Monday, January 21, 2013

Beef, Barley, and Guinness Stew

This recipe was inspired by a recipe in Real Irish Food: 150 Classic Recipes from the Old Country by David Bowers.  If you get a chance, check it out - the photography, and the stories behind the recipes are just as interesting as the recipes themselves. 

1-2 Tablespoons of cooking oil
1 1/2 pounds of stew beef, or chuck roast or steak cut in chunks, and tenderized, dusted with pan searing flour
salt, pepper, and garlic to taste
1 onion, chopped into chunks
4 small potatoes, or 2 large, peeled and chunked
2 carrots, peeled and chunked (or more if you like carrots)
1 cup of barley
46.5 oz (1 32 oz and one 14.5 oz) beef broth or stock
4 oz. of sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 12 oz. bottle of Guinness Extra Stout
2 Tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tablespoon of brown sugar
1 Tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves, chopped, or 1/2 TBSP of dried thyme
2 bay leaves

1.  Heat oil in large pot - Season the beef with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and dust with pan searing flour.  Brown, in batches if necessary, until beef is nicely browned.  Remove and set aside.
2.  In remaining oil and pan juices, cook the onion till tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Stir often.  Add all the other remaining ingredients, and the beef again, and stir to combine. 
3.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover, simmering for 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours until stew is thickened and meat is very tender. Stir during the cooking time to avoid sticking - if it dries out, you can add additional broth.  At the end, taste and adjust.  If you like things "hot", you may want to add a dash of red pepper.  I enjoyed it as is!  This would be great with a salad, and some Irish Soda Bread. (The Dawson recipe published earlier).  If you don't make the bread, Pillsbury frozen buttermilk biscuits will do in a pinch!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Bayou Blast Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits - a lighter version (if there is such a thing)

Make Quick grits according to the package directions.  Living in Upstate NY, I bought Quaker quick grits.  In the South, you may find other choices. 

3/4 cup of quick grits
3 cups of water
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup shredded cheese (I mixed harvarti and cheddar)

Make according to the package directions, adding the salt and grits to the briskly boiling water.  Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Blend in the cheese when cooked. Cover.

for the shrimp:

2 Tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup sliced green onions
2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1 bunch of fresh spinach, washed, deveined, and chopped
1 pound of fresh shrimp. peeled and deveined
1/4 cup of chicken broth (low salt, no fat)
1/4 cup of half and half
1 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons of Emeril's Bayou Blast seasoning
1 bay leaf
freshly squeezed lemon juice
fresh parsley, chopped

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium high heat.  Add green onion and garlic, cook about 2 minutes.  Add spinach, and wilt.  Add broth, cook about 1 minute.  Add half and half and all seasonings.  Cook till bubbling.  Add shrimp, and cook till pink - usually only about 5 minutes.  Don't overcook, they get rubbery.  Top with fresh lemon juice and freshly chopped parsley.  Remove bay leaf. 

Serve each person a spoonful of cheesy grits, and top with the shrimp mixture.  You can top with grated Romano or Parmesan cheese.

Elephant Ears - Cinnamon Biscuits

This recipe originally came in a children's cookbook from Gold Medal Flour.  We make this rolls every holiday.  It's just not Christmas or Easter without "Elephant Ears".  There is no yeast in the recipe, so it is not a typical sweet roll dough.  It is more like a biscuit dough with cinnamon sugar filling.  I ended up frosting them with a Hot Cross Bun frosting to make them more like the cinnamon rolls from the mall.  Enjoy!


1/2 cup of butter, divided into 6 Tablespoons for dough, and 2 Tablespoons for filling
2 cups of flour
4 Tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
2/3 cup of milk


6 Tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon


1 cup of powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon of butter, softened
cream or milk to desired consistency - start small, teaspoon by teaspoon!
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
3.  Heat 6 Tablespoons of butter in the microwave till nearly melted (cover first!) Set aside.  Stir flour, 4 Tbsp of sugar, salt, and baking powder in a bowl.  Stir in the milk and the melted butter.  Stir until a dough forms. 
4.  Sprinkle a surface (like a counter top) lightly with flour.  Turn the dough ball on the surface.  Knead about 10 times.  Roll dough with a flour dusted rolling pin, or shape with hands into two rectangles, about 9 x 5 inches.  Brush each rectangle with about 1 tablespoon of melted butter, and sprinkle liberally with the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Save any remaining cinnamon sugar for toast!
5.  Roll dough up tightly, beginning at the narrow end.  Pinch the edge of dough into a roll to seal.  Cut each roll into slices about inch thick.  Place cut side up on the prepared cookie sheet, patting each into a circle. 
6.  Bake at 425 until light brown, about 10 minutes.  They will not be very dark - do not overcook! Immediately spread frosting over each roll. 

This recipe makes a tray full of rolls - about 16. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Spicy Beef Enchilada Casserole

Spicy Beef Enchilada Casserole

originally published in  The Big Book of Casseroles by Maryana Vollstedt (I love this book, and use it often!)
1 1/4 pounds of lean 95% ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
2 cans (10 ounce each) enchilada sauce - I use mild, and it's spicy enough for me!
1 can (8 oz) Hunt's tomato sauce
1/4 teaspoon of chili powder
1 egg, beaten
1 16 oz. container of low fat cottage cheese
9 corn tortillas
grated Monterey Jack cheese - 2 cups
grated cheddar cheese - 2 cups
(or use Mexican blend)
Preheat oven to 375.  In large skillet, brown beef, onion, and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add sauces and chili powder, stir till blended and turn off heat.   In a small bowl, mix the egg and cottage cheese.  In a 9 x 13 pan (spray with PAM)  spread a little sauce over the bottom.  Add 3 tortillas. They will overlap.  Top with 1/3 contrary jack, and all of the cottage cheese mixture.  Top with 1/3 meat sauce.  Repeat the layers using the Monterery Jack and tortillas.  Sprinkle cheddar on top.  Bake, uncovered for 35-40 minutes, or till bubbly.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  You can garnish with sour cream, if desired.  This doesn't photograph well, but is delicious! 


Monterey Chicken ala Claire

Monterey Chicken

3 Boneless Skinless Chicken breasts, sliced in half, tenderized, and pounded into 6 thin cutlets
Pan searing flour (I use Wegmans)
BBQ sauce (I used Jack Daniels BBQ sauce)
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup of shredded colby/Jack cheese
1 10 oz. can of Rotel tomatoes and green chilis
1 green onion, sliced
Prepare chicken, pounding into 6 thin cutlets.  Dust with pan searing flour.  Heat about 1 Tablespoon of canola oil in a non stick electric skillet, and brown chicken several minutes on each side (350 degrees).   Drain the tomatoes slightly, and add to the pan around the chicken.  Drizzle each chicken breast with approximately 1 Tablespoon of BBQ sauce, or enough to glaze well.  Lower the temperature to about 200-250 degrees.  Allow the chicken to glaze and simmer, spooning the sauce over the chicken.  Top each piece of chicken with grated colby/jack cheese.  Cover, and melt cheese (a few minutes, tops).  When cheese is melted, top with bacon and sliced green onion.  Serve with rice pilaf, and a salad for a great meal!

Chicken Spaetzle Soup

Chicken Spaetzle Soup

1-2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, pressed or minced
1/4 cup of flour
1 Tablespoon of fresh thyme, minced or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, or to taste
2 cooked chicken breasts, chopped (or 2 cups turkey meat cooked and chopped)
2 32 ounce cans of chicken broth (low salt, non fat Swansons)
1 8 oz. bag of spaetzle, cooked and drained per directions
1 bunch of spinach, washed and chopped - discard thick ribs
Chopped fresh parsely if desired
1.  In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium high heat.  Cook onion, carrot, celery, and garlic in oil about 2 minutes, stirring frequently until crisp tender.
2.  Gradually stir in flour, thyme, and pepper.  Cook and stir about 1 minute.  Stir in chicken/turkey and broth, and heat to boiling.
3.  Reduce heat to simmer, add chopped spinach, and cook till "wilted". Stir in cooked spaetzle.  Simmer about 5 minutes to blend flavors.  Serve with grated Romano if desired. Can substitute Tortellini for spaetzle if you want another option for this soup.  If I use tortellini, sometimes I add 1/2 of a can of drained and rinsed cannelli beans for additional protein.