Not sure how many of you are like I was when it came to pot roast. I’ve made it every which way and I was never thrilled about any of them. Some turned out good but there were things missing in it that didn’t give it the punch I was searching for. Turns out I was over-thinking it too much and putting too many things in it. Pot Roast needs only simple ingredients and minimal spices. When I saw Pioneer Woman’s recipe for pot roast I figured I’d give it try. She has created what I believe to be the perfect pot roast. I used to always cook the potatoes with the roast but I never really did like them. They were always mushy and somehow flavorless. Instead of cooking the potatoes with the roast, serve the roast over mashed potatoes. It’s brilliant and exactly how this meal should always be served.
The biggest test of the meal was my husband. He’s not a big pot roast fan but the guy does love his food to be saucy and this recipe creates a wonderful sauce. He really liked it and he won’t wince anymore when I tell him we are having pot roast for dinner.
*Side note* The recipe for mashed potatoes is perfect to serve for holiday’s. I made them the day before Thanksgiving and when I served them for dinner they were just as creamy as the day I made them.
Pioneer Woman’s Pot Roast:
- 1 whole (4 To 5 Pounds) Chuck Roast
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 whole Onions
- 6 whole Carrots (Up To 8 Carrots)
- Salt To Taste
- Pepper To Taste
- 1 cup Red Wine (optional, You Can Use Beef Broth Instead)
- 2 cups To 3 Cups Beef Stock
- 3 sprigs Fresh Thyme, or more to taste
- 3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary, or more to taste
- Salt and pepper your chuck roast (make sure to get a nice marbled piece of meat, the fat adds flavor). Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil (or you can do a butter/olive oil split).
- Cut two onions in half and cut 6 to 8 carrots into 2-inch slices (you can peel them, but you don’t have to). When the oil in the pot is very hot (but not smoking), add in the halved onions, browning them on one side and then the other. Remove the onions to a plate.
- Throw the carrots into the same very hot pan and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so.
- If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the very hot pan. Place the meat in the pan and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate.
- With the burner still on high, use either red wine or beef broth (about 1 cup) to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a whisk to get all of that wonderful flavor up.
- When the bottom of the pan is sufficiently deglazed, place the roast back into the pan and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway (about 2 to 3 cups). Add in the onion and the carrots, as well as 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary and about 3 sprigs of fresh thyme.
- Put the lid on, then roast in a 275F oven for 3 hours (for a 3-pound roast). For a 4 to 5-pound roast, plan on 4 hours. Serve over mashed potatoes.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes:
- 5 pounds Russet Or Yukon Gold Potatoes
- 3/4 cups Butter
- 1 package (8 Oz.) Cream Cheese, Softened
- 1/2 cup (to 3/4 Cups) Half-and-Half
- 1/2 teaspoon (to 1 Teaspoon) Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (to 1 Teaspoon) Black Pepper
- Peel and cut the potatoes into pieces that are generally the same size. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 to 35 minutes. When they’re cooked through, the fork should easily slide into the potatoes with no resistance, and the potatoes should almost, but not totally, fall apart.
- Drain the potatoes in a large colander. When the potatoes have finished draining, place them back into the dry pot and put the pot on the stove. Mash the potatoes over low heat, allowing all the steam to escape, before adding in all the other ingredients.
- Turn off the stove and add 1 ½ sticks of butter, an 8-ounce package of cream cheese and about ½ cup of half-and-half. Mash, mash, mash! Next, add about ½ teaspoon of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and ½ a teaspoon of black pepper.
- Stir well and place in a medium-sized baking dish. Throw a few pats of butter over the top of the potatoes and place them in a 350-degree oven and heat until butter is melted and potatoes are warmed through.
- Note: When making this dish a day or two in advance, take it out of the fridge about 2 to 3 hours before serving time. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20 to 30 minutes or until warmed through.
Source: Pioneer Woman’s Pot Roast and Mashed Potatoes
I’ve been on a sweet kick lately so it’s time for something savory. The weather has turned cold and we even had our first big snow storm of the season last week. When there is 5-6 inches of snow in your yard you want something warm and comforting. This is where chicken and dumplings comes into play. Most chicken and dumplings can be very bland and not at all impressive. I’ve found a recipe that is neither one of those. Everything is full of flavor even down to the dumplings. I was impressed how the dill dumplings complimented the chicken stew. My whole family loved this and it’s now a regular in our house.
Chicken and Dumplings:
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 5 medium carrots, cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 cup (spooned and leveled) all-purpose flour
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, or 3/4 Teaspoon dried dill weed
- 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas
- In a Dutch oven (or a 5-to-6-quart heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid), heat butter over medium. Add onion, carrots, and thyme. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup flour and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly; season with salt and pepper. Nestle chicken in pot; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make dumplings: In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining 3/4 cup flour, dill, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. With a fork, gradually stir in 1/2 cup milk to form a moist and soft batter. It should be just a little thicker than pancake batter and should easily drop from the tip of a spoon. (Add additional 2 tablespoons milk if too thick.) Set aside.
- Stir peas into pot. Drop batter in simmering liquid in 10 heaping tablespoonfuls, keeping them spaced apart (dumplings will swell as they cook). Cover, and simmer until chicken is tender and dumplings are firm, 20 minutes. Serve.
I would first like to apologize for not posting in almost 2 weeks. We have had some hiccups with the house and I’ve had my main focus on those. Hopefully, we won’t be having many more hiccups and I can get back to blogging. Now, onto the food.
This dish is full of flavors. My favorite one being the fennel. I LOVE fennel! And anytime I can use it in a dish, I will. For those not familiar with it, it’s got a licorice taste. I personally don’t like the candy licorice, but fennel makes me swoon. I could go on and on about fennel, but there are other elements to the dish too. The couscous gets cooked in chicken broth and orange juice to give a wonderful flavor. The chicken gets a great browned exterior from the dredging in flour. But what’s best of all about this whole thing is that it’s all done 1 skillet! No need to dirty several pans. I am looking forward to making this recipe again. Enjoy!
Chicken and Couscous with Fennel and Orange:
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, tenderloins removed and breasts trimmed. (I bought cutlets and used 6 cutlets)
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion, sliced thin
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and sliced thin
- 1 cup plain couscous
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tbs)
- Cayenne Pepper
- 1 cup orange juice
- 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
- If you are not using cutlets, pound each chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to a uniform 1/2 inch thickness. Place the flour in a shallow dish. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Working with 1 chicken breast at a time, dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess.
- Heat 2 tbs of the oil in a 2 inch nonstick skillet over medium high heat until just smoking. Carefully lay the chicken breasts in the skillet and cook until well browned on the first side, 6-8 minutes.
- Flip the chicken breasts over, reduce the heat to medium, and continue to cook until the thickest part of the chicken registers 160-165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 6-8 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate, tent loosely with foil, and let rest while cooking the vegetables and couscous.
- Add 1 tbs more oil to the skillet and return to medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, fennel, and 1/2 tsp salt and cook until the onion is softened, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the couscous, garlic, and a pinch cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.. Stir in the 3/4 cup of the orange juice and broth, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to a simmer, cover, and let sit off the heat until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
- Whisk the remaining 5 tbs oil, remaining 1/4 cup orange juice, 2 tbs of the cilantro, and a pinch of the cayenne together in a small bowl.
- Gently fold the remaining 2 tbs cilantro into the couscous with a fork and season with salt and pepper to taste.. Drizzle the oil-orange juice mixture over the chicken and couscous before serving.
Several years ago my Aunt Terri went to a book signing for Ina Garten. She brought me back a signed copy of “Back to Basics” from Ina. It was/is one of my most prized cookbooks. She told me all about her time with Ina. While she was getting the books signed, my Aunt was having a wonderful time chatting with her. She told her about a recipe she created and would like to share with her. She gave Ina a recipe and that recipe was this panko crusted salmon.
Flash forward to October 2010. I receive a call from Aunt Terri. She had just received her copy of Ina’s new cookbook “How Easy Is That?” and inside was a recipe for Panko Crusted Salmon! She was telling how Ina changed some things up, but it was her recipe. I had to help calm her down cause she had mixed emotions on this. She was excited but wanted some sort of recognition, so here it is!
I will be honest with you, Aunt Terri’s recipe beats Ina’s recipe, hands down! I’m not just saying that because she’s family. My aunt has created what is THE BEST crust for salmon or any other fish. My husband does not like salmon, so when I make salmon for myself and the kids, I always have another fish to prepare for him. I put this crust on tilapia and Jim LOVED it! So don’t be afraid to try this on something other than salmon. I promise you, this recipe will become your favorite fish recipe.
Panko Crusted Salmon:
- ½ lb. butter (2 sticks)
- ¼ cup minced garlic
- ½ cup whole grain mustard
- ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tbs old bay seasoning
- 1 tbs salt
- 1 tbs cracked pepper
- 1 ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 (3-4 lb.) side of salmon, skin on, bones removed
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.
- Whip the butter with electric mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until fluffy.
- Add the next 7 ingredients and mix well. Mix in the panko crumbs by hand with a wooden spoon.
- Lay the salmon, skin side down on the baking sheet and remove excess moisture with a paper towel. Spread the panko mixture on the salmon to 1/4 inch thickness over the salmon. Bake for 30 minutes or until the fish begins to flake. *Note* if the layer of crust is thicker it will take longer to bake.
Source: Aunt Terri original
My husband has started his job 2 hours away from us and once the kids are done with school we will be joining him. Till then, we get to see him on the weekends. I worry about what he would be eating during the week I’m not around. He can cook if he has to, but he’s not comfortable with it. I’ve spoiled him way too much.
So, I’ve been making dinners on the weekends with enough to give him extra for dinners throughout the week. I love finding recipes that are great make-ahead dinners. I doubled this recipe to make sure I had enough for dinner that night and for hubster to have dinner later in the week. The kids and I really enjoyed it. It had the perfect chili flavor one would expect and the pasta and cheese made it even better. I ended up freezing the dish I set aside for my husband and sent it off with him that way. When he was finally able to get around eating it, he said he loved it. This makes a great make-ahead dinner as it froze really well and tasted even better doing it that way.
Chili Cheese Pasta Bake:
*I doubled this recipe with no issues
- 1/2 pound elbow macaroni or any other twisty shaped pasta
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (85% lean)
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 12 oz Colby Jack cheese, shredded (about 2 1/2 cups)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and add dry macaroni; cook until al dente. Reserve 3/4 cup pasta water and drain pasta. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
- Using the same large pot, wipe dry and heat over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil and heat until shimmering. Add ground beef and break it up in pieces to brown. Once browned, remove from pot and discard drippings. Set beef aside.
- Add remaining oil to the same large pot and return to medium heat until shimmering. Add onions, garlic, red pepper, chili powder, and cumin; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and begin to brown.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, brown sugar, reserved 3/4 cup pasta water and beef to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until flavors have blended.
- Stir in the cooked pasta, 1/2 cup of shredded cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer mixture to a 9×13 baking dish and smooth over with a spatula. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the mixture is hot and bubbling.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle the top of the dish with the remaining shredded cheese. Return the dish once again in the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes until the cheese begins to melt and brown. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Source: Joelen Blog
via Cook’s Illustrated
What a crazy week I’ve had. Heck, the next month or two is going to be crazy due to my son’s baseball, finding a house, and then planning the move. But I wouldn’t ask for anything else. I have a decent stockpile of recipes to share but no time to sit down and get them on the blog. But I do want to share with you my review on a new product until I can focus a little better.
When I got the KC Masterpiece Souther Style Barbecue Sauce in the mail, my plan was to get my charcoal grill ready for barbecue chicken. But, when the day came and I had everything ready, the skies opened up and said you will not be grilling today. Instead, I threw the chicken in the oven and smothered it with the barbecue sauce and baked it for about an hour. The barbecue sauce itself is a lot thinner than most other sauces. It’s really tangy and has a nice kick from the red peppers. I wasn’t too excited about it over the chicken. I personally think it would be much better with pulled pork or a beef brisket. I love a tangier sauce with my beef brisket.
Overall: KC Masterpiece has a winner with the Southern Style Barbecue Sauce. When I buy a bottled sauce I always get KC Masterpiece and will continue to do so. I recommend using it with pork or a beef brisket. But try it and see which way you like it best.
Note: I was not paid for this post; the opinions and views are strictly my own.
I think I might have a new goal; trying to make as many dishes I can out of the America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook. I have made a handful of recipes so far and they all have been really good. The biggest plus is that they are healthier for you. The newest one I tried was the Creamy Chicken and Spinach Casserole. I ended up doubling the recipe to make sure we had enough for everyone and it doubled nicely. The only thing I didn’t double was the spinach. I felt the one box of frozen chopped spinach I had was just enough for the dish. If I would have added another 10 oz box, it would have overpowered the dish. The kids and hubby really enjoyed it and my son had more than his fair share so I’m glad I doubled it.
Creamy Chicken and Spinach Casserole:
- 1 1/2 tbs olive oil
- 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and sliced thin
- 1 onion, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tbs all-purpose flour
- 4 cups 1% lowfat milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 10 oz frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry and chopped coarse. (chopped spinach is also good)
- Salt and Pepper
- 8 oz whole-wheat penne
- 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 2 oz)
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly coat an 8 inch square baking dish with vegetable oil spray and set aside.
- Heat 1 1/2 tsp of the oil in a 12 inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken, break up any clumps, and cook until lightly browned but not fully cooked, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
- Add the remaining tablespoon oil to the skillet and return medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.
- Return the chicken with any accumulated juice to the skillet. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 minute. Off the heat, discard the bay leaf and stir in the Parmesan and lemon juice. Stir in the spinach, breaking up any clumps, until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Add the pasta and 1 tbs salt and cook, stirring often, until almost al dente but still firm to the bite. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
- Add the chicken-spinach mixture and reserved cooking water to the pasta and toss to combine. Pour the pasta into prepared baking dish and sprinkle evenly with the mozzarella. Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is lightly browned, about 15 minutes. let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Source: America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook