Monday, March 24, 2014

Beef Stew

Beef stew just screams "comfort food" to me. I'm not sure why, but I haven't made it in years. I stumbled across this particular recipe on about a month ago and it was to die for! The beef literally melted in your mouth and the vegetables remained slightly crisp...far from being overcooked. When I've made beef stew in the past, I've found the meat to be rather dry and tough and the vegetables to be mushy. I read through a great number of the reviews, prior to making it, and I did take a few suggestions, in addition to tweaking it a bit on my own. The original recipe did call for 3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed, but my family prefers it served over mashed potatoes, so we omitted them in the stew. If you prefer to add them while cooking, they would be added to the pot the same time as the other veggies. As written, this recipe should easily feed 5-6 people.

1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 lbs cubed stew meat
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
32 oz beef broth (or 4 beef bouillon cubes, dissolved in 4 cups water)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
6 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces (or 1 lb baby carrots)
6 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
4 teaspoons cornstarch
4 teaspoons cold water

Combine flour, garlic powder, pepper and onion powder in large ziploc bag or bowl. Add cubed stew meat and shake to coat.

In a large pot or dutch oven, cook beef in oil over medium heat until brown. Add beef broth to pot. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, parsley, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour.

Stir carrots, celery, and onion into the pot. Dissolve cornstarch in 4 teaspoons cold water and stir into stew. Cover and simmer 1 hour more.

Serve over mashed potatoes.

Source: Adapted from

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Crispy Baked Chicken Leg Quarters

SO very hard to believe that two years have passed since my last post! That being said, the past two years have been quite the whirlwind! We found out in early February 2012 that we were expecting our third child. I was plagued with AWFUL morning sickness, so cooking and my blog were put on the back burner. Our daughter, Alexa Rae, was born at 32 weeks and spent nearly a month in the NICU. During that time, I was feeling very overwhelmed and in quite the "funk"--didn't have the motivation to do much of anything, aside from my more routine daily activities. I was also working quite a bit more, as my husband completed nursing school. Quite to our surprise, we found out that we were expecting our fourth child the day before my husband graduated...last May 2013. We ALWAYS said we wanted four, but were stunned that it happened so quickly...our baby was only 8 months old when we found out! We have since welcomed Isabella Rose...she was born on December 28, 2013 and we are ecstatic to have completed our family. Having two "babies", sixteen months apart, has proven to be a bit challenging, but I'm finally feeling like I've established my own little routine and have really gotten the knack of being the mommy of four! I've noticed that over the past couple of years, between the everyday craziness and living on such a strict budget, I haven't been quite as adventurous with my cooking, only occasionally trying a new recipe that catches my eye. Although my husband has now graduated and is working full-time, we are still very much living on a budget, between playing catch-up with bills and the fact that I've been on maternity leave for going on 3 months. Having the four little ones makes grocery shopping next to impossible. Even if I was to go during the day, while my older two are in school, I'd still have to juggle both babies by myself--not to mention the fact that my entire cart would be occupied with an 18 month old up front and an infant carrier in the main portion. We recently signed up with Peapod grocery delivery service, per my sister's recommendation, and very much love it! It can be a bit more expensive for certain items, but I've found that if I shop almost exclusively in their sale section, it's pretty comparable to what I'd spend in the store. My husband is really good about stopping for any other random items we may need throughout the week or any sale items that catch my eye when the new ads come out. Chicken leg quarters still seem to be one of those items that are routinely on sale--I just got an almost 5 lb package through Peapod for $.99/lb. I scoured the internet for new recipe ideas and came across this recipe that we actually tried last Spring and really enjoyed. I always love finding recipes that call for ingredients that you typically have on hand and are relatively easy to throw together. The chicken was so moist and flavorful! Dark meat generally isn't my preference (I especially despise legs for some reason), but I would not hesitate to make this recipe again--it turned a fairly inexpensive meal into something that my entire family devoured! I made the recipe pretty much as is, although I didn't technically measure each of the seasonings--just sprinkled each chicken leg quarter fairly generously with each seasoning, both under and above the skin.

P.S.--I'm forewarning that my posts may be a bit sporadic while I try to get back in the swing of blogging/experimenting with new recipes! :)

Crispy Baked Chicken Leg Quarters

4 skin-on chicken leg quarters, with bone
1/2 cup soy sauce, divided
1 teaspoon garlic powder, divided
1 teaspoon seasoning salt, divided
1 teaspoon dill weed, divided


Preheat oven to 375.

Line a large glass baking dish with foil.

Remove excess fat from chicken quarters.

Separate the skin from the chicken, taking care that the skin stays attached at most points on the chicken. (You just want a flap. Do not remove the skin).

Brush the chicken (under the skin) with soy sauce.

Sprinkle some garlic powder, seasoned salt and dill weed on the chicken under the skin (I estimated the 1 tsp measures. Use as much or as little as you're comfortable with) and rub inches.

Arrange the leg quarters in the pan, skin side up, taking care not to crowd. They need space to cook properly.

Brush both sides of the leg quarters with soy sauce.

Sprinkle the skin with garlic powder, seasoned salt and dill weed (to taste).

Place on middle rack in over and bake uncovered for an hour.

After an hour, increase oven temp to 400 and bake 15 minutes.

Chicken is done when internal temp reaches 165 (insert meat thermometer at thickest part of breast, taking care not to touch the bone).

Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.