Category Archives: Beef

SRC: Chili Relleno Casserole

Finally! Time for another edition of the Secret Recipe Club! We took a break in January, but now we’re back and it feel sooo good. :) I just love being part of this club. It’s fun to get to try out new recipes and get to know new bloggers.

Secret Recipe Club

This month for SRC, I was assigned to Ilona’s Kitchen. Ilona shares tons of recipes on her blog every month that are family tested and approved. She loves to feed her family new recipes and old classics… a great combination, I think! She’s also loves to shop, bake, and go to the gym. A woman after my own heart!! Well, I run, but you get the idea. :) When perusing her blog, I found quite a few recipes I wanted to make: Blueberry Popovers, Chicken & Spinach Tortilla Bake, and Coconut Tea Cake. The last option sounds AWESOME! She just posted the recipe, otherwise that is definitely what I would have made. But alas, Chili Relleno Casserole it was. And it did not disappoint, even though it’s not the most photogenic recipe ever!

Chili Relleno Casserole |

Ilona has about three Chili Relleno recipes on her blog… some have been flops and others have been great. Ilona claimed this was the best of the three, and we found it to be pretty wonderful. It seriously tasted great! I’ve never had a real chili relleno, so I can’t testify to the authenticity [it is a casserole after all], but the flavors are phenomenal. It’s just a simple mix of ground beef and vegetables, topped with eggs, oregano, garlic, tomato sauce, and cheese. What’s not to like? Plus, it’s quick and easy to throw together–perfect for those busy weeknights. Ben actually made the whole dish and it was ready waiting for me one night after work. That must be why I like it so much. :) I have no doubt that we’ll be making this again soon! Thanks, Ilona, for introducing me to this great recipe! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes. :)

Chili Relleno Casserole |

one year ago: Baked Jalapeno Popper-Ranch Dip
two years ago: Fried Eggs on Pesto-Parmesan Toast
three years ago: Mini Meatloaf

Chili Relleno Casserole [from Ilona's Kitchen]
click to print


  •  1 pound ground beef
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cans [4 ounces each] chopped green chilies
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups shredded mexican blend/taco cheese, divided
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.

In a skillet, brown ground beef. Drain fat and then add green pepper. Cook until tender, then stir in oregano, garlic, and chopped green chiles. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together eggs and milk.

Layer half of the meat and 1/2 cup cheese in prepared baking dish. Top with the rest of the meat and another 1/2 cup cheese. Pour egg mixture on top of everything,

Bake for 30 minutes, then remove and spread tomato sauce on top. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup of cheese on top and return to oven for 7 minutes.

Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting, then slice into squares to serve and enjoy.

Time: 40 minutes [10 minutes active].
Yield: 8 servings.

Be sure to check out other recipes from this week’s Secret Recipe Club reveal here:

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SRC: Blueberry Burgers

Blueberry burgers? You must think I’m crazy. And you might be right. However, to borrow a phrase from Katie who blogs at This Chick Cooks and introduced me to this fabulous recipe, these burgers might sound so wrong, but they taste so right. Ben and I made these burgers last week for our Memorial Day dinner and let me tell you–they do not disappoint!

Blueberry Burgers3

Unfortunately, we don’t have a grill at our apartment so we had to cook them indoors on the George Foreman, but they still were a tasty introduction to summer eats… and a great recipe for this month’s Secret Recipe Club post! I love SRC days because they encourage me to broaden my culinary horizons while introducing me to a new blogger.

Secret Recipe Club

If you’re new, you might be a bit confused. SRC? What’s that? Let me explain. It’s a pretty amazing blogging club. Basically, the premise is this: you’re assigned a different member’s blog every month. You visit their blog, choose any recipe you want, then make it and share it on your blog… all while keeping your assignment a secret! Everyone else posts about their secret blog the same day. It’s fabulously fun to try out new blogs. If you have a blog, definitely check it out and consider joining! I highly recommend it.

Katie writes This Chick Cooks with a focus on eating and cooking real, whole foods. It is her mission to feed her family well, and she has plenty of recipes to accomplish that. She has tons of wholesome, tasty recipes–including many for muffins and coconutty treats… two of my loves! :) Aside from making these unique burgers, in the future I’m definitely going to try Coconut Cream Larabars, Cornmeal Apple Cheese Muffins, and Creamy Corn and Chicken Summer Soup. They all sound so amazing, but for now, let’s talk about these burgers!

Blueberry Burgers | The Pajama Chef

Blueberry Burgers are so fresh and tasty. I totally get the sentiment that fruit in burgers is just weird, but hear me out. The sweet, ripe burst of blueberries throughout is a sophisticated [Ahem... Can burgers be sophisticated? I vote yes.] foil for the salty, vinegary tang from the balsamic and Worcestershire sauce. Add in the bite of minced garlic and this meat really shines.

Blueberry Burgers | The Pajama Chef

When I first saw this recipe, I wondered how to top these burgers. Normally I’m a cheeseburger-all-the-way kinda girl, but I thought these burgers bursting with juicy berries were perfect with just a bare minimum of fresh burger toppings like lettuce, tomato, onions, and ketchup [some unpictured because I forgot the sliced tomato and onion on the countertop until I was halfway done with my burger...ha!]. My homemade pretzel rolls [click here for the recipe!] made these burgers even better. Thanks, Katie–I enjoyed checking out your site and will be back soon. :)

Now, before the recipe, I do want to make one shameless plug–I recently made a Facebook page for The Pajama Chef. Please take a moment to check it out and like it here. Thanks!

Blueberry Burgers [from This Chick Cooks]

click to print


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup blueberries [fresh or frozen]


In a large bowl, combine ground beef, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic. Add pepper to taste, then gently mix in blueberries. Shape into burgers, then cook as you normally would. On our George Foreman, this took about 8-9 minutes. Serve on buns with lettuce, tomatoes, onion, and desired condiments.

Time: 20 minutes.

Yield: 5 burgers.

Be sure to check out other great recipes from this month’s SRC round-up at the linky below. Have a happy Monday!

Crock Pot Pot Roast

I’m not typically a beef lover. Ben loves nothing more than a good steak [or lemony kale pasta, go figure], so we’re not always good food matches. This is why we never share meals at restaurants  much to my chagrin… unless he’s being really nice to me, I suppose! :) But sometimes I really do crave beef. A few weeks ago this was the case, so I decided to make a nice pot roast for Saturday night dinner while my parents were visiting. But as is typical when my parents are in town, my mom and I had been planning on doing a little shopping during the afternoon, so I decided to let the crock pot do the work for me.

Crock Pot  Pot Roast | The Pajama Chef

Though I had never made pot roast in the crock pot, I decided to give a popular yet simple Martha Stewart recipe a try. Though pretty basic, this pot roast is incredible! I let a three pound roast  simmer on low all day long with carrots, onions, pepper, salt, Worcestershire sauce, and red wine, and the result was a rich, tender, flavorful roast. I’m no expert in pot roasts, but I think the key to this one was the vinegary, salty, and sweet Worcestershire sauce. As a side note, did you know that Worcestershire sauce is used in cocktails? How bizarre! Anyway, if you’re looking for a no frills, classic, and simple pot roast, look no further! I served mine with some oven roast potatoes, and their crisp skin was the perfect pairing with the tender, soft, fall apart in your mouth beef and carrots. So, so good! Enjoy! :)

Crock Pot Pot Roast [adapted from Martha Stewart]
click to print


  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 8 medium carrots, cut into thirds
  • 2 medium onions, each cut into 8 wedges
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 beef chuck roast [3 pounds], trimmed of excess fat [or can use a variety of beef roasts--I used a bottom round roast]
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup water


In a large crock pot, whisk together cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water  until smooth. Add carrots and onions, and season with salt and pepper. Place roast on top of vegetables, then season with additional pepper and salt if desired. Drizzle Worcestershire sauce on top, then pour wine and water around the roast [on top of vegetables if possible].

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until fully cooked [or on high for 6 hours].

Remove roast to cutting board, then shred roast or thinly slice against the grain. Serve roast with vegetables and pan juices.

Time: 8 hours, 15 minutes [15 minutes active].

Yield: 8-10 servings.

Notes: The original recipe called for cooking on low for 10 hours or on high for 6. I cooked the roast on low for 8 hours and it was done, so just pay attention to your roast and if you do have cook it over [i.e. work schedule], it’s probably best to do so on low and to add a bit of extra water/wine. You can also strain the pan juices before serving, but I didn’t do this.

1970s Style Tacos

Hello! I’m back. :) Thanks for all your kind comments on my last few posts. It’s been a busy week and a half with my sister’s bridal shower and then working like mad on my thesis draft. I’m still not finished yet :(… but I’m making definite progress so that is a very good thing. Anyways, I thought about not blogging until I had the draft done but that didn’t seem like a good idea so here I am. Yay! On to more important things… like these awesome tacos!

I feel like awesome is quite the appropriate term to describe these really good tacos since they are from the 1970s. I found the recipe in the September issue of Everyday Food, and the recipe was originally made by the author’s Aunt Colleen, in the–you guessed it–1970s! Since I don’t have an Aunt Colleen, I decided a rename was in order. As a side note, I made these tacos almost immediately after receiving my issue in the mail. This NEVER happens!! But these tacos were so easy, so flavorful, and so fun that I should definitely start making good looking recipes right away… Why? So I have more time left in my life to enjoy them, silly!

These tacos might seem fairly simple–onion, garlic, cayenne, chili powder, and tomato paste–but let me tell you, it’s loaded with flavor. Seriously, it tastes just like those handy grocery-store packets or homemade spice mix…but with some fresh ingredients too. Whoa! What could be better? We absolutely adored their rich depth of flavor… and their utter simplicity and speed. Perfect for a weeknight meal.

Oh… and if there are leftovers… check out this loaded taco salad! Utterly amazing.


1970s Style Tacos [from Everyday Food September 2012]
click to print


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • soft taco shells
  • lettuce, tomatoes, green onion, cheddar cheese, lime wedges, and sour cream for serving


In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic to the skillet and cook for 4-5 minutes until translucent. Stir in tomato paste, cayenne, and chili powder, and cook for about a minute until fragrant. Add sirloin and cook until browned, about 7-8 minutes. Serve in soft taco shells with lettuce, tomatoes, green onion, cheddar cheese, lime wedges, and sour cream for toppings.

Time: 20 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings.

Notes: Since sirloin is 90% lean, I didn’t feel the need to drain any fat. If I made this using ground turkey or chicken, I’d probably feel the same way. However, if I used a cut that wasn’t as lean, I might cook the beef first, drain most of the fat and proceed with cooking the onion and garlic, then the tomato sauce mixture.

Creamy Taco Mac

Have you heard the news? After all these years of being with my husband, the Hamburger Helper fanatic, I have found a variety of Hamburger Helper that I tolerate like enjoy alright, I give up, love. I have recently fallen in *love* with the one and only Creamy Taco Mac. Me, the girl who despises packaged foods and powdered cheese and all it stand for! Alright, enough, you say. Why are you posting about a packaged food product on a food blog?

Well… there’s a catch. [There's always a catch, isn't there?]

It’s homemade Hamburger Helper.

Bet you didn’t see that one coming, did ya? :) [Don't worry, I will not ever post a recipe for any sort of boxed food product. Except maybe one discussing how amazing boxed brownies are and how yummy they taste in pillow cookies.]

This is Hamburger [Turkey?] Helper as you’ve never had it. Oodles of gooey, melty cheddar cheese covering chunks of tomato, tender macaroni noodles, and taco seasoned ground turkey, all bound together by a luscious cream sauce with a tiny bit of kick. It’s like a return to childhood right on your dinner plate, with good enough leftovers to fight for.

Creamy Taco Mac [from Smells Like Home]
printable version


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 14.5 ounce can sodium-free diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 tablespoons taco seasoning [store-bought or from scratch]
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for serving
  • black pepper, to taste


Cook pasta as directed in a large stockpot, reserving one cup of pasta water before draining. Return pasta and reserved water to pot.

Meanwhile, brown ground turkey over medium heat until cooked through. Reduce heat to low. Add taco seasoning and tomatoes, then simmer, uncovered for about 5 minutes.

Add the cream cheese, sour cream, and cheddar cheese to the stockpot with the pasta and water. Slowly and carefully spoon in ground turkey and tomato mixture. Stir until well combined. Simmer over low heat for 2-3 minutes, or until cheeses are melted. Season with a good amount of black pepper. Serve with additional sour cream and cheese if desired. Enjoy!