Beef Stew

Or what to do when a roast is tough!

After cooking a beautiful Standing Rib Roast the other day and finding that although cooked perfectly, the meat was tough, I decided today to remake the roast into a Beef Stew. If the meat is tough, keep cooking it until it softens. That is my motto!

So, here’s my recipe, developed over the years.

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Large fireproof Dutch Oven, 3 inches deep (large size)

1 -2 tablespoons olive oil or cooking oil
2 pounds lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes
4 carrots chopped
3 stalks celery chopped
1/2 cup green pepper,
1/2 cup red pepper chopped
1 – 2 large onion chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1 cups of a full-bodied young red wine, or a Chianti
2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic chopped
1/2 – 1 teaspoon thyme (to taste)
1 pound fresh mushrooms, quartered, sauteed in butter
3 medium potatoes peeled and quartered.
1 package frozen peas with pearl onions

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Place olive oil in Dutch Oven and toss the beef in flour and then saute the beef. Remove to a dish.

(Since the meat has been cooked, when you cook the vegetables, take 2-3 tablespoons of flour and mix with 2-3 tablespoons butter in the pot. Allow to cook in order to form a base for the sauce.)

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Cook mushrooms in saute pan with butter.

Return the beef to the Dutch Oven and toss with the salt and pepper. Add mushrooms.

Stir in the wine and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.

Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 3 – 4 hours. Add potatoes after 1 hour. Then add the frozen peas and pearl onions. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

For immediate serving: Serve in its casserole.

For later serving: When cold, cover and refrigerate. About 15 to 20 minutes before serving, bring to a simmer, cover and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.

Serves 6.

Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe

Corned Beef and Cabbage St. Patrick’s Day Feast!

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Heat the oven to 290- 300 degrees F.

Heavy Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Large thick FLAT CUT Corned Beef Brisket.
3 onions
2 carrots, 1 stalk celery, 2 cloves garlic sliced thinly
4 fresh marjoram,
4-6 fresh thyme
4 bay leaves.

On the bottom of pot place, 3 large onions cut up into ¼ inch slices.
Add a few thinly sliced carrots, celery, garlic, fresh marjoram, fresh thyme and bay leaves.

Set the meat on top of the vegetables and add water to just cover the meat. Bring to a boil skimming any foam that surfaces.
Cover with lid. Place the Dutch Oven in the oven and cook slowly for 6 hours. Check and if it is boiling hard, turn oven down. If the meat is tough when you check it, it’s not done! This cut of beef needs a lot of slow cooking!
Remove from the oven, set on wire rack. Leave it covered and let it rest for 20 minutes. Slice the corned beef, and serve

Meanwhile: Portions vary depending on how many you are feeding.
Peel potatoes and cook until tender.
Peel carrots cut into chunks and cook until tender.
Remove outer skins from Pearl Onions and cut off ends. Cook until tender
Cut a large head of cabbage into wedges. Cook until very tender.

Salad Dressings

I’ve discovered the joy of making fresh, homemade salad dressings. The bottled dressing has now lost all of its glamour for me. Homemade dressings are quick and easy to make and so yummy! Here are two of my favorites!

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Quick & Easy Blue Cheese

Yield: Makes 2 cups
Ingredients:
3/4 cup sour cream
1/3  cup crumbled Blue Cheese (may add more)
1/3 – 1/2 cup whole milk (to make the consistency to your liking)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Preparation:
Place the sour cream, blue cheese, milk, mayonnaise, salt, and vinegar in a blender and slowly blend it until completely combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if desired.
I place all the ingredients into a pint jar with a screw lid. I add some chunks of blue cheese to the jar and shake to blend. You can reuse this jar over and over.

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Greek Salad Dressing

For the vinaigrette:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup good red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good olive oil

For the vinaigrette, add the garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper into a 1/2 pint jar. Add the olive oil and shake to blend. Store in the fridge and take out 1/2 an hour before serving with your salad. Shake well, just before you pour on the salads.

Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips, and Brussel Sprouts With Bacon

roasted vegetables

This is an amazingly simple and good recipe. I made this last night for Jack and he loved it! I was quite surprised as he is not a roasted vegetable fan. Anyway, it is good, so give it a try!

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 slices of bacon diced
  • 3 medium carrots (about 1 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch thick circles
  • 1 1/2 cups Brussels sprouts (about 1/2 pound), halved
  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch thick slices
  • 3 medium parsnips (about 1 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary (I used fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (I used fresh)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Grease a large baking sheet pan with extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Place vegetables and bacon in the bowl and toss well with oil, herbs and salt and pepper.
  • Toss well, evenly coating all the vegetables with the seasonings and oil.
  • Add more oil if the vegetables seem dry.
  • Pour onto large cookie sheet.
  • Spread the vegetables evenly.
  • Place on middle rack in oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. stirring occasionally.

When vegetables are nicely browned and done to your desired texture, pull out and eat right away.

When I’m Cooking

Yesterday I prepared an Herb Crusted Prime Rib Roast for dinner. The prep work for this is a bit daunting, as there is a lot of chopping and handling of the meat while rubbing it down with all of the herbs. But the end result was a perfectly cooked 4-pound roast that was seasoned just right!

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I used Garlic, Shallots, Rosemary and Thyme, along with Salt, Pepper and Dijon Mustard. You can find the recipe HERE.

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We ate it with some creamy horseradish sauce and it was just perfect!

I admit it. I like cooking. I also like it when everything comes out just right. Although the roast was perfect, my roasted potatoes did not come out well! Ugh! They did not cook in the time I had thought they would. So it was the microwave to the rescue.

Today I am planning to make Maribeth’s Marvelous Meatloaf, which I made up when my cousin Larry came to dinner. I took a bit from one recipe and a bit from another and made this up. It should be a good meal.

You can find the recipe for Maribeth’s Marvelous Meatloaf HERE. Aside from some chopping and mixing the ground meat with your hands, this is an easy meal. I’ll make mashed potatoes (and hopefully not mess them up!) and I think a nice garden salad.

Tomorrow I am planning to make my Roasted Chicken. That is a crazy good recipe that is fairly easy. You can find that recipe HERE

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This is a Julia Child recipe that I follow and it comes out perfectly every time! I encourage you to try this. Especially if you are a chicken fan like me.

After this, I will have enough leftovers so I will not have to cook for a few days. This will be a very good thing!

Heavenly Peach Jam – Revised

If I am honest with myself, I will admit that after all these years, I had gotten a bit sloppy making my Peach Jam.  Besides the peaches not being ripe, I think there were a few other things that made the first batches a few days ago, so horrid.

So this week, I did a few things differently. I paid attention to each detail and I actually changed a couple of things. Because I did this, I have written an entirely new recipe, complete with pictures.

Heavenly Peach Jam

  • 5 lb. very ripe peaches skinned and mashed
  • 7 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 Oranges
  • 1 large jar maraschino cherries, cherries quartered
  • 1 box Sure-Jell

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I use Sure-Jell and I swear by it. I have not been compensated in any way for this review of the product. I just feel it helps make the best Jam around. And if Sure-Jell is looking for a new Spokesmodel I am available!

  1. Peel peaches; remove pits.
  2. Mash peaches; place in large saucepan.
  3. Add sugar; mix thoroughly.
  4. Cut oranges in half.
  5. Squeeze juice from both oranges; remove seeds.
  6. Take the rind from one orange and slice thinly and chop.
  7. Add orange rind and orange juice to the peach mixture.
  8. Add cherries.

Let rest overnight.

  • Bring to a boil. Cook for 1 hour.

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  • Add Sure-Jell;
  • boil for 20 minutes, stirring constantly until the jam begins to jell.
  • Ladle into sterilized jars, cover with sterilized lids and return to a water bath.
  • Boil closed jars for 8 minutes.
  • Set on dishtowels to cool.

Yields about 9 – 11 half-pint jelly jars.

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Notes:

If peaches are not full on ripe, put them in a brown paper bag and close the top. Leave 1-2 days, and then start the process.

To peel peaches, place about 6 in boiling water for 1 minute. Quickly remove them and place them in an ice bath. Continue until all 5 pounds worth of peaches are blanched.

Peaches should be so ripe you can squish them in your hands to break them up after removing the skin. But watch those peach pits! They can really hurt your fingers!

At the end use chilled dessert plates to check your jelling. You want the jam not to run off the plate after a minute on the frozen plate, but to form a heavy drip.

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Like this. This was cooled Jam on my finger!

This shows you what you want your jam to do right before you can it. That drop stayed on my finger and hung there. That is perfect!

 

Slow Cooked Shredded Chicken

shredded chicken

Ingredients:

  1. 4 pounds To 5 Pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts Or Thighs
  2. 1 teaspoon All-purpose, No-salt Seasoning
  3. 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
  4. 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  5. 1/2 cup Chopped Yellow Onion
  6. 2 teaspoons Chopped Fresh Garlic
  7. 1/2 cup Chicken Broth

Instructions:

  • Place all of the chicken into the pot of your slow cooker.
  • Sprinkle the chicken with the no-salt seasoning, sea salt, pepper, onion, and garlic.
  • Using a pair of tongs, lift and turn the chicken to distribute the seasonings evenly.
  • Pour the broth down the side of the pot.
  • If you’re using a slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 5–6 hours or on high for 3–4 hours.
  • Shred the chicken and return it to the pot with the juices. Serve immediately or divide the chicken up into equal portions and chill or freeze.

Can be mixed with barbecue sauce, gravy, or just top a salad with the shredded meat. It also makes a great base for a chicken salad or soup.

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Key Lime Pie

I have searched high and low for a good classic Key Lime Pie recipe. Most were okay but nothing to write home about. So I started playing. I played and played with recipe’s until I got it right and here it is. For those of you who love this pie as much as I do and yet couldn’t find it outside of Florida, you will love it. Of course for those with cholesterol problems, this is not for you. I have made it with both the fat-free cream cheese and fat-free condensed milk, but the egg yolks will still kill ya. A special note here. Use only Key Lime Juice. It can be found in some grocery stores bottled, and some specialty groceries will actually carry Key Limes. Regular Lime juice will not cut it! Anyway, save it and make it for a special occasion. I promise you will love it.

Key Lime Pie

1-graham cracker pie crust
8-ounce bar of cream cheese
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup Key Lime juice
1 can sweetened condensed milk
pinch cream of tartar

 

  • Beat cream cheese until soft and smooth.
  • Add egg yolks. Beat this until it is completely smooth.
  • Slowly add Key Lime juice, blending well, then add the condensed milk and cream of tartar.
  • Blend until this mixture begins to thicken just a bit.
  • Then pour into pie crust.
  • Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 25-30 minutes, or until pie has completely set.
  • Cool on wire rack.
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
  • Garnish with whipped cream and a thin slice of lime.

Escarole, Chicken & Meatball Soup

Escarole, Chicken and Meatball Soup

Soup:
In a large soup pot cook one  3-4 pound chicken in water, with an onion, celery stalk, and carrot. Simmer for an hour or so until chicken is done and is falling off the bones.

Meanwhile Slice:
5 carrots
5 stalks celery
2 large onions
1 shallot
2-3 heads escarole
2 tsp chopped garlic
2 tbs parsley
salt & pepper to taste

Remove chicken from pot retaining all the wonderful broth.

Meatballs:
1 lb hamburger or ground turkey
1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
2 tbs parsley
Pepper to taste
1/3 cup grated cheese (I do 1/2 & 1/2 parmesan and romano)
1 tsp garlic salt

Mix meat into small mini meatballs.

Toss into boiling broth along with the above-chopped vegetables.

Then simmer slowly until veggies are done.

Meanwhile, bone the chicken and add the meat to the soup. Add more chicken broth if needed to make soup desired thickness.

Enjoy!

 

Greek Tortellini Salad

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Serves: 8-12

Ingredients:

  1. 1 pound cheese tortellini pasta (either fresh or dried – cooked according to package’s instructions)
  2. 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  3. ½ red onion, diced
  4. 1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
  5. ½ cup canned artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
  6. ½ cup kalamata olives (whole or sliced)
  7. ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  8. ⅓ cup packed fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

 

Greek Dressing

  1. ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  2. ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
  3. 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  4. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  5. 1 teaspoon dried basil
  6. ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  7. 2 teaspoons sugar
  8. 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  9. ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  10. black pepper, to taste
  11. juice of ½ lemon

Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar, cover and shake well, chill. (I needed to add a bit more olive oil as I thought the vinegar was too strong.)

In a large bowl combine tortellini, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, artichoke hearts, olives, feta cheese, and basil. Pour dressing over the top, then toss to combine.
Serve immediately OR cover and refrigerate up to 6 hours before serving.