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photo-1For a chilly Sunday night beef stew was the perfect meal. I have a yummy cookbook that I never get to cook out of because everything takes too long or requires a million ingredients. Not so friendly for a weeknight. But here is an easy one that was oh so yummy thanks to Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris — with my special added touchs of course.

Added bonus…it tastes better the second day!

Ingredients…

Olive Oil

4 ounces bacon, diced

1 1/4 lbs beef chuck cut into 1 inch cubes

salt / pepper

1/2 lb carrots sliced into 1 inch chunks

1 onion sliced

1/2 bottle good red wine, like a burgundy or cabernet

1 1/4 cups boxed beef stock

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon herbs de provence

3 tablespoons butter (at room temperature)

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 lb frozen peal onions

1/2 lb mushrooms thickly sliced (any kind you like)

1/4 lb frozen peas

handful chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup cream

How to make it….

Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat until the bacon is slightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Dry cubes of beef and season liberally with salt and pepper. In batches sear the meat in hot oil on each side, total about 3-5 minutes. Removed the beef and add to the plate with the bacon.

Place the carrots, onions, salt and pepper in the pot and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Once the onions are lightly browned add the meat and bacon back into the pot with any juices from the plate. Add the wine and beef broth. Mix in the tomato paste, thyme and herbs de provence. Bring to a boil and cover. Turn heat to low and cook for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and carrots are tender. (Resist the urge to open the lid – all of the heat will escape).

Mix 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the pearl onions. In a separate pan melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Cook mushrooms for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Add them to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Add peas, parsley and the cream. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Season to taste.

Serve over buttered egg noodles and top with extra chopped parsley.

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So we went to the farm over the weekend and did the pick-your-own fruits and veggies thing. So much fun! And I’m glad stuffed peppers won because we picked a lot of yummy peppers. Here’s out to make them. Thanks again to everyone who voted!

Ingredients…

1 lb lean ground beef (80% / 20%)

3 inches of day old baguette (crumbled) – you could also use 2 slices of white bread or a handful of breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons of chopped red onion

1 handful of parsley

1/2 cup of grated pecorino cheese

1 egg lightly beaten

dash of red pepper flakes (optional)

splash of milk (whatever you have on hand is fine)

salt, pepper, drizzle of olive oil

Directions…

Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl — use your hands, it’s fun! Cut 2 green peppers in half. Remove the seed and ribs. Place cut side up in a baking dish with sides, season with salt and pepper. Divide the meat mixture into 4 equal portions. Stuff the mixture inside each pepper — it’s okay if it mounds up on top a little bit. Pour left over tomato basil sauce over the top — pick up the recipe from my Pizza Topped with Arugula and Prosciutto post. Sauce should come about 1/4 way up the pepper. Place in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until the meat is no longer pink. Cover for the first 30 minutes with a piece of tin foil. Serve over brown or white rice and top with grated pecorino cheese. Enjoy!

Tip…

This makes a great crock pot meal too. The prep is exactly the same, just make sure you put sauce down first, so the peppers don’t directly touch the bottom of the crock pot. Set on low for 8 hours and dinner is ready when you come home from work.

Looking for a low budget way to have a great time on a Friday night? Not in the mood to go out to the bar? Just want to hang out and watch the Yankees game…that’s what I’ll be doing tonight! Why not kick up the heat with a Mexican Fiesta night? Invite some friends over and cook up these few simple and delicious dishes!

Here’s a tip…and probably my favorite…Make things from scratch! By doing this you save calories and aren’t eating any yucky preservatives. Plus, believe it or not, it’s actually fun!

Another thing about me, I don’t like to measure. Here’s another tip…taste your food! Use a recipe as a base, but adjust the ingredients to suit your own taste.

Guacamole

Mash up avocados and mix with chopped tomato, onion, cilantro and jalapeno. Mix in salt and lime juice. Enjoy with chips!

Salsa

Throw seeded tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime and salt into a mini Cuisinart chopper. Pulse until you reach your desired consistency. Enjoy this with chips too!

Chicken or Beef Fajitas

Marinate chicken or beef for about 15 minutes in beer (like Corona), olive oil, cumin, chile powder, salt, cilantro and my favorite ingredient these days, Cholula hot sauce in Chipolte Flavor.

Grill up the chicken and slice it into strips.

In a separate pan saute sliced peppers and onions in olive oil until tender but still crisp. While they are cooking add in cumin, chile powder, salt and Cholula.

Mix the chicken in with the peppers and onions. Serve with warmed tortillas, sour cream and your homemade guacamole and salsa!

About Me

My name is Ashley and I'm a self taught cook. Getting home from work, popping open a bottle of wine and cooking up dinner with my boyfriend is my favorite part of the day. I want to show you that making dinner can be fun and easy. I have some great tricks for the young professional...like me, that I know you will love! Follow me and I'll make you the talk of all of your friends! You won't believe the things you can whip up in the kitchen that are...Just Delicious!

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