Happy Fall Y’All!

It’s officially November!  How did that happen??  And it’s officially *chilly*…..and about to get a whole lot worse.  (Sorry, we just got back from a fun weekend in Tucson with friends and it was so sunshine-y and warm and *sigh*).  So in honor of chilly fall weather and also because my handsome hubby asked, we are having beef stew for dinner.

Here’s the thing.  I HATED beef stew.  Tried a ton of recipes and still hated it. But it’s his favorite and I was determined to find a recipe that we both liked.  I mean really, the man is smart, funny, loves me, and puts up with all my crazy. The least I can do is make one of his favorite meals now and then.

I honestly don’t know where this recipe came from but it is a winner!!  So if it is your recipe, or even remotely looks like your recipe, please let me know and I will link to it and give you all the credit.   It’s easy, it’s fresh, it’s healthy, and I can drink the wine instead of putting it in the stew!!

Beef Stew

1.5 pounds lean steak or stew meat

1 32oz box salt free beef stock

3-4 small potatoes, large dice

1 onion (or 1 Tbs dried minced), diced

3 cloves garlic (or 1/2 Tbs dried powder), minced

4 carrots, diced

1 can green beans, drained (I used about a cup of fresh beans in the summer)

1 32oz can crushed tomatoes

1 palm-full of italian seasoning (not the dressing mix)

3 Tbs tapioca beads

1 tsp dried parsley

1 bay leaf

Preheat oven to 375.  Brown the meat in 2 Tbs olive oil in a dutch oven pot (or something that can go directly in the oven) on medium low heat, adding a little salt and pepper.

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When brown, add carrots, potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, and all seasoning.  (If you are using fresh garlic and onion, drain beef and add this to the pot and cook until translucent, then add beef back in and add veggies).  Add 2/3 of the box of beef stock.  I save the rest for reheating leftovers the next day. Add the tapioca and the bay leaf and bring to a simmer.

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Stir, put a lid on it (hey mom, I’ve heard that a few times!!), and then bake for one hour or until thickened and veggies are tender.  Remove from the oven, keep the lid on it, put it on the stove without heat and let it rest while you bake the biscuits.  (See the 2nd post on the blog for “granny’s biscuits”.)

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It is so good that the dog literally camps out in front of the stove while it bakes! It will look exactly like the above picture only a little thicker.  I check it halfway through baking and if it is too thick I thin it out with a little more stock.

Now for the wine that I didn’t have to put in the stew….Happy Fall Y’All ~s

Reigning It In….(or raining it in)

So we are all about watching what we eat at the M house.  Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves.  

No really, most of the time we try to stay on track with our exercise, buying local and organic as much as possible, and balancing the occasional treat. 

Until this summer.  And I don’t know what happened.   Well actually I do.  Unusually cool summer weather, excellent outdoor restaurants just 3 blocks away, and lots of weekend trips and parties.  

It.  Was.  Awesome.  

And now we are ready to reign it in and get back to our healthy meals.  So what better time to have a homemade healthy soup and biscuits than on a night when our plans for a campfire with the family was rained out. I had been wanting to try this recipe I had found on pinterest for Italian Orzo Spinach Soup.

http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/italian-orzo-spinach-soup-recipe/

It was like chicken noodle, amped up a gazillion notches. I didn’t have celery and instead of the herbs in the recipe I used a palm full (sp?) of italian herb seasoning, a couple shakes of dried parsley and 2 garlic cloves, minced.   I also added 1 cup of frozen green beans.  I used 3 thin chicken breasts, rubbed them with olive oil, and then sprinkled a generous shake of italian seasoning and baked at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  We then diced them up and added them to the soup at the end.  But not before my hubby looked at me and said “you know, homemade biscuits would be awesome with this”.  And so I made those too.  

Homemade biscuits from http://grannyskitchen.wordpress.com/2007/09/17/grannys-homemade-biscuits/    They are the best biscuits for soups, stews, and biscuits and gravy.  Or just slathered in butter.  What? It’s organic butter. Ha.

Homemade Biscuits

2c flour

2T sugar

1T baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4c butter (I cut it into quarters) 

3/4c milk

Mix everything but the milk and butter.  Add the butter and crumble with fingers until it’s pea-sized and rough in texture.  Doesn’t have to be perfect.  Add milk and stir.  Drop onto a floured counter and let sit for 1-2 min.  Knead a couple of times and roll out.  Cut with a biscuit cutter or a glass, like this:

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Yes that’s a glass of wine.  It’s Friday night.  Don’t judge. 

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So that is the semi-finished meal. Soup is done and biscuits are ready to go in the oven.  Once the biscuits were done we were all… yum, we are starving, let’s eat.  And then about an hour later I realized we didn’t have a picture.  Oh well,  you’ll just have to take my word for it.  It was great.  The whole wheat orzo really made it yummy and filling! Can’t wait to have leftovers for lunch.~s