Healthy & Hearty Mushroom Stew

Mushroom Stew

Bring on 2015 and a fresh start!

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I love the new year. It’s a chance to start over. To resolve to better yourself. And if you don’t like to make resolutions then just enjoy that you are just getting closer and closer to warmer weather, which is what I live for.

This year I’ve resolved to eat ‘smarter’. I am on a mission to be more conscious about what I eat and how much. I’ve lost a lot of weight over the last year and I would like to loose another 15 or pounds before our wedding in June. But even aside from that I want to be more careful about what I put into my body and be more considerate regarding how it could potentially negatively effect how my body feels.

We’re about 2 weeks into the new year and so far so good. I have my moments when I eat a cookie but then I try to balance the sweet out with more paleo meals or salads. I’m just hoping to keep this up and settle in on something that feels good and is good for me.

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Lately, I’ve noticed that I keep seeing an old New York Times article getting shared and shared over and over again on Facebook. I think it has to do with the New Year as people are looking for some insight to a better life in the new year.

The article talks of how the people on these Greek island live significantly longer than most people, it’s known as “The Island Where People Forget to Die”. People are reaching their 80’s, 90’s and even to 100 at a greater rate than the rest of the world. They are not immune to cancer and other illnesses exactly, but if the are living longer than other cultures before getting ill.

They live their lives at a different pace than the rest of the world. They enjoy slower days that are filled with friends and families while they tend to their gardens and livestock. The food that they harvest is the focal point of the meals. Fruits, vegetables, and beans are diet staples, as well as goat and fish. Rich olive oils and red wine are, of course, enjoyed as well.

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But if you don’t live on Ikaria and want you experience some of their cooking yourself then get the Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die cookbook by Diane Kochilas. Kochila divides her time between New York and Irakia, her family’s ancestral island. She has first hand experience cooking the foods native to the famous Greek island. She has foraged for mushrooms, dried vegetables, and made cheese, which she has made into incredible meals.

This cookbook shares the foods of the people living on Ikaria in a creative way by mixing in story telling with the recipes. And photos too!! The recipes are focused on Mezedes, which are small plates that are perfect for snacking while catching up with a friend, salads, soups, beans and legumes, meats, and fish. There are some sweet treats in there too. (I swear that one day I’ll make Loukoumades!)

There were so many recipes that I tagged to make but the one that first jumped out to me was the Mushroom Stew as I wanted something comforting for the cold weather. It was a perfect pick!

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The stew is easy to prep, I think it took me just a few minutes to cut up the onions and while they were cooking I sliced kale into very thin ribbons. And as that was cooking I sliced the mushrooms. Super simple.

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The recipe calls for red wine but if you don’t want to use it or have it on hand then feel free to substitute in beef broth. Skip the wine and it will be a great Whole 30 meal. Yum!

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The Mushroom Stew is healthy and hearty. It’s rich tasting but not rich for you. The flavors are earthy and it has great texture. It’s great served with mashed potatoes, rice, freekeh, or crusty bread. Just be sure to have something to absorb the flavorful broth.

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Embrace the ingredients, recipes, and lifestyle of the people Ikaria and you’ll live a long and happy life. Oh, so you can’t take midday naps? Well, at least make this amazing Mushroom Stew! Enjoy!

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Healthy & Hearty Mushroom Stew

Makes 4 generous servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds (750 grams) mixed mushrooms, such as white button, oyster, boletus, porcini, chanterelles, portobellos,
  • 1/4 Cup Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 large red onions, coarsely shopped (yields approximately 2 Cups)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1-2 pounds sweet greens, such as chard, spinach sweet dandelions, sweet sorrel, kale, and/or wile fennel  (optional)
  • 1/2 Cup dry red wine, or beef broth
  • 1 Cup chopped canned tomatoes
  • 3  Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • pinch of ground allspice
  • 3 or 4 sprigs fresh or dried oregano
  • 3 sprigs fresh or dried thyme
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Process

  1. Slice the mushrooms, into 1/4″ thick slices, as needed, depending on the size of the mushroom.
  2. In a very large, wide pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add the onion once the oil is shimmery. Cook until translucent and soft, about 6 minutes. Stir a bit so they don’t brown.
  4. Add the greens, and cook for about 8-10 minutes until they are wilted.
  5. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes to soften. Add the red wine and bring to a boil.
  6. Add the canned tomatoes, red wine vinegar, bay leaves, all spice, oregano, and the salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, until everything is tender.
  8. Enjoy with rice, mashed potatoes, freekeh, quinoa, or slices of toasted bread that has been drizzled with olive oil. A glass of red wine doesn’t hurt either!

Sourced from Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die

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While I received this complimentary cookbook for review, all opinions are my own.

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Apple and Mushroom Wild Rice Stuffing- SRC

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I have a funny story.

It happened on Saturday, but it all starts with something that happened on Thursday. Kinda. Sorta.

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See, on Thursday our wonderful dog walker emailed me asking for me to call her. She wanted to let me know that Kemper’s left eye was all puffy. Not the eye actually, but all around it. Top and bottom lid. My poor bug eyed dog was even more bug eyed. It looked like he was punched. Well, a trip to the vet later, he was having an allergic reaction to something. Nothing in his diet or in the environment changed. Nothing that we could think of. So, he had to get a benadryl shot and keep taking it 3x a day for 3 days, plus pepcid for his stomach as allergic reactions will often upset their stomach. (The things you learn.)

Fast forward 24 hours to Friday night and my stomach starts itching. No big. It’s the winter. My skin is dry.

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Then it’s Saturday morning and my feet and hands start itching. My hands get splotchy and a bit puffy, enough to take my ring off. So while Kemper is getting Benadryl dose I take a pill too. What the hell is going on!?!? Anyway, Autumn and I then go grocery shopping. Enough of a distraction for me to stop scratching my palms. By the time we got home it was time for Autumn’s nap so I put her down and then got the perishables away. I was crashing so I figured I’d take a 5 minute catnap, or maybe a 15 minute nap. I’m usually great at getting myself up at a certain time, but I didn’t do so well as I woke up at 10.40. And panicked. Why? Because I had to make mac and cheese to bring over to our friend’s house for 1pm. I sprung up and stumbled into the kitchen while freaking out ‘How did you let me sleep so late? I gotta make mac and cheese. We are never gonna get to Mark and Allie’s on time!!!” “Umm, we’re going there tomorrow…” And so there we were. So I took a deep breath, stumbled back to the sofa and fell back asleep.

And that is why you should buy NON-DROWSY Benedryl. Noted.

Now it’s time to discuss this amazing side dish.

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For this month’s Secret Recipe Club post I was given Sarah’s blog Curious Cuisiniere. Sarah shares her adventures; whether it’s in the kitchen, traveling or her recent bakery position.  It all makes for well balanced blog with wonderful recipes including the one I chose for this months SRC.

Sarah shares hundreds of recipes, thankfully all very well organized. I enjoyed browsing through them as she shares a unique range of dishes from all different cultures. As I had been focusing on Thanksgiving recipes I picked her Apple and Mushroom Wild Rice Stuffing as it sounded easy to make – just about 30 minutes- and really flavorful with the layers of flavors from the apples, mushrooms, raisins, and, of course, the wild rice.

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This Apple and Mushroom Wild Rice Stuffing is the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving.  It’s off the beaten path which will make for a tasty alternative to stuffing but goes great with roasted turkey or other fowl.  The earthy texture and filling taste of the dish makes for a hearty side for tummy and palette.  The wild mushrooms mixed with the apples and long grain rice are a wonderful combination.

I changed things up a bit by using fresh mushrooms, as opposed to canned. But the recipe was so great that there was little personalizing needed. I did garnish the stuffing with chopped pecans and dried cranberries but you can leave it plain. Or you might even want to add some pecans into the rice. I love pecans but Autumn doesn’t do too well when nuts are mixed into things. She just spits them out. ha!

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Apple and Mushroom Wild Rice Stuffing

Makes roughly 2 quarts

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups water
  • 1/2 Cup wild rice
  • 1 Cup white rice
  • 2 Tablespoos butter, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon chicken broth
  • 8 ounces of baby bella mushrooms, white button mushrooms are okay too
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (approximately 1 Cup)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped (approximately 1 Cup)
  • 1 medium green apple, cored and chopped (approximately 1 Cup)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 Cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 Cup raisins
  • 3 Tablespoons parsley, dry
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, ground dry
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Process

  1. In a large sauce pan, mix water and wild rice and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered for 5 min. Add white rice, turn the heat down to low, and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender, but not overcooked. Note: You may have some water left over in the pot when the rice is tender, simply transfer the rice to a strainer to eliminate the excess liquid.
  2. Meanwhile, sauté the mushrooms in 1 Tablespoon butter and 1 Tablespoon chicken broth over medium heat. Cook until browned and reduced in size, approximately 4-5 minutes. Remove from the skillet.
  3. Add 1 Tablespoon butter to the skillet. Once melted, add the onion and celery. Sautee for 3-4 minutes. Add 1 Tablespoon chicken broth and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the apples, and garlic and sauté an additional 3-4 min. Remove from heat.
  4. Add the onion mixture to rice along with remaining stuffing ingredients.
  5. Stuffing is ready to serve, or be stuffed inside a turkey.

Inspired by Curious Cuisiniere

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Check out all the other great Secret Recipe Club posts this month!

 

And be sure to check out my 3 years of Secret Recipe Club posts!!!!

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Thanks for visiting. Please leave me a comment to provide some feedback. I appreciate all the comments I receive.

Supreme Pizza Pot Pie

Supreme Pizza Pot Pie

This is like deep dish pizza.

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But cheesier. But meatier. But veggier. It’s a crazy kind of pizza. Get crazy with me!

Before we get into the pizza pot pie can we talk about the Scandal Season Finale for a quick second?

I mean, I can’t even. This whole show has had me on the edge of my seat since the very start. And this season oh.my. But this episode!! Poor Jerry. Poor Finn. And Olivia and Jake! The election! HARRISON!! UGH!!!!

Okay, back to the pizza because I can’t keep thinking about Scandal. Although I really will.

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This Supreme Pizza Pot Pie made my day. (Well, until I gave Autumn some tomato and she went nutso for it. First real food (besides a 1/2+6 dime sized piece of banana I mashed onto a teether for her to try)!!!!!!! I was so excited she loved the tomato pieces I gave her. And was less excited about the dogs frantic high-pitched whine begging for the tomato I left on her high chair while I gave her a bath in the sink.)

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I swear this will make your day too. It’s so quick to assemble and it is gloriously delicious. Change up your typical Friday night pizza take out by grabbing the ingredients for this and you’ll impress your family. Yep.

This is sooo cheesy. It’s kinda like a deep dish pizza but instead of a chunky sauce it has a crazy cheesy sauce that is studded with warm juicy tomatoes. But, brace yourself (!), it’s really rich so just 1 slice will do. But if you manage to enjoy 2 slice I won’t judge. I’ll cheer you on!

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So supreme pizzas have olives on them. But, here’s the thing, I hate them and don’t use them in cooking, unless I kinda have to and can actually pick them out. So this doesn’t have olives in there, but feel free to use olives if you like them.

Next time I am going to do an all veggie version with some garlicy spinach and lots of mushrooms. And then I’ll make a Hawaiian version. OMG this is trouble.

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Supreme Pizza Pot Pie

Makes 1 9″ pie, 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 box of 9″ pie crusts
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 8 ounces low-fat cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flake
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder*
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano*
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley*
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil*
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 pound Sweet Italian Sausage, removed from casing
  • 2 cup of grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 4 ounce can of slice mushrooms
  • 2.25 ounce can of sliced black olives
  • pepperoni, approximately 15 slices

*If you prefer, use 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning instead of these individual ingredients

Process

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Place 1 of the pie crusts into the bottle of the 9″ spring-form pan. Do not stretch it up the sides but gently press it on the side to keep it in place.
  3. Dice the pepper and onion, and halve the tomatoes. Set aside.
  4. Combine the cream cheese, mozzarella, 1 egg, and the spices into a bowl of a stand mixer. Beat together to combine.
  5. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the sausage. Once the sausage is browned add in the pepper and onion.
  6. Add the tomatoes and mushrooms to the cheese mixture. Then add the sausage mixture and fold into the cheese mixture until completely combined
  7. Pour the filling into the bottom crust of the pizza. Place the other crust on top of the filling. Fold over the extra crust and crimp the edges.
  8. Beat 1 egg and brush over the top crust. Place the pepperoni on top of the crust and top off with more egg wash on top of the pepperoni.
  9. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before removing the sides of the spring-form pan and slicing.

Inspired by Oh Bite It!

Guinness and Beef Stew

Guinness and Beef Stew

What was my first tattoo? Well, it was a claddagh ring right on my lower back. It was the obvious thing to do on my 18th birthday. At least to me. So what’s a girl who is not Irish at all doing getting an Irish themed tattoo? I just have always loved the claddagh ring and it’s meaning.

“With these hands I give you my heart and I crown it with my love.”

And that right there is my little Irish-related story.

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Other than my tattoo (which I wish I had gotten bigger… seriously, wish I wasn’t so nervous and had listened to the tattoo artist) I have no association to anything Irish. I love St Patrick’s Day in that it’s so much fun to wear Kelly Green, eat green things, and drink green things, but none of those things are related to St. Patrick’s Day. Sham. But those Shamrock Shakes are my downfall. I get one for breakfast every St. Patrick’s Day.

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Since none of the things that I associated with St Patrick’s Day are really Irish I decided tha to make a make something that was this year. I went back to my copy of Clodagh’s Kitchen Diaries: Delicious Recipes Throughout the Year by Clodagh McKenna, that I had recieved from Kerrygold, for the recipe for Guinness and Beef Stew (pg 71).

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 This was really good and best of all was really simple to make. There was little active cooking time and then you just forget about it in the oven for 2 hours. Our house filled with the lovely smells of the tender beef, meaty wild mushrooms, sweet shallots, and the rich beer. I was glad that this was all for us to enjoy but I would have loved to have had friends oven so that when they walked in they would be welcomed into the house with all those smells. And then they would get to enjoy the fantastic meal, maybe with some beers or red wine and some roasted potatoes or Cheddar Thyme Soup Scones.

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There are recipes that I enjoy and then there are recipes that I really love. This dish will make an appearance back on our table. It was so good! There are things that I will do differently next time to adjust to our tastes, but that is what cooking is all about. The process and taking the time to find something you love. Next time, I will use a lot less bacon since the recipe called for 14 slices of bacon, which equaled a pound, so next time I think we will use about 1/4 pound instead. I would increase the amount of whole shallots used because I thought they were fantastic. I had a very difficult time finding a prepared bouquet garni, like went to 3 stores including Whole Foods, so I used bay leaves and thyme but I think I would add sage and parsley as well and use bouquet garni bags.

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Give this a try for St. Patrick’s day or for any time you wish to have a great dinner. And be sure not to forget the Cheddar Thyme Soup Scones!

Guinness and Beef Stew

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 pound of bacon, finely chopped
  • 12 oz of shallots, left whole
  • 2 1/4 pounds stew beef, cubed into 1″ x 1″ to 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ pieces
  • 14 ounces of  mixed wild mushrooms, such as chanterelle, shiitake, oyster, and criminis
  • 1 quart of Guinness
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the bacon to the butter and begin to gently brown. Add the shallots to the skillet and cook until golden brown. Leaving behind some rendered fat, transfer the bacon and shallots to a 3 quart or larger oven safe baking dish.
  3. Add the beef to the hot skillet to brown all of the sides. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the beef while cooking. Transfer the browned beef to the baking dish.
  4. Cook the wild mushrooms to the skillet until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the baking dish.
  5. Return the skillet to the stove top, deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom with a whisk while slowly pouring in a cup of the Guinness. Once the bottom of the pan is clean, pour in the rest of the beer and simmer for a few minutes. Pour the Guinness into the baking dish over the meat and vegetables. Add the bouquet garni.
  6. Place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet, cover the dish. and bake for 2 hours.
  7. Remove the bouquet garni, check the seasoning, and serve hot.

**I received this cookbook and coupons for Kerrygold products, which I used to purchase the butter used in this recipe.**

Steak Quesadillas

Steak Quesadillas

Well, we have made it through Race Week and the Daytona 500. While the Daytona 500 was exciting the previous day’s Nationwide Race had a very scary ending with one of the cars becoming airborne and slamming into catch fence. Driver Michael Annett is out indefinitely because of a fractured and dislocated sternum and 28 fans were injured when debris went into the stands. I can only hope that people recover quickly and that this provides valuable information to help NASCAR continue to work on driver and fan safety.

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This upcoming weekend’s Sprint Cup race is at Phoenix International Raceway. Since the race is in Arizona I felt that something with a Mexican influence would be fun for this week’s edition of Sprint Cup Snacks. I decided on some Steak Quesadillas because I love how they are perfect for snacking but filling for a meal. Plus when you walk by some fantastic looking beef at your grocery store you can’t resist.

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I swear I could eat quesadillas every day. They are just so amazing! It’s a twist on a sandwich that I can enjoy. Typically my least favorite part of a sandwich is the bread, either because it is too soft and plain or too hearty and heavy. If I were goldylocks the tortilla would be just right. Plus how can you resist

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Besides enjoying these Steak Quesadillas while you watch the race be sure to make them for a party as they make for a great dish to serve as you can prep them right before the party and you can keep warm in a oven at 200 degrees. Or just make and enjoy for dinner with some rice and beans. yum!

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Be sure to check back every week to see what Sprint Cup Snacks recipe I have whipped up for the upcoming race. The next race is in Vegas… oh the possibilities. 🙂

Steak Quesadillas

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound of beef loin sirloin tip
  • 2 teaspoons adobo seasoning, divided
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 12 ounces white mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 6 ounces of pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 8 flour taco tortillas 

Process 

  1. Coat the sirloin with adobe seasoning. Let rest for at least 30 minutes.
  2. While the sirloin is resting, slice the onion and the mushrooms, slice the peppers into strips. Mix in a large bowl with 1 teaspoon adobo seasoning. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and then add the vegetables to cook until browned and soft.
  3. Grill the steak until it is medium-rare with an internal temperature of 130 to 135 degrees. Let the cooked steak rest for 5 minutes prior to thinly slicing across the grain.
  4. Assemble the quesadillas by laying out one tortilla, put 1/4 of each the shredded cheese, cooked vegetables, and sliced steak on the tortilla, then top with another tortilla. Repeat the process for the other 3 quesadillas.
  5. Place the quesadillas on baking sheets and broil until tortilla has browned the cheese has started to melt. Flip to brown the other side.
  6. Serve warm with condiments like salsas, guacamole, and sour cream.

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{Sprint Cup Snacks Track Facts}

Seating Chart

NASCAR races at the Phoenix International Raceway for the second and the second to last race of the year. There is a triv oval racing track as well as a 1.51 road course configuration.  The stands seat 67,000 fans… consider that is A LOT more fans than these new Baseball Stadiums- Marlins Park (36,742) and Yankee Stadium (50,287).

Track: 1 mile

Shape: “D”-shaped Tri-Oval

Banking: 10-12 degree banking in Turns 1 and 2; 8-9 degree banking in Turns 3-4;     10-12 banking in the Backstretch; 3 degree banking in the Frontstretch

Surface: Asphalt

Race: 312 laps for 500 kilometers

2012 winners: Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick