Braised Beef w/ Spinach and Brown Rice

by zesty on February 9, 2011 · 13 comments

Every now and again I feel I come up with a dinner that is really really good!  Last night may have been one of those nights.  I started with a big piece of beef, almost like a blade roast (just a little thinner) and I had some homemade marinara sauce that I wanted to use.  I also had a pile of grape tomatoes that have seen better days in addition to brown rice and spinach that I was thinking about all day.

I was home in the afternoon awaiting zesty junior off the bus so I put these in the oven for 3 hours with the sauce, tomatoes and some seasoning and all I can say about the beef – ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.  Tender, succulent, could not pick it up without it falling apart.

The joy of braising beef, you are pretty much always impressed with the results.


  • Boneless Beef ( 1-2 lbs)
  • 1 Cup Marinara sauce
  • 2 Handful or grape tomatoes
  • 1 Tsp. Dry mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic ( crushed )
  • 1/2 Tsp. Red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. Water


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Preheat an oven safe pan on top of the stove and add the olive oil.  Season the beef with salt and pepper and add to the pan to sear both sides.  About 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove from heat.
  2. In a bowl, combine the marinara sauce, red pepper flakes, dry mustard, garlic and grape tomatoes and pour over the beef.
  3. Cover and place in the oven for 3 hours.
  4. Remove from the oven and set the meat aside ( covering with tin foil )
  5. Place the pan back on the stove top and bring to a boil.  We will create a slurry with the cornstarch and water to help thicken the sauce to finish the sauce.  Once the sauce is boiling, add the slurry and let it thicken for about 5-6 minutes.
  6. Let’s assemble the dish.  I like to put the raw spinach on the bottom of the bowl and top with a little sauce to begin the wilting process, then I serve a little bit of rice, and top with the beef.  Then ladle a little more of thickened sauce on top.
  7. ENJOY!

Zesty Tip: The key to the sauce it make sure it has the right consistency.  Because the Marinara had oil in it – it will break apart once cooked for so long.  The combination of cornstarch and water helps thicken and bring it back together.  The sauce is the star of the dish in my opinion.

Zesty’s Spontaneous News

Well Well Well Have I got news for you!  Yesterday on a total whim I went ahead and booked a family vacation for Disney World!  I know, kind of crazy and kind of fun.  I could not pass up the price and we knew the kids wanted to go on a plane.

Now you ask yourself, why is he telling me this?  Well I kind of need your help.  I do not have a hotel booked yet and we have not decided to stay in the Disney resort or just outside.  I feel we will be doing other things in Orlando other than Disney so we will rent a car for ease of getting around but I am still pondering the hotel situation.

If you have any suggestions by all means email me or leave them in the comments – they would be greatly appreciated.

I hope you have a great Wednesday, as I sit here and look out the dining room window – we are buried in snow.  The driveway is completely full and we are just waiting to get cleaned out.  The sun is shining, the snow is blowing and it is freezing out.  I cannot wait for Florida!

Take care


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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Angela

I have been following your website for a few months now and have tried a number of your dishes! Thanks so much; they are all so full of flavour and my young family loves them. Keep up the good work; I look forward to reading your posts daily.


2 brandi

ooh, Disney will be so much fun! I don’t have suggestions since I’ve never been but that’s one thing I want to do once we do have kids.


3 Susan

We have been to Disney a few times and stayed within the resort both times. We found this incredibly easy and convenient. We stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort and Port Orleans Resort. We used a Disney specific travel agent and lucked into many discounts and benefits.


4 Herbie

Check out the Holiday Inn Sunspree resort. I don’t remember the age of the little Zesty(s) but we stayed there with my boys when they were stroller-able and had a ball. The place is very reasonably priced, and the kids rooms are so interesting and fun we had a hard time loading up the kiddos to head to the parks.

Being Mr. Zesty, you won’t be impressed with the restaurant – but it’s close enough to everything to keep you happy. As Mr. Zesty, you may want to look into the loads of timeshare rentals (folks rent theirs out) as you’ll get a kitchen and will be able to save significant $$ by making your meals.

Link to the Sunspree ->


5 zesty

Herbie – Little zests are 6 and 3 1/2


6 Herbie

Perfect ages for the Sunspree – of course there’s boatloads of places that cater to kids down there. We used to go every year, I think the Sunspree is a hidden gem for the cost.


7 Herbie

Also, if you’re thinking about heading to the beach for a day trip, may want to consider a trip to st. petersburg/clearwater area. Gulf cost beaches are better than the Atlantic coast this time of year. Lots of kid friendly things to do – my kids especially loved the pirate cruse when they were similar ages as yours:


8 Laurel

We don’t have snow, but it has been cold here in Florida! and wet! 30 degrees this morning (this is Florida…)
Depending on the age of the kids the Magic Kingdom may be too young… my kids think it’s boring – they do however love Hollywood Studio’s (formerly MGM). If you like roller coasters, they have a couple of good ones… Living so close we know the parks like a neighborhood street. Always something new each time we visit though!


9 Laurel

p.s. – If you can stay at a Disney Hotel I suggest it. You can get to all of the parks on Disney transportation – no parking fees, and most of the drop offs are right at the front gate of the park – so less walking too. Off site though there are a lot of good choices of hotels, but there are some bad ones too – read the reviews at If I can find the one we stayed at recently I’ll forward it to you – we were delighted.


10 Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary)

This recipe sounds like comfort food at its best. B and I really enjoy slow cooked meat on a cold wintery day. Saving this one for sure ! Thanks Zesty!!


11 Danica

Beautiful pic Z! It makes me almost want to try it.

I have a few ideas for places we have stayed in Orlando when we went to Disney World. I will send you an email with the idea I have in mind :D

It looks like everyone has some great ideas above though….totally makes me want to go LOL.

Have fun with the kiddos at Disneyworld ~ FUN!!



12 Biz

That dish looks amazing – great way to use up marinara!

When are you going to Disney? We took our kids during spring break when they were 10 and 12 (now 19 and 21!). We got a great deal renting a house, we were within driving distance of everything – but beware of the traffic – it will take 3 times as long as you think it will – and our car rental cost more than our house rental – supply and demand! Didn’t want to bring down your great news, but just thought you should know!


13 Kayla @ Fitter Than Choc

I stumbled upon your blog, and am really glad I did! This recipe looks good! I like how you used such a short list of ingredients to create something so scrumptious! Bookmarked!!!!


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