Monday, April 30, 2012

Slow Cooker French Onion Beef Stew

Slow Cooker French Onion Beef Stew
From Woman's Day Dec. 2011

***Susan's Note: I used organic free range beef from Wegmans for this recipe, and I used applesauce instead of apple juice because that's all I had.  I also added a bag of pre-cut Mirepoix from Wegmans.    I am usually not a slow cooker user because I always have to have the food cook longer than it states on a workday because I am gone up to 10 hours during the day.  This cooked for 9 hours on low and it was delicious.

  • 1 can(s) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup(s) apple juice
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-in. pieces
  • 2  onions, thinly sliced
  • 1.5 pound(s) lean beef stew meat, trimmed and cut into 1/2-in. pieces
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoon(s) all-purpose flour
  • 4  thick slices country bread
  • 4 ounce(s) Gruyère or Swiss cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme, plus 1 tsp leaves
  1. Tie a piece of thread or kitchen twine around the thyme sprigs and place them in a 5- to 6-qt slow cooker. Add the chicken broth, apple juice, carrots and onions and mix to combine.
  2. Season the beef with 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper; sprinkle with the flour. Add the beef and any excess flour to the slow cooker and mix to combine. Cook, covered, until the beef and vegetables are tender, 7 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.
  3. When the stew has 10 minutes left to cook, heat the broiler. Place the bread on a foil-lined broiler-proof baking sheet. Sprinkle with the cheese and remaining tsp thyme. Broil until the cheese starts to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Spoon the stew into bowls and top with the Gruyère toasts.
tips & techniques
To make ahead, refrigerate the stew for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw, if frozen, then reheat, covered, over medium heat. Make the toasts just before serving.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Quick Turkey Bolognese with Spaghetti Squash

Quick Turkey Bolognese with Spaghetti Squash
Everyday Food
JAN/FEB 2012

  • Prep Time35 minutes
  • Total Time35 minutes
  • YieldServes 4


  • 3 bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 large carrot, diced small
  • 2 small celery stalks, diced small
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast or chicken breast
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes (from a 28-ounce can)
  • Red-pepper flakes (optional)
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 6 cups Roasted Spaghetti Squash
  • Grated Parmesan, for serving


  1. In a large nonstick skillet, cook bacon over medium until crisp, 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook until vegetables are tender, 15 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add 1 tablespoon oil and turkey to skillet and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until almost cooked through, 5 minutes. Add bacon, vegetables, tomatoes, and pinch of red-pepper flakes, if using, to skillet and bring to a simmer; cook until turkey is cooked through and sauce is thickened, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over spaghetti squash and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Black Bean and Salsa Sloppy Joes

Black Bean and Salsa Sloppy Joes
Parenting Magazine
April 2012

***Susan's Note:  My 9 month old loves loves loves these.  I just give him a little bowl of the black bean mixture (cooled) and he feeds himself.  I also love the sandwiches with sliced avocado.  Easy!**

Black Bean & Salsa Sloppy Joes
Makes 4

- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 2 ½ cups black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 ½ cups salsa (1 15 oz. jar) 
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons of shredded cheddar cheese

- (rolls)

1. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil over medium heat.  Add minced garlic and saute for 1 minute. 
2. Stir in the black beans, salsa, brown sugar, worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, cumin, and salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer, cook for 10 minutes. 
3. Spoon the mixture onto whole wheat buns. If desired, top with shredded cheddar cheese. 

Orzo with Smoky Tomato Vinaigrette

Orzo with Smoky Vinaigrette
by Giada DeLaurentis
Ladies Home Journal
April 2012

***Note from Susan:  A baby has arrived in our house! So I am adding some recent "simple" meals onto this blog.  I have no time to make sides or salads, so "one pot" type dishes are perfect.  This is a good example.  If you don't have fresh basil (I didn't), I used dried and it was fine.  Also, I didn't have smoked salt, though I would like to try that.  I added 1 lb. of cooked ground turkey to add protein.

Giada: My mom loves this dish as a vegetarian main course, and Todd loves it when I add some ground beef to the mix. Either way, I've been on a "smoky" kick lately, exploring different ways to integrate this distinct flavor into recipes. In this one I use smoked salt.
Work: 10 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
1 pound (2 pints) cherry tomatoes
Kosher salt
1 pound orzo
1/2 cup packed basil leaves, torn
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp smoked salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Cup grated Parmesan
1. Place tomatoes in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until tomatoes are tender and the skins are charred in spots, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.
3. In a blender, puree tomatoes, basil, vinegar, olive oil, honey, smoked salt, and pepper.
4. Pour tomato vinaigrette over pasta and toss to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Serves 4 to 6.