Archive for November, 2011

Menu Nov. 27-Dec. 2

Sunday: Fiesta Casserole
Monday: out
Tuesday: Hosting bookclub, so I’ll be making party meatballs and maybe something else
Wednesday: BBQ nachos
Thursday: Turkey Stew
Friday: TBD

Find more menu planning ideas at Menu Plan Monday.

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Beef Stew

Mmm. There’s nothing better than a good hearty soup or stew when the weather gets cold. It’s the one thing that (almost) makes me look forward to winter!

Shirley J recently approached me about reviewing one of their products, and I jumped at the chance. As you can probably guess, I’m always looking for new crockpot recipes, so I was excited to possibly add something new to my repertoire.

I reviewed the Shirley J Dutch Oven & Slow Cooker Beef Seasoning. According to their website, when mixed with water, this seasoning produces a gravy that will season and moisten meat as it cooks.

My review: When I first read the recipe for this Chunky Beef Stew, I was shocked at the amount of beef seasoning it called for: 1/3 cup. This seemed like a bit much to me, but I made the recipe as is.

At the end of the cook time, the stew smelled fantastic. I was so excited to dig in! However, after taking my first bite, the dominant flavor was salt. The seasoning made this stew very, very salty, and at first, I thought it would be too much for me. I do feel like I am more sensitive to salt than some people, and Rick didn’t seem overly bothered by it, but for me, it was way too salty.

Other than the salt, the beef stew had a really good flavor. The gravy wasn’t too thick, so it was perfect for a beef stew.

I plan on playing around with this seasoning a bit more (but in smaller quantities), so look for those recipes in the future!

Chunky Beef Stew
1/3 cup Shirley J Dutch Oven & Slow Cooker Beef Seasoning
2 cups water
1.25 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 bay leaf
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1 onion, chopped
3 potatoes, peeled and diced
4 carrots, chopped (I used a big handful of baby carrots)
2 ribs of celery, chopped

Chop all vegetables into hearty chunks. Mix water and beef seasoning and add to your crockpot, along with the remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 10-12 hours or on high for 4-6. Enjoy!


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Menu Nov. 19-23

Saturday: L: hot dogs; D: out
Sunday: L: leftovers; D: Chicken pot pie
Monday: Chicken broccoli supreme
Tuesday: Swiss casserole chicken (blog post updated with changes to the recipe!)
Wednesday: Pizza

To make over the weekend:
Whole chicken and broth
Pumpkin muffins

Find more menu ideas at Menu Plan Monday.

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Sweet and Spicy Chicken

Rick and I just got back from a wonderful vacation! We cruised the Southern Caribbean, making stops in the Bahamas, Curacao, and Aruba. It was a very refreshing 7 days, but now we’re back home and looking forward to the holidays!

Before we left for vacation, I planned ahead. I knew that when we returned home, we would be sick and tired of eating out and craving a home-cooked meal. However, with our plane landing at 6 p.m. on Saturday, I also knew that I probably wouldn’t have the time or the desire to go grocery shopping before lunch on Sunday.

That’s where I got the idea for a crockpot dump chicken recipe. It’s simple. Prepare all ingredients ahead of time, place in a gallon-sized freezer back, and freeze. Saturday night, all I did was move the freezer bag out of the freezer and into the fridge. It was defrosted by Sunday morning, so I popped it in the crockpot for 4 hours on low. All I had to do was whip up some rice and lunch was served! It worked out perfectly, and tasted great, too. Plus, we had about 4 more servings left for lunches during the week (it made 6 servings total).

Sweet and Spicy Chicken
Source: Recipe Goldmine

1.5 lb. chicken breast
1/4 cup taco seasoning
1 cup salsa
8 oz. apricot jam

To freeze: Place all ingredients in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Lay flat in freezer. The night before you want to prepare the meal, move the freezer bag from the freezer to the refrigerator and thaw overnight. In the morning, dump contents of freezer bag into crockpot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours. Shred chicken, serve over rice, and enjoy!

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