Hearty French Beef Stew Recipe!

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Who needs a filter when you’ve got steam?

Earlier in the week I made beef stew. It was so good that I had a hard time waiting the full 10 hours until dinner  to dish myself up a bowl! I cooked it on the stove, but it can definitely  be cooked in a crockpot after the initial browning of the meat.

I based my recipe on my mom’s boeuf bourguignon recipe, but I omitted the bacon, as we didn’t have any in the house.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups white onions, diced
  • 3/4 cup each carrots and celery, diced
  • 1 cup white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (tops only, stems may be discarded or saved for a later use)
  • 2 T. Air Dried Shallots
  • 1 T. Minced Garlic
  • 4 T. Butter or Olive Oil (your choice), divided
  • 2 lbs. Stew Beef, cut into bite sized pieces (chuck roast works great)
  • 1/2 c. AP Flour
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 1 Bottle Red Wine (approx. 4 cups), your choice.
  • Spices: 1 Bay leaf, 1 T. French Tarragon, Pinch Rubbed Sage, 1 T. Thyme, Salt, Pepper

Directions:

  1. In a Large Stock pot, melt 2 T. butter/heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms. Cook on medium/low heat, stirring occasionally until onions are clear and veggies have sweated.
  3. While veggies are cooking, rinse meat and toss gently in AP Flour to coat.
  4. After veggies are cooked, scoop out of pot and set aside, add remaining butter/oil, and brown beef over medium heat.
  5. Add cooked veggies back in and stir/scrape browned bits off the bottom and sides of pot.
  6. Turn heat up to medium/high and add in about half the wine. Scrape off as much of the browned bits off the bottom and sides as you can as the wine cooks.
  7. Add remaining wine, stock, and herbs. Cover pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally. If you wish, you can transfer everything to a crockpot and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  8. Serve with hot, buttered bread, and a green salad. It is soooooo good. If you have leftovers (hahahaha), it is great re-heated and served over rice or buttered noodles.

 

Weekly Menu Plan!

stemarie_1650skitchenI usually post this on Monday mornings, but I just finished organizing the pantry and freezer, so I thought I’d post it while my memory is fresh! School starts on Wednesday..Not that I’m excited or anything, but I can’t wait to get back to a routine for the entire families sake.

Breakfasts are usually the same for us: Protein shakes for grown ups, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. We have plenty of protein shake fixins’- I buy the over ripe bananas, peel and slice them pop them into ziploc bags, and freeze them for smoothies and protein shakes. I also keep sandwich ziploc bags of  other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or a protein shake for me and the Mister, and The Big kid has a specially packed lunch of whatever he’s into at the time (which changes frequently). Bitty Bird eats whatever I’ll feed her.

For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.

Monday: Homemade frozen pizza with watermelon slices

Tuesday: Lemon Garlic Spaghetti Squash Casserole, fruit salad

Wednesday:  Chicken and veggie stir fry & Rice

Thursday: Sliders with cheese and caramelized onions on a green salad (no buns for us)

Friday: Date night- I’m thinking Ramen!

Saturday:Shakshuka– It’s a one dish meal (and it’s vegetarian!)

Sunday: Leftover night!

What are you having this week for dinner?

Meal Plan Monday 7/16/18

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The heat is finally starting to break around here, which is a good thing. I am looking forward to eating hot food again. Our bbq died (we can only have propane grills at our HOA, because of insurance purposes, and really, having a grill with a shut off is probably  good thing here).

Breakfasts are usually the same for us: Protein shakes for grown ups, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. We have plenty of protein shake fixins’- I buy the over ripe bananas, peel and slice them pop them into ziploc bags, and freeze them for smoothies and protein shakes. I also keep sandwich ziploc bags of  other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or a protein shake for me and the Mister, and The Big kid has a specially packed lunch of whatever he’s into at the time (which changes frequently). Bitty Bird eats whatever I’ll feed her.

For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.

Monday: Breakfast sandwiches on the homemade sourdough English Muffins my mom made over the weekend, and fruit salad.

Tuesday: Crockpot chili. We’ve got lots of beans in the cupboard, so I’m using them up!

Wednesday:  Chicken Tetrazzini, asparagus, fruit

Thursday: Bean, rice, and cheese bowls

Friday: Pizza and salad

Saturday: Hamburgers, salad, and fruit

Sunday: Leftover night!

What are you having this week for dinner?

4/10/18 Meal Plan… Tuesday

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OMG- Yesterday.. You Guys… Was HORRIBLE. Miss Sally (my car) had her battery die, so had to get a jump start and then off to the shop for a new battery. Luckily, it was still under warranty, so it was free. That debacle threw off my entire day, and by the time the kids were in bed, I was too popped to post.

I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos lately have been having protein pancakes (I like Kodiak Cakes mix- it’s yummy and very versatile) with butter and Peanut butter. Hubs likes Oatmeal (my recipe for an easy almost instant oatmeal mix can be found here) if he’s got time, otherwise he and I have protein shakes. We mix it up, and have different flavors and mix in all kinds of stuff into our shakes, so as not to get bored. Here area few of our favorite recipes.

Lunches for Lil’ Man are usually  fruit, chocolate milk (home made with protein powder and ice cube so it’s still cold at lunch), a protein muffin (aka a kid cupcake), and applesauce cup. He takes his lunch every day! Hubs usually has a protein shake or I pack him leftovers or a frozen entree.

Bitty Bird and I usually have leftovers from the night before, or soup, sandwiches, quesadillas. She eats almost anything!

this week is supposed to be hot, so I am planning a lot of foods that don’t require the stove or oven.

Monday:

  • D: We scrounged leftovers last night- too tired to cook.

Tuesday:

  • D: Smoothies and Salad- It’s currently 82 degrees in our living room, so I am not turning on the stove or oven!

Weds:

  • D: Salsa Chicken (in the crockpot)

Thursday:

  • D: Spinach Salad with Feta and Grilled chicken breasts

Friday:

  • D: Date Night (dinner out)

Saturday:

  • D: Leftovers

Sunday:

  • D:   Breakfast for dinner/Frittata

The menu may change, as  I pull stuff out of the pantry to rotate what we’ve got (I am trying to cut down on waste, and put the older stuff up front to get eaten first).  One thing that I love to make that cuts down on food waste is fruit salad. It always gets eaten quickly, and everyone in the house loves it!

Family Recipe: Chicken Divan

DSC02717.JPGChicken Divan is also known as chicken and broccoli casserole, but we just call it yummy at our house. You can bake it in the oven, make it on the stove top, or cook it in the crockpot.  I’ll give you all three cooking directions.

My family loves it!

The original recipe calls for rice or noodles, but I use Quinoa.

Chicken Divan

Ingredients:

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 4 cups of broccoli (Fresh or frozen, your choice)
  • 2 cups white sauce, or 1 can Progresso Recipe starters (I prefer the roasted garlic, but the mushroom is good too)
  • 3 cups cheese, divided (I like cheddar, but gruyere or swiss is good too)
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed or toasted (You can substitute in 1 cup uncooked white rice instead)
  • 2 cups chicken broth or water
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Crockpot

  1. Saute onions in butter on the stove until softened and clear.  About 5 minutes.
  2. Place all ingredients except 1/2 c cheese, all water, and quinoa in crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. add quinoa and water/broth, turn on crockpot to high for 1-2 hours, or until quinoa is cooked. Top with cheese and serve.

Stovetop:

  1. Saute onions in butter on the stove until softened and clear.  About 5 minutes.
  2. Add chicken and continue to cook until chicken is no longer pink.
  3. Add remaining ingredients except 1/2 c cheese, and cook  covered on medium/low for 15-25 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the quinoa. Top with cheese and serve.

Oven:

  1. Saute onions in butter on the stove until softened and clear.  About 5 minutes.
  2. Add chicken and continue to cook until chicken is no longer pink. Remove from heat.
  3. Mix in remaining ingredients except 1/2 c cheese, and pour into a greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the quinoa.  Top with cheese about 10 minutes before it’s ready, and continue to bake.

Serves 6-8.

Never made white sauce? Here is a pretty basic recipe.

You can also substitute in 4 cups Winter Blend (1/2 cauliflower, 1/2 Broccoli), or another veggie that you prefer.

Crockpot Chicken Stock recipe!

Wondering what to do with the carcass of the rotisserie chicken from last nights dinner? Got in the fridge, with a little meat clinging to the bones? Here is an easy recipe that makes delish stock and a great bowl of soup!

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No rotisserie chicken? You can use your thanksgiving leftovers! Just save the bones and make sure they have SOME meat on them!

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter, or olive oil, your choice
Two onions peeled and chopped
Four cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
Five stocks of celery cleaned and chopped
2 cups carrots chopped
4 bay leaves
One chicken carcass with at least 2 cups of meat still on the bone (chicken needs to be cooked, they were rotisserie chicken is perfect for this.)
10 cups of water
salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large sauce pan or skillet melt butter or poor oil. Add all chopped vegetables except garlic.
  2. Sauté on low for approximately 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. Once onions are translucent, add garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 10 minutes.
  4. Pork cooked veggies into slow cooker, top with chicken carcass, Bailey’s, salt and pepper, and water.
  5. Place lid on slow cooker, and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours.
  6. Turn slow cooker off, and allow to cool to room temperature.
  7. Strain solids off, using a colander or assistive. Discard the solids, leaving behind rich, fragrant, delicious, homemade chicken stock.
  8. Stock will need to be seasoned, most likely with additional salt and pepper, and any other spices you would like. I like additional spices like Rosemary, and basil.

To turn into delicious homemade chicken soup, add 1 to 2 cups additional chopped cooked chicken (or turkey) meat, any veggies you would like, and 1 cup uncooked noodles.

Cook on low to medium for 20 minutes to half hour, or until pasta is cooked to your liking. This makes approximately 8 cups of broth, and approximately 6 to 8 servings of soup.img_9953

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Bay Leaves!

Recipe: Crockpot Shredded Chicken

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 1.51.25 PMThis is a total time saver! I do this twice a month. It really saves time when it’s time to cook dinner. And on those days when you are just going going going, it’s nice to know that you’ve got something easy and tasty waiting for you!

It’s so easy, All you need is a crockpot, a food scale, and two forks!

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs of chicken, whatever is on sale (I used chicken breasts- bone-in with skin)
  • 1 c. broth or water
  • Seasoning to taste- I use a little dehydrated onion ( I like this one from Penzey’s), a little garlic powder, and a little pepper.

Directions:

  1. Cook in the crockpot on low 6-8 hours. Allow to cool.
  2. Shred it with a fork (removing bones and skin).
  3. Grab ziploc bags (I like the snack size ones), our Digital Kitchen Scale, and a glass bowl. I use a measuring cup to scoop the meat (and juices) into the glass bowl, but I am measuring by weight.  The measuring cup is just my scooping tool of choice.
  4. Place the glass bowl on the scale, then turn the scale on- I only want to weight the food, not the glass bowl.
  5. After I weigh the chicken (into 4 ounce portions), I pour it into a snack size ziploc bag, seal it (and squeeze out the air), and put them in the freezer.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 1.55.43 PM Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 1.55.58 PMThen when it’s time to make quesadillas, chef salad, or pretty much any time we want chicken (Hubs like to top his frozen entrees, like this one with a little bit of chicken for added protein), just grab a bag and defrost it in the microwave!

Frequently, I’ll get a larger Ziploc bag and measure out 2 cups- this is just enough for a casserole. Just defrost, mix in the other ingredients and cook!

I also like to make and portion out ground turkey cooked with black beans and fajita blend frozen veggies flavored with Taco Seasoning. It’s great on salads, quesadillas, or in chicken broth for a quick tortilla soup!