Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Best Beef Stew...Ever!

Have you ever been interested in Le Creuset cookware? To be honest, I never have - mostly due to the price. However, on a bit of an impulse, and with the excuse of wanting a special pan for our soup-days, we splurged on a black model that was on the clearance rack at our local premium outlet mall. All I can say is that I should have been more interested a lot earlier!

I love, love, love this pan! No, really...it is a fantastic pan. It is made in France, which is truly not the impressive part. It is heavy cast iron with a beautiful enamel inside and out. And, it is that magical combination that makes it great, requiring less heat than other pans. I have used it on the stove-top and in the oven with wonderful results, One of the first meals I prepared in it was a beef stew - I passed up the crock pot for this beauty, and it was easily the BEST beef stew I have ever tasted. The clean up is super-easy, too...just soak for 10-15 minutes and after a few swishes, it looks like new. I am completely amazed!

Now, for the recipe:

Best Beef Stew...Ever!

2 lbs eye of round beef roast, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 red pepper, diced
3 red potatoes, diced (I didn't peel them, but you can)
1 med sweet onion, small dice
2 cups fresh carrots, small dice
1 14 oz. can of stewed tomatoes
1 12 oz. bottle of Samuel Adams light ale (I chose Octoberfest)
2 tsp veggie bullion paste
5 T tomato paste
2 T all-purpose salt-free seasoning (like Spike)
1/2 tsp garlic herb seasoning (I used Perfect-Pinch)
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

Everything goes in a 4+ quart casserole and mixed together well.
Bake covered at 425* for 2 hours, stirring once halfway through cooking time

I served this alongside farro, but you could use egg noodles, any style pasta, or rice. Or not...it is so very good you don't really need anything else. Definitely comfort food - ideal for winter storm watching.

More of this cookware is on my wishlist!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Chuck's Breakfast Muffies

Yes...you want to make these. Why? Because they are fantastic for breakfast! And, the best part? They are wheat-free!

Chuck's Breakfast Muffies

Mix together in a bowl:

1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs

Then mix in:

3/4 cup applesauce

Then mix in:

1-1/2 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cinnamon

Then mix in:

3 cups oats quick oats
2 tsp baking soda

Let this mixture sit 20-30 minutes.

While you are waiting, preheat oven to 350*, place muffin/cupcake papers in muffin pan(s).

After the 30 minutes are up, fill muffin papers with 1/4 cup of the mixture/batter.

Top with your favorites: we like raisins and nuts. [You could also mix these into the batter, if desired.]

Bake for 30 minutes.

These muffins freeze well, and are delish warmed in the nuke a bit. :-)

Roasted Honey Mustard Chicken & Veggies

This was a wonderful fall meal, however, it tasted so good, it could be great anytime of year. Also, you can make this a vegetarian meal easily by omitting the chicken and perhaps adding a salad on the side.

Roasted Honey Mustard 
Chicken & Veggies

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 head of broccoli, broken into pieces
1 head of cauliflower, broken into pieces
baby carrots (optional)
6 smallish red potatoes
1/2 cup dijon or country dijon mustard
1/2 cup honey
4 Tbsp white vinegar
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 425*

Parboil potatoes in boiling salt water until just tender, but not too soft. Remove from water and set aside to cool a bit.

To prepare chicken, slice chicken breasts 'across the grain' to make thinner chicken breast pieces. Heat a skillet with olive oil and the all-purpose seasoning of your choice; sear chicken pieces briefly on each side. [Chicken does not need to be cooked all the way through.] Remove from pan and set aside to cool a bit. When it is cool enough to handle, cut into smaller pieces.

In a 9x13 baking casserole or jellyroll pan, spread chicken pieces evenly. Add broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots to the pan. Cut red potatoes into quarters, and add to pan, as well. Your pan should be pretty full!

In a separate bowl, stir together thoroughly mustard, honey, and vinegar. Drizzle over chicken and veggies. Sprinkle lightly with salt, if desired, or you can stir a bit into your mustard mix.

Place in oven for 20-25 minutes.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

White Beans and Pasta

This is just comfort in a bowl.

Adapted from an eMeals recipe, this hardly resembles the original.

White Beans & Pasta

1 lb turkey burger, browned and drained
2 (15 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes
2 (15 oz) cans white beans
2 tsp salt-free seasoning
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 box veggie broth
(1/2 box) rotini pasta, cooked
1 tsp kosher salt

Brown burger meat and drain.

To a soup pot, add all ingredients except pasta.

Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes.

Add pasta to bowls and ladle soup over top - garnish with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
(You can add the pasta to the soup itself, however, those little spirals will suck up all your broth eventually, especially if you want leftovers!)

We enjoyed this yummy, light soup with sourdough bread and a green salad dressed simply with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Better Coffee Creamer

After reading for the umpteenth time how awful store-bought coffee creamers (such as International Delight and CoffeeMate), I have vowed never again to consume their fakey-goodness. In lieu of all those non-food chemicals that taste like real food, I am making my own. And let me tell you, it is just as good, if not better!

Better Coffee Creamer

1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup half-n-half (or whole cream, if you are into it)
1/2 tsp good quality pure vanilla extract (optional)
1/4 tsp good quality ground cinnamon (optional)

Place all ingredients in a quart-sized canning jar with a lid. Secure lid and shake well to mix.
Keep refrigerated.

That is it. Add to your coffee knowing that you are not adding horrific chemicals to your coffee or body. That is better, for sure!

There are a lot of different flavors you can add to the basic recipe (in place of the vanilla and cinnamon) - experiment and get creative!