Saturday, June 19, 2010

Beef and Paprika Ragout

I grew up hating beef stew. Probably because it was always made with a tough cut of meat and vegetables that I didn't like.  I was hesitant to try a recipe for stew.  But I was pleasantly surprised when I made this recipe for Beef and Paprika Ragout.  It was excellent and nothing like the stews of my past!

Beef and Paprika Ragout
from Elly Says Opa
1 lb. beef chuck, cubed (or stew meat)
1/3 cup flour
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2-3 celery ribs, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2/3 cup dry red wine
1 cup beef broth
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1/2 lb. mushrooms, halved or quartered
salt and pepper
Egg noodles, for serving
Season the beef with salt and pepper, and then dredge in the flour  (or put the flour in a bowl or bag and shake it like a polaroid picture).

Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven and when hot, add the beef. Brown the beef on all sides and then remove from the pot with a slotted spoon. Add the onions to the pot and cook until tender. Stir in the carrots, celery, and garlic, cooking for an additional minute or so. Add the tomato paste, and cook another minute or so.

Stir the wine into the pot and increase the temperature slightly. Scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan as  you deglaze, and cook off the alcohol until about 1/4 cup remains. Add the beef broth, smoked paprika, bay leaf, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then add the beef back in. Cover, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for an hour or two. Really, as long as you want/have. The beef will just keep getting more and more tender. Add the mushrooms and simmer for an additional 30 minutes. 

Season to taste if necessary and serve over egg noodles.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Winner of the Giant Giftcard

Well, at least I know that two people are still reading my blog :) I received two entries for the Giant giftcard giveaway. So Toby of Toby's Treats, you are lucky number 1 and winner of the Giant gift card! Send me an email at with your address and I will send MyBlogSpark your info for the prize.

**edited to add, unfortunately I can't seem to figure out how to copy & paste the random number generator jpeg into my blog, so you'll just have to trust me that #1 was the winner.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Celebrate Earth Month & Win a $20 Giant Gift Card

April is Earth Month and to celebrate Giant (Stop & Shop) is giving away a hybrid car. The generous folks at MyBlogSpark have also provided one of my readers with the chance to win a $20 Giant gift card. Which you can then use to purchase General Mills products and have the chance to win a 2010 eco-friendly Hybrid car!

All you have to do to enter to win the $20 gift card is post a comment telling me how you make your life a bit more green. I will choose a random winner on Wednesday, April 21 at 8:00 p.m. EST.

Here's how you can also win an eco-friendly car:

From April 16-29, buy 5 participating General Mills items with your Giant card, use a re-useable shopping bag and you’ll be automatically entered to win. There are two different sets of participating General Mills items for each week of the promotion. Please see below for the participating brands.

You can also enter without making a purchase by completing an official entry form at your local Stop & Shop store.

This promotion is open to residents of MA, RI, CT, NH, NJ, NY, MD, DE, VA or DC and individuals at least 18 years old. For details about the sweepstakes, see in-store for complete rules.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Yes, I am one of those people. You know....the ones who like to dress their pets in crazy outfits every chance they get. And belive me, with two kitties, it's not very often.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

No Bake Cookies

One of the easiest things to make is no bake cookies. They are a tasty treat that doesn't last very long in our house. There are tons of recipes online for these but I decided to use a recipe from the Ezra Pound Cake blog.
No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
Submitted by Jenny White to

•1/2 cup butter
•2 cups sugar
•1/2 cup milk
•4 tablespoons cocoa
•1/2 cup peanut butter
•3 to 3 1/2 cups dry quick-cooking oats
•2 teaspoons vanilla
Add the first four ingredi ents into a 4-quart saucepan.

Bring to a rolling boil and hold for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in the next 3 ingredients and drop by tablespoons onto wax paper. Let cool until set.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

One of my favorite things to order in a Thai restaurant is Pineapple Fried Rice. I have been looking for a recipe to try creating it at home. I came across this recipe on the blog Closet Cooking, written by Kevin in Toronto. Not only does he have some great recipes, but his photography is excellent as well. This was a great recipe - not as good as what you get in an authentic Thai restaurant - but still mighty good! I loved the addition of raisins and pineapple combined with the curry seasoning.

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice
(makes 4 servings)

1 tablespoon oil
2 shallots (sliced) -- I used 1 regular onion
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 red chili (chopped)
1 red pepper (diced)
1 egg (lightly beaten)
3 tablespoons chicken stock (or vegetable broth) --I omitted
3 tablespoons fish sauce (or soy sauce) -- I used soy sauce
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup cashews (roasted)
3 cups cooked rice (preferably a day old)
1 cup pineapple (cut into bite sized pieces)
1 cup shrimp (cooked, optional)
1/4 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup currants (or raisins)
2 green onions (sliced)
1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)

1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Add the shallots, garlic, chillies and red pepper and stir-fry until fragrant, about a minute.
3. Add the egg and stir-fry for a minute.
4. Add the chicken stock, fish sauce, curry powder and sugar and stir-fry.
5. Add the cashews and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
6. Add the rice, break up any clumps and stir-fry for a few minutes.
7. Add the pineapple, shrimp, peas and raisins and stir-fry to mix them in.
8. Remove from heat and serve garnished with chopped green onions and cilantro.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

I found the recipe on a cool blog in my google reader called The Cookbook Junkie. I like reading The Cookbook Junkie because there are always recipes from cookbooks that I don't have that sound good. This was a very delicious recipe and despite the lengthy directions, it didn't take very long at all. It tasted like a combo of oatmeal cookies and brownies. Very rich!
Oatmeal Fudge Bars
The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

Crust and topping
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 tablespooons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons instant espresso or instant coffee (I omited)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
1 large egg

For the crust and topping: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with a foil sling: Fold two sheets of aluminum foil so they are as wide as the pan. Lay the sheets in the pan, perpendicular to each other, with the extra foil hanging over the edges. Push the foil into the corners, smoothing wrinkles. Grease the sides and bottom.

Whisk the oats, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in the melted butter until combined. Reserve 3/4 cup of the oat mixture for the topping.

Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer with the bottom of a measuring cup. Bake the crust until light-golden brown, about 8 minutes. Let the crust cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour.

For the filling: Whisk the flour, sugar, instant espresso and salt together in a medium bowl. Melt the chocolate chips and butter together in the microwave, stirring often, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a large bowl and let cool slightly. Whisk in the egg until combined. Stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread the filling evenly over the cooled crust and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the reserved oat topping. Bake the bars until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached and the filling begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking.

Let the bars cool completely in the pan, set on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Remove the bars from the pan using the foil, cut into squares and serve.