Guinness-Braised Short Ribs with Scallion and Irish Cheddar Grits

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Years ago, while I putting myself through grad school, I waited tables at this great restaurant down in DC. Back in those days, it was one of those places where locals would come on weeknights for a really quality meal and great beer and absolutely no pretense.

The chef was great, and he would totally indulge me geeking out in the kitchen; pouring over his latest creation. Since the place specialized in beer there was a lot of experimenting in cooking with it–something I didn’t have any familiarity with. Wine, yes, but beer no.

But beer is such a great cooking liquid. The malt and hops are a great compliment to the richness of beef or pork. And something about braising with beer makes it even more comforting. Like wine is trying too hard, but beer-braising is just down home cooking.

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One meal that has stuck with me over this last decade is beer-braised short ribs over grits.  With St Patty’s Day coming up, I tried an Irish-style spin on things and it worked beautifully.

0314 Guinness Braised Short Ribs touched up-1The restaurant is long since closed, and I never got the original recipe from the chef years ago, but the great thing about cooking at home is you can recreate those moments and memories with just a few items from your local market. So this St. Patty’s Day I’ll be cooking us up a special feast, reminiscent of feasts past! What are your plans for St. Patty’s Day?

Guinness-Braised Short Ribs

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 8 hours

Yield: 6 servings

Guinness-Braised Short Ribs


  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 lbs meaty beef short ribs
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 2 cups diced carrots (2 very large)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced leeks (2 large), washed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups diced celery (4 stalks)
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 shot of Irish whiskey (e.g. Jameson's)
  • 1 pint of Guinness
  • 1 pint water or beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons flour


  1. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed Dutch oven over medium high heat.
  2. Season ribs with half of salt and pepper.
  3. Place half of ribs in pan and sear on all sides until dark brown--approx 15 minutes total. Repeat with other half of ribs. Place ribs in the bottom of a crock pot set to the lowest setting.
  4. Skim off most of fat in the bottom of the Dutch oven, leaving just a tablespoon.
  5. Bring remaining fat back up to medium high heat, add onion, leak, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Saute until tender, approximately 5 minutes.
  6. Add carrots and celery and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, sautéing another 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in tomato paste and thyme and stir until tomato paste turns a copper color, approximately 5 minutes.
  8. Deglaze the pan with the whiskey, stirring until evaporated. Stir in beer and water and bring to a boil.
  9. Pour the broth and vegetable mixture over the short ribs in the crock pot. Cover and cook on lowest setting for 6-8 hours.
  10. 30 minutes before serving, spoon off a cup of the liquid and put back in the Dutch oven on the stove. Bring up to a medium heat and stir in flour, whisking until smooth. Meanwhile, carefully remove short ribs to a platter. Pour remaining liquid into the Dutch oven and cook down for 20 minutes or so. It should be the consistency of a gravy--one that coats the back of a spoon.
  11. Taste and season accordingly.
  12. Serve short ribs with a generous spoonful of gravy.
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Scallion and Irish Cheddar Grits

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Scallion and Irish Cheddar Grits


  • 1 cup coarse ground grits
  • 3 cups water or stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces Irish cheddar, shredded
  • 4 scallions, chopped


  1. In a small saucepan, bring water or stock up to a boil.
  2. Pour in grits and salt in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Turn the heat to medium and continue whisking.
  3. Allow to gently simmer, whisking regularly, for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat, add cheddar and scallions and stir vigorously.
  5. Serve, topped with more cheese and scallions.
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Navy Bean Soup on a Snowy Day (slow cooker)

This winter is the pits. Frigid, grey, slushy, and it. just. won’t. end. Here we are today on another snow day, this time with some actual snow, so at least that’s pretty.

Snowy Baltimore

The upside is: I have been really racking up the hearty soup recipes this season!

Here’s another one: Navy Bean Soup made in the slow cooker with ingredients I usually have in my pantry and freezer.

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Navy Bean Soup

Yield: 6 servings


  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound dried navy beans
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ham hock
  • 2 quarts water or stock
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil


  1. Put beans in the bottom of the crock pot. Put vegetables, fresh herbs and bay leaf on top.
  2. Nestle the ham hock among the beans and vegetables.
  3. Add stock or water, set crock pot to the lowest setting for a longer cook, high for a shorter cook
  4. Cook for 8-10 hours for low setting, or 4-5 for high setting (you may want to stir now and again on the high setting), until beans are tender.
  5. Remove ham hock and pick the meat off. Stir it back into the soup.
  6. Season like crazy, splash of vinegar and some olive oil because, why not, and dine.
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Dan said it was the best soup I’ve ever made and the kids ate every bite.

Chili Verde–Slow cooked pork with green chilis & tomatillos

It’s the pork butt that just won’t quit! In my last installment of how to turn one slow cooked pork shoulder into a plethora of meals: Chili Verde. Green chili is pretty much my favorite thing ever when it comes to stews. I think it just tastes fresh, which is so welcome in the dead of winter!

Basically, you’re essentially making a salsa that you simmer more of your leftover pork in. I had a sweet potato without a plan so I threw that in too as I was worried that it might be a little scimpy by the end of our pork shoulder. I didn’t particularly need it for volume, but I loved the added texture, color and sweet flavor that complimented the tangy salsa.

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I roast the tomatillos and peppers in a hot oven to deepen the flavor…plus it’s just a really easy hands off way to get all of the tasty goodness out of them since you’ll puree anyway.

Chili Verde–Slow cooked pork with green chilis & tomatillos

Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 1 pound tomatillos, husks removed, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, skins removed
  • 3 Anaheim or cubanelle peppers (Anaheims are hotter, cubanelles not at all)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teapsoon cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 3 cups pulled pork
  • 1 sweet potato, cut into a half inch dice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • Chopped cilantro, optional
  • Queso fresco, optional
  • Sour cream, optional
  • Sriracha, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Toss the tomatillos, peppers, onion, garlic, olive oil, salt and cumin together on a large baking sheet. Roast vegetables for 30-40 minutes until they are soft and begin to char.
  3. Transfer to a large, heavy bottom Dutch oven or blender and add cilantro and chicken stock. Using either an immersion blender or a regular blender, puree roasted vegetables and stock until smooth.
  4. Return to Dutch oven and fold in pork and sweet potato.
  5. Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes, until pork is thoroughly heated through and sweet potatoes are soft.
  6. Ladle into bowls and top with cilantro, queso fresco, sour cream and sriracha if desired.
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So there you have it! 1 slow cooked pork shoulder, 3 tasty weeknight meals!

What are some of your favorite slow cooker recipes? Do you have any other ideas on things to do with shredded pork?

Carnitas–Slow Cooked Pork Tacos

My week of pork butt recipes continues! It’s time for one of my absolutely favorite recipes: street tacos, in this case slow cooked shredded pork called carnitas.

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I am obsessed with soft corn tortillas. When you lightly pan fry them you get this amazing crunchy/chewey thing going on. Plus they’re less heavy and caloric than their flour or cruncy corn counterparts. And in some areas you can get them freshly made. We’re lucky enough to live down the street from a tortillaria so get great soft corn tortillas regularly.

I’m also obsessed with making seasonally fresh sauces and condiments when I can get the ingredients and then freezing in ice cube trays for using out of season. In the fall I made a bunch of cubes of chimichurri, so here I combined a cube with some sour cream for a dressing for the slaw. If you don’t have any chimichurri handy, just mince up some fresh green herbs like cilantro and parsley and add some lime juice for the dressing.

Since the pulled pork base you made the other day was seasoned with chili powder and cumin, you don’t need to add a whole lot to the pork itself. Just heat it on the stove in some of it’s fat to crisp it up a little, then drain as you serve in the tortillas. If you still have some cabbage leftover from your pulled pork sandwiches, use the rest of it to make this chimichurri slaw.

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Carnitas–with Easy Slow Cooked Pulled Pork

Carnitas–with Easy Slow Cooked Pulled Pork


    For the pork:
  • 2 cups pulled pork with 2 Tablespoons fat
  • 1 lime, plus more for serving
  • For the slaw:
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons chimichurri
  • 2 cup2 shredded cabbage
  • For the tacos:
  • 8 soft corn tortillas
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • Sriracha, optional


  1. Make pork: Heat the pork and fat in a skillet until pork is heated through and begins to become crispy. Squeeze a lime over the pork and toss. Set aside.
  2. Make slaw: Combine chimichurri and sour cream. Fold in cabbage.
  3. Heat tortillas: heat 2 teaspoons oil in a small skillet. Fry tortillas, one at a time, for approx 30 seconds per side. Add more oil in between tortillas.
  4. Assemble the tacos: Place 2 tortillas on a plate. Top with pork, 1/4 cup slaw, red onion slices, avocado slices, a drizzle of sriracha if desired.
  5. Serve with a lime wedge and a margarita.
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What to drink? Well, how about a winter citrus margarita’s?

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Pulled Pork Barbecue Sandwiches from the Crock Pot

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Barbecue is like an accent; how you cook it is indicative of all of the places you’ve ever lived or visited or tried barbecue.

For me, barbecue is pork. It’s pulled. It’s vinegary. And it’s also a bit sweet and spicy. Pork is southern, pulled is Carolina, as is vinegary. Sweet and tomatoey is Northern Florida (where it’s often sliced, what???). Spicy is kind of everywhere but more mid-western.

So yeah, that’s about right, I’ve lived all over and my barbecue tastes reflect that.

While nothing can replace real-deal smoked pork butt, these Slow Cooked Pulled Pork Sandwiches give me the flavors I crave for an easy weeknight meal.

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The recipe calls for your favorite store bought barbecue sauce…I like Stubb’s since it’s got the sweet and spicy thing going on. Then I add a dash of Carolina with some extra vinegar.

Pulled Pork Barbecue Sandwiches

Yield: 4 sandwiches


    For the pulled pork:
  • 2 cups pulled pork
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (I like Stubb's)
  • 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • For the coleslaw:
  • 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage


  1. Mix together pork, sauce and vinegar. Set aside.
  2. Make coleslaw: whisk together vinegar, sugar, salt, and mayonnaise. Fold in carrots and cabbage.
  3. Pile pork on hamburger buns, top with coleslaw. Serve.
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The reviews? I think this one liked them!

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I like big butts and I cannot lie

Oh, get your mind out of the gutter. I’m talking about pork butt.

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As a working mom that loves to cook, I often find it hard to balance all of the things I want to do with the number of hours in the day. I’m a big fan of the cook once, eat all week philosophy but I hate, hate, hate anything that even resembles leftovers so I find it very hard work this into our lives.

Until now.

On a weekday, put a 4-pound pork butt in the crock pot with a little seasoning and nothing else, and when you come home you have a slow cooked, fall apart tender base for 3 quick weeknight meals. Rather than eating the same thing over and over again, you can make something new every night with this slow cooked, luscious shredded pork.

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Over the next couple of days I’ll be posting recipes from this pulled pork base. One 4-pound pork butt should make approximately 8 cups of pulled pork. With that we’ll be making Pulled Pork Barbecue Sandwiches, Carnitas, and Chili Verde with Sweet Potato.

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When storing the remaining pork butt, either in the fridge for more meals that week or packed in the freezer for another week, make sure to ladle in some of the fat left from cooking. It sounds gross but it will keep it really moist. And you need that to reheat the pork for the carnitas anyway.

Slow Cooked Pork Butt

Yield: About 3 quarts shredded pork


  • 4 pounds pork butt (shoulder) roast, bone in or boneless--I like bone in
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder


  1. Mix all spices together. Rub all over pork butt.
  2. Place roast in the crock pot, fat side up so it bastes the meat throughout the cooking process.
  3. Cook on the lowest heat for 8-12 hours. You do not need to add any liquid.
  4. Remove large chunks of fat, and shred the meat.
  5. For any meat you are storing, ladle some of the liquid back over the meat then store in the fridge for a couple of days or the freezer for a couple of months.
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Red Beans and Rice

On a cold, snowy day like this I think of warm, hearty food inspired by…the south? Yep, it’s New Orleans inspired Red Beans and Rice for dinner tonight. It started snowing earlier today than expected so I didn’t have time to go to the store. After rummaging through my pantry I discovered I had all of the fixings for a rich, hearty, and actually healthy meal right here at home.

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The great thing about Red Beans and Rice is that you don’t really need to follow a recipe. Traditionally made on Mondays, it was a way to use the leftover bones from the weekend meals and stretch them into the week, so really it’s a scrappy kind of dish–use what you’ve got, give it some love, and you’ve got an amazing dinner for a crowd or for your family for a week.

If you’re looking for baby food ideas, this is a great one to puree up for some Stage 2 or 3 food. Just wait to add the creole seasoning and salt until near the end. When the beans are cooked but there’s still a lot of liquid, scoop some out, add some rice and away you go. The add the seasonings to the main pot and cook it down.

Since I was home (and didn’t get started until the afternoon) I did this on the stove. But you could just as easily do this in a crock pot. Just don’t soak the beans and put it on low all day.

Red Beans and Rice

Yield: 8 servings

Red Beans and Rice


  • 1 pound dried kidney beans, soaked overnight and liquid drained
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon creole or blackening seasoning
  • 6 cups water or stock
  • 1 ham hock and/or andouille-type sausage
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • Chopped parsley, optional


  1. In a large, heavy bottom dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Then add onions and cook until they're translucent, about 5 minutes. Add celery and peppers and cook until soft, another 5 minutes. Add garlic, stir until fragrant about 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in tomato past and creole seasoning and cook until tomato paste becomes copper-colored, approximately 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add drained beans, water or stock, and ham hock. If you're just using sausage put some in whole now to be discarded later, and save some for slicing and adding at the end.
  4. Bring to a boil, cover, and turn down to a simmer and cook for 2-3 hours over a very low heat until thick and rich. If it's still watery after an hour or so, turn up the heat and uncover to thicken.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve over rice and garnish with parsley and scallions.
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And the kids couldn’t get enough. More please!


Plus, I’ve been working on transitioning my site from to It’s still in transition, but let me know what you think so far!

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Skipping right to leftovers

Where's the egg? I ate it already.

A couple years ago, after making corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day, I had some left over. This led to a great discovery – corned beef hash. With an egg on top. We like it so much that now I just make the corned beef and turn it right into hash. This week we got potatoes, cabbage, and onions in our CSA delivery so all we needed at the store was the beef brisket.  [Read more…]

Weekly Menu: Turkey Trot

Turkey, turkey, and more turkey. I bet you’re getting sick of talking turkey by now. But if you’ve got leftovers, your turkey days aren’t over yet! Here are some recipes for the week that will help you move on from Thanksgiving and finish up that turkey…one classic recipe, one *hopefully* new one, and one that has no turkey at all (but it uses up some of that turkey stock you made)!


Menu #1: Game Day

Make this on Sunday for a football fiesta!

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
Corn Chips or Cornbread
Garden Salad

The recipe calls for ground beef or turkey. Just omit the beef or turkey, and add in 3-4 cups chopped, cooked turkey at the same time you add the beans. Delish!


Menu #2: Make Ahead Casserole Night (and baby food)

A great way to use up all of those leftovers…just put them in a casserole and bake. This is easy to assemble the night before. Then when you come home all you need to do is throw it in the oven and 45 min later you have dinner. For this one, you can also make a Stage 3 baby food version of Shepherd’s Pie.

Nicholas loves Turkey Shepherd's Pie!

Shepherd’s Pie
Garden Salad

Baby Food: Shepherd’s Pie


Menu #3: Hump Day Help

Here’s a good one for a cold, rainy midweek meal. You’re sick of cooking, sick of eating turkey, but you can come home to a warm nourishing meal nonetheless.

Sausage, Kale, and Navy Bean Soup

This recipe is for the stovetop, but making it in the slow cooker couldn’t be easier. Just dump everything in the crock pot (you don’t need to soak the beans), set on low, and 8 hours later you have dinner.

Shopping List

5-6 cups cooked, chopped turkey
polish kielbasa or other smoked sausage
kale–1 pound
cubanelle or poblano peppers–3
sweet potatoes
1.5 oz dried New Mexico chiles
1.5 oz dried ancho chiles
olive oil
dried thyme
bay leaf
chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
28 oz can diced tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted)
chicken or turkey stock–3 quarts
kidney beans–14oz can
pinto or black beans–14 oz can
garbanzo beans–14oz can
dried navy beans–1 pound
corn chips
1 oz dark chocolate
yogurt or sour cream
Cheddar or jack cheese
frozen green beans
frozen peas
turkey gravy
mashed potatoes