Sunday, January 30, 2011

Beef Stew in the Crock pot & Mmmm Brownies =)

We have had a FREEZING COLD winter in Wilmington... I love to spend time outdoors but this winter has definitely kept my fanny inside hibernating! There is nothing like a delicious meal cooking in the crock pot all day to make the house feel "warm." I have tried 3-4 different beef stew recipes and most of them are too much trouble for the way they turn out... I tried this one last weekend on one of those cold football sundays and I was actually very impressed!

Slow Cooker Beef Stew
  • 1 1/2 Ibs Potatoes Peeled & Cubed
  • 6 Carrots cut into 1 inch slices
  • 1 Sweet Onion Coarsely Chopped
  • 3 Celery Ribs Coarsely Chopped
  • 3 Tbsp Flour
  • 1 1/2 Ibs Beef Stew Meat cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Can (28oz) Diced Tomatoes, Undrained
  • 1 Cup Beef Broth
  • 1 tsp Ground Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
1) Layer the vegetables in a 5-qt slow cooker. Coat Beef with Flour evenly. In a large skillet, brown meat in oil. Place over Vegetables.
2) In a large bowl combine tomatoes, broth, mustard, salt, pepper, thyme. Pour over beef. Cover and cook on High 1.5 hours. Reduce heat to Low and cook an additional 7-8 hours or until vegetables are tender.

I have been craving brownies all week... Unfortunately, I did not have my Duncan Hines mix in the pantry so in desperation made some from scratch!
They are actually about the best brownies I have ever had and SUPER EASY to make from scratch.

I'm Craving Chocolate Brownie Recipe:
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips or chunks
1) Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 x 9 baking pan.
2) In Medium bowl mix together oil, sugar and vanilla. Beat in eggs. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Gradually stir into the egg mixture until well blended. Stir in Chocolate Chips (if desired). Spread evenly in prepared pan.
3) Bake 25-30 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from edges of pan. Enjoy!

Christmas Eve Spread

It has been awhile since I posted which is ironic because I feel like I have been a cooking machine! For Christmas my Family came to visit and almost got snowed in! It was fun having them here to celebrate the holidays in our new home! It is a "tradition" to have appetizers after Christmas Eve church and open gifts... This year I tried out an abundance of new recipes on my family.. Thanks mom, dad, em and Andrew for participating in the test kitchen!

Here was the menu:
-Homemade Sweet Vidalia Onion Dip
-Mini Hot Roast Beef, Pork Tenderloin and Ham Sandwiches
-Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs
-Stuffed Mushrooms
-Veggie Pizza (Thanks Mom!)
-Mini Onion Quiches
-Antipasto Wreath
-Mustard Dill Tortellini Skewers

Homemade Sweet Vidalia Onion Dip:
  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil
  • (2) Vidalia Onions finely chopped
  • Salt & Ground Peper
  • (1) Cup Reduced Fat Sour Cream
  • (2)oz reduced Fat Cream Cheese Room Temp
  • 1 1/2 tsp white-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped chives
  • potato chips for serving
1) In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add Onions; season with salt & pepper. Cook stirring frequently, until golden brown, 12 to 15 min. Let cool to room temperature.
2) In a medium bowl, combine onions, sour cream, cream cheese, vinegar, chives. Season with salt & pepper. Chill dip about 1 hr until thickened. Serve with Chips.

Hot Party Sandwiches
  • (1) Package of Dinner Rolls (I use Sara Lee out of the bread section)
  • Peach Preserves
  • Mustard-Mayo Blend
  • 3/4 Pound of your choice meat (Roast Beef, Turkey, Ham, Pork Tenderloin)
  • 1/4 Pound Havarti Cheese
1) Remove Rolls from package -do not seperate. Cut rolls horizontallyto make (1) top andn (1) bottom. Spread Peach Preserves on cut side of top and Mustard-Mayo blend on cut side of bottom. Top with meat & cheese. Cover with Top half of rolls and wrap in aluminum foil.
2) Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted. Slice into individual sandwiches.

Antipasto Wreath
  • (2) Pkg 8oz Cream Cheese Softened
  • 3/4 cup Pepperoni Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Grated 3-cheese blend
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Black Olives
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Basil
  • 6 Tbsp Chopped Roasted Red Peppers, divided
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1) Mix Cream Cheese, pepperoni, grated cheese, olives, chopped basil and 2 Tbsp pepper until well blended. Shape into log 16 in long and wrap with plastic wrap.
2) Refrigerate (1) hour or until firm enough to handle. Form into wreath shape on large plate.
3)Top with remaining red pepper and parsley. Garnish with Fresh Basil and serve with crackers.

Tortellini Salad Skewers
  • (1) 9oz Package refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • (1) 8oz package frozen sugar snap peas
  • Toothpicks
  • (1)pt grape tomatoes cut in half
  • Vinaigrette of Choice
1) Cook tortellini according to package directions. Rinse under cold running water.
2) Place Sugar Snap Peas in small bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on HIGH 2 min. Let stand covered 2 min. Rinse under cold running water.
3) Thread each skewer with (1) Sugar Snap Pea, (1) Tomato Half, (1) Toretllini. Place in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Pour Vinaigrette of choice over skewers, turning to coat. Cover and chill 4 hours. Transfer skewers to platter.
*I recommend using a Champagne Vinaigrette or Mustard Dill*

Cranberry Meatballs
  • (2) ibs ground beef
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1- 16 oz can cranberry sauce
  • 1- 12 oz jar chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1) Combine first 8 ingredients in large bowl. Shape mixture into about 54 (1-inch) balls
2) Bake meatballs in oven at 350 degrees for approx 25- 30 min. (until browned)
3) Stir together Cranberry and Chili Sauces and next 5 ingredients in crock pot. Add meatballs and cook on low until heated through.
Mini Onion Quiches
  • 3/4 Cup Crushed Saltine Crackers
  • 1/2 Stick Melted Butter
  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 Cup Chopped Vidalia Onions
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 Cup Grated Swiss Cheese
1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine Cracker Crumbs and Melted Butter. Divide Crumbs among mini muffin tins that have been sprayed with cooking spray.
2) Saute Onion for 10 min with 2 Tbsp Butter. Cool then divide evenly on top of cracker crumbs. Beat Eggs, add milk, salt, pepper and swiss. Pour spoonfuls over top of onions. Do not fill to top. Bake until set about 150 20 minutes.

The Stuffed Mushrooms failed the test kitchen... so I will not be sharing that recipe!