Beef Stew

Magazine purge, #9! I think this is the last one for today, but don’t hold me to it. This one is from Rachael Ray’s Alphabet Stew, April 2013. I am skipping the letters cut out of puff pastry, we’ll use a loaf of fresh, crusty bread instead.

I like this one as it is kid friendly to make. My boys have been wanting to help more in the kitchen, and this is one we can make together. They can help stir and add ingredients. Will be trying this for sure.


  • 1 tablespoon EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 3 pounds beef chuck cubes
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups beef broth [I’ll probably use veggie broth, we just prefer the taste]
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste or ketchup
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut on an angle into 1-inch pieces
  • 1½ cups thawed frozen peas [I don’t like peas, so I’ll sub frozen corn]
  • Fresh, crusty bread


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. In a dutch oven or large pot, heat 2 teaspoons EVOO over medium heat for 1 minute
  2. Pat the meat dry. Working in 3 batches, cook the meat, without moving it, until browned, 2 minutes. Turn the meat and sear all over, 2 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.
  3. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of EVOO to the pot. Add the onions and cook, stirring, over medium heat, until golden, about 5 minutes.
  4. Mix in the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes (the mixture will be dry). Stir in the broth ½ cup at a time. SImmer, stirring, until the mixture thickens. Add the tomato paste.
  5. Put the meat back in the pot; add the juices from the plate. Cover and bake, stirring once, for 1 hour 45 minutes.
  6. Add the carrots; cover and keep baking until the carrots are tender, 20 minutes. Remove the stew from the oven, let rest 10 or 15 minutes.
  7. Stir the peas [corn!] into the stew. Serve with fresh bread.

Enlightened Pasta Salad

Magazine purge #8! This is a healthier version of a mayo-based summer pasta salad. It had me at green olives. Rachael Ray, July/August 2013


  • salt & pepper
  • 10 oz short multigrain pasta, such as rigatoni or penne
  • ½ cup lightly packed whole fresh basil leaves, plus ¼ cup torn basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 orange bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup halved pimiento-stuffed green olives


  1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, then rinse under cold water. Transfer pasta to a serving bowl.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, in a food processor, puree the whole basil leaves, yogurt, mayonnaise, cheese, EVOO, lemon juice, and garlic, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Pour the mixture over the pasta and toss well to coat. Stir in the tomatoes, bell pepper, olives, and torn basil. Season with pepper and toss gently.

Slow Cooker Brisket BBQ Chili

Magazine Purge #7! This one comes courtesy of Family Circle, September 2012. I always love something I can toss in the slow cooker in the morning.


  • 1 beef brisket (or chuck roast), about 2 pounds, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 can (16 oz) stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup reduced-sodium Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried mustard
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cooked white rice [I will probably use brown rice]
  • ¼ cup chopped scallion
  • lime wedges (optional)


  • Coat slow cooker bowl with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Add brisket, onion, and garlic. In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, mustard, and cumin. Stir into beef and onions. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours.
  • Stir in beans and cook for 30 minutes. Serve with rice. Garnish with scallion and, if desired, lime wedges.

Chicken Soup with Pasta

Magazine Purge #6! This one will be great in the fall, and one my boys will love on a cool evening. Rachael Ray, April 2013 (This is one of Rachael’s 30 minute meals, which means it will take me about an hour.)

Note from recipe: Freeze the rinds from parmigiano-reggiano and pecorino-romano – then toss them into soups and stews to add a delicious boost of salty, nutty, flavor.


  • Salt & Pepper
  • ½ pound mezze penne rigate or other small-cut pasta
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil), plus more for drizzling
  • 6 cups chicken stock [I’ll probably use veggie broth]
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless, chicken breast.
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 5 – 6 carrots, peeled and sliced crosswise ¼ inch thick
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 – 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 rind parmigiano-reggiano (optional), plus grated parmigiano-reggiano, for topping
  • 1 cup frozen peas [I don’t like peas, I’ll probably sub frozen corn]
  • ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 small lemon, zested

Bring large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain; drizzle with EVOO to keep from sticking.

  1. While the pasta is cooking, in a small skillet, pour about 2 cups of chicken stock over the chicken to cover it. Add the wine and bay leaf; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Make sure the chicken does not stick to the pan by wiggling it with tongs. Lower the heat to low and gently poach until fully cooked, about 12 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO over medium-high heat. Stir in the carrots, onion, garlic, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Partially cover and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining stock and the cheese rind, if using; bring to a simmer.
  3. Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid; cut into bite-size cubes and add to the soup. Strain in the poaching liquid. Stir in the peas and parsley; discard the bay leaf.
  4. Spoon the pasta into bowls. Ladle in the hot soup and top with the lemon zest and grated cheese.

Apple Crisp

Magazine Purge #5. This comes from a page suggesting how to use leftover girl scout cookies. Rachael Ray, April 2013


  • Four apples, sliced into 12 wedges each
  • 1 cup crushed shortbread cookies (about 12 Girl Scout Trefoils)
  • 1 stick room temperature butter
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Spread apple slices in an 8×8-inch baking dish. Using a fork, mix remaining ingredients; sprinkle over the apples. Bake at 375º until the topping is golden and the apples are tender and caramelized, about one hour. Serves 6.

Garlic Bread

Magazine Purge, #4! Here’s an easy recipe for garlic bread. Courtesy of Rachael Ray, April 2013


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • pinch of dried parsley (optional)

Mix ingredients together and spread onto cut sides of 1 split french or italian loaf. Broil until bread is lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.

[I would probably add some shredded parmesan cheese as well. Yum!]

Bolognese Sauce

Recipe Purge, #3! This one is from an ad I received trying to lure me into another magazine subscription. Ha! If they only knew my magazine pile and my husband’s frustration of said magazine pile, they would know I’m not about to commit to another magazine. I don’t think.

*Edit: I am making this tonight and it smells so good! I have modified a bit by adding red wine and reducing the water. Also some modifications at the end. I would say adding the parm cheese and butter to the sauce is optional. I liked it better before this addition. Next time we will skip this step. We made a pound of pasta with 4 cups of sauce (and froze 5 cups of sauce). I think it could use a little more sauce; next time I’ll freeze less. Otherwise delicious!


  • 1 pound ground beef (85% lean)
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt & ground black pepper to taste
  • 42 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1¾ cups water
  • 8 to 10 ounces dried or fresh pasta
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional), plus extra for serving.

Heat a large skillet (or large covered pot) over high heat. Stir in the beef, onion, garlic, and carrot. (If not using nonstick cookware, add 2 tablespoons EVOO when browning meat.) Cook and stir until beef is crumbly, evenly browned, and no longer pink. Drain and discard any excess grease. Stir in the spices. Add the tomatoes, wine,  and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and continue to simmer for 1 to 1½ hours. Discard bay leaf. Pour all but 2 cups of the sauce in an airtight container and freeze for future use. (total yield will be about 8 – 9 cups)

Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.

If desired, stir butter and Parmesan cheese into reserved 2 cups of sauce over medium heat.

Stir noodles into sauce, and toss until pasta is well coated. Serve in large bowls with more Parmesan cheese.