Beef Stew…pie?

I’ll admit it, I’m a superfan of Emmymade on Facebook. If you’re not familiar, click through and check out her page. She makes really fun food videos, and covers everything from recipes that went viral on TikTok and copycat versions of famous foods, but my favorites are those where she takes military-issued food rations and makes something insanely good out of them, like this one:

Video credit: Emmymade // At around 13:17, something caught my eye – she puts beef stew in a pie (puff pastry)!


My husband and I were watching this video the other night, and when she got to the part with the beef stew (13:17) the two of us looked at each other as if the light bulbs above our heads lit up at exactly the same time!

I had a plan already to make my regular beef stew, so I thought, hey, let’s mix it up a bit and try putting it inside puff pastry! SPOILER ALERT: IT WORKED AND IT WAS REALLLLLY GOOD!

You can use any beef stew you like (including canned, if you’re in a pinch), but if you need a great, simple beef stew recipe, try mine. The steps are below, in photos:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. I used Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry sheets (one box includes two sheets). Defrost as package instructs, and place one sheet on a sheet pan lined with foil and lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Spoon your cooked stew over the sheet, leaving room at the edges for sealing.
Beat up 2 egg yolks and brush around the edges of the base layer. Drape second sheet of puff pastry dough over the top of the stew and press the edges to seal. Brush the top of the pastry with the egg and cut a small hole in the center to release steam. I sprinkled mine with a little bit of dried thyme, but it’s not necessary.
Bake for about 20-25 mins or until crust is puffed and golden brown.
Cut up and serve! I had extra stew, so I served it separately in a bowl and froze leftovers.
Crispy, flaky and buttery outside, savory and warm inside. A winner dinner – except for my daughter, who hates all things beef stew and protested this meal by having a TV dinner that’s off in the distance!


Takeaways:
1. Next time, I think I’d try to make individual pies, which would give a crispy crust on all four sides (because, who doesn’t love puff pastry?!)
2. You could make your stew ahead of time and keep in the fridge. It can be added to the pastry cold, since the cooking in the oven will warm it right up.
3. I’d chop my veggies and beef smaller, for more uniform bites in the filling.

Give this a try and let me know what you think in the comments!

Mom’s Meatloaf

Fun fact: when I was growing up, I really didn’t care for meatloaf. The texture was weird to me, like a spongy burger? I think I remember bites of crunchy onions and some “green stuff” in there (parsley, ugh), but as a kid, I forced it down (because that’s what we were supposed to do!) and didn’t really think much more about it.

It seems though, as you get older and start cooking for yourself and others, old family recipes creep up on you and you put your own twist on them – maybe to make them more ‘likeable’ or how I would have wanted them to be at the time, so I guess we’ll just call this ‘My Version’ of my Mom’s Meatloaf!

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What you’ll Need (Meatloaf serves 4-6):
• 2lbs ground beef
• 2 large eggs
• 1 carrot, finely grated – adds moisture to the meatloaf!
• 3/4 Cup seasoned bread crumbs
• 1 Tablespoon onion powder
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 teaspoon parsley
• 1/4 cup milk
• 1 package Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

Meatloaf Glaze:
• 1/2 Cup ketchup
• 1/4 Cup dijon or yellow mustard
• 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar

How To:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

  1. In a large bowl, combine beef, spices, eggs, breadcrumbs and carrot. Get dirty and mix with your hands! I find it always comes out best this way. If mixture feels a bit dry, add milk a little at a time. Mixture should be dense but soft and shape-able.
  2. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray and form meat mixture into a loaf shape and place into baking dish.
  3. Mix meatloaf glaze in a small bowl with a whisk until combined, brush over top of meatloaf.
  4. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and lay crescent roll dough over top, overlapping slightly to cover the top of the loaf.
  5. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes until crescents are browned. If you’re using a meat thermometer, beef should come to at least 160 degrees F. Slice and serve.

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Air Fried (Fresh) Chicken Breast Strips

While I do love the occasional air fried batch of processed/frozen, super-breaded chicken strips and nuggets, the whole purpose of this air fryer craze is to try and cook at least a little bit healthier, right?

I made some chicken strips for dinner last night that turned out really good! Super simple – just 3 ingredients – a quick prep, and they came out fully cooked and moist inside and really crispy outside. My breadcrumb of choice is always Panko (here’s a great article about what Panko is from Chowhound) when I want my coating to be crunchy. The little flakes crisp up so much more nicely than standard breadcrumbs, and it’s available everywhere now. I buy the seasoned store brand for 99 cents!

Follow along and try these for yourself, they’re pretty hard to mess up! 🙂

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Pro tip #1: I never flour my chicken when breading – just pull out of the package and dry with a paper towel – it helps the egg stick better! 
Pro tip #2: Use tongs to do your dipping and breading process – keeps your fingers clean!

 

Easy Air Fried Fresh Chicken Breast Strips
Serves: 3-4 with sides
(we had peas and rice!)
Start to Finish: about 30 minutes

Here’s what you’ll need, and note the cooking time can be altered depending on your preferred crispness and how many you’re making at once:

  • 1 – 1.5 lb of fresh chicken breast strips
  • 4 eggs
  • 2-1/2 cups Seasoned Panko breadcrumbs (I did not test with regular breadcrumbs, so if you do, let me know how they come out!)
  • Salt and pepper to taste; cooking spray

How To:

  1. Preheat air fryer to 360 degrees F for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove chicken strips from package and pat dry; set up two bowls and one plate.
  3. In one bowl add 4 eggs and whisk to combine. In second bowl, add bread crumbs, salt and pepper.
  4. One by one, dip chicken strips into beaten egg and then drop into bread crumbs, pressing in as needed and shaking off any excess. Transfer to plate and pile up.
  5. Open air fryer and spray bottom of basket with nonstick cooking spray (I use Olive Oil Pam). Place chicken strips in but do not over crowd or layer on top of each other. I fit almost the whole 1.5lb pack in mine.
  6. Spray tops of chicken lightly with nonstick spray (this helps the browning!) and close air fryer.
  7. Cook at 360 degrees for 17 minutes. No need to shake or turn over chicken – just set it, make your sides, and enjoy! Increase time if you like it crispier.

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I use the Cosori 5.8qt Air Fryer, and love it!