Friday, February 24, 2012

how to: make beef stew

I know the picture doesn't look that great but it tastes delicious. The weather has been warming up a bit here in Provo and I wanted to make beef stew before it went out of season. It is so easy to make and always comes out delicious.

What you need:
1 lb stew meat
4 medium sized red potatoes
10 baby carrots
3 stalks of celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cups of water
Beef stew seasoning packet (ours was McCormicks)
Some flour and oil

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Cover the meat with flour and add seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder and steak seasoning are my favorite). Add the meat to the pan and cook until browned. No need to cook all the way because it's going to be cooking for hours in the crockpot. Browning the meat will give your stew more flavor and the flour will help thicken it.
Cut up all the vegetables and add to the crockpot. Add the water, meat and seasoning packet. Stir. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
We ate it with a warm baguette (LOVE) and it was amazing. Enjoy :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

how to: make chocolate chip cookies

In addition to the BBQ chicken sandwiches I made Spencer one of his favorite desserts, chocolate chip cookies. In the Spirit of Valentine's Day I thought that I would die them pink.

Note, the ones I made I messed up and they turned out to be more marbley looking so I'm just not even going to add how to dye the cookies because I don't know! Ha. Unfortunately they were all eaten before I could take a picture so I stole this one from Google.

2 1/8 cup bleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
12 Tbsp unsalted butter (I used salted and it worked fine)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
12 oz package of semisweet chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate ones because they're more sweet - obviously)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle rack positions. Mix flour, salt and baking soda together in a medium bowl and set aside.
Mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk and vanilla. Add dry ingredients; mix until just combined. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Stir in chocolate chips.
Roll into balls and place on cookie sheets.
*Dough can be refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen up to one month.
Bake, reversing cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden but the centers and still soft and puffy, about 15-18 minutes. Frozen cookie dough requires an extra 1-2 minutes of cooking time.
Cool cookies on baking sheets and store in airtight container.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

how to: make BBQ chicken sandwiches

So Spencer doesn't like presents. He loves free things but not presents. He'd rather just have money. I truly learned that after Christmas when he only kept one thing that I got him. So with Valentine's day I didn't really want to try. I know a bunch of things that he would like but, again, he'd rather I saved the money. I'm not creative enough to think of something free and meaningful to give him so what he got for Valentine's day was food. He was gone all day at school and I had to nanny that night so I made him BBQ chicken in a crockpot that he could use to make sandwiches when he got home. Romantic, I know. He thought it was great and I guess that's what counts ha.

I found this recipe here but I've tweeked it just a little. There was some left over so I was able to try it when I came home and it was really good.

4 chicken breasts
12 ounces of BBQ sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup italian dressing
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Add all the ingredients into the crock pot and stir. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. When the chicken is soft enough, shred it and let it sit a little longer. Serve on hamburger buns.

Friday, February 17, 2012

how to: make cream cheese chicken

I love cooking in my crockpot. Especially on Sundays. This past Sunday I made Cream Cheese Chicken. It is so easy and so good.

1 envelope Italian dressing mix
1/2 cup of butter, melted
4 boneless chicken breasts
1 10.5-ounce can of cream of chicken soup
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese

Add the butter and dressing mix into your crockpot and stir. Add chicken and stir. In a separate bowl, mix cream of chicken and cream cheese; add to crockpot and stir. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 5-6. Shred the chicken while still in the crockpot. We add it to rice but a lot of people put it on top of pasta and love it, either way.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

how to: make Valentine's Chex Mix

Valentine Chex Mix
I saw this recipe on Pinterest and it was delicious. The pink M&Ms and sprinkles made it a perfect Valentine's Day treat. I gave some to my visiting teachees and Spencer and I polished off the rest before the end of the night. Oops :)

9 cups of Rice Chex cereal
2 cups of white chocolate baking chips
1 cup of peanut butter
2 tbsp of butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup M&Ms

Put the cereal in a large bowl. You're going to want it to be big enough to stir all that cereal with the melted chocolate and peanut butter and not get it all over the counter. I was not so lucky.
Put chocolate, peanut butter and butter in a microwavable bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir. Continue microwaving and stirring in 30 second intervals until melted and smooth. Pour peanut butter mixture over Chex until evenly coated.
Put half of the cereal mixture in a plastic bag and add the powdered sugar. Shake until evenly coated.
The recipe tells you to stir the M&Ms and sprinkles into the other half of the cereal mixture. If you do this I promise it will not look like this beautiful picture. Unfortunately. So here I tweek the recipe for you. Spread the unsugared half onto wax paper and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes. Then in a large bowl combine both of the mixtures with the M&Ms and sprinkles. I am assuming that would make it look prettier than the way I did it.
Enjoy! You're going to love it.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

how to: make pot roast

So Spencer has this thing where he likes to raid his family's house any time we go to visit. Our latest spoils included a lovely chuck roast and we took full advantage of it on Sunday. What better way to cook on a Sunday than with a crockpot? And that's exactly what we did.

We cut up six little red potatoes. You need to make sure that you cut them into quarters or sixths because they'll be in the crock pot with liquid for awhile and you don't want them to get mushy.

Then I put the 3 lb roast on top of the potatoes and cut up a quarter of a medium sized onion, minced two cloves of garlic and put those on top of the roast. Then I seasoned the roast with salt, pepper and steak seasoning. It looks delicious already.

I added half a tablespoon of butter to the potatoes and another half on top of the roast. We kinda just play around with different seasonings that we have lying around and that's what we did today. We put about a quarter cup of Worcestershire sauce mostly on the roast but a little bit on the potatoes too.

Let the food cook for 4 hours or until the meat is falling apart. If you want to be safe you should cook it into the roast is at least 145 degrees. Since we don't own a meat thermometer we went with the falling apart method and we're still alive a week later.
As you can tell I'm partial to potatoes (this is my plate) but they were soo soft and flavorful how could I not be? But really, the whole meal was delicious; the meat was just as soft as the potatoes. It was an awesome Sunday dinner.