Saturday, December 29, 2012

Beef Stew ala Nana

I haven't posted in awhile. Just like most of you, I was in a holiday rush and then we attempted to fly out of Indianapolis in the midst of the blizzard of 2012. We didn't make it out on a plane and ended up doing a two day drive to my in-laws. My mother-in-law knew we would be road weary so for dinner, she made a rich and tasty slow cooker beef stew. The recipe is pictured below. She modified the cooking time to two hours on high and six hours on low. The meat was very tender and in a beautiful thick gravy that was sopped up perfectly with warm buttery rolls. Yum!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Dijon, Maple-Glazed Pork Chops and Twice Baked Potatoes

Yesterday, we were on snow watch! The wind was howling and my youngest was glued to the back window watching and waiting to be the one to announce snow! I decided to make some fluffy stuff myself in the form of potatoes. When I wrote the weekly meal plan, I was just going to do regular baked potatoes and baked pork chops. I decided to change it up a bit and twice bake the potatoes and give the chops a Dijon, maple glaze. Since I had to bake the potatoes, this meal took 2.5 hours from start to table, but is really pretty simple. I rounded out the meal with steamed broccoli and Texas Roadhouse rolls that I bought from a neighborhood child's school fundraiser.

Dijon, Maple-Glazed Pork Chops:
Serves 4-6


1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp pepper
4 boneless pork loin chops
3 tbsp maple syrup
4 tsp butter, melted
3 tsp Country Dijon mustard


Combine the first five ingredients; rub over pork chops. Place in a greased baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 425° for 30 minutes. Combine the remaining ingredients; pour over chops. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until meat juices run clear.

Twice Baked Potatoes:
Serves 4-6


3 baking potatoes
Oil ( I used safflower oil, but canola or vegetable oil will work)
Kosher Salt
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 pkg prepared bacon
2 tsp Lawry's season salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup shredded Colby jack cheese


Wash potatoes and pierce several times with a fork. Drizzle a little oil over each potato and sprinkle with kosher salt. Wrap each potato in foil and place on a baking sheet. Place baking sheet in an oven that has been preheated to 400*. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes in foil. Open packets and slice potatoes length wise. Cut up softened butter in a mixing bowl, add the sour cream and bacon. Mix all together. Scoop out the potato halves being sure to leave some potato to create a shell. Add the scooped potato insides to the mixing bowl. Mash all the bowl ingredients together. Add a little milk if you want a smoother look. Add the Lawry's season salt, pepper and 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese. Mix well to combine. Add the mixture back to the potato shells. Cover with other 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake for 20 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 350*.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Goodies Part 2!

Yesterday, my sons and I spent the day making Christmas treats for their teachers and our neighbors.  The boys like to help me in the kitchen.  They unwrapped 3 bags of caramels which yielded about 2.5 bags after they took their payment :). They are also very good at crushing graham crackers and sprinkling M&M'S!  We made Gluten Free Decadent Double Chocolate-Cherry cookies, M&M Candy Bark, Magic Cookie Bars , Almond Crunch Toffee and Chex Mix.  All the recipes are simple, but they do take time due to chilling and cooling times.  I've made the almond toffee crunch for a few years.  I made it this year by special request from my husband's aunt and cousin.  His cousin went so far as to hide it from her kids!  I also sent some of  the M&M bark so the boys didn't miss out!

I used regular pretzel sticks this time for the M&M candy bark.  For the magic cookie bars, I added a layer of butterscotch chips.  My modification to the Chex mix is to sub out the wheat Chex for Cheerios and I skip the garlic chips.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sunday Dinner Adaptations

On Sunday, I made a dinner of recipes that I found on Pinterest.  The carrots followed the recipe while the chicken and potatoes were modified.  The carrots were super easy and yummy!  The toasted pistachios added a great depth of flavor and crunch!  The chicken was made tender by marinating it for 2-3 hours in a milk and egg mixture.  Lastly, I had pinned a picture of a French dish, potato tartiflette because it was so pretty.  However, the link to the recipe didn't work.  I searched the web and found several recipes.  I had to modify the recipe because I wasn't able to find the French cheese it listed.  I used Kerry Gold Dubliner cheese.  At least it was European, right?  The whole dinner took about 90 minutes from start to finish.

Glazed Carrots with Pistachios

  • 3
    pounds small carrots with tops
  • 3
    cups water
  • 1/4
    teaspoon salt
  • 1/2
    cup shelled unsalted pistachios
  • 1/2
    cup butter (no substitutes)
  • 1/3
    cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2
    teaspoons snipped fresh thyme

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.                    Trim carrots, leaving about 1/2-inch tops. Combine
    water and salt in a 12-inch skillet; bring to boiling. Add carrots; return to boiling. Reduce
    heat; cover and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until carrots are just tender. Drain carrots Meanwhile, place pistachios in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring once.                   Melt butter in the heavy skillet. Add brown sugar and thyme, stirring over medium heat until sugar is melted. Add drained carrots. Bring just to boiling. Reduce heat and cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally just until well-glazed, about 10 minutes.                    Transfer carrots to a serving bowl or platter. Sprinkle with toasted pistachios. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

    from the test kitchen
  • Cook the carrots and toast the pistachios the day before. Glaze and reheat carrots before.

Baked Parmesan Garlic Chicken:
Adapted from Classy Clutter

Serves 6


2 eggs, beaten
1 cup of milk
2 Tbs of lemon juice
3 teaspoons garlic powder
3-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Combine first four ingredients in a large glass bowl. Add chicken to mixture and marinate for 2-3 hours in the refridge.

Breading and Baking:

Then, I used this recipe to bread the chicken and bake it.

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups corn meal
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350*
Mix cheese, corn meal and spices together in a shallow pan. Remove chicken from marinade and coat with dry mixture. Place in a baking dish and bake 45 min. or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.

Potato Tartiflette:
Serves 8

2 lbs yukon gold potatoes
5 slices bacon, diced
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp chives
1 tbsp butter
1 glass of dry white wine
1 onion
Salt and pepper
1 cup creamy cheese, grated ( I used Kerrygold Dubliner)


Clean potatoes and Boil the potatoes in their jackets in salted water for about 30 minutes (They’re ready when a knife enters easily). Then, you’ll take them off water and let them chill. Meanwhile, peel and slice onions. Melt butter in a frying pan. Add sliced onions. When onions are translucent, add bacon dices and leave over medium heat for 5 more minutes stirring often. Preheat oven to 450*. Peel and quarter. Rinse and dry small chives. Chop them. In a bowl, combine the heavy cream with wine and small chives. Season with salt and pepper.

Grease an ovenproof dish. Start by arranging the potatoes at the bottom of the dish. Top with bacon dices and onion, then spread the cream mixture on top. Cover with grated cheese and bake in oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are browned golden and cheese sauce is simmering.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Goodies

Tonight, I started making Christmas goodies. I was looking for a gluten free recipe that would be no fail. My friend, Lisa B. recommended I look for a no flour peanut butter recipe. I found one that has only 4 ingredients, how simple is that! I doubled the batch so I could do both peanut butter cookies and peanut blossoms. Both passed the family taste test!

No Flour Peanut Butter Cookies:
Makes 2 dozen cookies

1 cup sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325*. In a medium bowl, using a spoon, mix all ingredients until just blended. Drop mixture by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a baking sheet and press a crisscross pattern into each drop with a fork. Bake 10 to 11 minutes, or until light golden. Cool before removing from baking sheet.

Peanut Blossom Option:

Roll rounded teaspoonfuls in granulated sugar before placing on the baking sheet. Bake 11-12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before placing a candy kiss in the center of the cookie.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie is equivalent to Shepard's Pie. It uses beef instead of lamb which I am not a big fan of eating. It is a simple, but filling dinner. From start to table, it is 2 hours, but most of that is simmering time also better known as homework time in this house. I didn't have beef broth. instead I used water and 2 packets of Swanson beef flavor boost. I also made a loaf of Irish Soda bread from a Bob's Red Mill mix which was very good. It was a 5 minute prep and baked in 45 minutes. I added raisins to the mix which the boys enjoyed!

Cottage Pie:

Serves 4

1.5 lbs beef stew meat
2 tbsp flour ( I used GF flour mix)
2 tbsp oil (I used safflower)
2 cups water
2 packets beef flavoring
1 cup red wine
1 cup diced carrots
1 small onion diced
1 cup frozen peas
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp parsley flakes
2 lbs russet potatoes
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup milk

Heat oil in stockpot over a medium burner. Toss flour and beef together and brown on all sides in the hot oil. Add the diced onion and carrot. Cook for another 3-5 minutes. Add water, beef flavoring and the wine. Season with salt, pepper and parsley. Simmer over low heat for 90 minutes. Add the frozen peas to the pot when there is 30 minutes left in the cooking time. Peel and boil potatoes for 20 minutes or until a fork passes through a potato easily. Drain water off of potatoes and mash with butter, milk and season to taste. Divide stew mixture evenly among oven proof bowls or pour all into an 8x8 baking dish. Top with mashed potatoes nd bake in a 375* oven for 10 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.