Beef Stew

Beef Stew

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

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Classic Beef Stew -(serves 4 to 6) You won't miss the addition of fresh herbs or red wine in this stew.  Of course you can add them if you'd like but as I said before, I try not to spend a lot of money on our weeknight dinners and things like fresh herbs and wine can quadruple the price of the meal. Don't add salt to the stew until after it has finished cooking and you have tasted it. The sodium content can vary  quite a lot depending on the kind of stock that you use . Plus, the soup mix adds a lot of salt by itself. I served the stew with some Rosemary Focaccia Bread and a salad.

2 lbs beef stew meat that has been cubed
flour for dredging
4 tablespoons veg oil divided
2 cups chopped carrots (about 5 large carrots)
2 cups chopped potatoes (about 4 medium)
stew meat just beginning to brown
3 celery ribs chopped
2 medium onions chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
4 cups beef broth/stock (preferably low sodium)
1 package onion soup mix
2 bay leaves  
2 tsp dried Italian herbs or dried rosemary
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

stew meat after it has been browned resting on paper towel
Generously salt and pepper the beef then place in a bag with a cup of flour and shake to coat the stew meat.  Remove from the flour shaking off any excess off of the beef. Heat half of the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Working in batches if necessary, brown the meat flipping the pieces over after the first side is brown. This should take about 3 minutes per side. Remove from heat to a paper towel lined plate and repeat with the remaining pieces.

With the skillet still hot, add the beef broth and scrape up any brown bits off of the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. In your slow-cooker, add the meat, veggies, soup mix, herbs, bay leaves and vinegar and top with the hot broth.  Cook on low heat for 4 hours or high heat for 2 hours. Add some freshly cracked pepper and remove bay leaves before serving.
all ready to cook
out of the crock pot with some rosemary foccacia

Monday, November 14, 2011

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya

Saturday, I ran across a good price on shrimp so I picked up some extra and came up with a quick and easy Saturday night dinner for Reg and I that seemed a little more special than my weeknight recipes. ALDI had a bag of frozen cheese ravioli for $1.99 that served 4. It was a new item for them and I wanted to try it. I tossed the pasta with some of my pea pesto which takes 2 seconds to make and topped it with some shrimp. It turned out great and was easy to do and pretty cheap to boot! I saved the remaining shrimp for our dinner Sunday night.
Cheese Ravioli with Shrimp and Green Pea Pesto Sauce

About the Jambalaya...working off of several different recipes, I figured out a way to cook this meal using one pot which makes for VERY easy clean up.  I wouldn't want to go up against Emeril with this recipe but for as easy as it is to make, we thought that it was darn good. In fact, I am going to call it "Weeknight Jambalaya" so that no one is under the impression that this is authentic New Orleans cuisine. Of course, I also added extra veggies because that's just what I do! I doubled the recipe to make enough for leftovers so cut the recipe in half if you don't want a gigantic pot of Jambalaya.  You could also made double and freeze half for another day.

Shrimp and Sausage Weeknight Jambalaya (serves 8) You could substitute 1 pound cooked chicken breast for either the shrimp or sausage or just add another package of smoked sausage and forget the shrimp if you want to make it super easy! The only time consuming thing about this dish is that there is a fair amount of chopping to do. If I'm pressed for time, I will chop up the veggies in advance and put them in a big freezer bag in the fridge until I can put the dinner together later. However, once you've chopped everything you are pretty much done with the recipe! Serve with a salad for a complete meal.

1 package smoked sausage (cut lengthwise then into bite size pieces crosswise)
3/4 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined)
3 green peppers diced
2 onions diced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 -14oz cans diced tomatoes (don't drain)
2 cups rice
4 cups chicken stock/broth
2 bay leaves
2 tsp dried thyme (optional)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (for mild) 3/4 tsp cayenne (for medium) or 1 tsp cayenne (for hot)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a stock pot, large soup pot or dutch oven, add all of the ingredients except for the shrimp! Stir to combine. Cover and bake in the oven for 1 hour until rice is fully cooked.  Immediately out of the oven, toss in the shrimp and replace lid. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving to allow the shrimp to cook through.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chicken Artichoke Casserole

Next week I'm thinking that I will make Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya which we haven't had since last year.  So if you see smoked sausage, shrimp or chicken on sale somewhere, pick it up! Also, don't forget that you can now print the recipes by clicking the green button at the bottom of every post.  If you haven't already heard... ALDI has some very popular toys at some very cheap prices.  Check out the This Week's Deals section of my blog for more info!

Chicken Artichoke Casserole-serves 6 to 8.  Lots of substitutions can be made with this recipe. If you don't like artichokes, omit them. Same with the spinach. We use brown rice and the low fat versions of the soups and cream cheese.  Serve with a green salad for a complete meal! To cook the chicken, I put the breasts on a baking sheet lined with foil, salt and peppered them and cooked them for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  Coincidentally, the rice also takes 20 minutes so I cooked them simultaneously this morning while I was doing my chores and put them into the fridge until later when I was ready to complete the casserole. I will say that I don't expect to win any culinary awards with this casserole but it is very easy to put together and I knew that everybody in my family would like it! In fact, my husband isn't a huge fan of artichokes but gave me lots of compliments on this casserole!
how I cook chicken

2 lbs cooked chicken breast (5 or 6 medium) chopped into bite size pieces
1 1/2 cups rice-cooked according to package directions
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 box chopped spinach defrosted
2 cans quartered artichoke hearts drained and chopped
1 package cream cheese softened (or substitute 1 cup sour cream)
1 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well incorporated. Place into a large casserole dish. Top with bread crumbs, crushed crackers or cheese.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Uncover and cook another 15 minutes or until topping is browned and/or cheese is melted and bubbly.
all ready to go into casserole dish

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Maple Braised Pork Chops

Notice that there is a print icon at the bottom of the page! I am very impressed with myself for figuring this out.  My husband has said from the beginning that it would be so much better if you could print the recipes and I am glad that i finally got around to getting it figured out. also notice that you can easily delete my jibber- jabber from the printed recipe as well as the images by clicking a box at the top of the print page.

I took a little break from the blog because my brother got married last weekend and things have been a little hectic around the house. All are back to normal now and therefor I'm back in the kitchen! I found some boneless, skinless chicken breasts on sale and bought a family pack. I will use most of them to make a Chicken and Artichoke Casserole later in the week and save whatever is left over to throw onto a homemade pizza or grill for ceasar salads. I got the inspiration for the casserole from the meal served at my new sister-in-law's bridesmaid's luncheon. I don't think that it will be anything super exciting but hopefully will fit the criteria of a good, easy and healthy meal.
About the pork chops...This is a slow cooker recipe so needs to be prepared 4 to 6 hours ahead of time. I really love this recipe. The sauce is sweet, salty, tangy, and spicy all at the same time and the chops are unbelievable tender! I sincerely hope that you'll give this one a try.  You could very easily serve this on the weekend or for company because it feels a little more special than your average week night dish although it is still easy to make. We served ours over mashed sweet potatoes (i just mashed them with some of the chicken stock and some salt and poured the maple sauce on top) and had roasted asparagus (toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and throw into a 400 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes).  this recipe would also be great with a spinach salad.

Maple Braised Pork Chops-(serves 4) This recipe has been modified slightly from the Williams Sonoma Slow Cooker Cookbook. definitely do not use thin chops for this recipe. Also, I use REAL maple syrup as the recipe calls for. It is a lot more expensive but we use syrup so rarely and I don't like the fake stuff. Substitute Mrs. Butterworth's at your own risk!

pork chops and sauce before cooking
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 bone-in pork loin chops, 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons chile powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

 Generously salt and pepper both sides of the pork chops. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the canola oil.  cook the pork chops until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side.  Remove from the pan and set aside.  Add the onion and saute until soft, then add the garlic, chile powder, and cayenne to the pan and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the flour and stir for one minute.  Pour in the broth and deglaze the pan, stirring and scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.  Stir in the maple syrup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and bring to a boil. Transfer the chops to a slow cooker and pour the sauce on top.  Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

fresh out of the oven!
A friend just told me about this awesome coupon book that publix mails out every quarter but you only have a week to sign up to get it . Coincidentally, the sign up starts today! Find the sign up link in the "This Week's Deals" section of my blog. 
I don't have much to say about Chicken Pot Pie.  I think the picture speaks for itself. It's easy, good, and healthy because it's loaded with vegetables.  Traditional pot pies can be fattening but mine is not that bad. Give it a try!
Later this week I'm going to share a slow cooker recipe for Maple Glazed Pork Chops.  You will love this recipe!  The sauce is sweet, salty and sour (my favorite combo) and I'll serve them with mashed sweet potatoes and roasted asparagus

Chicken Pot Pie- serves 6
to cook the chicken, place on a baking sheet, salt and pepper the chicken and bake at 350 for about  30 minutes depending on the size of each piece. If cooking chicken on the bone, add an extra 15 minutes cooking time.

2 lbs chicken breast cooked and chopped into bite size pieces
2 cups potatoes chopped into bite size pieces (2 medium size)
2 cups carrots chopped (about 6 medium)
1 large onion chopped
1 cup frozen peas -defrosted
cooked carrots, potatoes, chicken, and defrosted peas

4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cup milk
2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
lots of fresh ground pepper
1 can of biscuits 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot, boil the potatoes and carrots for 10 minutes, drain and place pot back onto the stove over medium heat.  Add the butter and melt.  Add the onions and saute until soft.  Add flour and stir continuously for a few minutes.  Whisk in milk and stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and stir occasionally until the sauce has thickened to a gravy consistency and will completely coat a spoon (see pic). Stir in the spices, chicken, peas, carrots and potatoes.  Pour into a large baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut biscuits into sixths and drop onto the top of the hot casserole.  Bake uncovered another 10 minutes or until biscuits are brown.  You can make this recipe ahead and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.  If baking a cold casserole, cook for 35 minutes before adding biscuits.

the finished bechamel sauce

pot pie before baking

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mexican Lasagna

I'm thinking about Chicken Pot Pie for next week and maybe something in the slow cooker. I hope this recipe is more kid friendly than some of my others so that the moms of picky eaters can try this one! My husband says it's like eating nachos with a fork. Although it tastes like you are eating nachos, I assure you that it is much less fattening and also healthier! Except for the onion and turkey, I got all of the other ingredients for this at ALDI and spent maybe $4.50. This whole casserole cost me around $8 to make. Not bad!

Mexican Lasagna-serves 8
1 package ground turkey
1 onion chopped
2 packages taco seasoning mix
2 cans black beans drained
2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilies drained
2 cups corn (canned or frozen) drained
corn tortillas
2 cups grated monterey jack (or cheddar) cheese
chopped green onions and sour cream for garnish is optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat skillet over medium heat.  Cook turkey and onions together until onions are soft and turkey is no longer pink.  Drain. Add 2/3 cups of water to turkey along with the 2 packages of seasoning mix. Let mixture simmer for 5 minutes until some of the water is cooked out. Stir in beans, tomatoes and corn. In a VERY LARGE casserole dish (or 2 small) pour in half of turkey vegetable mixture and top with a layer of corn tortillas. Sprinkle the tortillas with one cup of the cheese. Repeat. Cover with foil that has been sprayed with PAM (so that the cheese doesn't melt and stick to foil) and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook for another 10 minutes. You can make this ahead of time and refrigerate. If cooking the casserole from the fridge, add 15 minutes of cooking time.
turkey, onion and seasonings

out of the oven!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Italian Sausage and Artichoke Soup

Check out "This Week's Deals" for awesome discounts! Surely I'm not the only one thinking about Christmas and ways to buy decent gifts for my family without having to go into bankruptcy! I am going to take advantage of the photo book deal for the grandparents if I can find the time to create it in the next 24 hours!  Also, Garden and Gun is a fantastic magazine and would make a good Christmas gift for just about any southerner. These deals expire tomorrow so take advantage of them soon!

Italian Sausage and Artichoke Soup -Sorry for the blurry picture. My camera is on its last leg. This is a very easy recipe that was shared with me by a friend. I made a few minor adjustments to it such as adding some beans. We had the soup with cornbread. It was tasty, healthy, easy and filling; what more could you ask for! Later this week, Mexican Lasagna aka Taco Casserole.  If you have any recipes that you want to share, please email me!

1 16oz. package Italian sausage (Johnsonville is really good)
2 14oz. cans artichoke hearts
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes with juice (or 2 14 oz cans)
1 14 oz can white beans drained (great northern beans) optional
2 packages Lipton's onion soup mix
6 cups of water
2 tsp. of Italian seasoning or a tsp each of oregano and basil
Brown sausage into soup pot. Drain, crumble and add back to pot. Cut artichokes into small pieces and add to pot. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer. Season to taste. Done!
Cornbread- if you are looking for a great cornbread recipe, this is it!

1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 cup self rising corn meal
1/2 cup flour
1 stick butter-melted and cooled
1/4 tsp salt if you used unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375.  whisk together all ingredients. Pour into a 10 inch iron skillet or 6 inch skillets. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I am not positive about the cooking time and my oven isn't very accurate so I suggest checking on it every 5 minutes after it's been in for 20 minutes.