Beef and Mushrooms with Polenta

I got the (hopefully) last of the Christmas decorations up. I decided I wasn’t going to do anything outside this year – and then I saw the lights at Niagara Falls. After seeing how easy they did them – and how spectacular they looked – how could I not give it a go?!?

Many of the lights were trees made out of rope and lights.

Niagara Falls Lights

It was their simplicity that made them so much fun.

Niagara Falls Lights

Not to mention there were miles of them along the parkway. Lots of them were tied to tree branches and simply draped down and anchored into the ground.

Niagara Falls Lights

From multi-colored to single-colored trees, it was pretty spectacular. And then there were the laser lights that color the falls. They were intense – but you barely noticed the light beams except with the camera.

Niagara Falls Lights

My thought process was if they could make trees with rope, I could make trees with tomato cages. Granted, they wouldn’t be quite as tall as the lights at Niagara Falls, but I also don’t have unlimited miles of lights and my own personal power plant to light them.

One must make do. So we did. This is looking from the side. That’s the house across the street. Easily half of the homes have lights, this year – it increases every year!

Christmas Lights

And looking at the house from the front. Photos don’t do it justice, but you can see the simplicity of the setup. When you’re just looking at them, you don’t notice the frames – you just see lights.

Christmas Lights

And we have the laser spots on the big tree…

Christmas Lights

It turns the side of the house into a riot of red and green!

Christmas Lights

The windows on the right are the kitchen, so we get some dots on the walls and ceiling!

Which finally brings us to dinner.

It is great to be back home and in our own kitchen. I seriously love being away, but I do like my own kitchen, my own bed… and our own decorations.

Tonight’s dinner was just something I made up on the fly… Simmering time gave me decorating time. That’s important, ya know!

Beef and Mushrooms with Polenta

  • 12 oz beef, cut in cubes
  • 1 qt beef broth – or water
  • 2 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 8 oz assorted mushrooms
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 ctn portobello mushroom soup
  • S&P, to taste

Place beef, onion, garlic, and broth in a saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 2 hours. Turn off heat and let the beef cool in the pot.

Remove cooled beef from the broth and shred with your fingers.

Heat some olive oil in a skillet and add shredded beef. Let cook until it begins to brown a bit.

Add mushrooms and green onions and sauté until mushrooms are tender. Add about a cup of the reserved beef cooking broth, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by about half.

Stir in the mushroom soup and heat completely through.

Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper, as desired.

For the polenta:

Follow package instructions, adding a bit of shredded cheese right before serving.

Really good and perfectly filling for a chilly not-quite-winter’s eve.

I’d love to see this in the snow, but, alas, the 10-Day Forecast shows rain. Maybe by Christmas?!? if not, the lights stay up until it does!