Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I'm Back!

Hello everyone!  I know it has been a while and I would have loved to share recipes for Thanksgiving, Christmas cookies, and more but things have just been crazy!  Now I'm back with a new look for the blog (soothing, no?) and I'm kicking it off with some new recipes that, while time consuming to prepare, were absolutely worth the wait. 

These recipes are straight from my Cooking Light magazine (December issue).  I heart Cooking Light in a big way.  My January issue just arrived and I can't wait to go through it and find more yummy things to make this month!  The best part about these recipes...they are low in calories and fat!  Amazing!  If you happen to have the December issue handy, turn to page 206 to see what I'm talking about.

Not a subscriber?  No problem...you know I'd never leave you hangin'.  Here's the basic recipe for Belgian Beef and Beer Stew

And now for a few tips...

Next time I make this, I'm skipping the chuck roast.  Have you ever tried to trim a chuck roast??  Probably not, and neither had I before yesterday.  Just take my word for it...don't do it.  Took forever and was impossible to get all the fat off.  Next time, I'll be using the pre-trimmed, pre-cut stew meat.  Not into chopping onions?  Me neither.  Ore-ida and some other brands make bags of frozen, pre-chopped onions.  Look for them in the freezer section of the grocery store near the hashbrowns.  Can't find cremini mushrooms?  Regular ole white mushrooms work fine or go with baby bellas if you can find those instead.  Mincing garlic is smelly...buy minced garlic in the jar.  Totally worth every penny in my book.  I used a Fat Tire as my amber ale...cringed a little as I poured it in the pot but it sure was tasty.  What's a parsnip you ask?  Yeah...I had never used one before either.  Take a look in produce near the carrots.  They kind of resemble white carrots on steroids.  No kidding.  Don't let their raw aroma fool you...they tasted much different cooked in the stew than they smelled raw...much better, in fact.  Who has caraway seeds in their spice rack?  Not me...but I do have celery seed, which is a suitable substitute for caraway in a pinch.  It just packs a slightly milder flavor.  Don't forget to remove the bay leaf before serving!

I couldn't help but notice the next recipe on the page as being one to accompany the first...Herbed Asiago Rolls.  Yes please!  This was my first time in a long time making bread from scratch but they turned out quite nicely if I do say so myself.  I think Tom would agree.  :)  I gave up in Schnucks on my hunt to find ground red pepper so I left it out (1/4 tsp...no big deal).  They were plenty yummy without it.  AND the recipe made 12 rolls so I froze half of them and will pull them out as needed over the course of the next week or so.  My only tip here is to make sure you read through all the directions carefully before beginning, noting how long you have to let it rise at each stage so you make sure to give yourself plenty of time.

Now I think you're ready to enjoy!  Be on the lookout for more new posts to come.  I have LOTS of cooking to catch you up on!

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