Irish Soda Bread

This is a quick bread that does not require any yeast. Instead, all of its leavening comes from baking soda and buttermilk. It is dense, yet soft and has the most incredible crusty exterior, plus it is really easy and quick to make.

Ingredients
1 and 3/4 cups (420ml) buttermilk*
1 large egg (optional, see note)
4 and 1/4 cups (515g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for your hands and counter
3 Tablespoons (38g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoons (70g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed*
optional: 1 cup (150g) raisins

Directions
Preheat oven & pan options: Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). There are options for the baking pan. Use a regular baking sheet and line with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (bread spreads a bit more on a baking sheet), or use a seasoned 10-12 inch cast iron skillet, or grease a 9-10 inch cake pan or pie dish. You can also use a 5 quart (or higher) dutch oven. Grease or line with parchment paper. If using a dutch oven, bake the bread with the lid off.
Whisk the buttermilk and egg together. Set aside. Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingers. Mixture is very heavy on the flour, but do your best to cut in the butter until the butter is pea-sized crumbs. Stir in the raisins. Pour in the buttermilk/egg mixture. Gently fold the dough together until dough it is too stiff to stir. Pour crumbly dough onto a lightly floured work surface. With floured hands, work the dough into a ball as best you can, then knead for about 30 seconds or until all the flour is moistened. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour.
Transfer the dough to the prepared skillet/pan. Using a very sharp knife, score an X into the top. Bake until the bread is golden brown and center appears cooked through, about 45 minutes. Loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil if you notice heavy browning on top. I usually place foil on top halfway through bake time.
Remove from the oven and allow bread to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm, at room temperature, or toasted with desired toppings/spreads.
Cover and store leftover bread at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. We usually wrap it tightly in aluminum foil for storing.
Notes
Freezing Instructions: Baked and cooled bread freezes well up to 3 months. Freeze the whole loaf or individual slices. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature, then reheat as desired.
Baking Pan: There are options for the baking pan. You can use a lined large baking sheet (with or without a rim), a seasoned 10-12 inch cast iron skillet, or a greased or lined 9-10 inch cake pan or pie dish. I don’t recommend a loaf pan because the loaf may not bake evenly inside. This dough is best as a flatter loaf.
Buttermilk: Using cold buttermilk is best. Buttermilk is key to the bread’s flavor, texture, and rise. The bread will not rise without it. If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, you can make a homemade “DIY” version. Whole milk or 2% milk is best, though lower fat or nondairy milks work in a pinch. Add 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Add enough cold milk to make 1 and 3/4 cups. Whisk together, then let sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe.
Egg: 1 egg adds richness and density. Feel free to skip it to make a slightly lighter loaf. No other changes necessary, simply leave out the egg.
Cold Butter: The colder the butter, the less sticky the dough will be. Make sure it’s very cold, even frozen cubed butter is great.

Irish Beef Stew

Ingredients
2 celery sticks, thickly sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 really big carrots, halved lengthways then very chunkily sliced
5 bay leaves
2 thyme sprigs, 1 whole and 1 leaves picked
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 beef stock cubes, crumbled
850g stewing beef (featherblade or brisket works nicely), cut into nice large chunks

Directions

STEP 1
Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3 and put the kettle on.

STEP 2
Put 2 thickly sliced celery sticks, 1 chopped onion, 2 chunkily sliced carrots, 5 bay leaves and 1 whole thyme sprig in a flameproof casserole dish with 1 tbsp vegetable oil and 1 tbsp butter.

STEP 3
Soften for 10 mins, then stir in 2 tbsp plain flour until it doesn’t look dusty anymore, followed by 2 tbsp tomato purée, 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce and 2 crumbled beef stock cubes.

STEP 4
Gradually stir in 600ml hot water, then tip in 850g stewing beef and bring to a gentle simmer.

STEP 5
Cover and put in the oven for 2hrs 30 mins, then uncover and cook for 30mins – 1hr more until the meat is really tender and the sauce is thickened.

STEP 6
Garnish with the picked leaves of the remaining thyme sprig.

Steamed Mussels with Tomato-and-Garlic Broth

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cups drained canned tomatoes in thick puree, chopped (from one 28-ounce can)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
  • 4 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • Salt, if needed

Directions

  • Step 1In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley, tomatoes, thyme, and red-pepper flakes. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Step 2Discard any mussels that have broken shells or that don’t clamp shut when tapped. Add the mussels to the pot. Cover; bring to a boil. Cook, shaking the pot occasionally, just until the mussels open, about 3 minutes. Remove the open mussels. Continue to boil, uncovering the pot as necessary to remove the mussels as soon as their shells open. Discard any that do not open.
  • Step 3Stir the black pepper into the broth. Taste the broth and, if needed, add salt. Ladle the broth over the mussels and serve with the garlic toast.

Suggested Pairing

Every Mediterranean country has its version of shellfish in a tomato-based broth, and the wine of choice for each is an earthy, full-bodied pink wine. Here, seek out a Lacryma Christi rosé.

Roquefort Soufflés

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus softened butter for the ramekins

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

Pinch of salt

Pinch of cayenne pepper

2 ounces Roquefort cheese

5 large eggs, separated

2 tablespoons snipped chives

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter four 1-cup ramekins and coat each one with 1 tablespoon of the grated Parmigiano.

Step 2

In a medium saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Add the milk, salt and cayenne and cook, whisking, until very thick and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and whisk in the Roquefort and the remaining 1/4 cup of grated Parmigiano. Whisk in the egg yolks and chives.

Step 3 In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until firm peaks form. Fold the beaten whites into the cheese mixture until no streaks remain. Pour the mixture into the ramekins, filling them three-fourths of the way; set the ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake the soufflés for about 20 minutes, until puffed and golden. Place the soufflés on plates and serve immediately

Bavarian Pot Roast in Dutch Oven with Kartoffelknödel

Ingredients

  • 1 boneless beef chuck pot roast (about 3 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Optional: Cornstarch and water

Directions

  • 1. In a Dutch oven, brown roast in hot oil. Combine water, beer, tomato sauce, onion, sugar, vinegar, salt, cinnamon, bay leaf, pepper and ginger. Pour over meat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until meat is tender, 2-1/2-3 hours.
  • 2. Remove meat. Discard bay leaf. If desired, thicken juices with cornstarch and water.
    Freeze option: Place sliced pot roast in freezer containers; top with cooking juices. Cool and freeze. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Microwave, covered, on high in a microwave-safe dish until heated through, gently stirring and adding a little broth if necessary.

Deliciously Moist Banana Bread Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup butter (melted)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 medium bananas (mashed)

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, vanilla and lemon juice. Mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Once fully combined, pour into the butter mixture. Mix until smooth.
  • Mash the bananas with a fork or a potato masher. Fold in the sour cream, walnuts and mashed bananas. Spread the mixture evenly into the greased 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 60 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the loaf).
  • Remove from oven and allow the bread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

How to Make Moist Banana Bread

Here are some tips & tricks for making the best banana bread.

  • The bananas have to be over-ripe. When it comes to banana bread, the blacker the peel, the better. These mushy bananas give off a much sweeter flavor, making them perfect for baking banana bread. Previously frozen ripe bananas work great as well!
  • Mash the bananas thoroughly. To do so, you can use a fork, a potato masher or hand mixer. This is particularly important for those who do not like munching on slimy and mushy banana bits. 
  • When combining dry and wet ingredients, fold them very gently with a spatula. This will result in extra tender bread.
  • I know this recipe calls for 60 minutes of cook time, but check it as early as 55 minutes in. You’ll know it’s done when you see some moist bread sticking to your tester toothpick. Remove from the oven right away!
  • Pecans are great, but walnuts also go really well with banana bread. The hint of bitterness in these nuts gives a nice balance to the sweetness of the banana.
  • Make sure to take the banana bread out of the loaf pan as soon as possible, about 10 minutes after it’s out of the oven. Don’t leave it in there for too long – doing so will result in a soggy bottom.

How to Store Banana Bread

Even when you follow all the recipe tips mentioned above, banana bread tends to dry out when storing it overnight.

Here are some storage tips to keep your banana bread moist and delicious:

  • Allow your bread to cool on a wire rack or a plate before refrigerating it.
  • Slice your bread in thick and even slices. Eat to your heart’s content. 
  • In the unlikely event of leftovers, pack the remaining slices in plastic wrap while it’s still a little warm. This will prevent it from going dry. Tin foils and airtight containers also work well at preserving the quality of the bread. Make sure that it is wrapped nice and tightly.
  • Place the wrapped slices inside a freezer bag. Press the bag to get rid of excess air, and gently close the seal completely.

Ground Beef Chili With Chocolate and Peanut Butter Recipe

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 8 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 3 canned chiles in adobo, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 pounds ground beef or ground dark turkey
  • 1 (15-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup stout beer
  • 1 cup unsalted or low-sodium beef stock or chicken stock
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed
  • 4 ounces good dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • Any combination of tortilla chips, shredded cheese and diced avocado, for garnish (optional)

This recipe was a little to spicy for us. I will post some updates after I changed the recipe.

Directions are just like any other chili. Chocolate and peanut butter is added 5 minutes before serving.

Paula Deen’s Goulash

Paula Deen’s Goulash is a classic comfort food that combines savory beef, zesty tomato sauce, and hearty macaroni noodles, ideal for a snowy January day like today.

This easy to make, one-pot recipe is affordable, and can feed a large group of hungry people, ideal for your next dinner party, or your freezer for back up when you don’t have time to cook dinner.

Paula Deen’s Goulash

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • Two 15-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • Two 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 1 tablespoon House Seasoning, recipe follows
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup pepper
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder

DIRECTIONS

  • In a Dutch oven, saute ground beef over medium-high heat until it browns. Break up the meat as you cook it. Drain any excess grease.
  • Add garlic and onions to the pot and cook for 5 minutes or until tender.
  • Pour 3 cups of water into the pot. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaves, Italian Seasoning, House seasoning, seasoned salt, and soy sauce. Mix well.
  • Add the elbow macaroni and mix well. Cover the pot once again with the lid and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and take out the bay leaves. Let the goulash cool for 30 minutes, then serve. Best eaten with a side of garlic bread and salad.

This makes about six servings and takes about 45 minutes to make

Wendy’s Chili Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 green bell pepper (chopped)
  • 3 (14 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 (1.25 ounce) packages chili seasoning
  • 1 (14 ounce) can kidney beans (undrained)
  • 1 (14 ounce) can pinto beans (undrained)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp White vinegar

DIRECTIONS

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Place the ground beef in the pot. Press down the beef to form one large patty. Let the bottom brown for 8 to 10 minutes. Use a spatula to break up the beef into bite-size crumbles. Cook until no longer pink. About 5 more minutes.
  • Stir in the celery, onion, and green bell pepper and cook until onion is translucent. Should take around 5 minutes.
  • Pour in stewed tomatoes, diced tomatoes with green chiles, tomato sauce, and water. Break up any large pieces of stewed tomatoes. (You can also run the stewed tomatoes through a food processor before adding if you like.) Stir in chili seasoning.
  • Add in the kidney beans and pinto beans. Salt and pepper to your desired taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Mix vinegar into chili.
  • Enjoy!

Leftover Steak Beef Stroganoff for Two Recipe

stroganoff_4

Ingredients

  • 6 to 8 ounces cooked steak or raw sirloin tips, trimmed and sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or more if using raw beef)
  • 8 ounces cremini or white button mushrooms, washed and quartered
  • 1 large shallot or half a small onion, sliced thinly; about 1/4 cup
  • 2.5 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup beef stock or broth
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill or parsley

Directions

Remove the leftover cooked steak from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Pile the mushrooms into a small saute pan. Sprinkle with about 1/4 teaspoon of salt and add 2 tablespoons butter. Add enough water to cover the mushrooms so they will float. Set the pan over high heat and bring to a boil. When the butter melts, stir it in. Adjust the heat so that the water remains at a low boil. Cook until the water evaporates completely. Continue to cook and don’t forget stirring.  Sprinkle the mushrooms with the flour and cook, stirring, for a few minutes until flour is browned. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Cook until thickened to the desired texture. Reduce heat to very low—the liquid should almost stop simmering before the next step. Stir in the sour cream, then the beef. Heat for a few minutes, just until sour cream is mixed in and the beef is warm.