Braised short ribs, a chili bake and crock pot roast beef are on the menu in this week's food column from Judi Leaming.

I suddenly realized how infrequently our menus (and, consequently, these columns) include beef in any form. Spicer doesn't complain about this but every now and then I do see recipes that tempt me and that has happened recently. I also just happened to pay a visit to the Amish Meat Stand at Spence's when we were in Dover and the beautiful boneless short ribs lying there in the case just seemed to "call out to me."

Knowing that those short ribs were now in our refrigerator, I turned to my computer to find out what to do with them. After scanning a variety of recipes for braised short ribs – and realizing that I didn't have the needed ingredients on hand, I located this recipe for Easy BBQ Short Ribs on the website. They are attributed to Food Network Chef Sunny Anderson. The resulting ribs were outstanding and I regretted that I hadn't purchased more short ribs. These cook "low and slow" in the oven so you can get them started and move on to read a good book!

I'm not sure where on the Internet I discovered the recipe for Oodles of Noodles Chili Bake but we enjoyed it and I think you will, too. Since the recipe makes enough to fill a 9x13-inch pan, I divided this evenly between two 8-inch square aluminum pans so that we had one to eat – and one to go in the freezer for another meal. Because the recipe includes protein and two vegetables, all you need to complete your menu is a salad or fresh fruit or applesauce. Nice, crunchy, crusty rolls go well with this, too! Kid-friendly and good to share with a neighbor.

Through the years there have been a lot of recipes for Crock Pot roasts and I've tried them and we've eaten them but never before have I found one to be as delicious as this one for Bacon & Cola Crock Pot Roast Beef. Honest! You really need to try this at least once, and I think you'll have a "go-to" meal for the wintry days ahead. Do NOT omit any ingredients … your arteries can survive this treat if you eat carefully the rest of the time. This recipe comes from and I re-wrote it in the hope of making it easier to understand and follow.

Easy BBQ Short Ribs

4 pounds boneless beef short ribs, cut into approximately 3-inch long pieces*

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2/3 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon (Hungarian) paprika

1/2 teaspoon onion or garlic powder

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon dried ground thyme

2/3 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon yellow mustard

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

*Recipe is supposed to serve six with 4 pounds but you can use fewer short ribs for smaller households. Just use the same quantity of ingredients called for to make the sauce.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Arrange the short ribs in a 13x9-inch baking dish and season with salt and pepper to taste. In a small bowl combine the remaining ingredients and stir to incorporate. Pour the sauce over the ribs and toss well, coating all the pieces. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and roast until cooked through and tender. Check after two hours. Remove the foil during the final 30 minutes to brown the tops of the ribs.

Oodles of Noodles Chili Bake

1 (12-ounce) package wide egg noodles, uncooked

1 pound lean ground beef

1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes

1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained

1 (15-ounce) can chili without beans

1 cup (or more) shredded Cheddar cheese, divided usage

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13x9-inch casserole or two 8-inch baking pans. Cook noodles according to package directions; drain and set aside. Brown ground beef in a skillet over medium heat, draining off any fat if necessary. Combine cooked and drained noodles, browned beef, tomatoes and their juices, drained corn, chili and 3/4 of the cheese that you plan to use in the prepared casseroles and stir to mix. Top with remaining cheese and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes until heated through. Serves 8.

Bacon and Cola Crock Pot Roast Beef

1 (12-ounce) can regular Coke or Pepsi (do not use diet)

1 (3 to 4-pound) boneless bottom round beef roast

1 envelope dry onion soup mix

1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled with bacon drippings saved

1 (12-ounce) can cream of celery soup

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon cold water

Pour the can of soda into the "crock" of a 4-quart or larger crock pot and set temperature control on "Low." Place beef roast in the cola and sprinkle dry onion soup mix over the roast. As roast starts to heat, fry bacon and set aside. Drizzle 3 to 5 tablespoons of the drippings over the roast then spread the crumbled bacon over all. Place lid on cooker and cook on LOW for six to eight hours or on HIGH for four to six hours. One hour before you plan to serve the roast, lift the roast out of the pot and momentarily set aside. Add the soup to the liquid and whisk to blend. Whisk cornstarch and water together to form a paste and whisk this into the liquid to form the gravy. Return roast to the crock pot and finish your cooking time. Be sure to serve this with mashed potatoes or rice to "sop up" the delicious gravy. Serves 6.