Guinness & Beef Stew

Monday, March 19, 2018

First off, let me confess that I am not Irish. At least I don't think I am.  And my husband is Italian. So I have no business celebrating St.Patrick's Day. But I can't resist anything Irish. From Dublin to Jameson to Rachel Allen, I am smitten with the emerald isle.  Every year I try to make a meal on March 17 that is quasi Irish. When my kids were little it was mostly green milk, mashed potatoes and lucky charms treats. Thankfully their taste buds have changed somewhat over the years and they willingly eat things like colcannon , Dublin coddle and corned beef. This year, since the holiday fell on a weekend I decided to make a Guinness Beef Stew. Slow cooked beef , veggies and stout was perfect for a Saturday night.  This recipe is full of flavor.  Take the time to render quality bacon, caramelize the onion and simmer slow for a few hours and you have a wonderful meal. I think any Irishman would be happy to eat this stew.
You can use a more economical cut of meat since it will cook for a few hours on the stove. I use chuck roast and it is very tender when it is done cooking. Make sure that you scrape the browned bits off the bottom of your Dutch oven when you add the stout. That is where the flavor is. Serve the stew with fresh soda bread and you have a complete irish meal.

Guinness  &  Beef Stew
8 oz thick bacon, diced
2 1/2 lbs beef chuck roast
1/4 c flour
2 onions, chopped
5 potatoes, quartered (Yukon gold or red)
3 carrots, cut up
2 celery stalks, cut up
2 parsnips, cut up
1 bottle (16oz) Guinness Beef
1 cup beef broth
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c tomato paste
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

  1. Cut the beef into cubes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and flour and toss to coat . Set aside.
  2. Fry the bacon in a dutch oven until cooked then remove it with a slotted spoon, leaving the bacon drippings in the pan.
  3. Brown the beef on all sides in the bacon drippings. You will need to do this in a few batches. Place the browned beef on a plate and set aside.
  4. Add the onions and cook them, adding more oil if necessary, until lightly browned. Add the vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes. 
  5. Add the Guinness and bring it to a rapid boil, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom. Boil for 2 minutes.
  6. Return the beef and bacon to the pot along with the remaining ingredients. Stir the stew and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Bourbon Street Chicken with Coconut Basmati Rice

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

This recipe for bourbon chicken is hands down the one recipe I know that my family will inhale when it is put in front of them! It is so good and really easy to put together. Reading the recipe it seems like it would be a drawn out process but if you prep beforehand and have all of the ingredients together before you start, it really is easy to get on the table on a weeknight. I make a large pot of coconut basmati rice and usually serve a green salad with ginger dressing. Try it, I promise you will not be disappointed! * I would recommend doubling the sauce if you like to put more over your rice! I always double it  because 2 of my 3 sons like more sauce for their rice.

Bourbon Street Chicken

2 lbs boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1-2 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ginger
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch ( more for a thicker sauce)

Heat oil in a large skillet.
Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned.
Remove chicken.
Add remaining ingredients, heating over medium heat until well mixed and dissolved.
Add chicken and bring to a hard boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Serve over hot rice

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Honey Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Sunday, February 4, 2018

This is one of those meals that I know will be a hit with all that try it.A tried and true, if you will.And it is very easy to prepare. Make sure you let it sit for a few minutes before slicing. You won't be sorry you tried this,I promise. The sauce that this dish makes is amazing. You can thicken it up with a bit of cornstarch or arrowroot for a gravy as well.

Honey Roasted Pork Tenderloin

2 lbs boneless pork loin
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 cup chicken broth
Preheat the oven to 375.

Season the pork and place in a roasting pan.
In a separate bowl, mix together the honey, juice, oil and thyme.
Pour over the pork.
Add the broth to the pan.
Bake until internal temperature reaches 150 (45-60 minutes).
Baste frequently.
Strain the pan juices into a saucepan.
Reduce until slightly thickened.
Serve over the sliced pork.

Pineapple Ginger Shredded Pork

Monday, January 29, 2018

As a mom of boys, one thing I figured out early on in the madness that is motherhood, is that if I put dinner in a taco or tortilla, it will be eaten. It is just one of those meals that I know that they will eat. This shredded pork is no exception. It is slow cooked all day in a slow cooker, yielding perfectly tender meat that stands out in flavor. It really packs a punch. It has a hawaiian/ pacific islands type taste to it, but I use it as my staple shredded pork. It tastes so good with cilantro and pickled onions on tacos as well as piled onto a sweet hawaiian bun or even atop a bed of coconut rice to make a quick meal.
We always have leftovers of this meat and the sauce, and the next day I  make grilled naan pizza with the shredded meat. I thicken up the leftover sauce in a saucepan over medium high heat and a bit of cornstarch to thicken it up a bit to spread over the naan. Then I pile on the meat, add fresh pineapple , red onion and cilantro, topping it all off with fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese. Heaven !
This pork is a good idea for weeknight meals , especially during the school year. It has become a favorite in our rotation. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.


3.5 lb boneless pork shoulder (or butt)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 1/2 cups pineapple juice
2 tsp ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
2/3 cup ketchup
1/4 c rice vinegar
1-2 T Sriracha sauce

1.In a small bowl, mix together the salt, pepper and garlic powder. Sprinkle evenly all over the pork shoulder.
2. Place the pork shoulder in the slow cooker. With a sharp knife, stab the meat a few times. (This helps absorb the sauce)
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pineapple juice, ginger, garlic,brown sugar,soy sauce, ketchup, rice vinegar and sriracha sauce.
4. Pour 1/2 of the sauce over the pork, reserving  the rest.
5. Cook on low. for 6 -7 hours.
6. Shred the pork and add the reserved sauce to your liking .

Simple Garlic Noodles

Thursday, January 18, 2018

One of the easiest  , quickest meals to make for lunch are these  simple garlic noodles. While the noodles are cooking you make the sauce , which is just mixing the ingredients in a bowl . Then cook the onions and garlic in a skillet and mix everything together. You can add a protein like chicken or shrimp for a heartier more filling dish. If I have leftovers from the night before I will add them, but I prefer them as is. I make these often for myself and my 19 year old before he heads to work.
You can find oyster sauce and sesame oil in the Asian food section of the grocery store.

Simple Garlic Noodles
8 oz spaghetti pasta
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
6 green onions, thinly sliced
4 T butter
2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
2 T light brown sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
2 T oyster sauce

1.Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. drain and set aside.
2.In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil and oyster sauce. Mix well and set aside.
3.In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium low heat. When the butter is melted, add the garlic and green onion. cook for @2 minutes, until they are soft and fragrant.
4.Add the pasta and the sauce to the skillet and mix well to incorporate the sauce and the garlic and onions.
5. Garnish with extra green onion . These can be served warm or cold.

Homemade Cough Syrup

Friday, January 5, 2018

I have used homemade cough syrup for as long as I can remember. Growing up, we went to a pediatrician that was all about telling my mama to make a homemade syrup rather than using the store bought ones. And my nana always made us the homemade stuff using honey, lemon juice and Wild Turkey. It always seemed to work and I use homemade for my family. I have three different ones that I have on rotation , one using whiskey, one using Southern Comfort and one using pineapple juice ( for the kids). This one is made with the whiskey. It packs a punch, so use accordingly. I take 2 teaspoons full every four hours or so and it does the trick. I will be adding the other two recipe in the next few days, so check back.

Homemade Cough Syrup

15 soft peppermint rounds 
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 oz honey ( local honey from your area is best)
whiskey of choice ( I use Knob Creek)

In a clean pint jar, add the peppermints. Then add the lemon juice and honey. Stir a few times and add enough whiskey to fill the jar, with about 2" headspace for shaking.
Place the jar lid and ring on tight and shake a few times. Let it sit for a few minutes and shake again. The peppermints with dissolve and you will have a smooth red syrup. 
Take 2 teaspoons every 4 hours.

Cracker Chicken

I have essentially been  a stay at home mom for 20 years. 2 decades you guys ! Man I am feeling old just absorbing that! Anyway, I have made thousands of meals in that time for my husband and sons. Some that were totally forgettable, some just meh, and some that I make over and over. This chicken is one of the latter . My boys request this chicken the most out of anything I make. So old school, retro 70's cracker chicken. Super easy to put together with ingredients that you more than likely have on hand. I always make sure I have a sleeve or 2 of reduced fat Ritz brand crackers on hand just in case I decide to make this meal on the fly. Now, I know it seems like a lot of butter. But it is just used to adhere the crackers to the chicken. It really isn't that much at all. I say go for it. Use coconut oil or olive oil if you must, but it will not taste the same as using the butter. Trust me. I have tried it all 3 ways and the butter wins hands down. When I crush the crackers I use my hands and crush them over a shallow bowl. I have tried the plastic bag method but it is one extra step and takes longer for me than just using my hands. I usually just eyeball the salt, pepper and garlic powder. Maybe 1/4 tsp of  both salt and garlic powder and 4 or 5 grinds of fresh pepper. Season to your liking. I have just started using Penzey's Spices  roasted garlic and I am obsessed . I sprinkle this on everything. I just checked their website and they are out of stock, but I highly recommend bookmarking the page and ordering one , or two :) when it becomes available again.
You can also experiment with different spices and flavors with this chicken. It is a great base recipe.

Cracker Chicken

6 chicken breasts, boneless & skinless ( I use 3 fat ones and cut them in half horizontally)
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, melted
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
4-5 grinds fresh black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a baking dish.
2. Place the crushed crackers into a shallow bowl. Add the salt, garlic powder and pepper to the cracker crumbs and stir until well blended.
3. In a second shallow bowl, add the melted butter.
4. Dredge each piece of chicken into the butter, and let the excess drip off, then  dredge in the cracker crumbs, coating well. Both sides. Then place each chicken breast into the baking dish in a single layer.
5. If you have extra butter , just drizzle it over the tops of the chicken.
6. Bake , uncovered for 35-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the crackers are golden brown. If the crackers are getting too brown, just cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and continue to bake.