Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Garden and The Risotto

Life just doesn't slow down around here! Between meetings and traveling and just running the family, having time to cook new dishes has just vanished. I haven't even had much time to bake lately, and I'm so missing fresh bread! I have had time to water the things we've gotten planted, so I guess that's positive. :)

We had all these grand plans for a big garden this year, but really haven't had time to till up the plot (although it's the perfect spot!), so we have this one tiny area and then a bunch of containers. I'm so excited about the tomatoes - that's one of my very favorite things about summer, so I'm very ready for them to be ready to eat. We've also got some bell peppers growing, and lots of herbs. I just put some zucchini plants I had started in the ground, and have some squash and cantaloupe I need to get in the ground as well. I did happen to throw some cantaloupe seeds in a mole hole in our yard, and noticed some sprouts this week. I really didn't think they would grow, but they have, so I guess we'll have some cantaloupe in the middle of the yard.

Despite not having much time to make new dishes lately, I did try Pastor Ryan's Shrimp Risotto tonight, and it did not disappoint. If you haven't tried this yet, you should - it's fabulous!
On a funnier note, I attempted to make a cheesecake for cooking club last month. Yeah, this one I'll just leave to the bakeries, I think.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Beef Tips Over Noodles

So, what's the first thing that comes to your mind reading that title?  The middle school cafeteria?  Luby's?  Piccadilly?  Well, those are the first things that come to my mind.  

Despite this,  I was craving beef tips and noodles this week.  It's a craving I get once or twice a year, and usually hop to the local cafeteria to satisfy.  I got to thinking, though - this can't be that hard.  I mean, really - it's just beef chunks with some onions, mushrooms, and gravy over noodles.  And I got to searching.

There are all manner of recipes on the web for this dish, and all with the same basic components.  I decided to use my slow cooker because a) it's already hot here and I will be avoiding the use of the oven/stove as much as possible between now and October, and b) I'm lazy.   Throwing together what I had on hand after reading several of the recipes, this is what I came up with:

Beef and Noodles

2 lb beef roast, cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 onion, diced (you could be fancy and use shallots also, but I'm cheap and like a lot of onion)
10 oz bag mushrooms 
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can tomato paste
1 can cream of mushroom
1 packet of onion soup mix
2 Tbsp worchestershire sauce
1/2 cup red wine
1 can beef broth (or use the good homemade stuff if you've got it)
Water as needed
Salt and pepper to taste

I threw all this in the slow cooker and let it go on low for 8 hours.  You could also cook it on high for around 4 hours.  Served it over hot, buttered egg noodles.  

The meat was nice and tender, all the flavors had melded together, and it was a notch better than the cafeteria stuff.   This is not health food.  It truly gets me no closer to my goal of not eating processed food.  But, since it's a rare craving, I figure it's OK every once in a while.  And I was so ready to eat it that I totally forgot to take a picture.  Oh, well.