Tag 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 | thepajamachef.com

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 | thepajamachef.com

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:

About these ads

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.

Teriyaki Meatball Bowls

I’ve said before that I don’t really repeat recipes… but it seems like I have so so many one and done meals or desserts or whatever. The exception, of course, is tried and true family recipes that I grew up on or that Ben adores. Repeating recipes is boring. Usually I’m just game to try a new variety of soup, chili, pasta, chicken, brownie, cake, or pie. You get the idea. It’s not like I intend to have so many one and done recipes, because everything I blog about is something I’ve made and loved–otherwise, why would I share it? But these Teriyaki Meatballs Bowls? They are most certainly not a one and done recipe.

Teriyaki Meatballs | The Pajama Chef

Beth posted the recipe at the end of January, and I can think of no less than three, maybe four, occasions over the past months that I’ve made this awesome dish for dinner. Sometimes it’s been just for us to enjoy; other times, I’ve made them for new baby meals for friends. This meal is great for entertaining or for new baby/sympathy/etc. meals [so I've heard] because it’s hearty and filling, but still sort of light… a good alternative to the typically heavy, cheesy meals people love to serve and give away. Those are good too, of course, and I love them, but sometimes you just need something different. Something more complex.

And complex this teriyaki sauce is! It’s sweet and salty, with rich overtones of ginger and garlic. You can practically eat it with a spoon! Don’t be scared of making what’s normally a bottled sauce–it comes together in a flash, while the meatballs are cooking, so no panicking about making a sauce and cooking meatballs and making rice. We’re all about using multiple appliances for less stress here. :)

Teriyaki Meatballs | The Pajama Chef

Though I love how the homemade teriyaki sauce coats the meatball [that is the emphasis of this dish, after all], my absolute favorite bites of this meal are the last ones at the bottom of the bowl. Here, if you’ve added enough sauce, the rice is absolutely saturated with rich teriyaki goodness! Nothing could be better. Homemade teriyaki is where it’s at! If you don’t agree, well… haters gonna hate. That’s all there is to it. Though I do always want for you to try the recipes I post, this is one you really should try because it’s absolutely incredible. One tip though: use low sodium soy sauce. That will be salty enough–I promise. :) Enjoy!

Teriyaki Meatball Bowls [from Budget Bytes]

click to print


for meatballs

  • 1 pound ground meat [I've used ground turkey most often, but also ground beef, and the original recipe calls for ground pork.]
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled & grated [I've also subbed 2 teaspoons ground ginger.]
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 green onions, minced [green and white parts]
  • freshly ground black pepper

for teriyaki glaze

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled & grated [I've also subbed 2 teaspoons ground ginger.]
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

for serving

  • hot cooked rice
  • minced green onions


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet or glass baking dish with foil.

In a large bowl, add ground turkey, egg, bread crumbs, ginger, soy sauce, onions, and some freshly ground black pepper. Use your hands to massage ingredients together, then roll into tablespoon-sized balls, placing on prepared pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, begin making teriyaki glaze. In a saucepan set over low heat, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, water, oil, and ginger. Stir until brown sugar dissolves. At this point, you can also start preparing the rice, if you haven’t already.

Next, dissolve the cornstarch in a small amount of water–just enough to be pourable. Add to the saucepan, then turn heat to medium-high. Cook unti thick, stirring occasionally. When glaze has thickened, add sesame seeds.

By this point, meatballs should be about done. Remove from baking sheet and degrease if needed, then add to the glaze, tossing gently to coat. Serve meatballs over rice with extra sauce and green onions. Enjoy!

Time: 45 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings.

Mom’s Lasagna

So, I’m super excited about this pasta recipe I have to share with you today. It is my absolute favorite of all time. I know people say [myself included] that something is their favorite, or the best, and most of the time, that’s a huge exaggeration to emphasize how good something is. But this time… I am 100% serious. My Mom’s lasagna is my absolute favorite pasta dish, or dinner for that matter. It’s my Grandma’s recipe [the same Grandma of the famed blueberry muffins] and it can’t be beat. I just call it Mom’s Lasagna cause a) the recipe is from my mom, b) the recipe originated with her mom, and c) that’s how it’s written on the recipe card. That’s a lotta mom, so it’s gotta be good.

Mom's Lasagna | The Pajama Chef

This lasagna is the perfect mix of cheesy goodness and rich tomato meat sauce. I recently started making my own sauce, and I can’t wait to share the recipe later in the week, btw. It’s made in the crockpot and it’s super easy and flavorful. But that recipe will have a chance to shine later–right now it’s lasagna’s turn. :)

I know a lot of lasagnas favor special ingredients like Italian sausage, veggies, or fancy cheeses, and those are good. I’ll never turn down a hearty slice of lasagna… but those aren’t the cozy, comforting lasagna from my childhood. I can’t tell you how many birthdays or weekend visits home from college featured this lasagna, and I’ll never get sick of eating it.

Mom's Lasagna | The Pajama Chef

The base of the cheesy layer [aside from the mozzarella and parmesan] is not ricotta cheese, as many expect, but rather cottage cheese. I know that’s a semi-common substitute that may not sound the most appealing… but I promise promise PROMISE that using cottage cheese is not only a more frugal choice, but actually a creamier choice that highlights the flavor of the smooth mozzarella, sharp parmesan, chewy noodles, and sweet, bold tomato sauce. If you want to sub ricotta I won’t be offended [and actually have tried it myself], but I prefer cottage cheese in this and use ricotta other times.

Every bite of this saucy, meaty, cheesy hearty lasagna is savored, cherished, and devoured in our house. It’s actually a little embarrassing how much of the pan we can chow down on when it’s piping hot out of the oven. Now you can enjoy it too!

Mom's Lasagna | The Pajama Chef


For the record, I’m not entirely sure why I haven’t shared this recipe on the blog yet, but I am glad I hadn’t. See, a few weeks ago I got an email from Sarah at Yahoo!’s Shine Supper Club inviting me to join the monthly recipe challenge club. Each month has a theme, and October’s happened to be favorite pasta recipes. So this was totally perfect!! If you have a blog, definitely check it out and see how you can get involved. I’ll be back later to link up other entries for this month so be sure to come back and check those out too.

We love this lasagna and hope you do too!

What’s essential to your favorite lasagna? 

Mom’s Lasagna
click to print


  • 9 lasagna noodles [regular not no-cook]
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 28 ounces spaghetti sauce [homemade or your favorite jarred sauce; can really use 24-36 ounces]
  • 16 ounces cottage cheese [or ricotta]
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2-1 cup grated parmesan cheese [depending on preference]


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Begin by heating a large pot of water to boiling to cook the lasagna noodles. Next, brown ground beef and drain, then stir in spaghetti sauce.

Meanwhile, stir together cottage cheese, eggs, oregano, garlic, and black pepper. When water is boiling, cook noodles almost to al dente [I usually cook them a minute or so under the time on the package]. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water.

Prepare lasagna by first placing a layer of sauce [about 1/5 of the sauce] in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Top with 3 noodles, then 1/3 of the cottage cheese mixture, 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese, and a 1/3 of the parmesan cheese. Repeat twice, ending with a layer of sauce.

Bake, uncovered, for 60 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Time: 90 minutes [20 minutes active].

Yield: 8 servings.