Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hearty Beef Stew (crock pot recipe)

I made this Beef stew tonight for dinner.....Don't be put off by the amount of preparation time it takes in the beginning before it goes into the crock pot because all of the steps are SOO worth it and makes it that much better!! I already had a really good go to recipe for Beef stew but this one is 10 times better!
***It makes a TON so either half it or you will just have lots to eat off of. I have a fairly large crock pot and it was filled to the top.

5 pounds boneless chuck roast, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (I used stew meat already packaged cut up)
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste ( I didn't have tomato paste so I used a 14 oz can of tomato sauce)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or beef broth ( I used about 3 cups of beef broth, I like alot of juice in my soups and stews)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 bay leaves
1 pound carrots, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces (I used baby carrots and cut them in half)
1 pound red potatoes, washed and cut into 1-inch pieces (don't use Russet potatoes they will end up being to mushy, if you don't mind them being a little mushy then you can use Russets)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons Minute tapioca (holds up better as a thickener than cornstarch)
2 cups frozen peas

After the meat has been cut into chunks, pat it dry with a paper towel and season all the pieces with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat until the oil is rippling and hot. Cook half of the beef until it is well browned on each side, about 4 minutes. No need to cook it all the way through – just get some great brown color all around. Toss the meat in the slow cooker and follow the same process with the second half of the meat (you may need to add another tablespoon of oil to the pan if it looks a little dry). Remove the meat to the slow cooker, trying to keep as much oil in the pan as possible.

Return the skillet to medium heat and add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the onions are translucent and golden, about 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the broth, soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon thyme and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil and transfer it to the slow cooker, pouring it over the meat.

In a large bowl, toss the carrots, potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. On the counter, lay out a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil (use two sheets of regular foil on top of each other if you don’t have heavy-duty). Place the tossed vegetables on one side of the foil. Fold the foil over the vegetables and crimp the edges really well to form a little foil packet that will fit in the top of your slow cooker. Stir the tapioca into the slow cooker. Place the foil packet of vegetables on top of the stew, cover the slow cooker, and cook on high for 6-7 hours or low for 10-11 hours.

When the stew is finished cooking, carefully remove the foil packet from the top of the stew. Discard the bay leaves from the stew. Carefully open the foil packet (be careful of steam that may escape as you open it!). Return the vegetables and any juices to the slow cooker and gently mix them into the stew. Stir in the frozen peas and let them rest in the stew for 5-10 minutes, until they are heated through. Serve.
YUMMMM, being pregnant it caused immediate heartburn but it was so worth it!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Homeade Oreo's

Picture to come

Homemade Oreo Cookies (Big Batch)
2 packages Devils Food Cake Mix
1 cup margarine-softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Frosting:8 oz. cream cheese-softened
1 cube butter or margarine-softened
1 pound powdered sugar (3 cups)
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together into cookie batter texture, roll into balls as big as desired (walnut size). Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes. Do not over-cook. Leave cookies on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes after removing from oven. Cool and assemble cookies spread with cream cheese frosting in the middle.

Bavarian Apple Torte

(pictures to come)
12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 packages (8-ounce each) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 cups peeled, thinly sliced Granny Smith Apples (about 3-4 apples)
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the first four crust ingredients. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9- or 10-inch springform pan.

In another medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until well blended. Add the eggs and vanilla; mix well. Pour over crust and smooth the creamy layer to the edges.

Combine the topping ingredients and mix well. Spoon the coated apples over the cream cheese layer, taking care to even out the apple layer as much as possible.

Place the springform pan on a larger baking sheet and bake the torte for 60-70 minutes, until the center is set. I gently pressed on the middle of the torte (on top of the apples) to check for doneness. When there is not a lot of "give" and the center seems mostly firm, it is finished baking. Keep in mind it will continue to set up a bit as it cools. Cool completely, cut into slices and serve.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Coconut Almond Bread

YUM!!! It is SOOO good. Just ignore the fact that it has Shortening in it and you'll be good!!! YUM YUM YUM.

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
½ cup shortening
1 tsp. coconut extract
½ c. buttermilk
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
1½ c. flour
½ c. coconut
½ c. chopped almonds

½ c. sugar
¼ c. water
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. almond extract

Beat eggs, sugar, shortening, and extract together. Slowly mix in buttermilk and dry ingredients. Pour into a bread pan coated in cooking spray. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes at 325 degrees until knife comes out clean. While baking boil sugar and water for a few minutes. Remove from heat and add butter and extract. Pour over cooked bread and let set for two hours before removing from pan.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Bisquick Sausage and Cheese balls

I know these don't look all that amazing but they are one of my favorite holiday foods.I don't miss a single Christmas without making them!
I've been eating these at Christmas time since I can remember. I'm so excited to eat them in the morning!!

1 lb ground breakfast sausage
2 cups Bisquick
2 cups cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, mix together all the ingredients. Form into 1 inch balls. Place baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart.When baking sheet is full, place in oven. Bake for 20 minutes
I've never tried eating them with any sauces but I just might try them with my ranch dressing this time. Just to be extra naughty before next week!

Homemade Ranch Dressing

I will NEVER I repeat NEVER ever buy Ranch dressing from the grocery store ever again. I've always really liked Ranch but always hated the store bought bottled kind. I found this recipe and I could eat it by the spoonfuls its that good.
Its a shame I am going to start eating alot healthier in the new year because this stuff is really good.

2 c. mayo
2 c. buttermilk
1/2 Tbsp. pepper (or to taste) We really like to use fresh ground pepper, I find it adds better flavor
1 Tbsp. parsley
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. onion powder
2 Tbsp. "Accent" OR "Spike" seasoning (Spike has no added MSG, the only place i've found it around here is Winco)
1 Tbps. salt
2-3 Tbsp. of sour cream if you'd like it thicker.

Mix all ingredients together well and chill for at least 2 hours.

** My notes
This makes alot unless you are having a party you might just want to half the recipe. Although buttermilk by itself freezes well, freezing the ranch after its made turns out grainy after its thawed so I do not recommend freezing the ranch.
I don't mind the ranch being runny but, some people do. I normally add sour cream to it to thicken it up and it never seems to alter the taste at all.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cherry Cheesecake Cookies

These cookies are delicious!!!!!!!!!! I really don't enjoy cookies very much. Thats why you probably won't see many recipes on here for them nor will you ever recieve many from me as a gift. I wasn't to impressed when I first made them but after they cooled they were SO good! I mean REALLY REALLY good! If you don't like Cherry then you can substitute anything such as Strawberry or even blueberry. I ran out of the cherry so I finished off the batch with jam in the middle and they still turned out great!
Check my notes at the bottom for some addition tips.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 cans (20-ounce) cherry pie filling

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In another bowl with an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter and sugar until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Refrigerate dough until firm, at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners. Place graham cracker crumbs in a shallow dish.

Roll the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls, then roll the balls in graham cracker crumbs. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using a tablespoon measure, make an indentation in the center of each ball. Place 3 cherries in the dimple. Bake until golden brown around the edges, 12 to 14 minutes. Cool for five minutes on the sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
I find that these cookies taste better after cooling. You can store them in the refrigarator and they are espcecially good chilled!
It is important to chill the dough so that while you are rolling the balls they stay in tact.
Don't make the balls to large or they will be difficult to eat without crumbling.
I also found the dough to be just as tasty as the actual cookie!