Thursday, March 29, 2012

Corned Beef and Cabbage Stew

For St. Patrick's Day, along with the Irish Soda Bread, I make corned beef and cabbage stew. It is pretty easy to make and quite tasty.

Here are the ingredients:
  • corned beef brisket (most supermarkets sell these with a seasoning packet in the bag.)
  • 3 or 4 potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • carrots, chunked (I usually use the baby cut carrots because that is what I have on hand and you don't have to peel them!)
  • a bag of parsnips, peeled and chunked
  • 1 onion, cut into about 6 wedges
  • 1 head of cabbage, sliced and chopped
Here's what you do:
  • Place the brisket in a stockpot and cover with water, adding the seasoning packet and juices from the wrapping. Boil for about an hour and a half to two hours...until the meat is done.
  • Remove the brisket and strain the water into another stockpot. Into the water, add the potatoes and bring to a boil. 
  • After about 20 minutes, add the carrots and parsnips. 
    • Meanwhile, slice the brisket and cut into bite-sized cubes. Add the meat to the pot of vegetables.
  • Add the cabbage and onion and cook until the cabbage is tender.
  • Serve alone or with some bread. (I made beer bread from Tastefully Simple. I used a Guinness in it! So tasty!!!) And enjoy!

Did I enjoy it?
Every year I make it! 

Would I recommend it? I would recommend it. As I said, it is easy to make and feeds a lot. I love the flavors and heartiness of this stew. It's great for those sometimes cool March evenings. (Unlike this year when it was like 80 degrees!!!)

Will I make it again?  Next year at St. Patrick's Day! (I really should make it more often than that!)

If you make it, or if you have had it, let me know what you think!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Irish Soda Bread

Every year for the past 10-15 years, I have made Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick's Day for my family. I love it and they seem to like it, too! So, here is my recipe.

What you need:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps baking powder (this is very important!!! do not use baking soda!!!! see pictures below)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1+ tbsp caraway seeds
Here's what you do:
  • preheat the oven to 350
  • combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl
  • in a separate measuring cup or small bowl, beat the eggs with the butttermilk (I use a large measuring cup. I pour in the milk then add the eggs. I use a whisk to beat these two together.) 
    • add this mixture to the flour mixture and mix with a spoon or spatula
  • stir in the raisins and the caraway seeds
  • pour the dough onto a lightly floured board and shape the dough into a round loaf, adding flour if necessary
    • This dough is very, very sticky!!! I usually use gloves because it is such a pain to wash off my hands. This last time I made this bread, I poured the dough directly into my pan and formed it there. It worked well. But, if this is your first time making this recipe, use the board and for the loaf before you put it in the pan.
  • place the loaf in a greased (or cooking sprayed) and floured cast iron skillet
    • sprinkle the top of the loaf with caraway seeds
    • use a knife to cut an "X" in the top of the loaf (this is not necessary but looks pretty neat)
  • bake for about 1 hour (my new oven seems to cook a bit faster, so I started checking the bread after 45 minutes) or until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped
Cool the loaf on a cooling rack. Slice and serve with (or without) butter. (I like it with butter!)

made with baking powder

made with baking soda

You are probably wondering why I am showing you pictures of Irish Soda Bread made with and without baking powder. I am doing this so that you do not make the same mistake I did!!! The first loaf I made was done with baking soda...I don't know why but I made the mistake. As you can see from the pictures, the loaf came out much thinner and darker with the baking soda. The bread made with the baking soda also tasted different. It was drier and not as moist. It really wasn't that good. My husband thought it was fine...different, not as good, but fine. (He still ate it! He is so sweet!)

The lighter one is the one made correctly, with baking POWDER!
Did I enjoy it? I always enjoy this recipe. It doesn't take much time to make and it is so delicious! 

Would I recommend it? I would. This is an easy recipe - especially for those who have never made soda bread before. Just be sure to use baking POWDER!!!!

Will I make it again?  Absolutely!!!

If you make it, or if you have had it, let me know what you think!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bacon and Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

I needed a side dish to go along with the flank steak we made for dinner the other night. I love potatoes and my Cooking Light magazine had this recipe: Bacon and Cheddar Mashed Potatoes.

These were so easy to make and took hardly any time to make them. I used more bacon slices than were called for...I mean, 2 slices, that's not enough! I mixed the bacon pieces in with the potatoes...not just put them on top! 

Did I enjoy it? I really did. They were quite tasty and easy to make.

Would I recommend it? I would. It was a quick side dish that went well with steak.

Will I make it again?  I most definitely will.

If you make it, or if you have had it, let me know what you think!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Chicken Mini Empanadas

I wanted an appetizer for my son's first birthday party and I found Chicken Mini Empanadas in my December 2010 issue of Food Network Magazine.

I had some issues with this recipe. The filling was great and rather easy to make...very tasty! I could have just eaten the filling with a fork all by itself.

However, the vessel was terrible!!! I used the premade refrigerated pie crust and cut the 3 inch circles to fill with the chicken mixture. I could not get the empanadas to fold nicely at all. I even tried making squares. It was not good. Here is a picture of the finished product.

The next day (I had some filling left over), I tried making the empanadas with gyoza wrappers. The gyoza wrappers were much easier to fill and fold. I baked them in the oven but they did not look too pretty. I'm going to have to try to pan-fry them or broil them next time.

Did I enjoy it?
I really like the filling. The pie crust vessel, not so much. The gyoza wrapper was better but I have to find a better way to cook it.

Would I recommend it? I would because the filling was so good. But I warn you, the 3 inch  pie crust round is too small. I would make it bigger.

Will I make it again?  I will. I'll let you know if I come up with an easier way to wrap them up.

If you make it, or if you have had it, let me know what you think!