Slow Cooking Thursday~Chicken Stew

Another chicken stew for the crockpot! This differs from my Crockpot Chicken Stew in that it has a tomato base. I like them both equally well. I’ll serve this when my second daughter is away as she does NOT like anything tomato based (even tomato based pizza sauce!)

Chicken Stew
Serves: 4-6
1 can chicken broth — (14-1/2 ounces)
1 can tomato paste — (6 ounces)
1 lb. skinless boneless chicken breasts — cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large  potatoes — peeled and cubed
1 small  onion — chopped
2 celery stalks — sliced
2 large carrots — sliced
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 1/2 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. cornstarch
In a crock pot, combine the chicken broth and tomato paste.  Add next 8 ingredients and stir to mix well. Cover and cook on high heat for 3-1/2 to 4 hours, or on low heat for 7 to 8 hours.
Mix water and cornstarch in small bowl; stir until smooth. Stir into stew. Cook, covered, for 30 minutes more, or until thickened.

Hop on over to Sandra’s Blog for more slow cooking recipes. Then come back here next Wednesday for Soup’s On Wednesday!


THE Best Potato Soup

I combined many different potato soup recipes to come up with what my family calls THE Best Potato Soup recipe.

THE Best Potato Soup

Serves 8

1/2 pound bacon, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed*
3 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. In a Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium-high heat till done. Remove bacon from pan and set aside. Drain off all but 1/4 cup of bacon grease.

2. In bacon grease remaining in pan, saute onion and celery until onion turns clear. Add garlic and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes. Add cubed potatoes and toss to coat. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Return bacon to the pan and add enough chicken stock to just cover potatoes. Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender.

3. In separate pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in evaporated milk, tarragon, salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil and cook stirring constantly until thickened. Stir the cream mixture into the potato mixture. Puree about 1/2 of the soup and return to pan.

*NOTE* I have a new acquaintance whose son is a professionally trained chef. She told me a useful timesaving tip. Her son uses frozen cubed potatoes in his potato soups and salads. This saves on cooking time and prep time. As I’ve said before, for me time=money, this may be worth it. I’ve not tried it yet and I’ll share my results with you when I do.

Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap~Baked Spaghetti Casserole

I think my family prefers this spaghetti recipe over any other I’ve ever made.
Baked Spaghetti Casserole
Serves: 6
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces sour cream
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 pound  ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
28 oz. spaghetti sauce
8 ounces mozzarella cheese
In a separate bowl, bring cream cheese and sour cream to room temp. Add Italian seasoning and mix until smooth and combined.
In a skillet, brown hamburger and onion; drain.
Stir in spaghetti sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.
Cook and drain noodles according to package directions.
In a greased 9-1/2 x 11-inch pan, spread the cream mixture.
Next layer half of the noodles,
hamburger sauce,
and cheese.
Repeat layers.
Cover with foil and bake at 350-degrees F. for 1 hour.
To Freeze: Line entire pan with greased foil prior to layering ingredients. You can bake and then freezer or freeze prior to baking (I prefer to freezer prior to baking). After casserole is frozen, remove hardened casserole in foil, label and date. Write cooking instructions on foil. To use, thaw in refrigerator overnight and then bake as directed if not yet baked or simply reheat in microwave if previously cooked; or, to cook directly from the freezer, bake for 1-1/2 to 2 hours at 350-degrees F.
Hop on over to Grocery Cart Challenge for more recipes.
I know that I got this recipe from the internet but I never did jot down the source. So if this looks familiar to you and you know who created this, please let me know so I can give proper credit.

Slow Cooking Thursday~Crockpot BBQ Beef Sandwiches

It doesn’t get any easier than this. To be honest, I usually buy roasts in bulk when they are on sale. Some roasts are “tougher” than others and I never remember which is which when I’m at the store. So after this has cooked all day, if the meat is still pretty firm, then I will put the meat in my food processor and chop it up a bit (I will cut it into big chunks before using the processor) instead of using the fork method. Then I’ll return it to the crockpot to warm back up. This is a good meal for me to serve on those nights when everyone is in and out on their own schedules. This happens quite often anymore.

Crockpot Barbecued Beef Sandwiches

Serves: 6

2 pounds chuck roast — trimmed of fat
salt and pepper — to taste
1 jar of your favorite barbecue sauce

In a crockpot, place chuck roast. Salt and pepper it to your personal taste.
Pour barbecue sauce on top of the roast, cover, and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
Remove roast from crockpot and shred meat with a fork. Return meat to crockpot, stirring well to coat evenly with the sauce. Cook for another hour and serve.

Hop on over to Sandra’s Blog for more slow cooking recipes. Then come back here next Wednesday for Soup’s On Wednesday!

Ham & Cheese Soup

This is a hearty, tasty, stick-to-your ribs soup to serve on a cold and dreary day.

Ham & Cheese Soup

Serves: 6

1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup butter or margerine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground mustard  (from the spice cupboard, not the fridge!)
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup chopped fully cooked ham
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
3/4 pound Velveeta cheese — cubed
In  a large saucepan over medium heat, saute onion, carrot, and garlic in butter for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are  crisp-tender. Stir in flour, mustard and pepper. Add ham; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add broth and milk; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir until slightly thickened. Stir in cheese; reduce heat. Cook and stir until cheese is melted  (do not boil).

Beef Brisket w/ Gravy

I will often come home for lunch and start this dinner and stick it in the oven. I make use of my time-bake feature, set it to start a few hours before I want dinner to be done. Then when I come home from work, Ta-Da….supper is ready. Add a green veggie or salad and some noodles or potatoes and you have a complete meal.  

Beef Brisket with Gravy

Serves: 6

2 pounds fresh beef brisket — *NOT corned beef*
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 oz sliced cremini mushrooms
1 small onion sliced
1 cup hot water
1 envelope beef onion soup mix
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water

In a Dutch oven, brown brisket in oil on both sides over medium-high heat; drain. Brown and onions mushrooms until slightly wilted. Combine hot water and soup mix; pour over brisket and mushrooms. Cover and bake at 325 degrees for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until meat is tender.
Remove brisket to a serving platter. Let stand for 10-15 minutes. Combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth; gradually stir into pan juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Thinly slice meat across the grain; serve with the gravy.

Chicken Lo Mein

I think it is good stewardship to make use of food I have on hand. So when I see a yummy recipe that I want to try, I like to adapt it to what I have on hand instead of running to the grocery store to pick up just that one item I don’t have. It saves me time and money. And in my busy life, time = money most of the time! I read a delicious-sounding recipe on Mama’s Fixins for Chicken Lo Mein. I would link directly to that recipe but right now in my head cold-induced fog, I can’t seem to find it. I encourage whoever reads this to look at her site; she has loads of yummy looking recipes.

I hesitate to put her exact recipe on here as I don’t have her permission to share it. So I will tell you things I changed when I adapted her recipe to items I had on hand.

My dear sweetie-pie was in charge of dinner both nights this past weekend, since I had to work. Saturday night we had leftovers and Sunday night he picked up a rotisserie chicken, Yoder’s mashed potatoes (these are better than what I make!), and Freshlike Steamers Buttered Corn. Since only 3 of us ate off the chicken, we have some leftover. I picked the chicken off the bones to use in my Chicken Lo Mein.

Chicken from the rotisserie chicken
1 handful of spaghetti noodles, cooked per package direction
1 t cornstarch
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 T white wine vinegar
2 T hoisin sauce (this is like chinese BBQ sauce, very distinctly flavored)
1 tsp ginger powder
1 T chopped garlic (from the monster jar in my fridge)
1 bag frozen stir-fry veggies

(Tracy at Mama’s Fixins calls for rice wine vinegar, fresh garlic and ginger and fresh stir fry veggies.)

Combine the liquid ingredients and spices in a small bowl. Stirfry the frozen stir-fry veggies in a bit of vegetable oil until crisp-tender. Stir in the liquid mixture and bring to a boil. cook for about 2 minutes. Add in the chicken and the spaghetti noodles. I had some fresh cilantro on hand, so I sprinkled some chopped up on top of my serving. (No one else likes fresh cilantro around here!) Hubby added the chopped peanuts on top of his serving (nuts are a no-no for me)

This was a good quick and easy meal to use up some leftovers.