Newlyweds navigating their way through married life – and the kitchen

Category Archives: Soups and Stews

Easy Beef Bourguignon

I can remember watching Julia Child at my grandmother’s house when I was little – she had kind of a funny sounding voice and even on television, where sizes and proportions can be warped, she was one of the tallest people I’d ever seen. And The movie Julie & Julia is one of my faves: there’s a lot of food in it and it’s a chronicle about how Food Blogging can change people’s lives.

One of my favorite parts in the movie though is when Julie makes the Beef Bourguignon – it’s a catalyst of events.  Judith Jones is coming over for dinner – and Julie decides to make Julia’s Beef Bourguignon.  After working all day at her full time job, and this recipe being simple yet extremely time consuming, Julie is waiting for it to be done into the wee hours of the morning.  But when the timer dings, she is in La La land, passed out on the couch (Dave can vouch for how many times this happens at our house, only it’s usually at about 8pm vs. midnight) She awakes – the beef is burnt to a crisp, and after calling in sick the next day to recreate the masterpiece, her dinner guest ends up cancelling because it’s ‘raining out’ – WTF.  I think anyone can relate to this horrendous series of occurences happening, the best laid out plans going completely wrong (especially in the kitchen!).

So when trying to decide the perfect dish to create for a French themed potluck dinner, I immediately thought of Beef Bourguignon – although I must admit, it’s not Julia’s exact recipe – I found a somewhat simplified version from my girl Ina – some day when I have a good 6-8 hours, I’ll try the real thing, but in the meantime, this was a great ‘sped up’ version of an old Julia Classic.

Beef Bourguignon
*Adapted from Barefoot Contessa

INGREDIENTS
*Yields 8-10 servings – 1 serving = about a cup

    1 tablespoon good olive oil
(Ina loves “good” things)

    8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced

    2 – 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes

    Kosher salt

    Freshly ground black pepper

    1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks

    2 yellow onions, sliced

    2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)

    1/2 cup Cognac

    1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir

2 cups beef broth

    1 tablespoon tomato paste

    1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)

 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1) Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

2) Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a large plate.

3) Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.

4) Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

5) Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme.

6) Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 & 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork. (I did mine for 1 hr in the oven and then let it simmer more on the stove top).

7) Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew.  Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for an additional 15 minutes (or up to 1 hour – this will make the beef even more tender). Season to taste.

6) To serve, toast a baquette or loaf of french bread in the oven and serve the beef atop of that (or mashed potatoes would be delicious too!)

Basically, an amped up beef stew if you will – but the meat was so tender and delicious and the vegetables were cooked perfectly.  This could be a really great Christmas Eve dinner for the family, or really on any cold night this Winter (if it ever gets cold – sheesh!) I would definitely give yourself a good three hours to get this together, between the prep time, the cook time in the oven and then some time to simmer on the stovetop.

Best part was that it didn’t take all day and I didn’t fall asleep while making it 🙂 BONUS!

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Chicken Chili

We’re baaaa-aaaack!  Were you nervous we had flown the coop? Well technically, I guess we did for a bit, now we’re back and ready to blog our socks off!

Where’ve we been for the last 2 weeks and change? Well I’ll tell you!

We spent a long weekend in Vermont with lots of:

1) Great friends & foliage:

Chicken Chili

Chicken Chili

2) Great Beer:

Chicken Chili

Chicken Chili

3) The wedding of a GREAT couple, our friends Maggie and Vinny!  It was the picture perfect Vermont wedding, with every last detail covered, down to hand written notes from the bride and groom to every single guest at the wedding – my hand is cramping just thinking of it! What a great day it was.

Chicken Chili

4) A week in Chicago for the greatest metal show on earth (a.k.a – my ‘real life’ job as a metal tradeshow planning machine)

And all the celebrating, beer drinking and metal’ing has left me feeling a little under the weather with a headcold that hit me like a ton of bricks.  That and the chilly fall air that has made it’s way to Boston, made me realize that it’s Chicken Chili time.  It’s a great spin of that delectable Black Bean Vegetable Soup, with a few adaptations to make a little more ‘chili’esque’, while still being healthy.

Chicken Chili

INGREDIENTS

1lb 99% fat-free boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 packet of mild taco seasoning

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp. Chili powder

1 tbsp. cumin

2 cups chicken stock

2 – 15oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 – 28oz can crushed tomatoes

1 – 8.75 oz. can whole kernel corn

salt & pepper to taste

1) Coat the chicken breasts with taco seasoning. Cook both sides of chicken in a large saucepan over medium heat until just browned on either side, and set aside.

1) In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat; cook onion, carrots and garlic until onion is softened (about 5 minutes).  Season cooked veggies with salt and pepper.

2) In the meantime, take the crushed tomatoes and 1 can of black beans and puree them together in a food processor.  Set aside.

3) Add chili powder and cumin to onion/carrot/garlic mixture and cook stirring for about a minute.

4) Add the chicken stock, 1 can of black beans and can of kernel corn and bring to a boil.

5) Once the veggies have come to a boil, add the black bean and tomato puree and browned chicken breasts to the pot.  Reduce heat, cover chili, and simmer for about an hour.  After an hour, the chicken will be fully cooked which will allow you to shred it using 2 forks.  You can remove it from the chili to shred or shred right in the dutch oven.  If you shred it outside, make sure to return the chicken back to the chili.  Simmer on low heat for another 1-2 hours so the shredded chicken can absorb the flavors.

This is great for Sunday Funday, or even divvy’ing it up into individual containers for lunch during the week.  It also freezes really well too, in case you have left overs.

I hope these last couple weeks have been as good for you guys as it’s been for us!  But – it’s good to be back 🙂


Black Bean Veggie Soup

Ok, Labor Day has come and gone – September is in full swing – and I know that techincally it’s still summer, but I think it’s safe to start sharing some “fall-ish” recipes.

I’m a brown-bag lunch kind of gal (even though my ‘brown bag’ is actually a plastic grocery bag that hasn’t been used to pick up dog poop).  And after doing the math, I realized that I may actually eat more meals at the office than I do in my own home! Augh – sighhhhh.

It’s real easy to get real bored with lunch from week to week.  There are only so many lunch meats and 100-calorie snack packs to be rotated.  So soup can really put a spring in my lunch step!  And this Black Bean Veggie Soup is a keeper – it get’s an A++++++, because not only is it:

a) pretty

b) easy to make

c) lasts for an entire week’s worth of lunch

It’s healthy, and only 4WW points per serving!

Black Bean & Veggie Soup
*Adapted from Allrecipes.com

INGREDIENTS
*1 serving = 1.5 cups
yields about 6 servings (9 cups total)

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp. Chili powder

1 tbsp. cumin

2 cups chicken stock

2 – 15oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 – 28oz can crushed tomatoes

1 – 8.75 oz. can whole kernel corn

salt & pepper to taste

1) In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat; cook onion, carrots and garlic until onion is softened (about 5 minutes).

2) In the meantime, take the crushed tomatoes and 1 can of black beans and puree them together in a food processor.  Set aside.

3) Add chili powder and cumin to onion/carrot/garlic mixture and cook stirring for about a minute.

4) Add the chicken stock, 1 can of black beans and can of kernel corn and bring to a boil.

5) Once the veggies have come to a boil, add the black bean and tomato puree to the pot.  Reduce heat, cover soup, and simmer for about an hour.  Add salt & pepper to taste.

I think the longer you simmer, the better, but I would advise atleast an hour. It really gives all the flavors a chance to really meld together.

This is also a great base for a chilli – I often times will add chicken or lean ground beef to this to make it a more hearty stew vs. soup, but regardless, you’re used plastic grocery bag will be happy 🙂 And so will your belly!


The work week is enough of a drag without having a drag of a lunch to accompany it.  But it’s really hard to keep lunches fresh and exciting when they to be shoved in a brown bag (or stylish lunch sack) 

Our controller at work is like a lunch enigma – every day, he brings the same brown paper bag to work, and it’s wrinkled and looks like it has been used about a zillion times (apparently those bags they give you at the liquor store for a 6’er are much sturdier than they look!) and he unrolls the bag and you’d think by the looks of his carrying case that he’d reveal a PB and J on stale bread or a banana that has more brown spots on it than yellow.  But every day, he unveils these lunches that look like they should be served with white napkins and silver flatware – amazing sandwiches packed with 10 kinds of lunch meat, or his left over dinner from the night before, which usually consists of at least 20 spices I’ve never even heard of or don’t know are even legal in the U.S.  And he brings these sauces and dressings that he finds at obscure markets or websites online.  And I usually look down at my turkey and cheese and Special K Cracker Chips and think “Man, I gotta shake things up”.

So this week, I tried a new soup.  I’m a big fan of making soup on a Sunday and then having it for the entire week so that I don’t have to think about what I’m eating every day or don’t stray to 3098405984059 take out menus that have acquired in the office throughout the years. Luckily for me, Dave’s not much of a soup guy – and he’s kind of a lunch buy’er or leftover taker (I am not quite as good with the leftovers) so I get the soup all to myself 🙂

I’ve been eyeing this recipe for Stuffed Pepper Soup from Skinny Taste for a while now, and my standard black bean soup that I usually make just hasn’t been cutting it lately.  So here it is! Delicious, filling (even without the rice – I was too lazy to make rice to go with it – sad I know) and something to look forward to!

Stuffed Pepper Soup

(For all you WW’ers or Nutritional Info. Voyers out there)

Serving Size = 1 & 1/3 C of Soup + 1/2 Cup of brown rice=
7 Points
261 Calories
5g of Fat
37.5 g of Carbs
17.6 g of protein

INGREDIENTS

3 Cups of cooked brown rice (didn’t use – bet it would be awesome with it)

1 lb 93-95% Lean Ground Beef

1/2 of a large Green pepper, chopped

1/2 of a large red pepper, chopped

1 large onion, finely diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 28oz can of petite diced tomatoes

1 & 3/4 cups of crushed tomatoes (or tomato sauce)

2 cups reduced sodium, fat free chicken broth

1/2 tsp dried marjoram

salt and pepper to taste

1) In a large pot or dutch oven, brown ground meat on high heat and season with salt.

2) Drain fat if any, reduce heat to medium-low, then add peppers, onions and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes on low heat

2) Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, marjoram and season with salt and pepper to taste.

3)  Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.  Enjoy! 

Does it taste like a stuffed pepper? Nah – but pretty darn close! It’s easy to make and healthy and I think it might even give my brown-bag toteing controller a bit of lunch envy.  And my lunch bag is way cuter than his!

 

 

 

Sunday nights are pretty brutal – not only is your weekend over, but in like 12 hours, you’ll be starting another work week – a 5-day one at that.  Ick.  AND when you realize that you are not in fact $540 million dollars richer, as you had intended to be when you returned to work on Monday, well it’s just that extra punch in the stomach. 

BUT a delicious Sunday dinner can make all the difference in the world, and let me tell you, this short rib recipe I found on Eat Yourself Skinny did NOT disappoint.  Ironically though, it’s not exactly a skinny recipe haha.  Leave it to me to go to a healthy blog and find the one non-good for you recipe they have.  But I figured a) it’s the last night of the weekend and b) we didn’t win the lottery, so Dave and I deserve a special treat 🙂

So here it is kids – Slow-Cooked Short Ribs – a meal that takes 8-9 hours to be ready, but is worth the wait, so much so that Dave had seconds! He never does that! It’s got a little bite to it, but it’s sweet at the same time – paired with Garlic Mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus, I don’t mind the food coma feeling this Monday morning.  The only part I left out was the Worcestershire sauce.  You know when you imagine something in your cabinet and then you go to get it and it’s not there? Yeah, that was the W. sauce for me – still amazing flavor though, and I’m sure the W. sauce would enhance it even more.

Enjoy! 

Slow Cooked Short Ribs
INGREDIENTS
 
 
 4 pounds beef short ribs (taste better bone in)
 
1 large onion, chopped
 
1 1/2 cups beef broth
 
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
 
3/4 packed brown sugar
 
1/2 cup chili sauce (I used the Garlic flavored kind)
 
1/3 cup ketchup
 
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
 
5 cloves garlic, minced
 
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
 
2 Tbsp. cornstarch (for thickening)
 
1/4 cup BBQ sauce of your choice
 
Salt and pepper to taste
 
1)  Start by trimming most of the fat off of the short ribs and season with salt and pepper.

Lookin’ a little chunky short ribs

I wish I could do this to my thighs

Lookin’ good short ribs! You guys been workin’ out?

 
2)  Add all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, except short ribs.
 
 
3) Arrange short ribs in the slow cooker and pour the mixture of ingredients over the short ribs. 
 
 
4)  Set slow cooker on a low setting for about 8 to 9 hours.

tick toc

 5) You waited this long, now go eat!!!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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