Saturday, October 22, 2016

Crockpot French Onion Beef Stew

Beef stew season is here!!

I la-la-love beef stew, in any variety. With barley, over mashed potatoes, with a harvest-style twist, I feel like I've done it all. Cooked low and slow, no matter what you throw in it, it's bound to be delicious. 

This Crockpot French Onion Beef Stew is rooted in tradition - big bites of carrot, potato, celery, and onions cook all day with tender stew beef and rich beef broth. There's not much more you need, but I wanted to try...something else. I happened to have a packet of french onion soup mix in my pantry and I didn't have to think twice - this is what my stew needed. A salty, oniony kick, complimented with a glug of Worcestershire sauce and a can of tomato sauce for a little tang. 

Now, I don't think I need to spend much time on the fact that this is all made in the Crockpot and therefore you hardly have to expend any effort before you get to snuggle up with a big delicious bowl of this stew. Chop up those veggies, dump everything in your trusty slow cooker, do whatever you have to do for 8 hours, and then...dinner time! 

Just a few notes on this stew: french onion soup mix can be VERY salty, so I strongly suggest using a low sodium beef broth and salting very lightly in the beginning. It will be very important to taste and season gradually to avoid over-salting the dish. Also, I always recommend searing your stew beef before adding it to the Crockpot, but this dish will be just as delicious if you skip this step (but oh, boy, it is delicious if you have the time!) Lastly, the stew will freeze well! Once it has finished cooking, cool completely and store in a freezer-safe air tight container for up to 2 months. Defrost in the fridge then reheat in a large pot until warmed through. 

Here's what you need for Crockpot French Onion Beef Stew* (Print Recipe!)

1 pound stew beef
1 medium onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium russet potatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary
1 packet french onion soup mix
1 8-oz. can no salt added tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
32 ounces low sodium beef or vegetable sauce
2 tablespoons flour 
1/4 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

Here's what you do

optional: Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper then sear until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to the bowl of a slow cooker.

Alternatively, simply place beef in the bowl of a slow cooker.

Add all the vegetables, rosemary, soup mix, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and broth on top of the beef. Cook on low for 8 hours. Adjust seasonings to taste. In a small bowl, whisk the flour and water together to create a slurry. Stir into the stew and continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes until silky and smooth. Enjoy immediately (perhaps with some grated parmesan and red pepper flakes on top? I know, me too.)

*Gas Stove Girl Original Recipe

Friday, September 30, 2016

Savory Oatmeal with Crispy Apple Sausage and Drippy Egg

Quick truth bomb: we've been eating oatmeal wrong our whole lives.

Don't run away. I have to be honest, I had my doubts about savory oatmeal. Don't we only eat oatmeal as a vessel for melty brown sugar, lots of cinnamon and crunchy granola? That was the case until I had a bite of this Savory Oatmeal with Crispy Apple Sausage and Drippy Egg and everything I thought I knew about breakfast went out the window.

This is the actual breakfast of champions. Warm oatmeal, seasoned just slightly with a bit of salt and cracked black pepper, is the base. It's hearty and healthy and comforting. Then comes the star of the show: crumbled apple chicken sausage is cooked over high heat until it becomes brown and slightly caramelized. The texture and slight sweetness is out of this world. A drippy, sunny side up egg, over-seasoned with cracked pepper and red pepper flakes binds the whole dish together and keeps us full for hours. For crunch and freshness, chopped scallions are just the ticket. Oh, and how could I forget the cheddar cheese! Salty, melty, a perfect compliment to the apple and egg.

I don't really know what to say. I just love this oatmeal so much! It is absolutely going to be a regular breakfast for me this fall. And the varieties are endless! Oatmeal is such a versatile base that really anything goes - bacon and caramelized onions with goat cheese? Broccoli and cheddar? Ham and swiss? Ah!

I'd love to know - have you had savory oatmeal before? What are your favorite toppings? If you haven't, are you willing to try it? I don't want to be a nag, but I insist that you should. Oh, also, this meal comes together SUPER quick, sooo...why limit it to just breakfast? This has quick weeknight dinner written all over it!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Recent Eats - Volume 3

A round-up of my favorite bites and other food drama from the past few weeks

It is officially FALL and that is something to celebrate. Whether you are obsessed with pumpkins, apples, winter squash, soups, stews, or casseroles, this is one of my favorite times of the year to cook and eat! 

Pumpkin Everything

I have quite a few pumpkin recipes on the blog, some of my favorites being Pumpkin Oat Waffles, Pumpkin Snickerdoodles, and Pumpkin Martinis. This year, I want to experiment more with savory pumpkin recipes! In the meantime, I'm also going nuts with every pumpkin spice product the grocery store throws my way. 

Like yogurt...

 And Fudge Stripe Cookies...


Chili, baby!

Football season is in full swing and that always makes me crave a big pot of chili with all the fixin's. On opening day, I made a batch of my Mom's chili, but rather than cooking it on the stove I threw it in the Crockpot on high for 4 hours. For topping, I had plenty of sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro, and tortilla chips on hand. Combine this with a win for my team (the New York Giants!) and it turned into a pretty great Sunday!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Panini

This is so random, but I have been on a grilled sandwich kick recently. On Snapchat a few weeks ago, I made Chicken Cordon Bleu Panini that were to die for! The key components: chicken tenders, deli ham slices, and swiss cheese with mayo! Nestle it all between two slices of bread, butter the outside, and cook in a pan until golden brown and melty. I also use a grill press to really bind the whole sammie together. 

Sheet Pan Chicken Tikka a la Smitten Kitchen

I'm rather convinced that Deb can do no wrong. A true food blogging inspiration, I often find myself cooking a meal or two of hers every couple of weeks. This recipe for Sheet Pan Chicken Tikka is addicting! The spices are warm and comforting, while a dollop of greek yogurt cools the whole thing down. I had a few hearty helpings atop steamed white rice. Dinner bliss!

What are you cooking and eating and drinking this fall?! 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Pretzel Bagels

Well my friends, we've done it.

We've combined two of the best bread products into one. It is as miraculous as you'd expect. It is also much easier than you might think, and that is pretty great too!

Pretzel Bagels. I don't know if there is much more to say (...that won't stop me from gushing about these beauties, of course). Deep, golden brown crusts with a sprinkle of pretzel salt, soft and chewy centers. The taste of soft pretzels in a bagel suit. Ugh, yes. This is what dreams are made of.

In order to make this breakfast dream a reality, there are a few key things we need. First, for the bagel part of it all: yeast, flour, and patience. Yeast will get activated in a bit of warm water with some sugar. This will bring our bagels to life, allowing them to puff up in a hot oven. Although bread flour is more commonly used in bagels because of its higher protein content, all-purpose flour is perfect for our needs in this recipe. It will create a crumb that is a little softer than a classic bagel and more reminiscent of a traditional soft pretzel. The dough won't be as lofty, but that's OK.

For the pretzel parts, we need a good bit of baking soda, an egg wash and pretzel salt. The bagels will take a quick dip in a pot of boiling water combined with baking soda. The baking soda changes the pH of the water and helps speed up the cooking process, creating that deep brown color on the outside of the pretzel bagels. The egg wash will create a sheen on the outside, and also act as the glue that keeps that irresistible salt on top. It's science!

So now that we know we can in fact make pretzel bagels, what on earth should we do with them? Here are a few ideas:

--Eat them warm, straight, right out of the oven
--Cut 'em in half and smear a bit of cream cheese all over, with a sprinkle of garlic and chives for good measure
--Make a breakfast sandwich, heavy on the cheese
--Whip up a batch of tuna salad and pile it high

The options are endless, but the good thing is, there ARE options. Lots of 'em. No matter how to slice it, they're sure to impress

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Pumpkin Pie Martini


It's September which means it's pumpkin season and don't even try to argue that I need to wait until September 21st because I WILL NOT!

I'm not sure when exactly it became a crime to love pumpkin flavored everything, but all I know is if that's so wrong I do not want to be right. Fall is my favorite time of the year and this Pumpkin Pie Martini is further proof of it's seasonal greatness!

My mom, fully supporting my pumpkin addiction, found a bottle of pumpkin vodka that is the perfect autumn addition to my bar cart. It is also exactly what I needed to create this wonderful pumpkin cocktail, which will be on repeat for the foreseeable future.

Since pumpkin and cinnamon go so well together, Rumchata seemed like the perfect addition to this martini. Creamy, sweet, and smooth. Of course, any pumpkin pie martini needs a little spice and this one is lucky enough to include a wonderful homemade ginger simple syrup. Making your own syrups can really change the world of cocktails at home. See Blackberry Mint Juleps for reference.

If you, like me, were first in line at Starbucks on September 1st fully prepared to order a pumpkin spice latte and if you, like me, are willing to try nearly any product that they make into a "pumpkin" version, then you most definitely need to whip up a batch of my pumpkin pie martinis! Cheers to thirsty Thursday!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Broccoli and Cream Cheese Breakfast Braid

Some of my favorite recipes tend to be accidental - recipes you put together because you need to clear your fridge and freezer, but then all of a sudden the most delicious creation emerges from your oven.

This...this is one of those recipes. A very happy, very tasty accident.

Here was the situation I found myself in this weekend. In addition to a grumbling stomach around 11 a.m. on Sunday, there was:

--One sheet of frozen puff pastry that was reaching it's prime hanging in the freezer
--Half a block of cream cheese that was close to it's last leg in the refrigerator
--Two big bags of chopped frozen broccoli
--A small nugget of parmesan cheese and half a ball of mozzarella in the cheese drawer

Individually, these aren't particularly bad situations to find oneself in. Combined, however, I started panicking. I didn't want to waste any of this food, so I knew I had to get creative.

And so goes the story of my Broccoli and Cream Cheese Breakfast Braid. This creamy. dreamy creation is perfect anytime of day. Having some girlfriends over for brunch? Need a quick, low maintenance dinner? Want to treat your family to a special Saturday breakfast? This recipe is just what you need for all these situations and more.

In reality, I should have foreseen the success this dish was going to be. Generally, anything wrapped in puff pastry will immediately have a gourmet touch. Then I went ahead and made a savory cream cheese base...who DOESN'T love warm, melty, rich cream cheese?! A couple of soft-scrambled eggs and chopped broccoli make this dish robust and fulfilling. Plus, you can customize this any way you want! Thinking about adding ham and cheddar cheese? Me too!

Did I mention that it's a showstopper? So gorgeous!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Crock Pot Italian-Style Beef with Cheesy Polenta

I adore this dinner. Simple, slow-cooked, tangy, and cheesy.

These are adjectives to live by! 

Are you, like me, a fool who forgets all about her beloved Crock Pot in the summer? Why do we neglect the one device in our kitchen that cooks our food entirely without an oven?! Well today, we are fixing this problem. 

This Crock Pot Italian-Style Beef with Cheesy Polenta is familiar yet intriguing. Comforting Italian flavors like oregano, parsley, and tangy crushed tomatoes meet boneless chuck steak, make a wonderfully rich ragu as they simmer away while we are at work, THEN get piled high atop a polenta packed with garlic, mozzarella cheese and cracked black pepper. What's not to love?

Oh, I nearly forgot, if you--this time, unlike me--are handy with your summer garden and find it overflooowing with fresh basil, please please PLEASE tear up a bunch and throw it on top. Please? Thank you. 

So, here's how this all goes down:

The night before your delicious dinner: Set out your Crock Pot/slow cooker, the exact spices you need, a can of tomatoes, and honey so you don't have to fumble in the pantry early in the morning. Chop an onion and a clove or two of garlic, then stick them in the fridge in a zip top baggie.
The morning of: Dump onion, garlic, tomatoes, spices, honey, and olive oil in the bowl of your slow cooker. Whisk until combined, then nestle in the steak. Turn on low, go live your life for 8 hours.
Just before dinner: Prepare the most delicious, creamy polenta known to man. Shred up your beef. EAT! 

It's meals like this that remind me why I l.o.v.e. food! Let's eat.