Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Vegetable Broth

I use vegetable broth a lot when I cook. I almost always substitute all chicken broth for vegetable. I think it makes the flavor so much better. I have recently started making my own vegetable broth, because it's more cost effective.

2 TBS olive oil
2 medium onions, cut in wedges
2 celery ribs, cut into 1 inch pieces
15 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
8 cups water
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, quartered
1 cup packed fresh parsley sprigs
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf

1. Heat oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and garlic. Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until tender. Add leeks and carrots; cook and stir 5 minutes longer. Add the water, mushrooms, parsley, thyme, salt, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour.

2. Remove from heat. Strain through a cheesecloth lined colander; discard vegetables. If using immediately, skim fat or refrigerate 8 hours overnight, them remove the fat from surface. Broth can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 4-6 months.

Yield: 5 cups

Mango Salsa

I made this today because I was craving salty and sweet. I forgot how good this really is!

1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and diced (about 1 1/2 cup)
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped1 JalapeƱo chile, minced
1 small cucumber, peeled and diced
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh lime juiceSalt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the salsa ends up being a little too hot for your taste, you can temper it by adding some diced avocado.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hearty Lentil Soup

There is nothing like a hearty bowl of soup on a cold evening. This reheats great for lunch the next day too!!

1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups cubed red potatoes (1/4 inch pieces)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup dry lentils, rinsed
1/2 cup medium pearl barley
8 cups water
2 TBS vegetable broth base (this is a paste)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning
2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes

In a nonstick skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker. Layer with the potatoes, celery, carrots, lentils and barley. Combine the water, vegetable base, white pepper, salt and lemon-pepper; pour over vegetables. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until vegetables and barley are tender. Add the tomatoes; cook 2 hours longer.

Baked (Fake) Steak

Funny name. This is either a recipe that you enjoy because it's cheap, easy, and taste good; or you don't because it's not really steak. Please note that you do need to prepare your meat overnight before you stick it in your crock pot. Also, if you're not using a lean ground beef, you will need to pat off the grease. My family enjoys it!


  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed beef and mushroom soup
  • 1 (.75 ounce) packet dry brown gravy mix


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, saltine crackers and milk. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper, and mix until well blended. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Press the beef mixture firmly into the pan. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 8 to 10 hours, or overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove plastic wrap from meat, and rub flour over the top side of the beef. Flip out of the pan onto waxed paper, and rub flour on the other side as well. Cut into pieces (I use a pizza cutter).
  3. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the meat until browned on each side, turning only once. Remove to a 9x13 inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, mix together the water, condensed soup, and gravy mix. Pour over the meat in the dish. Cover the dish loosely with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven. This goes great with potatoes!

Slow Cooked French Dips

Despite the fact that we can still hit 80 degree's on any given day, fall is on it's way. The cool crisp mornings, the nice cold nights. By October 31st, we'll be nice and chilly. Which is why I'm enjoying cooking our favorite cold weather foods again. This is a recipe that's great to stick in the crock pot, and just go. By the end of the day, you've got a yummy dinner that takes just minutes to put on the table. The men in your life will particularly appreciate this....

4 pounds rump roast
1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed French onion soup
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer (I highly recommend Samuel Adams)***
salt to taste
6 French rolls
2 tablespoons butter

Trim excess fat from the rump roast, and place in a slow cooker. Add the beef broth, onion soup and beer. Cook on Low setting for 7 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Split French rolls, and spread with butter. Bake 10 minutes, or until heated through.

Slice the meat on the diagonal, and place on the rolls. Serve the sauce for dipping.

***Do NOT use light beer. If the thought of beer just doesn't work for you, substitute beef broth. But the flavor won't be the same (and no, it doesn't taste like beer) and remember that the alcohol does evaporate, and your just left with really great flavor...