Monday, December 29, 2014

Recipe #306: Beef, Stout, & Blue Cheese Pot Pies

This is immediately a favorite recipe, hands down.  I've had this one bookmarked from and finally got around to making it.  So wonderful.  Rich, hearty, filling, amazing flavors.... I can't say enough about this one.  The recipe would fill about three larger single rammekins, so I would double if feeding four.

Filling before adding the cheese.

I giggled when I got these out of the oven.

So good...

1kg (2lb) stewing beef (such as shin or cheek), cut into bite-sized pieces
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons plain flour
rapeseed or olive oil
2 red onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
500ml (2 cups) stout
125g (3/4 cup) crumbled blue cheese
1 sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
Put the beef in a large bowl and sprinkle over 1 teaspoon of salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add the flour and toss the beef in it until it all has a light dusting. Heat some rapeseed or olive oil in a large ovenproof casserole and brown the beef in batches over a medium-high heat, making sure not to crowd the pot or the meat won’t brown properly. Add more oil in between batches if needed. Remove the beef from the pot and set aside.
Add another splash of oil to the pot, then add the onions and carrots along with a pinch of salt so that the onions don’t brown. Cover the pot and cook for 10–15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft but not browned. Add the garlic, thyme and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper and cook for 1 or 2 minutes more.
Pour in the stout, scraping up any browned bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pot. Return the beef to the pot and bring up to a lively simmer, then cover and put in the oven for 3–4 hours (or simmer on the stovetop on a low heat with the lid on), stirring a few times. You will know it’s done when the beef easily falls apart when you prod it with a fork and the stout has reduced right down – it’s a pot pie filling, not a stew, so you want it to be nice and thick. Stir in the cheese, then taste it and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Place one large ovenproof pie dish or individual dishes or ramekins onto a baking tray just in case any filling bubbles up and over the sides, then spoon the stew into the dish(es). Roll out the pastry a little on a lightly floured countertop, then cut to fit the top of the dish. Rub the edges of the dish with a little water or some of the beaten egg to help the pastry stick in place, then place the pastry lid on top. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg (not too much or the pastry won’t rise properly), then cook in the oven for 20–30 minutes, until the pastry has risen and is golden. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before digging in.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Recipe #305: Caramelized Onion, Mushroom, Apple, & Gruyere Bites

Another winner from  I knew I had to try these as soon as I saw the picture.  It didn't make enough filling for all of the pastry, though. I would probably add more onion and mushrooms to balance out the apple more, but it was still delicious this way.


2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1½ granny smith apples, cubed into ½" cubes
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1½ oz. grated gruyere cheese
2 tbsp. chives, minced
½ tsp. dried thyme
1 package (1 pound) of frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats. Set side.
2. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil and cook the onions (with 1 tsp. of salt) until they're
golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove and set aside in a large bowl. In the same skillet,
sauté mushrooms until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside in the bowl with the
3. In the same skillet, melt the butter and add in the apples with the sugar. Cook until softened,
about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and add to the large bowl with onions and mushrooms.
4. Add the cheese, chives, and thyme to the bowl and stir to combine the mixture well. Season
with salt and pepper, to taste.
5. With a pizza cutter, cut the puff pastry into 2­inch squares and place them on the lined
baking sheets. Using a pastry brush, brush beaten egg on the squares.
6. Using a tablespoon, place filling in the middle of each puff pastry.
7. Bake for 25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through and switching the baking sheet on
the top rack to the bottom and the bottom to the top, until the pastry is golden brown and

Recipe #304: Tex Mex Taco Pasta

Super easy!  Makes great leftovers.  I think it could be tweaked easily too if you would want more spiciness.  I skipped the cilantro because I'm not a big fan of it.

  • 1 lb ground beef (you could also use ground turkey or chicken)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning, low sodium
  • 1 (15oz) can Rotel, drained of excess liquid
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can sweet corn, drained
  • ½ lb farfalle (bow tie) pasta
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  1. In a large pot, bring water a boil and prepare pasta as directed.
  2. In a high-rimmed skillet, brown ground beef on medium-high heat and drain off excess grease. Season with taco seasoning and simmer for 5 minutes. To the meat mixture, stir in Rotel, black beans, and corn. Turn the heat off and cover with a lid.
  3. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add in the meat mixture and stir. Pour in the cream and toss in the cheese and stir with a wooden spoon until the cheese has completely melted.
  4. Ladle pasta into bowls and topped with chopped cilantro.

Recipe #303: Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup

Here was an easy Christmas Eve dinner.  The fresh avocado was so good with it.  I skipped the cilantro because I'm not a huge fan of it.

  • 5 small corn tortillas, cut into strips
  • 3 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 8 ounces Greek cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup enchilada sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14 ounce) can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweet corn kernels, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with chilies (such as Rotel brand)
  • Sliced avocado and cilantro leaves for serving (optional)
  1. Heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in a 3-quart or larger Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the tortilla strips and fry until crispy, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil to the pot and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the chicken pieces and diced onion; cook 7-10 minutes until chicken is browned and cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, puree the cream cheese, enchilada sauce, cumin, and cayenne pepper in a small food processor (or beat using a hand mixer).
  4. Add the broth to the chicken pot, followed by the cream cheese mixture. Stir in the beans, corn, and diced tomatoes. Simmer over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes, until warmed through.
  5. Serve topped with tortilla strips, cilantro, and avocado.

Recipe #302: On-The-Go Breakfast Muffins

These were fun to make and eat!  Another one I found on foodgawker, from  I had one less egg than the recipe required and it still worked out fine.

  • 12 large eggs, beaten  
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, chopped
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped / ½ cup bacon bits
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Mix together all the ingredients and whisk until smooth
  2. Grease a regular size muffin tin and fill each cup about ⅔ of the way full
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-23 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean
  4. Cool for 5 minutes before prying muffins loose
  5. Dish and serve hot

Recipe #301: Maple Sausage, Apple, and Sage Strata

I served this up for Christmas brunch.  I love the mix of flavors and textures.  I found this using, which led me to


6 English muffins, halved 1 lb ground maple sausage 1 sweet onion, diced 2 apples, cored and diced 8 sage leaves, minced 8 eggs 2 cups half and half 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp black pepper 1 cup shredded provolone cheese  1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish. Line the bottom of the dish with english muffin halves, cutting them as needed to fit.  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the ground sausage with the onion until sausage is brown. Add in diced apple and sage and cook another 3-5 minutes.  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, salt, and pepper. Stir in shredded cheeses.  4. Stir sausage mixture into egg mixture and pour over english muffins. ***At this point you can cover the dish and refrigerate it over night.  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until set.