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Savory Beef and Vegetable Stew

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Beef Stew with Vegetables 2

This recipe is slow cooking but the every bit of it is totally worth the wait. If you’re like me who likes beef stews, I know you would appreciate the process of why beef has to be cooked slowly over a long period of time. If you have no patience for waiting, then you’re better off ordering your beef stews from a restaurant or let someone else cook for you.

This is the dish where the first bite or smell gets you hungry immediately. And it also makes you remember what it was like to taste it for the first time as a child. For me, it was my grandma who made it for dinner. She let us sit on our chairs and wait as she ladled on this steamy sauce onto our plates. Nothing beats that first bite into the soft and moist meat.

It makes me feel all warm and nice when I accomplish a recipe that my ancestors before me have perfected long ago. It’s like I have passed the test. Now I am ready to make my kids feel the same way. I want them to experience the sensation of tasting a good home cooked meal that would satisfy them completely. I know they’ll never forget that. And to me, that would be mission accomplished.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed beef broth
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 small potatoes, quartered
  • 6 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cold water

Description

  1. Warm up your large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Place in the beef and Italian dressing and cook until the meat is browned. That should be about 5 minutes.
  2. Next, add 2 cups of water, beef bouillon, diced tomatoes, beef broth, tomato sauce, garlic, bay leaf, salt, pepper and oregano to the skillet. Bring this one to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover it up and simmer until the meat is tender. That takes about an hour and a half.
  4. Then, add in potatoes, carrots, bell pepper and onion into the stew. Cover this and simmer over low heat this time. This takes another 45 minutes.
  5. Mix flour and cold water in a small bowl. Then add this to the stew mixture and stir slowly. Bring this to a boil and cook until the stew sauce has thickened. Give this about 2 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Best served hot.

Restaurant Style Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry

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beef broccoli stir fry 2
I’d have to be very honest here; I do go out at night for some wine with some of my best girlfriends. But after drinking a bottle of Merlot and you’re about ready to get home, my hunger pangs start to happen. So I would come home and immediately head to the fridge to look for left overs. When you see all desserts and none of the salty food I’ve been craving, the planning begins. Either I’d call for Chinese food to get delivered or make it myself.

I settled for the latter because I had just come home and is too tired to go out and buy the ingredients I needed. On days when you need Chinese food, this dish is the perfect substitute. I used beef on this one but can be easily substituted for chicken if you desire. On broccoli, beef just works so well. And it’s pretty quick to make by stir frying everything.

The best thing about it is the ingredients aren’t expensive so you can source it out easily from your nearest supermarket. Or, you can buy them ahead and store until you need to cook Chinese dishes anytime of the day. My taste buds are about ready now, so I’m not going waste any more time. Cooking this restaurant style will mean satisfying a craving before heading to bed. I’d call that a pretty good deal.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Asian (toasted) sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup sherry
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 pound beef round steak, cut into 1/8-inch thick strips
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more if needed
  • 1 thin slice of fresh ginger root
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 pound broccoli, cut into florets

Directions

  1. Begin by preparing the sauce. Mix together the oyster sauce, sesame oil, sherry, soy sauce, sugar and cornstarch in a bowl. Stir this mixture until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. In a shallow bowl, place the stake pieces and pour over the oyster sauce mixture on the meat. Coat every part of the meat well. Place this inside the refrigerator and let this marinate for 30 minutes.
  3. Take your wok or large skillet and heat vegetable oil on medium-high heat. First, add the ginger and the garlic.
  4. Stir and let this sizzle on the hot oil for about a minute. This will flavor the oil. Then take out the ginger and garlic and discard. Next stir in the broccoli and toss around until it turns bright green or until they are tender. It takes about 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Remove the broccoli and set aside. Add a little oil into the wok if desired and then pour the beef mixture. Toss around until the sauce forms a deep glaze around the beef. Check if the meat is no longer pink. This takes about 5 minutes.
  6. Bring back the broccoli to the wok and stir this well. Make sure the meat and broccoli are heated through. This will be done in 3 minutes. Best served warm.

Bacon and Potato Soup

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Despite the simple name this is a gourmet soup that is really easy to make. I would describe it as a hip friendly soup haha. I have been on a health kick lately and have managed to lose 10 pounds in the last 8 weeks whilst still eating all the yummy recipes you see here on my site, including this bacon and potato soup. I am a firm believer that a diet does NOT have to be torture rather just a good dose of balance and common sense. Anyway back to today’s soup. Every time I make this soup there is never a drop left. My husband and kids absolutely love it. Actually the last time I had a dinner party two people asked me for the recipe. If I could emphasize one thing it would be to drain your bacon properly. We really want to be using the least amount of fat as possible and draining and drying your bacon thoroughly ensures this. Serve this soup with a nice crusty fresh bread and your tummy will thank you.

Ingredients

  • 6 thick slices bacon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 4 cups low fat, low sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups cubed potatoes
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Description

  1. Cook bacon until crisp in 3-quart saucepan, remove and drain well on paper towels. Discard bacon grease and wipe pan thoroughly with paper towel.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare vegetables. Add olive oil to saucepan and add onion, carrot, and celery as they are cut up. Saute until onion is soft but not brown, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Stir in chicken broth, potatoes, and pepper; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Stir in cheese, heating just until melted–do not boil. Chop bacon and add to soup. Adjust seasoning to taste by adding salt, if desired. Serve at once.

Baked Chicken and Tomatoes Casserole

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I got into a mini debate with a friend today about calling tomato a fruit or a vegetable. I insisted on calling it a vegetable. To my knowledge, people classified them as such, right? I was schooled today. She googled it and won the argument. I was on my way to get the chicken recipe I wanted to show her until I was inspired by earlier events.

I planned on making tomatoes the star of my dinner. This recipe is just the perfect complement to the day filled with food debates and internet surfing for answers. I ended up inviting her over for dinner so she could see the humor in what I was about to do.

Baking tomatoes from scratch is good. Simply drizzle olive oil on it and salt and you’re good to go. They give off a special aroma which not all vegetables/fruits have when baked. And they’re pretty nutritious too. Having the chicken to bake along with the tomatoes is a lovely combination, in my opinion.

This recipe also kept my kids craving for tomatoes more. They used to hate eating them because they tasted bland and had no special flavor. I can’t blame them for thinking this way. But this dish will change all that. Trust me, your kids will love tomatoes after having this.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 to 3 1/2 pounds chicken pieces
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves

Description

  1. Begin with the dry ingredients: Mix in flour, salt and pepper. Next, drench each chicken piece with this mixture. Rub it all over until every part is coated.
  2. Over medium-high heat, warm up a skillet and then add in butter to allow it to melt and follow it up with oil so it doesn’t burn right away. Then slowly add in the chicken and cook until golden brown.
  3. Take the cooked chicken out from the oil and place it into a baking dish. In the same skillet, sauté the mushrooms and onions. Next, add the remaining drenching flour mixture to make rue. Then throw in the tomatoes and bay leaves and give it a light stir.
  4. Cook this for about 4 minutes or until rue is done and pour this over the chicken pieces. Cover with foil.
  5. Bake at 350°F until chicken is tender or wait about 40 minutes. Remove from oven to cool down a bit before serving. Best served warm. Serves 6.

Baked Potato with Mushrooms and Cheese

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I don’t know about you but watching cheese as it melts makes me hungry. Anyone who can resist a cheese and potato combination must dislike food or something. But for the life of me, why would you? There’s nothing to disapprove about this recipe. This dish is basically hyped up mashed potatoes with just a bit more cheese added to it (abundantly so). It would be the perfect complement to steak or fried chicken dinners. Yum!

It’s healthier too because you left the skins on the potatoes not just for presentation. Now some people may not want to eat the skins and that’s perfectly fine. They’re missing out though because I’ve learned that potato skins contain more nutrients than the flesh itself. It really is more nutritious to eat the skin. Anyway it’s perfectly clean. Just make sure to wash them thoroughly before you start baking at all.

If you’re the world’s biggest fan of mashed potatoes like I am, then this recipe will knock your socks off. It’s flavorful and the mushrooms give it a new texture. Plus, the cheese is just heaven. The kids will love this recipe as much as you do. I can tell you that!

Ingredients

  • 6 small russet potatoes (about 7 ounces each), scrubbed
  • 5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 12 ounces mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large green onions, chopped
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/4 cups coarsely grated white cheddar cheese

Description

  1. Start by baking the potatoes. Set the oven to preheat at 375°F. Using a fork, pierce each potato several times and place them directly on the rack. Bake for at least an hour. When done, they should break open easily just don’t destroy the skins on them.
  2. While potatoes are baking, melt a tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the mushrooms for about 7 minutes or until golden brown. Stir frequently. Then add the green onions, cook until wilted and set aside.
  3. Take the potatoes out from the oven using your mitts and cut them in half, lengthwise. Slowly scoop out all of the cooked flesh, place it on a bowl and leave the skins intact. Add sour cream, cream cheese and 4 tablespoons of butter (not melted) to the bowl and mash all ingredients together. Mix well after.
  4. Then take the mushroom and green onion and add them to the mashed potatoes. Add half a cup of cheddar cheese and mix well. Season to taste using salt and pepper.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat oven again to 375°F. Then take a spoon and mound in the mashed potato mixture gently into the skins. Sprinkle each with about a tablespoon of cheese. Place each potato half on a baking sheet. You can make this ahead of time and refrigerate just before baking.
  6. Bake the potato halves until all the cheese melts through. That takes about 25-35 minutes depending on how long the potatoes have been refrigerated. Serve hot.

 

Lemon And Herb Roasted Chicken With Baby Potatoes

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I had a dinner party on the eve of spring last year and this was an absolute hit! I didn’t quite expect it because I knew many of my guests were big on organic food and vegetables. I remember having a difficult time deciding what to serve. I had to source out all the ingredients on this dish including the chicken from an organic store. I originally planned on having 2 chicken dishes for the night but decided otherwise. I settled on this one because it had potatoes so I no longer served the mashed ones.

It worked out pretty well. I already knew that adding herbs on chicken would be good. That’s a winning combination altogether. If you have to roast chicken you need the aromatics to go alongside it. Now adding the baby potatoes just completed the dish.

I found out soon after that what they loved about the dish was the texture of the meat. The chicken was juicy and tender on the inside, not to mention the rosemary smelled so good on it. I remembered that I served it last and it had just come out of the oven so it was piping hot. To me, that sealed the deal. After my guests had smelled the aroma, they probably didn’t want to try anything else.

Ingredients

  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) free-range chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • 1/4 bunch each fresh rosemary, thyme, and parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 11/2 pounds red new potatoes

 

Description

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 400°F.
  2. Make sure to clean the chicken by rinsing it with cool water. Pat dry with toilet paper towels.
  3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper including the cavity before stuffing the lemon, garlic and herbs inside it.
  4. Take a roasting pan and place the chicken breast side up. Next, using a kitchen twine, tie the legs of the chicken together in order to hold its shape.
  5. Arrange the potatoes around the roasting pan. It should surround the chicken well and then season everything with a fair amount of salt and pepper. Then drizzle on olive oil.
  6. Place the whole thing in the oven and roast for about an hour or a little over (half an hour will do just fine). It’s best to rotate the pan every 20 minutes to make sure the browning of the skin is even. Baste the chicken on its own sauce after every turn.
  7. Insert a meat thermometer to the thickest part of the bird and check to see if the temperature reads at 165°F. That’s how you’ll know the chicken is done. Check to see if the legs would wiggle out easily from the sockets.
  8. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and arrange the potatoes. Baste everything with the sauce left on the roasting pan. Best served hot.

Chicken with Roasted Potatoes 2

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