Category Archives: beef

Leftover meatloaf & potatoes with mushroom soup

Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes Soup with Mushrooms

This is another use-up-the-leftovers innovation otherwise known as everything-but-the-kitchen-sink soup in our house.

A few weeks ago, I made meatloaf. I love meatloaf! Especially when it is paired with mashed potatoes, gravy and green peas! It is comfort food for me, taking me back to school days and cafeteria lunches. Yes, I  actually didn’t mind them! My children, on the other hand,  will not eat in any of their school’s cafeterias. Go figure!

Their dad also has his own particular quirks when it comes to food. He hates meatloaf! He loves a good burger, even meatballs. But meatloaf? His memories of meatloaf from his childhood is not as pleasant as mine.

So needless to say, after I had indulged in one of my favorite comforting meals, we still had some leftover meatloaf that kept finding its way to the very back of the fridge despite my repeated efforts to keep it front and center so it could be eaten up.

Before half a loaf gets tossed to the bin, I decided to give it a make over and this is it. I started pulling things out of the fridge and came up with about 4 slices of meatloaf, some leftover mashed potatoes and gravy and a pack of mushrooms that needed to be used up. I know I won’t always have these same set of leftovers, but they loved this soup so much, I had to write it down so I can duplicate it or at least come close to it next time.

Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes Soup with Mushrooms
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
This soup, paired with toasted bread and a salad, can be a complete meal in itself.
  • 1-2 lbs. Ground Beef or leftover meatloaf or burgers chopped into chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 16 oz. Mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cups Mashed Potatoes
  • 1 cup Gravy
  • 1 can (12 oz) Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1 can (12 oz) Cream of Celery soup
  • 1 Tablespoon Thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian Parsley + reserve extra for garnish
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 cups Macaroni pasta, cooked
  • 6-8 cups Water or chicken Broth
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  1. In a large enough pot, melt the butter and add the chopped mushrooms. Cook until they start turning brown.
  2. Add the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are transparent.
  3. Add the left over meatloaf or hamburger meat, parsley and thyme.
  4. Add the mashed potatoes and gravy, and the soups. Rinse out the cans with water and add to the pot.
  5. Add the remaining amount of water or broth and simmer for 15-20 minutes until it is thick and bubbly.
  6. Add the cooked macaroni and simmer until warmed through or until it is thoroughly cooked if you happened to only cook the pasta part way.
  7. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper if necessary.


Mushrooms, garlic and onions

Brown the mushrooms then add the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions soften.


Add the meatloaf, mashed potatoes and other ingredients.


Let the soup simmer to blend the flavors before adding the macaroni


  • Keep in mind that when you are using leftover meatloaf and mashed potatoes, they are already seasoned and the same thing with the canned soups. So make sure to taste before adding anymore salt.
  • My family liked this soup so much that I cooked it again from scratch instead of leftovers. I used ground beef as the meat. When you use fresh meat instead of cooked meat, alter the process a bit by browning the meat first and taking out any excess grease (you’ll also omit the butter since the beef will render enough oil to sautee’ the other ingredients). After the meat has cooked, add the mushrooms and continue with the recipe as above.
  • In subsequent versions of this recipe, I have also added other vegetables such as carrots, celery, green beans, peas and even zucchini and yellow squash, depending on what I have on hand. Don’t hesitate to change or add to any recipe. Sometimes my family loves me for it, sometimes they hate it. But that’s the fun of cooking 🙂
  • Also note that you may have to adjust the amount of water or broth that you use, depending on whether you like your soup to be on the creamy or soupy side. For added richness, you can also add milk and cream just before finishing cooking.
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Jan15 011

Beef and Mushrooms Over Broccoli

For most working moms like me, a quick stir fried dish is probably a menu regular. At our house, a stirfry of vegetables and some kind of protein is certainly a dependable standby. When I am burnt out on ideas of what to cook for dinner the usual beef with broccoli or chicken with broccoli stirfry usually comes to mind. All the ingredients are staples so more than likely I will have the ingredients handy.

The bad thing with standby dishes though is that soon everyone gets tired of them and you get that whine of “AGAIN?” in unison every time you announce what’s for dinner.

So just to give the same ol’ same ol’ a bit of a twist, present it a little differently and change up the flavor just a bit. So for this variation, I kind of crossed the usual Beef with Broccoli stirfry  with the ‘Filipino Bistek‘.

The beef has a lemony, salty flavor that is strong enough to balance the simply steamed broccoli florets.

If you’ve thought ahead, you can marinade the beef ahead of time which will further shortened your prep time and infuse the flavors in the meat. But if you’re like me and don’t have much time, I found that if you cook the marinade into a sauce for the beef, you kind of compensate for the short marinade time.

Beef and Mushrooms Over Broccoli
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5-6
Stirfried Beef flavored with lemon and soy based marinade, Mushrooms and steamed broccoli florets.
  • ¼ cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 Lemon, juiced
  • ½ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
  • 1-2 lbs. Beef, sliced thin
  • 8 oz. Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large Onion, sliced
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter (1/2 stick)
  • 2 Tablespoons Oyster Sauce
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Oil
  • Broccoli florets, steamed
  1. Mix the beef with the marinade ingredients (soy sauce, lemon juice, red pepper flakes and sesame oil) and set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Steam the broccoli for 5 minutes, drain and place in serving bowl.
  3. Heat a skillet or wok and add the butter until it is melted and bubbly.
  4. Add the mushrooms and cook until the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are starting to brown.
  5. Add the onions to the mushrooms and stir fry for a couple of minutes. Set aside while the beef cooks.
  6. Drain the marinade from the beef but don't throw the marinade away.
  7. Heat a tablespoon of oil until smoking and add a third of the beef to quickly sear. You'll cook the beef in two to three batches so that it will sear in the hot oil rather than steam and generate more liquid.
  8. Add the seared beef to the mushrooms and onions you've set aside and finish searing the rest of the beef.
  9. After all the beef has been cooked, add the marinade into the skillet/wok and bring to a boil. Reduce by half, for a minute or so.
  10. Add the beef, mushrooms and onions back into the pan and stir. Add two tablespoons of Oyster Sauce and stir through to mix.
  11. Spoon the beef/mushroom stirfry over the broccoli and serve.
The amount of beef and broccoli was intentionally left vague as this depends on how many people you're feeding and how much you want to prepare. I usually use at least two pounds of beef and a big bundle of broccoli (about 4 heads) Also, depending on your taste and how salty you like your dishes, you may opt to cut down on the amount of oyster sauce. My family tends to like dishes well salted.




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Good Ol’ Roast Beef – A Family Favorite

This is one of my daughter’s favorite dinners. Not just the roast beef, but in combination with collard greens and rice. I have tried different variations with the roast such as adding carrots and potatoes, have tried it with leaner cuts other than chuck, tried it with herbs and spices, and even tried it with a thicker gravy thinking it would appeal to them. But no, after trying it once, they ask me to go back to  this tried and true favorite of theirs, chuck roast slowly braised in the oven with just the simplest of ingredients and only slightly thickened with cornstarch.

I have posted this roast beef recipe before, during the early days of this blog but it’s time to update this family favorite and give it a post of its own rather than as a part of a meal like that old post.

Good Ol' Roast Beef
Recipe type: Main
A simple version of the classic roast beef recipe that you can build on or keep as is.
  • 1 2-3 lb. Chuck Roast Beef
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of Garlic, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups of chicken broth (or water)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Cornstarch dissolved in ¼ cup water (to thicken)
  1. Sear both sides of the beef under the broiler (or in a skillet) until lightly browned.
  2. Transfer to a baking or roasting dish and add the chopped onion, garlic, bay leaves, and salt and pepper.
  3. Pour the 3 cups of chicken broth or water, cover with foil, and bake in a 350 degree oven for 2-4 hours, depending on the thickness of the meat and tenderness.
  4. About 30 minutes before you plan on taking the roast out, dissolve the cornstarch in a bit of water and add to the cooking liquid left in the pan. This will thicken it up, and you have instant gravy.
Most roasts will probably cook in two hours, but if you like it fork tender like we do, leave it longer. Just make sure the liquid doesn’t dry out. If it looks like the liquid is getting low, just add more. This pot roast is also great for the slow cooker. While my family likes this served with rice and greens, I think it's also perfect with mashed potatoes.


Other pot roast recipes you might like:

Balsamic & Onion Pot Roast in a Crockpot from Kalyn’s Kitchen

New England Pot Roast from Can You Stay for Dinner?

For a Filipino twist, try Oriental Pot Roast from Casa Veneracion.



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Rice Noodles with Beef & Mint

My husband just brought to my attention last week how lush the mint plants have gotten in the backyard and brought me a couple of leaves to smell. I haven’t gotten that fresh aroma out of my system and I just had to come up with something to cook it with. This recipe came about based on what I had in my pantry and what I knew would appeal to both my meat eating husband and noodle loving daughter.

They both loved this dish! I did too. The mint was a refreshing addition and it brought back just the right hint of summer and freshness to this dish.

Rice Noodles with Beef & Mint
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 lb. lean Beef, cut into thin strips
  • 1 lb. lean Beef, cut into thin strips
  • ¼ cup Soy Sauce
  • ¼ cup Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Lemon or Lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. Soy
  • ½ tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. Fish Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Oil
  • 8 oz. Rice Noodles
  • 3-4 sprigs of Mint, julliened
  • 1 Carrot, julliened
  • ½ large Onion, sliced thin
  1. Cut up the beef into thin strips and mix with all the marinade ingredients. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Place the rice noodles in a bowl of hot water to soften. It will become soft in about 20-30 minutes. Pour out the hot water so as not to overcook the noodles and make them soggy.
  3. Mix the cooking sauce and set aside.
  4. Heat up a wok or heavy bottomed skilled until it is scorching hot. Pour in a tablespoon of oil and when it is smoking, put half of the beef to sear. Quickly stirfry for a minute of two until the beef is cooked through. Remove the beef from the wok and repeat the process with the remaining half.
  5. Heat up another tablespoon of oil and add the carrots and onions. Stirfry for a minute and add the noodles. Stir it around for a couple of minutes to warm through and get cooked a bit. It shouldn't require a long cooking time as the pre-soaking would have cooked it enough.
  6. Add the beef mixture back in with the noodles and stir in half of the fresh mint and half of the cooking sauce. Reserve the rest for garnish.
  7. Stir fry until everything is well blended and looking delicious. 2-3 minutes.
  8. To serve, sprinkle more mint on top and the cooking sauce on the side for each person to adjust their seasoning.




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Steak Fajita

Chili Lime Steak Fajitas

It has been a blissfully blistering summer and especially when the girls were away on vacation, my husband and I depended on fast and easy meals like plain ol’ steak and potatoes. As good as it is though, that soon gets old and one of my favorite ways of sprucing up a steak dish is to create a fiesta out of it! My husband loves fajitas because of the intense flavors. I love the flavors too, but I also love the convenience.

And for hot summer days when sometimes the air gets so thick that you don’t even want to move, something fast and easy for dinner fits the bill perfectly. I was also going to say something light for dinner, but that doesn’t always work with a meat-eating-man. The compromise here is, with a dish like this, he can still load up on the protein and I can either have this over salad or make mini tacos with the tortillas.

To me the major components of a good fajita are the sauteed onions and bell peppers, a good salsa or pico de gallo, and if you have it, good home made guacamole. From there, you can use your choice or meat (chicken, steak or seafood) and condiments.

The recipe below is for the marinade. The fajita marinade is crucial to getting just the right ‘fajita’ flavor.

: Chili & Lime Marinated Steaks

: This is the marinade recipe for steaks or chicken. Whichever you decide to use for your fajitas.

  • 2 Limes, juiced
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 3 Tablespoon Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • Flank Steak or any Steak of your choice

    1. The flavor for the steak is all in the marinade. You can put the steak in the marinade overnight or for just an hour if you’re short on time.

Preparation time:

Cooking time:

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Beef Tapa


I made TapSiLog to feature the Uncle Ben’s Whole Wheat Rice Giveaway but in our house, the real star is always the meat. This is simply called Tapa or Beef Tapa in the Philippines which kind of confuses some people who are more familiar with the term ‘tapa’ as it applies to Spanish tapas or appetizers. Tapa in the Philippines is more like a version of the beef jerky. My grandmother used to dry it too, just like a jerky. But nowadays, I know very few people who actually dry it. We now tend to simply marinate it then cook it straight away.

When my grandmother used to make it, she would simply marinate it in salt and vinegar then dry it out in the sun until it dries out like jerky. When it comes time to cook it, they would just chop it up and fry it until it’s crisp tender. The favorite way to eat it was for breakfast with garlic friend rice and eggs; ergo the TapSiLog.

This is my version of the tapa which I think captures the ‘essence’ of the real thing without having to dry it out in the sun. My version actually freezes well too so I do the same treatment that I do with the tocino and store them in serving size baggies in the freezer. This is also the reason why I tend to make a large batch at a time; but of course you can cut down the proportions if you’re making a smaller amount.

The marinade for beef tapa is really quite simple. It is just a mixture of soy sauce and lemon and maybe some black pepper. When I made this last batch of tapa, I used two beef round roasts which equals about three pounds. The proportions of the soy sauce and lemon juice will of course vary with the amount of meat that you are marinating and your preference level for the saltiness and sourness. For the three pounds of meat, I used:
1 cup Soy Sauce
½ cup Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

For best flavor, marinade meat at least a day in the refrigerator before cooking.

To cook:
Some people like to fry the beef tapas to a crisp but I happen to like it a little more tender, more like a hot seared stir fry. So what I do is heat about two tablespoons of oil until it’s smoking then drop a handful of marinated meat. It will sizzle and spit a you so you may want to cover it until it stops popping. Stir fry it on high until all the liquids have cooked out and your meat takes on a wok seared brownness. Remove from the heat and serve with rice and eggs for a genuine Filipino TapSiLog Breakfast.

Of course, if you’d rather have it with vegetables instead of eggs, that would work too. That’s what I do when I need something quick for dinner. Enjoy!

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Steak Diane sans Flambe’

OK, so this is the sans Flambe’ version of this months Recipes to Rival because I don’t have any liquor in the house besides red wine and I wasn’t sure if my husband will let me experiment to see whether I can set his wine on fire or not.

Steak Diane

Flam·béed or not, this made for a great weekday meal. I usually reserve my challenge recipes for the weekends so I have more time to cook them but this was so easy and fuss free that I was able to have this great looking meal on the table in less than an hour!

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Albondigas (Meatballs Soup)

The most recent Four Foods for Friday asked whether we use ‘from scratch’ or ‘ready made’ meatballs. My answer was that we use both. Sometimes we make our own just as when Jade made the Wedding Soup and the Filipino style Meatball Soup with Noodles. We just recently tried out the frozen Italian meatballs from Costco and we’ve enjoyed the convenience they provide while also tasting quite good. The girls like having them to snack on after school or to take for their lunch. On a busy weeknight, I’m not averse to dropping them in pre-made tomato sauce either for a quick spaghetti dinner.

Since we’ve all been feeling under the weather this past month with the cold or the flu, we’ve been wanting more soups to soothe our aching throats and bodies but just don’t have the energy to go all ‘from scratch’. So on one of those nights when we were craving for soup, we decided to use the frozen meatballs for this albondigas soup and were we all pleasantly surprised! Between the five of us, we just about finished the whole pot!
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