Cooking is a passion and when I have the time I enjoy creating in the kitchen. My recipes are at times healthy, at times decadent, usually derived from some celebrity cooking show or recipe website I frequent. These are my success stories.

Crockpot Beef Stroganoff

Last night I tried one of the many recipes I pinned on Pinterest.  I haven’t always had the best of luck with Pinterest inspired recipes but this one was a hit all around.

I made 2 lbs of egg noodles, there was plenty for 4 generous servings as well as lunch for 2 and I still had plenty enough left over to store for the midnight raiders.

Crockpot Beef Stroganoff

2 lbs cube steak or stew beef cut into bite size pieces
2 cans condensed golden mushroom soup (I used regular, not golden)
1 cup chopped onion
1 Tb Worcestershire sauce
1 14 oz can beef broth
8 oz button mushrooms, cleaned and quartered (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream

In the crockpot, combine the meat, soup, onion, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Stir in cream cheese and sour cream about half an hour before serving, stirring every ten minutes or so to break up cream cheese.

Serve over cooked egg noodles or rice. (After the egg noodles cooked, I add a few ladle fulls to the crockpot to thicken up the sauce.)

Not Quite Chicken & Dumplings

My husband isn’t a fan of the dumpling part of chicken and dumplings.  Something about them cooking in the broth just doesn’t appeal to him so last night I made the same chicken and replaced the dumplings with baked biscuits.

Ingredients:

10 chicken thighs, chopped into bite size pieces
1 small onion, diced
3 gloves of garlic, diced
California blend frozen veggies (or whatever veggies you like)
3 small potatoes, chopped small
1 small can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom (Low Sodium)
1 small can Campbell’s Cream of Celery (Low Sodium)
1 to 2 rolls of flaky dinner rolls
Adobo seasoning (no pepper)
Black Pepper
Italian Seasoning
Canola Oil

Yields:  2 full meals for a family of 4, plus 2 lunches

Directions:

In a dutch oven (or any deep pot) heat just enough oil to coat the bottom, then toss in the diced onion and season with a little Adobo and pepper.  Stirring occasionally, let them sweat out for 5 minutes then add your garlic.  You only need to cook the garlic a couple of minutes before you dump in the chicken, don’t let it burn.  Once you’ve got the chicken in re-season with a little Adobo and pepper and give it all a nice stir.

I waited about 5 minutes, stirring a few times, just until I started seeing some color on the chicken before I added in my potatoes and frozen veggies.  Re-season with a little Adobo and pepper, mix well.

Add in the two cans of soup and one to two cans of water (1 can = thicker, 2 cans = thinner/soupier).  Neither will be very thick so you can add the thickening agent of your choice, I simply chose to leave out any extra calories.

I let this simmer away for an hour, stirring occasionally, before I made my flaky biscuits (store bought roll) according to the package instructions.  *Then serve it by opening two biscuits on a plate and scooping the chicken, veggies and broth right on top.

*Set aside just about half to cool and freeze, for a quick prepared meal next week.  The remainder will give your family of 4 each two servings, plus 2 next day lunches.*

Another freezer idea that I haven’t tried yet:  portion it off into individual freezer-to-microwave safe containers for grab and go meals if your household is on different schedules, or like me you are simple meal solutions you can make in advance.

 

Marinated Flank Steak & Marinated Chicken Parts

Was a crazy busy weekend with parties and motorcycle rides so I don’t have any pictures but I put together two marinades this weekend that we really enjoyed.  Both of these are variations of one’s I’d seen before but never saved, so I totally winged it.

Marinated Flank Steak

1 pack of fresh cilantro
4 or 5 large garlic cloves
2 small shallots (or 1 large)
2 or 3 dashes of Adobo seasoning (no pepper added)
Olive Oil
1.5 lb Flank Steak

Pick the leaves off the cilantro and add it to a food processor with the gloves, peeled shallots, adobo season and a little olive oil .  If yours is like mine, you can add more olive oil as it’s working which lets you see the consistency form.  Chop and pulse away, drizzling more olive oil until you have a paste that can still pour…not too think but not runny with excess oil.

Put you flank steak in a shallow pan, rub half the marinade on one side, flip and do the other.  Cover and fridge at least an hour but better overnight.

To cook make sure your BBQ or indoor grill is screaming hot, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium rare.

Marinated Chicken Parts

Zest of 2 lemons
4 or 5 large cloves of garlic
Herb mixture of Rosemary, Fennel, Parsley and Thyme
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil
2 to 3 lbs of chicken parts

I had fresh parsley, the other herbs I used were dry.  I imagine all fresh would have been even better but use what you have and eyeball it.  Everything was a “couple of dashes” plus one bunch of fresh parsley leaves.  All of it went in the food processor and I drizzled my oil in as it was going until I had a marinade that was more runny than pasty.

It’s not going to look like enough but once you pour it all over the chicken and get your hands in there rubbing it around, it’s more than enough.  Cover and let sit, overnight is best but an hour in the fridge will suffice.

These can be grilled, baked, broiled…we grilled them and it took forever because I bought bone in thighs and legs.  Boneless pieces would have been less time so you’ll just have to judge your grill.

On the side I made a quick salad of fresh chopped basil, mozzarella cheese, and halved grape tomatoes with a a mix of olive oil, red wine vinegar, and a dash of salt & pepper.  Toss it all together, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for a couple of hours to let all the flavors come together.

Enjoy

 

 

Easter Bread

Happy EasterEvery year around this time I carefully unfold the yellowing pages of my old recipe book – a collection I started when my grandmother shared her much loved holiday cookie recipes with me.  Those weekends of baking will remain in my memory long after the pages of my book have disintegrated.   It’s not holiday cookies I’m after this time so I get to avoid that mushy path called memory lane to focus on the task of making Easter Bread.

For Easter Bread each batch makes 6 baskets, you’ll want to color enough Easter eggs equal to the number of baskets you want to bake.

Ingredients

  • 1pk dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk (scald then cool)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup shortening (I prefer buttery flavored)
  • 3.5 – 3 .75 cup flour

Instructions

  1. Using a large bowl dissolve yeast in warm water
  2. Scald milk then cool by placing hot pot in sink of cold water
  3. Add the cooled milk, sugar, salt, egg, shortening and 2 cups of flower to the yeast, mix til smooth.
  4. Add enough of the remaining flower to make the dough easy to handle with hands.
  5. Knead dough for 5 min on lightly floured surface, working it into a smooth ball as you finish kneading.
  6. Place dough in a big, well oiled bowl, turning so all sides are greased and cover with saran wrap.  Make sure the bowl is big enough that the dough has room to rise.
  7. Let rise in warm place until double (about 2 hours) or place in refrigerator to rise slowly overnight.
  8. Punch dough down flat and remove from bowl.

You can do this all in the stand mixer with a dough hook just don’t overwork the dough

To make Easter Bread Baskets

  1. Divide dough into 6 section and shape one basket at a time
    1. Divide a section into 4 pieces
    2. Roll 3 of the pieces into a 7″(approx) rope
    3. Pinch the ends together and braid
    4. Divide the 4th piece in half
      1. Flatten 1 piece and place on greased cookie sheet
      2. Placed colored egg on top
      3. Roll remaining piece into your basket handle and place over top of the egg
    5. Wrap braid around the egg, pinching the ends together securely
  2. Cover the baskets with a clean towel and let them rise in a warm place (about 2 hours)
  3. Brush with beaten egg, dust with sprinkles and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes

Now get creative, shape the dough into large Easter bread loaves or make one giant basket to hold all your eggs, just make sure to check as it bakes to be sure it cooks through.

Alternatives to Easter Bread:

  1. Dinner Rolls:  shape as desired (i.e. biscuits, crescents, clover leafs, monkey bread) bake at 400 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Cinnamon Rolls:
    1. After kneading the dough (step 5 above) cover with a towel and let rest for 20 minutes
    2. Roll dough onto a 10 x 12 rectangle on a lightly floured surfaced and spread with soft butter
    3. Combine 1/4 cup sugar and 3/4 tsp cinnamon, spread on dough.  Add nuts or raisins as desired
    4. Beginning with the longest side roll up tightly, tuck ends and cut into 12 pieces
    5. Place rolls, spiral side up, in a greased 9″ cake pan or greased muffin tin
    6. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight
    7. When ready to bake preheat over to 375 degrees while taking the rolls out of the refrigerator to let stand for 10 minutes.
    8. Remove saran wrap and bake until golden (about 25 – 30 minutes)
    9. Remove from pan immediately and let them cool slightly (from hot to warm)
    10. Drizzle with icing and serve
      1. To make icing combine 1/4 cup confectioners sugar, 1/2 tsp milk and one drop of vanilla.  Beat until smooth.

Enjoy, get the kids involved, pass the recipe on to the next generation.  

Happy Easter