Every year I fly up to Virginia to visit with my daughter Kristine for the beginning of the NCAA basketball tournament. I love this time Kristine and I spend together. Yes, we watch a great deal of basketball but it also affords us some quality time together. I usually arrive the day before tip-off so we can finish filling in our brackets and getting in the pool.
Normally, I go for an extended weekend, however, this year, I went up a little earlier. Kristine wanted to celebrate her 3rd 40th birthday while I was there. We celebrated with family and friends at the Crystal City Sport Pub and had a great time.
I arranged for a variety of delicious appetizers for the party including one of my very favorites, Buffalo Chicken Dip. But what Kristine was looking forward to most was her hot pink Crown and Scepter birthday cake from Giant Food because, after all, she is a princess.
It was not all play for Kristine during my visit. Several of the days Kristine had to go to work. So, I thought it would be fun if I prepared some of her favorite foods and have nice, home-cooked meals ready when she got home from work. I decided to make two recipes that I have prepared just in the last few years and one from her childhood.
Kristine asked me to make a spaghetti pie dish I made during a previous visit. And, I know that she likes Mexican dishes; so, I decided to also make a chicken enchilada recipe that is a favorite in my home. She loved both.
However, the dish she really enjoyed most was one that I prepared for many years from a recipe in the Betty Crocker Recipe Card Library while she was growing up. This is a simple beef dish made beef, onions, mushrooms, spices, beef broth and wine.
This dish is easy to put together and all ingredients are easily found at the local grocery store. I have used several different cuts of beef and all have worked well. Although, the meat I tend to use most often is round steak. Just add a simple salad and slices of crusty, toasted and buttered French bread and the meal is done.
2 Tablespoons shortening
5 medium onions, sliced
½ pound mushrooms, sliced
2 pounds boneless beef cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon marjoram leaves
¼ teaspoon thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 ½ Tablespoons flour
¾ cup beef broth*
1 ½ cups red Burgundy
Melt shortening in large skillet. Cook and stir onions and mushrooms until onions are tender; remove vegetables.
In same skillet, brown meat; add shortening if necessary. Sprinkle seasonings and herbs over meat. Mix flour and broth; stir into skillet. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in wine. Cover and simmer 1 ½ to 2 hours or until meat is tender. (Liquid should always just cover meat. If necessary, add more broth and wine-1 part broth to 2 parts wine.)
Gently stir in onions and mushrooms; cook 15 minutes or until heated through.
*Beef broth can be made by dissolving 1 beef bouillon cube or 1 teaspoon of instant beef bouillon in ¾ cup boiling water.
Of course, basketball is our primary focus during my visit. We filled our brackets and spent the next week getting more and more depressed as we watched one team after another fall by the wayside. There were so many nail-biter games this year, and so many of our favorite teams lost, but what great games.
As always, we stopped by The Bungalow Billiards Sports Grill in Shirlington for tip-off, a few cold beers and a basket of fried pickles. The next day Jennifer stopped by the grill to join us for lunch. Later in the week we made our way back to the Pub for lunch and watch the Duke game. I ordered the North Carolina Burger, and as I remembered, it was so very good. I love the beef topped with the house pulled pork barbeque, melted Provolone cheese, and then, topped with their homemade barbeque sauce. The burger is just plain yummy! Except for the food, the afternoon was not good; Duke lost.
A special bonus for my traveling north earlier this year; I got to enjoy beautiful views of the trees, cars and buildings covered in 8″ of snow from Kristine’s kitchen and living room windows. Seeing the snow was like placing a cherry on top of my hot fudge sundae. I loved it!!
So, how did my brackets do this year? Not well. I posted 13th last year in our pool; this year I fell to 31st. Not a good year but, there is always next year.