Monday, March 23, 2009

Crockpot "Easy Company Beef"

I am loooving the crock pot lately! It's so easy to put stuff in there and set it and go play with my baby girl all day! Today I made a recipe from my crockpot cookbook that was basically beef stroganoff. It was a very basic recipe, but there's nothing wrong with that!

Easy Company Beef


3 lbs. beef stew meat
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can sliced mushrooms
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1/2 cup red wine


Combine all ingredients into slow cooker, mixing well. Cook on LOW for 10 hours. Serve over rice or noodles.

The Ingredients

My husband wanted his over rice (see asparagus recipe that was posted yesterday)

But I wanted mine over pasta

Verdict: Very good! We much preferred this recipe of what was basically beef stroganoff over the one that I posted not very long ago. It had the desired color of stroganoff and a great beefy (is that a word?) flavor. This will definitely become an easy family favorite crockpot meal!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

NY Strip Steaks with Coffee-Peppercorn Marinade; Bacon & Caramelized-Onion Asparagus

For a while now, James and I have been on the hunt for a really good steak marinade. We've come across some good ones, and some pretty good ones, but we wanted a wow really good one. I searched on the Food Network for some recipes and found a marinade that was meant to use for flank steak, but I used for NY Strips instead. I also found a great deal on fresh asparagus at Kroger ($0.94 per pound!!) so I wanted to try something new with that. I decided to try a recipe that was in the most recent Kraft Food and Family magazine, tweaking it a little. Here are the recipes:

Coffee-Peppercorn Steak Marinade:


3 tablespoons strong brewed coffee
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients and pour into a dish that your steaks can lay flat in. I put a little bit of Tony's (not much) on the outside of my steaks, then placed them in the dish, covered and marinated in the refrigerator for a few hours, turning occassionally. Cook with whatever your desired method is to your preferred level of "done."

Ingredients for the steak & marinade

Steaks sizzling!

Marinade Verdict: This is hands down the best steak marinade I have ever had the pleasure of having on my steak. Our search has now ended and this will be the only marinade we ever use, ever again! It's just fabulous! I was worried it would be too sweet but it was not at all! We both LOVED it!

Now for the...

Bacon & Caramelized-Onion Asparagus

4 slices bacon
1.5 lb. fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup (good) ranch dressing (I used the creamy ranch in jars in the produce section)
NO MORE THAN 1/4 tsp liquid crab boil (don't put too much or you will have to move out of your house!!)


Cook bacon in nonstick skillet 3-5 minutes or until crisp, turning frequently. Drain bacon on paper towels. Place asparagus in a microwave-safe casserole, add water until all asparagus is in water. Add tiny amount of crab boil. Microwave on HIGH 6 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Meanwhile, add onions to skillet, cook and stir until tender. Stir in dressing.

Drain asparagus, top with sauce and crumbled bacon.

The ingredients for the asparagus

All Done!

Asparagus Verdict: Fantastic!!! My first bite I was a little unsure about and felt it could use a little salt. So I added some. From then on, we were both practically licking our plates! The sauce was so delicious and the asparagus were the perfect crisp! I have another bunch in the fridge and you best believe I'll be making it this way again!

Everything ready to eat (potatoes were instant, roasted garlic flavor!)

Do yourself a favor and make this soon!! ~C.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Irish Beef Stew

In honor of St. Patrick's Day today, I'm cooking a crockpot Irish Beef Stew. This recipe comes from the Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook that friends Karen and Clint Ortis bought us for a wedding gift (thanks Karen and Clint - we love it!!) and can be found on page 83. Of course being from Louisiana, I have to spice it up some. So not pictured in the ingredients is 1 tsp of hot sauce of your choice (we like Louisiana Gold).

Crockpot Irish Beef Stew

2 lbs. stewing beef, cubed
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
2- 10 3/4 cans tomato soup
1 soup can water
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups diced potatoes
1 lb. package frozen peas
1/4 cup water


Place beef, onion soup, tomato soup, soup can of water, salt, pepper, carrots and potatoes in slow cooker. Cover. Cook on LOW 8 hours. Add peas and 1/4 cup water. Cover. Cook on LOW 1 more hour.

Notes: as mentioned previously, I added 1 tsp hot sauce. I also added 1 chopped onion (just because I like onions) and about 1/4 cup beef stock because I only used 1 pound of stew meat, so that will make up for the flavor the other pound would have supplied.

The ingredients - minus the hot sauce and onion since they were a last-minute addition.

Stew is ready to cook!

The finished product, right before devouring!

The Verdict: Delicious! James and I both really enjoyed this, which is saying a lot because I don't like stews much! We ate it over rice. I will definitely make this again, however next time I will let the peas cook for more than an hour because I found they could have gone for longer, a little undercooked tasting. Also James and I both felt it needed more salt, but you can add more salt to your own personal bowl. Two thumbs up though!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Chicken in Mushroom Sauce over pasta

This is my favorite meal that I personally can cook. It's not my favorite meal, that is reserved for boiled crawfish. And a few other things. But this is a go-to meal for something easy, tasty, and always good. Just whatever you do, do not ever try to buy the powdered mushroom soup mix because that stuff is just awful! Another tip for all recipes (not only this one) is that if you use wine make sure it's a wine you would actually drink. Nasty wine in food equals nasty food.

Chicken in Mushroom Sauce over Pasta


2 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup white wine or inexpensive beer (or more if you want!) both are good. Just don't use a dark beer, probably wouldn't be as good!
2 small cans mushroom pieces and stems (or if you're richer than me, sliced mushrooms)
1 onion, chopped into small pieces
Seasoning to taste (Tony's, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder)
1 pkg egg noodles, cooked.
Milk as needed


Season chicken pieces with your seasoning of choice. In a deep skillet, cook your chicken in a few pats of butter. When almost done, add the onions. When those are almost soft, add the mushrooms. Let simmer for a few minutes. Add your cans of mushroom soup and stir well, then add your beer or wine. Depending on how thick you want your sauce to be, you can add milk until you reach your desired consistancy. Taste test and add seasonings if needed. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Serve over egg noodles with a salad and garlic bread!

The ingredients

The chicken, onions and mushrooms cooking away

A super yummy meal. Sorry for the blurry picture!

Verdict: As I said, this is one of my favorite things to cook (and eat!) so I had to share. If you use wine or beer, both are good but a slightly different taste. I cannot say enough how much I love this dish, I think I'll have to cook more this week!

Sweet Potato Baby Food Puree'


2 Sweet Potatoes


Wash sweet potatoes well then peelthe outer skin off. Dice into small pieces. Put into microwave steam bag and microwave on HIGH until tender enough to puree. Dump into bowl and use immersion mixer to puree. Divide into ice cube tray, cover with freezer cling wrap and keep in freezer till solid. Then pop them out of the tray, put into ziploc and store in freezer for up to 3 months.

Sweet Potatoes

Peeled and getting diced

Steamed, made into puree' and ready to be frozen!

Butternut Squash Baby Food Puree'


1 Butternut Squash


Wash squash well then peel/cut the outer skin off. Dice the top part into small pieces and then scoop out the seeds of the bottom part before dicing it. Discard the seeds. Put into microwave steam bag and microwave on HIGH until tender enough to puree. Dump into bowl and use immersion mixer to puree. Divide into ice cube tray, cover with freezer cling wrap and keep in freezer till solid. Then pop them out of the tray, put into ziploc and store in freezer for up to 3 months.

1 butternut squash

bottom part with seeds

Seeds scooped out!

Diced and in microwave steamer bag

made into puree

In tray.

Green Bean Baby Food Puree'


1 lb fresh green beans


Wash green beans well then snap the ends off. Put into microwave steam bag and microwave on HIGH until tender enough to puree. Dump into bowl and use immersion mixer to puree. Divide into ice cube tray, cover with freezer cling wrap and keep in freezer till solid. Then pop them out of the tray, put into ziploc and store in freezer for up to 3 months.

Fresh green beans

In the microwave steamer bag

Ready to freeze

Yellow Squash Puree Baby Food

The next few posts will all be baby food posts, sorry people!

Yellow Squash Puree'


4-Yellow Squash


Wash well and cut skin off of the squash. Chop into small pieces and put into microwave steamer bag. Microwave on HIGH for about 3 minutes or until soft enough to mush up. Empty into a bowl and using your immersion mixer, puree until smooth. Divide into ice cube tray, cover with Glad Cling Wrap and freeze till solid. Put into a ziploc and keep in freezer for up to 3 months.

4 Washed Squash

Diced up!

Puree'd and in the ice cube tray ready to be frozen!

Artichoke stuffed shells with marinara sauce

I got this idea from a show on the Food Network, the Everyday Italian show. But I did mine a little differently.

Artichoke Stuffed Shells with Marinara Sauce

1 pkg jumbo shells
1 bag frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and chopped
1 pkg Italian mix cheese
1 egg
1 onion, chopped
minced garlic to your liking - I like a lot!
salt, Tony's seasoning - to your tastes
1 jar marinara sauce - I used leftover spaghetti sauce from previous recipe!
1-2 green onions, chopped.

Preheat oven to 350. Boil jumbo shells till barely al-dente'. In a bowl, combine artichoke hearts with half the cheese mix, the egg, onion, breadcrumbs, garlic and seasonings. Gently stuff the mixture into the shells and place on a greased casserole dish. Cover completely with marinara sauce and then cover with cheese. Sprinkle the chopped green onions and Italian Seasoning on top. Bake until sauce bubbles on the side and cheese is melted and browning.

Ingredients, minus breadcrumbs, Tony's and green onions!

Artichoke mixture

The stuffed shells

All baked!

And ready to eat!

The verdict: Honestly I was a bit disappointed. I expected it to be just oh my god good and it really wasn't that great. It basically tasted like my spaghetti with artichoke. If I made it again, I think maybe a different sauce, an alfredo perhaps.