Savory Beef Stew

17 04 2009


The other day I found myself needing to kill a little time before meeting with our Realtor (we’re buying a house!!!).  So I decided to stop in at Barnes & Noble since I had 3 gift cards from Christmas.  I picked up a couple books for leisure reading, but also headed over to the Cookbook section.  I spent a lot of time in the cookbook section.  Of the 10+ cookbooks I wanted to buy, which could/should I actually buy? 

There were definitely Barefoot Contessa & Giada selections that really pulled at me, but after flipping through, I had to be realistic about how many of their recipes I would actually make in my everyday life.  Just not that many if I’m being honest. 

I finally settled on two.  One a celebrity chef and the other from good ole’ Betty Crocker.  One thing I am drawn to when it comes to cookbooks is recipes that are written for just 2 or 3 servings.  Well I found a whole book for 2: Just the Two of Us.  I briefly flipped through and identified several recipes I knew I’d make and enjoy.

Funny thing is, when I got home and actually read the introduction (which I occassionally do), I had to laugh.  Let’s take a look at Page 6: “Tea for Two: Let this be the time to reconnect with your spouse…”    The premise of the cookbook is empty-nesters, not newlyweds.  Being a newlywed, I guess I just assumed…  ha.  Um, well I guess there must be a different cookbook for newlyweds called “Just the Two of Us Before Kids” Or something like that…

Anyway, it has fabulous recipes!  Like this EASY beef stew.  This was so simple and quick.  Although the original recipe says it needs to cook for 2 hours, I was able to use a wedding gift to cook it in 1 hour 15 minutes!  It’s the Deep Covered Baker which can cook a whole chicken in the microwave in 25 minutes (if your microwave is big enough to hold the dish — I am hoping the new house microwave will be!)


Even if you don’t have this awesome Baker, it’s still a quick stew with good flavors.  I forgot to buy an onion and just threw in some onion powder.  Not the same, but close enough.  I also added garlic powder just for fun.  My only real suggestion:  crush up the stewed tomatoes so that you don’t have near whole tomatoes in the stew.  Otherwise, this is a winner.  And not having to half this recipe makes it even better!

Savory Beef Stew

Serves 2!


  • 1/2 lb. beef stew meat
  • 10-12 ready to eat baby-cut carrots
  • 4 small red potatoes (1/2 lb.), cut in half [I quarted them]
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 2 tsp. flour
  • [garlic powder if you like]


  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. In 1 & 1/2 quart casserole, mix beef, carrots, potatoes, onion, tomatoes, pepper and bay leaf [and garlic powder].
  3. In small bowl, mix water and flour.
  4. Stir into beef mixture.
  5. Cover and bake about 2 hours, stirring once.
  6. Cook until vegetables are tender.
  7. Remove bay leaf and serve.

Source: [19]


Chicken Mozzarella

8 04 2009


This is just something I tried from a cookbook the other night.  Very simple to make and doesn’t take long at all.  I had to cook mine longer than the recipe instructs because my chicken pieces were thicker.  This made the sauce fall apart a little bit but it was still very tasty.  This comes from a cookbook that uses about 5 or 6 ingredients or less in each recipe.  Fabulously easy.

Chicken Mozzarella

Makes 2 servings


  • 2 chicken breast halves
  • 1 can Campbell’s Tomato Soup
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning OR dried oregano leaves, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 & 1/2 c. cooked pasta with salt (about 1 & 1/2 c. uncooked)


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Place chicken in shallow baking dish.
  3. Mix soup, Italian seasoning and garlic powder.
  4. Spoon over chicken and bake for 20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
  5. Sprinkle cheese over chicken.
  6. Remove chicken, stir sauce, and serve over pasta.

Source [7]

February Tour Stop Recipe #2

28 02 2009


I have a new favorite soup!  Arroz Caldo from Joelen’s Culinary Adventures.  OMG WH and I loved this dish so much we can’t wait to make it again.  It was a new experience for me, cooking with fresh ginger and bouillon cubes, but it was a lot of fun and so delicious.  Arroz Caldo is a perfect meal on a cold/rainy/snowy/cloudy day when you just want something to warm you through.


Here’s what Joelen had to say about one of her favorites:

“I chose this as a favorite because it’s also another dish from my childhood. It’s comforting as many chicken and rice dishes are from other cuisines & cultures, only with a Filipino spin.”

Again, I halved this recipe and only substituted cooked chicken tenderloins for the rotisserie chicken.


  • 5 c. chicken stock
  • 1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2  onion, chopped
  • 1/2  c. white mushrooms, sliced
  • 3/4 Tbsp. minced ginger
  • oil for sauteing
  • 1/2 Tbsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 extra large chicken bouillon cubes
  • 3 to 4 chicken tenderloins, cooked
  • 3/4 c. rice – sushi, jasmine or long grain
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 handful sliced green onion


  1. In large dutch oven, saute garlic, onions, mushrooms and ginger in cooking oil. Cook until onions are softened.
  2. Add chicken to pot and heat through.
  3. Add rice and stir to coat with oil.
  4. Add black pepper and bouillon cube.
  5. Add chicken stock and stir.
  6. Let it cook over low to medium heat for about 30-40 minutes, stirring occassionally.
  7. Add lemon juice and sliced green onion about 5 minutes before serving.

Check out Joelen’s original recipe here!

P.S.  Joelen has added another event to her blog!  It’s called Brunch and Barter and makes me wish I lived in Chicago and could participate!

Broccoli Chicken Potato Parmesan

26 01 2009


This past week’s dinners have been very successful.  Everything has turned out wonderfully and I tackled some new recipes and techniques that I’ll share in posts to come.  This recipe is one I have made several times, but always felt it could be better if I just had the right kind of skillet.  I used to cook this meal with a skillet/pan that had straight sides.  The pan was circular, but instead of gently sloping sides, it just became a larger pot.  I guess a kind of saucier, but not as cool as an actual saucier.  I always felt like it wasn’t shaped right and wasn’t big enough for this recipe, but it was all I had.  Now that we have our new Calphalon cookware, this recipe turned out fabulously!


It’s from a cute little cookbook I got a few years back when I moved into my first apartment and really started cooking.  I think my mom or grandmother gave it to and I have found some really simple recipes.  It is a book of recipes that use Campbell’s soups and usually have right around 5 main ingredients.  This recipe I really enjoy because I love potatoes, I love broccoli, and I love chicken.  It’s perfect!


Broccoli Chicken Potato Parmesan

Serves 4


  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. red potatoes; sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 10 oz. cooked chicken (or 1 pkg. refrigerated cooked chicken strips)
  • 2 c. fresh or frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 can Campbell’s Broccoli Cheese soup
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 c. grated Paremsan cheese


  1. Heat oil in skillet.  Add potatoes.
  2. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in chicken and broccoli.
  4. Mix soup, milk, and garlic in small bowl.
  5. Add to skillet.
  6. Sprinkle with cheese.
  7. Heat to a boil.
  8. Cover and cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until potatoes and broccoli are tender.

Source [7]

Pappa Al Pomidoro – Barefoot Bloggers

23 12 2008


Oh!  I’m early with my BB post!!

I have to admit, when I was buying the ingredients for this dish, cooking it, and answering WH’s question of “what is it?” I really had no idea.  I still don’t know what Pappa Al Pomidoro is, but I do know it is delicious.  This was a really fun BB dish that I didn’t expect.


I realized after making Coq Au Vin and this soup that I was very wrong about a lot of the “classic” dishes Ina Garten usually prepares.  I honestly thought cooking them would be really difficult.  But, I learend that it’s more the length of time that is difficult rather than actually preparing the meal.  The steps are fairly simple and even the ingredients aren’t too difficult to find.  It’s just that the dishes often take 40+ minutes in addition to the prep.


I find it kind of relaxing.  After rushing to get the ingredients together, it’s nice to just hang out and wait for the flavors to mingle for 45 minutes.  Sure I always wish I’d started cooking sooner, but the end result is totally worth the wait.


I truly recommend this dish as it was incredibly delicious.  That’s really all I can say about it.  Delicious.


You can see the original recipe here.  Thanks to Natalie of Burned Bits for choosing this amazing recipe!


I do have to make one last comment about a favorite kitchen gadget I now own.  It’s the one touch can opener.  IT IS FANTASTIC.  You seriously just push a button and the thing opens a can.  You can walk away and not pay any attention to it.  Done.  Open.  I’m in love!


Fennel Potato Leek Soup

15 12 2008


I love potato soup.  Love.  LOVE.  So I have started the search for the perfect homemade potato soup.    This first attempt was made in the slow cooker and was pretty simple.  (You know how much I love my slow cooker.)  I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, and while it was good, it wasn’t perfect.


As you can probably tell from the title, it has an interesting flavor, mainly from the fennel. This was my first time using fennel and I actually had to google how to prep fennel. I found it to be pretty easy and it ended up going smoothly.  I had to laugh today when I was at the store, buying fennel for another recipe I’m making later this week.  The man behind me asked what it was and how to prepare it.  It was cool to sound so knowledgeable!imgp2369

But back to the soup.  This soup is a little thinner than I like.  The fennel flavor comes through, though it’s not too strong.  It was fun to try a new ingredient and experiment with some new flavors, but this soup isn’t the perfect potato soup.  The search continues!


Fennel Potato Leek Soup

Serves 2

Stuff you need:

  • Large leek, trimmed, thinly sliced, and cleaned
  • 1/2 c. diced fresh fennel
  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley
  • 4 c. vegetable broth (or chicken brother or water)
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 c. low fat milk (omit milk and add 2 extra cups of broth/water)

What to do with that stuff:

  1. Place the leek, fennel, potatoes, and parsley in the slow cooker.
  2. Add broth, just to cover.
  3. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 to 6 hours, until potatoes are tender.
  4. Using handheld immersion blender, puree soup.
  5. Sprinkle in cayenne pepper, add salt to taste, and swirl in butter.
  6. Stir in the milk.
  7. Serve immediately.
  8. We sprinkled crispy bacon and cheese on top as well!

Source [10]

Mexican Chicken Soup — Barefoot Bloggers

27 11 2008


HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Gosh I love scheduled posts. I wrote this up a couple days ago knowing that as you read this I’d either be driving to my families home in Virginia, eating turkey, or getting ready to drive to see WH’s family on Friday before heading back to my parents house on Saturday… gosh I love dual holidays. I think instead of Pre-Nups regarding financials, couples should have to draw up holiday schedule contracts before they get married. I don’t even want to think about what’s going to happen come Christmas.


So today is the posting day for another Barefoot Bloggers recipe. And I’m on time!! Go me. I made this soup a few weeks ago. Boy was I nervous. I’ve never cooked with bone-in chicken before or even jalapenos. We all know my experiences with cumin and let’s just say this recipe had all the makings of a big disaster.


Thankfully, I impressed myself. I did make a few mistakes here and there and had to tweak some ingredients to match what I actually had (or didn’t have, in this case). I forgot to crush the whole tomatoes so we had some bigger chunks I was able to separate with the wooden spoon. I also realized I did not have any tortillas to add to the soup, but I don’t think too much was lost. And finally, in true French Kitchen form, I misread my recipe notes when I halved the ingredients and put in twice the amount of cumin. OH MAN I panicked. But everything turned out well and WH thought the soup could be a little spicier next time.

Next time? Well hot dog, another winner.


Oh, PS.  Like I said, never used jalapenos before.  I know that you have to be careful with the oils because it will burn your eyes if you rub them, etc.  Well, somehow I got the oils under two of my fingernails and could not get it cleaned out.  My fingers burned for an entire 24 hours.  And to top it off, I scratched the corner of my eye.  Burn.  Lovely.  I’m pretty awesome.

Thanks to Judy of Judy’s Gross Eats for choosing this recipe.

Mexican Chicken Soup

Serves 3 to 4

Stuff you need:

  • 1 split (1 whole) chicken breasts, bone in & skin on
  • good olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 1/2 c. chopped celery
  • 1 c. chopped carrots
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 & 1/4 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade (That’s really funny Ina…)
  • 14 oz. can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
  • 1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 c. chopped cilantro leaves

What to do with that stuff:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan.
  3. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, heat 1 & 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven.
  6. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown.
  7. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  8. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapeno peppers, cumin, coriander, 1 Tbsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, and the cilantro.
  9. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
  10. When the chicken is done, remove and allow to cool until able to be handled.
  11. Discard the skin and bones and shred the meat.
  12. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste.
  13. Serve the soup hot topped with a dollop of sour cream and grated cheese.

Source [FN]. Find the original recipe here.