Beef and Barley Soup

My husband loves soups, especially ones that are thick and hearty. We had some leftover barley and I found a super easy recipe from one of my favorite YouTube chefs, The Domestic Geek. She unfortunately didn’t write a blog post about the recipe, so here is the YouTube video:

The recipe was super easy to put together before you just let it cook for ~40 minutes. I thought it tasted great but my husband absolutely loved it and ate two bowls. Overall, it’s not a quick meal but is perfect to save for a cold weekend.

I ended up using a bit more carrots and celery than she suggested and it turned out even more hearty and thick. I used a dutch oven like she did but I’m sure you could use a big pot instead. I also probably didn’t cut my steak cubes small enough; make sure they are bite sized!

I’ve pasted the recipe below for convenience.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb sirloin steak, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 9 cups beef broth
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Season beef well with salt and pepper.
  2. In a Dutch oven, heat a drizzle of oil on high heat.
  3. Add beef and brown on all sides. Transfer beef to a bowl and set aside, leaving behind all the juices and browned bits.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-high and add onions, celery and carrots. Cook 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
  6. Add Worcestershire sauce, thyme, bay leaf and barley. Cook for 30 seconds.
  7. Add broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer.
  8. Cover with a lid and simmer for 35-40 minutes, or until barley is cooked through.
  9. Remove bay leaf. Stir in parsley and serve.
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Chicken and Stewed White Beans

I don’t like to chronicle all our Blue Apron recipes because there are a lot of them and some of them are too hard to replicate again, usually because the ingredients are hard to find. However, sometimes we get recipes we really love and aren’t too hard to make again! Recently we made Chicken and Stewed White Beans and my husband and I agreed we would love to make it again.

Usually I don’t like the taste of mustard at all and was worried that I wouldn’t like the final meal. However, I think the vinegar really cuts through some of the strong mustard taste and leaves a really delicious sauce on the vegetables. It was also a pretty healthy and filling meal.

I posted the recipe below for convenience.

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 cups cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 carrots, quartered-lengthwise and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch of kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. In a medium pan, heat 2 tsp of olive oil on medium-high heat.
  3. Cook chicken 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until browned. Leave the browned bits in the pan and transfer chicken to a plate.
  4. Add 2 tsp of olive oil to the same pan on medium-high heat.
  5. Add shallot, garlic and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently until lightly browned and slightly softened.
  6. Add kale and beans. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the kale is slightly wilted.
  7. Add mustard and water. Cook 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until kale has wilted and liquid is thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. While the vegetables cook, in a separate pan, heat 2 tsp of olive oil over medium heat.
  9. Add breadcrumbs. Season with salt and papper. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden brown.
  10. Turn off heat and add half of the thyme to breadcrumbs. Stir to combine.
  11. Add chicken and remaining thyme to the pan of cooked vegetables. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Cook 2-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid is slightly reduced and chicken is cook through.
  12. Remove chicken and slice crosswise.
  13. Stir in vinegar into the pan of vegetables.
  14. Plate the vegetables with sliced chicken on top. Garnish with the breadcrumbs.

Banana Bread (Improved!)

I’ve published a Banana Bread recipe before that I used for years.  However, recently one of my favorite YouTube chefs, Gemma of Bigger Bolder Baking, posted her favorite recipe for banana bread that she claimed was amazing and fail-proof. It was quite different from my usual recipe so I decided to give it a try.

I will admit, this recipe was really delicious! It is much lighter and fluffier, which Gemma claims is from the secret ingredient: rolled oats. While it is a banana bread, one of the main flavors is cinnamon and I find your bananas have to be really ripe in order to still have a strong banana flavor. (Otherwise, cinnamon is the main flavor) I usually wait until my bananas are almost completely dark brown.

Now I’ve fully switched to this recipe as my go-to! I think it’s a little less healthy than my original recipe but the flavor and texture makes up for it.

I’ve posted the recipe below for convenience. However, follow the link to her recipe if you need conversions to other units!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats (preferably quick-cooking)
  • 1/4 cup flavorless oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 medium bananas, very ripe and mashed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare a loaf pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, sugar and oats.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the oil, eggs, milk, vanilla extract and mashed bananas.
  5. Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients. Mix by hand until just combined. Do not over mix!
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
  7. Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Basic Waffles

I recently obtained a waffle iron and of course, the first thing I wanted to do was find a solid waffle recipe! Luckily, I found this easy recipe from Martha Stewart. I would trust pretty much any recipe from Martha Stewart because her stuff is always amazing! It was much easier than most of the other recipes I was looking at, too, and I tend to have most of the ingredients on hand on a normal day.

The waffles turned out really well! They are thin, crispy waffles instead of fluffy, Belgian-like waffles. However, they have a great flavor and are not overly sweet. The batter seems thin when you first make it, but the waffles turned out perfect in the end. Two thumbs up!

I’ve pasted the recipe below for convenience. We served them with maple syrup and strawberry jam.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Prepare your waffle iron according to its instructions.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs.
  4. Gently whisk the milk and eggs into the flour mixture until combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Gently whisk in the butter.
  6. If desired, spray your waffle iron with cooking spray. Cook waffles according to waffle iron instruction. (Typically 2-3 minutes, until deep brown and crisp)

 

Maple Glazed Pork Chops with Apples, Butternut Squash & Brussels Sprouts

I love watching the Domestic Geek on YouTube and recently she posted a video outlining 3 easy recipes that only use one sheet pan. I thought all of them looked delicious, but I especially wanted to try the pork chop one. I’m happy to say it was incredibly easy to make and super tasty! It was so good, my husband literally licked some off his plate. I think the combination of ingredients is perfect; you can’t go wrong with some squash, Brussel sprouts and apples. A nice and satisfying (and easy!) dish to make.

This recipe (and the other two) can be found on this blog post. I’ve pasted it below for convenience.

Ingredients

  • 4 pork chops, center loin cut
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp grainy or Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced (I used a little extra)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 apple, diced (I used honeycrisp)
  • 2 cups butternut squash, diced
  • 1 cup Brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup, mustard, thyme, garlic, oil and some salt and pepper.
  2. Put pork chops into a large plastic zipper bag. Pour glaze into the bag and evenly spread it all over all the pork.
  3. Put the bag into the refrigerator to marinate for at least 10 minutes. A few hours or overnight would be better.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the apple, squash and Brussel sprouts.
  5. Season the mix with salt, pepper and a drizzle of oil. Toss to combine.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the squash mix onto it.
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven. Push the squash mix to one half of the pan and place the pork chops on the other half of the pan.
  10. Pour the remaining glaze over the squash mix and toss to evenly coat it.
  11. Return the baking sheet to the oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until pork is cooked through.

Italian Meatloaf with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Green Beans

This was another Hello Fresh recipe that I enjoyed and it was easy and quick to put together. The recipe also included mash potatoes but you can prepare them however you like. My husband and I enjoyed it, even though I don’t usually like meatloaf. I think the sun-dried tomatoes made it taste different enough that I liked it.

I don’t think there is an online version of the recipe so I’ve pasted it below for convenience. This recipe is meant for 2 people, but you can adjust it for the size of your family.

Ingredients

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 oz sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 slice of white bread
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 8-10 oz ground beef
  • 6 oz green beans
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, soak break in chicken stock, then break up the bread with your hands.
  2. Add beef, sun-dried tomatoes, shallot, garlic, rosemary and a large pinch of salt and pepper to the bowl. Mix with hands until combined.
  3. Form two oval loaves from the meat and place onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through.
  4. Mix a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper with the green beans.
  5. With 15 minutes left of cooking, add the green beans to the baking sheet around the meatloaves.

Balsamic-Fig Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

My sister sent me a coupon for a free week of Hello Fresh, and since I had decent success with Blue Apron, I decided to try it out. In general, I think Hello Fresh meals were quicker and easier to put together, but Blue Apron meals felt more interesting and more “gourmet”. Blue Apron had more recipes I would’ve never attempted on my own, while Hello Fresh had recipes that were very accessible and closer to my everyday set of recipes.

This recipe was our favorite from the week. I don’t think there’s an online version so I’ve just written the recipe below for convenience. This recipe is specifically for 2 people, so adjust for your family size. The recipe also included an arugula salad but it was “meh” so I’m leaving it out.

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tsbp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fig jam
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Toss diced sweet potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Put sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and roast until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
  4. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Season chicken breasts on all sides with salt and pepper.
  6. Cook chicken in pan, about 5 minutes per side, until center is no longer pink.
  7. Remove chicken from pan to rest.
  8. To the same pan, add shallot, rosemary and olive oil over medium heat. Cook until softens, about 2-3 minutes.
  9. Stir in balsamic vinegar and fig fam and simmer for about 1 minute.
  10. Add chicken stock and simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes.
  11. Remove pan from heat and swirl in the butter until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Serve chicken with sauce drizzled on top and sweet potatoes on the side.