Busy Nights Real Food
Friday, January 06, 2006
  Excuse me ma'am...I believe I have found your beef

Well I got to cook for the 1st time in the new year and it didn't turn out so bad. I really wanted a hearty, comfort food that would still be good for leftovers on Friday. So Wednesday I began looking for a good, and low fat beef stew. After no time I found a recipe for Oven Baked Stew on the Cooking Light Bulletin Board. It looked great. Really hearty, really flavorful, really stew. I made the grocery list and was getting all my stuff ready when I realized that I don't own a Dutch oven or have anything to use in the place of a Dutch oven. My lack of cooking gear often stops my planning in its tracks. So back to the drawing board. I then went to my most recent Cooking Light Magazine and fornd the Basic Beef Stew with Carrots and Mushrooms. I was very tasty and very easy. Though mental note. If you are making stew that requires over 2 hours to just cook, you may want to start a bit before 5:30. Especially when you are working at 5 am the next morning and need to get some sleep. I couldn't find white potatoes (as they described) so I used red. I was out of red wine so I used my favorite mass marketed light beer. The final result- really stinkin' good. It was super beefy and filling. I would have liked a bit more salt, but that it just a personal preference. This will go on my list to make again. So that was Wednesday and I am hoping to enjoy myself some leftovers today.

Thursday brought out one of our all time favorites, Spicy Ranch Chicken Wraps. These take no time to throw together and we have them at least once a month. I served these with Cilantro-Lime Rice. Just like a trip to good ol' Chipotle, only without the wonderful last bite of tortilla that has all the juice and extra sour cream. Ok, sorry got a little excited there. The rice was great. I used jasmine rice (if that isn't one of the most divine things in the world), a few tablespoons of fresh cilantro and some lime zest make this a very light and refreshing side dish. I will make this again for sure. Ok, be proud. I tried my first new food last night. They've been on sale a lot lately and I can remember thinking they are the most disgusting objects in the plant family when I was younger. I am speaking of the...Brussel Sprout. I tried them pretty au natural last night. I roasted them with just a bit of olive oil, some salt and pepper. Well, if that were the only way to eat these things, I don't know that we'd have them again. Its not that we hated them. They were just a bit more bitter than we cared for. Actually, we kind of liked the raw leaves better than the cooked version. So we have agreed that we will try them again, it may just be with some other flavoring, such as balsamic. But the new year is starting out alright. I am cooking pretty healthy and I am trying new things. So no cooking today, just lots of leftovers, but have some yummy plans for Saturday.

Sounds like some very successful improvising for the Beef Stew!

And big kudos on the Brussels Sprouts. Joe makes them now and again - these were on my "OMG what the hell is that and who the hell would ever eat them?" list since childhood. They're not too bad, in small quantities. Don't love 'em, don't hate 'em too much :p

2006 is going so well!!
At our house, we fight over the brussels sprouts-even my kids! They count them out to make sure everyone has the same number. I've never had them roasted, though-we usually just boil them. I have some in the fridge, and I think I'll try roasting them tomorrow night!
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