Cooking Happy v.1 pt.1

 With the treats of Christmas, I was given a couple of new gadgets and tools to add to my kitchen.  With the resolutions of the New Year, I have a renewed excitement to be a little more organized with our meal planning.  The days that I teach violin are busy ones and by the time I get home, it is much too late to put some supper on the fire; however, I have discovered that most days, with a little bit of forethought, I can at least start supper before I head out in the afternoon to work.  I think crock-pots are the BFFs to all teachers.  And enameled cast-iron pots are their trusty side-kicks.  Seriously, sear some meat, add some herbs, let it simmer for a few hours, then pop it in the oven to reheat when you are ready to eat.  How easy is that???  I'm telling you, one-pot meals are the way forward!  I would love to share 2 of my recipes that have been fine and tasty.  I realize, they are not new ideas to the world-wide web, but they are my own.  So please, nobody bully me for ripping off someone else's recipes, OK?  OK.

There is nothing like putting on a record and getting to work in the kitchen.  It's even better to find this meal done before you are ready for Side B, am I right?

1-1.5 cups of red wine (we like Bordeaux)
3 lbs. stewing beef
1 onion sliced in larger pieces
1 TB minced garlic
2 cups veggie or beef broth
3 large peeled carrots, sliced into larger pieces
a handful of fresh thyme
2 bayleaves
1TB herb de Provence
1 small can of tomato paste
2 TB dijon mustard (ours has tarragon in it, and it is marvelous)
2 TB grapeseed oil

Place the oil in pot and sear the stewing meat on all sides.  Add the onion & garlic, stirring until the onion has softened.  Add the red wine and wait until it has reduced slightly.  Add the broth, dijon, tomato paste, and all the herbs.  Let it simmer for 1 hour, or until it has reached your desired thickness.

We like to serve our Bouef Bourguignon over a home-made base of garlic mashed potatoes.  The flavors are rich and lush and homey.  It is definitely a family favorite.  Now let's all try and say Bourguignon with an air of French snobbery.  BOURGUIGNON!!!

2 Andouille Sausages
1 small pumkin
1 medium onion, diced
2 TB minced garlic
1 lemon juiced
1 TB seasoning salt
2 TB cumin
1 TB crushed coriander seed
1 TB paprika
1 500 ml container of Veggie broth

Gut the pumpkin and slice into quarters.  Is there another cooking term for gutting a pumpkin?  I thought so.  Bake the sliced pumpkin in a 350 degree oven for about 30 min.  Allow to cool.  Remove the casing from the sausage and crumble into a deep cast-iron pot on medium heat.  Once it has cooked add the minced onion.  The sausage has a fair amount of fat in it, so I have never added any extra oil.  Scoop the softened pumpkin out of its skin and slice into medium sized cubes.  Add the sliced pumpkin, garlic, veggie broth, herbs, and lemon juice.  Let the soup simmer for 1 hour and then puree with an immersion blender (a normal household blender will also work).

This soup recipe came out of wanting to use up an old pumpkin I had sitting in my cold room since the Fall.  The Andouille sausage has a bit of smokiness and spice and it accompanies the sweetness of the pumpkin so well.  Zoey even enjoyed it so I don't think it was too spicy.  Slice up some fresh bread or a nice baguette, and you are set for supper!

Hope this helps you get dinner on the table.  Have you found any inspiring recipes lately?  Any other meal planners out there?  Please share all your tips!

Eat well and eat happy, friends!   


Hmmm. Haven't had this dish in years! It looks so good. Nice blog work. I came across your blog while “blog surfing” using the Next Blog button on the Nav Bar located at the top of my site. I frequently just travel around looking for other blogs which exist on the Internet, and the various, creative ways in which people express themselves. Thanks for sharing, and best wishes for the New Year.