Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Irish Beef Stew

Simply Recipes

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds well-marbled chuck beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup of Guinness beer
  • 1 cup of fine red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled carrots
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

  1. Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Lightly salt the beef pieces. Working in batches if necessary, add the beef (do not crowd the pan, or the meat will steam and not brown) and cook, without stirring, until nicely browned on one side, then use tongs to turn the pieces over. Continue to cook in this manner until all sides are browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add beef stock, Guinness, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

  2. While the meat and stock is simmering, melt butter in another large pot over medium heat. Add potatoes, onion and carrots. Sauté vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes. Set aside until the beef stew in step one has simmered for one hour.

  3. Add vegetables to beef stew. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off fat. Transfer stew to serving bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. (Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before serving.)

Beef stew isn't my favorite, but I did enjoy this. This is a good recipe for grass-fed beef; it uses a cheaper cut of meat, and the cooking method makes it nice and tender.

Liz's Rating: 8/10
Tim's Rating: 8.5/10

Friday, January 22, 2010

Lentil-Pecan Burgers with Blue Cheese and Apple

Cara's Cravings

  • 3/4 cup dry brown lentils
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup minced onion (150gm)
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 8oz mushrooms, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (2oz)
  • freshly ground salt & pepper
  • 2 tsp minced fresh rosemary or thyme
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • buns or rolls of your choice
  • thinly sliced apple
  • blue cheese (about 1/2 oz per serving)

  1. Place lentils and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft and the liquid is gone.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add onion and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and saute for about 5-10 minutes more, until the vegetables are soft. Add the rosemary and/or thyme, the pecans, and season with salt & pepper. Set aside to cool while the lentils finish cooking.
  3. When the lentils are done, place in a bowl and mash with the vinegar. Add the sauteed vegetables and the oats and mix well. Chill for about an hour.
  4. Preheat broiler. Form the lentil mixture into six equal sized patties and place on a baking sheet. Broil for about 8 minutes on each side. Top the burgers with the sliced apple and blue cheese and broil for one minute more, or until cheese is melted and begins to brown. Serve on toasted buns.

    Nutritional Info (per burger, without apples, cheese, or bread)
    Servings Per Recipe: 6
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories: 172.3
    Total Fat: 9.7 g
    Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
    Sodium: 2.7 mg
    Total Carbs: 20.3 g
    Dietary Fiber: 8.0 g
    Protein: 8.3 g

These were fabulous! Thanks, Cara!
I had a little issue with binding, but I just kind of kept pushing the burgers together, and they turned out fine. If you really want them perfectly shaped, perhaps add an egg to the mixture?

Liz's Rating: 9.5/10
Tim's Rating: 9/10

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Easiest Chicken Chili

The last week of regular season NFL football
Pink Parsley's recipe

  • 4 cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
  • 8 ounces Pepper jack cheese, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups salsa
  • Optional garnishes: shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado, sliced green onions, crushed tortilla chips, extra salsa, tabasco

  1. Combine the beans, cheese, and salsa in a crockpot. Nestle the chicken breasts into the mixture, and cook on low 6-8 hours.
  2. Remove chicken breasts, shred with a fork, and return to crockpot. Stir to combine, and serve with desired garnishes.

I thought that a little more tomato would be good. I'd consider replacing one can of beans with one big can of stewed tomatoes or additional salsa, and I'd maybe add a little cumin. Tim was completely satisfied with the recipe as written. It's so easy, I think he can make it next time!

Tim's Rating: 10/10
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sesame Chicken Pasta Salad

Modified from a recipe found on allrecipes.com

Last year, my New Year's Resolution was to improve my yeast breads. I did pretty well with that and am enjoying homemade pizza and bread rather often.

This year's New Year's Resolution: take lunch to work more often. This will not be difficult to do, as I rarely brought lunch last year. It is too tempting to go out for pho with friends or swing by one of the sandwich places near my office. Now, I have a refrigerator in my office, and I am going to try to bring some sort of pasta/rice/couscous salad every week with some greens for a good midday meal 3-4 days a week. The remainder of the days-- I'll likely be having pho :)

  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 (16 ounce) package bow tie or similar-shaped pasta
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast meat
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onion
  • 1 can baby corn, sliced
  • 1/4 diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup julienned carrot
  • 1 cup blanched and sliced snow peas

  1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add sesame seeds, and cook stirring frequently until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain pasta, and rinse under cold water until cool. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine vegetable oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, sesame seeds, ginger, and pepper. Shake well.
  4. Pour sesame dressing over pasta, and toss to coat evenly. Gently mix in chicken, cilantro, green onions, and other vegetables.

  • I made the chicken mixture and kept the pasta separate. The chicken tasted even better after the flavors melded overnight. Each morning, I prepared a to-go pyrex dish with the chicken mixture on the bottom, with pasta and baby spinach leaves sitting on top. This way the pasta didn't soak up all the dressing. I then mixed it right before lunch.
  • Change up the type and amount of vegetables to your liking. Water chestnuts may be an option if you care for them. I blanched the snow peas in the pot of boiling water, removed them, then boiled the pasta.
  • For the shredded chicken, I poached two bone-in chicken breasts using The Kitchn's method.
  • After I took the photo I realized I forgot the sesame seeds and had to re-mix--whoops. It looks even better with all the toasted sesame seeds!

Liz's Rating: 10/10
Tim's Rating: 9.5/10

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Baked Rigatoni with Ricotta and Collard Greens

Cottage Living
and seen on Erin's blog and Food alla Puttanesca

  • 1 (16-ounce) package rigatoni or penne pasta
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound collard greens, washed, drained, and chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Prepare pasta according to directions. Drain and set aside. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.

  2. Heat butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; sauté onion 5 minutes or until just brown. Add garlic, and cook about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add greens; cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes or until greens are tender, stirring occasionally.

  3. Sprinkle greens with flour. Cook uncovered, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Gradually add milk, stirring well. Cook 5 minutes, stirring often, until thickened and smooth. Remove from heat; stir in cooked pasta, mozzarella, and next 5 ingredients. Place into prepared dish, and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan.

  4. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes.

I love cooked collards in pasta, and they hold their shape so much better than cooked spinach, which can become mushy. This would be a nice dish for vegetarians, but if you're an omnivore who eats pork, I'd probably suggest Linguine and Collard Greens with Bacon first. :)

Tim's Rating: 8/10
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tommy Gun

Food & Wine
Our friend Lindsay made these for a recent party, and we made a batch at home this past weekend.

  • 2 thin fresh ginger slices
  • 1 teaspoon apricot jam
  • 1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • Ice
  • 2 ounces Irish whiskey
  • 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
  • 1 lemon twist

Original Instructions:
  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the ginger with the jam and lemon juice. Add ice and the whiskey and Grand Marnier; shake well. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with the lemon twist.

Lindsay's Method:
  1. Put all ingredients in a blender; blend, strain, and serve over ice.

Tim's Rating: 9.75

Monday, January 4, 2010

Deviled Eggs, Two Ways

A holiday gathering with friends and recipes from allrecipes.com.

Ingredients and Instructions:

Bacon-Balsamic Deviled Eggs

Savory Deviled Eggs

These were a HUGE hit! I was of course expecting the bacon recipe to be the favorite, but surprisingly the dill eggs were even more popular. I made 24 deviled egg halves for 8 people, and I should have made more. These will be something I'll make often.

Shout Out:
Thanks to my friend Lindsay for lending me her pretty antique dish. :)

Liz and Tim's Ratings:
Bacon-Balsamic: 9.5/10
Savory Deviled Eggs: 10/10

Friday, January 1, 2010

Healthier Sour Cream & Onion Dip

Good Housekeeping

  • 1 1/2 cup(s) plain fat-free yogurt
  • 2 tablespoon(s) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium (6- to 8-ounce) yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) sugar
  • salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/3 cup(s) reduced-fat sour cream
  • Snipped chives, for garnish

  1. Line medium sieve set over deep bowl with basket-style coffee filter or paper towel. Spoon yogurt into filter; cover and refrigerate 25 minutes. Discard liquid in bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, in 12-inch skillet, heat oil on medium until hot. Add onions, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Cook 15 to 17 minutes or until dark golden brown, stirring onions occasionally.
  3. Line plate with double thickness of paper towels. With slotted spoon, transfer onions to plate to drain further and cool. (Onions will crisp slightly as they cool, and a few pieces may stick to paper towel.)
  4. In medium bowl, combine sour cream, strained yogurt, and onions. Stir well. Cover, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 3 days. (Dip is best when refrigerated for a day; flavors develop more fully.) Garnish with chives and serve with fresh veggie crudités.

My family members LOVE the dip made by mixing Lipton's Onion Soup dry mix with sour cream. They love it. My mom and I thought that we would try making an onion dip from scratch. This was much much less salty than the other dip (not surprisingly), so I would probably add a little more salt next time :)

Nutritional Information:
(per 2 tablespoon serving)

Total Fat2g
Saturated Fat1g
Total Carbohydrate4g
Dietary Fiber1g

Tim's Rating: 8/10
Liz's Rating: 8.5/10