Monday, Monday, Mondayyyyy.
The day where we’re all trying to slow down while also keeping up with our responsibilities and ambitions and dreams and all the things that we maybe got behind on this weekend, and, just, bottom line, trying to get our lives together and be mostly happy. Amiright? Ahh, life. I’m glad to be living this weird, crazy journey with you guys.
Yesterday I flew home from Salt Lake City after spending a few days with a handful of boss bloggers at a retreat where we shared our hearts with each other in a really sweet and vulnerable way. Also noteworthy was both the quality and the quantity of world-rocking food that we ate for basically three days straight. So yes, I’m in full blown marshmallow state.
When Bjork picked me up from the airport, I said: take me straight to the grocery store. Actually, that’s a lie: I said, take me straight to Panera because I’m craving chicken wild rice soup and that mediterranean veggie sandwich and I am going to become a hangry monster in about three seconds. But after we took care of that imminent disaster, we went to the store, stocked up on food for the week like responsible people, and settled in at home in sweats and hoodies to make pumpkin cake, ancho turkey chili, and healthy meal prep stuffs for the week ahead. We lit a little candle and opened the window cause small kitchens be gettin hot, yo. It was like fall meets Pinterest meets real life, and it was lovely.
I cannot even tell you how awesome-and-in-charge-of-my-life I feel right now. A full fridge of flavor-packed healthy food never ever felt so good.
One of the bloggers who was at the retreat with me this weekend was the ever-amazing Gina from Skinnytaste. She needs absolutely zero introduction. She is a food blogging legend and a total babe and a two-time NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLER as of a few days ago. But here’s the thing you might not know about Gina – she’s literally one of the most kind and positive people I’ve ever met. I want to be her when I grow up.
So it totally makes sense that her new cookbook, called Fast and Slow (affiliate link), is loaded with awesome recipes for real people.
Sorry to dork out for a second, but you guys, can we just give it up for the cookbooks that work for real people? THANK YOU, UNIVERSE. Gina’s cookbook is 100% for US. It’s not a high-brow food diva situation. No, no. It’s familiar and easy and healthy. It’s called Fast and Slow because half of the recipes are speedy-fast and the other half are slow-cooker-friendly.
This slow cooker beef ragu is the first recipe I made from the book and it was every bit as luscious and comforting as I expected it to be. It’s packed with juicy tomato and garlic flavor and tender shredded beef that swims in a little tomato gravy situation that is on point for crusty bread dips. (PLEASE TRY THIS NO KNEAD BREAD WITH IT BECAUSE YOU WILL DIE OF JOY.)
I’ve only ever made a braised beef ragu one other time (which I love love loved) but I served mine over polenta, so this time around, serving it with pappardelle was bomb.com for a quick and easy melt-in-your-mouth pasta dinner.
We are nothing if not pasta people, so obviously. Just, obviously.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, smashed slightly
- 1½ pounds flank steak, cut against the grain into 4 pieces
- salt and pepper
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- ¼ cup reduced sodium beef broth
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 16 ounces pappardelle pasta
- Parmesan, ricotta, and parsley for topping
- In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden and lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
- Season the beef with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Pour the tomatoes and broth over the beef and add the garlic from step one, carrots, bay leaves, and thyme.
- Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8 to 10 hours. Discard the herbs and shred the beef in the pot using 2 forks.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, return to the pot, and add the sauce from the slow cooker. Increase the heat to high and cook, stirring, until the pasta and sauce are combined, about 1 minute.
- Divide among 8 bowls and top each with Parmesan, ricotta, and parsley. Serve hot!