Slow Cooker Ham and Barley Stew

This is perfect for when the weather is getting cold outside, and you want to come home to a pot of hearty stew. There is very little prep time, and it’s a very filling dish.

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Ingredients

  • 1 large and meaty ham bone, or 1 ½ lbs. hickory smoked pork hocks
  • 14.5 ounce can green beans, drained
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups red potatoes, cubed
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 celery, diced
  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • 64 ounces beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon Roasted Beef Base
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker, and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Remove and discard bay leaves. Take the ham bone or hocks out, remove the meat and chop it into small chunks if need be. Put the meat back into the stew and serve

Notes

  • If you want a meatier stew, add 1 lb. of ham to the pot
  • You can make it gluten free by substituting rice for the barley
  • Goes great with a salad and a nice sourdough baguette

Spicy Steak Stir Fry

This is a version of Szechuan Beef, which was one of my most favorite dishes that mom used to make. Her recipe had bamboo shoots, and fewer peppers. Stir fry is such an adaptable dish. Just add whatever veggies or meat you like the best, and you’ve got an easy weeknight dish.

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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. sirloin steak, sliced into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 cups slivered carrots
  • 2 cans sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 head broccoli cut into bite-sized florets
  • 16 dried red hot chili peppers
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup sherry
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoons cornstarch

Directions

Heat the oil and cook the chilies on medium-high until they begin to char. Remove them from the oil, and set aside in a medium bowl.

Brown the steak in the oil. Remove from oil and add to the bowl with the chilies. Add the vegetables to the oil and stir fry until tender for about 5 minutes.

Stir together the soy sauce, sherry, sugar and cornstarch. Return meat and chilies to the wok. Top with the sauce. Stir until boiling and thickened. Serve over rice.

Notes

  • To make this gluten free, use Tamari instead of soy sauce.
  • To make this paleo, ditch the sugar, use coconut aminos instead of the soy sauce, arrowroot powder instead of corn starch, and serve over cauliflower rice.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

When I think of enchiladas, normally I think of a red sauce. I know that a cream sauce is not traditional, but these are AMAZING!

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Ingredients

  • 6 flour tortillas
  • 2 lbs. cooked chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 ounce can diced jalapeno
  • 3 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional toppings: black olives, cilantro, tomato, green onions

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Wrap tortillas in foil and heat in oven for 10-15 minutes.

Stir the flour into the sour cream. Sauté the onion in the butter until translucent. Add the garlic, coriander and pepper. Add the sour cream to the pan and heat until bubbly.

Add the chicken, broth and peppers. Heat and stir until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in 2 cups of the cheese. Grease a 13 x 9″ baking pan. Pour about a cup of the sauce into each tortilla, and wrap it up like a burrito. Nestle each tortilla next to each other.

Pour any remaining sauce over the top, top with the remaining cheese and the toppings. Cover with foil, and bake for 40 minutes.

Curry Chicken Pasta Salad

This is one of my favorite pasta salads. Perfect for a picnic lunch (we especially like it when we’re rock climbing).

currypastasalad

Ingredients

  • ½ box penne pasta boiled and drained
  • 1 lb. chicken breast, cooked and diced
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar, diced
  • 2 cups seedless grapes, halved
  • ¼ cup chopped green onion
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1½ tablespoons Dijon
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dill weed
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions

Boil pasta, and rinse with cold water.

Mix the dressing: mayo, dijon, sour cream, vinegar and spices. Pour the dressing over the other ingredients in a large bowl and mix. Chill in fridge for 1 hour before serving.

Seafood Quiche

This recipe is from my mother-in-law. We made it one year for Mother’s Day brunch when she was in town. The recipe is for 2 quiches, but I make a half recipe and freeze the extra crab.

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Ingredients

  • 2 rolls of pre-made pie dough
  • 1 lb. cooked deveined shrimp, chopped
  • 1 16 ounce can lump claw meat crab
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire
  • 2 dashes Tabasco
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the oven to 450°. Roll out the pie dough into your pie pan, and line it with foil. Bake the pie crust for 5 minutes with the foil. Remove the foil, and bake for 7 more minutes. While the oven is coming up to temp, and you’re pre-baking the shell, you can get the rest of the recipe prepared.

Beat the eggs. Combine all of the ingredients with the eggs: milk, whipping cream, cheese, green onion, Worcestershire, Tabasco, crab, shrimp, dijon, salt and pepper.

Take the pie shell out of the oven, and turn the temperature down to 325°. Pour the egg mixture into the hot pie shell, and cook uncovered for 40 minutes. Let the quiche rest on the counter for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Whenever you are using eggs in a recipe, make sure to break them in a bowl of their own first. That way if any eggshells fall into the bowl, you have a chance to fish them out.
  • I’m actually not much of a baker, so I skip the hard part and buy the pie crust pre-made. If you’re great at baking, just make one pie crust.
  • If you want to make this gluten free, just substitute with gluten-free pie crust, and gluten-free flour.

Amazing Sole

This was one of the first seafood dishes I taught myself to make. The sauce/topping is super rich, and the sole is buttery and flaky. Best of all, it is really quick to make.

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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Dover Sole fillets
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ cups sour cream
  • 1 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dill
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°. Melt the butter in a casserole dish.

Layer the sole in the pan. Cover with sour cream. Sprinkle the Parmesan, paprika, dill and green onions.

Bake uncovered for 15-18 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Spiced Potatoes

These go with just about any egg dish. We have them almost every weekend. It takes a while to prepare, since it’s slow to get fresh potatoes cooked through and then perfectly crunchy, but it’s worth the wait.

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups red potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • dollop of sour cream for each plate
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Cut the potatoes into similarly sized wedges. Put the potatoes into a large frying pan and cover with water. Bring to boil, and simmer for 10 minutes or until fork tender.

Drain the water from the potatoes, and put the pan with the potatoes back on the element to dry out in the heat. Once dry, add the butter and fry for about 10 minutes, or until browned.

Add all of the seasonings to the potatoes and stir to combine. Serve with the sour cream.

Notes

  • Not a fan of spicy? Don’t add the cayenne, and cut the curry in half.
  • This combination of spices works great for fish or chicken too.
  • Want to make this Paleo? Use coconut oil instead of butter, and sweet potatoes instead of red.

Easy Cheesy Lasagna

One of my favorite dishes to make is lasagna. When my mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday dinner, every year I requested lasagna (just like Garfield the cat). It’s actually super easy to make, but for some reason people think it’s difficult. To me it’s as easy as preparing spaghetti, or homemade mac and cheese.

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Jimmy Dean® Natural Sausage
  • 26 oz. jar Blue Parrot® Marinara (or your favorite brand)
  • 24 oz. tub cottage cheese
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Amore® Garlic Paste
  • 1 cup sherry
  • ½ package (or 9) lasagna noodles
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups mozzarella, shredded

Directions

Boil noodles according to package, drain. In a large sauce pan, brown the sausage over medium high. Add the onion and stir occasionally until translucent. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning and Sherry. Reduce. Add the marinara and bring to a simmer over medium. Simmer for at least 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°. Spoon the sauce into a 13 x 9″ pan, enough to cover the bottom. Layer 3 lasagna noodles on the sauce. Top with ½ of the remaining sauce. Layer another three noodles. Cover with the cottage cheese, and half of the mozzarella. Layer the last three noodles, and cover with the remaining sauce.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and top with the remaining mozzarella. Bake for 10 more minutes. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • You can make this gluten-free by switching out the noodles.
  • This freezes really well. If you are making for future meals, just use an aluminum foil style 13 x 9″ dish instead.
  • You can make this Paleo: use zucchini sliced thin instead of pasta, and ditch the cheese.
  • I buy the sausage at Costco, and then I freeze it in 1 lb. sections for future recipes.
  • I love using Amore Garlic Paste. It tastes so much fresher than the canned minced garlic, and you don’t get your hands stinky from handling garlic. You can find it in the pasta and marinara section of your grocery store.

The Easiest Way to Make Bacon

I really hate the mess of making bacon. So whenever I buy bacon, I make it all at once, in the oven. You can freeze it for a really long time, without any noticeable difference. That way you are only stinking up your house, and making a big mess once. Here’s how we used to make bacon in the restaurant.

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Ingredients

  • Bacon!

Directions

Heat your oven to 375°. Put a drying rack over a baking sheet. Lay your bacon out. If you’re cooking the whole package, you’ll need two pans and racks.

Pop em in the oven, and check after 15 minutes. It usually takes me about 25 minutes to get the perfect doneness.

Notes

  • Save the drippings if you like, eat what you want that day, and freeze the rest in a gallon-sized Ziplock bag in the freezer.
  • Optional: You can brush the bacon at the beginning with maple syrup. Super yummy!
  • If you don’t want to mess up your drying racks, you can cook the bacon on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. It makes for a much easier cleanup.

Quiche Lorraine

Back in the day, I used to work at The Depot Deli, in Sisters, Oregon. One of the perks was the free food. Quiche Lorraine was one of my favorite brunches to have. There is something so satisfying about the nutty flavor of the Swiss cheese, combined with the bacon, and flaky pie crust. The leftovers keep amazingly well. Making a quiche takes a little bit of time to prepare and bake, but it’s a super simple process.

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Ingredients

  • 1 roll of pre-made pie dough
  • 8 slices of thick bacon, chopped
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 ¾ cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the oven to 450°. Roll out the pie dough into your pie pan, and line it with foil. Bake the pie crust for 5 minutes with the foil. Remove the foil, and bake for 7 more minutes. While the oven is coming up to temp, and you’re pre-baking the shell, you can get the rest of the recipe prepared.

Chop up the bacon into cubes, and brown in a frying pan. When it’s done, reserve 2 tbs of the bacon drippings. (I keep the rest of the drippings in a bacon grease container in the fridge for future recipes.) Drain the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate.

Slice the onion, and cook in the reserved bacon drippings until translucent. Combine the cheese with the flour. Combine all of the ingredients with the eggs: Cheese/flour mixture, onion, bacon, nutmeg, milk, salt and pepper.

Take the pie shell out of the oven, and turn the temperature down to 325°. Pour the egg mixture into the hot pie shell, and cook uncovered for 40 minutes. Let the quiche rest on the counter for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Whenever you are using eggs in a recipe, make sure to break them in a bowl of their own first. That way if any eggshells fall into the bowl, you have a chance to fish them out.
  • I’m actually not much of a baker, so I skip the hard part and buy the pie crust pre-made. If you’re great at baking, just make one pie crust.
  • If you want to make this gluten free, just substitute with gluten-free pie crust, and gluten-free flour.
  • Many recipes will have you cook the bacon, and then crumble. I like to make it a little easier on myself and chop the slices up first, and then sauté them.
  • I dislike shredding cheese, but it’s hard to find shredded Swiss. So I buy a whole brick of Swiss, and shred it all. Whatever I don’t use, I put into a gallon size Ziplock bag, and I freeze it for future use. It defrosts on the counter within 10 minutes, while you’re preparing the rest of the ingredients.