Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mini Monkey Bread Cakes

Ok, so these are not at all diet friendly or have any nutritional value.  In fact, I kinda felt like I was channeling Paula Dean through this recipe, given the large amounts of butter, sugar, and processed foods.  With that being said, they are addictive and oh so yummy!  So next time you want to treat yourself to something decadent and easy to make, try this recipe out for size.  Enjoy!!!

Mini Monkey Bread "Cupcakes"
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 pkg pillsbury grand buttermilk biscuits

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a muffin tin (either with cooking spray or more butter - hey, why not?). 
Combine melted butter and brown sugar and spoon 1 tablespoon into the bottom of each muffin cup. 
In a large ziplock bag, combine granulated sugar and cinnamon.  Then cut each biscuit into 6 pieces, (there are 8 biscuits in a package, so it yields 48 pieces).  Toss the biscuit pieces in the cinnamon sugar mixture until well coated.  Place 4 pieces into each muffin cup and press down.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Allow them to sit in the pan for 1 minute, then invert them onto a large dish (the caramel created from the butter and brown sugar will ooze over the top of each "cupcake").  Serve warm and enjoy! 

This recipe was adapted from

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

I'm always looking for slow cooker meals on cold winter days.  I've seen many variations of beef stew, but I wanted to try out my own recipe, something that was let greasy.  It is basically a two pot dish, prep in the morning, cook all day, and enjoy at your convenience.  So simple!  I served mine with biscuits and a simple green salad.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!!!

Beef Stew

1.5 - 2lbs extra lean round beef (either cut it yourself into 2 inch cubes, or purchase it already cut up)
4 heaping tablespoons of flour
1 tsp each salt & pepper
2 T olive oil
Heat olive oil in large frying pan over medium-high heat.  In a large ziplock bag, mix together the flour, salt, and pepper.  Add the beef and toss.  Add the beef to the pan, reserving the seasoned flour for later.  Brown the beef on all sides and add to the crock pot, removing with a slotted spoon. 

2 T olive oil
1 cup red wine
2 cups beef stock (stock has more flavor than broth, but broth can be substituted)
1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
Add 2 more tablespoons of Olive oil to the hot pan (after beef has been removed) and the remaining flour, whisking the oil and flour together.  You are making a rough that with thicken the gravy for the stew.  After is has combined into a paste and browned slightly, add the red wine, continuing to whisk it together preventing any lumps from forming.  Let the red wine simmer for a few minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate, and stirring often.  At this point, the sauce will be very thick and bubbling.  Then add the beef stock and tomato sauce, stirring until smooth.  Add the gravy to the crock pot along with the following:
1 medium to large onion, cut in a medium dice
4 small to medium sized potatoes, scrubbed clean and cut into medium dice (I kept the skins on, but that is up to you)
2 stalks of celery, diced small (I prefer to have the celery there for taste, not have large pieces of it)
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-1/2 inch rounds (you can substitute 1 cup of baby carrots)
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of fresh thyme (you can substitute 1/2 tsp of dried thyme)
salt to taste (I added another 1/2 tsp)

Stir to combine and set the slow cooker to high for 5-6 hours, or low for 8-9 hours.  If the gravy is not as thick as you would like, take the cover off for the last 30 min on high.  Serve with biscuits or rolls on the side or if you would prefer, serve over biscuits, rice, or noodles.  Enjoy!!!


So after spending most of November and December, organizing, packing, moving, unpacking, and re-organizing, we are FINALLY settled into our new home in Boston.  And its actually starting to feel like home too!  Yes, moving from Miami to Boston in the middle of the winter is a shock to the system, and yes, I already miss my friends and the weather; but nothing can compare to the wonderful time spent as a family these last few weeks, or the increase in job satisfaction I've already seen from my husband.  This life in Boston as already brought so many blessings our way and I'm so excited to see what the days, weeks, and months ahead have in store.

With all that said, it is time for me to get back into the kitchen and do one of my most favorite things:  create yummy dishes that my family and friends can enjoy.  I did a ton of cooking over the holidays, (large ham dinners, my first ever prime rib roast, lots of yummy appetizers for both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve), and now that I'm 33 weeks pregnant with our second child, I'm feeling the pressure to get in as much baking and cooking as I possibly can before my body (and or attention) gives out. 
I hope to post many recipes in the next few weeks before baby Nina's scheduled arrival on February 17th!  And as always, I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Happy cooking!