Sunday, March 17, 2013

Irish Stew and Soda Bread

Irish Stew

2 tbsp olive oil
3 bay leaves
2 lbs stew meat
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
2 to 3 tbsp flour
3/4 c. beef stock
1/2 c. guinness stout (I use vernor's ginger ale instead, or you can just increase the beef stock)
1 tbsp parsley
1/2 lbs carrots, sliced
1/2 lbs potatoes, chopped

heat oil in an oven proof pot and add bay leaves. Cook leaves for a moment and add the meat.  Brown meat on both sides on high heat.  Add onion and cook for a few minutes until it is clear.  Reduce the heat to low and add garlic, thyme, rosemary and flour and stir until smooth.  Add the beef stock and stout; simmer, stirring until the stew thickens a bit.  Add the remaining ingredients and cover.  Place the pot in the oven at 275* for about 2 hours, stirring a couple of times. Check for salt and pepper before serving.  (in reality I just put everything except the flour [and oil] into my crock pot and let it cook.  About half an hour before serving, dip out some of the liquid from the stew (1/2 c. or so) and blend in the flour, then mix it in the stew and let it thicken that way)

Irish Soda Bread

4 1/2 to 5 c. flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 c. buttermilk (I dye my milk green and then it makes the bread green)
3 tbsp sugar

Mix dry ingredients. Add buttermilk, stir until it sticks together and forms a dough ball. Knead about 10 times. Put in round cake pan, and press to the edge.  cut and X in the top about 1/2" deep. Bake at 350* for about one hour or until golden. Butter the top & enjoy!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Shepherd's Pie

I decided that since we're trying to be healthier, I wouldn't make a dessert pie for Pi Day, like I usually do.  I found instead, a recipe for Shepherd's Pie with Healthier Mashed Potatoes.  And it turned out really well!  The two younger kids actually ate it!

Sunday, March 10, 2013


I made my own eggrolls to go with a beef and broccoli sauce, and baked instead of the fried them.

1/4 c. soy sauce
2 tbsp dry sherry (or water)
4 tsp cornstarch

vegetable oil
6 c. chopped or shredded cabbage
1 c. chopped mushrooms
2/3 c. sliced green onions
1/2 lb ground beef (or turkey)
3 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
egg roll wrappers

Blend soy sauce and sherry into cornstarch in cup until smooth.  Heat wok or large skillet over med-high heat. Add 1 tbsp oil; heat until hot. Add cabbage, mushrooms, and green onions; stir-fry  2 minutes, cabbage will still be crisp.  Remove from wok, set aside.  Add beef, garlic and red pepper to wok, cook until beef is no longer pink. Spoon off fat.  Stir soy sauce mixture and add to wok.  Stir fry 2 minutes or until sauce boils and thickens. Return cabbage mixture; heat through, mixing well.  Fill egg roll wrappers, following package instructions for folding.  Bake at 350* until golden brown.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Chocolate chip cookies

My dad calls these the best chocolate chip cookies ever, but I don't know about that. But they are pretty good.  It's mostly the Nestle Toll House recipe.

2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 c. butter (I used butter flavored crisco)
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract (I don't actually measure, I just pour a bunch in. I like lots of vanilla)
2 large eggs
2 c. chocolate chips (or a whole bag, whatever)

Beat butter and sugars and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs one at a time. Gradually beat in dry ingredients.  Mix in chocolate chips.  Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes at 375* or until golden brown

I like to slightly underbake them.

Friday, March 8, 2013


This is not a "lazy day" dinner.  Homemade pizza takes too much energy.

My belief is that a great pizza starts with a great crust.  I got this recipe from my Betty Crocker Cookbook, but I tweaked it.  It makes 2 crusts.

2 1/2 to 3 c. flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) regular or quick active dry yeast
3 tbsp olive oil
1 c. very warm water (120* to 130*f)

(my additions)
garlic powder

Mix one cup of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl.  Add in the garlic, oregano, basil, and marjoram (I don't measure, I just dump it in and mix until it looks herby enough).  Add the olive oil and water.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed 3 minutes, scraping the bowl frequently. (I admit, I mix it with a wooden spoon.  It's too much energy to take out the mixer and then wash it after)  Stir in enough remaining flour until dough is oft and leaves sides of bowl.  Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead 5 to 8 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425*  Divide dough in half.  Pat each half into a 12-inch circle on a greased cookie sheet or pizza pan.  Partially bake 7 to 8 minutes or until crust just begins to brown.  Add toppings and bake for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

I topped this one with classico tomato & basil sauce, Galaxy Nutritional Foods mozzarella style rice shreds, cooked & crumbled turkey sausage, olives (on 1/2) and green peppers.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Saffron Chicken

So, this was my first use of saffron, ever.  I used this recipe.  I used the So Delicious coconut milk greek style yogurt (which I was so happy to discover!)

I also grilled it instead of broiling it.  Husband and I really enjoyed it.  The was new.  I'm willing to try it again.  Maybe next time they'll eat more.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Poulet Basquaise and Salade Niçoise

This pair are actually both considered a main course, but growing up they were always paired together.     I've modified the poulet recipe to be used in the crock pot (because it's just easier).

Poulet Basquaise

4lbs chicken breasts (bone in or boneless)
3/4 c. dry white wine (optional) [I just used chicken stock]
salt, pepper, sugar
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs parsley
1/2 lb each green & red pepper
1 lb each onions and tomatoes ((I never use tomatoes, but if you are going to, add them late in the cooking process so they don't get mushy))
1 clove garlic ((I actually used 3. :p))
1/2 tsp thyme

Put it all in the crock pot until chicken is done cooking

Salade Niçoise

1 lb potatoes
1 can green beans
1 can black olives
1 can chunk light tuna
2 tomates, cut in wedges
2 hard boiled eggs, halved

3/4 c. olive oil
3/4 c. red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp tarragon
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper

Blend vinaigrette ingredients, set aside. Peel slice and boil potatoes until soft. Drain and place into large bowl.  Add green beans and olives. Pour vinaigrette over potato mixture.  Cover and refrigerator and marinate for at least 4 hours, stirring occasionally.  Place potato mixture (reserving vinaigrette) onto a platter.  Garnish with tuna, tomatoes and eggs, pour reserved vinaigrette over garnishing.