Hearty Beef Stew

When it starts to get cooler, it’s really hard to beat a good stew. And, beef stew is one of our favorites. It’s warm, filling and feeds a lot – what’s not to love about it?! OH, and it is super easy to make!

I started by chopping my vegetables. Since it was going in a stew, I just rough chopped everything.

The cooking started with, as so many things that I love do, a little bit of olive oil, the onions I chopped and garlic. I cooked the onions and garlic until they started to get soft.

Then I added in the stew meat and browned it – adding in the seasonings, when it started to get browned.

Finally, I added in 4 cups – or one carton – of beef stock, the can of crushed tomatoes and the vegetables.

I let it come to a boil and then reduced the heat and covered the stew.

** Side note, the recipe is written up to indicate that you should, after lowering the heat cook it for about an hour (which is what I would normally do) – however, tonight, my daughter had volleyball and I was getting the dinner ready prior to leaving for the match, so I deviated slightly. I brought it up to a boil and then simmered for about 30 minutes or so. I had preheated my oven to 450 degrees. When I had to leave, I put the dutch oven (lid on) in the oven, turned off the oven and let it continue to cook in the oven. While this isn’t necessary for this recipe, and isn’t even how I would normally do it, I do mention it in case it is helpful to someone! The Le Creuset dutch oven is so well insulated, that this works perfectly – and kept the beef stew nice and warm for the time that we were away from the house. It was nice to be able to come home, only needing to thicken the stew before eating!

When we got home, I removed the dutch oven from the oven and returned it to the stove, as I wanted to add a quick slurry (just a couple tablespoons of corn starch mixed with about 1/2 cup or so of cold water) to the stew to thicken it a bit. To help it thicken, I brought it back up to a boil prior to adding in the slurry. Point of note – even after being in the oven, which wasn’t on – but, had been preheated to 450 degrees, for a couple hours – the stew was still pretty hot and was up to a boil in a matter of about 2 minutes.

We were hungry and we were cold – we enjoyed our beef stew about 10 – 15 minutes after adding the slurry! Super easy – super filling – super delicious – super perfect for this busy evening.

Hearty Beef Stew

2.5 – 3 lbs stew meat
5 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
6-8 red potatoes, diced
1 large can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
4 cups beef stock
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
3/4 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp Umami seasoning

  • Chop vegetables
  • In a large dutch oven, add olive oil and then onions and garlic, cook until soft
  • Add in stew meat and brown, add in seasonings
  • Add in tomatoes and beef stock, bring to a boil – then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for approximately 1 hour (timing may vary depending on the size you cut your veggies)
  • Just before serving, bring back up to a boil – and add in a slurry of cold water and corn starch to thicken

Easy Chili Mac

When I was a little girl, I remember having goulash – and this recipe reminds me of that. While this recipe is not the same as the goulash I ate as a child, it is one that I know we’ll make a lot – as it a comforting, filling and easy recipe.

The recipe contains ground beef, tomatoes, onion, kidney beans, noodles, cheese and seasonings. What could be more comforting than that?

I started by chopping an onion and then cooking it, with some garlic and olive oil, in a large dutch oven.

After the onions and garlic sauteed for about 5 minutes, I added in the ground beef and cooked until it was browned. I added in the seasonings and stirred through.

Once the beef was done, I added in the canned ingredients – tomatoes, tomato paste and kidney beans and stirred through. I added in the beef stock and brought the pot up to a boil.

After a boil was achieved, I lowered the heat to simmer and added in the pasta. I allowed the pasta to cook for approximately 13 minutes (just cook until the pasta is done, refer to the box for cooking times).

While the pasta was cooking, I shredded approximately 1 1/2 cups of cheese. I used moneterey jack cheese, but cheddar would be good too!

Once the pasta is done, you’ll want to add in the cheese and stir through. You can add more cheese, when serving, if you like!

Easy Chili Mac

1 lb lean ground beef
1 1/2 onion, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 16 oz box elbow macaroni pasta
1 large can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 can rotel tomatoes with chilis
1 can dark red kidney beans (drained)
3 cups beef stock
1/2 tbsp chili powder
3/4 tbsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups grated cheese
1 tsp olive oil

  • Put olive oil in hot dutch oven (or large pot)
  • Add in garlic and onions and saute for about 5 minutes
  • Add ground beef to pot and cook, until browned
  • Add in seasonings and mix through
  • Add in tomatoes, tomato sauce and kidney beans, bring pot to a boil
  • Reduce heat and add in the box of pasta
  • Cook until pasta is done (around 13-15 minutes should be sufficient)
  • Just before serving, stir in the grated cheese

Easy Salmon and Pasta for One

One night last week, I found myself home alone – needing only to cook for one. Of course, for me, this means pasta 90% of the time. What can I say? I love pasta – so easy (and super easy to cook for 1)!

I had some salmon fillets in the freezer that I thought would work well (single serve and easy to cook in the oven). You could certainly use any salmon fillet – but, I used these by Gorton’s, since I had them on hand.

While the salmon was cooking in the oven, I was deciding what I would do with the pasta. I had some cherry tomatoes and spinach. And, lemon was an obvious addition, given that I was eating salmon.

I halved the tomatoes and chopped the spinach (I didn’t have baby spinach) and removed any stems.

Both were put in a hot skillet, with a little bit of avocado oil, salt and pepper. Once the spinach was wilted and the tomatoes were warmed through, I added the juice of 1/2 a lemon.

I dished up a serving of cooked spaghetti, added the cooked salmon and topped with the veggies.

A quick and easy (and delicious) meal for one!

Easy Salmon and Pasta for One

Cooked salmon fillet (use fillet of choice, I used a bake in the oven Gorton’s fillet)
Single serving of cooked spaghetti
Handful of fresh spinach, chopped
Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Avocado oil spray

  • Cook salmon, per package and set aside
  • Cook a single serving of pasta, set aside
  • Chop spinach and halve tomatoes
  • In hot skillet, with avocado oil, wilt spinach and warm tomatoes through
  • Add juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Plate spaghetti, top with salmon filet and add the vegetables on top

Breakfast Egg Muffins

Please don’t judge my janky muffin tin – I need new ones – one day!

My youngest, in the infinite wisdom that only a 16 year old possesses, told me one morning this week that I need to get up every morning and cook her a meal. No, the granola bar was not sufficient. No, a piece of toast would not do. She needed a meal with eggs and meat! As a mother that, also, works full time – there is no way I’m getting up Monday – Friday and making a full on breakfast – nope, nada, not going to happen.

What I will do, though, is make something that would ‘keep’ in the fridge or in the freezer that my little 16 year old princess can easily pop in the microwave on her way out the door – Breakfast Egg Muffins it is!

I decided to do eggs, sausage, cheese, onions and tomatoes – all things that my family loves.

Originally, I was going to make them in silicon muffin cups (spoiler alert – I still wish I had! More on that later), but decided to use paper cups instead (what – with my loathing of doing dishes, I felt sure that this was the right decision – see spoiler alert above, one of the few times – HA! – that I was wrong). At the end, I’ll give some ‘lessons learned’ and ‘what I’ll do next time’ commentary!

As I chose to use Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage, I cooked up half the chub on the stove and set it aside to cool a bit.

I just whisked my eggs and poured into the muffin cups and I was ready to complete building the muffins! I suppose you could just whisk it all together and pour it in, but I chose to add the other ingredients into the egg muffins, one at a time (who knows why – don’t try to figure me out, I’ve lived with me for 46 years and even I don’t understand me) – just do it how you want to.

After all ingredients were added, I sprinkled on some pepper and they were ready for the oven!

45 minutes later – and I have breakfast for the next several days! I just portioned them out into sandwich baggies (after they had cooled) and threw them into the fridge for when they are needed.

Lessons Learned:

  • Paper muffin cups don’t work great with egg muffins (they stick), so either use the silicon muffin cups or well greased muffin pan – will definitely do this differently next time
  • It might be quicker to just mix everything together and add it into the muffin cups (rather than doing each ingredient individually) – but you do have more control over the amount of ingredients in each muffin – will probably still do it individually next time

Breakfast Egg Muffins

8 eggs
3/4 cups cheese (I used mozarrella)
1/2 chub of Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage, cooked
Cherry tomatoes (I used 3 halves per muffin)
salt / pepper

  • Cook sausage in pan and set aside to cool
  • Whisk eggs in bow (add salt to taste)
  • Add eggs to each muffin cup (filling about 1/2-3/4 way – this will depend on how much of the other stuff you add to each muffin, you just don’t want it to overflow)
  • Add ingredients into each muffin cup
  • Cook in preheated 375 degree oven for approx 45 minutes (my oven tends to take a little longer, so give them a check around 35 minutes to be sure not to overcook them)

Pasta with Chicken, Tomato and Lemon Sauce

Let’s face it – Mondays are hard! And hard days need easy dinners. Between needing something easy and the fact that I didn’t make pasta this past weekend, pasta seemed like the best option (can you tell that I missed my pasta this weekend?? I did – I admit it, I did!).

As 99% of my pasta recipes do, this one started with onions and garlic. It also included chicken, cherry tomatoes, lemon juice! All good things things in my book!

Ignore that there are 2 lemons here – I ended up only using one.

I started by prepping my ingredients – dicing the onion, cubing the chicken and halving the tomatoes.

Then I cooked the onion and garlic, in a hot pan, with a small amount of oil – until the onions were translucent.

I added the cubed chicken and spices and cooked the chicken through.

The final step of making the ‘sauce’ for the pasta was to add the chicken stock, cream, lemon juice, tomatoes and basil. While I was cleaning up my prep mess (when I can – I prefer to clean as I go – it’s so much nicer to sit down to dinner without having a mess hanging over you!), I let the sauce thicken.

Then I just added the pasta and topped with a little bit of parmesan cheese and stirred well.

To serve, everyone just added as much additional parmesan cheese as they liked.

Despite the heavy cream – this sauce was refreshingly light! A perfect pasta for a Monday night – and will make some mighty fine leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Pasta with Chicken, Tomato and Lemon Sauce

2 chicken breasts, cubed
1 box bowtie pasta
2 -3 cups halved cherry tomatoes (adjust give your tastes)
1/2 white, diced
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp garlic
1 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp umami seasoning
Juice of one lemon
1/2 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
Parmesan cheese (optional)

  • Dice onion, halve cherry tomatoes and cube chicken breasts
  • Cook pasta to al dente, set aside
  • In hot pan, add olive oil, onion and garlic – cook until onions are translucent
  • Add in chicken, salt, garlic salt and umami seasoning – cook chicken until done
  • Add in lemon juice, chicken stock and heavy cream – bring to a boil
  • Reduce heat, add tomatoes and basil – cook for 15 minutes
  • Add in pasta, stir and cook allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  • Top with parmesan cheese and serve