Last year for St. Patrick's Day, I tried to make you guys a great Irish pot pie. Irish in that it had Guinness in it. It was so good except for one thing. It was crazy bitter. Like barely choke it down bitter. I took some great pictures (or what I thought were great at the time since I was just starting this take pictures of your food thing), and I was all set to post it. But then I thought and I thought, and I tried it again, and I couldn't. It was too bitter, and I didn't really understand how it came to be so dang bitter. The week after St. Paddy's day last year, I was watching an episode of Chopped on the Food Network, and one of the basket ingredients was a porter beer, like Guinness.
I believe it was Alex Guarnaschelli who said that you couldn't cook that beer for too long or it would turn out really bitter. I was so happy to hear that, and I tucked away that nugget of information for almost a year and finally made this stew. The beauty of this stew is its simplicity. The only seasoning other than salt and pepper? Bay leaves. I found that the veggies, beef, and Guinness gave it plenty of flavor. I cooked this stew for about five hours and added the beer after three hours. I think you could trim that down to about three hours total and add the beer for just the last hour. You really only need to cook the stew long enough for the veggies to soften and the meat to tenderize.
And the valuable lesson is that you definitely don't want to cook that beer for too long. Trust me on that one! Irish Beef Stew RecipeServes 4-6Print this recipe2 tablespoons olive oil, divided1 pound stew meat1/2 cup all purpose flourSalt and pepper1 small yellow onion, diced2 small carrots, diced8-10 baby yellow potatoes, cut into small chunks4 ounces mushrooms, quartered3 garlic cloves, minced1 can diced tomatoes, drained3 cups beef broth3 bay leaves1 can Guinness draughtCombine the flour
, salt, and pepper in a large zipped bag. Add in the stew meat and shake until the flour is coating the meat. Set aside. In a large saucepan, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat until hot. Add in the onion, carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms and cook until slightly softened, about 10 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Remove the vegetables to a bowl or plate. Add the other tablespoon of olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add half of the floured stew meat to the pan and let cook for 2 minutes without moving so it can brown. Then stir it around and let it brown on all sides. Repeat with the remaining meat, adding more oil if needed before browning. Pour about 1/2 cup of the broth into the pan and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add in the rest of the broth, the can of tomatoes, cooked veggies, beef, and the bay leaves. Let simmer for 2-3 hours or until the veggies are soft and the meat is tender. One hour before you are ready to eat, add in the can of Guinness draught and let simmer on low heat. Serve hot. A She Makes and Bakes recipe
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When I told my husband what we were having for dinner, he squished up his face and said, "I don't think I'm going to like that." Being the nice wife that I am, I told him he needed to try it anyway. And guess what, he liked it. I think his exact words were, "It's good; I'm just not in a soup mood." I'm taking that as a win. And it also means that I'll be serving it around these parts again. Ain't married life grand?
So here's the deal with this soup. I took one of my favorite pasta dishes and adapted it. There's Italian sausage, chicken, bell peppers, onions, and pesto. Oh, and tortellini...one of the best things about this soup. I adore tortellini. This soup is not overly anything (for those of you who may not love pesto). It's a perfect marriage of flavors and a spectacular alternative to your classic chicken noodle soup. It really doesn't take long to prep, and you could make it in your Crock Pot after you did a little prep work, too. Otherwise it takes about 2 hours or so to get on the table. That's a win in my book.
Another win? Here's the best kitchen tip *ever* if you have a stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment to shred your chicken on low speed. It only takes about a minute and is 100 times easier than using two forks.
Pesto Tortellini SoupPrint this recipe
1 small yellow onion
1 small green bell pepper
1 small red or orange bell pepper
8 ounces Italian sausage
1 large chicken breast
2 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
2 tablespoons pesto
2 cups fresh refrigerated tortellini
In a large pot, cook the Italian sausage, onion, and peppers over medium heat until the veggies are softened and the sausage is browned. Add the whole chicken breast, broth, and water. Cook over medium-low heat for about 1 1/2 hours. Remove the chicken breast and shred it. Skim the grease off the top of the soup using a large spoon and return the shredded chicken to the pot. Stir in the pesto and keep on low heat. About 15 minutes before you're ready to eat, increase the heat to medium and wait for it to boil. Add the pasta and cook for 6-8 minutes until tender. Serve hot.
A She Makes and Bakes original
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We got a new computer this week, and it's great except for one thing. It has Windows 8 on it, and it is the most confusing operating system ever. Ever. I had to google how to restart it because I could not find it anywhere. How ridiculous is that?? That handy start button that's been on every Windows computer since the beginning of time (not really) is missing. I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually, but I've spent the past three days feeling like a complete idiot. Here's where I could say that when I feel like an idiot I like to make stew. Well, that's not really true. When I feel like an idiot, I like to curl up in bed and watch tv. Which doesn't equal stew being made because my dogs can't cook and my husband works during the day. Sigh. However, I've been eating this stew since I was little, and it's one of my favorites. Perhaps it's because you serve it over rigatoni and that's one of my favorite pastas. Or maybe it's because it's a simple stew with carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, beef, and Italian seasonings that has amazing flavor and depth. It's pretty easy to make, and you could do the prep the night before and put it in the Crock Pot to cook while you're at work. It's also a great weekend meal...I've even made it on a night when I didn't have a lot of extra time but it sounded really good. I just put in extra liquid and boiled it on medium high heat with the lid off until everything was tender
. So it can be made in a rush if you're desperate. Or if you feel like an idiot and want to redeem yourself. Italian Stew Recipe
Print this recipeNotes:
I prefer tenderized stew meat because it speeds up the cooking process quite a bit. If you can't find tenderized meat, ask the butcher/meat counter to tenderize it for you. Or you can beat it with the pointy edge of a mallet (but this doesn't work as well). If you don't have or don't like red wine, just use more beef broth. 1 tablespoon butter1 small yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced1 pound tenderized stew meat
, cut into smaller bite-size pieces1 tablespoon olive oil1/4 cup floursalt and pepper1/4 teaspoon paprika2 1/2 cups beef broth1/4 cup red wine8 ounces mushrooms, stems removed and quartered1 1/4 cups carrots, cut into bite-size chunks1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes2 bay leaves1 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley1 teaspoon dried basilsalt and pepper to taste1 pound rigatoni
cooked al denteParmesan cheeseIn a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the
minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove to a bowl. Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika in a zip-top bag. Add in the chunks of stew meat and shake until the flour mixture is covering the meat. Over medium high heat in the same pot, add the one tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is almost smoking, dump in the bag of meat and flour. Let brown on all sides. When the meat is browned, pour in the red wine and scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. (At this point, you could move this to a Crock Pot and add everything else in the Crock Pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.) Add the beef broth into the pot and reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the mushrooms, carrots, tomatoes, bay leaves, parsley, and basil. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium-low. Place the lid on, but leave it open a crack, and let it simmer for about 2 hours, stirring every so often. The stew is done when the carrots and beef are tender. Discard the bay leaves, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve over rigatoni. Garnish with Parmesan cheese.
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My grandma was an awesome cook. Unfortunately, for most of my childhood, I was a punk kid who didn't eat anything she made. Unless it was mac and cheese. She knew I was an extremely picky eater, and she made me mac and cheese every time we went to her house for dinner. I swear the woman was a saint in that regard. Or maybe she just didn't want to hear me whine. That is a definite possibility because I was a great whiner! The year before she died, we had a Mexican feast, and she served this pork green chili. I hemmed and hawed and finally tried it...and I fell in love. Oh boy is this good. So I immediately asked her for the recipe and have been making it ever since. The main thing I love about this is that it's not a sauce. It's a chili. You can eat it with some cheese and sour cream along with a tortilla. You certainly can put it on top of a burrito or enchilada, but it's great in a bowl by itself.
My aunt makes this too (although I'm not sure if it's the same recipe). She grew up in southwest Colorado and is a great cook, especially of Mexican foods. She told me that if you cook your onions first and then remove them from the pot while you brown the meat, you'll get greater flavor out of your onions. So now I do that with any recipe where I have to soften an onion. I use canned mild chilis in this, and I think it can get pretty spicy so you may want to be careful about how many red pepper flakes you use if you're not immune to spicy foods. I've also used a huge bag of frozen diced green chilis in this recipe, too. You definitely can adjust the seasonings in this to make it how you like. The other beauty of this is you can make it and have it on the table in a couple of hours. It's a perfect weekend dinner in my opinion...plus, it makes for great leftover lunches all week! Pork Green Chili Recipe
Serves 4Print this recipe
Notes from my grandma: You can use pork chops, pork shoulder roast, or any other lean pork. It also works well in the slow cooker. After you've simmered it for an hour, if it's too thin, you can dissolve some cornstarch in water and add to the pot. Bring to a boil. Fresh roasted chilis are great, too.
1 pound pork, cubed
2 tablespoons butter, divided
Small white onion, diced
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups chicken broth
2 cans (7 ounces each) mild diced green chilis
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Combine the 1/2 teaspoons of salt and pepper with the 1/4 cup flour. Dredge the cubed pork through the seasoned flour.
In a large saucepan, melt one tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Place the diced onion in the pan and cook for 8-10 minutes until soft. Remove the onion to a bowl. Melt the other tablespoon of butter and add the flour-covered pork to the pan. Let sit for three minutes to brown. Stir and let brown for another 2-3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add in the chicken broth and scrape the bottom of the pot. Add rest of the ingredients and let simmer for one hour. Adjust the seasonings to your preference.
Serve warm with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and tortillas.
Source: My lovely grandma
When I was in Paris a couple of weeks ago, I spent a lot of time confused. I hate feeling like an idiot American when I don't speak the language. And, to be frank, I couldn't even understand French. The only familiarity I have with French is Beauty and the Beast (yes, I'm talking about the Bonjour song) and cooking terms. While bonjour got me pretty far, I don't think mise en place would carry me quite the same way. Therefore, when we walked around to find a restaurant, we would look for English menus. It was much less painful than pulling out my yellow French dictionary to try and figure out what I was about to order.
While we did all this walking around to find restaurant, we kept passing one that had a sign for tomato pumpkin soup. While we never stopped in and had a bowl, I was definitely intrigued. Enough that it meant I wanted to make some at home. I have absolutely no idea if this tastes anything like theirs, but I think it's pretty dang good. Plus, after I made it, I realized that it's vegan. I don't really intend for anything to be vegan, but I feel like this opens some options to those on restricted diets, which is pretty cool. Even though there is no cream in it, it's pretty creamy due to the pumpkin. It mainly tastes like tomato soup but has a hint of pumpkin. It's a great fall soup and perfect with a grilled cheese sandwich or some crackers. Tomato Pumpkin Soup Recipe
Serves 6-8Print this recipe
Note: I used cooking stock because that's what I had, but feel free to use vegetable stock or chicken stock/broth. Puree your soup to the consistency you like and if you like thinner soup, you may want to add more stock/broth.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 while onion, diced
2 (28 ounce) cans of diced tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons fresh sage, diced
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup cooking stock or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, heat the tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5-7 minutes or until soft. Drain one can of tomatoes and keep the juice. Add the drained tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, and sage and cook for 10 minutes. This will help to concentrate the tomato flavor before you add in everything else. Stir in the flour and cook for one minute. Add in the reserved tomato juice, the other can of diced tomatoes with the juice, the can of pumpkin, and the stock. Simmer for 20 minutes. Puree in batches in a food processor or a blender until smooth or is the consistency you prefer. Add in salt and pepper to taste and the pinch of cayenne. If you like thinner soup, add in more cooking stock.
Source: Greatly adapted from America's Test Kitchen
It all started with me going to the library, which happens about every couple of weeks. I love to browse the cookbook section and see what catches my eye. Last week, it was a Easy Summer Food cookbook that looked too good to resist. Mainly because I am not even remotely close to being ready for fall. Yes, I am a little sick of the 62 days and counting of 90+ degree weather in Colorado, but it's going to be snowing before I know it. And I am definitely not ready for that! So Easy Summer Food sounded fantastic.
We have three large tomato plants growing in the garden, but last week we had only red cherry tomatoes and a whole lot of green Roma and regular tomatoes. I saw this soup recipe and hightailed it to the store to buy tomatoes on the vine, two pounds of them to be exact. It's not really that much unless you get distracted by a friend and misread the scale and buy almost six pounds of tomatoes. Um, what? Six pounds. I paid almost $15 for those bad boys, and now I have a ton waiting to be picked. Fail. So I made this soup, I made salsa
, I made baked caprese tomatoes. And now I have to come up with more recipes to use up the tomatoes in the garden. Major problems, I know.
So this Tuscan soup really is a great summer dish. You can serve it hot or cold (I prefer hot), it takes less than an hour, uses fresh herbs, and has amazing fresh flavors. It screams I came out of your garden. Even my I-hate-soup-when-it's-hot-outside husband loved it. The wonderfully unique thing about this soup is the dried, grilled bread that gets mashed into the soup, giving it more texture and flavor. I recommend you try this before tomato season is over! Pappa al Pomodoro Soup Recipe
Serves 4Print this recipe
Notes: This recipe calls for dried bread. If you only have fresh bread, bake the bread at 300 degrees for about 10-15 minutes until it's dried. I actually used French bread because that's what I had, but sandwich bread would work great, too.
2 pounds tomatoes, peeled
1 1/4 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 spring oregano
4 sprigs basil
4 slices dried bread, crusts removed
2 garlic cloves cut in half
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grated parmesan cheese to serve
Place your peeled and chopped tomatoes in a saucepan and add the stock, sugar, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and the leaves from the oregano and basil. Add salt and pepper and heat slowly to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, toast the bread over a grill or grill pan until it has grill marks, and rub the garlic on the bread. Place it on a plate, drizzle the remaining oil over it and mash it with a fork until it's in small bits.
After the soup has simmer for 30 minutes, add the bread and stir over low heat for about 5 minutes until it has slightly thickened. Add more salt and pepper to taste and top with grated parmesan cheese if desired.
Source: Easy Summer Food Cookbook
One of the fun things about starting a blog is getting to join a group I've been reading about for a year. Project Pastry Queen
(PPQ) was started in the summer of 2010 by Shwanda of Confections of a Foodie Bride
. PPQ's goal is to cook through The Pastry Queen cookbook. They have about 40 recipes left, and I'm excited to join. This week was a wildcard, so I chose to make Texas Tortilla Soup.
I have a confession to make: I've never had tortilla soup. I never order it at Mexican restaurants because I save room for chips, salsa, and queso. I never have it at the chain restaurants because I figure it's probably not that good. So this was my first experience. It's good! I halved the recipe since there's just two of us, and I added some extra cumin, a couple teaspoons of lime juice, and about 1/2 teaspoon of oregano. I had to heighten up the flavor because I made it waaaayyyy too spicy. The original recipe calls for a dried ancho chili pepper, but I didn't have one and didn't want to buy it. So I used canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. The substitution was great, but please don't be like me and add in a full pepper and an extra 1/2 teaspoon of the sauce when you're making half of the recipe. Holy cow was it hot--like burn your lips hot. I ended up straining it to get some of the seeds out and then added more seasonings so it tasted like something other than hot. It ended up with good flavor, but it was still really spicy.
I made tortilla strips for the garnish, and those are really easy. Just cut a tortilla into 1/2 inch strips. Toss with a little olive oil, sprinkle salt over them, and bake at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes, flipping the strips halfway through. They're done when golden brown. I used flour tortillas because that's what I had, but I think corn tortillas would taste more like typical tortilla strips.
The full recipe for the soup is on Amanda's site
, so be sure to check it out! In spite of the heat, it was really good. I'll definitely make it again and be much more careful about the peppers. I can't wait to make the next recipe out of The Pastry Queen!
The weather has been strange this week. On Tuesday, it was sunny on my way to work. A few hours later, it was snowing hard. That quit after two hours, and it got sunny again. And then it snowed again. And then it got sunny again. By that afternoon, it was 50 degrees and I was able to go for my run. It's snowing again right now. With weather like this, sometimes you don't know whether to grill or make soup. I made soup.
My husband loves baked potato soup. I have never really liked it though, especially that stuff that comes out of a can. I'm sorry, but that is not good--I'm not even sure what that's supposed to taste like. Here's a weird food thing of mine: I like bacon, but I do not like it mixed into things. I think it dominates the flavor, and bacon is all I can ever taste. I'm trying to come around...eventually. Thankfully, this soup has no bacon except what you add on top. My husband adds a ton of bacon, and I add none. This soup rendered him speechless. It's amazing. The flavors are spot on. It's the perfect meal for a chilly or wild weather day.
This recipe makes a lot of soup. If I halve the recipe, there's enough for about two dinners for two of us. Last time I made it, I made the full batch and put the rest of the soup into several quart-size freezer bags. When we need a quick meal, I can pull a bag out of the freezer, warm it up, garnish it with more cheese and chives, and serve. It freezes and thaws beautifully. One other note, if you don't want to burn your hands or play a game of hot potato, I recommend baking these potatoes at 350 degrees for about an hour or so (until they're soft) the day before you make the soup. Just wrap them up or stick them in a container so they're cool when you need them. Baked Potato Soup
Print this recipe
5 russet potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour
6 cups whole milk*
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
Bake the potatoes at 350 degrees for about an hour or until softened and fully cooked. Let cool, then slice the potatoes in half. Scoop the insides out of half of the potatoes and mash those. For the other half of the potatoes, slice the skins off and cut those potatoes into bite-size pieces. Discard the skins. This gives you potatoes that will be blended into your soup as well as chunks for some texture.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add half of the flour and whisk until it turns golden brown, about two minutes. Slowly add the milk while whisking, making sure to scrape any flour off the bottom and edges of the pan. Add the remaining flour, whisk to combine, and cook until it has thickened, stirring pretty frequently. This takes about 8-10 minutes.
Once thickened, add your mashed potatoes and pieces. Stir. Add the salt, pepper, and cheese and stir until cheese has melted. Remove from heat, add the green onions and sour cream, and serve. Garnish with cheddar cheese, chives, and bacon.
*Whole milk will give the soup a thicker, creamier taste. I would not use skim milk, but last time I made this I only had about 2 cups of whole milk. So I substituted the rest with 1 cup of cream and 3 cups of 2% milk, and it tasted great. Use what you have, but the fattier the milk, the better it will taste. Sorry, but it's just not a low calorie soup.
Source: The Curvy Carrot
who adapted it from Annie's Eats