Sunday, September 16, 2012

For my sweet daughter-in-law and whoever else wants to use this:  A weeknight's worth of recipes.

This first one is cooking in my slow cooker right now and smells fantastic.

                         Chilly Night Beef Stew

6 Tbsp. flour
1-1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1 tsp. pepper, divided
2 lbs. beef stew meat
1/4 cup olive oil
[I have a blue diamond non-stick pan so, I seared the meat in that and didn't use any flour or oil.]
4 medium potatoes, cubed
6 medium carrots, sliced
2 medium onions, halved and sliced
4 celery ribs, sliced
2 cans (14-1/2 oz.) beef broth
2 cans (11-1/2 oz.) V8 juice
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried thyme (I used a few sprigs of my fresh)
1/4 tsp. dried basil ( I used about 2 Tbsp. fresh, chopped and added when the cornstarch was added.)
1/2 tsp. paprika
6 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water

Combine flour, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp, pepper in a large resealable plastic bag.  Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat.  Brown beef in oil in batches in a skillet.  Transfer meat and drippings to a 6-qt, slow cooker.  Add potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery.  Combine remaining ingredients, except for the cornstarch and water. Pour over top. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Combine cornstarch and water until smooth, stir into stew.  Cover and cook 30 minutes longer until thickened.  Discard bay leaves.

Serve with a simple salad and some crusty bread.  Don't eat it all.  Save 4 cups to be used in the next meal.:)

            Layered Potato Beef Casserole

3 Tbsp. butter, divided
2 Tbsp. flour
3/4 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
2 cups 2% milk
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 cups leftover stew
4 medium Yukon potatoes, thinly sliced
1/3 cup crushed butter-flavored crackers (about 8)
1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes (I will be using 3 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, chopped)
!/4 tsp. garlic powder

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large saucepan. Stir in flour, rosemary, pepper and salt until  blended; gradually add milk.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat; stir in cheese until melted.

Spoon 2 cups of beef stew into a greased 2-1/2 qt. baking dish. Layer with half the potatoes and sauce mixture.  Layer with remaining stew, potatoes, and sauce.

Cover and bake at 400 for 40-50 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Time to spend with Kids:)
Melt remaining butter.  Stir in crackers, parsley, and garlic powder.  Sprinkle over casserole. Bake uncovered, 5-10 minutes longer until topping is golden brown.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. That time could be used to set the table and make a simple salad.

              Roast Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

2 Tbsp. whole-grain or Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme of 2 tsp. dried
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper, divided
1-1/2 - 2 lbs. bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch wedges

Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat oven to 450.  Place large rimmed baking sheet in oven to preheat.

Combine mustard, thyme, 1 Tbsp. oil, 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper in a small bowl; spread the mixture evenly on the chicken.

Toss sweet potatoes and onion in a bowl with the remaining oil, salt, and pepper. Carefully remove the baking sheet from oven and spread the vegetables  on it. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables.

Return the pan to the oven and roast, stirring the vegetables once halfway through, until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown and an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees, about 30-35 minutes.

Serve with a fall salad of greens, sliced apples, and blue cheese.

               Caramel-Apple Pork Chops

4 bacon strips (I buy the Hormel's naturally cured bacon.)
4 boneless pork loin chops (6 oz. each)
3 small tart apples (like Granny Smiths), peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
4 tsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 pkg. (6 oz. each) fresh spinach
3 Tbsp. chopped walnuts, toasted

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Remove to paper towels; drain, reserving 3 tsp. drippings.  Cook pork chops in 2 tsp. reserved drippings in the same skillet over medium heat for 2 - 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.  Remove and keep warm.

Saute apples and onions in 1 tsp. reserved drippings in the same skillet until apples are crisp tender.  Stir in the brown sugar, butter, salt and cinnamon, and pepper.  Add broth, bring to a boil.  Add pork chops. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 4 - 5 minutes or until a thermometer reads 145.

Remove chops to serving platter; let stand for 5 minutes.  Add spinach to skillet and cook until wilted.  Serve with chops.  Sprinkle with bacon and walnuts.

        Ale-Soaked Steak with Beer Butter

The recipe calls for porterhouse steak, but I used small sirloins which are usually on sale at our grocery store. And the recipe calls for stout which we did not have on hand, so an ale worked just fine.
You need to get the steaks in the marinade before leaving for work.

1 12-oz. bottle stout beer (Remove 2 Tbsp. for the butter)
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp.Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dried tarragon, crushed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Pour marinade over steak in a plastic bag.  Make sure it is sealed well before placing in refrigerator!

In a small skillet over medium heat, cook 1 shallot, finely chopped in 2 tsp. olive oil. 5 minutes or until shallot is tender.  Stir in reserved beer. Cool 10 minutes, before adding to the softened 1/2 cup butter; add 1 tsp. crushed tarragon.Transfer to waxed paper; roll into a log.  Wrap and place into freezer.

When you get home, preheat broiler; remove steak from marinade; season with additional salt and pepper.
Place on broiler pan and broil, turning once, 12 - 15 minutes for medium rare or 15 -20 minutes for medium.

Serve with sliced frozen butter.

To accompany this meat:   Spaghetti Genovese 
(you need to be working on preparing this before broiling the steak.)

2 cups packed baby spinach
8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
1 cup thinly sliced new or baby potatoes, (about 4 ounces)
1 pound green beans, I used the frozen whole green beans and let them thaw.
1/2 cup prepared pesto
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. salt

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat.  Add spinach and cook just until wilted, about 45 seconds(!).   Use a slotted spoon to transfer the spinach to a blender.  Return the water to a boil and add spaghetti and potatoes.  Cook, stirring once or twice, for about 6-7 minutes before adding the green beans.  Cook an additional 3-4 minutes.  Just before they are done, remove 1 cup of the cooking liquid and add half of it to the spinach in the blender.  Add the pesto, pepper, and salt.  Blend until smooth.

Drain the spaghetti and vegetables and return to the pot; stir in the pesto mixture.  Cook over medium heat until sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes.  Add more of the reserved cooking liquid, as desired, for a thinner sauce.

Bon Appetit!!