Ground Beef with Polenta

This is a very simple and hearty meal by just topping ground beef sauce over creamy polenta. So easy and yet so satisfying.

I hope you all had a great weekend, either celebrating Easter, Passover or just an enjoyable weekend…

I love to make this dish…it is simple and so delicious. Not to mention so comforting…
This time I added a little jalapeno in the polenta, which added an extra flavor to it. It is so good when you scoop the polenta together with the ground beef and its sauce…yum!

Anyway, enough of bragging about how delicious this dish it is…lets be practical…


Ground Beef

2 garlic cloves chopped finely
1 small onion cut into small pieces
Approximately 12oz lean ground beef
1 can stew tomatoes
¼ teaspoon ground all spice
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Soft Polenta

1/3 cup cornmeal
2 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno
Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh basil leaves


In a medium sauce pan, sauté garlic and onion in the olive oil until slightly golden brown. Add the ground beef until browned using medium high heat.

Add the ground all spice, dry oregano and the can of stewed tomatoes. Once the mixture starts to boil, lower the heat to low and cover the pan. Let is cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the ground beef is soft.

In the meantime cook the polenta by adding the polenta in the boiling water with butter. Stir constantly in low heat until the fully cooked. As the cornmeal cooks the texture will change from watery to cream consistency. Add the jalapeno, mix gently and remove the polenta from the heat.

To assemble the plate, scoop the polenta in the center of a deep dish and using the back of the spoon make an indent. Add the ground beef on the little crater. Garnish with fresh basil or freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve hot.

If you enjoy this simple and delicious dish with soft polenta, you might want to check on Chicken with Soft Polenta or Shrimp with Cheesy Polenta.


Did you know that polenta or its variety is widely used throughout Europe, Africa, North and South America?

Thank you for stopping by Color Your Recipes…have a colorful day!

Pork with Dry Tofu

This is a simple and easy dish, it is delicious especially paired with white rice…no need to mention that it makes a great lunch next day. Every time I make this dish, I end up having more than one bowl of rice. I used pork chop in this dish and the frozen French beans from Trader Joe’s. You can always use fresh beans or chicken if you do not care for pork. Just make sure that the beans are not over cooked.


1 lb of pork chop, cut in thin strips
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1½ tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 cup string bean, frozen of fresh
5-6 oz of dry tofu cut in strips
Salt and pepper to taste


Marinate the pork strips with garlic, ½ tablespoon of olive oil, cornstarch, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Let it sit for a few minutes.

In a wok, add the remaining ½ tablespoon olive oil, pan fry the pork strips. Make sure that the pork in thoroughly cooked.

Remove from the pan and set aside. In the same pan add the tofu strips and a couple of tablespoons of water, cook until the tofu is somehow soft.

Stir in the pre-cooked beans and cook for a minute or so, and add the pork. Add more salt and pepper to  taste. Serve hot with rice.

If you enjoy this pork strips with tofu, you might want to check on the Baked Tofu Salad.

Did you know that tofu is a product made from coagulation of soy milk? Similar to the production of cheese depending of the amount of water extracted tofu can be found in many different textures.

Thank you for stopping by Simple Recipes and have a great week!

Oxtail Soup

This oxtail soup is very simple to make, it is very hearty and comforting, especially in this cold weather. You find a complete meal in a bowl of this soup. I call it soup, but somewhat comes in between soup and stew due to its thickness. Because oxtail has high fat and high gelatin content, I usually like to cook this soup only during cold weather months.
To speed up the cooking time I used the pressure cooker because oxtail is very muscular. I like to cook this soup in two steps because oxtail needs a longer time to cook and I like to visualize the pieces of potatoes, carrots and celery in my soup and not have them “pulverized”.


1 ½ -2 lbs oxtail
1 medium onion cut
3-4 garlic cloves
1 can stew tomatoes
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon cooking wine
Salt and pepper to taste
4 medium potatoes cut in pieces
3 medium carrots cut in pieces
4 stalks of celery


In the pressure cooker, sauté the onion and garlic with the olive oil until slightly brown, add the oxtail and braise. Add the can of stewed tomatoes, the cooking wine and cover the oxtail with water. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and cook in high heat until the pressure has been built up. Once the pressure is on, turn the heat to low and let it cook for approximately 40 minutes or until the oxtail are tender.
Add the potato, carrot and celery to the soup and let it cook until the potato and carrot are soft, add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot.

I hope you enjoy this simple and hearty recipe for oxtail soup.


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Zucchini Spaghetti

We are back and had a great time in Cancun…again? Yes, we love the beaches and the people there…I love to be pampered, lots of massages, fresh food and sun :)
I will post some pictures later once I have the chance to organize them. Now I am back to reality…

In regards to this dish…you must be thinking  ”what”? Zucchini spaghetti? Well, this dish is  kind of an impostor…since spaghetti squash is commonly  used to mimic spaghetti, this dish uses zucchini to do the trick. In this simple recipe, you will need to shred the zucchini into thin and long threads. Top with your favorite sauce, with or without meat and you have a tasty and healthy meal in front of you in a blink.

This is a very colorful dish, and great to welcome Spring…


2-3 zucchini
1-2 teaspoon salt
Your favorite pasta sauce


Shred the zucchini and set aside. Boil water and add salt. Add the shredded zucchini to the boiling water and boil for 1 to 2 minutes. Drain the zucchini well and top it with your favorite sauce.

In this recipe,  I topped it with meatball, tomato sauce and added some shredded cheese, sun dried tomatoes and fresh basil.

I hope you enjoy this simple and easy recipe using zucchini. If you like this recipe, you might want to check on the spaghetti squash spaghetti as well. Both this recipes are simple, nutritious and low carb.


Did you know that zucchini is a fruit? Zucchini is very low in calorie, therefore suitable for weight loss diet and contains vitamin C, beta-carotene , magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, potassium and fibers.

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Stuffed Bell Peppers with Mushroom Sauce

I love all kinds of stuffed bell peppers.  I usually use quinoa, bulgur…but today I decided to use some left-over rice that I had in the fridge. But feel free to substitute the rice for any grain of your preference. Instead of serving or cooking the bell peppers in tomato sauce or beef broth, I decided to top them with crimini mushroom sauce. It came out delicious…and since we could not finish it all, I got to take it for lunch the next day.

This is the kind of meal that you have all your need in one simple plate…the carbs, the protein and the veggies. These stuffed bell peppers are very simple to make and yet delicious.


Stuffed Bell Peppers

1lb ground beef
2 roma tomatoes, seed removed and diced
1 small onion finely chopped
Fresh parsley
1 cup cold cooked long grain rice
½ teaspoon all-spice
Salt and pepper to taste
3 bell peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ cup water

Mushroom Sauce

8oz sliced crimini mushroom
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 red wine
1 ¼ cup beef broth
1 ½ tablespoon all-purpose flour
Fresh parsley to taste/garnish


Stuffed Bell Peppers

In a big bowl mix the ground beef, tomato, onion, parsley, salt, pepper and all-spice. Add to the beef mix the cooked rice and mix gently until the ingredients are all even distributed.

Cut the bell peppers in half and remove the stem and the seed. Stuff  each bell pepper with the beef mix.

In a wide frying pan, add the olive oil and place the stuffed peppers with the meat side towards the pan, let the meat brown for approximately 2-3 minute. Once the beef are brown and settled, flip the peppers and add the water. Cover and let the water boil in high heat. Once it starts to boil, turn the heat to medium/low and continue to cook for approximately 25 minutes, until the meat is cooked thoroughly. In the meantime prepare the mushroom sauce.

Mushroom Sauce

In a pan, sauteé the mushroom with the butter and olive oil until the mushrooms are slightly soft. Add the wine and let it simmer for approximately 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of the beef broth. Combine the ¼ cup of beef broth with the flour until smooth. Add the flour mix to the mushrooms until well blended by stirring constantly. Add salt and pepper and simmer for about 1-2 minutes. Add the parsley and serve over the stuffed bell peppers.

I hope you enjoy this simple recipe for stuffed bell peppers with mushroom sauce.

If you like this recipe, you might want to check others simple recipes of stuffed bell peppers such as the one with turkey and bulgur or beef with quinoa out.


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Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

OK, I know that this recipe is not very original since you all must have bumped into some recipe that uses spaghetti squash as a noddle…and here is my version of it.
This is a great way for people that are controlling their carb intake. I am sorry to tell you, but if you are craving for pasta, this dish will not resolve your problem, so be aware. On the other hand it is very tasty depending on the sauce that you add to the squash. So, in order to compensate I used sausage meatballs in a tomato base sauce to increase the flavor of this dish.


1 medium size spaghetti squash
Your favorite tomato sauce, preferably with some protein
A bunch of baby spinach
Parmesan cheese to taste


Preheat oven to 375F. Poke the squash with a fork. Bake spaghetti squash for approximately 60 minutes, or until a little resistance when pressing the skin. In the meantime prepare the tomato sauce as you normally make for your spaghetti. Let squash cool and cut in half, lengthwise. Remove and discard the seeds with a spoon and using a fork scrape the squash to get long and spaghetti like strands.
In deep plates place the spaghetti squash, sprinkle some pepper, top with baby spinach leaves and add your favorite pasta sauce. I used sausage balls in marinara sauce in this particular recipe. Finish by topping it with some fresh grated parmesan cheese. Serve hot.

I hope you enjoy this simple recipe using spaghetti squash. Have a wonderful day and…


Did you know that spaghetti squash is very low in calories but rich with vitamin A, beta carotene, folic acid and potassium?

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Sliced Beef with Black Bean Sauce

This is a very easy, simple recipe for a weekday dinner. The black bean sauce can be easily found in Asian grocery stores. Therefore is something that you will see very often in Asian dinner table. It is great to serve this dish with white rice…and the left over are great for next day lunch.


¾ lb thinly sliced beef
3-4 tablespoon black bean sauce (fermented)
3 garlic cloves
1 bunch green scallion
1 onion
1 tablespoon grape seed oil or any cooking oil


Marinate the beef with the black bean sauce and finely chopped garlic. In the meantime, slice the onion and cut the scallions (1 in). Sautee the beef in the oil, set aside. In the same pan sautee the onion and the scallion, once they turn slightly soft add the beef back to the pan. Mix gently and serve hot.


Did you know that the color black of the black bean is due to the fermenting/salting of soybeans?

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Beef and Barley Soup

Another soup recipe…since it has been cold…yes even here in Southern California. I’ve been making soup very often. This one is very easy, simple and so tasty. It is hearty and sure makes a great one dish meal, especially for a cold evening dinner. I used the pressure cooker, therefore the soup is ready in no time.


¾ cup pearl barley rinsed and soaked in water for 6~8 hours (or overnight)
1 small onion chopped
2~3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1~1 ½ lb beef for stew
1 can stew tomatoes
3 carrots, cut in cubes
3 stalks celery, cut
2 medium potatoes, cut in cubes
Salt and pepper to taste
1~2 dry bay leaves


In a bowl place the beef in cubes with the flour, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In the pressure cooker add the olive oil and sautee the onion and garlic, add the beef and let stir for a while, add the barley (drained) and the stew tomatoes.

Add 3 to 4 cups of water and the bay leaves.

Cook under pressure for 10 minutes. After the cooking time, remove from heat and let the pressure come down, once be able to open, add the potatoes, carrots and celery and cook for another minute under pressure.

Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.


Did you know that in Japan, tea is made from roasted barley and is served cold as a summer beverage?

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Meatloaf with Red Quinoa

After coming home for a long vacation and not cooking/baking during this time, I felt that my cooking skill was somehow affected :-), so decided to make something very simple by modifying a meatloaf recipe using quinoa.

It is a very easy recipe, just mix all the ingredients together, place in the oven and you have a beautiful meal.

By the way, will post pictures and experiences of our vacation in Turkey and Greece shortly


1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb lean ground pork
1 cup red quinoa, rinsed and pre-soaked in water for about 30 minutes
1 small onion finely chopped
3 tomatoes without seed and chopped
2 green onion chopped
½ bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
½ teaspoon ground all spice
Salt and pepper to taste.


Mix all the ingredients together.

Place in a oven safe dish and bake for 40 minutes at 350F.

Serve hot.


Did you know that quinoa has naturally a coat of saponins which makes it bitter? But the ones that we buy are processed, so the saponins which are toxic are removed. Quinoa is gluten free, therefore is easily digested.

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Bell Pepper Stuffed wtih Quinoa

I have been trying to cook more with quinoa, so I decided to substitute the grain in the stuffed bell peppers with quinoa. I usually use cracked wheat or rice. The way that I prepared this bell peppers are very easy and simple and sure makes a great one meal dish.


1/3 cup quinoa
1 lb lean ground beef
2 tomatoes, seed removed and chopped
½ large onion chopped
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1/3 teaspoon ground all spice
1 tablespoon olive oil
5~6 medium size green bell peppers
Salt and pepper to taste


Rinse the quinoa and let it drain well. Mix all the ingredients together, except the olive oil and stuff the bell peppers.

In a large skillet heat the olive oil and place the stuffed bell peppers with the stuffing facing the pan. Let the meat brown for a few minutes. Turn the bell peppers and add 1 cup of hot water.

Cover and let it cook for approximately 15 minutes.

Serve it hot.


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