Cowboy-Style Beef & Vegetable RagoutHere’s a meal that looks and feels special -- and it’s so easy to assemble. The list of ingredients for the “Cowboy-Style Beef and Vegetable Ragout,” from the September 2016 issue of Cooking Light, is totally approachable. In fact, I substituted fresh onions when I couldn’t access frozen pearl onions. No problem. When a sauce involves a tablespoon of ketchup, I relax completely.

The fresh tomatoes are a luscious treat in this dish. I added an additional 1/2 tsp. salt to my thick stew at the end.

Another brilliant component is the “Cauliflower Polenta.” How hip are you to the whole “riced cauliflower” hype? I’ve steered clear of it, honestly, but was happy to indulge here. My food processor rose to the occasion. After barely cooking the riced cauliflower with chicken stock and butter, you get a creamy, fabulous polenta to eat with your stew. Win, win.

PRICES:
Ground Sirloin (1 lb.) = $8.31
Tomatoes (3 cups) = $2.17
Cauliflower (10 oz.) = $1.21

PREP TIMES: devote 30 minutes to prep and cook the stew; cauliflower needs 15 minutes
TASTES: thick beef stew with luscious tomatoes sits atop creamy, buttery polenta

Tempted by one of Justin Chapple’s “Mad Genius Tips,” next time I want to try his “Ricotta Gnocchi with Summer Herbs,” from the September 2016 issue of Food & Wine. Come back to my site next week, to see if I can pull this off.