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Barbacoa Meatballs with Guac

barbacoa meatballs
I love barbacoa, but I usually don’t (a.k.a. never) have the foresight to stick a huge hunk of meat in the crock pot before I think, “Mannnnn, barbacoa sounds soooo good right now.” Yeah I could go to Chipotle and pick something up, but that would also mean I would need to have showered and look/smell somewhat presentable-ish, and I’m not always down for that. So here we have it; I can look like a scrub and eat the same flavors, in about 30 minutes.


For the Meatballs

  • 2 pounds ground beef (use 80/20 or they may be dry)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • zest of 1 lime

For the Guacamole

  • 2 ripe Haas avocados
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt to taste


Preheat your oven to 400ºF.

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix together all the meatball ingredients. Use a cookie scoop to portion the meatballs into a 9×13 oven-safe baking dish. Bake until cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the guacamole by smashing all the ingredients together.



Beef Sauces, etc.

Steak with Sherry, Mushroom Cream Gravy

mushroom gravy

Some of you may remember the SousVide contest a few months back. Well, we didn’t win, but they asked if we would be interested in keeping it if we’d post a couple recipes using the machine. I know 99.9% of people in the world don’t have one of these contraptions, but don’t click off of this recipe just yet, because you can still make it without a SousVide. And before you think we’re sell-outs and that the SousVide is a gourmand’s counter space taker-upper, let me just say that I actually really do like the thing. At first, I didn’t. Sorry Sous, it’s true. But I started thinking about it like a backwards slow cooker. Instead of making one complete meal at a time, the SousVide can make 4-8 (or more) partial meals at a time.

Let me explain…

I tossed 2 pouches of meat in the water bath (2 pork tenderloins and 2 tri-trip steaks) at one time and literally had most of the protein I needed for the week, done and cooked to tender, meaty perfection with zero attention needed. Pop the pouches into the fridge or freezer for later in the week. Once our gym opens, I will most certainly be cooking batches of meat this way every Sunday. So here comes Thursday, when you don’t feel like cooking. BOOM. Take out a hunk of meat, give it a nice sear on both sides. Make some roasted veggies for a side dish, whisk up a 5 minute sauce and you have a complete, fancy-looking meal, complete with perfectly cooked meat, on the table in a respectable amount of time.


  • 2-3 pounds tri-tip steak loin (bottom sirloin), about 2 loins
  • butter, for the pan
  • 1 schmedium (small-to-medium) shallot, minced
  • 8-10 ounces various mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/3 cup chicken or beef stock
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream + 1/3 cup
  • 2-4 tablespoons dry sherry*
  • fresh thyme (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste


Heat the SousVide to 145ºF (fill it with water too, of course). Meanwhile, liberally season the beef with salt and pepper and vacuum seal in a pouch. Cook for 1½ hours, and up to 3 hours. If you don’t have a SousVide, just brown the loins in a hot skillet and pop it in the oven to finish cooking (doneness is measured by the internal temp. and that will be depend on how well-done you like things).

Once the beef is almost done, start making the sauce…

In a saute pan, heat a few tablespoons of butter over medium-low-ish heat. Add the shallot and mushrooms (and some salt and pepper) and cook until the mushrooms develop a slight brown color.

Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the stock. Let it reduce by half. Then add the first 1/3 cup heavy cream, and let that reduce by half, then add the next 1/3 cup and let that reduce by about a 1/3. So many dang 1/3’s, is this confusing? Add the sherry, a tablespoon at a time, tasting as you go.

To finish the beef, take the loins out of the pouch and sear in a very hot skillet, just to brown the outside of the meat, then slice away.

Top with gravy. Garnish with fresh thyme, if you wanna.

*It’s pretty cheap and lasts forever. It’s also a great way to flavor seafood chowders. If you don’t want to buy sherry, try a squirt of lemon juice.



Pastrami’d Sirloin

pastrami'd sirloin

*Update – this recipe was submitted for the Sous Vide Supreme/ Tx Bar Organics Paleo Recipe Showdown. Please vote here for fan favorite and you can enter to win a $200 gift certificate to one of the sponsors.

Sirloin, the faux-filet it may be, but I wanted to inject some real flavor–beyond what just marinating could ever do. So I faux-pastrami’d the faux-filets. Pastrami usually involves a week of curing or a few days of wet brining + a handful of hours babysitting in the oven. Ain’t nobody got time for that. So not only did the SousVide sit on the countertop and do all the work for me, but it brined and cooked the meat at the same time. The end result will work great for dinner, of course, or taken along for snacking, just like deli meat.


  • 2 (about 1 lb) TX Bar Organics Sirloin Steaks
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 2 bay leaves, torn in half
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon powdered mustard
  • 1 teaspoon juniper berries, smashed with the back of a knife
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, smashed with the back of a knife
  • 1 cup water


For the Brine

In a zip-top bag, combine all ingredients (except the meat). Close the bag and lay flat in the freezer. Freeze until solid.

For the Steak

Heat your SousVide Supreme Demi water oven to 130ºF. Trim steaks of any fat hanging out around the edges. Place steaks in a sealable bag. Take the brine out of the freezer & place the frozen brine ‘disc’ on top of the steaks. Vacuum seal the bag. Cook for 6 to 8 hours.


Remove from the water bath. Rinse off any spices that have adhered to the meat, and pat dry. In a large skillet, melt a few tablespoons of your favorite fat over high heat and sear both sides of the sirloins until a nice, brown crust has formed.

Slice and serve with ‘kraut and spicy mustard.

Beef Pork

Unrolled Cabbage Casserole

By no means glamourous, unrolled cabbage casserole may take a long time to get “dressed” but it makes up for what it lacks in beauty with its taste. Clean up boils down to one pot of water and a saute pan. Plus, you’ll eat off this for days on end.


  • 1 small head green cabbage
  • salt

For the Meat

  • 3/4 lb ground beef
  • 3/4 lb ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt & pepper

For the Sauce

  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons coconut or table sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic


Preheat your oven to 350ºF.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer. Core and cut the cabbage into very thin slices. Toss the cabbage into the water and let cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Strain the water from the cabbage and toss lightly with a bit of salt.

Meanwhile, brown the beef and pork and add in the spices. Once the meat is done, remove from the heat and set aside.

For the sauce, open the tomatoes and mix the sugar and spices directly into the jar/bottle/can. No need to dirty up a bowl.

For the assembly, get out a high-sided casserole dish.

Place a layer of cooked cabbage on the bottom, then add a layer of meat, then a layer of tomato sauce. Continue layering until everything is used up.

Depending on how deep your casserole dish is, you’ll bake for about 1 to 1½ hours…until the cabbage is completely cooked through, the sides are a bit bubbly and the top tomato layers has turned a tad crusty (in a good way!).

This dish needs to rest for about 30 minutes before digging in, as the liquid that was expelled will reabsorb while resting.

Beef Game/Other

Greek Meatballs

This past weekend, I challenged myself to come up with a well-thought out menu and actually shop, prep and cook all (or most) of the dishes on Sunday. So it was pretty imperative that everything I made be able to re-heat well and also travel with us, if need be. I’ll be posting a slew of recipes that we included in our menu this week, and on Friday, I’ll post the actual step-by-step, mind-numbing logistical steps for the shopping list and prep sequences. So if you’re like us, and grocery shopping on Saturday night is considered a “date”, you’ll be ready to go for next week.

Since I was making a lot of food on all the same day, I cut some corners–like the dried onion flakes and granulated garlic. I didn’t want to have to saute the fresh stuff, dirtying a pan and taking extra time, when I could just measure out of a bottle and continue on my merry way. However, as preachy as this is about to sound– this is not a declaration for using all dried herbs & stuff–fresh mint and lemon zest are a no compromise must in the meatballs.


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 egg
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, minced
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese (optional)
  • salt & pepper


Preheat your oven to 350ºF.

In a large bowl, use your hands to mix together all the ingredients until well incorporated.

Use a cookie scoop (or your hand) to shape the mixture into balls and place in a 9×13 oven-safe baking dish.

Bake until cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Once the meatballs are cool, remove (making sure to remove any goop) from the pan and place, uncovered, in the fridge. Once cool, cover and store until ready to re-heat and eat.


Gremolata & Mushroom Stewed Beef

A sort of Italian spin on a classic beef stew. I tossed in some basalmic vinegar in place of red wine and let some fresh orange & rosemary infuse into the tomatoey broth. Super yummy, plus… this makes super lots.


  • 5 lb chuck roast
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled & diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered or sliced
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup basalmic vinegar
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 2 stalks rosemary + more for garnish
  • salt & pepper


Preheat your oven to 400ºF.

In a large dutch oven heat a few tablespoons of fat over medium-high heat. Trim your meat, removing any large pieces of fat, and portioning the meat into about 4 large hunks (for more brown-age & faster cooking).

Brown the meat hunks, on all sides, and set aside.

Add in the garlic, onion, carrot and celery. Let sweat for a few minutes, then add in the mushrooms, stock, tomatoes and vinegar. Let come to a simmer and remove from the heat.

Add in the browned beef hunks. Tuck in the rosemary stalks and top the whole thing off with orange slices.

Place in the oven, with a lid (slightly ajar) for 1.5 hours. Then remove the lid and cook another 1.5 hours. Cooking time with vary based on how large your beef hunks are. The beef is done when you can can easily shred it apart with a fork.

Once it’s done, go ahead and remove the beef hunks, shredding them and then add them back to the pot. Remove the orange slices and rosemary stalks before serving.

Serve with extra minced rosemary on top.

Beef Eggs Pork Soups

Bacon & Egg Breakfast Chili

Adding bacon and eggs to a chili is a really great way to stretch a pound of ground meat. I originally set out to make this in the crock pot, as I’m trying to broaden my crockery cookery horizons, but then promptly realized that cooking this over an open flame would actually allow it to enter my mouth much sooner. Make this the night before, reheat & eat in the a.m. and breakfast (+ lunch) is done.


  • 1 lb ground beef (or breakfast sausage)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 to 3 cups beef stock
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & diced small
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • salt
  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • eggs (one egg for each serving)
  • 1/4 avocado (per serving), or if you’re avo-greedy like me, 1/2 avocado per serving


In a large soup pot, brown the meat and and saute the onions until cooked through (I cooked the meat & onions at the same time). Add in the tomatoes, sweet potatoes and stock, followed by all the spices. Let simmer until the sweet potatoes have cooked through, about 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop up and saute the bacon until crispy. Reserve until ready to serve. Then, fry or scramble one egg for each person you plan on serving.

Serve by scooping the chili in a bowl, top with the fried/scrambled egg, some crispy bacon & some avocado slices.


Korean Barbecue Osso Buco

…and once you’ve downed the buco, don’t forget to polish off the marrow for dessert.


  • tallow
  • 4 beef shanks
  • 2 c beef stock
  • 2 T fresh ginger
  • 1 T fresh garlic
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/4 c coconut aminos or gluten free soy sauce
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • 1/2 t fish sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3 green onions
  • handful of cilantro


Preheat your oven to 300ºF.

In a food processor, buzz up the ginger, garlic, sugar, coconut aminos, sesame oil, fish sauce, lime juice, green onions and cilantro until a paste has formed. Taste for flavor and add salt if necessary.

In a dutch oven or high sided saute pan (that you have a lid for), melt a few tablespoons of tallow over medium-high heat. Sear both sides of your beef shanks until nicely browned. Remove from the pan.

Stir in the beef stock, making sure to scrape up any browned bits, and about 3/4 of the Korean barbecue paste from the food processor. Add the beef shanks back into the pan.

Place the lid on the pan, very slightly ajar. Pop the shanks in the oven until they’re fall apart tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Periodically check the shanks, if too much liquid has evaporated, add a bit more.

Serve with the remaining Korean barbecue paste.


Mexican Cocoa Crusted Steaks

Rarely do we partake in the quick cooking, whole muscle meat of animals. I find it incredibly difficult to justify a cost of $14-$20 per pound for anything. So that’s why we let what’s on sale dictate what we eat (Aren’t you happy to see something other than ground beef or sausage?). Thank goodness for the alcoholiday Cinco de Mayo and the sales on avocados, tequila and MEAT.

Big, fat belated congratulations to this girl for her performance at the CrossFit Games Southwest Regional. She’s amazing (and single).


  • 2-4 steaks*
  • 1 T cocoa powder
  • 1 T instant coffee
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • salt


In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa, coffee, cinnamon & cayenne. Generously coat both sides of your steaks.

Heat your steak cooking vessel of choice to around medium-high heat. Right before you start searing your steaks, give them a nice, hefty sprinkle of salt.

Sear both sides until a nice crust has developed and the steaks are cooked through to your preference. Depending on the steak type and thickness, anywhere from 2-4 minutes per side should suffice for medium-rare.

 *This will work with anything…not just ribeye or strip, and not just beef.
Beef Pork

Pizza Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

We’re headed to West Palm Beach, Florida this weekend to compete in the CrossFit Games Southeast Regionals with our team. We’ve been trying to practice the workouts together and what not, which has us coming home later than usual, which has dinner  hitting the table later than usual too. Since I work from home, sometimes I’m able to whip something up in the afternoon and then just reheat it for dinner–it’s like some twisted version of leftovers. With this, I had some previously roasted sweet potatoes in the fridge, so I just popped those out, assembled the pizza deliciousness, reheated everybody and we were able to gorge at a reasonable hour.


  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • black olives, sliced
  • 1 lb sausage
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • Parmesan cheese, finely grated (optional)
  • any pizza toppings you like will work

For the Sauce

  • 2 c tomato sauce
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T onion powder
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 2 t garlic powder
  • s&p


Get your oven to 400ºF.

Prick and place your sweet potatoes on a baking sheet. Let them roast until their insides are soft and mushy, about 45 minutes. I would not recommend microwaving these, as I think the oven develops a sweeter flavor than the microwave, just my 2 cents.

While the potatoes are roasting, whisk together the sauce ingredients. Taste and adjust to your preferences, then set aside.

While the potatoes are still roasting…

In a large saute pan, crumble and brown the sausage. Remove the meat from the pan, reserving the rendered fat. Toss in the mushrooms and onions. Let them cook until the mushrooms have browned and the onions are soft.

Once the potatoes are done, slice them in half (lengthwise) and arrange the halves nicely on the baking sheet. Smash and loosen the sweets’ insides with a fork.

Ladle a few spoonfuls of sauce on top of the sweet potato, followed by the mushroom/onion saute, sausage and olives. If you’re using Parmesan, add a little finely grated cheese to help glue everything together.

Toss the baking sheet back in the oven for a couple minutes, to re-warm everything.