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!

Easy Semi-Homemade Chicken Soup

I don’t know about you, but as soon as I see a recipe for “real” chicken noodle soup that calls for boiling a carcass, I just can’t.

I’m by no means a vegetarian, but I’ve always had an issue with bones. I won’t eat a chicken wing (without a fork!) and never a steak or chop on a bone.

Anyway, this version of Chicken Noodle Soup is really easy to make (especially on a weeknight) – without hours of boiling – thanks to the addition of a rotisserie chicken, and offers the roasty, slow-cooked taste of a hearty soup thanks to a quick sauté of the veggies.

What I did differently this time (that I really loved) was add some fresh lemon slices at the end to give it a little fresh vitamin C boost and more flavor. Follow my how-to below and let me know what you think!

Semi-Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Serves 6

Start to finish: about an hour

Ingredients:
• One cooked rotisserie chicken
• 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
• 2 stalks celery, sliced
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
• 2 cartons (32oz each) chicken stock
• Fine egg noodles (I use about a half a bag)
• 3-4 slices of fresh lemon, seeds removed
• 1 tsp dried thyme
• 1tsp dried parsley
• Salt & pepper to taste

How To:
1. In a stockpot (or large Dutch oven), add olive oil and get hot. Gently sauté carrots, celery, and onion until onions are soft and translucent. Add thyme, parsley, salt and pepper and stir.

2. Add chicken stock to pot and stir, scraping cooked bits off the bottom. While waiting for the stock to boil, remove chicken meat from bones and chop into bite-sized pieces.

3. Once stock is boiling, add chicken, egg noodles and lemon slices and boil for 8 minutes. Cool slightly and enjoy with bread or crackers.

TIP: This soup reheats well for lunches – double the batch and have it ready to go!

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 French Fries!

“They won’t be the same!”, they said.
“They won’t be as crunchy!”, they said.

Well “they’ were wrong! French Fries are a favorite in our house and I’m always looking for healthier ways to cook them. While I never truly “fried” them in a vat of oil, I did bake my fries in the past and they always came out not quite right – either overcooked or undercooked and I never got that crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside like a good, satisfying fry should be.

When I got my air fryer, I really didn’t expect anything spectacular, but I gave it a shot and was pleasantly surprised! One of the most common misconceptions about air frying is that there’s no oil involved. Lies! Some recipes do call for oil, but the quantity is so minute, especially in this recipe, that it’s truly just there for crisping purposes and a bit of flavor.

Follow my tips below and comment if you try my recipe!

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The most important step! Do not skip soaking your fries – it makes all the difference!

Perfect Air-Fried French Fries
Serves 2-3
Start to Finish: about 45 minutes

• 2-3 large russet (baking) potatoes
• Cold water for soaking potatoes
• 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
• 1 Teaspoon garlic powder
• Salt and pepper to taste

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How To:

• Clean and dry potatoes; cut into 1/2 inch strips
• Place potato strips into a bowl and soak in cold water for 10 minutes (NOTE: this is possibly the most important part of the how-to! Soaking will make the potatoes “less slimy” and aids in the crisping process, don’t skip this step!)
• After 15 minutes, rinse potatoes and pat dry with a paper towel
• Preheat air fryer to 380 degrees F
• Place potatoes in a bowl and toss with olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper until evenly coated
• When fryer is ready, place potatoes in basket gently piling but not packing them in and cook* at 380 degrees for about 28 minutes, shaking the basket half way through cooking.
• For crispier fries, cook a little longer!

*If you’re using the Cosori Air Fryer 5.8qt (my fryer!) – once preheated, add potatoes to basket and hit the “french fry” button and set for 28 minutes. It will automatically pause and remind you to shake half way through.

 

 

And now for something completely different…

Who says crock pot cookery has to be savory all the time? Not me! I found this sweet treat on Pinterest and thought I would give it a shot. While you’re there, be sure to follow my crock pot board for even more recipes I’m finding and trying out.

Introducing… Warm Chocolate Chip Brownie Cake

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Woo hoo! Only 4 ingredients:

1 box of Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie Mix
½ C unsalted melted butter
4 eggs
1 pouch of Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Note: This recipe is adapted from BettyCrocker.com, and is intended for a 4.5qt cooker. I made it in my 6qt cooker and checked it occasionally after about an hour and a half. Total cook time was approximately 2hrs 15 mins. Photo courtesy of MyFavoriteThings-Miranda.blogspot.com.

How To:

1. Spray inside of slow cooker with baking spray with flour.
2. In large bowl, mix brownie mix with 1/4 cup of the melted butter and 2 of the eggs.
3. In another large bowl, mix chocolate chip cookie mix, remaining 1/4 cup melted butter and remaining 2 eggs.
4. Drop alternate spoonfuls of the brownie and chocolate chip cookie batters into slow cooker.
5. Cover and cook on High heat setting 2 to 3 hours or until cake is set in center.

To serve, spoon cake from slow cooker and top with ice cream.