Anyone Hungry?

Ideas, suggestions and thoughts on my favorite topic.

Beef and Beer October 31, 2008

Filed under: Entrees — lindsayrose @ 1:47 am

I bet you can’t guess who made this meal.

If that isn’t the title of a man’s meal, I am not sure what is.

Ross went grocery shopping toinght and came home and made dinner. I was very excited, it smelled so good and seemed like the perfect dinner for a Fall night.

The original recipe is one he found last year I believe, and I am pretty sure it was from allrecipes.com. He made it tonight with a few changes, and it was even better than it was last year. Here it is the way that he made it for us tonight.

Beef and Beer

1 1/2 lbs stew meat
salt and pepper
1/2 c flour
1 T vegetable olive oil
12 oz beer (we used 24 oz)
1 1/2 c beef broth 1 can of beefy mushroom soup
1 T rosemary
1 pinch dill weed
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery
3 carrots, chopped
(we also added 2 potatoes, chopped into large chunks)
3 cloves garlic, minced

Ross added:
8 oz fresh mushrooms
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste

Boil the potatoes and carrots for a little bit until they are just slightly tender.

Season the beef with salt and pepper, coat in flour. Heat oil in a large pot (Dutch oven works well), add beef, brown on all sides. Remove beef from pot and set aside. Add onion, garlic and celery. Cook until onions are clear and starting to brown. Return meat to pot. Add beer, tomatoes and broth, stir. Add rosemary, dill, carrots and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat 1 1/2 hours. Add mushrooms toward the end of cooking.

 

Hot Fudge Cake October 30, 2008

Filed under: Desserts,Kitchen Products — lindsayrose @ 1:29 am

This is one of my favorite “I need chocolate and I need it now” recipes. 

 

When I first moved to NC and lived on my own for the first time in my life, I found myself craving chocolate badly one night, but didn’t have the dorm stash of junk that I was used to and didn’t have Mom’s home baked desserts always waiting on the counter.  I also didn’t have eggs.  I started searching the labels of the baking ingredients in my apartment for a recipe I could make without going to the grocery store late at night.  I found the recipe for Hot Fudge Cake on the inside of the Hershey’s cocoa label.  (I find it hilarious now to think of myself alone in my tiny apartment tearing apart labels at 10 pm trying to find a recipe I could make with chocolate and without eggs.  I must have really been in a rough spot that night). 

 

Well, as we were sitting here tonight playing the Wii, I felt a strong need for some chocolate and I knew I wanted this cake.  It is quick and easy and soooooo good.  It is very much like Molten Lava Cake that some random restaurant serves.  But better, of course, because it is homemade.   It ends up being like a homemade chocolate brownie/cake with a hot pudding like goo running through it. Sounds gross yet delicious at the same time, right? It is best served with vanilla ice cream, but is also good with homemade whipped cream, which is what I am about to make while this bakes in the oven.

 

Hot Fudge Cake

1 c flour

3/4 c sugar

6 T cocoa (divided)

2 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

1/2 c milk

2 T vegetable oil

1 t vanilla

1 c brown sugar

1 3/4 c hot water

 

Combine flour, white sugar, 2 T cocoa, baking powder and salt.  Stir in milk, oil and vanilla until smooth (I stir this together right in the 8×8 pan that I bake it in to save washing a bowl).  Spread in ungreased pan. 

Combine brown sugar and remaining 4 T cocoa.  Sprinkle over batter.  Pour hot water over all.  

Bake at 375 35-40 minutes.

 

Allow to cool, but eat while still warm or re-heat!

 

Also, this is a good time to mention one of my other favorite cooking tools.  This Oxo measuring cup is the coolest ever.

It is slanted so that you can look straight down at it and see how much stuff you have in it.  You don’t have to bend over and get at eye level so that you can make sure you have the right amount.  Call me lazy, but I think that is the best thing ever.  Thanks, Mark!

 

A dismal failure October 29, 2008

Filed under: Entrees,Life — lindsayrose @ 3:08 pm

Emily and I are in a training that started yesterday and goes through this afternoon.  As she was on her way to pick me up yesterday, I realized that I had pork chops in the fridge for dinner but didn’t know what I was going to do with them.  I got to thinking that I wouldn’t feel like coming up with something at 6:30 when I got back from Raleigh, so at 8:57, 3 minutes before Emily was due to pull in my driveway, I decided to literally throw a bunch of stuff into the crockpot.

 

I placed the pork chops in the crock pot and looked into the pantry to see what else I could dump. Here’s where I went wrong… I literally did just dump.  I put a can of pumpkin, some ground sage, a little white wine, salt and pepper, a couple splashes of balsamic vinegar and a little heavy cream.  By this time, Emiy was in the driveway so I turned the pot on low, set the timer for 8 hours and left. 

 

On my way home, I talked to Ross.  I asked him how the dinner looked and his response was “well, I don’t think it is gonna be one for the column”.  Uh oh.  He said that it smelled burnt and it looked like there was a dry paste on top of the meat.  Lovely.  When I came home and tested it, the flavor itself wasn’t bad, but I had to hurry to the closest beverage… red gatorade… to actually get the dry meat to go down my throat.  Not a good mixture, and not  a meal I wanted to sit down to.  

 

So, we went to Joe’s and we each had a cup of French onion soup and a grilled Buffalo chicken sandwich.  It was so tasty, and washing it down with a Jack and Coke was much better than pumpkin pork and red gatorade.  That’s for sure.

 

I think this recipe still has hope.  I think what I should have done is mixed all of the ingredients together in a bowl first, including enough wine and cream to make more of an actual sauce.  I think some sliced onion would have been good in there, too. 

 

Moral of the story:  Crock pots are good when you need a quick meal, but don’t be in such a hurry when you are putting it together for the first time!

 

Chili on a chilly day October 28, 2008

Filed under: Entrees,Family,Life — lindsayrose @ 12:01 am

Chili is one of my very favorite Fall meals.  It is so comforting and so delicious.  Chili is fun, because it is one of those meals that can be made a million different ways and each person has their own specialty.  My chili recipe (or actually, it is my Aunt Patty’s) is a sweeter version, with cinnamon and cloves in combination with the spicy chili powder and cumin. 

 

Since I’ve met Ross, we usually include beer in our chili, just like his father has always done.  Larry makes some prize winning chili that is hard to compete with, but we try to take some tips from him to capture some of the flavor. 

 

On my way home tonight, I was kind of dreading coming in the door and starting dinner right away so that it would have time to simmer.  Luckily, Ross had already come home, taken care of the dogs and prepared our meal.  That was by far the best part of my day.  As much as I love to cook, it sure is nice to have a day off here and there, yet still have a nice hot meal at home to sit down to.

 

I’m not sure exactly what he did, and he’s too busy playing his new early birthday gift…the Wii (thanks a lot, Ed and Emily for getting us addicted) for me to ask him, but I think this was the general idea.  The new ingredient was 3 bars of the Hershey’s miniature dark chocolate that we had in the fridge from when my parents were here (thanks, Dad!).  I don’t think we’ll make chili again without adding that one little ingredient.  It was great.

 

He started out by browning the ground beef with a half of an onion, minced.  Ross likes to season, so who knows what spices he put in there.  He added some tomato sauce and tomato paste.  He put a can of whole tomaotes, drained, in the blender along with some jalapenos to get them nice and chunky, but not quite pureed, and tossed them in the Dutch oven with the other ingredients.  A bunch of chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper, about 3/4 a bottle of beer, and some dark chocolate topped it off.  We let it simmer for awhile while we played a round of Mario Kart before we enjoyed it with pepper jack cheese and a dollop of sour cream.  It was so good that I had to have seconds even though I was stuffed. 

 

I guess I better go work it off on the Wii.

 

Fall Fun Party October 25, 2008

Filed under: Appetizers,Life,Websites — lindsayrose @ 8:28 pm

Ross and I are going to my sister’s tonight for dinner and game night.  Kara has planned dinner around a Fall theme, so when I asked what I could bring, the answer was an appetizer… a FALL appetizer.  So, I began my search for something tasty and Fall-ish, a little bit different but not “weird”.  Also, as I’ve mentioned, Kara is a vegetarian, so there couldn’t be any meat in the recipe.

 

It’s no secret that allrecipes.com is my favorite go-to place for new recipes.  There is a little bit of everything on there.  I like that it has review and ratings of the recipes, and often times other user’s comments are very helpful, offering suggestions to tweak the recipe to your liking.  I love the recipe box feature, which allows you to save any recipes that you’ve tried and liked or ones that you see and want to remember to try another time.  When I make my grocery list each week, I usually visit my online recipe box to see if I’ve saved anything that I’m ready to try at that time. 

 

Another perk to this website is that it is constantly updated to include highlighted seasonal recipes.  During the holiday season, you can just click on “Thanksgiving appetizers” or “Christmas side dishes” and have a wealth of selections to choose from.  There wasn’t anything special on there for Fall today (although the website is decorated cute for Halloween) but I just entered “Fall appetizers” into the search bar and had a ton of choices appear.

 

My selection was Mini Pumpkin Sage Balls with Balsamic Creme Fraiche.  These sound fancy, but are easy to make.  I just threw them together, and I am going to bake them when I get to my sister’s tonight.  The balls are made up of pumpkin, onion, garlic, sage leaves, an egg, breadcrumbs and some salt and pepper.  The dipping sauce is simply sour cream, heavy cream, sugar and balsamic vinegar.  I had to dip my pinky in there to taste it and it is good. I think I want to use this as a base for trying a creamy balsamic salad dressing in the near future. I can’t wait to taste it with the pumpkin balls dipped in it.  The last step is to fry up some fresh sage leaves to crumble and sprinkle on top.  The ingredients and presentation are nice for a gathering because they are a little fancier, but the recipe is no harder to make than many other dips or appetizers I’ve made.  In fact, I think it’s easier than many.

 

Tomorrow, I will provide an update on the gathering, including Kara’s Fall vegetable mix, “Fall Apple Thing” (as she explained it to me) and the one I’m most anxious to try… Pumpkin Creme Brulee.  Ooh la la.

 

Dinner and a Friday Treat October 24, 2008

Filed under: Desserts,Entrees — lindsayrose @ 1:19 am

For dinner tonight, we had another Rachael Ray recipe found in the May ’08 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray.  Ironically, the recipe came to me today in the weekly menu planner that Rachael (yes, she herself I am sure is the one who sends the messages) sends me.  The recipe is for Pepper Steak, and it was pretty good.  Not knock your socks off good, but tasty.  I don’t know what shell steaks are, so I bought some NY strips and they came out very tender and juicy. 

 

This week at work has been very, very rough for lots of reasons.  I felt like everyone could use a Friday treat, so I decided to make a recipe I found several years ago for pumpkin cookies.  I wanted to spice them up a little bit, so I added some cream cheese frosting to them.  I have to admit, I’ve already eaten one.  I mean, they wouldn’t all fit on the platter that I am taking to work, so what was I supposed to do with the extras?  I think I might need to eat another one in a few minutes.  They are gooooooood.

 

Pumpkin Cookies

1 box yellow cake mix

1 can pumpkin puree (I bought pumpkin pie filling by mistake and just used a little less than what was called for and they are fine).

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I didn’t have any, so I added some cinnamon, a little nutmeg and a few shakes of cloves)

1/4 c butter or margarine, softened

You can also add some raisins, chocolate chips (my personal favorite) or oats if you’d like.

 

Mix all ingredients, drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 11-12 minutes.

 

For the frosting, I just looked at a few different recipes and made this up with what I had at home.  I like it a lot.  Good texture for cookies or cakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 c 10x sugar

8 oz cream cheese

1/4 c butter or margarine, softened

1 t vanilla

Mix all ingredients together until smooth.

 

Happy Fall!  I love pumpkin stuff!!!

 

Orange Beef and Broccoli October 23, 2008

Filed under: Entrees — lindsayrose @ 12:06 am

Tonight’s dinner came from the May ’08 issue of the Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine.  I had to go to the grocery store tonight to buy stuff for the next few nights and I really wasn’t in the mood to search around for recipes.  I went to my stack of magazines,looked through and quickly found a few.  I wasn’t in the mood for chicken, Ross wasn’t too into the idea of ground turkey and we’ve recently had pork chops and ham.  So that left beef.  I don’t really make a lot of beef dishes.I like it ok, but I just have never cooked a lot of red meat.  I found this recipe and thought it sounded like a nice alternative to the typical stir fry type meal we usually make.  It was quick and easy to make and tasted very good.  I was actually surprised that I liked it as well as I did.  It had just enough orange flavor to add to the taste, but not so much that it overwhelmed it.  If you don’t like things spicy, still add the jalapeno because it adds a nice flavor… just take out the rib and seeds and it isn’t spicy at all (just remember to wash your hands after you do this… if you’ve ever done that and then wiped your eyes you know that it is not a pleasant experience).  I actually kind of wish I didn’t take them out, it would’ve been nice a tad bit hotter for me.

 

Anyway, here’s the recipe. Give it a try!

 

Orange Beef and Broccoli

1 bunch of broccoli

1 1/4 c beef broth

3 T hoisin sauce

2 T soy sauce

2 T plum sauce (I couldn’t find this at Lowe’s so I just added a tiny bit more hoisin and soy)

1/4 c cornstarch

Grated peel of 1 orange, juice of 1/2 orange, plus wedges for serving

One 1 3/4 lb boneless sirloin steak

1/4 c vegetable oil

1 jalapeno chile, thinly sliced

 

1.  In a large skillet, bring 2 cups salted water to a boil.  Cut the broccoli into 1 inch florets.  Boil until crisp-tender, about 3 mkinutes; drain the broccoli and rinse under cold water.  Reserve the skillet.

2.  In a small bowl, stir together the broth, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, plum sauce and 1 tablespoon cornstarch.  Stir in the orange peel.

3.  Slice the steak 1/4 inch thick, then cut the slices crosswise into thirds, toss with the remaining 3 T cornstarch.  **TIP** If you don’t have a pair of kitchen scissors, I think they are the best thing ever.  Cutting raw meat with a knife is not fun, but cutting it with scissors is a million times quicker and easier.  It’s also nice to have a second pair for herbs.

4.  In the reserved skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the steak and jalapeno and cook, turning, until the meat is barely pink, about 2 minutes.  Transfer to paper towel lined plate; discard the excess oil.  Add the broth mixture to the skillet and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the meat, broccoli and juice from the 1/2 orange and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.  Serve  with the orange wedges. 

 

We served it over rice and topped it with chow mein noodles because they are one of my favorite foods!