Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hearty Beef 'n Barley Soup (Pantry/Freezer Items)

Trust me...

You know how you lay out a plan for yourself for the next day?  You tell yourself this is what is going to happen, and progress from there?  Have you ever had it go southward in a heartbeat?  This my friends is how this recipe came about.

I had every, I say every intention of "reviewing" a killer beef 'n barley recipe from one of my numerous cookbooks.  As beef 'n barley happen to be one of my ultimate favorite soups, I figured, "hey, why not use a cookbook and review"?  I know right?

Well that being said, was my thoughts and intentions.  What transpired was; Something different...
What happened was that after perusing 4 I say, 4 cookbooks.  None of them even made a bleep on my radar much less rocked my world that I had to recreate immediately and review with you.  The end result was; that I took a smidgen ingredient and method from the various cookbooks, and along with good old fashioned sense made my own beef 'n barley soup.

Can I just say, "Holy, we need a bigger ladle Batman"!!  It was that good, no I'm serious!  It was thick and hearty!  Just like how I like my soups!  It was bursting with chunks of bite sized meat, and that oh so plump barley, along with the veggies?  Heaven, I'm in beef 'n barley heaven I say!!  But of course I had to kick it up a few notches by pairing the soup with homemade three cheese garlic bread.  I had to, I just had to I say!!

Ready for this very simple put together recipe?  Bring your appetites, here we go; 

Prep time:  15 minutes
Cook time:  1.5 hours
Yield:  6-8 servings

1-1/2 lbs stew beef, chopped into bite size portions
2 celery stalks, diced
1 large carrot, diced small
1 medium onion, diced (I used red)
1 pkg brown gravy - 0.87oz/24gr
1-14.5 oz can beef broth - 411gr
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, not drained - 411gr
1 can, 4 oz mushrooms, drained (can use 8 oz fresh sliced, I just used pantry items)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup barley
6 cups water (divided) - 4 + 2 cups
1 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp black pepper
1-1/2 tsp salt

-Dice your veggies and set aside.

-Dice your stew beef into bite size pieces and set aside.

-Using your favorite pan, add the olive oil to the bottom, and heat till hot.  

-Meanwhile, as oil is warming, sprinkle the gravy mix evenly over the portion size beef stew pieces.

 Why it's blurry?  I HAVE NO IDEA!! *sigh* - okay, back to the recipe

-Add the portioned size beef pieces to the hot oil. Start to brown them.

-Once browned on one side and flipped over, add your diced onion.

Again blurry, I guess I really have to take photography lessons...

-It will be thick and sticky and the gravy will be sticking to the edge and bottom of your pan.  Aha, have no fear...
The Worcestershire sauce and beef broth will appear!

-Now let's add in the amazing Worcestershire sauce along with the beef broth and scrape all those succulent flavors back into the pan.  Now we add in the can of diced tomatoes.  Scrape, scrape all that goodness.  Let's add in our thyme, salt & pepper.  What the heck right??

 -Doesn't that look awesome?  I know!!  Now let's add in the diced celery and carrots, saute for just a couple of minutes.  Add in your reserved 4 cups water.  Bring to a boil.  Turn down heat to low and add your barley along with your canned (or fresh mushrooms).  Let simmer, covered on a very low heat for about 45 minutes. 

-After 45 minutes, uncover, stir your amazing soup, making sure you reach the bottom.  Add in your remaining 2 cups water.  Taste for seasonings.  Does it need more salt, pepper, thyme?    Does it taste "just right"?  Cool!!

-Let it simmer, semi-covered for about another 45 minutes.  Stir and dish this amazing home comfort goodness in bowls and watch  your family just dig right in!!

Now, does this take a little time to make?  Yup, yup it does!!  My advice is to make it on a weekend (if your a working mom), and then you have leftovers for 1x during the week with more garlic bread or a sandwich!  Talk about an easy two meal dinner that is easy, family and budget friendly that your family will love!!!

Add caption

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Baked Spinach & Feta Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts - Low Carb & Super Easy Weeknight Dinner

I know, trust me...

So you come home after a full day at work, and you have NO IDEA what you are going to make for dinner.  Everyone sorts of congregates into the kitchen the moment you arrive home asking; "mom, what's for dinner"!  As you sigh to yourself, oh wait, that's me...
You promptly order everyone out of your kitchen as you gather your thoughts and ingredients!! Story of a working mom...

So my friends, this is my "daughter's" recipe, you know the amazing mom of my beautiful granddaughter?  

Yeah her, she was so proud of herself and actually sent me a pic text of the dinner along with calling me about 1/2 of an hour after eating it to tell me how good it was.  We commiserated about how difficult it is to work full time and either meal prep, make extras etc.  And then, I say and THEN, she shared this easy dinner recipe with me.

Well you so know I had to try it!  I am hear to testify my dear friends, that not only is it DELICIOUS!!  It is bursting with spinach & amazing feta cheese flavor and those spices!
Oh MY HEAVENS!!  It's mouth watering, moist, and family friendly...  and it's a super easy weeknight dinner.  SCORE!!

Ready for my daughter's amazing creation?  Here we go;

Prep time:  10 minutes
Bake time:  35-40 minutes
Yield:  4 large servings

4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (12 oz) chopped frozen spinach, defrosted & drained well (I usually use my hands and squeeze the water out)
2/3 cup feta cheese
2 tbsp pine nuts *optional* 
1/2 tsp onion powder (LOVE THE NO DICING, YES)
1/4 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp black pepper divided ( 1/2 + 1/2 tsp)
1/4 cup olive oil
aluminum foil


-Preheat oven to 375F.

-Tearing off two pieces of aluminum foil, lay onto the baking sheet and place 2 chicken breasts on each strip.

-Using a sharp knife, make a good size pocket on the thickest part of the chicken breast.  Set aside.

-In a medium bowl, add your remaining ingredients except for the olive oil and 1/2 tsp black pepper.

-Taking a good portion of the spinach mixture, stuff each breast with as much stuffing as you can, not worrying if some are overstuffed, hey it's stuffing here!!  Who doesn't love stuffing?

- Sprinkle all of the breasts with the remainder of the black pepper and the olive oil.  Seal the aluminum foil, like packets. Cut a slot for the steam to escape on each packet.

-Bake for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 15-20 minutes till nicely golden brown and the aroma emanating from your oven will leave your taste buds salivating...

*Why do we separate the chicken breasts into two strips of two you might ask?  Aha, *insert finger pointing upward*; Faster and more even cooking time my friends -- See, aren't you glad you subscribe?*

Serve with your favorite side and enjoy every tasty morsel!!  I personally like a fast side fresh veggie, and is pictured above, cherry tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, sea salt, dried oregano & black pepper.

Mediterranean, healthy, BUT UTMOST delicious cooking at it's best for a weeknight, YES!!

Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Breaded, Baked Chicken Cutlet Dukkah Rolls (Low Fat & Delicious)

 Trust me, they were absolutely delicious!!

What I truly loved about this recipe was;

A) What an easy dinner they were to prepare
B) The taste is simply amazing
C) My family loved them, and asked for more
D) They were very budget friendly
E) Can be low carb with the addition of pork rind crumbs

So, what is Dukkah you ask?  Well, it's a delicious spice blend that is so versatile, you ask yourself why you have done with out this spice for this long...


So my good friend Kecia and I, from Kecia's Flavor Breakthrough went to the farmers market.  We had SO MUCH fun!!  We explored vegetables, herbs, spices and wine...

You so knew I was going to say that!!  But we also explored, you know foodie things!  One of them that I screeched to a halt to, was the Dukkah booth.

Ready for this very easy, simple yet delicious recipe?  Here we go!

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 25-30 minutes
Yield: 8 chicken rolls


8 chicken cutlets (thin)
1/3 cup Dukkah, + 1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup flour, + 1/4 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used unseasoned - not panko), plus
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, + 1/4 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp pepper, mixed well.

3 tbsp (1/4 cup) olive oil

 -Preheat oven to 375F

-As oven is preheating, using three separate pans or plates, add; 
+To the first one add the flour & seasonings, mix well and set aside
+To the 2nd one add the eggs, and beat, set aside
+To the 3rd one, add the crumbs, seasonings, mix and set aside

-In a small bowl add your Dukkah spice mix and add the salt, mix and set aside.  Now we are ready to assemble. 

- Pre-spray a 9X 9 baking pan with non stick spray. 

-On a flat surface, lay out your cutlets and sprinkle your Dukkah seasoning evenly over your cutlets.  Making sure they all get that amazing goodness and all...
You know, making them happy!! What?

- After sprinkling on that amazing seasoning, we are ready to roll these beauties.

-Taking the bottom edge of the cutlet (the one closest to you), roll it into a roll/spiral.

-Dip each one, first into the seasoned flour, then the beaten eggs, and finally into that amazing bread topping!

-Lay into your pan, seam side down and nestle them nice and close.  They love company!

-Drizzle them with the olive oil and bake, uncovered for approximately 25-30 minutes, I like the 30 minutes, I like them nicely golden!!

-Let rest for a just a few minutes and serve with your favorite side.

I love serving this with a nice salad!!  

 While the chicken was baking I sliced up an English cuke, Roma tomatoes, & some green onions w/ parsley.  Olive oil, salt & pepper, were ready to roll!

What you can expect is a crispy, moist bursting with flavor chicken cutlet, that is 50x better than your favorite restaurant!!  Who needs take out, who needs to go out to eat?  Surely not us...
Easy, peasy, family friendly dinner in no time.  Best of all?? Your family will think that you are the best next thing to sliced bread!

Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi