(More) Meals en Masse: Beef Stroganoff

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 14

I know, it seems like this is all I’m doing these days. Well it’s kind of all I have time for in the evenings now, and I kind of want to get as much of it done as I can before I start to get REALLY tired. This Martha Stewart Stroganoff (adapted for lazy busy people) is almost as good as it would be if you made it by searing the meat and cooking it in a Dutch oven, and it takes way less time to put together. The amounts below will make a meal that serves six; I doubled the recipe and then divided it into three, cooking one and freezing two, and it perfectly sated the Pie and myself for dinner and provided a hefty lunch for us both the next day.

Start by chopping up 1 large onion. Chop it as coarsely or finely as you prefer. This is your jam, man.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 1

Grab as well 1 lb white mushrooms. You can cut them in half if you like but I was extra lazy and bought the pre-sliced mushrooms. Because I’m an adult and this is my house and I totally can do whatever I want (the novelty has not worn off yet – I don’t think it ever will).

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 2

Grab yourself 2lbs good quality stewing beef. Mmm beef. The original recipe calls for you to take 2lbs chuck and slice it 1/2″ thick and 3″ long but who got time for that?

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 3

Pitch all that into a 5-6 quart slow-cooker pot and dust liberally with coarse salt and black pepper.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 5

The other batches I chucked in freezer bags and I’m hoping the mushrooms will come out of it okay. Fingers crossed. If it doesn’t work out I’m sure that the Pie and I will be too sleep-deprived to notice.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 4

Cook your beef for 8 hours on low (or 6 hours on high), until everything is nice and brown and you have all this awesome juice. Scoop out about 1 cup of that awesome juice and pour it into a wee pot on your stove.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 6

Grab 2 tablespoons cornstarch and blend it with 2 tablespoons water.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 7

Pour that cornstarch mixture into the cooking juice and bring that to a boil.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 8

Let it cook for a few minutes until it gets nice and thick.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 9

While that’s going on, cook up a batch of egg noodles. I feel like this particular dish is what egg noodles were made for. If you wanna go gluten-free on this one, you may have to find alternative noodles.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 11

Turn the slow-cooker off (or leave it on warm) and return the thickened juice to the pot. Tip in as well 1/2 cup sour cream and 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (this version I use has tarragon in it and it’s AMAZING). Give that a solid stirring.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 10

Serve over your cooked egg noodles with fresh dill, if you have it (I didn’t).

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 12

A hunk of nice bread to sop up the extra sauce won’t go amiss, either.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 15

Advertisements

Mmmore Meatloaf!

Happy Birthday to Papa John!

More Meatloaf 6

One of the weirder, yet endearing things about my husband is the fact that if he goes to a fancy restaurant and they have meatloaf on the menu, he will order it. Every. Single. Time. Like a total weirdo. I’m carving my way through a juicy perfectly cooked steak. And he’s eating meatloaf. So we make quite a bit of meatloaf at home, too. Here’s another version of my classic: feel free to double it as I did and freeze one (or both) for later!

First ye grab yer meat. A lot of it. Enough for two loaves. I prefer the lean stuff – the extra lean is wayyyy more expensive and is harder to stick together.

More Meatloaf 5

Then ye take yer onions.

More Meatloaf 1

And yer mushrooms.

More Meatloaf 2

And ye put them in a bowl.

More Meatloaf 3

With a lot of other stuff: panko bread crumbs, Newfoundland savoury, oregano, salt, pepper. The works, really.

More Meatloaf 4

Then you chuck the meat in a bowl and add some eggs. Like, four or five.

More Meatloaf 7

Dump in the rest of the stuff too and give it a good stirring. Feel free to use your hands. Tip in some Worcestershire sauce as well for flavour.

More Meatloaf 8

When you’re ready, whisk up a concoction that’s a mix of barbecue sauce, Dijon mustard, and honey.

More Meatloaf 10

Spread that in the bottom of your two loaf pans.

More Meatloaf 11

Cram the meat on top and smooth it down. See how that sauce comes up the sides? That’ll keep it from drying out.

More Meatloaf 12

When you’re done, you can either cover it up and shove it in the freezer …

More Meatloaf 14

Or you can bake it at 350°F until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.

More Meatloaf 13

Then you eat it. Unfortunately cooked meatloaf does not photograph well. But you get the picture.

More Meatloaf 15

Punchy Potato Salad

Punchy Potato Salad 12

With potato salad, like most salads, you can wing it more often than not and it turns out great.  It does help, however, to have a general idea of what sort of flavour theme you want to have ahead of time.  For this one I wanted something creamy but also with enough greenery and fresh things in it I didn’t feel like it was coming straight from a plastic grocery store container.

Punchy Potato Salad 9

I started off by washing and chopping 13 medium sized potatoes.  I like to leave the skins on.

Punchy Potato Salad 1

I then boiled them until they were quite soft.

Punchy Potato Salad 2

Then I hard-boiled 6 large eggs by putting them in a pot of water with a dash of vinegar (the vinegar makes the shells easier to remove) and bringing it to a boil; then I turned the water off and left them for 20 minutes.

Punchy Potato Salad 3

I drained the potatoes and chucked them in a large bowl together with about 3 stalks minced celery.  Then I grabbed a handful of herbs from the garden and minced those as well: dill, chives, parsley, green basil, and purple basil.

Punchy Potato Salad 4

Into the bowl.

Punchy Potato Salad 5

Some chopped baby dill pickles too.

Punchy Potato Salad 6

And of course the eggs, which I peeled and chopped coarsely.

Punchy Potato Salad 10

The dressing was simple: Dijon mustard, Wafu’s sesame dressing, and some aioli I picked up at the grocery store (instead of standard mayonnaise).

Punchy Potato Salad 7

A little black pepper never hurt.

Punchy Potato Salad 8

Mix that all together.

Punchy Potato Salad 11

Oh the creamy, dill-y goodness!

Punchy Potato Salad 13

Soy-Dijon Roasted Chicken Thighs

Roasted Chicken Thighs 14

I found this recipe online and halved it for a quick fall dinner to showcase a home-grown squash given to us by our neighbours.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Set 6 chicken thighs (with bones and skin still on) in a baking dish.

Roasted Chicken Thighs 1

Mix together 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 3 tablespoons dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small bowl.

Roasted Chicken Thighs 2

Pour that over the chicken, turning the thighs to coat them completely.

Roasted Chicken Thighs 4

Mix together 2 tablespoons fines herbes (or an acceptable substitute — I used half Newfoundland savoury and half herbes de provence) and 2 teaspoons fennel leaves.  Add in some salt and pepper as well.

Roasted Chicken Thighs 6

Sprinkle that evenly over your chicken and cover it with foil. Bake the chicken like that for 45 minutes.

Roasted Chicken Thighs 7

Remove the foil and baste your lovely thighs in the juices they’re producing.  Scrape the bottom of the dish a bit to make sure nothing is getting stuck there.

Roasted Chicken Thighs 9

Pour 1 cup chicken stock into the dish so the tops of the chicken thighs are still exposed but they are otherwise happily bathing in broth.  Bake that for a further hour, and let the tops caramelize.

Roasted Chicken Thighs 10

When they’re ready, drain the juices into a gravy boat to serve separately, and have some lovely fall vegetables (like this roasted squash) as a hearty side.

Roasted Chicken Thighs 13

The King of Cream Soups

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 17

This is a variation on my other cream of broccoli soup recipe, but I like this one better because it uses less cream and the thickener is cauliflower instead of starchy potatoes.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 3

And I have called it the king of cream soups because it’s my favourite of them all.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 18

And also because I found this old cushion cover embroidered by one of my great aunts and decided it would make a nice backdrop.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 12

Start with your vegetables: onions, broccoli, and cauliflower. I ended up making a relatively small soup, so I only used 1 onion, 2 heads broccoli, and half a head cauliflower.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 1

Chop the onion up relatively fine and heave it in a pot with some olive oil and some minced garlic. Sautée that on medium heat until the onions are translucent.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 5

While that’s on the go, chop up your broccoli.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 6

Shave the tough skin off the stems and use that as well.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 8

Broccoli is good for you, so use it all.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 7

Do the same with the cauliflower.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 9

Heave those in the pot as well, and give them a stir.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 10

At this point I added about 4 cups chicken stock, but you can use as much as you’d like, or water, or any other stock.  Enough to make a soup of it, I guess.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 11

Then I simmered it until I could squish the cauliflower with the back of my spoon (broccoli will become squishier faster, so the cauliflower should be your test).

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 13

Then out comes my brszzht — I mean, immersion blender.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 14

And now you add the sauciness: here we have dijon mustard, Worcestershire (“wooster”) sauce, a dash of cream and two big spoonfuls of plain yogurt. Give those a good stir to mix.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 15

Serve it hot (I guess you could serve it cold if you liked, but that’s weird) with some grated cheddar cheese.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 16

Fit for royalty?  Absolutely.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 19

Mean Slaw

Happy belated birthdays to Thidz and Stef!

Mean Slaw

I have never made coleslaw before in my life.  In fact, I don’t even really like coleslaw.  For this, though, I will make an exception.  And I made all this without even consulting a recipe!  I guess a lifetime of watching my mother cobble together a slaw left a lasting impression.  This particular combination offers a bit of a snappy uptake on the traditional Southern slaw, and I hope you like it. If I do say so myself, I make a mean slaw.  Remember that a slaw is always best the next day, after the flavours have had a chance to intermix.  Also, if you say slaw a lot it starts to sound weird in your head.  Slaw.  Slaw.  Slaw, slaw slaw.  Slaw.  What a weird-looking word.

Before we begin, I would like to introduce you to my cabbage.  This was the smallest one I could find in the produce section, and, to give you a size comparison, that is a two-litre kettle sitting next to it.

Mean Slaw

Cabbage is the basis of every slaw.  I am not too fond of the bitterness of red cabbage, though I know it adds a bit of colour to the salad.  Nevertheless, I’m sticking with the green one.  If you have a food processor, then this salad is a snap to prepare.  I like to do certain things by hand, however, and me and my stupid sharp knife get along real well.  You’ll want to hack off a hunk of your cabbage and then start slicing off bits real nice and thin.

Mean Slaw

If they are too long and dangly for your liking, feel free to cut the little cabbage strips in half before tossing them in a large bowl.

Mean Slaw

I also have some fennel here, which makes for a nice aniseed-y aftertaste in the salad.

Mean Slaw

Don’t worry too much about the green bits — focus on cutting up the white parts really thin and chuck those in with the cabbage.  Don’t add too much, or your slaw will just taste like liquorice.

Mean Slaw

Next, I’m going to grate a large carrot and add that in for sweetness and colour.

Mean Slaw

Some sweet red peppers.

Mean Slaw

Feel free to add ones that are a little spicy, but not too spicy.

Mean Slaw

And some red onion.  Give that a toss.

Mean Slaw

Now you make up your dressing.  I think coleslaw dressings are kind of like curries — they need a lot of ingredients in order to encapsulate all the important flavours a slaw needs.  In this one I have olive oil, rice vinegar, dijon mustard, minced garlic, brown sugar, celery seed, and mustard seed.  You can replace the rice vinegar with white vinegar if you want something a little stronger.  The Pie is not a huge fan of heavy vinegar usage which is why I take the milder rice vinegar more often than not.

Mean Slaw

I poured all that into a plastic container with a lid and gave it a good shake.

Mean Slaw

Now your salad is all ready to be dressed.  Pour on the dressing in stages and toss to coat.  You want enough dressing so you get some pooling at the bottom.  It will be absorbed into the salad while it sits.

Mean Slaw

Seal your tossed and dressed salad in a container and refrigerate overnight.

Mean Slaw

Serve with burgers and fries, or any other summery food you can think of.

Mean Slaw

Spicy Spring Carrot Soup

Happy Easter!

Spicy Spring Carrot Soup

It’s spring.  Well, I shouldn’t say that.  It’s spring in some parts of Canada.  Here in Newfoundland we are still clearing up snow from our blizzard last week.  In most parts of the country the markets are full to bursting with new spring vegetables: tender carrots, tiny potatoes, fresh peas.  Here in St. John’s it’s time to clean out the dregs of our winter supply, and most produce around here is either flaccid or unripe.  So we make soup.

This soup will be served as a starter at our Easter dinner on Sunday.  If a soup could be considered to be light and fluffy, it would be this one.  In fact (and I may have texted this to the Pie when I made it), I bet if you put the Easter Bunny in a blender and heated him up he would taste a lot like this soup: sweet, a little bit spicy, a hint of ginger, and chock-full of carrots.

Spicy Spring Carrot Soup
This recipe is simple, and takes very little time.

I have here 2 bunches of “new” carrots (which in reality were bendy and dried-out), 4 Bosc pears (which I unsuccessfully tried to ripen for three days), a handful of mildly hot peppers, and 2 onions.

Spicy Spring Carrot Soup

Chop those puppies up and toss them in a pot.  Add a whole carton of chicken broth (about 4 cups, or a litre), and top the rest up with water.

Spicy Spring Carrot Soup

Chuck in as well a few teaspoons of minced ginger (two will probably do it, as the minced stuff is wicked strong) and a healthy dollop of dijon mustard.

Spicy Spring Carrot Soup

Add in a few tablespoons of sweet chili sauce as well.

Spicy Spring Carrot Soup

Simmer that like crazy until all the vegetables are tender.

Spicy Spring Carrot Soup

Remove it from the heat and use an immersion blender (or a regular blender) to turn it all into an orange pulp.

Spicy Spring Carrot Soup

If you’ve picked a really hot pepper for your soup, you might want to serve it with a dollop of sour cream, or maybe some green onions for garnish.  It’s also lovely just as it is.  You can freeze it easily and bring it out whenever you need a taste of spring.

Spicy Spring Carrot Soup