Beef Stew- for Chilly Weekends

We’ve officially entered Winter on the East Coast, which makes me crave comfort food. This beef stew recipe is great but time-consuming. While the prep only takes about twenty minutes, the cooking time is a lengthy 3 hours. Make it when you are staying in and have some time on your hands. That said, this reheats beautifully for a weeknight supper once all the hard work has been done. Feel free to double the recipe and add your own spin on it. I usually use the vegetables that I have sitting in the fridge. Great additions are small potatoes, celery, parsnips, mushrooms. I’ve adapted this recipe from “Bistro, Casual French Cooking at Home”, edited by Valerie Lhomme. The original recipe called only for carrots, but I like to add a few vegetables, in this case, a large parsnip, assorted mushrooms, and carrots. I also bumped up the garlic factor, because well, you know… garlic. If you decide to forego the parsnips and mushrooms simply add a pound of carrots, it’s delicious either way. The great thing about beef stew is that it’s so versatile and really hard to screw up! Enjoy with a salad and crusty bread! 

Serves 8

The Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. good quality cubed beef for stewing
  • 1/2 bunch Italian Parsley stems removed, leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled & sliced into thick rounds
  • 8 large-sized button mushrooms, washed & cut into quarters
  • 1 package brown beech mushrooms, bottom removed (optional, I just had these lying around)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, well crushed
  • 2 large parsnips- peeled, halved, sliced, & cut into thick half rounds (also optional)
  • 2 TBS. butter
  • 2 TBS. olive oil
  • 2 TBS. flour
  • 2 cups red wine (optional, you can substitute a cup of beef bouillon if you’d like)
  • 2 cups beef broth, I like “Better Than Bouillon” but if you go this route, I recommend using 3/4 tsp. as opposed to the full teaspoon the packaging recommends. This is a great product but a bit on the salty side and I like to control my own seasoning.
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 2 stalks fresh parsley
  • S&P


  1. In a large French oven with lid, heat butter and olive oil. Add onions and slowly brown.
  2. Lightly flour beef and sear until browned on all sides in French oven. Add crushed garlic cloves, 2 stalks fresh parsley, large sprig of thyme, and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Add beef stock and wine. Cover and simmer over low heat for 2 hours. Image
  3. Add vegetables and simmer, covered for 1 hour.


4. Remove the bay leaf, parsley, and sprig of thyme. Chop remaining parsley and add.

5. Enjoy!


Thanksgiving Crowd Pleaser- Cranberry Sauce

I’ve been making this for years, it even garners compliments from the cranberry sauce averse. Great idea for the Thanksgiving potluck if you are less than stellar in the kitchen; this couldn’t be easier.The walnuts, ginger, orange, and lemon zest give it a much needed lift without imparting too much sweetness. This recipe has been slightly adapted from the Barefoot Contessa’s Cranberry Fruit Conserve. Makes roughly 4 cups. 



  • 1 12 oz. bag cranberries, washed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple- peeled, cored, & chopped
  • 1 orange- zested (I suggest using a microplane for this) & juiced
  • 1 lemon- zested & juiced
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 Tbs. crystalized ginger, roughly chopped






  1. Put the cranberries, water, & sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until the skins of the cranberries pop.
  2. Add the apple, zests, & juices. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes more.
  3. Remove from heat. Add raisins, walnuts, & ginger.
  4. Allow to cool then place in the fridge.
  5. Serve chilled


Sauteed Collard Greens- take two!

I grow collards on my back patio; they grow surprisingly well in the New England humidity and heat- in fact they’ve thrived. I’ve had a hard time keeping up with them and while they still look gorgeous, the stalks and leaves are a bit more fibrous on a mature plant. Never fear- here is a method of cooking fibrous greens such as kale, chard, etc. Enjoy! 

  • 1 lb. collards- stems removed and cut into 1 inch wide strips
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 small red onion- thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic- minced
  • generous pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

In a large pot boil salted water. Add collard greens and cook until tender, roughly 8 minutes. Drain.

Heat oil on medium high heat and add onion. Cook about six minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add red pepper flakes and collard greens. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute until garlic is fragrant. Remove from heat and add vinegar and salt.

Pasta in Spicy Lemon Cream Sauce with Peas & Prosciutto

I’m usually really good at sourcing all of my recipes. I’ve been making this since 2007; I printed it off of the now defunct Recipezaar website. There seem to versions of this recipe all over the web- the only adaption I’ve made is adding an entire bag of frozen peas. While this recipe is delicious, it’s not the most healthy recipe and my efforts to cut the amount of cream have been unsuccessful. Enjoy and thank you to whoever is the source of this fantastic dish! 

  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 3 shallots minced (preferably large)
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest- zested with microplane
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 bag (16 oz.) frozen peas
  • 2 tsp. fresh mint leaves, sliced
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 lb. pasta of your choice (I prefer orecchiette or fusilli)
  • 1/2 lb. prosciutto, shredded

In a large saute pan melt butter over medium high heat. Add shallots and saute for two minutes until translucent. Add chicken broth and simmer until the broth reduces to about 1/4 cup. This should take roughly two minutes. Meanwhile, in a pot of boiling, salted water- add pasta and cook according to package directions. Return your attention to the saute pan, add cayenne, lemon & orange zests, and cream. Simmer and allow sauce to thicken. This should take about 3 min. Add peas and heat through. Stir in mint and lemon juice and turn heat to low. Add prosciutto. Turn off heat.  Strain pasta and add to sauce in saute pan, sprinkle with fresh parmesan and freshly ground pepper. Enjoy!

Red Cabbage Slaw

I love to have dishes of cold vegetables in my fridge during the summer. Not only do you get to use produce in it’s most pristine state, but I find that it helps manage my cravings and lessen the likelihood of eating something regrettable when I just want to munch on something. This is a great option. All you really need is a red cabbage and the rest of the ingredients are all things you should have in the pantry.  I found this hidden in a Self Magazine recipe titled, Tequila-Lime Mahi mahi Tacos- June 2012. The tacos were good, although I’ve had better fish tacos. But- the slaw is tasty and it’s simplicity means I will make it again and again. Enjoy! 


      * 3 TBS. rice wine vinegar (preferably seasoned)
      * 1 tsp. sesame oil
      * 2 tsp. Honey (I prefer buckwheat)
      * 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
      * 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
      * 1 medium to small red cabbage, thinly sliced
     Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix. Allow to sit for 30 minutes prior to serving so that the flavors
      have time to meld.
Red Cabbage Slaw