The Time You Save & A Calphalon Giveaway

With the holiday season just around the corner, time with family and friends is so important. The holidays can be very hectic, between the shopping and party planning, but if you can save some time on the day to day tasks (like cooking for your family/cleaning up afterwards), you can definitely etch out some time with your loved ones.

Calphalon recently relaunched their popular Contemporary Nonstick line, and is all about helping families save time with “The Time You Save” campaign. One of the key new perks about the cookware is that it’s now dishwasher safe! So, you can make your quick, weeknight meals, rinse the pot/pan out & place it straight in the dishwasher with your plates & utensils. Calphalon realizes that The Time You Save is valuable, so taking away the task of doing the dishes after a meal is great! You can now take some time away from the kitchen, and instead, enjoy that time with your family decorating the house, wrapping gifts or building a gingerbread house for the holidays! :-)

Also, along with Calphalon’s “The Time You Save” campaign, I wanted to share a couple of recipes with y’all, featuring their new cookware that requires very little hands-on time in the kitchen. :-)

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Calphalon sent me their new panini pan, as well as their 8 quart multi-pot with steamer to use for some time-saving recipes. I used their panini pan to make a chicken panini, using leftover roasted chicken, and I used the multi-pot to make a chicken tortilla soup.

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20 Minute (Pressure Cooker) Beef Stew

20 Minute Beef Stew

This past Christmas, my Mom and Dad generously gifted us with an electric pressure cooker. I opened it, and quickly imagined a pressure cooker explosion in my kitchen. I’ve always heard that pressure cooking can be dangerous, so I was pretty worried about using this. However, I did a little research, and they make pressure cookers a lot safer nowadays. Thankfully.

It took me a while to finally break this bad boy in, but after the St. Patrick’s Day parade, we found our fridge FULL of vegetables that we caught that afternoon (What? They don’t throw vegetables at your St. Paddy’s Day parade?!). With all of these root veggies, I just had to make beef stew, and I figured why not try the pressure cooker for this? I did a quick search for pressure cooker beef stew, and this Williams Sonoma recipe caught my eye. 20 minute beef stew? HOW?!

My husband and I were skeptical. In fact, we had our Le Creuset at the ready in case the meat was too tough/not cooked. I just didn’t think this would work, y’all. However, after 20 minutes of pressurized cooking (I say pressurized, because you have to wait for the appliance to reach the right pressure before the timer counts down, which took about 15 extra minutes), we had the most tender, flavorful beef stew. I’m a believer. We definitely need to use this appliance more often!

20 Minute (Pressure Cooker) Beef Stew
Source: Williams-Sonoma

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb. boneless stewing beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb. new potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, add the beef and toss it with the flour, salt and pepper to coat the beef evenly. Put your electric pressure cooker on the “brown” setting, and add the olive oil as the cooker is warming up. Add the beef in batches and brown the beef pieces on all sides, for about 3-4 minutes. Transfer the browned beef to a bowl, and repeat until all of the beef is browned.
  2. Change the setting on the pressure cooker to “simmer” and add the red wine, stirring to scrape up the browned bits of meat. Once your finished, add the beef back in, along with the chopped onion, garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes, tomato paste, stock and thyme. Stir everything together to combine. Cover the pressure cooker (and seal), change the setting to “high pressure”and set the timer to 20 minutes on the cooker (do not use a kitchen timer…it’s crucial to use the timer on your appliance since the timer starts when it reaches the desired pressure to cook).
  3. Release the pressure naturally (which takes another 10-20 minutes, depending on your appliance), and then uncover. If you would like the liquid to be thicker, you can transfer the beef and vegetables to another bowl, set the pressure cooker to the “brown” setting and cook the liquid down until it’s reduced to the consistency that you want. Add the beef and vegetables back in, and serve immediately. Enjoy!

 

 

Boeuf Bourguignon

Like so many food bloggers, I watched Julie and Julia. I will admit, as a child, I hated when my mom watched Julia Child. I couldn’t understand a word she was saying, and heck, there was Nickelodeon to watch!

After watching this movie, I was inspired and knew I had to make this dish. I’ve been making it for a while now, but one of my blogger friends asked me to make this and show it step-by-step. Please realize that there is NO natural light in my kitchen, just in the dining area, so I did my best on the step-by step pictures!

I used a version found on Joelen’s Culinary Adventures, because it was done in steps, which made it way easier! Thanks Joelen!

Oh, and yes, this stuff is amazing. If you have time and a devoted dish washer (yes, this uses a LOT of dishes), definitely make this!

Boeuf Bourguignon
Source: found on Joelen’s Culinary Adventures, originally by Julia Child, mildly adapted by me

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces bacon
  • 3 pounds lean stewing beef , cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1 sliced large onion
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 3 cups full-bodied, young red wine , such as a Chianti (used Merlot)
  • 2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • Bay leaf
  • Chopped parsley for garnish

For onions:

  • 18 to 24 small white onions (white pearl onions)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup wine (same type used in beef)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • salt and ground pepper
  • 2 tsp. parsley

For mushrooms:

  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp. butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Sauté the bacon in a dutch oven (no oil) over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. (The bacon will render and give off enough fat to cook with.) Remove the bacon from the pot and place in a bowl; set aside.

Dry the stewing beef in paper towels – it will not brown if it is damp. Add the beef, a few pieces at a time, to the dutch oven to cook in the rendered bacon fat. Sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Remove the beef from the pot and add it to the bacon in the bowl; set aside.


If the bacon fat has been absorbed by sauteing the beef at this point, feel free to add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. In the pot, brown the carrots and onions.

Return the beef and bacon to the pot and toss with the salt and pepper. Sprinkle on the flour over the meat in the pot and toss everything in the pot to coat the beef lightly with the flour. On the stovetop, heat the pot for about 2-3 minutes to lightly cook off some of the flour.

To the pot, stir in the wine along with the stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to simmer on top of the stove.

Then cover the pot and set in lower third of preheated oven. Allow the pot to braise very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

I decided to stop here for the evening and let the beef cool for an hour or so out of the oven and then refrigerate overnight. It’s a good stopping point and you can resume with the onions or mushrooms. OR, if you are ambitious, do these vegetables while the beef is in the oven. :)
For the onions – place the peeled onions in a skillet with the butter and sear them until they start to brown, move to a medium saucepan, adding the wine, water and herbs. Saute on low for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

For the mushrooms -  place butter in the same skillet used to prepare the onions. Saute the mushrooms in the butter until they start to brown. Remove from the skillet and set them aside to cool.

After the meat is braised in the oven or brought back up to temperature on a stovetop, remove and strain the beef and vegetables from the pot with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl; set aside. With the remaining sauce left in the pot, allow it to simmer. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down rapidly to reduce and thicken. If it’s too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or canned bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning.

At this point, return the beef and vegetables to the thickened sauce, along with the caramelized pearl onions and mushrooms. Gently heat everything over a medium low heat and then serve with egg noodles, rice or potatoes. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Cheddar Chicken Chowder

chickenchowder

I hope everyone had an awesome Halloween! I can’t believe we are already less than a month away from Thanksgiving. Since the weather’s changing, I asked my husband if he was up for a soup. I already had a recipe in mind, after seeing it on Dinner Delish. It sounded like a new way to use up chicken, besides grilling or baking it, and it was, most importantly, SKINNY!

This soup definitely did not taste skinny, and my husband and I gobbled it up! It was delicious and not too hard to put together either!

Cheddar Chicken Chowder
Source: Cooking Light (originally found on Dinner Delish)

Ingredients:

  • 2  bacon slices
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  pound  skinned, boned chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1  cup  chopped onion
  • 1  cup  diced red bell pepper
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 1/2  cups  fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 3/4  cups  diced peeled red potatoes
  • 2 1/4  cups  frozen whole-kernel corn
  • 1/2  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 2  cups  2% low-fat milk
  • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan. Crumble; set aside.
  2. Add chicken, onion, bell pepper, and garlic to bacon fat in pan; sauté 5 minutes. Add broth and potatoes; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add corn; stir well.
  3. Place flour in a bowl. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended; add to soup. Cook over medium heat 15 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently.
  4. Stir in cheese, salt, and pepper. Top with crumbled bacon.

The Skinny – serves 6, Serving Size is 1.5 cups

Calories: 306
Fat: 7.5 g
Fiber: 2.9 g

Gumbeaux

Now, if you are from New Orleans, you probably get the gist of what I’m saying…we like to end our words normally ending with an “o” with an “eaux” instead. Why? Because we are special…

Other weird things (at least that I know of) that we like to say….

Neutral ground = street median

If I’m going to a Mardi Gras parade, trying to find someone, you either stand on the neutral ground side or the shoulder side of the street.

Brake tag = inspection sticker
Every year, you get a sticker to check your brake lights, blinkers, etc. This, to people from the NOLA area, is a brake tag folks.

Sha = term for friend/child/whatever…people can call you sha (a pronounced like a in apple)
You’ll sometimes hear someone greet another person…whatcha doin’ der sha? Seriously..don’t judge us.

Geaux = Go
If you ever find yourself in the lucky 92,000 people who are able to squeeze into Tiger Stadium (LSU) on a Saturday night, we don’t scream “GO TIGERS!”, rather it’s “GEAUX TIGERS!” Pronounced just the same, but it feels special. :)

Now, don’t let our vocabulary deter you from trying a bowl of this amazingness. Gumbo (yes, I’ll be normal for the rest of this blog entry) isn’t too crazy. It’s basically a smokey stew of chicken/sausage or seafood on rice. If you want to be adventurous, you can add frog legs or alligator, but folks, I’ll keep this simple.

The base of most cajun dishes is a good, dark roux. I will admit, this being my first time, I was very intimidated of burning the roux. Burnt roux isn’t good in gumbo. So, after watching my favorite Food Network chef, Alton Brown, try to master gumbo, I decided to use some parts of his recipe to help me out.

His method? Oven baked roux….perfection, right? It worked out really really well for us. Oh yeah and my hubs gave a HUGE helping hand during this. There is a lot going on at once, and since I’m new to cooking, I don’t think I could have done it alone.

However, in the recipe, it only makes 5 qts. of gumbo.

I would like to say that in Louisiana, just making a 5 qt. pot of gumbo is not only shameful, it’s downright rude…hehe. :) When making gumbo, you invite people over and 5 qts. just won’t make the cajun appetite very happy at all. So, we doubled the recipe and made HEAVY changes to it.

I present to you – chicken, andouille, sausage and crab gumbo.

IMG_0364

Chicken, Andouille, Sausage and Crab Gumbo
Inspired by: Alton Brown

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 2-3 lbs. of pre-boiled crabs, cleaned but meat still in shell (we split up the body and claws and just threw them in the pot)
  • 1 gallon water
  • 6 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1  diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced green peppers
  • 4 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 pound andouille sausage
  • 1 pound pork sausage
  • 2 lbs. chicken boneless chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon file powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the vegetable oil and flour into a 5 to 6-quart cast iron Dutch oven and whisk together to combine. Place on the middle shelf of the oven, uncovered, and bake for 1 1/2 hours (or until dark brown/brick colored), whisking 2 to 3 times throughout the cooking process.
  3. After the roux bakes for 30 minutes, cut up the chicken breasts into small chunks. Place the chicken in a pot (at least 12 qts.) with a gallon of water and the bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil and reduce heat a little to simmer for 1 hour.
  4. Once the roux is done, carefully remove it from the oven and set over medium-high heat. Gently add the onions, celery, green peppers and garlic and cook, moving constantly for 7 to 8 minutes or until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add the salt, black pepper, thyme, basil, cayenne pepper, and bay leaves and stir to combine.  Place the mixture in the 12 qt. pot with the chicken, stirring to avoid clumps of roux in the gumbo. Add sausage and andouille. Decrease the heat to low, cover and cook for 25-35 minutes, until the sausage looks done and the chicken shreds easily. Turn off the heat, add the crabs to combine. Add the file powder while stirring constantly. Cover and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes prior to serving. Serve over rice.

Beef Daube Provencal

I was searching for the perfect beef stew recipe, and was pointed out to this recipe by someone on the What’s Cooking board that I frequent. I have to thank her so much for pointing me to this recipe because I would have never made it or known to search for it. :) This was a wonderful recipe! FI went for seconds and he RARELY does that for anything I cook! I guess my skills are growing!

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Beef Daube Provencal
Source: Cooking Light

Ingredients:

  • 2  teaspoons  olive oil
  • 12  garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1  (2-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes (I used extra lean stew meat)
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  salt, divided
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1  cup  red wine (I used 12 oz.)
  • 2  cups  chopped carrot
  • 1 1/2  cups  chopped onion
  • 1/2  cup  less-sodium beef broth
  • 1  tablespoon  tomato paste
  • 1  teaspoon  chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1  teaspoon  chopped fresh thyme
  • Dash of ground cloves
  • 1  (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1  bay leaf
  • 3  cups  hot cooked medium egg noodles (about 4 cups uncooked noodles)
  • Chopped fresh thyme (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°.
  2. Heat olive oil in a small Dutch oven over low heat. Add garlic to pan; cook for 5 minutes or until garlic is fragrant, stirring occasionally. Remove garlic with a slotted spoon; set aside. Increase heat to medium-high. Add beef to pan. Sprinkle beef with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove beef from pan. Add wine to pan, and bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add garlic, beef, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, carrot, and next 8 ingredients (through bay leaf) to pan; bring to a boil.
  3. Cover and bake at 300° for 2 1/2 hours or until beef is tender. Discard bay leaf. Serve over noodles. Garnish with chopped fresh thyme, if desired.

Note: To make in a slow cooker, prepare through Step 2. Place beef mixture in an electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 5 hours.

Serves: 6

POINTS*: 8 (with noodles)