Last week I found myself in an unusual situation. Our older kids had boarded their bus destined for their middle school and our youngest two were still in bed. Very unusual, but oh so welcomed! I took advantage of this rare opportunity to pour myself a mug of coffee topped with my usual splash of milk. My hubs gave me a kiss goodbye as he headed out to work. I eased into the chair in our living room, and flipped on the Today Show. What a treat – no Teletubbies or Bubble Guppies, but real, grown-up current events and news. I opened my laptop to work on the following week’s blog post and meal plan.
Just as I had hammered out the words “Spinach & Sausage with Gnocchi” on my laptop, my husband reappeared in the doorway. His face looked grim as he said, “I think we have a situation.” Oh, man – who ever wants to hear those words? Panic set in as I followed him through the house and into our garage. Two thoughts set in about what could be wrong.
- Someone stole my beloved Suburban
- The freezer door had been left open in our spare fridge.
Yes, food is always on my mind. We passed my car and turned the corner where scenario #2 was confirmed. Gah!
My mind flashed back to the previous night when we celebrated our 12-year olds birthday. I had pulled his Dippin’ Dots birthday cake from the fridge and carried it inside. Somehow when I shut the fridge door (using my foot – maybe not such a good idea?!?), the freezer door must have popped open.
Forget the packages of extra veggies from the grocery store, the freezer was filled with our stockpile of locally grown beef. (And frozen custard from Ollie’s. That’s important, too). Those two losses alone are enough to bring a girl to her knees.
My super-kind, ever-forgiving husband (love you, honey!) could have been very upset with me but he bit his tongue. Bless that man. I will save you the gory details, but we spent the next 20 minutes evaluating what could be salvaged. (The frozen custard was a total loss, by the way.) Thankfully, we were able to save a lot of the meat but it couldn’t be refrozen until it was cooked. And just like that – poof!!! My warm coffee-Today show watching-meal planning morning – evaporated.
The kids and spent the next six hours in the kitchen cooking….Cooking…..Cooking….. Thankfully I had some help.
Two crock pots, a pressure cooker, a dutch oven and stock pot later, I had saved most of our meat. As someone on Instagram pointed out, I didn’t need a meal plan because the plan was made for me. Gotta love the glass half full kind of mindset 🙂
I whipped out beef & broccoli, beef stroganoff, beef stew, vegetable beef soup, tacos, and some other recipes. My favorite, hands down, was this Midwest-Style Italian Beef.
It’s my mom’s recipe with a few small changes, but it sure made the house smell just like I remember growing up. This beef is tangy, zesty and will make your mouth water while it cooks.
- 4 pound chuck , arm or round roast
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 2 T . Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 T . oregano
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 1 small onion , sliced
- 7-8 cups water
- 3 beef bouillon cubes
- 8 T . Worcestershire Sauce
- 4 tsp . oregano
- 2 tsp . basil
- 2 packages Italian Salad dressing mix OR make your own mix with this recipe here
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place roast in a dutch oven. Mix vinegar, 2 T. Worcestershire Sauce, 1 T. oregano and garlic clove in a small bowl. Pour over meat. Place sliced onion on top. Cover tightly and cook 3 hours or until tender. (See note below) Remove meat and shred or slice into thin pieces. Add remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil on your stovetop. Return meat to dutch over and simmer for 30-40 minutes until tender. Serve on crusty french rolls and top with banana peppers, cooked green peppers, or mozzarella cheese.