Monday, January 25, 2010

Pot Roast

This is one of the best Pot Roast recipes I've ever had!  I love mashed potatoes with roast, so I usually cook the potatoes separately rather than in the pot with the roast.  The best part of this recipe is the gravy - sweet, flavorful, delicious!

Pot Roast

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups brown beef stock
3 1/2 - 4 pound boneless chuck roast
1 bay leaf or beef shoulder, rolled & tied
1 pound carrots, cut into diagonals
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 pounds all purpose potatoes,
1 cup chopped celery peeled and quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved
1 cup red wine in 3 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large heavy ovenproof pan (le crueset) or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high heat. Pat the roast dry rub to coat with salt and pepper. Brown the meat on all sides in the heated casserole. Add in the onions and celery, stir and cook for 2 minutes or until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, red wine, beef stock and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Cover and place pot in oven to braise.

After 1 hour, remove pot and stir in carrots. Return to oven for another 30 minutes. Remove pot from oven and stir in potatoes. Return to oven for another 30 minutes or until the meat and vegetables are tender. When the meat is tender, remove it to a platter. Remove vegetables to a bowl and cover to keep warm. 

Using a large spoon, skim off the excess fat from the remaining cooking juices. Bring liquid to a simmer on the stovetop. Slowly stir in half of the cornstarch mixture and simmer to thicken. Add more cornstarch mixture until desired gravy consistency is reached. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped parsley. Slice the beef and place on platter surrounded with the vegetables.

Hearty Beef 'N Potato Casserole

This recipe is easy and yummy.  I make a few casseroles at the same time and freeze them for later.  If you plan to freeze it, you won't need to bake the tator tots ahead of time.  

Hearty Beef 'N Potato Casserole

4 cups or 1/2 of a 30 oz bag of hash round potatoes
1 lb ground beef
1-16 oz pkg frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1 can french fried onions
1-10 3/4 oz can cream of celery soup
1/3 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Place potatoes on bottom and up sides of 8"x12" casserole dish. Bake uncovered at 400° for 10 minutes. Brown beef in large chunks; drain. Layer beef, broccoli, and 1/2 can of the onions in the potato shell. Combine soup, milk, 1/2 cup of cheese and seasonings; pour over beef mixture.  Bake covered at 400° for 20 minutes. Top with remaining cheese and onions; bake, uncovered 2 to 3 minutes longer.
Serves 6

Spaghetti Sauce

Nothing tastes more like home than my mom's spaghetti sauce.  This delicious, meaty, and hearty sauce is perfect on a cold evening.  The best thing about this sauce is that you can make tons of it and freeze it for an evening when you don't feel like cooking.  Just boil some pasta and heat the sauce - tastes like it has been simmering all day.  When I make this, I usually double the recipe - you'll just need a really large pot!  I can then have dinner and freeze 4 tuperwares of sauce too!

Spaghetti Sauce

1lb ground beef
5 cans tomato sauce
2 small cans tomato paste
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 bay leaf
½ tsp. marjoram
½ tsp. rosemary
3 tbsp. vinegar
½ cup brown sugar

Fry ground beef and drain.  Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil and simmer for at least one hour, stirring frequently.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Chicken Tamale Casserole

I’ve been craving Mexican food like you wouldn’t believe.  Who am I kidding – I always crave Mexican!  I cut out this recipe a few years ago, tucked it away, and completely forgot about it until this weekend.  I’m sorry I didn’t try this recipe earlier.  It satisfied my cravings for some filling, cheesy, Mexican food without all of the calories or fat.  I didn’t have any egg substitute in my fridge, so I just used a regular egg instead.  I also mixed the chicken with the enchilada sauce prior to pouring the mixture over the cornbread.  Oh – sour cream is a must on this one!

Chicken Tamale Casserole

Cooking Light November, 2008

1 cup 2% 4 cheese mexican blend
1/3 cup fat free milk
1/4 egg substitute
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (14 ¾ oz) can creamed style corn
1 8.5 ounce box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles, drained
Cooking spray
1 (10 oz) can Red Enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 3 breasts)

Preheat oven to 400. Combine ¼ cup cheese and next 7 ingredients (through chiles) in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a 13x9 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until set. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork, pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle remaining ¾ cup cheese. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven, let stand 5 minutes and serve.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 354 (36% from fat)
Fat: 14.1g (sat 7.1g,mono 3.3g,poly 1.2g)
Protein: 18.9g
Carbohydrate: 36.3g
Fiber: 2.5g
Cholesterol: 58mg
Iron: 1.7mg
Sodium: 620mg
Calcium: 179mg

Monday, January 4, 2010

El Torito's Tortilla Soup

I always order this soup when I visit El Torito Restaurant. It’s delicious, flavorful, healthy, and freezes well. I always double or quadruple the recipe and freeze the leftovers. Today, I’m using leftover chicken from last night’s Roast Chicken with Pan Gravy. You can always use a store purchased rotisserie chicken too! I’m also a huge fan of cilantro – so I always add more fresh cilantro to the soup after it’s done simmering.

El Torito’s Tortilla Soup

7 cups chicken broth
1 medium yellow onion -- diced
2 carrots -- peeled and diced
2 stalks celery -- diced
1 bell pepper -- seeded and diced
1 potato -- peeled and diced
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic -- peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon dried mexican oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 medium boneless skinless chicken breast halves -- poached and shredded
1 zucchini -- diced
2 medium tomatoes -- diced
1 1/2 cups jack cheese -- shredded
10 slices avocado -- garnish
cilantro sprigs -- garnish

Combine broth, onion, carrots, celery, bell pepper, potato, tomato paste, bay leaf, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add zucchini, tomatoes and chicken and bring to a boil and then simmer and additional 10 minutes.

Remove from heat; remove and discard bay leaf. Serve with cheese and avocado.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Roast Chicken with Pan Gravy

As I sat down going through my recipe folder, I realized that the recipes I had selected to cook this week all called for shredded chicken breasts.  I flipped through my files and found a recipe I had saved from Gourmet Magazine (March 2009).  This recipe was perfect because it provided me with a beautiful roast chicken dinner as well as enough left-over chicken to make my tortilla soup as well as a chicken tamale casserole I want to try later this week.  Here’s the recipe, a video on how to carve a chicken, and some pictures from tonight’s dinner.  I served it with mashed red potatoes and glazed carrots.  Also, I didn’t have any unsalted butter on hand so I used regular salted butter and just cut down on the seasoning salt.

Roast Chicken with Pan Gravy

March 2009 Gourmet Magazine

In an uncertain world, everybody needs a truly excellent recipe for roast chicken, one that will never, ever fail you. This is it. And although basting the chickens seems like a chore, it will give them a beautiful burnished glow. Killing two birds with one stone—that is, cooking two birds together—provides dinner tonight and enough leftovers for three more meals. Saving both chicken carcasses for the stockpot (they can be frozen if desired) is key.

2 whole chickens (about 3 1/2 lb each)
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, divided
6 large garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2 lemons, halved
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups water
Kitchen string
Rosemary, Thyme, or Sage (optional)

Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle. Pull off excess fat around cavities of chickens and discard, then rinse chickens and pat dry. Melt 4 Tbsp butter with garlic and brush butter all over chickens. Season both chickens inside and out with 2 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper (total). Put half of garlic and 1 lemon half in each cavity and loosely tie legs together with string. Roast chickens in a large (17- by 11-inch) flameproof roasting pan, basting with pan juices using a spoon (remove pan from oven and tilt if necessary) every 20 minutes, rotating pan, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into fleshy part of a thigh of each chicken (do not touch bone) registers 170°F, 50 to 60 minutes total. Baste chickens once more, then carefully tilt them so juices from cavities run into roasting pan. Transfer chickens to a cutting board (reserve pan) and let rest 15 minutes before carving.

Pour off all but 2 Tbsp fat from pan, then cook remaining drippings over medium-high heat until deep golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in water and simmer, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in remaining 4 Tbsp butter and lemon juice to taste (from remaining lemon halves). Season with salt and pepper. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a gravy boat.

Cooks' Note: If desired, you can also add herbs such as thyme or rosemary to cavities before roasting.