Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Old Fashioned Beef Stew

We had a whole bunch of stew meat in the freezer and after a few cold and rainy days, I really started to crave some good old fashioned beef stew the other day. With my hands tied with the baby most of the day, stew is the perfect type of meal to throw together in a pot in the morning, and just forget about it the rest of the day until dinner time. I especially love that it's so simple and you don't need to add red wine, which I rarely have open bottles of kicking around.  Of all the stew recipes I've tried, this one is by far my favourite - lots of veggies, super tender beef, and nice flavourful sauce perfect for dipping some fresh bread into. Enjoy!

Beef Stew
Serves 6-8
Source: For The Love of Cooking

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb stew meat
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, diced 
1 can diced tomatoes
1-2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
6 cups of beef stock
1 cup carrots, chopped 
1 cup celery, chopped
2 cups red potatoes, chopped
3 tbsp cornstarch (I used at least this much since I like mine pretty thick)

In a large pot over medium heat, add olive oil, and brown the stew meat on all sides; Set aside.  Add onion, then cook for about 5 minutes. When softened, add garlic and cook for 30 seconds before adding tomatoes, seasonings and stock. Add back the beef, cover and cook on the stove top at medium low heat for at least 3 hours (you could also cook it in the oven).

Add vegetables to the stew and add more beef broth if low; cook for an additional 1 - 1 1/ 2 hours. If you want the stew to be thick, add a slurry of cornstarch and cold beef broth (mixing thoroughly) then pour into stew while it's boiling, and let simmer for a little while longer. I serve mine with fresh bread for dipping!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Meat Lasagna

There are days when you just need comfort food, and for me, lasagna is one of them. This lasagna is so delicious and very easy to make, and really doesn't take very long to assemble at all. Lets be honest, it's not the sort of meal that you make one evening after work, but it's perfect for those rainy day weekends we've been getting lately.
In our house we love a meat lasagna, so when I came across this recipe, I knew it would be perfect. It has been a huge hit every time that I make it, since it's got the perfect amount of meat, sauce and cheese. You have to try it - YUM!
Meat Lasagna
Serves 6 good-sized portions
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 pound of extra lean ground beef
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 pinch of red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 500g container cottage cheese (I used 2 %)
2 large eggs
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
9 lasagna noodles, cooked per instructions
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded (use the good stuff, it tastes better)
4 cups of marinara sauce (homemade or store bought)
Cook over medium heat the onions until they start to soften. Add the ground beef and cook through. Add the garlic powder, dried basil, dried oregano, red pepper flakes and salt & pepper to taste. Once the meat is brown and the onion is tender, add the garlic and cook for approximately 30 to 60 seconds, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, drain any grease, and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together cottage cheese, eggs, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, basil, as well as salt & pepper to taste. Combine until mixed thoroughly.
Meanwhile, cook the lasagna noodles per instructions then drain.
Once everything is ready to go, layer a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with just enough sauce to cover the bottom of the pan. Lay three lasagna noodles in the pan. Spread half of the cottage cheese mixture on the noodles, then spoon half of the ground beef mixture on top. Sprinkle with a bit of mozzarella and spoon some sauce over the cheese; repeat layering. Finish with a layer of noodles and remaining sauce, and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese.
Cover with tinfoil, and bake covered in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes. When you remove it from the oven, let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Southwestern Chicken Chili

Oh dear. It's been a year since I've posted my last recipe. Many good recipes have collected in the meantime! This one is delicious (as usual) - Not sure that the picture does it much justice, but this Southwest Chicken Chili is amazing. I so love it, especially since it's so fully of veggies and lots of other goodies! So filling, and so tasty. So yum. And now especially since the snow is starting, it's perfect to warm you up on a chilly day!

Southwestern Chicken Chili
Adapted slightly from Best of Bridge
Serves 8-10

5 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves
3 Tbsp chili powder (use all of it)
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
3 Tbsp coriander
salt & pepper to taste (I use at least a tsp of pepper, and 1/2 tsp or less of salt)
4 carrots, chopped into bite-sized pieces
3 stalks celery, chopped
28 oz can diced tomatoes
7 oz can diced green chiles
3 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp sugar
12 oz can kernel corn
14 oz can white kidney beans
14 oz can garbanzo beans (chick peas)
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. In a dutch oven or large pot, brown the chicken in the oil.

2. Add onions and saute until soft. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant.

3. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, coriander, salt and pepper to the mixture, and cook and stir for about 3 minutes.

4. Add carrots, celery, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, green chiles, lime juice and sugar to the mix. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for one hour.

5. After the chili has simmered for an hour, add the corn, kidney beans, chick peas and bell pepper, and simmer for about 30 minutes more.

Serve with a fresh bun, or just if you want to be simple a couple of pieces of bread! Enjoy!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Blueberry Oat Muffins

So, this past summer I really got caught up with all of the delicious and beautiful blueberries that were available around here, and for a great price. Well, fast forward to December where I still have like 4 large freezer bags full of frozen blueberries! Figuring that I should probably use them up soon (...and realizing that you go through blueberries only so fast from making blueberry pancakes once a week...), I decided to make these low-fat blueberry oat muffins I had bookmarked the recipe for months ago. They were delicious! Not only do they have wonderful flavour, but with lots of blueberries in them the sweetness comes from the blueberries and not from loads of sugar. Go on, try them. Use up all your frozen blueberries. Of course they would be wonderful with fresh berries too :)

Low-Fat Blueberry Oat Muffins
Source: My Own Sweet Thyme
Makes 12 muffins

1 cup old-fashioned oats, uncooked (I actually used quick oats and they turned out great)
1 cup 1% buttermilk
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
1 cup flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

1. Preheat oven to 400F; Lightly spray 12 muffins cups with cooking spray.

2. In a small bowl, combine the oats and the buttermilk, and let sit for 10 minutes. After it has sat for 10 minutes, mix in the egg whites, butter and lemon peel, stirring until well blended.

3. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt), mixing well.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the oats mixture, stirring until just moistened.

5. Gently fold in the blueberries.

6. Fill the muffin cups until nearly full, and bake about 20-25 minutes or until they just start to turn golden brown.

7. Cool in tins for about 5 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack. Delicious served warm or cold! Enjoy.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sweet Potato, Jalapeno and Corn Bisque

I've been wanting to make a soup lately that uses yams or sweet potatoes in it, and so when I saw this one at everybody likes sandwiches, I figured it would be perfect. The texture was really velveety, with just a bit of spice from the jalapeno, matched by the sweetness from the corn. A perfect soup to warm you up on those cold, windy and wet days that we've been experiencing lately around here!

Sweet Potato, Jalapeno and Corn Bisque
Adapted from everybody likes sandwiches (originally from The Wednesday Chef)
Serves 4

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium yams, peeled and chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
3 cups chicken broth
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 tsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp ground pepper (or to taste)
tiny pinch of ground cinnamon

1. In a large pot, over medium heat, saute onions for a minute or so, then add garlic until fragrant. Add the yams and sweet potatoes, stirring for a few seconds.

2. Add the chicken stock - I used just enough to make sure that the vegetables are covered. Use more or less as needed. Cover, and boil over medium heat until cooked - about 10-15 minutes.

3. If you have an immersion blender, you could use that to puree the vegetables... I used a blender, pureeing in batches until everything was very smooth.

4. Return the soup to the soup pot, and add the jalapenos, corn, syrup, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Stir well, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lettuce Wraps

Oh. my. goodness. SO delicious! So, eventhough lettuce wraps are not the type of thing that we ever make (and I've really only had them like 3 times in my entire life before now), my sister passed this recipe on to me that she recently tried, and they were a HUGE hit. My husband I and both loved them. As is typical for what I look for in a recipe, they were very easy to make... and like I said they were delicious. The oyster sauce did seem like a funky ingredient never having used it before, but all of the ingredients together made this dish taste amazing. We had no leftovers!

Lettuce Wraps
Serves 3

1-2 heads butter lettuce
1 lb ground beef
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/4" slice of fresh ginger, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 can sliced water chestnuts, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp sherry cooking wine
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp cold water

1. Wash and dry the lettuce, separating the leaves. Try not to tear them since you'll use them as a wrap. Set aside

2. Heat the sesame and olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onions and soften for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, stirring constantly, cooking until fragrant.

3. Add the beef to the onion and garlic mixture, and brown the meat until fully cooked. Once cooked, remove the meat mixture from the pan and set aside.

4. Using the same pan, add a little bit more olive oil to the pan, and add the red pepper, water chestnuts and celery, cooking until softened (about 4-5 minutes). Once cooked, add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sherry cooking wine and sugar to the pan - stir. Let it cook for a minute or two.

5. Mix the cornstarch and water together, and add to the vegetable mixture, stirring to thicken. Add the meat mixture back to the pan, and cook for a couple more minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. To serve, spoon some of the meat mixture onto the middle of one of the lettuce leafs. Wrap it like you would a taco or burrito, and enjoy!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mikyn's Chicken Pot Pie

Mmmm, comfort food. Sitting here, thinking about it, I actually wondered to myself how chicken pot pie became a comfort food? Seriously, I don't think I ever remember eating it growing up - and if we did, I think it was rare. In any case, they are pretty much a staple in our house now, especially now that I've starting to make my own. They are a HUGE hit around here - we all love them. Normally, I make my own pastry crusts and everything, but this week I thought I'd try something a bit different by using a cheese-filled biscuit topping... not only was it a success in that it tasted really good, but by eliminating the pastry, it cuts out a lot of the extra calories normally found in pot pies. Calories aside, it's yum. Comfort food, yum.

Chicken Pot Pie
Mikyn's Kitchen
Serves 8 mini pot-pies or 1 large 9x11 pie

2-3 cups chicken broth
3 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 small potatoes, chopped (I used russet potatoes)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup roasted chicken, cut into bite-size pieces (or more if desired)
Sprinkle of marjoram
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup flour
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

1) Boil carrots, celery, onion and potatoes in chicken broth. Add marjoram and bay leaf; Season with salt and pepper. Once cooked, reserve chicken broth and set veggies aside.

2) Make a basic white sauce with butter, flour and milk. It will be very thick; add the reserved chicken broth to the white sauce to thin to desired thickness, making sure to keep it fairly thick. You want it to be a gravy consistency.

3) Add the peas, chicken, and reserved cooked vegetables to the gravy sauce, stirring gently.

4) Fill individual ramekins (or pot pie shells) with the vegetable/gravy mixture, and top with biscuit topping. I used this one, but instead of the raisins, use about a 1/4 cup of grated cheese. Bake at 425F for 12-14 minutes.

If you want to freeze the pot pies for future use, I recommend allowing the sauce to cool first, and then fill either your raw pie shells (or top with uncooked biscuit topping), and stick straight into the freezer to bake later. It's comfort food at it's best.