Bolognese from The Pioneer Woman

We tried another new recipe tonight. We were planning on having zucchini ‘lasagna’ (no noodles just zucchini slices) but when I pulled out our zucchini from Saturdays farmers market, it was floppy. Gross. Plan B was to make do with what I had, many Italian fixings including 2 cans of stewed tomatoes, 3 whole vine-ripe tomatoes, 1/2 lb cooked ground turkey, carrots, onion, celery, mushrooms, milk and noodles. Really, that was everything from our refrigerator, everything. I knew it was possible to make a good pasta sauce so I googled a few things on my iPad and when I saw that the Pioneer Woman had a recipe for Bolognese I knew I could stop searching. It worked perfectly with a few additions and substitutions and made a lot of sauce, the rest of which will be going in stuffed shells this weekend. MMMMmmmm!

Bolognese as adapted from The Pioneer Woman

3 tablespoons Canola Oil
1/4 cup Grated Carrots
1/4 cup Grated Celery
8-10 Button Mushrooms, very thinly sliced
1/2 White Onion, very thinly sliced
1/2 Pound Ground Turkey (mine was precooked having used the other half for tacos yesterday)
4 fresh Basil Leaves, roughly chopped
2 Cups Red Wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
2 cans Stewed Tomatoes
3 whole vine-ripe tomatoes
1 cup Milk
Salt And Pepper, to taste
Fresh Parmesan Cheese

After your hand is about to fall off from chopping and grating,

Brown

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or skillet over medium heat. Add grated carrots, celery, mushrooms and onions and cook for a few minutes until tender. Add precooked turkey and heat just until warm (if using uncooked meat brown as usual).

Stir

When the meat is browned and combined with other ingredients, make a well in the center of the mixture and add red wine. Stir together. Add Worcestershire and stir. Add canned and fresh tomatoes. Add in basil. Finally, stir in milk.

Simmer

Simmer for 30 minutes to 2 hours—however long you need. Mine cooked for about 2 hours, and it needed the time to become rich and thick instead of watery. It was delicious!

Finish pasta in sauce

Serve with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

Enjoy

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Borscht

If you haven’t already noticed Jay and live for food. It’s not just that we need it to sustain ourselves, it is on our minds all of the time. Good food dictates our lives, we plan our time around meals when we’re free and I’m constantly thinking about what to make next whether I’m at work or school or out with friends. It is so easy to think up an idea of what to make in my head, but actually doing it is another story!

The problem most of the time is the convenience of healthier-than-going-out-to-eat foods. It is hard to plan weekly meals, pack lunch instead of going to a drive-thru, and to actually have the energy to cook at night. Lucky for me, Jay loves cooking too and we take turns making dinners. If I’m working 8a-5p and Jay is working 2p-10p Jay is usually the one who cooks in the morning. When I’m off work earlier, I cook the meal. We make sure to always have a meal ready, so Jay has something good to take for dinner and he isn’t eating dinner at 10p.m. We’ve done really well cooking team so far. Although we aren’t cooking together as much, this weekend meal was a team effort.

Borscht probably has a different meaning for a lot of people, but this version is what my mom made growing up with a few substitutions (like fresh beets from our Farmer’s Market) and some recommendations from my sister.

Borscht

Makes about 8 servings

6-8 beets (or 1-2 cans of beets)

1 big yellow or white onion

1 small container of button mushroms

1/2 a bag of packaged baby honey gold potatoes (or 2-3 smaller yukon gold potatoes)

2 quarts beef broth

1lb beef sirloin (or 1lb of any beef you like, my mom has tried many kinds of beef from roasts to steaks)

sour cream as a garnish

salt & pepper

Prep

Stem and tail the beets, wrap each individually in foil with a splash of oil. Roast in a 425 degree oven for 40-50 minutes. Let cool slightly, rub off skins, slice into 1/4 inch rounds, set aside.

Chop onions and mushrooms into equal, bite-sized pieces, set aside.

If using baby potatoes, half the larger potatoes and leave the smaller ones whole. If using regular sized potatoes, cut in to bite sized cubes, set aside.

Cut beef into bite-sized cubes, seasoned with salt & pepper and set aside.

Cook

Heat a large pot on medium-high heat, sear beef cubes until browned but not cooked all the way, remove from pot.

Add in onions and mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms begin to release their liquid but are still a little firm.

Put the beef back into the pot with the mushrooms and onions and add both quarts of beef broth and potatoes.

Bring the soup to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add beets and cook to heat through.

Enjoy

Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top, stir it into the soup to get a creamy, and very pink soup. Enjoy!