Beef Burgundy

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This is by far my favorite comfort meal. It’s definitely not thrifty as I use one entire bottle of dry red wine and 2 1/2 pounds of good stew beef.  As far as being healthy, well everything in moderation. I have made several varieties of this overt the years, but my mother’s version still is my favorite. Til the day she died she  swore I borrowed the recipe from her in the early 1980’s and I contend she never let me borrow it. In the end neither of us have ever been able to recreate that first recipe we both fell in love with. After many trials and errors the closest I have been able to come is The Bare Foot Countess’s version, which is fantastic but still not the original one I fell in love with.

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This recipe is time consuming but well worth the effort. The main ingredients are 2 1/2 pounds good stew beef, pearl onions I used fresh but frozen will do, tons of mushrooms, 1 bottle of good dry red wine. brandy, salt, pepper and thyme. The cost is quite high so I only make this for special occasions

For the complete recipe look foe .The Bare Foot Countess’s recipe.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!

Upside down apple pancake

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This fast and easy pancake is so delicious even the pickiest eater will love it. It looks so fancy your guest will be impressed, in really it is one of the easiest things I’ve ever made.

1 large apple peeled, cored and sliced

Saute in 1 tablespoon of butter, cinnamon and brown sugar til slightly tender

top with a slightly runny pancake mix and cover all apples.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, invert of a plate, top with maple syrup and enjoy.

This makes 2 servings. This needs to be baked in a cast iron pan or a pan with a handle that is oven proof to prevent the handle from  melting.

Be happy & eat Healthy!

Wine braised country ribs

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It’s that time of year for hardy comfort foods. This recipe is so versatile  and can be used for short ribs,  pot roast and veal shanks.

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Start by applying salt and pepper to your meat and browning in olive oil on all sides. Remove from kettle and add 2 diced onions, 3 carrots ( I used yellow, purple and orange ) and 3 to 4 ribs of celery to a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and cook til soft. Add 3 cloves minced garlic and 2 tablespoons tomato paste. Cook until the tomato paste is brown in color. Stir in 1 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes and 1 tablespoon dried thyme. Place the meat back in the kettle with 2 bay leaves.

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Next pour in enough dry red wine to just about over the meat. Cover and place in a 25 degree oven for 21/2 to 3 hours, turning once about half way through. When the meat falls off the bone it is done.

I like to serve this with either mashed potatoes, egg noodles or a good piece of bread to sop up every delicious morsel.

This is very hardy and only gets better the next day.

Be Happy & Eat Healthy!

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Tuna melt loaf

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Tuna melts are one of my favorite summer standards. As the cooler weather is approaching I came up with this tuna loaf as a alternative. It’s hardy, very tasty and of course cheap and is sure to be a hit with picky eaters.  Guess what, it’s also healthy.

2 cans tuna in water, drained and flaked

1 avocado slightly mashed

4 slices whole wheat bread soaked in milk for a minute or 2 then squeeze out excess milk

1/2 med. onion finely diced

1 rib celery finely chopped

1 med. carrot grated

2 tablespoons mayo/olive oil blend

2 eggs

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (mix with tuna)

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese topping.

Mix all ingredients except cheese for topping, put in a bread pan and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Top with remaining cheese and bake 15 more minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before cutting.

This serves 4 and cost about $1 per serving

Be Happy & Eat Healthy!

Tuna and chick peas salad with avacado

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I’m not a big fan of mayo, in fact I really dislike it. I am a fan of summer salads and this one is great and so easy to make.

2 cans drained tuna fish I used albacor

1 can chick peas drained and rinsed

1 stalk celery diced

1 carrot diced

1/2 red onion finely diced

1 to 2 tomatoes diced

2 avocados, one mashed and one diced

slat and pepper to taste.

Combine all ingredients and enjoy; it can’t get much simpler than this.  This salad is loaded with “good” fats from the avocado and not the bad fats from the mayo.

Be Happy & Eat Healthy!

Pork with onion, mushroom wine sauce over pasta

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This recipe is so good, fast and versatile; you could use boneless pork, beef, chicken even fish. Start to finish it took me 20 minutes to make.

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I started with 2 boneless pork chops, seasoned liberally with salt and pepper. Pound them to about 1/2 inch thick. Then put on a pot of water to boil. Sear the pork with a combination of butter and olive oil on each side then remove and keep warm. It will not take long for the pork to cook as it is so thin, but be aware not to over cook any meat as it gets tough. While cooking the pork slice one onion, and 20 mushrooms of your choice; add 2 to 3 minced gloves of garlic. place in the same pan used to cook the pork; note you may have to add more olive and butter to prevent sticking.  Once the vegetables have sweated down and browned a bit add 1/2 cup dry red wine, salt and pepper and cook on high to reduce sauce a bit. Cook the pasta to almost done reserve 1/2 cup of starchy pasta water then drain the pasta. Remove 1/2 the vegetable mixture and set aside, toss the pasta with the remaining sauce to coat. You will need to add some or all of the water for a creamier richer sauce. Plate by placing the pasta on a plate top with the pork and the remaining vegetable sauce.

With a few ingredients and a few minutes you can have this gorgeous healthy meal fit for company.

Be Happy & Eat Healthy!

Healthy French Onion Soup

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I LOVE, LOVE, French onion soup! Yet on my quest for healthier food I have decided to make over this classic soup.

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Start by dicing and cooking 4 strips of turkey bacon. Thinly slice 8 to 10 large onions and add to bacon; add a little water instead of butter or olive oil to prevent burning. Keep an eye on the  onions and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water as needed. Finely mince 4 large cloves of garlic and add to onions. Some people like to cook this way down to the point of mush; I like a little texture in my onions so I cook til just soft.

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When onions are soft sprinkle 3 tablespoons of flour over onions and continue to cook for 5 minutes stir every few minutes. The flour will become a thinking agent. After 5 minutes add 32 ounces of chicken or vegetable stock, 1 tablespoon dried thyme,  2 bay leaves, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 30 minutes then add 1 cup dry vermouth heat through and serve.

I serve the traditional way with a few twist. I use sliced whole grain bread lightly toasted then rubbed with a clove of garlic. Instead of the high fat Gorgonzola cheese (which I love) I used reduced fat swiss cheese.

Be Happy & Eat Healthy!

The best ever roasted chicken

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I’ve been doing some research on baking whole chickens and I have found tons of recipes on how to get the juiciest most flavorful bird ever. None of them come close to this one and it’s so easy to make.

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Start by rinsing and patting dry your chicken. Create a space between the skin and the meat.

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Combine 1/2 a stick softened butter and 1/4 cup olive oil with 1/2 cup + fresh sage salt and pepper.  Put 3/4 of the mixture in the pocket between the skin and meat pressing it down and around as much of the chicken possible.

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Rub the outside of the chicken with the rest of the butter mixture, salt and pepper. Then stuff a whole onion and some extra sage in the chickens cavity.

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I used winter root vegetables for this one; carrots, turnips, parsnips, onions and cabbage; you could also use potatoes, rutabaga or any hearty vegetable that can stand up to baking for long periods of time. I tossed the vegetables with a little olive oil, salt and pepper than added fresh sage leaves. I placed my chicken on top of the vegetables with the breast side down with a little water in the pan; it makes for a much juicier chicken. Bake your chicken for 15-20 minutes per pound or until the internal temp reaches 165.

This makes a beautiful dinner; but what makes this great is the number of things that can be done with the left overs. So after dinner I will remove the remaining chicken and make stock from the bones and a few more vegetables. I will report further on what I’m making with the left overs. The chicken only cost $5.66, the sage was free ( I have a ton of the stuff growing in my back yard ) and the root vegetables I’ve had for several month and can’t remember how much I paid for them. I’m thinking I can get between 10- 20 meals from this small 5 pound chicken

Be Happy and Eat Healthy!

Maple bacon cookies

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So, ok, these cookies are neither thrifty or healthy.  But for celebrating my amazing brother- in- law’s birthday (age not important) and better yet 5 years cancer free we had to celebrate. That meant it was all about the pig; pulled pork, baked beans with pork, mac and cheese with bacon, corn bread with bacon and to top it all off MAPLE BACON COOKIES!

And for the best part; I’m not going to share any of these recipes with my followers. I could say it’s because I want to make sure you stay healthy but; that would be a lie. All of these recipes were sooooo good I will be entering them in cooking contests, that’s why I’m not going to share. I WANT TO WIN!

I must also mention everyone is entitled to a “cheat day” and no that doesn’t mean cheating on a test, or spouse. It means once and a while giving into your favorite eatable indulgence. The key is moderation, and from time to time misplace my key and I tend to indulge more than I should. I am working on keeping a closer eye on my “key”.

So Be Happy & Eat Healthy, but it’s fine to cheat once and a while and enjoy your taste buds!

Chicken thighs with mushroom sauce

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“YUM!! The flavor is amazing. I can really taste the garlic, which I love. Thank you for sharing. -Audrey_”

I brought this dish to work for lunch and this is one of the comments I received.  This recipe is great for a family meal or entertaining, and freezes nicely. Serve with rice, or any whole grain to make a complete meal.

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Recipe to follow

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