Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

I searched for a lot of beef stew recipes on the web and couldn't find one that didn't have beef broth in it. I can't have MSG and all of the beef broths at the grocery stores had MSG. So, I decided to come up with my own recipe. This made a ton, we will probably have it for two more meals so I would estimate that it serves about 6 people. As with all beef stews that you will cook for a long time there is no need for an expensive cut of meat as it will get very tender in the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

2 lbs beef (top round works very well, cut into 1-inch cubes)
1/2 cup flour
1-2 tbsp canola oil
2 lbs red-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium onions, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 12 oz beer
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp salt plus 1 dash
1 tsp pepper plus 1 dash

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season flour with a dash each of salt and pepper and toss beef cubes in flour until well coated. Sear beef in skillet until browned on all sides. You will probably need to do this in batches, just toss into slow cooker when done. As beef absorbs the oil you will need to add more so you it does not burn. When beef is done, add onions and 1/2 tsp salt to pan and cook until soft, stir well to get all of the brown beef bits off of the bottom of the pan. Add beer to the onions and let reduce by about a third.

Now you're ready to put it all together. Add onions, potatoes, carrots, worcestershire, bay leaves, remaining tsp salt and tsp pepper to slow cooker. Give it a good stir and cook on low for 8-10 hours. The longer you cook it the more tender the beef will get. Give it at taste at 8 hours and decide whether or not you'd like to cook it longer. In the last 30 minutes of cooking, add the frozen peas.

Serve piping hot in large bowls with your favorite loaf of crusty bread and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top if you'd like.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm back... with Turkey Chili (and a bun in the oven)

The weather is turning cold, the morning (all-day really) sickness is over and I'm ready to cook again. Easy, quick meals with just a few ingredients are going to be key for us especially when baby arrives in April. So here is the Turkey Chili I put together last night:

Turkey Chili

1 medium sweet onion, chopped
2 tbsp canola oil
1 lb ground turkey
1 280z can baked beans (I used Bush's Vegetarian style)
1 15 oz can black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 8 0z can tomato sauce
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp hot sauce
1 tbsp chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat canola oil over medium heat, add onions and saute until soft. Add ground turkey and cook until brown. Once turkey has browned add in both cans of beans, tomato sauce, chili powder, cayenne and hot sauce. If you aren't a fan of spicy foods you can leave the cayenne and hot sauce out. Stir and cook until simmering then taste for salt and pepper and add to your taste. The beans and tomato sauce are pretty salty so you may not need much. Once simmering turn heat down to low and cook for about an hour stirring occasionally.

Serve piping hot in large bowls and with whatever you'd like. We had it with some grated sharp cheddar and corn bread. Some other ideas to serve it with are tortilla chips, rice, fresh cilantro, sour cream or even some elbow macaroni.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Cinnamon sugar treats

I had a pie crust in the fridge that needed to be used up. We happened to need something sweet last night so I made this delightful creation. It's a great, very fast treat that you could definitely bring to a party or serve at a party and guests would be happy.

You will need:

One pie crust (I used the store bought one that comes rolled and can be found in the dairy section of the supermarket)
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp sugar
Non-stick spray or 1 tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix together cinnamon and sugar. Unroll pie crust on a flat surface. Spray with non-stick spray or brush with melted butter. Sprinkle about 2/3 of the cinnamon sugar mix on top. Cut into eight triangle pieces; roll from large edge toward point, coated side up. Place on greased cookie sheet; spray tops with non-stick or brush with remaining butter and sprinkle remaining cinnamon sugar on top. Bake for 15 minutes.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Broccoli and asparagus salad

I had a version of this at a Whole Foods in LA but changed it up a bit to suit our tastes; the store bought one had bacon in it which I've omitted.

You'll need:

2 heads of broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
1 bunch of asparagus, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup mayo or substitute (I used vegan canola mayo, only 35 calories per tbsp!)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add broccoli and asparagus to boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Immerse in ice water or run cold water over it until it is no longer hot. This will keep the veggies bright green and crispy. Drain well.

Whisk together mayo, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper for your dressing.

In a large bowl combine almonds, veggies and onion. Pour dressing over and toss.

We ate this with some broiled burgers.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Zucchini and mushrooms

I didn't defrost any meat last night and hubby was out so I threw together some veggies and the result was very good and on the lighter side too.

You'll need:

2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup bread crumbs, seasoned or unseasoned whichever you prefer
1/2 cup grated parmesean cheese

Set oven on broil. Heat olive oil in an ovenproof skillet. Add zucchini, mushrooms, salt and both kinds of pepper (use pepper according to your own taste and likeness to heat) and saute until golden brown. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes or so. Combine bread crumbs and cheese and sprinkle on top of vegetable mixture. Broil for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. Serve as a side dish with your favorite grilled meat or try it over pasta.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Whole wheat salad pizza with roasted garlic dressing

There is a pizza place by us that has awesome salad pizza and I decided to try to replicate it. A relatively healthy alternative to your typical greasy pie. The crust takes some time to rise and rise again but your patience will be rewarded.


1 tsp white sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 tbsp yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups mozzarella, shredded
1 tsp oregano

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Dissolve sugar in the warm water. Add yeast, and let sit 10 minutes until it is foamy. Stir in olive oil and salt. Mix in the wheat flour and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour. If you have a mixer witha dough hook mix all of the ingredients in the bowl of that and turn it on medium speed until the dough comes together and is smooth. If you do not have a dough hook you can knead on a floured surface for 10 minutes. Place in oiled bowl, cover loosely with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

Remove dough and separate into 2 pieces for thin crust or leave whole for thick. Form into tight balls, and let rise, covered, for another 45 minutes. At this point if you'd like to freeze one piece for later use you can go ahead and do that and let it rise for the second time when you defrost. Lightly sprinkle countertop with cornmeal and roll the dough out with a rolling pin on top of the cornmeal so that it coats the bottom. Form crust, if desired.

Place on cookie sheet or pizza stone and poke holes into the bottom of crust with a fork. Top with shredded mozzarella and oregano and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is brown and bubbly.

Roasted garlic dressing

I would suggest making this while the dough is rising as the garlic needs to roast for 45 minutes.

1 bulb garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut top of garlic off so inner cloves are exposed. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil. Place on oven rack for 45 minutes.

Once the garlic has been roasted and cooled until you are able to touch it, squeeze out the cloves into your mini chopper or if you don't have one you can mash it up with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Chopped salad

1 romaine heart, chopped
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup cucumber, chopped
1/4 cup carrots, shredded or chopped
1/4 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup radishes, chopped
1/4 cup olives, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
Grated parmesean to taste

Toss all ingredients in a bowl with dressing and set aside until crust is done. These are the veggies that I used but you can of course use anything you would like.

Putting it all together:

Let crust cool for 3-5 minutes. Top with salad, sprinkle some grated parmesean on top and enjoy.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Chicken and Eggplant

Okay, so I didn't add the Cinco de Mayo entry I promised but I'll tell you what we had: Chicken nachos and Corona. Pretty simple and yummy basic nachos, ground chicken, beans, cheese and salsa - I'll put together a full recipe at a later date.

Now for last night's dinner. Eggplants are coming into season and I decided to try the graffiti eggplant. I'm kind of an amateur at cooking eggplant but decided to try the sweat method and think it came out quite delicious. So here we go.

Baked chicken and eggplant

2 medium eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick slices
Kosher salt
1 tbsp olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp black pepper
1 clove crushed garlic
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1/4 cup water
1 tsp oregano
6 oz pasta of your choice (we used rotini)
Parmesean cheese to taste

To sweat the eggplant place on paper towels or your cooling rack and sprinkle with kosher salt. Let sit for about 30 minutes and then rinse and dry in paper towels. While the eggplant is sweating you can also marinate your chicken or if you'd like you can marinate it ahead of time, the longer you marinate the more tender and tasty it will be. Place chicken pieces in a ziplock with lemon, vinegar, pepper and garlic and refrigerate.

Preheat oven to 400 and heat olive oil on medium heat in a nonstick pan. Add eggplant to pan and cook until golden brown on both sides. Let drain on paper towel. Add chicken and onions to pan and let cook for about 5 minutes until onions start to get soft. Add tomato paste and water and cover on low for 10 minutes.

Place the eggplant in the bottom of a square baking dish coated with non-stick spray then the chicken mixture on top of that. Sprinkle with oregano, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.

While the chicken and eggplant are baking you can boil up your pasta. Pour chicken and eggplant over pasta, sprinkle with parmesean cheese and enjoy!