Sunday, March 1, 2015

Beef and Guinness Pot Pie

Saint Patrick's Day is approaching and I feel the 1/4 Irish Lass in me rising up to cook up a warm and comforting dish of celebration. 
"May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!"

You'll need:

3 pounds beef or lamb roast (cut into 1 inch cubes)
1/3 cup flour
salt and pepper 
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup Guinness or stout beer
1 1/5 cups beef broth (low sodium)
3 medium leeks, white and light green parts only,

   halved lengthwise and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 pound carrots ( cut into 1 inch pieces)
5 stalks celery (cut into 1 inch pieces)
12 ounce bag of frozen sweet peas (no need to thaw)
1 box frozen puff pastry

1 egg (beaten)
Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.

Season the beef with 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste and toss in flour in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, about 10 -12 minutes.

Add the Guinness and beef stock, scraping up any browned bits  from the bottom of the pot. Bring to a simmer, then cover and transfer to the oven to braise for 30 minutes.  A
dd the leeks, carrots and celery to the pot and continue braising for 1 more hour.

Thaw puff pastry for 45 minutes while your stew cooks.   Remove the filling from the oven and increase the temperature to 375 degrees F. Season the filling with salt and pepper to taste, stir in frozen peas, and divide among 6 ramekins.

Put ramekins on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Top with a circle of pastry 1/2-inch larger than the top. Brush the outside edges of each ramekin with the egg wash then place the dough on top.  folding over the side and pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with salt and cracked pepper.

Bake until the crust is crisp and golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Let rest about 10 minutes before serving.  I garnished mine with chives and paprika, fresh chopped parsley would be great too! 

These freeze well but if you are going to freeze them, I'd recommend not adding the puff pastry prior to freezing.  You can also top this with mashed potatoes.  I recommend serving mashed potatoes on the side and a freshly baked loaf of bread to catch every drop of Irish goodness!  I'm adding Bailey's Irish Cream Brownies for dessert to sweeten the night!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Chicken Linguine

I walked in the house at 5:30 p.m. and served this up at 6:00 p.m.!  That is the first qualifier for this dish!  The Hubs ate two bowls - that's the second qualifier and you can tweak the veggies to suit what your family likes - that's the home run qualifier!

I ordered this at a restaurant this week and it was DELISH!  One of my favorite things to do is to come home and "re-create" it my way!

You'll Need:

3-4 chicken tenders (fried or grilled)
1/2 box linguine or thin spaghetti noodles
1 1/2 - 2 cups Alfredo sauce (brand of your choosing)
1 package sugar snap peas (fresh or frozen)
1/2 red sweet pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
4 strips bacon (cooked and diced)
1/4 cup Italian cheese blend
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
3 pats butter

Start by cooking a microwave safe pot of water for 6 minutes, then add your pasta (I break my pasta in half so that it fits well and cooks quickly).  Microwave for 10 minutes, drain and set aside.

While your pasta is cooking, sauté the sugar snap peas and diced peppers in a skillet with 2 pats of real butter over medium heat.  You want your veggies tender but not mushy.  Be careful not to over cook them.

As your pasta boils and your veggies cook, slice your cooked chicken tenders into thin strips.  I had some left over fried chicken tenders and they did just great in this recipe.  Make life easy and pick up a snack pack at your favorite chicken drive thru or your local deli.  Fried is yummy, grilled is great too - totally your call.

I microwave my bacon (because I hate the mess of frying and this is faster).  Cook for 3 1/2 minutes then check for doneness.  Add an additional 30 seconds if needed to cook bacon completely.  Be sure to have paper towels under and over or this will make a mess in your microwave.  Let cool then chop the bacon.

Mix your drained pasta with the Alfredo sauce, one pat of butter and 1/4 cup of Italian cheese blend.

Mix the pasta with the sautéed veggies.  Add to your serving dish, top with chicken, bacon and sprinkle with a generous pinch of grated Parmesan cheese.  Voila'!  Dinner is served!

Pair this with garlic bread and the salad of your choice and you have made if from door to table in half an hour!  You can easily adjust the veggies to what your family likes.  Fresh sautéed green beans, broccoli or carrots are simple subs.  On a busy week day - this delivers a quick and delicious dinner!  I hope this works as well for your family as it did for me!

This serves dinner for two - just double for a full family serving.