Sunday, February 12, 2012

What's Cookin'?

It seems that winter has returned and it's a good day to spend time in the kitchen and think about what to eat for the week ahead.  It's going to be a busy one with work, and starting Friday evening, we plan to go help our son paint his new home and get some rooms ready for new carpet - yeah!  So, I will share one recipe that is good if you have no time - it can be put together in the morning and ready when you get home.  The second one works better if you have an afternoon to spend (approximately 2 hours), but it yields a lot that you can freeze and use later on when you don't feel like cooking.  Here goes:

This first recipe was taken from this book:

And it's called "Gone All Day Stew" - the title got me right away!

1 Can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed tomato soup
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 pounds beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1 in. cubes
3 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch-thick slices
6 white boiling onions or yellow onions quartered
4 medium all-purpose potatoes, cut into 1 1/2 in. chunks
12 whole large fresh mushrooms
2 beef bouillion cubes
1 tablespoon Italian herb seasoning mix or 1 tsp. each dried oregano, thyme, and rosemary
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. In a Dutch oven, stir together 1 cup water, soup, and flour until smooth.  Add beef, carrots, onions, potatoes, celery, mushrooms, boullion, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, and pepper.  Cover and bake 4 to 5 hours or until meat is tender.
I used a crock pot as shown below.  My Dutch oven works great but is too small for this recipe.

Not done yet, but in a few hours some bread and a salad - yum!

This second recipe is from our new neighbor.  While we were moving last Fall, we spent many nights after work cleaning and organizing the house we were leaving, and cleaning and organizing our new house.  Some nights, dinner was totally an afterthought.  Isn't that funny how life goes - when we are busiest and need to eat healthy, we have no time to cook.  Hence, why I am becoming a better planner with meals!  Anyway, our neighbor came around the pond with this in her hands - I can still hear the chorus of "Alleluja'!  Citylogger and I ate half of it in one sitting with 2 forks - I kid you not - so tired that's all the energy we could muster.  So, I will share with you "Chicken Pot Pie" - the best comfort food we know of, and thanks to our neighbor!!

Chicken Pot Pie

1 large onion, chopped and sauteed
4 to 5 celery stalks chopped and sauteed with onion
6 to 8 chicken breasts boiled and cubed

In a large pot:

5 cups hot water
5 to 6 boullion cubes
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup

Mix well and heat on low for 5 minutes.  It will look like the  picture above.
Then add:

4-5 peeled and cubed potatoes
2 yams peeled and cubed
1 bag frozen peas and carrots
1 bag frozen corn
1 bag frozen broccoli
chicken breasts ( I baked these ahead of time, or you could use leftovers)

Heat on medium low stirring every now and then.

Then add:

1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 to 3 cups of your favorite cheeses (I used swiss and colby jack)
1 tsp garlic salt
dashes of salt and pepper

Turn mixture to medium high stirring constantly for 3 to 4 minutes.

To thicken mixture melt 4 tbsp of butter and 4 to 5 tbsp of flour (mixture should be like paste).
Then add to pot pie mixture and stir constantly on medium high for 2 minutes or until mixture has thickened.

Fill pie pans with deep dish pie crust mixture from the grocer.  Recipe should make 5 to 6 pies.

Place remaining pie crust on top of each.  It is optional, but you can brush each one with some butter and garlic salt.  Bake on 375 degrees until golden brown (about 30 to 40 minutes)

I store the pies (unbaked) in gallon size ziploc bags and place in freezer until we are ready to eat them. 
Then I thaw one in the fridge on the morning we want to enjoy this for dinner, and then bake when I get home.

I'm sure you could also substitute your own vegetables that you like, as well as your own cheeses.

Bon Appetit!

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