Slow Cooker Beef Stew

This recipe literally melts in your mouth!! I first saw it on pinterest, but it comes from melskitchencafe.com. I highly suggest you click on her site and check out some of her recipes! Since my family gobbled this dinner up, I’m just using the picture from Mel’s site.  hope you enjoy this as much as we did.

INGREDIENTS:
5 pounds boneless chuck roast, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces- I used stew meat 

Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or beef broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 bay leaves- I didn’t have so just left out 🙂
1 pound carrots, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound red potatoes, washed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons Minute tapioca
2 cups frozen peas

DIRECTIONS:
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.

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January 29, 2012. Main Dishes. Leave a comment.

Orange Chicken

I have to say, among the many food blogs that I casually visit- Annie’s Eats is probably one of my favorites! This next recipe is from this blog, and is quite delicious! It requires a little time in the preparation, but so worth it. I served it over rice with a side of steamed green beans. A nice little meal- if I do say so myself! 🙂

Ingredients

  • For the marinade and sauce:
  • ¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1½ tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 6 tbsp. white vinegar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1½ lbs. boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp. cold water
  • 8 thin strips orange peel (optional)
  • For the coating and frying:
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups peanut or canola oil (I like a combination)

Directions

  1. Marinade and sauce: Combine the chicken broth, orange juice, orange zest, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper in a large saucepan; whisk to blend well. Measure out ¾ cup of the mixture and transfer it to a large zipper lock plastic bag. Add the chicken pieces to the bag, pressing out the excess air and sealing well. Refrigerate and let marinate 30-60 minutes, but no longer. Place the saucepan with the remaining mixture on the stove and heat over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water until smooth. Add the mixture to the saucepan with the sauce. Continue simmering until the sauce is thick and translucent, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the strips of orange peel, if using.
  2. Coating: Place the egg whites in a pie plate and whisk until frothy. In a second pie plate combine the cornstarch, baking soda and cayenne pepper; whisk to blend. Drain the chicken of the marinade in a colander or large strainer; pat dry with paper towels. Place half of the chicken pieces in the egg whites and turn to coat. Transfer the pieces to the cornstarch mixture and coat thoroughly, shaking off the excess. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.
  3. To fry the chicken, heat the oil in a 11- or 12-inch round Dutch oven or straight-sided sauté pan until the oil reaches 350° F. Carefully place half of the chicken pieces in the oil and fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes, turning the pieces halfway through cooking. Remove from the oil with a skimmer or slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Return the oil to 350° F and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.
  4. Serve over rice.

October 12, 2011. Main Dishes. Leave a comment.

Parmesan Knots

This next recipe is from a blog by the name of “Real Mom Kitchen.” I’m not sure this can technically be called a recipe because it is so easy, but it is definitely worth posting!

Ingredients

  • 1 tube (12 ounces) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits ( I used Pillsbury Golden Layers Refrigerated buttermilk biscuits)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (I did use the green can stuff)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Directions

  1. Roll each biscuit into a 12-in. rope and tie into a knot; tuck ends under.
  2. Place 2 in. apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; brush the warm knots with the mixture.

October 12, 2011. Breads. 1 comment.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Broccoli cheese soup has got to be one of my favorite soups! I just happen to have some broccoli in the fridge that needed to be used in the next couple of days, so I decided to go with broccoli cheese soup- since today has mostly been a rainy and kinda cold day.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups broccoli (about 4 small heads) cut into very small pieces (you want them to fit on a spoon)
2 cups chicken stock (I used two chicken bouillon cubes dissolved in two cups of hot water)
2 cups milk
1/2 cup flour
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Salt and white pepper
Melt butter in a pot over medium heat, add onions and celery plus a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until soft. Add garlic, cook for another minute. Add broccoli, cook for one minute, then add the chicken stock and cover. Allow the broth to come to a boil, and cook until the broccoli is soft.
Whisk together flour and milk until combined. Add this mixture to the pot, stirring gently. The soup will thicken (yay starch!) and once it’s thick and creamy looking, add the grated cheddar. Salt and pepper to taste, serve with bread.

September 28, 2011. Soups. Leave a comment.

Chili

With the weather getting colder and fall quickly approaching, chili is always a good dinner idea. It seems like I’m always trying new chili recipes, and they usually ALL are great. This one is no exception. I got the recipe from allrecipes.com. It’s called boilermaker tailgate chili because it’s eaten at Purdue football games!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 3 (15 ounce) cans chili beans, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chili beans in spicy sauce
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 green chile peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon bacon bits

  • 4 cubes beef bouillon
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco™)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) bag corn chips such as Fritos®
  • 1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Crumble the ground chuck and sausage into the hot pan, and cook until evenly browned. Drain off excess grease.
  2. Pour in the chili beans, spicy chili beans, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Add the onion, celery, green and red bell peppers, chile peppers, bacon bits, bouillon, and beer. Season with chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, oregano, cumin, hot pepper sauce, basil, salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, and sugar. Stir to blend, then cover and simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. After 2 hours, taste, and adjust salt, pepper, and chili powder if necessary. The longer the chili simmers, the better it will taste. Remove from heat and serve, or refrigerate, and serve the next day.
  4. To serve, ladle into bowls, and top with corn chips and shredded Cheddar cheese.

September 26, 2011. Main Dishes, Soups. Leave a comment.

Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs

This next recipe is a great go-to dinner recipe. Just throw it in the crock pot in the morning, and dinner’s done! My picky 2 year old even eats this meal- and that’s saying a lot!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 4 medium-size new potatoes (about 1 pound), cut into 1-inch-thick wedges
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 4-6 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs

Preparation

  • 1. Place onion in a lightly greased 6-qt. slow cooker; top with potatoes and carrots and the chicken on top. Pour broth over vegetables and chicken. Sprinkle seasoning evenly over chicken thighs.
  • 2. Cover and cook on HIGH 1 hour; reduce heat to LOW, and cook 6 to 7 hours or until chicken is done and vegetables are tender.

September 26, 2011. Main Dishes. Leave a comment.

Mini Fruit Pizzas

This next recipe and picture (didn’t get a chance to take one myself) is from Pillsbury. It’s such an easy recipe and looks like a lot of time was put into preparing it! When I made this recipe, I did make a few changes that I will probably do every time. I’ll go ahead and post the original recipe, and then below it I will add the little changes I made.

INGREDIENTS

1 (18-oz.) pkg. (20 cookies) Pillsbury® Ready to Bake!™ Refrigerated Sugar Cookies*
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons frozen limeade concentrate, thawed*
1/2 cup powdered sugar
10 fresh strawberries, quartered
1 kiwi fruit, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and cut into 10 slices
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh raspberries

DIRECTIONS

1. Bake cookies as directed on package. Cool 10 minutes or until completely cooled.

2. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine cream cheese, limeade concentrate and powdered sugar; beat until smooth.

3. Spread each cooled cookie with 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture. Arrange fruit on top of each. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 hours.

*So, basically the first change I made was using a tube of sugar cookie dough instead of the ready to bake package. I did this because I wanted my pizzas a little bigger. I rolled out the dough and used an extra large biscuit cutter to make my pizza “crust.” Depending on how large your cookie cutter is, you may need to add some baking time to your cookies. I know I had to.

*My next change I made was substituting the 2 T limeade concentrate for 1 T lemon juice. I actually had limeade concentrate in my freezer, but I really didn’t want to open the whole thing just for 2 tablespoons! This turned out perfectly fine, and I bet there wasn’t even that big of a difference in the taste.

*The last change I made was drizzle chocolate over the top. I just melted semi sweet chocolate chips and white chocolate chips in two separate ziploc bags- cut a little of the tip off- and then drizzled both chocolates over each pizza. This adds a nice finishing touch when you are making it for a special occasion. After all, everything is better with chocolate- right?!

August 5, 2011. Desserts. Leave a comment.

Smoothie Surprise

My son is an extremely picky eater, but he doesn’t really have a problem with drinking- especially pop!Well, I’m always trying to get healthy things into him one way or another, so why not try it in a drink.

I make smoothies for him quite often, and he usually does really well drinking them. This next recipe is for a delicious smoothie with strawberries, blueberries, frozen yogurt, and SPINACH!

Trust me, you won’t even know the spinach is in it! My son even went for this smoothie with an open can of pop right in front of him! It must be good!

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • a handful of baby spinach leaves
  • about 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • any other fruit if you want to add (frozen bananas, raspberries, or pineapple work well)
  • 1 scoop of frozen yogurt (I’ve used vanilla ice cream before as well)
  • 1+ cup orange juice
Place all of the ingredients in a blender (juice on bottom), and blend. You may need to add a little extra juice to reach a more liquid-like consistency or more frozen fruit to thicken it up- however you like it! 🙂

July 25, 2011. Drinks. Leave a comment.

Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

This next recipe is for mini pineapple upside down cakes! I made these for a potluck I went to and they were a big hit!

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 (20 ounce) cans sliced pineapple
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 12 maraschino cherries, halved

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and butter; mix well. Spoon into 24 greased muffin cups. Drain pineapple, reserving the juice. Trim pineapple to fit the muffin cups; place one ring in each cup.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, oils and 1-1/4 cups of the reserved pineapple juice; mix well. Spoon over pineapple, filling each cup two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  3. Immediately invert onto wire racks to cool. Place a cherry in the center of each pineapple ring.

July 25, 2011. Desserts. Leave a comment.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

I’m sure you can guess where this next recipe comes from…. allrecipes!

This is a super easy recipe for chicken and dumplings made in a crock pot!

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (I used 6 chicken tenders)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup diced onions (I used frozen)
  • 1/2 cup frozen green beans
  • 1/2 cup frozen sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 2 (10 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuit dough, torn into pieces

Directions

  1. Place the chicken, butter, soup, and onion in a slow cooker, and fill with enough water to cover.
  2. Cover, and cook for 5 to 6 hours on High. About 30 minutes before serving, place the torn biscuit dough in the slow cooker. Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.

This turned out great and it really couldn’t have been more easy to prepare! You could really use any veggies you want, I just used these ones because they were what I had in my freezer. Great meal idea for a busy day!

June 23, 2011. Main Dishes. Leave a comment.

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