Carrots and Celery: A Colorful Spin on Steak House Sides

Steak, Roasted Carrots and Celery Salad
Summer hasn’t felt very summery until these past two weeks. The rains finally stopped and the heat finally reached into the upper 90’s and it’s starting to feel like Lubbock, again. We weren’t sure what to do with all that rain and all that…not watering our lawns, so we sorta forgot how. I was so used to my garden looking like Swamp Thing that I honestly forgot to keep watering about a week after it quit raining so heavily. Then when things started to wilt, I realized that everything might be thirsty. So I’m back in the swing of watering every other day and I’m enjoying seeing things grow. However, if we had to survive off of what I have growing in my garden, we’d have all died a few weeks ago. I want to be better and grow enough to sustain us year round, but I’m not there, yet. I grew up in a family of farmers but I am not one of them.

We benefit from families of farmers in this town, however, and one of those families is Holy Cow Beef, a family that produces amazing beef products right here in Lubbock, TX. They run an honest, humane, grass-fed beef corporation and their products are extremely high-quality. We bought a New York strip from them, among other cuts, when they were at the Lubbock Downtown Farmer’s Market last weekend and happily made this weeknight meal for our family last week. Matt seared the steak in butter on the stove and finished it in the oven – a favorite and classic way we like to cook a steak. The three of us ate dinner from just one portion!  I roasted orange and purple carrots along with parsnips and served that and the beef along with a blue cheese celery salad. Yes, this plate was served to our three-year-old (no short-order cooking around here) and here’s how it went:

“I only like the orange carrots.”
“I will only eat one celery.”
“More meat, please.”

So I’d highly recommend if you’re in this area, to stop by the farmer’s market on Saturdays and check out what Holy Cow Beef has to offer! We’ve been eating less meat in general, and so buying high quality products from local producers helps us value the days we do have meat a little more. Quality over quantity is a good idea, especially if you, like me, are a carnivore.


Blue Cheese Celery Salad
I wanted to share the recipe for the blue cheese and celery salad with you, today. It was so refreshing and different as a side for the steak. I think it would make an amazing topping for a burger, a different dish during football season, or as a side for BBQ!

Blue Cheese Celery Salad*
serves 4

¼ cup mayonnaise
4 cups celery, cut into ⅛-inch-thick half moons (about 8 stalks)
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons chile oil
¼ cup celery leaves
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
½ cup (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese

Spread the mayonnaise among 4 plates. In a medium mixing bowl, toss the celery with the orange juice and season generously with salt. Drizzle with the chile oil (you could also use olive oil and crushed red pepper), then toss in the celery leaves. Scatter the dressed celery on top of the mayonnaise, then top with the chives and lots of blue cheese, and serve.

*adapted from Tasting Table


Roasted Carrots
And instead of the classic fries or a baked potato that you typically see alongside a steak, I did a colorful trio of roasted carrots. I simply peeled and sliced three of each orange and purple carrots and parsnips and coated them in olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper and then roasted them at 400 until soft when pierced with a knife. Then I browned one tablespoon of butter and tossed them right before serving.


Blue Cheese Celery Salad with Seared Steak


Cheesy Broccoli Rice from Scratch

broccoli rice casserole
This was undoubtedly a comfort food for many of you growing up, as it was for me.  Creamy and cheesy with just a hint of something green, but mostly rice and cheese.  So all in all, the perfect vegetable dish. 😉 My mom made it a lot and sometimes I crave it but I’ve never made it myself.

A lot of recipes you see online call for cans of stuff, velveeta and things that just don’t seem like…food.  Now, I’m not saying that the from-scratch version is any better for you, BUT it has all real ingredients and gives you a good feeling and that’s what makes the indulgence worth it.  I decided one day I would make this dish and since I don’t keep any cream-of-whatever on hand, I made a simple bechemel (white gravy base) and added in lots of extra sharp cheddar.  Each ingredient cooked separately in chicken stock to give lots of added flavor and the results were fabulous!

We still have lots of snow on the ground and the roads are hard to travel, so warm, cheesy dishes are the perfect meal to stay inside and enjoy.  Be warm and well fed! 🙂

Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole


Cheesy Broccoli Rice

  • 1 head broccoli, chopped small
  • 2 cups chicken broth (although vegetable broth would enable the entire
  • dish to be vegetarian)
  • 1 cup white rice
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 TBS unsalted butter
  • 4 TBS flour
  • 1 cup whole milk (plus more to adjust consistency)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • breadcrumbs and extra cheese for topping (I used crushed Ritz crackers)

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a large, deep skillet, bring the broth to a boil and throw in the broccoli.  Steam it with a lid covering until the broccoli is starting to get tender, about 5 minutes.  Remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon and set aside in a large bowl.  Add the rice to the broth and cook until tender (about 15-20 minutes).  Dump rice into the bowl with the broccoli (it’s okay if there’s a little extra liquid).

Wipe the skillet clean and melt the butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour until it’s all coated and bubbling, but not turning brown.  Whisk in the milk and let it come back up to a boil, adding more splashes of milk to maintain a gravy-like consistency.  I’m sorry I don’t have exact amounts, but it’s really an add enough until it looks right kinda thing.  Stir in the cheddar and whisk until melted.  Add more milk if it seems too thick.  Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper until it tastes right and then stir in the broccoli and rice.  Top with breadcrumbs and extra cheese and melt in the oven until bubbling.

Turkey Meatball Stroganoff


For your Monday family meal, I am presenting something truly comforting, low in fat and wonderfully flavorful.  Coming, again, from Tyler Florence’s book, Start Fresh, this recipe appears at the back of the book where a few dishes are listed that the whole family can enjoy and be modified for any stage eater.  If I were feeding this to 9 month old Olive, I would smash up a meatball into tiny pieces (they are really soft, anyway) and I would take some of the sauce and pulse it a few times with a few noodles.  I’d even have taken a bit of everything for 6 month old Olive and blended it all up with some extra sauce!  I was never too worried about feeding her a huge variety at an early age.  For 15 month old Olive, this meal is a free-for-all.  I’m really strict when it comes to what and when she eats, but as for how, I still cringe, but I do let her eat with her hands, smash things in her face and even try and “smell” everything (which results in food up the nose).  I know I have a lot of guidelines, so I try my best to not stress too much about the mess.  I still won’t dump a scoop of spaghetti onto her try and leave her to it.  I have boundaries, you know.  🙂  But I think WHAT she eats and the way we treat mealtimes is more important than having to hose down the high chair.  (I’m preaching to myself.  This is a life lesson for me and my need to control things too much!)


Turkey Meatball Stroganoff*
Serves 4 to 6

1 slice multigrain bread (I used rye) or about 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1.5lbs ground turkey
2 tbs whole milk
1/2 cup yellow onion, minced
1/2 tsp caraway seeds, crushed (just dump some in a plastic bag and roll over them with a rolling pin if you don’t have a mortar and pestle)
Pinch of kosher salt
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
6 ounces sliced mushrooms (any kind)
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 tbs AP flour
1.5 cups low sodium chicken stock
2 tbs sour cream or unsweetened yogurt (I used the latter cause that’s what I had on hand!)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
8 ounces cooked egg noodles (I like the extra wide for baby hands to grasp!)
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley

Chop or pulse the bread in your food processor (or with a knife) until very small and crumbly.  In a large bowl, mix the turkey together with the bread, milk, onion, caraway seeds, and salt until combined (err on the side of too wet and add more milk if it seems dry).  Shape the turkey mixture into about fifteen 2-inch meatballs.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the meatballs and cook, turning often, until browned, 5 to 7 minutes (I have to use a meat thermometer for turkey and make sure I get the centers up to 160).  Transfer the meatballs to a plate.

Add the garlic to the same skillet and cook over medium heat for a minute or two.  Add the mushrooms and thyme and continue to cook, turning often, until the mushrooms are golden.  Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and stir to coat.  Stir in the chicken stock and cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened, 5 to 7 minutes.

Whisk in the sour cream and mustard until smooth, then return the meatballs to the pan.  Turn to coat with the sauce.

Spoon the meatballs and sauce over the noodles and serve garnished with parsley.  I didn’t think this recipe made enough sauce, just FYI, so I think next time, I’d double the parts for the sauce.  Word to the wise!  I like leftover sauce and for the noodles to be absolutely coated!

*recipe adapted from Start Fresh