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 Chicken and Rice Casserole

I was looking for something easy to make tonight – and I knew I wanted to use chicken. So, I decided to make an easy chicken and rice casserole – that I could just throw together, put in the oven and forget about it (for the most part). Is it just me or should a casserole be comfort food? Maybe it is because I love casseroles, but I tend to associate them with comfort food. After a night of not sleeping well, and feeling poorly as a result of that, comfort food sounded just like what I needed.

Comfort food, at least in my house, tends to be creamy! And, what could make a casserole more creamy than Campbell’s ‘cream of whatever’ soup? For this recipe, I decided to use a cream of chicken and a cream of celery. To that, I added some celery, carrots and onion – to go with the rice and chicken.

As far as seasonings, I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and umami seasoning.

For the chicken, I used my instant pot to cook it (in 1 cup of stock, which I also added to the casserole). I cooked 2 very large chicken breasts, from frozen in 20 minutes – and used my hand mixer to shred it. I’ve blogged about this before – and, I still stand by the fact that I’ll never do shredded chicken any other way!

I chose to make the casserole in my large dutch oven. Once all the vegetables were chopped and the chicken was shredded, I just dumped everything into the dutch oven.

And stirred… Yes, it is really that simple! Dump the ingredients and stir!

I then put the lid on, and put the dutch oven in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, I removed it from the oven, uncovered, topped with bread crumbs. You don’t want to add the bread crumbs until some of the liquid from the casserole have been absorbed – otherwise, it will just get mushy, instead of adding a little crispiness to the top of the casserole.

And back into the oven it went, uncovered – for another 20 minutes.

There are vegetables in the casserole, but if you want – you can serve alongside another vegetable or side. I had some field peas with mine.

Easy Chicken and Rice Casserole

2 – 3 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (along with stock from cooking the chicken breasts)
2 1/2 cups rice
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery (or mushroom) soup
2 1/2 ‘cans’ (using soup can to measure) chicken stock
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp paprika
2 tsp Umami seasoning
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs

  • In a large dutch oven, mix all ingredients (yes, it is really that easy – dump it all in!)
  • Cover dutch oven and cook for 45 minutes, at 400 degrees
  • Uncover – top with Panko bread crumbs – and bake for another 20 minutes, uncovered

Roasted Red Pepper and Chicken Pasta

Almost every weekend, I make pasta – sometimes on Saturdays and sometimes on Sundays. This week, I did it on Sunday.

I was running low on the vegetables that I regularly put in my pasta – asparagus and mushrooms are common vegetables. But, I did have a jar of roasted red peppers in the cabinet – and that’s where it started!

Almost every dish I make (particularly pasta dishes) start with onion and garlic. For this dish, I added in a few other items: Italian panko bread crumbs, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese – to name a few.

Melt the butter in a large skillet and then cook the onions and garlic, until the onions are translucent. For the protein, I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes. I added the chicken and cooked until the chicken was done (amount of time will depend on how small you cut the chicken). Add salt, pepper and umami seasoning at this point.

After rough chopping the red peppers (if not already chopped – the jar I had was pretty much whole peppers), add them to the pan (along with the juice from the jar) and warm through (about 5 min). ** note – I used a 12 oz jar of peppers, but when I make this again, I will use a larger jar.

Once the peppers are warmed through, add the heavy cream and half of the Parmesan cheese to the mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 10-15 min.

Add pasta to boiling water and cook per directions. I used bow tie pasta, but I think most any pasta would work well with this sauce.

After pasta is done (al dente), drain and add Pasta to skillet. Add remaining Parmesan cheese and stir – sauce will thicken as you let it simmer for the next few minutes.

Garnish with Italian panko bread crumbs and chopped basil and ENJOY!

Roasted Red Pepper and Chicken Pasta

Box of bowtie pasta
1/2 onion (diced)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp butter
1 jar roasted red peppers
1/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup Parmesean cheese
1 tsp Umami seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil
Italian Panko bread crumbs

  • Melt butter in large skillet
  • Add onion and garlic to melted butter
  • Cook onion and garlic until onions are translucent
  • Boil pasta, per directions – to al dente
  • Rough chop the roasted red peppers (if not already diced) and add to skillet (along with juice from jar) and allow to warm through (about 5 min)
  • Once peppers are warmed though, add heavy cream and 1/2 the parmesean cheese to skillet.
  • Bring to boil – then reduce heat to simmer and cover.
  • Cook for 10 – 15 minutes
  • Add drained, al dente pasta to skillet
  • Add remaining parmesean cheese and stir (sauce will thicken as it simmers for a few minutes)
  • Garnish with chopped basil and panko bread crumbs