23 January 2012


We had a little Christmas dinner party
at our house and since it has been
ages since we hosted any sort of dinner party...
I had to pull out some big guns.

But those guns had to be cost-effective,
fit in a small window of time
and not make me a slave to the kitchen.


So, I turned to the Pioneer Woman.
(so obsessed with her fabulousness)

I knew that I wanted to do some beef short ribs
because they're a 'special occasion' protein
and very cost effective.

She served her short ribs with goat cheese polenta.
no brainer.

I then went to my 2nd go-to: Ina Garten
and roasted off some winter veggies...

And because my sweet friend, Jaki is
a salad-lover, I made a Jaki-inspired arugula salad
with Ina's simple vinegarette.
(pancetta, pomegranate seeds, dried figs, candied walnuts, parmesan crisp)


These are SO mouth-watering delicious,
the polenta is so creamy and SIMPLE
and the veggies add such a great
sweetness and color.

It was so good, in fact - I did it again for New Year's Eve!
Here are the inspired recipes with a little "Tracy Tweaking":

{boneless} Overnight Short Ribs

8 whole Beef Short Ribs (boneless from Costco)
Kosher Salt and Pepper To Taste
1/4 cup All-purpose Flour
6 pieces Pancetta, Diced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
3 whole Carrots, Diced
2 cups Red Wine
2 cups Beef Broth (enough To Almost Cover Ribs)
2 sprigs Thyme
2 sprigs Rosemary

Instructions for Day 1:

Salt and pepper ribs, then dredge in flour. Set aside.
In a large dutch oven, cook pancetta over medium heat until complete crispy and all fat is rendered. Remove pancetta and set aside. Do not discard grease.
Add olive oil to pan with the pancetta grease, and raise heat to high. Brown ribs on all sides, about 45 seconds per side. Remove ribs and set aside. Turn heat to medium.
Add onions, and carrots to pan and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape bottom of pan to release all the flavorful bits. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes.
Add broth, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Taste and add more salt if needed. Add ribs to the liquid; they should be almost completely submerged. Add thyme and rosemary sprigs (whole) to the liquid.
Put on the lid and place into the oven. Cook at 350 for 2 hours. Remove from oven, and cool completely.  Refrigerate overnight.

Instructions for Day 2:

Preheat oven to 200.  Skim fat that has solidified on the top of the short ribs.

Bake with the lid off for 3 hours, checking frequently
to make sure the sauce hasn't reduced too much.
(If it has, add more beef stock and replace the lid 
for the remainder of the cooking time.)
Remove pan from oven and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes, lid on, before serving. At the last minute, skim fat off the top of the liquid. 
Serve 1 on bed of creamy polenta, spooning a little juice over the top.

Goat Cheese Polenta

1 cup Yellow Cornmeal
teaspoon Salt
Tablespoons Butter
6 ounces, weight Goat Cheese
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
**optional** 1t dried Thyme or dried Rosemary


Bring 4 1/2 cups water to a boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer, add optional herbs, and cook for 15 minutes, adding salt and extra tablespoons of water as needed.

Add cornmeal to the water in a thin stream, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
When polenta is done, stir in cream, butter and goat cheese. 

Check seasonings, and add salt to taste.
Serve with your favorite meat main course...or eat by the spoonful!

  • 1 pound carrots, peeled
  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and seeded (about 2 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the carrots, parsnips, sweet potato, and butternut squash in 1 to 1 1/4-inch cubes. 
All the vegetables will shrink while baking, so don't cut them too small.
Place all the cut vegetables in a single layer on 2 baking sheets. 
Drizzle them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss well. 
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender, turning once with a metal spatula.
Sprinkle with parsley, season to taste, and serve hot.

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • Salad greens or arugula for 6 to 8 people


In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, garlic, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified.
Place the salad greens in a medium bowl and add enough dressing to moisten. Sprinkle with a little extra salt and pepper, if desired, and serve immediately.

(just had to add this photo of my nieces...)


Farmgirl Paints said...

Wowza...really need to make this. Love the homemade polenta recipe. I'm making some tonight but it's from a tube:)

paige said...

sounds divine!!
i love ina's roasted veggies. they are definitely a staple here!

hope your week is off to a great start :)

Haley said...

Looks SO yummy! Great dinner party inspiration! Xo

The Dease Family said...

Everything looks fantastic, but I have to admit that my favorite part of the post was that SWEET picture of your nieces. It just melts my heart.

Dollface said...

Looks amazing!! Hope you are well girl , xo

Lissa said...

Hey sweetie pie pumkin noodle! I just may take you up on this! Is this the promised recipe you were telling me about? You are an entertainer extrodinaire! (seriously... I can't for the life of me figure out how to spell that) Anyway, hope the family is healthy and... um... ELEVEN MORE DAYS!

Lissa said...

i'm really excited to make this! neal's birthday is next week and if i have time I'm totally doing it!

Between You and Me said...

okay....pinning this!

Can I work up enough nerve to try it?

Sounds very intimidating!

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