Beef Stew

stone soup

This is family recipe, but like with many of the recipes I have found… it turns out they aren’t so secret, haha. So here is what my family calls, Stone Soup. It keeps your belly warm, it isn’t expensive to make, and you can read the old book, Stone Soup with your children just before you make this delicious goodness. I have made changes to our family recipe… because that’s just how I operate.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • bay leaf
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 2 containers of beef broth
  • 2 cups chopped potatoes (I use fingerlings)
  • around 1 pound of beef stew meat
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • vegetable oil, around 2 tbs

What to do:

  1. Using a large pot, turn on the heat to around medium high. Once hot, put in the oil.
  2. While pot gets heated, add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to the meat.
  3. Throw the meat in the pot. Cook til well done, occasionally stirring.
  4. Once the meat is done, add enough water to the pot to cover the meat. Next, add one container of beef broth or stock and onion. Bring to simmer with a bay leaf.
  5. Once onions are opaque, add can of tomato sauce. Reduce heat to simmer.
  6. Add the rest of broth, celery and carrots an hour before serving and potatoes about 30 minutes til.
  7. Just before serving, pull bay leaf and add a little more salt and pepper to taste.

My family likes to do this with homemade breadsticks…. or you can do it with focaccia bread… or french or sourdough loaves…. or crackers! Your choice! I hope you enjoy every drop as we do 🙂

Want to add spice? Throw in 1 tsp of cayenne, 1 tsp of cumin, and a tsp of chili powder to the meat. Or just add some tobacco or white pepper to your individual servings.

Roast Chicken

roast chicken

Recently, I’ve become more into eating healthy. My diet requirements are 9 cups of vegetables a day and two cups of fruit. I’m hitting the nine cups of veggies, but for fruit… meh.

Anyway, I love Ina Garten’s famous Engagement Roast Chicken and I used to make it quite a lot. It’s a basic recipe that I have altered slightly to create more of a “all in one” meal.

Side note: I did have an extra half a lemon that I squeezed over the vegetables and left in the pan, because… why not? I also had a couple stalks of celery that I added into pan as well.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 4-5lb whole chicken (innards removed and saved for soups or gravies)
  • 1/2cup of EVOO
  • 2 tbs salt and 2 tbs pepper
  • 1 whole lemon, cut in half
  • 1 whole head garlic, sliced in half with skin on
  • 1 package of fresh poultry herbs
  • 3 large carrots roughly chopped in large pieces
  • 10-12 little potatoes- small reds, goldens, or fingerlings
  • 1 large yellow onion sliced thickly
  • butchers string

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Make sure the racks are situated so the chicken can fit!
  2. Spray your pan. Take carrots, potatoes, and onion and place into pan. Toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Try to arrange so the onions are in the center (where the chicken will sit) and the remaining vegetables are on the sides.
  3. Take the chicken and liberally coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the chopped garlic, herbs, and lemon. Tie the legs together, as seen in the photo. Place in the pan on top of the onions.
  4. Cook for about an hour and 20 minutes. You want the juices to run clear. I use a meat thermometer because I never trust myself with large pieces of meat and if it’s cooked or not.
  5. Pull the pan, tent with foil for an extra 10 or so minutes. I cover it loosely, so the meat and vegetables can cool off.
  6. Carve your bird and plate your veggies.

Yes, I use the beautiful juices to top the chicken and vegetables. Or I reserve the juices to mix into rice or soups when cooking a different meal. I don’t really like to waste food. I also save the carcass by placing in a freezer bag and freezing for bone broth.

You can do what Ina suggests, by taking the juices and turning them into a gravy with wine, stock, and flour… but I really just enjoy the stuff on its own!

We served our food with Cesar salad and some rosemary bread.

Halibut with caper lemon sauce

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Hi there! My brother went fishing on a work trip and brought me back halibut. I LOVE halibut! I made one of my favorite dishes tonight and I wanted to share. Also, check out the view I got to gaze at while eating:

dinner view

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb halibut, around 2 6-8 oz pieces
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • Fresh herbs on hand: I had chives, rosemary, and thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup finely diced white onion or shallot
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • lots of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs capers
  • 3 strips finely chopped bacon

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Dredge your halibut in a dish with the flour that is generously seasoned with salt and pepper.
  3. In an oven safe pan, heat on medium heat the oil. Once hot, add your bacon. Cook until brown and just crisp. Remove bacon from pan.
  4. Add 1 tbs butter and the fish fillets. Cook one side until lightly brown. Turn the fish over.
  5. Place into the oven for about 8-10 minutes. You want the fish firm, flaky, and browned on both sides.
  6. Remove the fish from the pan and set aside onto paper towels to drain and rest.
  7. Place the pan back on at medium high heat. Add your remaining butter, onion, and garlic. Cook for about 1 minute, then add the wine and lemon juice to deglaze the pan.
  8. Add the capers, herbs, lemon zest and salt and pepper. Cook until sauce thickens.
  9. Plate the fish, top with the bacon, drizzle with the sauce.

halibut far

 

Shrimp Scampi (the easy way)

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Our eldest had a birthday party this weekend and I had bought a shrimp cocktail platter. I thawed it and totally forgot about taking it out for our guests. Needless to say, we have a lot of shrimp right now. We haven’t had pasta in a while, so I decided to make some shrimp scampi. This is literally the easiest throw together dish ever and it took me… maybe 20 minutes? Most of that time was waiting for the water to come to boil. Turns out, a watched pot won’t boil. This recipe is literally made with ingredients we had on hand. I wanted to make sure our meal wasn’t just pasta, so I added a huge salad and broccoli to the dish.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1-2 cups cooked shrimp (no tails!) This is dependent on how much you love shrimp.
  • 1 package thin spaghetti noodles
  • 1 lemon (for zest and juice)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 1/4 cup parmesan
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • fresh herbs- I used thyme, chives, and parsley
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced finely

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Bring a large pot to boil, add pasta and cook til al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, on medium heat, cook onion until translucent. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add butter, zest of one lemon, lemon juice, herbs, and capers. Stir in the shrimp and cooked pasta. Cook on medium-medium low heat for 1-2 minutes so flavors can meld into pasta.
  4. Top with the shaved parmesan.
  5. Plate and devour.

You can add so many more things into this dish such as: cooked broccoli, peas, carrots, leeks, mushrooms, bell pepper…. list goes on!

Hot and Sour Soup

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Hello, it’s been a while. Lots going on in our world lately. The weather here is cold and rainy, a great prelude to what fall will be. I decided to settle down with some football and hot and sour soup. I greatly enjoyed sending pictures to my best bud in the world because I knew she would be jealous… or inspired!?

This is my PSA: This is a version that I make because I really like the extras I put in here. I absolutely hate tofu, so I omit it, but you can easily add some pre shredded chicken or pork… or tofu.

Ingredients:

  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 leek, sliced thinly
  • 2 green onions, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 eggs, pre whisked with a dash of salt and pepper
  • 1/2-3/4 cup stemmed and thinly sliced mushrooms (I use baby bellas)
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1-3 tsp chili garlic sauce (depending on heat preference, I use 2 then add more to my bowl)
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric

How I do it:

  1. In a large pot on medium high heat, add the onions, mushrooms, carrots, stock, vinegar, soy, chili sauce, turmeric, and ginger. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer.
  2. Once everything is cooked, slowly stir in your eggs. Then mix together the water and corn starch. Add this in slowly and stir until thickened.
  3. Sprinkle on your cilantro and chow down 😉

Korean Fried Chicken

kfc1

About a week ago, I discovered KFC. I was helping a friend work a booth pouring drinks at the Bite of Seattle and she introduced me to this incredible goodness. I immediately knew I had to give this a try in my own kitchen, with a few tweaks to add my own touch. Now, for my PSA: This is rather labor intensive work. It is so messy. It is SO WORTH IT. 

I had my husband fry the chicken outside on the side burner of his grill. It is hot here in the PNW and the thought of a greasy smelly kitchen didn’t sound appealing. I am so glad we did this outside.

INGREDIENTS:

For the Sauce:

  • 1/3c Korean Gojuchang red pepper sauce
  • 4 tbs soy sauce
  • 4 tbs seasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 tbs brown sugar
  • 3 tbs honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • zest of one lime

For the Chicken and garnish:

  • 2 lbs chicken cut into small 1 inch pieces
  • 1 c corn startch
  • 1 c flour
  • 3 eggs well scrambled
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • 6 cups vegetable oil for frying

WHAT TO DO: 

  1. Mix together the ingredients for the sauce in a large bowl. Taste as you go, add more sweet or hot to your liking. kfc2
  2. Mis en place: Set up a station to flour your chicken, a place to move the pieces a few at a time to the egg bath, then the corn starch. I added salt and pepper to every station. Lay out a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. You don’t want the chicken pieces, once battered, to touch each other.
  3. Coat your chicken in flour, then the egg, let the egg drip off as needed, then into the corn starch. Set your pieces onto your parchment paper. You will see it turn into a film as you work and that is ok. That is just the batter setting on your meat.
  4. Heat up a heavy pan with oil to 350 degrees. Set up a spot with a paper towel to drain your chicken. I made layers with a paper towel in between so things didn’t get soggy.
  5. Begin frying your batches of chicken until golden brown. Remember to not crowd your pan. kfc4
  6. They should look like this: kfc5
  7. Toss the chicken in the sauce. Garnish with green onion and sesame seeds. Devour. kfc1

We held some chicken back from the sauce to give to our kids. They loved it dipped in ketchup and ranch. After dinner I was inspired by this chicken. Here’s an idea if you would like to give it a go before I do:

Instead of small pieces of chicken, try taking chicken tenders or a breast that is pounded out, battered and fried the same way. Coat it in the sauce. Place the chicken on a toasted bun with lemon aoli, and a coleslaw… regular or an asian sesame? Add some crispy jalapenos? Oh my head is filled with ideas and my stomach is growling….

Take a bite,

Jasmine

Stuffed Mushrooms

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I heart mushrooms. They are versatile earthy goodness that can go with almost any dish. There are so many different ways to play with mushrooms when it comes to cooking. I was at the grocery store the other day and typically I will just grab a few baby bellas because they aren’t too expensive and they are a usual addition to my risotto or eggs. What luck was it to find these bad boys on sale? I made a basic stuffing mixture, but trust me, there are some great ways to jazz these up even more. Make this a meal and stuff them with a quinoa mixture, or with salmon or shrimp…. the options are endless.

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Ingredients:

  • 6 Large mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup of cream cheese
  • 1/4c grated parmesan
  • 1/4c shredded italian cheese mix
  • fresh herbs like parsley and basil or thyme
  • 1/4c frozen chopped spinach that is thawed/cooked in microwave
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tbs finely diced onion (I used red onion)
  • 6 strips cooked bacon and crumbled
  • 1/2c bread crumbs (can use italian for seasoning)
  • 1 tbs butter

What to do: Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  1. Clean your mushrooms. Even if they look clean. Use a damp cloth or paper towel and wipe them down.
  2. Gut your shrooms. Haha. Take out the stem and using a seraded spoon (like a grapefruit spoon) take out the gills. Be careful not to break the mushroom head as this is your vessel to hold the goodness.
  3. Mix together the bacon, cream cheese, cheeses, spinach, onion, and herbs. Add salt and pepper in generous amounts.
  4. Fill your mushrooms and place them in a greased baking dish. Bake them for about 15-20 minutes. The cheese will start to bubble.
  5. In the meantime, take a skillet and melt the butter. Add the crumbs at medium heat and mix to a golden brown. Adding some salt and pepper to this for a flavor punch is also good.
  6. Place the crumbs on top of the mushrooms and then place back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
  7. Serve and devour.
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Honestly, it’s a little blurry because I was shaking with excitement.