Monday, December 05, 2011

Cooking with fire

I don't cook much (well, I don't count Let's Dish meals as cooking). But when we got back from vacation, we found ourselves in a situation where there were only 10 Let's Dish meals in the freezer and 21 days until our next Let's Dish trip. Now I like eating out and all, but 11 days in three weeks seemed like a lot.

So, since we also found ourselves with quite a bit of fresh and frozen produce from our CSA deliveries, I decided to cook not one but TWO meals from scratch - a beef stew, and a chicken pot pie.


The chicken pot pie was pretty easy. I pretty much based it off of this recipe.

Cut 3 large chicken breasts (about 1.5lbs) in half lengthwise and sautee in 2tbsp olive oil until cooked through. Remove from pan, cool slightly and dice into bite-sized chunks. Add 1c Swanson chicken cooking stock to pan. Add 2 cups mixed vegetables - I used fresh celery, carrots, green beans, and frozen peas. Cover and simmer until crisp-tender. Stir in 1 can Campbell's cream of chicken with herbs soup. Combine with diced chicken and pour into an 8"x8" baking dish. Top with crescent roll dough (I used 6 of the 8 triangles in the package) and bake at 375 for 11-12 minutes.


The beef stew was a bit more involved. I again started with a recipe, but I made a few more changes to this one.

Mix 3tbsp flour with salt and pepper to taste in a large ziplock bag. Add 3 pounds beef stew cubes and shake to coat. Sautee beef in 3tbsp olive oil in a large pot until well browned. Add 4 minced garlic cloves and cook for another 1-2 min. Add 1/2c red wine and 1 carton of Swanson beef cooking stock to pot to deglaze (stir/scrape bottom of pot well). Stir in about 3oz (half of a small can) of tomato paste.

Add 2 sliced carrots, 3 ribs of diced celery, and three medium diced potatoes to pot. Add 2 bay leaves, 1/2tsp garlic powder, 1/2tsp dried thyme and 1tbsp dried parsley. Cook stew on medium-low for ~2 hours, stirring well every 20-30 minutes. Stew will be pretty thick. Add 1/2c water, 1 drained jar of pearl onions, 1/2c frozen peas and 1 package of white button mushrooms (halved or quartered depending on size). Cook for another 20-30 minutes, and adjust seasonings to taste.


Both recipes made about 6 servings. I froze the leftover pot pie in a tupperware container (lifted off the crust, scooped the filling into the tupperware, and then replaced the crust as best I could). The beef stew I ladled into 1qt freezer bags and froze.

So, I guess it's good to know we won't starve, or go into debt eating out, if Let's Dish ever goes out of business. (Please don't go out of business...) I thought both were pretty good. Matt said the stew was "just okay" but I think he was an unfair taster because he's been sick for the past 4 days.

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