Guinness Beef Stew

Now some people call this Irish Beef Stew. Others prefer Drunken Beef Stew. But, let's call it what it is: Guinness Beef Stew. Now, this is not a set-it and forget-it recipe; it will require about 45 minutes of prep work. But, that will give you some time to think about what to do with the half pint of Guinness left over!

Guinness Beef Stew

  • 2 lbs Russet Potatoes, peeled, 1/2" cubed, approx. 2 cups
  • 1 lbs Baby Red Potatoes, peeled, 1/2" cubed, approx. 1 cup
  • 4 stalks Celery, chopped, approx. 1-1/2 cups
  • 4-5 Carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2" pieces, approx. 2 cups
  • 1 yellow or white Onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 TBSP extra-virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 3/4 lbs stew beef, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 TBSP salted Butter
  • 2 cups low sodium Beef Broth
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 8 oz. Guinness (1/2 pint)
  • 2 TBSP Tomato Paste
  • 1 TBSP Raw Sugar
  • 1 tsp Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 TBSP dried Thyme
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 TBSP cornstarch + 1 TBSP water
  • Garlic Maple Pepper, to taste
  1. Place the chopped vegetables into the crockpot. 
  2. Rinse the meat and pat dry with paper towels. Pepper the beef.
  3. In a large, heavy bottomed skillet, heat olive oil at medium to medium-high heat. 
  4. Add beef to the pan and brown on all sides, about 5 to 7 minutes. 
  5. Add garlic and cook for one minute, do not burn the garlic. Season with maple pepper. 
  6. Remove the beef and add to the crockpot on top of the vegetables
  7. Turn the skillet back up to medium heat. To the skillet, add butter until it's melted. 
  8. Add beef broth, worcestershire, beer, tomato paste, sugar, soy sauce and thyme. Using a wooden spoon, stir the liquids as well as scrape the bottom of the pan. 
  9. Bring to a boil, allow to boil for at least two minutes. 
  10. Then lower heat to low and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. 
  11. Season with maple pepper to taste. Add cornstarch/water and stir together.
  12. Pour broth mixture into the crockpot over vegetables and beef. 
  13. Add bay leaves and cook on high for 4-6 hours or 6 to 9 hours on low.
  14. Skim the fat from the stew, if needed, before serving.

Yield: 4-6
Recipe adapted from http://www.thelittlekitchen.net/
Photo courtesy of http://www.browneyedbaker.com/

Healthy Chicken Tenders

We have a nine-year-old at home, so as you can imagine, foods like pizza, mac-n-cheese, hot dogs, and chicken tenders top the list of requested meals. Trying to introduce healthy foods into the mix isn't always easy, so why not try re-imagining a food we already "like" into a healthier version.   

The following chicken tender recipe was a quick improvisation, but one that yielded a nine-year-old chorus for "More!"

Healthy Chicken Tenders

  • 1.5 lbs. boneless/skinless Chicken Breast, cut into "tenders"
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Panko Japanese Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Maple Pepper to taste (or plain salt & pepper)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Coat all sides of chicken tenders with olive oil; set aside.
  3. Combine bread crumbs, parmesan, and maple pepper in a bowl; blend well.
  4. Roll tenders in bread crumbs mixture until all sides are covered. Place on cookie sheet.
  5. Bake 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

BBQ Meatloaf Muffins

These are the best re-imagining of meatloaf ever!  Quick, easy, tasty, a breeze to reheat.  We have made these at least once a month since stumbling upon the recipe on Pinterest. We've taken to calling them Meat Muffins, but somehow that seems politically incorrect here!

BBQ Meatloaf Muffins

  • 1 pkg (6 oz) Stuffing Mix
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 TBSP Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 cup (4 oz) shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Additional barbecue sauce, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine stuffing mix, water and 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce. 
  3. Add beef; mix lightly but thoroughly. 
  4. Place 1/3 cup mixture into each of 12 ungreased muffin cups, pressing lightly.
  5. If desired, top each with additional barbecue sauce.
  6. Bake, uncovered, 18-22 minutes or until a thermometer reads 160°.
  7. Sprinkle tops with cheese; bake 2-4 minutes longer or until cheese
  8. is melted. 

Nutritional Info

Yield: 6 servings.
Nutritional Facts: 2 mini meatloaves equals 330 calories, 
17 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 67 mg cholesterol, 668 mg sodium, 
21 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 21 g protein.

Recipe and Photo courtesy of http://www.tasteofhome.com/

Guinness Chicken Stew

OK, moment of truth here. I'm Irish. I like my Guinness. This is my third Guinness recipe posted on Pond Brook Cookbook, and I already have another one planned. So, if you don't like Guinness, well, may the road still rise to meet you. 

Anyhow, this chicken stew does require about 45 minutes of prep work, so do yourself a favor; leave the Guinness in the fridge, behind the milk, out of sight...

Guinness Chicken Stew


  • 6 TBSP and 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour, divided
  • 1 tsp Salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground Pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs, trimmed
  • 4 tsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 3 pcs Bacon, chopped
  • 1 2/3 cups Guinness Beer or other stout (14-ounce can)
  • 2 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 lb Carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups chopped Onion
  • 4 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1 cup Chicken Broth
  • 2 cups Baby Peas
  1. Combine 6 tablespoons flour with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. 
  2. Dredge chicken thighs in the mixture to coat completely; transfer to a plate.
  3. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and cook until well browned, 2 to 4 minutes per side; transfer to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. 
  4. Reduce heat to medium and repeat with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and chicken thighs. Arrange the chicken in an even layer in the slow cooker.
  5. Add bacon to the pan and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. 
  6. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup flour over the bacon and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes more. 
  7. Add stout and Worcestershire sauce and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour the mixture over the chicken. 
  8. Add carrots, mushrooms, onion, garlic and thyme, spreading in an even layer over the chicken. Pour broth over the top.
  9. Cover and cook until the chicken is falling-apart tender, 4 hours on High or 7 to 8 hours on Low.
  10. Stir in peas, cover and cook until the peas are heated through, 5 to 10 minutes more. 
  11. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.

8 servings, about 1 1/3 cups each
Per serving : 366 Calories; 13 g Fat; 88 mg Cholesterol;
28 g Carbohydrates; 30 g Protein; 4 g Fiber; 566 mg Sodium

Photo and recipe adapted from http://www.eatingwell.com/

Lo Mein Noodles

Pinterest comes to the rescue again!  I wanted a noodle dish to accompany my Crock Pot Cashew Chicken, and these Lo Mein Noodles hit the spot! I imagine this recipe would taste great with the addition of mushrooms, but they are not include here due to a personal allergy.

These Lo Mein Noodles turned out tasty and quick, and are even recommended by our picky 9-year-old!

Lo Mein Noodles  

  • 1 pkg (8 oz.) Spaghetti
  • 3 TBSP Soy Sauce
  • 2 TBSP Teriyaki Sauce
  • 2 TBSP Honey
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 3 Celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 Carrots, cut into large matchsticks
  • 1 Red Pepper, cut into long, thin slices
  • 2 Scallions, sliced

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. 
  2. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, about 10 minutes.
  3. Drain and rinse spaghetti with cold water to cool.
  4. Whisk soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, honey, and ground ginger together in a bowl.
  5. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. 
  6. Cook and stir celery, carrots, red pepper in the hot oil until slightly tender, 5 to 7 minutes
  7. Add spaghetti and sauce mixture. Continue to cook, tossing to mix, until the noodles and sauce are hot, about 5 minutes more.
  8. Garnish with scallions.

Image and recipe adapted from http://allrecipes.com/

Crock Pot Cashew Chicken

I love my slow-cooker.  It makes a lazy cook like me look good!  You serve this hearty meal that looks like it took all day, when all you really do is "dump it, set it, and forget it." This, however, isn't one of those meals. This takes a little prep, and I'm not wholly convinced it even needs to go in the slow cooker, but my oh my, it was worth the work in the end. I served with some homemade Lo Mein Noodles, and it was quite a tasty dinner.

Crock Pot Cashew Chicken

  • 1/4 cup Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper (recommend Highland Foods' Maple Pepper)
  • 2 lbs Chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 TBSP Sesame oil
  • 3 TBSP Soy Sauce
  • 2 TBSP Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2 TBSP Ketchup 
  • 3/4 TBSP Raw Sugar
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh Ginger, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 TBSP Red Pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup raw Cashews
  • 2 Scallions, sliced

  1. Place flour and pepper in a large Ziploc bag. Add chicken pieces and seal; toss to thoroughly coat meat.
  2. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet or wok. Add chicken and cook for about 5 minutes until brown on all sides. Remove and add to crock pot.
  3. Mix soy sauce, rice vinegar, ketchup, sugar, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.
  4. Pour mixture over chicken and toss to coat. Cover crock pot and cook on low for 3-4 hours.
  5. Stir cashews into chicken and sauce before serving. Garnish with scallions.

Picture and original recipe inspiration courtesy of http://www.preppypaleo.com/ 

Graham Cracker Toffee, a.k.a. Christmas Crack

My grandmother used to make these treats every Christmas, but it wasn't until I was grown, that I heard them referred to as Christmas Crack.  Of course, knowing its addictive qualities, I can understand the nickname.  So beware, but at least it is legal!

Graham Cracker Toffee
a.k.a. Christmas Crack

  • 1 packageGraham Crackers 
  • 1 cupButter (2 whole sticks)
  • 1 cupBrown Sugar
  • Optional toppings:
    • ½ cup Walnuts, chopped 
    • ½ cup Chocolate Chips
    • ½ cup Peppermints or Candy Canes, crushed
    • ½ cup Pretzels, crushed
    • Pinch of Sea Salt
  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a cookie sheet* with whole graham crackers. Use as many crackers as needed to fill the sheet. 
  3. In a saucepan, melt butter, then mix in brown sugar. Bring to a boil. 
  4. Stir for 5 minutes while boiling on low.
  5. Spread the butter/sugar mixture over the crackers and bake for 7 minutes. 
  6. Sprinkle with desired toppings (if any) immediately after removal from oven. Note: If using chocolate chips, sprinkle on the chips, let them melt, then spread the chocolate evenly.
  7. Cool for 10-20 minutes in the fridge.
  8. Break/crack into pieces.  
  9. Store in air-tight containers in fridge for optimum freshness.
*Tip: I like to pre-line the cookie sheet with non-stick foil for easy clean up.  
Photo courtesy of http://tastykitchen.com/