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This recipe is so simple and SO good. And it combines two of my favorite things, slow cooking and cooking with beer. Once the winter sets in, the slow cooker is my best friend. And the flavor of this stroganoff is just WOW at the end of the day. The dijon really adds just the right amount of bite.

slow cook stroganoff

Slow Cook Stroganoff
Adapted from Martha Stewart

2 pounds beef chuck, cut into thin slices
2 medium onions, chopped
1 pound mushrooms, quartered (I used cremini)
6 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 bottle of beer (I used a Porter)
Egg noodles, for serving

Slice beef, chop the onions and mushrooms, then toss them into a gallon zip lock bag with the minced garlic. Add the bottle of beer and refrigerate overnight.

In the slow cooker, toss beef, onion, and mushroom mixture with 2 teaspoons coarse salt and teaspoon pepper. Cover, and cook on low until meat is tender, about 8 hours (or on high for 6 hours).

Prepare the egg noodles. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk cornstarch with 4 tablespoons water. Ladle 2 cups of cooking liquid into measuring cup; whisk to combine. Pour into a small saucepan, and bring to a boil; cook until thickened, about 1 minute (It happens very quickly!). With slow cooker turned off, stir in cornstarch mixture, then sour cream and mustard.
Serve over the cooked noodles.

Wow. It’s been a bit since I made a marsala, and this one really, really hit the spot tonight. Shallots, perfectly mellowed in this creamy sauce. As a huge fan of bone-in, skin-on thighs that get browned a bit a in the pan before kicking up the flavor with a sauce, I’m pretty much obsessed with crispy chicken skin. It all started with Chicken Cacciatore. And this recipe does it just right.

creamy chicken marsala_raudette

Creamy Chicken Marsala
via the view from great island

6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb small mushrooms, I used white button, cremini would be great too
3 Tbsp butter, divided
2 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 tbsp ground thyme
3/4 cup Marsala wine (or dry Sherry)
3/4 cup heavy cream
salt and freshly cracked black pepper
chopped parsley for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375F. Wipe the mushrooms with a damp cloth. Cut off the ends of the stems, and quarter them (you can halve the small ones). Heat a heavy oven-safe skillet over medium high heat until quite hot. Brush the skin side of the thighs with a little olive oil and, when the pan is good and hot, but not smoking, brown the thighs, skin down, for about 5-10 minutes, or until they have a nice brown color. Remove them to a plate.
Wipe out any burnt bits and add 2 Tbsp of the butter to the pan. Saute the shallots for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pan and saute for another 5 minutes, stirring often, until they start to shrink and brown. Add the wine to the pan and turn up the heat and let it reduce down a bit (about half). Add the cream and thyme to the pan and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper and finish the sauce by stirring in the last bit of butter.Nestle the chicken thighs back into the pan, spooning the sauce over them a bit as well. Bake the thighs for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Serve hot with a sprinkle of fresh parsley.

Success! My first attempt at beef bourguignon was not only successful, but completely delicious. While I haven’t tackled the only-and-only Julia Child’s recipe yet (I think the movie did scare me a bit), the recipe below was still a labor of love, just with a little less labor but all of the goodness. It’s definitely a Sunday meal, but not quite the behemoth it was made out to be. Instead of the classic pot roast, this will always be my go-to. And with a nearly full bottle of cognac now gracing my counter, I think I might just have to make this once a month. Dinner party anyone?

beef bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon
via food52

3 pounds beef chuck, cut in 2-inch chunks
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup cognac
4 large carrots
1 large yellow onion, cut in chunks
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 750 ml. bottle full-bodied red wine
1 cup beef stock
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried thyme
10 ounces pearl onions, peeled
1/2 pound white mushrooms, halved (quartered if large)
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Preheat oven to 325 F. Pat meat dry. Season all over with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large Dutch-oven or oven-proof pan with lid over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add beef to pan in one layer. Brown on all sides. Transfer beef to a bowl. Add cognac to pan and deglaze pan over medium-high heat, scraping up bits. Allow to reduce by half. Pour cognac over beef.
Coarsely chop 2 carrots. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in same pan. Add chopped carrots, onion and garlic. Sauté 3 minutes over medium heat. Add beef with cognac, wine, stock, tomato paste and thyme. (Beef should be covered by the wine and stock. If not, add more wine or stock to cover.) Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook 2 minutes. Cover and place in oven. Bake until meat is very tender, 2 1/2 -3 hours.
About 30 minutes before beef is done, cut remaining carrots in 1/2″ slices. Steam or blanch carrots until crisp tender; drain. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Sauté pearl onions and mushrooms until light golden brown. Remove beef from oven. Strain liquid from stew into a saucepan. Separate beef from the cooked vegetables and discard vegetables. Boil liquid until reduced by half and thickened to a sauce consistency, skimming fat from surface. Add sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add beef, carrots, pearl onions and mushrooms to stock. Simmer 15 minutes to heat through. Serve in warm bowls.
Beef Bourguignon may be prepared up to two days in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Before reheating, discard any solidified fat from surface. Reheat over medium-low heat on stovetop or in a 325 F oven.

Something new! I feel like we’ve been stuck in a rut lately, but maybe it’s just because I’ve gotten out of the habit of cooking every night and have been eating way too much junk. This was a great dish to get us back on track. Super healthy and super delicious – plus it’s easy to make vegan and gluten free with a little earth balance swapped out for the butter and gluten free options for the noodles and tamari. What’s tamari you say? It’s like soy sauce, only better! Made without wheat, a little less salty, but still big on flavor. And this dish showcases it perfectly, along with a few of my favorite things: mushrooms and bok choy.

shiitake bok choy soba noodle bowl

Shiitake Bok Choy Soba Noodle Bowl
via a house in the hills

4 cups, washed and thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
3 small/medium bok choy,
2 bunches of buckwheat soba (about 16 oz)
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons tamari
1/8 cup mirin
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3 medium cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
sesame seeds to garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook noodles per package instructions, drain and rinse with warm water.
While water is coming to a boil, prepare mushrooms, sauce and bok choy. In a large non stick sauté pan heat earth balance butter with 4 tablespoons tamari and add mushrooms. Give a quick stir to coat and then cook on high heat for 6 minutes (do your best to not stir the after the initial mix). Give them another stir and cook an additional two minutes. The should be brown, slightly crispy and a little caramelized. Set aside until noodles are prepared.
For the sauce, combine mirin, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of tamari. For the bok choy, trim off ends, wash thoroughly and dry. In a large wok combine noodles, sauce, bok choy and mushrooms. Cook over medium high heat until bok choy is wilted. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve immediately!

Mushrooms and marsala are always the perfect pairing. And Smitten Kitchen always does it perfectly. My obsession started with the Mushroom Bourguignon (favorite dish ever) and blossomed from there. I love the simple ingredients that play off each other so well here.

chicken and mushroom marsala

Chicken and Mushroom Marsala
via smitten kitchen

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, halved and sliced thin
3/4 pound mushrooms, sliced thin, any variety you like
1/2 cup dry Marsala
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves (optional, for garnish)

Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large heavy skillet heat oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons butter over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and brown chicken in 2 batches, transferring with tongs to a large plate as browned. Discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet and sauté onion and mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated. Add Marsala and cook mixture, stirring, until Marsala is almost evaporated. Add broth and chicken with any juices that have accumulated on plate and simmer, turning chicken once, until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken with tongs to a platter.
Simmer mushroom sauce until liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Remove skillet from heat and stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter and salt and pepper to taste, stirring until butter is just incorporated. Spoon mushroom sauce around chicken and sprinkle with parsley.

This is the paleo dish I’ve been hearing about over and over, so I knew we had to try it. And it is everything they’ve all been saying! This is super-satisfying, veggie-packed, starch-free deliciousness. It’s fried rice plus wow. Also, bacon! I can’t remember the last time I put bacon in anything. It’s terrible. What have I been doing? Of course, you could leave out the bacon and make this totally vegetarian, too. I imagine it’s perfect about a thousand different ways.

cauliflower fried rice

Cauliflower Fried Rice
adapted from just pinch me

1 small head of cauliflower, separated in florets
3 slices of uncured bacon, cut into small dice
3 large eggs
1-inch knob of ginger, grated (about 1 tablespoon)
1 small onion, diced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 small zucchini, diced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons of chopped basil
1 tablespoon of chopped mint
2 tablespoons olive oil or other cooking oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar (optional)
1 teaspoon soy sauce (optional)

Pulse the cauliflower florets in a food processor until the pieces are about the size of rice, and set aside. Toss the diced bacon in a large skillet over medium heat and fry until crispy. Remove bacon from pan and set aside. Whisk the eggs with a little pepper and pour into the skillet. The eggs will spread out and make a very thin fried omelet. Cook for a minute on one side then flip over. When eggs are done remove from the pan, cut into thin bite size strips and set aside.
Turn up the pan to medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the onion, cook about 5 minutes until softened. Add the mushrooms and zucchini and cook until just browned. Add the ginger while stirring, then the cauliflower pieces. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the fish sauce (and any other sauces), salt and pepper to taste. Finish by adding the bacon, fried egg strips, herbs and the sliced green onions. Stir well and enjoy!

My friend and I were chatting the other day, and she mentioned she was going to give the Paleo diet a 4 week run. While I’m really not one for dieting, I do appreciate cutting certain things out of my diet temporarily to see if it is beneficial to me. Back in 2008 I was diagnosed with some seriously gnarly heart burn, and spent time cutting most things out of my diet for the better part of the year: meat, dairy, spicy food, alcohol, soy, the list goes on. While I have introduced all of these things back in, I have seen the benefit of moderation in all also. The one thing I have never truly given a break to is my love of starchy goodness, particularly bread, pasta & white potatoes. And so I have agreed, from this past Thursday until Thanksgiving, I’ll give Paleo a go, since these sorts of things are most successful with a partner in crime! My first baby step here, is a no-noodle lasagna. Although I did add a bit of cheese! Truly, a little bit in moderation isn’t so bad, right?

paleo zucchini lasagna

Zucchini Lasagna
adapted from awesome paleo recipes

 

1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3-4 small zucchini, sliced thinly
1 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
1 cup mozzarella cheese (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil or other cooking fat

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a pot over a medium heat and cook the onion and bell pepper in a tablespoon of oil sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the ground beef or turkey and cook until browned. Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper and add the dried oregano and crushed red pepper. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, bring to a boil and then remove from heat. Place a thin layer of the sauce in a baking dish. Layer the zucchini over the sauce and then the mushrooms (then mozzarella, if using). Repeat alternating layers of sauce, zucchini and mushrooms. Finish with a layer of mozzarella and parmesan (if using). Cover with foil. Place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

 

There are two things I crave for breakfast, salt and eggs. While most days I’m terrible about making time for it, the weekends are made for brunching. Here are a few of my favorites and some I’m dying to try: salty and cheesy, herb-y and peppery, creamy, egg-filled savory goodness. Yum!

savory breakfast 01
Sharp Cheddar & Mustardy Greens Breakfast Sandwich / Oatmeal With Fried Egg and Avocado

savory breakfast 02
Breakfast Salad / Savory French Toast

savory breakfast 03
Veggie Quinoa Breakfast Bowl / Crustless Quiche

This was a quick and easy lasagna, as far as lasagna goes. A little prep, a short time in the oven and voilà! Although no-boil noodles might have shaved off a little more work too. This recipe is super cheesy but packed with vegetables. Probably not the most healthy version out there, but great for a weeknight and the greens provide a punch of vitamins.

vegetable lasagna

Vegetable Lasagna
via bhg

8 ounces dried lasagna noodles (9 or 10 noodles)
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups cottage cheese
15 ounce ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 cup shredded carrot
10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and thoroughly drained
10 ounce package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and thoroughly drained
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain; set aside.
In a medium bowl combine eggs, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, oregano and thyme. Set aside.
In a large skillet cook mushrooms, onion, and garlic in hot oil until tender. Stir in the flour and pepper; add milk all at once. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in the spinach, broccoli, carrot, and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese.
To assemble, in a greased 3-quart rectangular baking dish, layer one-third of the noodles, folding or cutting to fit, if necessary. Spread with one-third of the cottage cheese mixture, then one-third of the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with one-third of the mozzarella. Repeat the layers twice. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
Bake uncovered for 35 minutes or until heated through. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Phew! Another busy week. I’m really looking forward to work slowing down, but in the mean time I’m starting to get used to this constant high pace and have gotten back in the swing of cooking regularly again. This week I made this amazing risotto, which required almost no stirring whatsoever. Amazing! Add to that the bite of balsamic and beautiful creamy carmelized onions, and this could be one of the most perfect risottos ever.

Baked Mushroom Risotto with Caramelized Onions

Mushroom Risotto with Caramelized Onions
via the kitchn

1/2 ounce dried shiitake or porcini mushrooms, finely chopped
2 cups boiling water
1/3 cup olive oil, divided
4 yellow onions (about 2 pounds)
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
1 cup Arborio or short-grain white rice
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to garnish

Heat the oven to 300°F. Rinse the dried mushrooms lightly, to remove any dust or grit. Place the mushrooms in a ceramic bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Set them aside to steep while you cook the onions.
Chop one of the onions into a fine dice. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 3-quart (or larger) ovenproof pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes, or until soft and golden. Push the onions to the side of the pot, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Add all the sliced cremini mushrooms and let them cook for 5 minutes without stirring. Flip the mushrooms and cook for another five minutes, or until they are quite brown and a crust is developing on the bottom of the pan.
Drain the dried mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Add the mushrooms and rosemary sprig to the pan and sauté briefly, mixing with the onion and the rest of the mushrooms. Add the rice and cook, stirring once or twice, for about 4 minutes, or until the rice begins to turn transparent.
Turn the heat to high and add the white wine, vinegar, broth, and reserved mushroom steeping liquid. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan as you add the liquid to deglaze any yummy mushroomy bits sticking to the pan. Stir in the salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and put it in the oven to bake for 35 minutes.
While the rice is baking, make the caramelized onions. Heat the remaining olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Cut the remaining three onions in half, and then slice them into thin half moons. Add them to the oil and sprinkle liberally with salt. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn a dark mahogany brown. Let them go as long as you can; I usually cook mine for at least 30 minutes.
When the risotto has finished baking, let it stand uncovered for 5 minutes before serving. Dish it up and top each bowl with a spoonful of caramelized onions, a little extra pepper, and, if desired, a scoop of sour cream or whipped mascarpone.