Julia Child made it fancy with her iconic Boeuf Bourguignon. But you don’t have to get fancy to make a delicious, satisfying good old-fashioned Beef Stew. With a half a dozen vegetables, some good stew meat, a packet of dry soup mix and a few seasonings, you can’t help but have one heck of a hearty meal! With our chilly winter evenings, Beef Stew is the perfect tummy warming comfort food and it’s about the easiest dish you can cook up! There are a few tips to making this recipe fantastic. First, grab a good stew meat. I prefer chuck roast because it has a bit of fat which adds a lot of flavor. (I have tried sirloin or other higher end cuts, but the chuck roast seems to offer the most flavor.) Once you cut it in cubes, dredge the meat in flour and brown in a skillet before adding to the Crockpot, Instant Pot or Dutch oven. After the stew is done, taste it, and if it needs a bit more flavor, just add a little beef bouillon. If you haven’t had Beef Stew in a while, make this recipe and you’ll be reminded of why it will always be one of America’s favorite family dishes!
They are Chick Peas in America, Garbanzo Beans in Spain, Pois Chiche in France, Ceci Beans in Italy –and they are one and the same. An ancient protein-filled legume that makes the base for one of our favorite dips- Hummus. I decided to do a Hummus Test this week. I made one batch from scratch which required, among its many steps, soaking the chick peas overnight, grinding the cumin seed to a powder, and boiling the peas to soften before blending in a food processor. Then, I made a Hummus recipe in less than 5 minutes using one can of Chick Peas. The winner? I was shocked. It was unanimous. By a panel of 12 trusted foodies, the 5-minute version surprisingly won the day. Nothing more to say than Easy Peasy! Enjoy it with my Homemade Wheat Thins.
Collecting old recipes has connected me to hundreds of towns, churches, schools and civic organizations that have created cookbooks as a favorite method of fund-raising.They are bound and forgotten recipes often tossed in a box and sold for a dime at yard sales. That’s where I rescued the Willowbrook’s Favorite Recipes Cookbook. The book had been compiled by the Cookbook Committee for Willowbrook Estates, a retirement community in Garden City, Idaho. Inside was a tasty recipe for Homemade Baked Beans that couldn’t be more perfect for football watching, tailgating and backyard grilling. It was in the same section as Golumki Casserole which I was tempted to make just because the name made me giggle, but opted for the baked beans recipe because of one particular ingredient—a cup of strong brewed coffee. The rest of the ingredients are fairly common to homemade baked beans; molasses, bbq sauce, mustard and brown sugar. But I was curious to know what the strong brewed coffee brought to the flavor profile. It was delicious! I also used hickory smoked thick style bacon, Dijon mustard and for the hot sauce I opted for a teaspoon of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce. This recipe makes up a nice sized batch so it’s perfect for a party, and a fantastic accompaniment to a hotdog, hamburger or grilled steak. I’m no bean counter, but my ten cent investment in the Willowbrook cookbook has paid big dividends just with this recipe alone for Homemade Baked Beans.
Donuts with our coffee were always a treat in my family because we didn’t buy them very often. When you’re Italian, the perfect paring with your espresso is a biscotti. But oh, those donuts! My real weakness, though, was an apple fritter. Those rugged, rustic clumps of dough smooshed together with apple bits laced with an ooey gooey glaze were just too irresistible! Now, to make matters worse for my waistline, what sits before me is a bread pan bubbling over with what pretty much looks like an apple fritter on steroids. This is going to be really good…or really bad depending on how much willpower I have. I found this recipe for Apple Fritter Pull Apart Bread that is made with delicious and delicate a sweet yeast dough and sugary, buttery diced apples that are caramelized. The dough is rolled out, topped with the diced apples, and then sliced in squares, stacked in groups of four, and just stuffed into the pan. This recipe is just downright fun. The pan went into the oven and an hour later, setting before me were apples laced slabs of heaven ready to be pulled apart and devoured! You can make this with the homemade dough recipe below or you can make it with refrigerated croissant dough. Just promise me you’ll make it!