a99kitten’s Musings

I blog about a WHOLE LOT of stuff :)

Even though it has not been terribly wintery all January (pretty much do **not** like you at all right now Mother Nature), it’s still pretty darn chilly at night. So warm and wintery dinners sound good. I found several recipes for beef stew and thought I’d try that!

As a a kid, I LOVED Dinty Moore beef stew. There is nothing short of a zombiepocolypse that could get me to eat that now (no clue what that meat is…), but boy oh boy did I love it when I was 10-11yrs old. So I combined several recipes that I found that kinda sorta looked like I remembered and changed it a little for my tastes:

Ingredients:

2 lbs of beef cut into 1″ (ish) cubes – I asked the guy at the meat counter for the best type/quality of beef (you need some marbly fat)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 clove of garlic – minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 shallot – chopped (all recipes I found called for onion but ick)
2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup red wine
4 baby red and 4 baby white potatoes – quartered (left skin on)
4 carrots – peeled and sliced
10 oz white mushrooms – sliced (no recipe I found called for this but I love mushrooms)

For later: 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup cream

All of the recipes called for celery – also yuck. But if you like it, go for it.

Directions:

Place meat in the slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Pour over the meat and stir to coat the meat with the flour mixture.

Stir in the garlic, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, wine and veggies. Then put in the bay leaf and stir in but kind of on top.

IMG_6973 copy

Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours. The cook on high option says 4-6 hours but I always prefer the low cook.

At around 9.5 hours I thought it looked a little watery for stew. So I added the additional 1/4 cup flour and cream. This pretty much made it perfect. It cooked for another 1hr 15 mins and YUM!

Plus I’m guessing it will be even better tomorrow!

beef stew

I’m thinking next time, use 1.5 cups of broth to prevent the wateriness. Maybe? Or maybe just keep the cream ;)

I LOVE chicken enchilada soup. As long as it’s not packed full of onions, it’s always delicious. I was thinking it would be a yummy thing to make on a snowy, winter day. And in my slow-cooker that I haven’t used all winter yet. So I searched the interwebz for delicious-sounding recipes and found 2 that I mixed together and changed a bit to suit me.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
1 can (11 ounce) diced tomatoes (1 recipe called for Ro-tel diced tomatoes & green chiles but I wasn’t sure if I’d like that – spicy?)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 pounds boneless chicken breasts
2 cups petite corn (frozen is fine)
1 can black beans
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano (crush it up)
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for serving
1 cup sour cream, plus more for serving
tortilla strips, for serving
sliced avocado, for serving
(p.s. Both recipes also called for a diced yellow onion but yuck. If you did want to use that, it gets cooked with the red pepper and garlic and added when you add them.)

Instructions:

In a skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Add the red pepper and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, stirring often, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile add the tomatoes, chicken broth, chicken, corn, black beans, chili powder, cumin, oregano and 1 teaspoon coarse salt or 1/2 teaspoon fine and about 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to your slow cooker. Then mix in the cooked peppers and garlic.

Cook on low 6 hours stirring occasionally. Remove the chicken breasts to a cutting board. Stir the cheese and sour cream into the soup (let’s face it – I “accidentally” didn’t measure these precisely and erred on the side of a little extra for these 2!) Shred the chicken/cut into bite-sized pieces and add back to the cooker. Taste and season as needed. Cook 1 more hour on low heat.

Serve garnished with more cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips and avocado.

YUM!

YUM!

IT WAS SO DELICIOUS!!!! I highly recommend this recipe for a simple, winter recipe.

I went into my Sunday morning very stressed about my fantasy team. Of course, I always go in to my football Sundays like this :) Drew Brees is on his BYE week so I had to pick up a QB. There were a few decent ones to choose from – Eli Manning (but injured), Carson Palmer (but playing in BAL), Matt Ryan (but playing against my 49ers!) and possibly Matt Hasselbeck (coming off of injury.) I wanted Matt H. but his injury was stressing me out – what if he got injured again in the first quarter and I got cheesed?!

Now, this was on Wednesday AM. Our league puts all free agents on waivers starting at 10am PT Sunday until Tuesday at midnight (so early Wednesday AM.) I had originally wanted David Garrard actually but when I went in to pick him up, I saw that someone else already picked hm up. Dang! So this sent me on my QB deliberations. I ended taking Matt Ryan. He is a good QB but I was a bit stressed about the choice.

Then on Friday I saw that they were saying Matt Hasselbeck would be playing. He was still listed as probable but he had been practicing all week and would play. So I went with my gut and dropped Ryan and grabbed Hasselbeck. Apparently – I just needed a “Matt” in my line up this week :) Although I was still stressed about the injury. Even this morning, I almost dropped him and picked Eli but just said to myself – go with your gut. Whew…worked out well :) Now, Matt Ryan or Eli would have done almost as well for me too. But thank goodness someone else picked up David Garrard ahead of me! :) I got 69 points from Hasselbeck! Very nice indeed. He made up for the very (barely) average performances by my RBs.

Once again Yahoo projected Brandon Jacobs to get 45 points. All I read all week was how the NYG running game would open and Jacobs would go off. Well…they were half right. The running game DID open up…for Jacobs’ back-up Bradshaw! The reason this really sticks in my craw is that years ago I had Tiki Barber as one of my RBs. 2 years in a row actually. I love Tiki! BUT, our league awarded points for TDs and barely any for yards. So Tiki would run and run and run the ball but they would give it to the much bigger back Jacobs to punch in for the TD. GRRRRRRRR.

So then we changed the scoring in our league to reward yards run and not just TD hawks. And then Tiki retired. Boo :( So this year I drafted Jacobs, who stole numerous TDs from me in seasons past, and now HIS runs AND TDs are getting stolen from me! GRRRRRRR…

But anyway, Jacobs got me 18 points today. Far cry from 47. But my PIT Def finally showed up after choking every week since Week 1 (and losing Troy Polamalu.) 7 sacks! Very nice. They got me 40 points today. And Hines Ward did decently.

I replaced my old kicker, Bironas (TEN) with Scobee (JAX). JAX had 0 points today. No kicks. Zeeee-ro. Genius team maneuvering by me :)

In the meantime, I have been slow-cooking Kalua Pork since last night. 20 hours! This morning I woke up to both huskies upstairs by the kitchen. I think they were lobbying for Kalua pork for breakfast :)

The recipe for this is VERY simple. Anyone can cook this – anyone with a slow cooker/crockpot:

Ingredients:
1 4-6lb pork butt roast (so this is actually shoulder – the butcher thought I was funny)
1 1/2 tablespoons Hawaiian sea salt (yes, you need this and not just regular salt)
1 tablespoon liquid smoke flavoring

1. Pierce pork all over with a fork. Rub salt then the liquid smoke over meat. Place roast in the slow cooker.

2. Cover, and cook on low for 16-20 hours (I do 20), turning once during cooking time.

3. Remove meat from slow cooker, and shred, adding drippings as needed to moisten. The meat falls off the bone. Takes barely any effort at all.

I serve this over sticky rice with some Sriracha (rooster sauce!) for spice. Very, very delicious! And easy :)

My Gators won last night – very pleased. I’m sure the Gator Haters will have their usual crap to say but we won so *sticking tongue out* :) I also survived Survivor Football – I chose NYG at home over OAK this week – that was a very stressful pick ;) But no one else dropped out either. We’ve only lost 1 person so far. We all keep picking well!

And I am winning our weekly pool this week! My DEN over NE pick paid off!! I almost chose CIN too but chickened out – doh! Oh well. It all comes down to MNF. I chose MIA and everyone else has NYJ. If NYJ wins, then I tie with 3 others but I have the lowest score (for tie-breaking purposes) so we need 34 as the highest combined score! So send me your low-scoring, MIA winning karma please :)

So a full weekend of long, fun husky beach walks, good football, plus 2 nights of slow-cooking yummy food. I haven’t slept well but that’s fairly normal nowadays. And I baked some chocolate chip cookies during Sunday Night Football. AND finally finished Season 2 of Mad Men! Now can start watching the DVRed episodes of Season 3.

And I did win FF this week :) Beat my opponent 236 to 132. So I am now 4-1. Not so bad. But next week is a very, very tough (has AP, Wayne, Mendenhall) opponent – boo :( New week of football stress….

Tried a new recipe tonight. I wanted to do more in the slow cooker because well, it’s easy :) A lot of slow cooker recipes are full of carbs and yummy cream sauces though. Yummy for sure but not so healthy. So I found a few scouring the internet this AM and grabbed some ingredients.

First up today is “Chicken and Wild Rice”…I did swap out some of the ingredients (that I don’t like) though. My version:

2 slices of bacon, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts – sliced into thinner breast steaks (recipe called for thighs with skin.)
6 garlic cloves chopped (was 1/2 cup ea of onion & celery – blech)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 thyme (recipe called for sage – I didn’t have any-doh! But thyme can sub for sage)
6 oz converted white long grain rice (recipe called for 8oz)
6 oz wild rice (recipe called for 4 oz)
8 oz brown “baby-bella” mushrooms cleaned and quartered or sliced (I bot pre-sliced!)
3 cups chicken broth, or enough to cover ingredients (I used a little over 2 cups)
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, for garnish

Microwave the bacon on high for 1 minute. Transfer to your slow cooker. Add olive oil and spread evenly on bottom. Place chicken in slow cooker. Add ingredients in order given above (except last salt & pepper & parsley.) Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until rice is tender.

Uncover and let stand 15 minutes. Add salt & pepper to taste if desired. Garnish with chopped parsley (if you want….)

The smell of the cooking at about the 2-hour mark is dee-lish! :)

2:45min mark – husband asks what’s that dog food smell. Sigh…make your own stoopid dinner….

It tastes YUM!!!!! Even husband had to admit it was quite tasty. I highly recommend it! And super easy. Enjoying tonight with a glass of bubbly and the last 2 episodes of season 2 “Mad Men” :)