Wednesday, January 7, 2009


  • Beef Mushroom Barley Soup
  • Pasta with Mushroom Sauce
  • Spinach and Jack Cheese Bread Casserole
  • Slow-Cooked Taos Taco Stew
  • Black-and-White Cassoulet
  • Navajo Tacos
  • Beef Pot Pie
  • Dessert: Lemon Yogurt Cake

Beef Mushroom Barley Soup

canola oil

2 pounds beef, cut in 1-inch cubes

2 carrots, diced

1 onion, diced

3 celery stalks, diced

6 cups water

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/3 cup pearl barley, rinsed

1 cup chopped canned tomato

1 Tbs butter

1 pound mushrooms, quartered

Heat a large soup pot or Dutch oven over med-high heat; add oil to coat pan. Season meat generously with salt and pepper and sear until well-browned. Remove the meat; add carrot, onion, and celery, saute until tender(may add more oil if necessary). Return meat to pan and add water. Bring to a boil, adjust heat to maintain gentle simmer, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours or until meat is just tender. Add thyme, barley and tomato and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. In medium saute pan, heat butter over med-high heat, add mushrooms and saute until golden. Season with salt and pepper, and add them to the soup. Season soup with salt and pepper and a little sugar. Serve with oven-warmed french bread and slab of butter or round of brie cheese.

Pasta with Mushroom Sauce

2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)

1/2 med red onion, chopped(or yellow onion will do)

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 pound assorted mushrooms, preferably wild, trimmed and sliced

1 cup mushroom stock, recipe follows

1 cup heavy cream

1 pound pasta of choice (I use farfalle)

fresh shaved parmesan

Boil pasta per directions. In large saute pan on high heat, add olive oil. Add onion & garlic, saute until barely translucent. Add mushrooms and saute until they begin to brown and release their liquid. Add mushroom stock and reduce 5 minutes. Add cream and reduce until sauce begins to thicken. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with cooked and drained pasta. Serve on large platter, topped with parmesan.

Mushroom stock: 2 cups chicken stock, 1/2 cup mushroom trimmings, stems or pieces

Combine stock and mushrooms in saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by half. Strain.

Spinach and Jack Cheese Bread Casserole

6 large eggs

2 cups milk

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

pinch ground nutmeg

1 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

8 slices firm bread, cut into cubes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, thyme, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in spinach, cheese and bread. Pour into greased 9x13 pan. Bake until browned and puffed, 20-25 minutes. Let stand a few minutes bofore serving.

Slow-Cooked Taos Taco Stew

1 pound chicken, cubed (I'm using pound of frozen beans and ground beef, leftover from a taco casserole)

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic

1 Tbs parsley

taco seasoning

16 oz tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup broth

16 oz pinto beans, drained

1 can corn, drained

1 can green chiles

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot, cook on low 8-10 hours. Serve with tortillas or chips (I'm frying cut-up corn tortillas for homemade chips)

Black-and-White Cassoulet

1 pound white beans

1 quart chicken stock

Combine in stock pot. Simmer until beans are tender.

For the garnish:

olive oil

1 onion, diced

celery, diced

1 Tbs chopped garlic

smoked sausage link, sliced

1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce

reserved cooking liquid from beans

1 cup tomato sauce

bread crumb crust, recipe follows

Heat a Dutch oven to med-high heat. Add olive oil to pan, add onion and celery. Add garlic and sausage. Add 1/4 cup flour(seasoned with cajun seasoning) and stir to form a roux. Add additional flour as needed to form a stiff roux. Cook roux, stirring constantly, until roux is the color of peanut butter. Add Worcestershire. Slowly add stock from beans, whisking to dissolve roux. Cook 10 minutes. Add tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Add beans from the pot(drained). At this point, I'm also going to add some leftover black beans with ham. Top with breadcrumb mixture and bake at 375 degreesF for 45 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Bread crumb mixture: 2 cups soft bread crumbs, 1/2 cup melted butter, 1/4 cup parmesan, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 2 egg yolks

Combine all ingredients in food processor and pulse for 30 seconds until combined.

Navajo Tacos

Fry bread dough:

4 cups flour

5 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt 4 Tbsp shortening

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

shortening for frying

In mixing bowl, mix flour, baking powder and soda, salt. Add 4 Tbsp shortening and cut in until pea-sized particles are formed. Add buttermilk, stir to moisten, and briefly knead in the bowl until it begins to come together. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, 10-12 times. Divide dough into 8 equal portions, shape into balls, let rest on floured work surface, covered with a towel, 20 minutes. With hands, shape each ball into roughly 6-inch round. Fry in hot shortening, one at a time, until golden and puffed, turning halfway through.


refried beans

shredded cheese

shredded lettuce

diced tomatoes

Beef Pot Pie

Double-pie crust for 9-inch deep dish:

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

scant 2/3 cup oil

4 Tbs cold water

1 tsp cider vinegar

In pie dish, mix together flour and salt. Make a well in the middle; add oil, water and vinegar. Mix with a fork until barely combined. Put aside small half of dough; press out larger half in pie dish. Roll out remaining dough in a circle just big enough to cover top of pie.


Leftover Beef and Barley Stew. The barley will absorb liquid, so the stew might be thick enough as is. If not, just heat and thicken with cornstarch.

Fill the dough-lined pie pan with stew. Top with a few pats of butter. Cover with rolled out circle of dough. Cut venilation slits in crust. Brush a little milk or beaten egg on crust. Bake at 375 until crust is golden brown.

Lemon Yogurt Cake

1 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

1 1/3 cups sugar, divided

3 eggs

2 tsp grated lemon zest

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup lemon juice


1 cup powdered sugar

2 Tbs lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 loaf pan. Combine flour, baking powder, salt in bowl. Add yogurt, 1 cup sugar, eggs, zest, and vanilla. Whisk together. Fold oil into the batter. Pour batter into pan and bake about 50 min, or until knive comes out clean. Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar in small pan until sugar dissolves. When cake is done, let it cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan and place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. Pour the lemon-sugar over the cake and let it soak. Cool. For the glaze, combine powdered sugar and lemon juice and pour over cake.


  1. I love it Crystalin! I'm always looking for new recipes/ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great idea, Crystalin! I'll be checking in regularly.

  3. Just had the Black-and-White Cassoulet for dinner--delicious!