Crock-Pot Beef Stew

 

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Now that summer is beginning to wind down I am eagerly looking ahead to the crisp, cool days of fall and I am excited to break out all of my recipes for cozy, warm, comfort food. Stew happens to be one of my favorites and there is nothing like a hot bowl of stew on a cold fall night. I don’t recall where I first came across this recipe as I’ve been making it for over 20 years!…………long before Pinterest, Facebook, and the zillions of internet cooking sites that exist today. It’s super easy to pull together and you can even prep everything the night before and just place the bowl in the Crock-Pot in the morning. Within a few hours your house will smell amazing and you will have a hot meal to put on the table. I like to serve this stew with a nice crusty loaf of bread and a glass of red wine.

There is a lot of leeway with this recipe in terms of what goes into it so don’t be afraid to play around with the ingredients. If you prefer the flavor of an Irish Beef Stew, just substitute the red wine with a good Guinness beer instead. If you want to be “fancy” you can try out different vegetables such as parsnips or daikon in place of the carrots or potatoes. No matter what flavor profile you’re going for you will end up with a delicious, hearty stew. Be sure to taste your stew right before serving and adjust the seasonings as needed. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2.5 to 3  lbs stew meat cut into 1″ chunks
  • 1 lb bag of baby carrots
  • 3-4 large potatoes, cubed
  • 2 onions, quartered 
  • 2 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 envelope Lipton Beefy Onion soup 
  • 3/4 c ketchup 
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup good red wine (or Guinness
  • 1 tbs parsley
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste 

Instructions

Place the meat in the bottom of the Crock-Pot and cover with the vegetables. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and parsley.

Mix the soup packet, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce with the water and wine until well combined. Pour the liquid over the vegetables and meat. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hrs, or until beef is fork tender.

To thicken the sauce, remove the vegetables and meat with a slotted spoon and increase the Crock-Pot to high. Stir in a slurry of 2 tbs of flour combined with a 1/4 cup of water and cook for 3-5 minutes or until sauce thickens. Alternatively, you can leave everything in the pot and add a few shakes of Wondra thickening flour to the pot towards the end of cooking.

 

French Onion Soup Gratinee

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French Onion Soup is one of my favorites and I’ve tried it out at countless restaurants over the years. Some have been delicious, some have been just okay and others have tasted like dish water. But this recipe right here is top-notch! I am heads over heels in love with this version and it’s the only one I make in my kitchen. This soup is rich, beefy, and has such a nice complex flavor. It’s an amazing dish to have on a cold winters night, just add a crusty loaf of bread and a nice glass of wine and you have a perfect evening meal!

When making this dish, make sure you take the time to fully caramelize the onions. It’s the “hardest” step of this soup but it will yield an incredible flavor when it’s finished. Wine is also called for in this recipe, I almost always use Bogle Merlot but by all means, use whatever red wine is your favorite or that you have on hand. Lastly, don’t feel obligated to stick to only mozzarella cheese on top. I am always changing up what cheese I use and sometimes I use a blend. My favorites are Gruyère, Asiago, Parmesan, and of course, mozzarella. You can’t go wrong with any of these!

Ingredients

  • 5 tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 lg red onions, sliced thin
  • 2 lg vidalia onions, sliced thin 
  • 48 oz chicken stock (I prefer the Kitchen Basics brand
  • 14 oz beef broth
  • 3/4 cup good red wine
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce 
  • 2 sprigs fresh parsley 
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme 
  • 1-2 bay leaves 
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 4 thick slices of rustic, crusty bread
  • 8 slices of Gruyère
  • 8 slices of mozzarella
  • Parmesan, for sprinkling

Instructions

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in salt, pepper, and onions. Cook 35 minutes, stirring frequently, until caramelized and almost syrupy. If the onions start to stick to the pan too much, lower the heat and add a little extra butter.

Add the wine and deglaze the pan. Add in the Worcestershire, chicken stock and beef broth. Bundle the herbs in a tea strainer or cheesecloth and add them to the pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer over medium heat for about 25-30 minutes.

Remove the herb bundle, add the vinegar and adjust seasonings. Cover and keep on low while you prepare the bowls.

Preheat broiler. Place 4 oven safe bowls on a sturdy cookie sheet. Place one slice of bread in each bowl and then ladle in the soup. Top with cheese. Broil until brown and bubbly. Serve hot.

 

 

Mommy’s Chicken Soup

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There is nothing better when you’re feeling a little under the weather than a hot, steaming bowl of homemade chicken soup. It is so warm and comforting and for me, it always reminds me of being a kid. I grew up on my Mom’s chicken soup, it was a staple in our house in the wintertime and one of the meals I’d often request if I got to choose. It’s a very basic, simple recipe but it’s just perfect!

I use to make this on the stovetop and let it simmer most of the day until the chicken was cooked through and falling from the bone. The problem is, cooking it this way binds you to the house for hours so instead, I starting making it in my Crock Pot. It comes out great every time and you’re free to go about your day and then come home to a nice, hot meal. I usually cook this on low for about 7 hours or until the chicken easily falls from the bone. If you get a late start and are pressed for time, you can also cook it on high for about 5 hours or again, until the chicken falls from the bone. You can even cook it with frozen chicken, you will just have to adjust the cooking time and let it go a touch longer.

This soup will keep for about 2-3 days in the fridge and it can also be frozen. If you freeze it, you may need to add a little more stock to the pot when you warm it back up. Also, do NOT add the pasta directly to the pot of soup. The pasta will absorb all of the broth and become mushy so I keep the pasta separate and add it it to the individual bowls as I am serving.

Ingredients

  • 1 box (32 oz) of good chicken stock (I like Kitchen Basics brand)
  • 2 cups of cold water
  • 2 large bone in split chicken breasts
  • 2 cups of petite baby carrots or about 2-3 carrots sliced
  • 3 ribs of celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbs parsley
  • 1 package of wide egg noodles or orzo pasta

Instructions

Place the chicken in the bottom of the Crock Pot then add all of the veggies and seasonings. Pour in the chicken stock and water. Cover and cook on low for about 7 hours or until the chicken falls easily from the bone.

Towards the end of the cooking, boil the pasta and set aside. You can a little olive oil to the pasta to prevent it from sticking and forming a clump.

Remove the chicken from the Crock Pot and using two forks, pull the chicken from the bone. Discard all of the bones and skin and then return the chicken to the pot. Adjust seasonings as needed.

Place a scoop of pasta into a soup bowl, cover with a hearty ladling of soup, and serve hot. Enjoy!