Chicken Cacciatore – “Hunter Stew”

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Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian. In cuisine, alla cacciatora refers to a meal prepared “hunter-style” with tomatoes, onions, herbs, and sometimes wine. Cacciatore is popularly made with braised chicken (pollo alla cacciatora) or rabbit (coniglio alla cacciatora). Basically the hunters would use what they could gather in the woods, and use gamey meats like rabbit, venison, etc. I will have mine without Thumper and Bambi please.

I am not really sure of how chicken was introduced, though one story is that if the hunter returned home empty handed his wife would go out back and kill a chicken and add it to the vegetable stew.

Another story is that the chicken got into the hunter’s vegetables like carrots, onion, and celery. And when the hunter caught the chicken, he became the dinner for the hunter and his family.

There are so many different variations of this dish based upon ingredients available in specific regions. For example, in southern Italy, cacciatore often includes red wine, while northern Italian chefs might use white wine. Some variations include bell peppers and mushrooms mixed in with the vegetables. I wish I had mushrooms on hand when I made this meal, the sauce would have gone great with the flavors of the mushrooms.

Chicken Cacciatore – “Hunter Stew”

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lbs chicken, I used boneless/skinless thighs and breasts
  • 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium red onion, thinly sliced root to tip
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup white or red wine, I used red wine.
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 ts salt & pepper
  • 1 ts dry basil (or 2 teaspoons fresh, chopped)
  • 1 ts dry parsley (or 2 teaspoons fresh, chopped)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3-4 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stocks, chopped
  • 1 Tbs Italian seasoning

Directions:

  1. In a large heavy pan heat 2 tablespoons of oil.
  2. In a large bowl mix together flour, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Once everything is combined coat chicken pieces on both sides. Place chicken in the hot oil and cook 5-6 minutes on both sides. Once chicken is done remove from pan.
  3. In the same pan that the chicken was cooked it add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook until the onions are tender. Add the parsley and stir to combine.
  4. Slowly add the chicken stock to pan. Using a spatula deglaze the pan. Bring to a slow boil.
  5. Add in the 1/2 cup wine. Bring back to a boil. Boil on medium-high for 5 minutes.
  6. Return the chicken to the pan and continue to cook until the chicken is completely cooke all the way, about 30-40 minutes.

We served ours over white rice. You can serve it over pasta, rice or potatoes. I hope that you enjoyed this little trip to Italy as much as we did. What country will our taste buds take us to next time?

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Veggie Beef Soup

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There is this restaurant that we like going to from time to time that used to serve this veggie beef soup. It was so good! One bite, and I was hooked. The last time we went, I ordered my soup as normal only to be served simply veggie soup, so I asked what happened. I was informed that they never served veggie beef soup. I know that they did, I had it many times before. Instead of arguing with the manager I just said okay and moved on.

But this got me thinking about how hard would it be to make veggie beef soup. I started looking at recipe after recipe. No two were the same. The basics were about the same, veggies and beef but nothing else. So I combines several different recipes with the parts that I liked and threw everything into my slow cooker and walked away.

Now you may have notice that I love my slow cooker, I won’t deny it. But with this soup it makes even the toughest of beefs just melt in your mouth. You don’t even need to chew the meat… okay maybe a little so you don’t choke. 🙂

Veggie Beef Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb beef tips
  • 2-3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4-5 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 lb green beans, make sure to cut the tips off
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 5 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoning
  • 2-3 Knorr beef cube
  • 1 Tbs parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 6oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 ts salt
  • 1 ts pepper

Directions:

Tip: Make sure to have big chunks of the veggies. Having small sizes can cause the carrots and potatoes turn into mush. And you don’t want to eat mush for soup.

  1. Put everything into the slow cooker. Make sure to add the salt and pepper this will help bring the flavors together. Adjust the salt and pepper if needed.
  2. On low for 8-10 hours or high 6-8 hours. I prefer high temp, I think it gets the meat more tender then the low setting. But that is really up to you.

Tip: You can substitute the tomatoes, paste, and Italian seasoning for 1 16oz jar of pasta sauce. This will work but you won’t have that fresh from the garden taste.

See another easy meal to have ready for you when you walk through the door after a long day at work. You don’t need to spend hours in the kitchen to have a hot meal ready these days just need to learn to make what you have work for you not against.

Pork Roast Served with Potatoes & Carrots

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Picture this, the kids are complaining that they are hungry and you just walked through the door and are tired. But you are calm and ready. You got this, cause you had dinner cooking all day long in your slow cooker. Now that you are home it is time to eat without having to worry about what to cook or who is delivering.

Just like many families out there, my is busy and there are days when I think will it ever stop. Enter the slow cooker. OMG this is the best $40 I have ever spent. Ten minutes of prep time in the morning and that is all it takes to give your family a hot and healthy meal any day of the week.

Chili, soups, stews, pasta sauce, roasts, and even ham! I love coming home to the house smelling yummy and dinner ready to go. Who ever invented the slow cooker had busy families in mind and I thank them. And not even for busy weeknights, I want to spend time with my kids before they are all grown up. Start dinner in the morning and you have the rest of the day to play, hang out, go shopping, whatever you want.

Pork Roast with Potatoes & Carrots

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lb pork roast
  • 5-6 large russet potatoes, peeled
  • 7-10 large carrots, peeling
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup water

Directions:

  1. Place potatoes and carrots on the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour in 1 cup of water. Place pork on top with the fat side facing up. Layer onion slices on top of pork roast. Sprinkle salt and pepper over entire slow cooker.
  2. Set time for 8-10 hours on low or 5-6 hours on high.

And there you go dinner for the family in ten minutes! Enjoy your hot, healthy meal and relax.

Bruschetta

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This is probably the easiest thing I can make. Brings a little summer time inside during those cold winter months.

Don’t let the fancy name fool you. It doesn’t require a lot of prep time, simple to make and uses fresh herbs and vegetable. I am talking about bruschetta. Great on it’s own or as an appetizer to any meal. Make a little or a lot, this recipe could not be any simpler. You can serve it on top of crackers or my favorite way toasted baguettes with a little sprinkling of mozzarella cheese on top. So yummy.

Bruschetta

Ingredients:

  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced onion (yellow or red)
  • 2 Tbs basil, thinly chopped
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 ts minced garlic
  • 1/4 ts salt
  • 1/4 ts pepper

Directions:

  1. Stir all ingredients in a medium size bowl until everything is well combined. Serve on with crackers or baguettes.

Tip: Sprinkle some grated cheese on top and make it even better. I use mozzarella or parmesan when I want to jazz it up!

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This is one easy dish to make that is sure to please. Make it for a group or keep it to yourself, cause honestly something this yummy, who is going to want to share? 🙂

Summer Time Chicken Grilling

I love my grill! Some might say I have an unhealthy fascination with it. Once the weather warms up, the stove and oven are off, and that grill is lit.

Nothing says warm weather more then the smell of good food on the grill. It can be anything: burgers, chicken, hot dogs, sausage, and steak. They all smell so good, and they look great with the grill marks when they come off the grill. I love my grill. Even grilled vegetables are great on the grill. I like putting vegetables in a little foil packet with a pat of butter then throwing them on the grill to cook. Oh, the flavors are just amazing. Simple to do yet you get such great aromas and flavors.

Tonight was no different. Grilled Honey-Mustard Chicken with Brussels Sprouts. Now since I make my own mustard it will have a different flavor than store bought, but it tastes great with either one. This is one of my to go to meals during the hot months, and let’s face it, in the South, that’s about eight months out of the year.

Honey-Mustard Chicken with Brussels Sprouts

Honey-Mustard Chicken with Brussels Sprouts

 

 Grill Honey-Mustard Chicken

  • 2 whole chicken breast, cut in half
  • 1.5 TBS deli mustard
  • 3 TBS honey

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl mix together the mustard and honey. Set to the side for later.
  2. Start the grill. Give the grill a few minutes to warm up. Place chicken skin side down on the grill. Cook for about 25 minutes.
  3. Using either a spoon or a grill brush spread a small amount of the honey-mustard on the chicken. For for about 5 minutes then turn over and spread another small amount of honey-mustard on the turned side.
  4. Keep turning the chicken and spreading the honey-mustard over the chicken until it has been used up. You want to coat the chicken slowly so not to burn the chicken.

Enjoy with vegetables of your choice.

 

Steak, Potatoes, & Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

Just because you on are a budget does not mean you have to eat cheap. Steak, I know can be expensive especially when you have a family five. I am a meat and potato kinda girl and I love steak. So I went out to find a way to get the great piece of meat but still stay on budget, and that is how I found flank steak.

For those of you who don’t know flank steak is a tougher piece of meat that needs some tender, love, and care to make it amazing. This looks hard but it is so easy to make. It only has four ingredients and you probably have every thing on hand to begin with. I like to use what I have so I don’t have to spend more money or buy in bulk so it can be used for more then one meal, always a plus. This is a great meal to do on the grill. Your mouth will start to water after just a few minutes after it hits the grill.

This is such a huge hit with my family my kids were crying when we ran out of asparagus

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Steak, Potatoes, & Bacon Wrapped Aspargus

Steak, Potatoes, & Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

Steak, Potatoes, & Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

  • 1 lb flank steak
  • 1-2 lbs baby red potatoes
  • 2 lbs asparagus
  • 4 Ts deli mustard, NOT YELLOW MUSTARD
  • 1 ts basil
  • 2 Ts lemon juice
  • 1/2 lbs bacon
  • olive oil

Directions:

  1. Take the steak and trim off the white membrane as best as you can from both sides.
  2. In a small bowl mix together the mustard, basil, and lemon. Spread mixture on both sides of the steak and let sit for at least four hours in the refrigerator.
  3. Trim at least 1/2 inch off the bottom on the asparagus. Take 4 asparagus and wrap them in bacon. Place on cookie sheet. If making a head of time place in refrigerator until ready to cook. If ready to cooky place in oven at 350 degrees and cook until bacon is done and asparagus is tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Take potatoes and trim off any parts that are eyes or brown. Cut in half and place in bowl. Drizzle a little olive oil and mix until everything is coated.
  5. Take potatoes and place on pre heated grill about 10 minutes before adding the steak.
  6. Once steak is done marinating place on grill. Cook until desired pink is achieved. I like doing it for a medium which takes about 20 minutes. One end of the steak might be thinner then the rest so be careful not to over cook.
  7. Once potatoes and steak are done remove from grill. Let steak rest for about 5 minutes before cutting. This will help keep the juices in the steak and not run all over your plate. When cutting steak, cut with the grain not against.