Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easy Beef Stroganoff

I love taking inexpensive cuts of meat and turning them into something delicious!  That is something Casey has taught me for sure!  Add a bunch of flavor and cook it slowly and you can make it so yummy!  I bought a bunch of mushrooms earlier this week because I was going to make a tomato ragu with mushrooms, but I never got around to it.  So, I was looking around to figure out what to make for dinner and beef stroganoff sounded super yummy so I threw it together! 

1.5 lbs stew meat
1 large onion, cut in half then sliced
4 garlic cloves, smashed peeled and sliced
1 lb mini bella mushrooms, quartered
1 1/2 cups red wine (I prefer a Burgundy or Cabernet)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I find in this recipe you can use low cal and not notice a difference)
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Start by heating 2 tablespoons olive oil in a wide shallow pan.  Next season all sides of the stew meat with salt and pepper.  When the oil in the pan is hot (if oil is not hot the meat will stick!) add your beef, allowing each side of the meat to brown (about 30 seconds on each side).  Take meat out and set aside for later, beef will still be raw in the middle but should have a nice crust.  Add another tablespoon of olive oil to your pan and add in the sliced onions.  Add salt & pepper.  Stir these and allow to cook for about a minute, then add in the garlic.  Stir this constantly so the garlic doesn't burn.  After another minute or so add in the mushrooms.  The mushrooms are going to soak up all the liquid so just keep them moving so they don't burn.  At this point, stir in your wine while scraping the bottom of your pan with a wooden spoon to loosen up all the browned bits from the beef.  Now add in the mushroom soup and stir until well combined.  Put the beef back in the pan and cover with the sauce.  Turn heat to low and slightly cover pan with lid.  Cook on low for about 4 hours or until beef is fork tender.  Make sure you do a final check of your sauce and add salt & pepper if needed.  Serve over rice, egg noodles (my favorite!) or mashed potatoes and with your favorite green veggie!

***This recipe is GREAT in your crock pot!  Put all ingredients in the pot in the morning and have a super yummy dinner that smells amazing at dinner time!

Monday, April 25, 2011


Not only am I the wife of a chef...but I am a mommy, a daughter, a sister, a friend, but most importantly I am a Child of God.  I love the Lord with all of my being.  The more I study the Bible and the more I learn about God and the more I love Him and feel loved by Him.

In Bible Study this week we were studying the book of Colossians and I was struck by Colossians 4:6.
"Let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt so that you may know how to answer everyone."  Paul was talking about spreading the message of Jesus, and how it should be our life's mission to share the gospel!  In this verse he is talking about sharing without being too overbearing or too intense, while still sharing and answering to everyone.  It is my joy to be a person who has Jesus inside of me and now I want to share like a perfectly seasoned meal.  Of course...I brought it back to food :)

I started thinking about salt in connection with sharing God's Word.  Have you ever had something that was WAY too salty?  I remember going out to eat and having a piece of fish and it was sooo salty I couldn't even eat it, it was gross, I pushed it away and had no desire to partake in it.  This can be very much the same for Christians who are constantly pushing their faith on to others.  A non-believer looks at us like a freak, fanatic, "bible-thumper" and wants to be nothing  like us.  Instead of seeing us as a new creation in Christ we are viewed as someone too extreme and we are unattractive.  Then there is the opposite.  There is when you get a meal that is completely under seasoned, or not seasoned at all.  It just doesn't taste right, it is lacking, something is missing and the meal leaves you wanting.  I find in life this happens way too often (in both food and Christians)!  Too often as Christians, we become stagnant in our lives and we just go along through the motions of life without sharing, without being salt in the world.  When we are living this bland life, there is nothing special about us, we are lacking and we are not fulfilling our potential.  Why would this life be appealing to an unbeliever? 

Now, what do I want to be?  I want to be like a perfectly seasoned steak (or whatever it is you like to eat)!  I want to be the kind of streak that when you take your first bite the salt floods your mouth and and makes you melt away into that moment.  The steak that makes you sit back in your seat and forces you to let out a little groan "ummm".  The steak that the rest of the restaurant is noticing and wants a little taste for themselves.  The salt enhances the meat, it makes it better, its so good that I just want to eat more!  I want to be that type of Christian, the kind who stands out, who constantly has the taste of Christ in me.  I want to share the truth without being annoying, yet not compromising.  I want for people around me to notice there is something different about me, and make them want to have what I have.  I want people to see my joy and be comforted by the truth I have to share.

So, let me rephrase the verse in Colossians so that it can be my prayer today "Lord, let my conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt so that I know how to answer to everyone."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Guacamole...that will stay GREEN

A chef perk I received recently was when my hubby walked in the door with a bag of avocados and oranges one of his regulars brought to the restaurant for him.  I love oranges...well, anything citrus so the boys and I had fun eating those last week!  The avocados were all green and hard as a rock, I wasn't even sure they would ever soften up and be good to eat, Casey told me to be patient and he was RIGHT!  So, I made a big batch of guacamole with some chicken tacos for dinner and it was delicious!!

Now, how often have you made guacamole only to have it turn brown and gross looking half way through your party?  I know I have and so many parties I have been to I have seen this happen.  Putting the pit in it does NOT work!  But, today I will share with you the hint that my chef taught me and you will never have to worry about brown guacamole again.  The secret? Olive Oil.  Who knew, right?  Just a little drizzle of olive oil and my guacamole was still green and tasting great 2 days after I made it!

Everyone has their favorite recipe so if you love your recipe you can continue to make it your way, just drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil in it and stir it up.  If you want to try a new recipe I have included the way The Overtons make it below :)
3 avocados, cubed
1/2 jalapeno, diced super small
1/4 onion, diced small
1 garlic clove, smashed into a paste or finely grated
3 tablespoons, chopped cilantro
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
heavy pinch of salt
fresh ground pepper

In a bowl combine jalapeno, onion and garlic with the lime juice and salt.  Stir this and allow to sit for about 10 minutes.  Then add the avocado, cilantro, olive oil and pepper.  Stir, but don't smash avocado.  Now enjoy your guacamole (now or later :) with some chips or with some yummy dinner.  I recommend storing in a bowl covered with plastic wrap pushed down so it is touching the guacamole so NO air gets in!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mini Quiche

I love hosting parties at my house and this year before Christmas I had a mommy and me Christmas party at my house.  It consisted of about 10 moms and about 22 kids (most of which were under 5!)  I did the party around 10:30 so I needed snack type food and that is when I came up for the idea of these delicious mini quiche!  They were a hit and I have since made them for few different occasions and everyone always loves them and asks for the recipe (sorry it took me so long to post it!)

You can do whatever type of filling you want: broccoli, spinach, tomato basil, seriously any veggie with some cheese makes a great quiche!  The recipe below is for ham and cheese!  These are easy to buy in the frozen section of the store, but now you can make these in less than 15 minutes and impress all your friends :)

For the crust:
1 1/4 cup Bisquick
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 Tablespoons warm water

For the filling:
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, diced super fine
1/4 cup ham, diced
1/4 cup cheese, shredded
2 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
1 cup half and half (milk or heavy cream work too!  I use whatever I have in fridge :)
Salt & Pepper

Lightly grease a mini muffin pan with cooking spray.  Next, mix ingredients for your crust until it forms a dough.  Put a small amount of dough into the bottom of each mini muffin spot, about 1/4 inch thick (the dough will rise so don't put too much dough!).  Now I saute my onion and garlic.  The way I find it best to add my fillings is to put a little bit of the onion, ham and cheese mixture into the tins and add the egg mixture separately. So put a little bit in each tin.  Next, whisk together eggs and milk with the salt and pepper until well combined.  Then slowly pour egg mixture into each tin, almost filling to the top.  Put these in the oven at 350 for about 7 minutes (or just until the eggs set) and they are done!!