Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Slow Cooker Pot Roast On Toasted Ciabatta Bread

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It may have been a deal-breaker when I learned that Steve didn’t care for pot roast. He just doesn’t care for those stewed vegetables like the potatoes, carrots and such. Growing up north, both here and in England, we ate all kinds of stewed meats. As far as vegetables go, I love them any way they’re prepared.

I really had to figure out a way to make this traditional dish in a way that Steve would love it as much as I do. I believe I have the answer. The first order of business is to break out my Crockpot. This is my Slow Cooker Pot Roast On Toasted Ciabatta Bread.

I’m serving this with a side of my Sautéed Spinach With Garlic. This recipe’s available by clicking the link at the bottom of this post.

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep Time: 10 minutes (while the meat is searing, prep your veggies)
Cook Time: 8 hours 15 minutes (8 hours on high) (add an additional 15 minutes for making the gravy while toasting the ciabatta)
Total Time: 8 hours 25 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 7-quart Crockpot, 10-cup food processor, 12-inch cast-iron skillet, 6-quart saucepot, 2 rimmed baking sheet pan

3-pound brisket roast
2 tablespoons of Canola oil
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper

2 chopped large onions
4 ribs chopped celery with their leaves
1 pound of chopped organic  multi-colored carrots (7 small carrots)
4 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of  freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1/2 cup of beef stock, unsalted
2 10.5-ounce cans of beef consommé
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of water
1/4 cup of Kitchen bouquet seasoning
1 heaping tablespoon corn starch
4 ciabatta rolls, sliced in half and toasted
Italian flat-leaf parsley for garnish

First, add 2 tablespoons of Canola oil to 1 sheet of paper towel.  Using the oil-dampened paper towel, wipe down the bottom and sides of the cast-iron skillet. Preheat the oven over medium-high heat until the skillet is smoking hot. Carefully lay the roast into the pan. Sear the first side for 3 to 5 minutes. Once the meat releases, from the pan, without giving you any resistance flip and sear the other side for another 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large plate. Set aside. While the pan is still over medium-high heat add 1/2 cup of beef stock. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bits off the bottom of the skillet. Transfer that flavorful liquid to a small bowl. Set aside.

In the meantime, prep the carrots, celery, garlic, and onions. Transfer to the Crockpot. Add tomato paste, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Place the seared brisket on top. Pour in the beef consommé, 1/2 cup of water, and the reserved beef juices from the pan.

Place the lid on the Crockpot and set to cook for 8 hours on high.

After 8 hours turn the Crockpot off and carefully remove the brisket. Remove and discard the sprigs of rosemary. Break up the roast into large pieces, transfer to a plate. Set aside.

Transfer the vegetables into a food processor. Pour the remaining liquid from the Crockpot into a large saucepot. Purée all the vegetables then add them into the pot. Over medium heat allow the sauce to come up to a bubble then reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the browning seasoning (Kitchen bouquet) and simmer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
To thicken this sauce, just a little more, in a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water (this is what’s known as a slurry) until the mixture is paste-like and smooth. Once more, turn the heat back up to medium, stirring occasionally bringing the sauce up to a boil.  Once the sauce thickens, reduce the heat to (lowest setting) warm. Carefully add the pot roast back in, place the lid on.

For the Ciabatta rolls, slice each one in half. Place 4 halves onto each rimmed baking sheet pan. Drizzled a little olive oil of each one, sprinkle with  Kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper to taste. Transfer to the oven, bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.

All I do to serve this dish is to lay the toasted Ciabatta bread cut side up on a plate and ladle some of the gravy over my delicious Slow Cooker Pot Roast On Toasted Ciabatta Bread. Garnish with Italian flat-leaf parsley. Served with a side of Sautéed Spinach With Garlic.

Sautéed Spinach With Garlic

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Meatballs And Noodles

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The same dish served two ways, thick or thin. I prefer mine to have a soupier broth, so I can dunk crusty bread into it and sop up all that goodness. Steve likes a thicker consistency. I’ll explain how you can thicken the broth so the consistency is similar to chicken and dumplings. This is my Meatballs And Noodles.

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep Time: 40 minutes (time includes making and cooking the meatballs)
Cook Time:
Total Time:
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, large mixing bowl, two 6-quart Dutch ovens with lids, parchment paper, cookie-dough scoop

Ingredients For Meatballs:
2 pounds of ground sirloin (yields approx. 50 walnut-size meatballs)
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
6 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup of store-bought fresh basil pesto
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup of ketchup
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 1/2 cups of bread crumbs, Italian-style
1/4 cup of heavy cream
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Ingredients For the Soup:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter, unsalted
1 onion, diced
2 cups of carrots, diced
1 pint of cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
1 cup of celery, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of Kitchen Bouquet
4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 quarts of beef broth, unsalted
1 10.5-ounce can of beef consommé
3 1/4 cups of water (reserve 1/4 cup for *slurry)
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
1 12-ounce package of frozen egg noodles
2 heaping tablespoons of cornstarch

Directions For The Meatballs:
Preheat oven
to 375-degrees F.
Start by lining two rimmed baking sheet pans with parchment paper, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl add all of the ingredients with the exception of the ground meat, mix to combine. Next, add the ground meat. Gently mix until all the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the meat. Using a cookie-dough scoop, scoop out the meatball mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet pan. Leave about 1-inch between meatballs. Once all the meatballs are made, liberally spray the tops with the non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

While the meatballs are in the oven, dice the carrots, celery, and onion. Clean and quarter the mushrooms, and mince the garlic. Transfer all the vegetables to a large plate and set aside.

Directions For The Soup:
In a large Dutch oven over medium heat together the butter and olive oil. Add diced onions, celery, carrots, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Stirring occasionally, cook until vegetables start to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Next, add the mushrooms and thyme, continue stirring, allowing the mushrooms to release their liquid and begin to brown, another 5 to 7 minutes.

Turn the heat to medium-high, add the beef broth, beef consommé, Kitchen Bouquet, water, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring up to a bubble, reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat.

Transfer the cooked meatballs from the oven adding them slowly into the pot where they’ll continue cooking for another 5 minutes allowing them to absorb that scrumptious broth.

Adjust the heat to medium, bring back up to a boil before adding the frozen egg noodles. Following the instructions on the package, cook for another 18 to 20 minutes.

At this point, the Meatballs And Noodles are ready.

Remember how I was saying that Steve likes his to have a thicker broth.  To do this I divide the Meatballs And Noodles into two pots. One, of the two pots, cover and set aside. Place the other pot over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, add a *slurry of cornstarch and water, stir to combine. Continue to cook allowing the sauce to thicken, another 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the heat off and cover.

You can see, from the pictures above, the difference in the consistency of the two dishes. One is more like a hearty soup, the other has the consistency like chicken and dumplings. Whether you like yours to be brothy or thick both are super delicious.

*Slurry: A thickening mixture that is made up of equal parts cornstarch/flour and water, that is prepared for use in making soups, stews, and sauces. Once the slurry is added the mixture should be thoroughly cooked for several minutes to eliminate the raw taste of the flour.

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Homemade Meatloaf

Homemade Meatloaf

Growing up in the ’70s, I remember one of the most traditionally made dinners was meatloaf. My mom had her version #tastethelove, my friends’ moms had their version, and my grandmother had her version. They were all delicious but so very different. I think that’s what makes this dish so common throughout many households but so individually unique. Meatloaf is a blank canvas to use whatever flavor profile you’d like. Traditionally meatloaf was made with ground beef, but that’s not the case anymore, ground pork, chicken, or turkey can be used to make meatloaf today.

My Homemade Meatloaf is a family favorite. Let me show you what goes into my Homemade Meatloaf, starting with the roasted garlic.


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Roasted Red Peppers

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Prep Time: 15 minutes (prep the vegetable while roasting the garlic)
Cook Time:  2 hours 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 2 large mixing bowls, 1 rimmed baking sheet pan, 12-inch sauté pan, 3-quart saucepot

1-pound lean ground sirloin
2-pounds ground pork
1 bulb of garlic, 4 cloves, roasted, 2 cloves, raw and minced
1 1/2 onions, small dice
3 ribs of celery, small dice
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped fine
1/4 cup roasted Piquillo peppers, small dice
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
2 cups breadcrumbs, Italian-style
1/4 cup half-and-half
4 tablespoons Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup

Ingredients For Brown Gravy:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 dash Kitchen Boquet, browning and seasoning sauce
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 cups of chicken broth, low sodium

Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
Peel and discard the papery out layer of the garlic bulb, leaving intact the skins of the individual cloves. Using a sharp knife, cut 1/4 to 1/2-inch from the top of the cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic.

Set the garlic on top of a piece of foil. Drizzle a couple of teaspoons of olive oil over each exposed head, using your fingers to rub the olive oil over all the cut, exposed garlic cloves. Sprinkle each head with a pinch of Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  Wrap the garlic bulbs up in the foil. Place the foil packet on a rimmed baking sheet pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cloves are lightly browned and feel soft when pressed. Remove from the oven, carefully open the foil packet and set aside to cool.

While garlic is roasting prep all the vegetables.

In the meantime, in a large sauté pan, over medium heat, add olive oil, diced onions, diced celery, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and minced garlic. As the veggies start to soften, add 1 taablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and freshly chopped thyme leaves, stir to combine. Sauté the vegetables, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 10 minutes. Turn off and remove from the heat to let cool.

Adjust oven temperature to 350-degrees F.

In the large mixing bowl, with the roasted garlic, diced roasted red peppers, and beaten eggs add the Italian-style bread crumbs, half and half, fresh chopped Italian flat leaf parsley, Kosher salt, fresh black pepper, dried oregano, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and the cooled vegetable mixture, mix to combine.

Next, it’s time to add the meat to the bowl with all the other ingredients. Using your hands, mix in the meat until it’s all just combined, do not overmix. After everything is combined and all that goodness is mix throughout, form the meatloaf and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Form the meatloaf delicately into a pretty looking loaf. Refer to the picture above. There’s no need to do anything else to the meat. The oven will take care of making it look all nice, beautiful, crispy, and brown. Trust me!

While the meatloaf is in the oven make start the Lumpy Mashed Potatoes, Click the link below for the recipe.

I bake for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 155-degrees F. Transfer the meatloaf to the counter, cover with foil and allow to rest for another 15 minutes. There will be some carry over cooking time.

Directions For Brown Gravy:
In a saucepot on medium heat, melt the butter, add the fresh thyme leaves. Next, the flour and whisk together making sure to get all visible lumps. Add Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, continuously whisking until mixture turns light brown in color. Turn the heat down to low and slowly add the chicken broth, whisking constantly. Add Kitchen Boquet and Worcestershire sauce. Turn the heat back up to medium. Continue whisking until gravy boils and thickens 3 to 5 minutes.

Lemon Pepper Asparagus 

Lumpy Mash Potatoes

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