Beef Stew

The chapter we call winter is finally coming to a close. And while I’m super excited to welcome spring, I’ll definitely miss those warm stick-to-your-rib meals that we get to enjoy during those cold months. One of my favorites is this hearty beef stew. It’s a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen that I’ve been making for close to 10 years now, and for good reason – because it’s absolutely delicious.

I love taking a tough cut of beef like a chuck roast and turning it into the tender chunks that melt in your mouth. The addition of red wine to the stew adds such wonderful richness and depth of flavor, and really compliments and brings out all the wonderful flavors in the beef. Red potatoes, carrots, and peas also come to the party for a dip in the tub. Troublemakers.

It makes a large pot full that is plenty for supper one evening, and then enough leftovers for several lunches worth. And like with all stews and soups, it just gets better as time progresses. It also freezes wonderfully for an easy meal when you don’t feel like cooking. Definitely one of our favorites!

SOURCE: The New Best Recipe by America’s Test Kitchen

Blackened Fish Sandwich

This winter I’ve been working my way through whittling down our supply of fresh fish that was caught over the summer and fall. Here on Chincoteague – we catch such a variety of fish, due to the fact that we have oceanside and bayside fishing in such close proximity to each other. With just a few fun days fishing on the water, we’re able to stock our freezer with fresh, wild-caught fish to last us through those cold winter months.

fishing

Everyone loves a good old-fashioned fish fry, but my favorite way to prepare a nice hunk of white-fleshed fish is to simply season it  and sear in the pan. Incidentally, it’s also one of the easiest ways to prepare fish…perhaps why I love it so much?

I top the fish with some homemade tartar sauce, lettuce, and tomato on a lightly toasted roll. I used drum fish on this particular day – but all types work well for this application. Striped bass, mahi-mahi, tilapia, and cod to name a few! I also highly recommend making your own seasoning blend if time allows, I find it’s so much better than any I’ve purchased in the past.


Source: inspired by our favorite sandwiches at Ray’s Shanty

Salisbury Steak

Every once in a blue moon, I’ll get a hankering for a Salisbury steak TV dinner. But ugh, the sodium and all the other crap I can’t pronunciate that stares at me from the ingredient listing…I just can’t get passed it. So, when I came across a really great deal on ground beef this week – I thought why not make this retro classic at home?

Seasoned beef patties are browned in a skillet, then mushrooms and onions are sauteed down in the pan drippings to create a rich and delicious brown gravy, that the “steaks” simmer in for a few minutes to finish cooking. I love the flavor that the red wine lends to the sauce – it plays off of the beef and mushroom flavors so well. I used portobello mushrooms since I happened to have some gorgeous ones gifted to me recently (thanks, Donna!), but cremini or even white button mushrooms could be substituted.

I served alongside mashed potatoes and green peas to complete the TV dinner ensemble at home, but homemade macaroni and cheese would also be another classict choice. Everyone really enjoyed it!

This recipe makes about 6 steaks – enough for us to enjoy for dinner , and a couple lunches worth of leftovers for us. Which is a major score, considering that they reheat so darn well. Another one for the recipe box, I’m always happy to find something new and different to make with ground beef!

Homemade Stromboli

Since I’ve gone homemade, pizza Friday has long been the favorite night of the week at our house. There’s just something about making your own dough and sliding that pizza pie into the oven in your own kitchen that is so satisfying!

But, about once a month we like to turn our favorite pizzas into homemade stromboli. It’s a little different, and adds some variety! Dough is rolled out into a long oval, toppings and cheese are piled on, then everything is rolled up together and baked. Pizza sauce is served on the side for dipping, as opposed to inside the roll – which tends to make this Italian specialty soggy.

They’d be great for a party or Holiday get-together too, as they’re served as individual slices. I also love the fact that I can cook two of them in the oven at the same time. With pizza, I’m limited to one at a time.

Toppings can vary of course. I’ve found that when I use veggies, I like to give them a quick saute or roast first to release some of the moisture. I’ve done mushrooms, onions, and peppers that way to make a delicious veggie stromboli. But, I’d say our favorite variation is pretty traditional – deli pepperoni and salami with mozzarella and provolone cheese.  If I have some deli ham in the refrigerator I’ll occasionally add that in too. Whatever floats your boat – the only limit is your imagination!

Homemade Stromboli

2 balls pizza dough
cornmeal, for dusting
1/4 lb. deli-sliced pepperoni (sandwich sized)
1/4 lb. hard salami
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
12 slices Provolone cheese
olive oil
pizza sauce, for serving

Place pizza stone in oven and preheat oven to 500 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle with cornmeal. Set aside.

On a clean work surface, use your hands to spread pizza dough into a 12×6-inch oval. In the center of the dough, place the half of the sliced pepperoni, leaving a 2-inch border at the ends to wrap. Repeat with the half of the salami and half of the sliced Provolone cheese. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese on top, right down the middle.

Tuck the ends of the oval in on top of the cheeses. Then, take the flap of dough closest to you and fold it up and over the toppings, then tuck and roll the stromboli over. Seal the other side of the dough into the stromboli by pinching it closed with your fingers.

Carfeully place the stromboli on the prepared baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat process with the remaining ingredients to make another stromboli.

Using a serrated knife, slash the top of the dough gently, 4 or 5 times to create pockets for air to escape. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil.

Carefully slide the parchment paper with the stromboli onto the hot baking stone. Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes before slicing.

Serve with individual servings of pizza sauce.