Rachel Robin's Nest

Crafts, Projects and Recipes to Help Feather Your "Nest"

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff November 26, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — DarlinRae @ 4:11 pm
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There’s just something so homey about Beef Stroganoff.  The smell of it simmering away makes me feel super contented.  The funny thing is, when I was a kid, I wouldn’t go near the stuff.  On the nights my dad made it, I would cook myself a grilled cheese and shake my head at how anyone could find that grayish slop at all appealing.

When I moved in with Ben and started cooking more, I really wanted to find a great recipe for Beef Stroganoff.  I did some research online and started experimenting, but the biggest problem I had was getting the meat nice and tender.  The next logical step then, was to try making it in the crock pot, so once again I went to the wise and all-knowing Internet for help.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a crock pot Beef Stroganoff recipe that doesn’t call for canned cream of mushroom soup?

First of all, I LOATHE mushrooms.  With a passion.  Secondly, I prefer for my foods to be made from fresh, real foods, not cans, whenever possible.  So I kept searching and found what I thought would made a pretty decent start.  Then I winged it ;)  The result is a creamy, rich, and slightly more robust than usual sauce, and cooking it in the crock pot all day really takes care of the meat tenderness issue.

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff (adapted from Cooks.com)

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs beef stew chunks (we bought a really big, cheap roast and cut it up)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup sour cream, blended with 3 tbsp flour

Directions:

Sear beef in a hot skillet, browning all sides.  Then, place all ingredients in crock pot and cook for 8-10 hours on low.  Serve over egg noodles.

I really like to add red wine to my Stroganoff.  It adds a depth and richness to the sauce, and also turns it a fun purply color.  If you like mushrooms, go ahead and add 1/2 cup sliced.  I know they are very traditional in Stroganoff, but I simply can’t stomach them.

Bon appetit!

 

Hearty Vegetable Stew October 22, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — DarlinRae @ 5:59 pm
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If you’re like me, you probably have a bunch of vegetables in your refrigerator.  You bought them with the honorable intention of eating lots of fresh produce to be healthy.  You went home from the grocery store feeling smug about how healthy you would be eating over the next few weeks.  And then you promptly forgot all about the veggies because you got distracted by pizza and pasta.  And all of a sudden, you’ve got a bunch of stuff that’s about to go bad.  What to do?

Make stew, of course!  It’s fast, easy, and totally customizable to whatever you have around.  I usually make this every few weeks to use up leftover produce.

Vegetable Stew

Sorry for the poor quality-these are from my phone!

Ingredients:

  • 4 summer squash (or 4 zucchini, or 2 of each if you can get ‘em!)
  • 3 green bell peppers
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 yellow onions
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 28-oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch red pepper flakes

Directions:

1.  Roughly chop veggies

2.  Heat some olive oil in a large sauce pot, and add garlic and carrots.  Saute for a few minutes to give the carrots time to soften, then add the rest of the ingredients.

3.  Cook on medium heat until all veggies are soft, stirring occasionally.  Serve over rice, quinoa or noodles

This has become one of my favorite meals.  Some great additions would be eggplant, fresh parsley or potatoes.  Yum!

 

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup January 13, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — DarlinRae @ 10:11 pm
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This is something I have been meaning to do FOREVER!  Every time I roast a bird or pick up a quick rotisserie chicken for dinner, I think, boy, I should make soup too.  It’s a great way to extend leftovers and make something out of the chicken carcass that is typically thrown away.  And who doesn’t like chicken soup?  But I somehow never quite got around to doing it.  I actually started once, but, paralyzed by fear of not having a recipe to follow, I gave up.

This time, however, I was determined to follow through.  On Monday night, after a grueling round of grocery shopping, Ben and I decided we were too tired to cook and picked up a “Bourbon” rotisserie chicken at Stop & Shop.  Sadly, I think the chickie spent a little too much time under the heat lamps.  It was a little overcooked and dry in places, but definitely still edible.  Also, the “Bourbon” seasoning or whatever was not my favorite thing, but after eating enough to fill ourselves, I got down to business.  Please note that this “recipe” is merely approximations of what I actually did, because I myself did not use a recipe, and went by taste.

Homemade Chicken Soup

Ingredients (Chicken Stock)

  • One leftover chicken roast
  • 2 stalks celery,
  • 2 medium carrots,
  • 2 medium onions,
  • water
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • pinch basil
  • pinch thyme

Ingredients for the Soup

  • shredded chicken
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 3 stalks celery
  • Half a box of pasta (elbows, radiators etc-small pieces)-optional
  • Spices to taste

Directions:

  1. Grab your leftover chicken and strip all of the edible meat off the bones.  Shred the meat and save it for later.  Save the bones too.
  2. Wash and coarsely chop your onions, celery and carrots-don’t bother peeling them as long as you wash them well.
  3. Put bones and veggies in a large stock pot and cover with water.  Add seasonings (see Note About Seasoning below)
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for at least 4 hours, but up to a full day, skimming off any scum or fat that may rise to the top.  Strain the bones and veggies out of the stock-make sure you reserve the stock.  Discard bones and veggies-you’ve extracted all the flavor from them and don’t want to eat mushy, overcooked veggies!  You may keep the stock refrigerated for a day or so or freeze it and make the soup at a later date

    What the stock looked like post-marathon simmer

  5. When you’re ready to make the soup, wash, peel and chop all of your fresh, new veggies into bite-sized pieces.
  6. Add your stock, veggies, and chicken meat to the broth and bring to a low simmer-season to taste with salt, pepper, basil and thyme
  7. If you are using pasta, boil it separately so that the pasta doesn’t suck up all your broth, and add the cooked pasta just before serving.

    The finished product. It was hard to get a good picture because the steam kept fogging up my camera lens.

I have to say, for a first attempt, the soup came out pretty darn good!  We ate it for dinner last night and again for lunch today, and there’s still some left over!  I definitely have some tweaking to do though-I only simmered my carcass and veggies for about 3 hours, and according to my dear friend Jaska (read her blog here), the key to a good stock is simmering the bird for a good long time-at least 12 hours, so I intend to do this next time.

**A Note About Spicing-I think all told I ended up using about 3 tbsp of salt, but the amount you use will depend on the amount of water you use, so start small and incrementally add more.  Just be careful and patient!  I also ended up using quite a bit of black pepper, and about 1/2 tsp each of basil and thyme.

What else did you try putting in your soup?

 

 
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