Archive for ‘Freezer Friendly’

January 12, 2011

Beef Bourguignon (#1)

To continue with my “Making it with Your Own Hands” goal, here is a recipe that is a good weekend dinner, and is excellent to freeze the leftovers for quick a weeknight meal. In the Basil-Garlic Bread post I mentioned I purchased a Tyler Florence book – Stirring the Pot, which inspired me to become more organized. The thing that intrigued me the most about the book is the suggestion to use a freezer to the fullest, rather than it being a graveyard of freezer burned foods that go to waste in the end.

You know, I always liked the idea of buying in bulk to save money and trips to the grocery store. But it always seems I forget to “thaw” something for dinner and I end up looking in the freezer, walking away and deciding to go get something from the store when I have perfectly good food at home! On top of that, the only beef I will freeze is ground beef because steaks and other cuts have a different flavor after freezing/thawing that I don’t care for. Which Florence has some advice  in his book about freezing meat, and it becomes very apparent to me why I don’t like frozen beef. (Note, I’m not saying you shouldn’t freeze for bulk it just doesn’t work for me. I do freeze whole chickens and pork ribs that are vacuum packed and they seem to work just the same).

Florence suggests:
Beef = 1 week
Whole chicken = 1 month

Food Safety rules (USDA online)
Beef = 4-12 months
Ground Beef = 3-4 months
Whole Poultry = 12 months
Chicken Pieces = 9 months

Florence’s advice is not for safety reasons, but for quality purposes! Think fresh food, not a year old chicken with ice crystals!

Freezer burn is when food dries out. The moisture from inside the food is squeezed out during the freezing process and forms ice crystals – so food is dehydrated during freezing. Makes sense now! Sauces, cooked vegetables, and other prepared meat dishes hold up well the in the freezer. Especially foods with sauces are ideal because there is plenty of moisture in sauce, so the food doesn’t dry out as fast. This is exactly the type of information I want to put to use and share with you. The only problem with Florence’s book is that he doesn’t really dive into that idea – he only touches on it at the beginning and leaves you wanting more ideas…(we I did anyway).

As I mentioned before, I like to cook new things on the weekend – when I have time to spend three hours or more on Beef Bourguignon, or a few hours to roast a whole chicken. On New Year’s weekend I made Ham and Beans and Beef Bourguignon. There was so much left over I was able to add some to the freezer for future dinners. So I saved two bags of Ham and Beans and one of Beef Bourguignon – with enough to make one dinner for both my daughter and I out of each bag. Tonight we took out the Beef Bourguignon, and it was just as good as the first round. Stews have sauces so they freeze well and because there are no potatoes in the Bourguignon it’s a good stew to freeze your left over – or make extra to freeze for another dinner.

You can always add the potatoes the day you reheat a dish. While this recipe is really great, I must say I still have to try Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon to really “test” this recipe. But for now this still is a really great recipe, I like the flavor of the rosemary with beefiness of this meal (that is not in Childs’s recipe).

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Served with parmesan mashed potatoes and peas

(tylerflorence.com)

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 bacon slices, cut into 3-inch strips
  • 4 pounds beef chuck or round, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup Cognac (Brandy)
  • 1/2 bottle dry red wine, such as Burgundy
  • 5 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • Bouquet garni (2 fresh rosemary sprigs, 8 fresh thyme sprigs, 2 bay leaves, tied together with kitchen twine or tied in cheesecloth)
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pound white mushrooms, sliced thick
  • 3 cups blanched and peeled pearl onions
  • Pinch sugar
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, for garnish

Place a large Dutch oven over medium heat; drizzle with a 1/2-count of oil. Fry the bacon until crisp and then remove it to a paper towel; you’ll crumble it at the end and use it for garnish. Dry each piece of beef on a paper towel then add the beef to the pot in batches. Fry the cubes in the bacon fat until evenly browned on all sides; turn with tongs. Season with salt and pepper. (Don’t skimp on this step—it’s key.)

After the meat is browned, put it all back in the pot. Sprinkle the flour over the meat; then stir to make sure the beef is well coated and there are no flour lumps. Pour in the Cognac and stir to scrape up the flavorful bits in the bottom of the pan. Cook and stir to evaporate the alcohol. Pour in the red wine and beef broth; then add the tomato paste and bouquet garni. Stir everything together and bring the pot up to a simmer. Cook until the liquid starts to thicken and has the consistency of a sauce; this should take about 15 minutes. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour.

Uncover the pot and add the garlic, pearl onions, and mushrooms, along with the pinch of sugar to balance out the acid from the red wine. Season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat up slightly and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes longer, until the vegetables and meat are tender. Remove the bouquet garni and then stir in the butter to finish up the sauce. Shower with chopped parsley and the reserved crumbled bacon before serving. Deep and rich flavor!

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January 8, 2011

Basil-Garlic Bread

Adapted from Tyler Florence, Stirring the PotIMG_6146-29

This is a good recipe to freeze and use for later, in fact that is how Tyler Florence presents this recipe in the book. Buy a few loaves of bread at a time so you have a few on hand in your freezer. You can save any leftover basil-garlic butter for sandwiches, pasta, or anything else you can think up!

This is my new favorite garlic bread, although my daughter did not like it. I think if I make it enough she’ll eventually cave…

1 stick butter

3 cloves garlic

1 cup bunch fresh basil leaves

1 loaf French or artisan bread

½ cup grated parmesan

¼ teaspoon salt

couple cracks black pepper

In a food processor, add butter, garlic, and basil leaves, process until the basil and garlic cloves are finely chopped and combined.

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Stir in the salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese.

Cut the loaves of bread into slices – cut almost all the way through, leaving a bit of the bottom intact.

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Spread the butter between the slices of bread and then on the top of the bread. Wrap up in foil and label the bread so you know what it is and mark it with instructions “325°- 30 minutes”

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If you want to make this bread right away, bake it in foil at 450°for 15 minutes.

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December 9, 2010

Pancakes

 

Cinnamon Chocolate w/Powdered Sugar

My 4 year old daughter loves pancakes on Saturday mornings. It’s a ritual in our house. She likes to help mix the ingredients and then patiently waits while the first hot pancakes come off the griddle so she can add butter and syrup all by herself. She’s Ms. Independent these days, you know. Since we make pancakes so often I have tried many different recipes. So many pancakes come out super cakey and I like mine a little thinner. When I was younger and lived with my friend Kim she would make the best pancakes. She and her kids would butter up the pancakes sprinkle some powdered sugar over them then roll them up and eat them. That has been my favorite way to eat pancakes ever since. So the cakier the pancake, the more difficult it is to roll it up! So for this recipe I have noted some adjustments to make those cakey thick pancakes, if you like. This recipe is an adaptation of a Food Network kitchen recipe that was in a pull out booklet in a Food Network magazine.

My Basic Pancake Recipe

1 1/2 c. flour

1T. sugar (my regular recipe has 3T but we are adding so much sugar already)

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

2 large eggs

1 1/2 c. milk

2 tsp. vanilla

3T. melted butter

Mix first 4 ingredients. Then mix milk, eggs, and vanilla together. Then mix the milk mixture into the flour mixture and mix about 10 strokes. Then add butter and mix briefly just to combine. (over mixing the pancake batter will result in flat tough pancakes).

Cinnamon Chocolate Batter

1.            Heat a griddle or large pan over medium high heat.

2.                  Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside

3.                  In another bowl whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla

4.                  Stir the milk mixture and melted butter into the flour mixture. Do not over mix you will end up with flat tough pancakes there will be lumps resist the urge to get    them out.    

5.                  Using a ladle pour pancake batter onto the griddle and allow to cook until the pancake is bubbly and drying around the edges. Flip and cook another minute or two.

6.                  Serve with butter, maple syrup, powdered sugar, whipped cream, preserves, jam, fresh fruit, or any of your favorite toppings.

 Creativity!

Now to show off your own creative side and add combinations you like such as raspberry and chocolate, fresh fruit chunks, mashed banana and blueberries or any of my tested recipes below. Like cupcakes, pancakes are fairly easy to alter with your favorite flavors. Think oatmeal too! (that is another flexible breakfast item you can add flavor to with pretty healthy ingredients.

Pumpkin Pie Pancakes: Add ¼ cup of pumpkin puree, 1tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger and a pinch of nutmeg. Decrease the milk to 1 1/4 cup. 

 Cinnamon Chocolate Pancakes: add 3T of your favorite unsweetened coco powder and a 1tsp of cinnamon to the flour. (****these are my favorite****)

 Maple, Cinnamon and Pecan: 3T real maple syrup to the wet mixture and 1 tsp cinnamon to the flour, toss in some finely chopped pecans.

Lemon – Add lemon extract instead of vanilla and a 1tsp of lemon zest (the peel finely grated)

September 20, 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup w/Homemade Noodles

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There is something about the smell of onion, celery, and carrots cooking (“mirepoix”) that is comforting and soothing to the soul. The combination is used as the base for so many comfort foods like soups, stews and stocks. The combination is usually 50% onion and 25% each of carrots and celery.  Other vegetables and garlic can be used as well. In the culinary world there is a name for that but I will save you the details.  Even though we are still in 80 degree weather, I am feeling Fall in the air.  Last weekend was the last Farmer’s Market and that is when I really know Fall is coming. Fall is my favorite season, so my motivation is really kicking in. So far I have received a few requests for Fall friendly recipes, so I figured I should start now.  So here is the first Fall recipe of the season. Chicken noodle soup is a classic so why not start with that? 

1/2 white onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrot, diced
2T butter
1 spring thyme
2T Italian parsley, finely chopped (plus more for garnish)
1 clove garlic
4c chicken stock (I use “Better than Bullion” according to the jar plus 1 extra tsp, if I don’t have homemade chicken broth)
2 bullion cubes (use only if you use homemade chicken broth)
2c. cooked shredded chicken (rotisserie chicken works well or left over roasted chicken)
1c. Noodles (see recipe below)
1/4 c heavy cream

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Make the noodles and lay out to dry a bit. I usually make the noodles an hour or so before.

Saute the mirepoix (celery, onion and carrots) onion is translucent. Add garlic until fragrant.  Add the thyme, bullion and broth.  Bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the shredded chicken and noodles and simmer for 8 minutes. Add the heavy cream, stir and turn off the heat.

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Top with with shredded parmesan cheese and roughly chopped Italian parsley. Serve with some yummy crusty artisan bread and salted butter.

NOODLES – this recipe makes enough for two batches of soup
2 c. flour
¾ t. salt
1 egg
1/2c. milk

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Mix the flour and salt. Lightly beat the egg then make a well in the flour and pour the milk egg mixture in the middle. Gradually incorporate the flour into the milk mixture. You will have to use your hands to knead the dough at the end.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a large rectangle about a 1/4 inch thick. I find a pizza cutter works really well for this part, cut the dough into long skinny strips,then cut noodles to about an inch in length.