Beef Stew that is as good as if not better than Kelly O’Briens

I have to thank Facebook and everyone who shared for this recipe.  Tried it, loved it, gets my stamp of approval!!!  I believe the beer, Worcestershire and tomato paste are the key to it’s flavor success.

WARNING: This one is a long slow cook so not for the impatient. BUT it is worth every minute.  My 45 year old teenage says it is delicious!

The meat should fall apart if you just look at it. And the thicker, more flavorful the sauce, the better.

PREP TIME: 20 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 2 hours 50 minutes

Serves 8


  •  3 Tbsp olive oil
  •  2 lb cubed beef stew meat (1 1/4″)
  •  1 med onion, dicedBeefStew
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 oz beer (pale lager)
  • 3 1/2 c beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  •  1/2 tsp paprika
  • 8 new potatoes (1 1/2″-2″ diameter), quartered
  • 4 carrots, sliced diagonally
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  •  Finely chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • Crusty bread (optional)


  1.  Heat oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season beef. Working in 2 batches, brown meat on all sides, 6 minutes. Remove to plate.
  2. Add onion to pot and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring, until softened, 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  3. Pour in beer. Add broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire, sugar, paprika, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, and pepper to taste.
  4. Return beef to pot. Simmer until meat is tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  5. Stir in potatoes and carrots. Simmer until vegetables are tender and meat is very tender, 30 to 40 minutes longer
  6. 6. Remove 1 cup of liquid from pot and slowly whisk in flour. Stir back into pot and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, 10 minutes. Season. Sprinkle with parsley (if using). Serve with bread, if desired.

NUTRITION (per serving) 434 cal, 25 g pro, 19 g carb, 2 g fiber, 26.5 g fat, 9 g sat fat, 523 mg sodium

Best Appy for Men – Buffalo Chicken Dip from Frank’s Red Hot

I had this recipe at a Halloween party. I know how much my burly man cub loves his hot wings and blue cheese dressing that I just had to make this for him



Here we go:.


2 cups shredded c


1 – 8oz package of cream cheese softened
1/2 a cup of crumbled blue cheese (or your favorite kind of cheese)

1/2 a cup of blue cheese or ranch salad dresssing
1/2 a cup of Frank’s Red Hot sauce or Frank’s Buffalo Red Hot sauce

Mix the ingredients together in a 1 quart baking dish
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes
Serve with crackers and/or celery sticks

It is easy and tasty!


To view the original recipe go to

Delicious Freezer Peaches – Thanks Auntie

I owe the credit on this one to my Auntie Peggy.

This quick and simple recipe allows you to freeze peaches without them browning to be used later as pie filling, a nice topping for ice cream, smoothies or even just a stand alone treat.

Here goes:

INGREDIENTS: (per 6 medium sized peaches – makes approx 1 quart of peaches)

1/4 teaspoon ascorbic acid
1/4 cup of water
2/3 cup of sugar
6 medium to large peaches


  1. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of ascorbic acid in 1/4 cup of water
  2. Peel and slice 6 peaches and place in a bowl
  3. Sprinkle ascorbic acid mixture over the peaches
  4. Add 2/3 cup of sugar and mix until the juice starts flowing
  5. Ensure enough juice is produced to cover the peaches 
    Add a small amount of orange juice if there is not enough juice to saturate the peaches
  6. Transfer peaches and liquid to zip lock freezer bags
  7. Squeeze air out of the bag
  8. Freeze
  9. Thaw to enjoy

If you find the recipe too sweet you can cut the sugar back to the desired sweetness, just ensure there is enough fluid to cover the peaches when freezing.

Cook French Onion Soup that is as good as the Keg’s

I fell in love with the Keg’s french onion soup many years ago.  I happened to try this recipe that was in my Mom’s ancient Good Housekeeping Cookbook.  It was amazing!!!  I managed to find the same book with a few touch ups (all the recipes were the same but additional information on spices and menu items) from one of those book distributors that drop off books in offices and takes order.  I LOVE this cookbook.  I just found the original version like my Mom’s in a thrift store the other day and was thinking.  I should buy it and give it away to one of my followers….still debating this.  Let me know if you are interested and I will see if I can still get my hands of the book.  Some of the best soup recipes I’ve tried are in this book!!!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.  It is so simple and easy to cook.

So here goes… French Onion Soup!

I replace swiss cheese with mozaralla in this recipe (I make this recipe so often I even know the page number – 130 – off by heart)


1/4 cup butter
3 large onions sliced (about 4 cups)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups of water
1/2 cup red cooking wine
2 – 10 1/2 ounce cans of beef broth (basically your standard sized can of broth works (284 ml)
1 long french loaf
1 small package of bari mozzarella


  1. In a 4 quart saucepan over medium heat, in hot butter, cook onions and sugar for 10 minutes
  2. Stir in flour until well blended with the onions and the pan juices
  3. Add water, wine and un-diluted beef broth, heat until boiling.  Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 10 minutes
  4. Cut four 1 inch thick slices of bread from loaf.
  5. Ladle soup into 4 – 12 ounce oven safe bowls and place once slice of bread on the surface of soup in each bowl
  6. Lay a slice (2 – 3 mm thick) of mozzarella on top of the bread in each bowl
  7. Place bowls on a cookie sheet or bread pan and bake at 425 degrees in oven 10 minutes or until cheese melts (I do this in my toaster over…takes less energy and time)
  8. EAT!!!!

Cinnamon Buns – Just Like Grandma Lees

I found while looking for a cinnamon roll recipe I could make in a food processor.

Being a short cut kind of person (Type A – No wasted time) I don’t mess around with all the kneading and stuff (I used to use my food processor, but have even simplified things more by making the dough in my breadmaker on the dough setting – just make sure the yeast and the salt don’t come into contact and you are good to go.

For those of you who used to work with me in Pitt Meadows (the days of the takeout order from Grandma Lees) these cinnamon buns are as good if not better just due to the sheer fluffiness of them when baked and hot out of the oven.  They come the closest I’ve ever had to light as cotton candy.  This is courtesy of Laura Jeffries.   I do not use her Frosting though.  I have an alternate cream cheese version that is heavenly and included at the end of the recipe.


  • 2 packages yeast, (1/2-ounce or 2 scant tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup milk (warmed)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 cups flour


Dissolve 2 packages of yeast in 1/2 cup of hot water (test on wrist to make sure water is not too hot) and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Let sit.

Melt the 1/2 cup of butter and combine with 3/4 cups of warm milk (can be warmed on stove or in microwave, test on wrist to make sure milk is not too hot). Using an electric mixer with a dough hook or a food processor with dough blade, mix dissolved yeast and butter/milk mixture on low. Slowly add 1/2 cup of sugar, then 1 egg. Add salt and 2 cups of flour on low, blend until smooth. Slowly add 1/2 cup at a time, the other 2 to 2 1/2 cups of flour.

Put dough onto floured counter top. Knead dough until it doesn’t stick to your hands (don’t over kneed or add too much flour).

Place in a greased bowl. Cover with damp cloth and let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until it doubles in size. (Tip, let it rise in oven where the air and temperature is consistent).

Remove from bowl and place on a floured counter. Roll out in a 12 by 24-inch (approximately) rectangle, not too thin. Spread 1/2 cup butter over dough, sprinkle with 1 1/4 cups of brown sugar (evenly), sprinkle with 1/4 cup of granular sugar (evenly), and sprinkle 2 tablespoons (or as much as you desire) of cinnamon (evenly).
Roll dough into a log. Cut into thumb-width slices or 1 1/2-inch widths.

Place in round or foil pan. Put back in oven to rise to desired height. Remove from oven after they have risen.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Only bake on one rack, center of oven (4 pans fit nicely). Set timer for 15 minutes, then watch for desired brown-ness. Remove from oven – let cool.

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Back on the wagon

Sorry I have been a bit neglectful of my blogging commitment.  Illness ran through my house which negated any cooking let alone writing.  I am going to be doing some serious catch-up so some really good recipes are coming your way.

As an aside I had a BRILLIANT idea to help make even more effective use of my Type A time.  I decided to expedite my mornings permed hair was the solution.  And being that spiral perms are the only perms I remember liking, what an excellent way to conquer my morning hair dilemmas.

I explained to my stylist that I really did not want to come out looking like an albino Annie, but rather reminiscent of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.

Well when I came home my husband so eloquently asked why I decided to look like Dee Shneider and was I planning on being Twisted Sister with Halloween around the corner.  I think the term Bichon Frise came out of his (as he likes to call it) yapper!  To act uneffected by his encouraging words my witty retort was “Mas Tequila!  I was shooting for Sammy Hagar actually”.  I started to sing…”Its your one way ticket to midnight….call it…heavy metal….”

I tell people that it is a tribute to the 80’s concert we are going to in November (Knight Ranger, Loverboy and Journey).  Needless to say the hair has toned down….I did however resort to using an old bottle of “Tame” and things are good once again.

Cajun Jambalaya – courtesy of Emeril Lagasse

I’ve tried this recipe and love it. I make it quite often. It has a subtle spiciness that builds as you finish your serving. It is hot…but not immediately….its grows as you go. What I really like is the seasoning is its own stand alone Creole seasoning. The recipe makes far more than what is called for in the Jambalaya which makes it readily available to use in other creations. Enjoy!


  • 12 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
  • 4 ounces chicken, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning, recipe follows
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 3/4 cup rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 5 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced
  • Salt and pepper


In a bowl combine shrimp, chicken and Creole seasoning, and work in seasoning well. In a large saucepan heat oil over high heat with onion, pepper and celery, 3 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces. Stir in rice and slowly add broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. When rice is just tender add shrimp and chicken mixture and sausage. Cook until meat is done, about 10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning.

Per Serving: by RewardsArcade” href=””>Calories: 402; Fat: 16g (Saturated Fat: 4 grams); Protein: 24g; Carbohydrates: 38g; Sugar: 4g; Fiber 0g; Cholesterol: 97mg; Sodium: 800mg

Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup

T-Fal Actifry. It’s actively used in my kitchen. Makes fries with one tablespoon of oil!!!

I can’t stop using my T-Fal  Actifry.  After getting this as a gift from my husband who tends to drive the health movement in our house (his

T-Fal Actifry
T-Fal Actifry getting ready to make hashbrowns

late night snack is Greek Salad!!) I threw out my deep fryer.  We made our first batch of french fries with it and they were admittedly good.  The do taste slightly different than deep fried french fries because they are not saturated with oil.  They have a nice flavor and get just enough crisp to them.

Now the biggest reason I like this kitchen appliance is it versatility.  It comes with a magnificent cook book filled with all in one meals that are super tasty and convenient to make.  I love being able to throw the ingredients into the actifry…set the timer, walk away and come back to have a complete meal.  It is easy to clean and the convection cooking and rotating arm cooks meals perfectly.  It is endorsed by the Canadian Diabetes Association.

The recipe book is fantastic.  It was well thought out and the recipes tested.  They are tender, flavorful and I just love this machine.

See the Actifry in action cooking up my weekend morning hashbrowns: Actifry Video

Some of the recipes we have tried include:

Madagascan Beef Tenderloin (garlic, ginger, tenderloin beef, tomatoes, baby potatoes all cook up in 40 minutes)

Spicy Thai Chicken Curry (ginger, chili pepper, green pepper, zucchini, coconut milk, corn starch, curry paste, cilantro done in 18 minutes)

Baby New Potatos with Garlic, Tomato and Shrimp (recipe name pretty much covers it, ready to eat in 31 minutes)

French Fries (25 minutes)

Sweet Potato Fries (30 minutes)

Hash browns (20 minutes)

Fresh Chicken Wings ( NO ADDED OIL – 35 minutes)

The only drawback we found is we bought the introductory version which cooks 2lbs maximum at a time.  Had we known how much we were going to use and love it we would have bought the family version that cooks 3lbs at a time.  This does not pose as much of a problem when making a side dish, but when making a stir fry as a main course the portions can be a bit small.  Although so are our kids right now, but the capacity will need to grow as they do.

Many outlets carry the Actifry (Sears, London Drugs, Walmart).  The cheapest I have seen the 2lb version on sale for has been at Sears (albeit I had to get a raincheck and they never did get any in stock<– insert frown here)

We ended up getting ours at Walmart, but better deals can be sourced online and usually at anytime (not waiting for the next sale)

Here is one option:
Buy 2lb T-Fal Actifry Online

Substitution Ingredients – Don’t panic all is not lost!

Ever find that with great vigor you decide to tackle a new recipe only to find part way through it you over estimated your supply of ingredients?  You are knee deep in your lemon meringue pie only to discover that you are out of cream of tartar.  Don’t sweat there is a solution.  Alternate ingredients that save the day for all your cooking and baking needs.  I found this great list in a magazine many moons ago and I refer to it often in my cooking endeavours.


1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs = 1tsp  crushed dried herbs

1 tsp lemon juice = 1/2 tsp vinegar

1 tsp  dry mustard = 1 tbsp dijon mustard (wet mixtures)

1 tbsp prepared mustard = 1 tbsp dry mustard + 1 tsp each vinegar, cold water and granulated sugar (when flavour and volume are important let stand 15 minutes)

Dash of hot pepper sauce = Pinch of cayenne or hot pepper flakes

2 tbsp soy sauce = 1 tbsp worchestire sauce + 2 tsp water+ pinch of salt

1 tbsp worechestire sauce = 1 tbsp soy sauce + dash each of pepper sauce and lemon juice + pinch of granulated sugar

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar= 1 tbsp red wine vinegar + pinch of granulated sugar


1 tsp baking powder = 1/4 tsp baking soda + 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tbsp all purpose flower = 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch (for thickening)

1 tsp cream of tartar = 1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice (for stabilizing egg whites)

1 cup sifted cake and pastry flour = 7/8 cup of un-sifted all-purpose flour

1 cup un-sifted all purpose flour = 1 cup + tbsp sifted cake and pastry flour

1 egg = 2 egg yolks

1 egg in batter (for muffins and other quick breads) = 1/2 tsp baking powder + 1/4 cup additional liquid that is used in the recipe


For sauces and gravy – 1/2 cup dry white wine = 1/2 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup of red wine = 1/2 cup of beef stock

1 cup beer = 1 cup non-alcoholic beer or 1 cup stock


1 cup buttermilk = 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar plus enough whole milk to make 1 cup; let stand for 5 minutes

1 cup plain yogurt = 1 cup butter milk

1 cup 2% or whole milk = 1/2 cup evaporated milk + 1/2 cup water

1 cup sour cream = 7/8 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt

For icing:  1 cup whipping cream = 3/4 cup whole milk + 1/3 cup butter (doesn’t whip)


1 cup granulated sugar = 1 cup packed brown sugar

For muffins and other quick breads
1 cup granulated or brown sugar = 2 cups icing sugar

For dessert sauces
1 cup light or dark corn syrup = 1 1/4 cups granulated or packed brown sugar + 1/4 cup more liquid in the recipe


For coating
1 cup dry bread crumbs = 3/4 cup cracker crumbs or 1 cup crushed corn flakes

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs = 1 slice of dry bread