole dish and bake for 1 ½ hours at 350.
  • Makes 6-8 servings.

Serving Suggestion:
Serve with mashed potatoes (I prefer sweet potatoes) and a steamed vegetable or green salad. If you aren’t in the mood for potatoes, try risotto or brown rice.

Chef’s Tip:
If you are cooking this for a family dinner (at least 3-4 people), I suggest doubling the recipe as Grandmama usually did. If you are making it for one person, follow the recipe as is and you will have dinner to last you for the week!


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Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Beef, Entrees, Meat