Sunday, October 24, 2010

Beef Stew with Mushrooms

This looks really good, and I don't even like mushrooms. I can always find something that looks good to try at Pioneer Woman.

Pot Roast

When I had Gracie a neighbor brought me a roast with all the traditional sides. It reminded me of the Sunday dinners we had when I was little. I just remember that it tasted SO good AND my kids all ate it. To this day, it remains the only meal that they all like. It is a pretty basic recipe but a good one to have on hand.

Pot Roast

1-2 pound roast (I use shoulder or butt)

Heat some oil in a frying pan until it is really hot. Sear both sides of the roast (let it cook about 4 minutes on each side--until it is brown). Sometimes I do this to a few roasts at a time and wrap them and freeze them. It eliminates a step later on. You can skip this step-- but you won't get that yummy caramelized browning of the meat.

Put a layer of onions on the bottom of the slow cooker. I use frozen chopped onion, fresh sliced onions or frozen pearl onions. Put the roast on top of the onions. Add 2 cups of water (or apple juice or red wine) and a package of dry onion soup mix. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5. If you are around, put the veggies in for the last two hours. If you need to make this for a work day, you can steam the veggies the night before and just heat them up at the end. You can also add a bit of thickener when you add the veggies (flour and water or cornstarch and water) and it will make gravy.

Shred the leftover beef and use it in Shepherds Pie, Tacos, Stew, or bbq beef sandwiches...... This is a good "make once, eat twice" recipe.

Sunday Chicken

The first time I tried this was when my friends made it for us after church one Sunday. This gets put in heavy rotation for Sunday dinner during the Fall and Winter. The kids call it Sunday Chicken.

Chicken (I use boneless/skinless breasts or thighs-- about 4 or 5 breasts)
1 can of cream of something soup (we use cream of mushroom)
1 pkg dry Italian seasoning mix (I have used dry Ranch too)
diced onion (I use frozen chopped onion).

Throw it all in the slow cooker. When I use frozen chicken I put it in by mid morning and just put it on low all day, you can also do it after lunch on high (non frozen chicken). Right before you serve it, stir in one pkg of cream cheese (sour cream works in a pinch). We serve this over baked potato's, rice or noodles.

Variations: throw in some grated or chopped carrots, peas, corn or other veggies. I also like to put something green in there (cilantro, basil, thyme, etc.....). This ends up being very similar to chicken pot pie..

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ode: Logan's Heroes

In Logan, there is a dive-y looking place on the corner of Main and about 1st south called Logan's Heroes. If you were a visitor to Cache valley, you'd never dream of visiting- there's very little parking, the wood panelling on the outside appears to be full of wormholes (although it is painted nicely). It's probably just as well, though, because once you've had a Logan's Heroes sandwich, you will crave it for the rest of your life.

In spite of the dive-y look (or perhaps because of it?) it is a super-friendly place to eat and hang out. It's the kind of place that the "regulars" know to come in the back door- like you do only at a good friend's home. The fake wood paneling, cheesy booths and faded pictures on the wall reminds you of a worn, comfortable family room. The owner knows and remembers everyone (even if you haven't been in years!) and greets you warmly. After we moved to AZ, I returned on a visit and he remembered me and I hadn't been there in at least 2 years!
I don't know what it is about these sandwiches. They appear to be just your average (to slightly below-average) sandwich filled with shredded iceburg, pickles, tomatoes, olives, mystery cheese and meat of your choice (although I LOVE the veggie). Even the picture above makes it look like nothing too special.

But oh, there is nothing in the world like the taste and, for the life of me, I can't figure out what makes it sooo good. My theory is that there is pixie dust (or crack) sprinkled on every sandwich that makes it taste so good. Or perhaps it is the dusting of green flecks (basil? oregano?) that every sandwich gets. Or the delicious, soft and extremely rich-tasting bread.

Who knows? All I know is that when I've lived far away (CA, AZ) I've frequently thought and plotted about how to get one mailed to me. That's how addicting these things are- I'd pay $30 to have it overnighted in a special cold box. They are that good.

BTW- This is my 200th post! Go me! I deserve a reward- like a Logan's Hero...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My All-Time Favorite Food Site

Ahhh- Tastespotting. How I love thee, my community-driven visual potluck! I can't decide what I love best... Is it the new food ideas? The beautiful photos of yummy food? Or is it the dozens (literally) of new recipes you've inspired me to try?

I may never know.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Veggie Pot Pie= Comfort Food

Sunday dinner was so delicious I just had to share! I adapted this veggie pot pie recipe to make these love vegetarian pot pies. They were SOO good even meat-eaters would have to agree they rock. I really, really encourage you to try this one out.

There is a bit of prep with all the veggie cutting, but it really is worth it and if you do it in advance (like on a Sat or Sun afternoon?) this would go together super-fast for a weeknight meal.

My favorite things about pot pie in general is the gravy and the crust. This recipe has both- we were suprised at how rich and "deep" the flavors of the gravy were for a non-meat meal- I think it's the combo of the veggies and the soy sauce.
For the veggies, we mostly used what we had on hand, but you could pretty much do anything you wanted- peas would be nice. I think we'll stick with the baby 'bello mushrooms for this- I think it contributed to flavor and color of the gravy. Next time, we're going to also try adding barley or bulger wheat to give it even more substance.

In order to cut down on the calories (and make and excuse to use my new ramekins) we opted for puff pastry instead of the full on top and bottom pie crust the original recipe called for. I think either would be good, but the puff pastry was a hit with everyone- especially the girls.

Mak's Veggie Pot Pie

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
8 ounces baby 'bello mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced

Heat olive oil over med heat (use a deep skillet or dutch oven). Add onion, mushrooms and garlic and cook about 2 min.

2 large carrots, diced
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 can Garbanzo beans
1 cup thawed frozen green beans, diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups vegetable broth

Add the rest of the veggies, salt, pepper and broth and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling reduce and let it simmer until the veggies are just tender- about 5 min.

2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 c. water

In a small bowl, mix the water, soy sauce and cornstarch until the cornstarch is fully dissolved. Bring the veggies and broth to a boil and add the cornstarch/soy mixture. Cook until the gravy thickens- about 3 min.

Spoon veggies and gravy into ramekins (or a pie plate or 11 x 7 casserole). Cover loosely with 1 sheet of puff pastry (cut to size for the ramekins). Bake at 400 for 15 min for ramekins, or 20-30 for a larger dish.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tomato, Tomato

A while back, DMP and I canned tomatoes. Lots, and Lots, and LOTS of tomatoes. We were very optimistic and bought about 25 lbs at the farmers market. This is the first time we've canned tomatoes and it was pretty fun and easy. We'll see if and how we use the final product!
As you can see from the pic above, we canned diced tomatoes, salsa, and when we discovered we still had a TON of leftover tomatoes, we decided to try tomato sauce.
Canning tomatoes is a gory process- very suitable to October. Especially squishing their guts out for tomato sauce:

Thanks to DMP for helping. I learned that canning with company is WAY more fun than canning solo- plus there is someone to take pictures of your gory hands!