Beef and Vegetable Soup



I’ve been terribly ill the last week, but I attribute this delicious soup to my recovery. Real bone broth packs a ton of healing properties. Store bought broth is not cooked the same way, and therefore is used just for flavor – unfortunately it does not have much nutritional value. When we can, we follow the Nourishing Traditions recipe for making beef or chicken broth – but if you live here in the San Jose area, you can get already made beef broth from grass fed cows at the Campbell’s Farmer’s Market! But if you aren’t close, and don’t want to make your own broth, take heart. You can order “real” bone broth on the internet!

Check it out:

Andrew’s work shared this yummy recipe with us. I like to add quinoa or brown rice at the end (already cooked) to make the meal more filling.


Beef and Veggie Soup

1 beef chuck [cut into cubes]..[or you can buy already cut beef stew meat from a local grocery store]

1-2 cups chopped yellow onions

3 large carrots [peeled and diced] [you don’t necessarily need to peel carrots-they have waaay more nutritional value with their skin on  ]

3 celery ribs [diced]

Red wine [always cook with something you are willing to drink yourself]

1Ž4 c. minced garlic

Beef stock or broth [we use veal stock here..but beef stock or broth will work just fine]

1bunch thyme [chopped]

1 bunch oregano [chopped]

2 bay leaves

Salt and black pepper to taste

[again you can always up the ante on the vegetables]


Brown off beef in stock pot over medium high heat [in batches depending on how much you have-to achieve nice color] in oil [preferably vegetable oil, rice oil, or canola oil…olive oil will burn up too fast], remove from pot and allow to drain off any excess grease, reserve beef for later. In the same pot over medium heat, add in your diced onions, carrots and celery with your bay leaves. Allow to cook til onions become slightly translucent. Then add in your minced garlic [I personally LOVE garlic, so feel free to add in a lil more if you love garlic as much as I do] let cook for about a minute, try to avoid browning the garlic as it will become bitter once it hits that stage. Deglaze with red wine, about a cup or so and reduce out the alcohol. [You can always tell when the alcohol is cooked out by smelling it…if it burns your nose hairs…theres still alcohol left In the pot..if are good to move on to the next step J] add in about half of your chopped herbs and return meat back to pot. Add in your stock [to cover] and simmer away until beef is tender. Season up with salt and pepper as needed and at this point depending on how much you like herbs, you can finish with the rest of your herbs and skim off whatever fat or grease that may have been released over the simmering process…and viola!!!! You have beef and vegetable soup!! J

Things to keep in mind:

you can easily turn this into a stew by adding potatoes and letting them break down a lil to give the soup a thicker heartier feel.

You can also add in other seasonal vegetables such as sweet potatoes, parsnips [to give it a lil peppery taste to it], yams, the spring/summer time, you can add tomatoes, corn, peas, green beans..or any type of dried bean year round..the possibilities are endless!! J

Annemieke’s Dutch Meatballs

My lovely friend Annemieke is Dutch, and when Alice was born she made us these amazing Dutch meatballs! I’ve been craving them ever since, and yesterday my Christmas wish came true and Mieke gave me a Dutch seasoning packet and the recipe to her famous meatballs. You’ve got to try these. Delicious!! You DO have to buy the dutch seasonings online. I’m sure you could make your own, but I used the pack that Mieke gave me. You can purchase the same one here.

Picture Credit: Alice lovin’ her meatball!


1 Cup Bread Crumbs (don’t do progresso, just plain simple bread crumbs like panko)
1 egg
1-2 tbsp ketchup
1 stick butter
1 lb ground turkey or beef
1 seasoning packet (salt, corriander, pepper, ginger, mace, nutmeg, cardamon, chile, majoram)


Mix breadcrumbs and seasoning packet together. Beat egg with ketchup. Mix all ingredients with meat and make 4-6 large meatballs. Heat butter on medium heat until melted. Place meatballs in pan. Sear for 4 minutes on top, then 4 minutes on bottom. Turn heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes until cooked through.

Served with potatoes or over rice.

Pumpkin Chili

A delicious fall dish – lovely combo of flavors! I was able to do a bit of freezer clean out too! I don’t remember who told me about chopping up extra summer veggies (like the abundance of bell peppers we had this year) and freezing them – but whoever did is a lifesaver! Didn’t need to chop up a single veggie for this dish – all was pre-chopped in my freezer and ready to go. Same with the precooked frozen beans! So so easy and cheap. Love things like that!

Because I made this without going to the grocery store first, I made adjustments as you will see. Originally thought I would be halving the recipe because I didn’t have 2 lbs of meat, but I think in hindsight I could have used the full amount of pumpkin and pumpkin spices and it would have been just fine! However if you are nervous about the idea of the pumpkin flavor, you can keep it in half like I did and it will taste more like a traditional chili.

Thanks to Jessie at Bites for this fun fall dish!

2 pounds ground beef (I used 1.3 lbs)
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced (Used a medley of colored peppers)
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained (instead 2 cups black beans, 2 pinto)
1 (46 fluid ounce) can tomato juice (Didn’t have much of this, subbed in a cup or two of chicken broth, added a small can of v8)
1 (28 ounce) can peeled and diced tomatoes with juice
1 15 oz. can canned pumpkin puree (I used half although I wish I had used more)
1 T. pumpkin pie spice (also used half since my pumpkin use was half, but could have done more)
1/4 cup chili powder (taste your chili first before you add in the chili powder, you might prefer more or less)
2 t. cumin (used half)
2 T. white sugar (did not use sugar, instead a small spoonful of honey)

In a large pot over medium heat, cook beef until brown; drain. Stir in onion and bell pepper and cook 5 minutes. Stir in beans, tomato juice, diced tomatoes and pumpkin puree. Season with pumpkin pie spice, chili powder and sugar. Simmer 1 hour.

Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps



My chef like friend Kassidy passed along this website and recipe and we LOVED it! Plus this was an easy one to throw together and make modifications where needed. I didn’t have mushrooms or broccoli slow, so I did grated carrots and zucchini instead. And we wrapped ours in big cabbage leaves instead of lettuce. Instead of coconut aminos I used organic soy sauce. The flavor was wonderful! I added a bit of brown rice for the kids.


  • 1 lb of ground meat (I used grass fed ground beef)
  • 1 lb of thinly sliced mushrooms (I used cremini)
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of lard
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 cups of broccoli slaw (I use the organic slaw from Trader Joe’s)
  • ½ cup of shredded carrots (I use the ones from Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • a handful of cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons of coconut aminos
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Chop in a food processor onions until super fine, sautee in large pan with pat of butter. Cook until translucent. Add mushrroms, cook until softened. Add garlic, cook for 1 more minute.

Add ground beef, mixing and cooking until all chunks are broken and beef is cooked with no more pink. Season with salt and pepper.

Add in equal amounts the soy sauce (coconut aminos), fish sauce, and apple cider vinegar

Add carrots and broccoli slaw. Cook and stir until softened.

Add green onions and cilantro, mix, and serve in lettuce leaves!

How To Stir Fry


Just yesterday, I was talking to my sister about how I am not one to make a “quick and easy stir fry”. She lives in Shanghai, so I thought she’d have some good ideas for me. She did – and so I put them together with the help of my handy dandy favorite cookbook, and made a simple guide to the stir fry world. I like that you can play around with whatever veggies and meats you have on hand. Perfect for cleaning out the fridge night.

Chop meat in small cubes – use pork, chicken – or thin slices of beef

Marinate while you chop veggies. You can look up a fancy marinade or just dose with a tsp of fish sauce and a tsp of soy sauce. Add a hearty pinch of salt and pepper.  We like to use Tamari soy sauce because it’s GMO free!

Chop and separate your veggies. Use anything. Carrots, Bell Peppers, Squash, Cabbage, Kale, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Onions … separate the harder veggies from the soft.

Mix together a “sauce”. This is a forgiving science. Some good choices are equal parts soy sauce, fish sauce with a dash of chicken broth, water, plum sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch …. even ketchup! I typically leave out the sugar and cornstarch and my sauce ends up just fine.

Finely mince some garlic and/or ginger.

Putting It All Together:

Make sure everything above is prepped and ready to go.

If you have a wok, you are awesome. Pull it out and heat that baby up on a medium high heat. If you are like me and have no wok, use a large nonstick pan. If you are skilled in cooking on stainless steel, give it a go.

Here is the trick to stir frying – use a small amount of oil and a high heat. This will sear and cook your food without the veggies getting soft.

Add a scant about of oil – 1 tsp. Most cookbooks call for peanut oil. I used olive oil – or I think coconut would be good too.

Put half of your meat in the pan and cook until browned. If it’s not done all the way, that is OK, it will go back in the pan later. Take it out, put it in a bowl or plate, and add the other half. If you pieces are small this process should only take a few minutes.

In the empty pan, add a bit more oil. Put in the harder veggies and start cooking. Add the softer veggies once the harder ones have softened a bit.

Make a hole in the center of the pan. Put a scant bit of oil, and add the garlic and ginger. Let it cook in the center, mashing it with the back of spoon, until it is fragrant and starting to brown. Then mix into the veggies.

Now add back in the meat, and dump in your sauce. Stir and cook until the sauce gets warm and thickens.

Add some fresh herbs if you like – and perhaps some nuts!

Serve over rice, quinoa, or noodles.



Healing Cabbage Soup


You might look at this title and thing it sounds bland and boring. But no! This was actually super tasty! And what a great way to use extra cabbage that you might have. As always there are lots of variations that you can do with this soup, so play around and make it work with what you have.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil or butter in a dutch oven

Sautee 1 cup chopped onion, carrots, 2-3 cloves garlic and any other veggies that you have (we did parsnips – potatoes or celery would be good too!)

When veggies are soft, add 2 quarts of chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Return to a simmer, and add half a head of cabbage ,chopped and cored. We used red cabbage, but green works too.

When cabbage wilts (in 10 minutes or so) add one can stewed or diced Italian tomatoes

Add seasonings – garlic salt, italian seasonings, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, a dash of cayenne

Here’s where you can get creative – add in few of the following. We did beef and quinoa to make this a heartier meal!

Ground Beef (seasoned with Italian seasonings, garlic salt, onion powder, etc)
Ground Pork
Sliced Sausage
Cooked Quinoa
Cooked Brown Rice

You can check out the original recipe that I used as a base here.

I’m not quite sure why it’s called healing – I think it must have something to do with the cabbage and onions and chicken broth?

Hearty Meat Lasagna

This is our most favorite lasagna from the well loved New Best Recipes Cookbook! Always a winner! Don’t skip on the meat – definitely get at least half ground pork and half ground beef. If you really want to splurge go for the veal.


tomato-based meat sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onions, chopped
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb meat ( ground veal and ground pork or ground beef, ground veal, and ground pork)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 (28 ounce) cans tomato puree
  • 1 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, drained

Ricotta Mozzarella and Pasta layers

  • 15 ounces whole milk or 15 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 1/2 ounces parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 lb whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. For the sauce: Pre-heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion. Cook until translucent. Add garlic, cook until fragrant, or about 30 seconds.
  3. Increase heat to medium high. Add meat, salt and pepper. Cook until meat is no longer a raw color, but not browned.
  4. Add the cream and simmer until the liquid is about halved.

Page 2 of 2New Best Recipe Hearty Meat Lasagna (cont.)


  1. Add the pureed and diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer until flavors are blended. About 20 minutes.
  2. For the Layers:.
  3. Mix the ricotta, 1 cup of the parmesan, the basil, egg, salt, pepper in a medium bowl and mix with a fork until creamy and well combined.
  4. Smear the entire bottom of a 13×9 inch baking dish with 1/4 cup of the sauce. Place 3 noodles on top of the sauce. Drop 3 T. onto each of the noodles and smear with the back of a spoon.
  5. Sprinkle 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese over the ricotta mixture. Spoon 1 1/2 cups of the meat sauce over the cheese mixture. Top with 3 more noodles. Continue this process 2 more times.
  6. Place the remaining 3 noodles on the sauce, spread with remaining sauce, sprinkle remaining cheese, and parmesan.
  7. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes.
  8. Remove foil and bake 25 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes.

Burrito Pie



Yum! Another favorite from Bites, this burrito pie was delicious! I didn’t have Rotel so I used a regular can of diced tomatoes, which made it a little less spicy. Loved the combination of refried beans and ground beef! Also, I used homemade enchilada sauce, which I highly recommend! I’m so glad I made a huge batch before Alice was born and froze it.

1 pound ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove minced garlic
small can black olives, sliced
1/2 (4 ounce) can diced green chili peppers
1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers (Rotel)
1 can enchilada sauce
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
6 (8 inch) flour tortillas
10 ounces shredded Colby cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the ground beef for 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic, and saute for 5 more minutes. Drain any excess fat, if desired. Mix in the olives, green chile peppers, tomatoes with green chile peppers, enchilada sauce and refried beans. Stir mixture thoroughly, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Spread a thin layer of the meat mixture in the bottom of a 4 quart casserole dish. Cover with a layer of tortillas followed by more meat mixture, then a layer of cheese. Repeat tortilla, meat, cheese pattern until all the tortillas are used, topping off with a layer of meat mixture and cheese.
  4. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheese is slightly brown and bubbly.

Taco Burger

This was a fun twist on the traditional hamburger and tacos! Yum!

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup of your favorite salsa
1 large eggs
0.5 (1 1/4 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1/3 cup mayonnaise ( I use best Foods, or in the east, Hellmans(sp)
1 chipotle chiles in adobo ( from a 4 oz.can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)

Garnishes include
sliced tomatoes
chopped fresh cilantro
chopped red onions
monterey jack pepper cheese

To prepare:.
Combine the beef, 1/2 cup salsa, egg (if using) and the 1/2 packet of taco seasoning.
Mix in large bowl.
Shape into 4 even burgers. Place the mayonnaise and chipotle chile in blender. Cover and blend until nice and smooth.
Grill or broil burgers, turning once, until desired doneness. Serve on buns topped with chipolte chile mayonnaise and choice of toppings.
Serve with your favorite corn tortilla chips.

Taco Burger