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Borscht

Borscht is essentially stew made with beets.  As a girl this was one of my favorite dinners my mom would make.  I would eat bowl after bowl until it was gone.  Although what is not to love beets are one of my favorite vegetables.

This is not only a healthy but a hearty soup to fill the bellies of the whole family.  You can blend it or dice your vegetables as fine as you would like.  I prefer it chunky as this is how I grew up with it.  I have never tried making it on my own but it turned out great.  My mother is an amazing soup maker and because she always throws things together I did my best.

Now if you think it is odd to add dollop of sour cream to you stew, you need to give it a try.  Borscht requires a dollop of sour cream and it just won’t taste the same without it.

Beet Stew with a dollop of sour cream

Beet Stew with a dollop of sour cream

Borscht:

  • 1 lb. beef stew meat, cubed
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce or 2 Tbs tomato paste
  • 3 medium beets, peeled and diced
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and diced (if using new or red potatoes no need to peel)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 medium head of cabbage,diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash Worcestershire sauce

* This could easily be made in the crock pot.  After browning the stew meat combine all in the slow cooker and combine all ingredients.  Cook over low for at least 6 hours or until vegetables are tender.

In a 5 quart pot over medium/high heat oil and brown the stew meat.  Add in tomato sauce and beef broth.

Add in remaining ingredients  except cabbage and cover the pot with a lid.  Turn heat to low and simmer for about 2 hours.

Add in the cabbage and continue to cook and additional hour.

Taste and add any additional salt and pepper.  Remove the two bay leaves.

When the beets are tender and the meat is falling apart the Borscht is ready to serve.

Dollop each bowl with a bit of sour cream and serve.

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Chicken and Herb Dumplings

I don’t remember eating chicken and dumplings very often as a child.  As an adult my mother in-law makes it regularly.  My mother in-law uses canned chicken stock, and Bisquick dumplings.  Not that anything is wrong with that I just was going for recipe from scratch.  Mr.Picky doesn’t care for chicken and dumplings because it is soup.  Although if he would have been home last night to try mine I think he would have changed his mind.  The kids loved this, even with the peas in it which my almost 5-year-old doesn’t want anything to do with.

I had made my Sticky Chicken recipe, which we ate sliced off the roasted chicken.  After dinner that night, I stuck my chicken carcass and roasting drippings in a pot.  After I pulled any remaining chicken off and put it in a separate container to work with later.  Two days later I decided I was making chicken and dumplings.  I had never made it before but figured it couldn’t be too hard.  It is basically a slightly thickened chicken soup with dough dumplings on top.  I know how to make chicken soup and found a Herbed Dumplings Recipe – Allrecipes.com which turned out great with slight modifications.Chicken and Herb Dumplings

You can use a chicken broth or stock if you would like or a rotisserie chicken and take it apart.  Why not stretch one meal into two or three.  I think zucchini or mushrooms would be great vegetables to add to this soup as well, I just used what I had on hand which were pretty traditional.

Chicken and Herb Dumplings:

  • 1 chicken carcass, picked clean and any drippings from roasting can be added as well
  • 4 cups water
  • 1-1 1/2 cups chopped chicken (leftovers off your roasted chicken)
  • 1 cup carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 Tbs flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Place chicken carcass, 4 cups water, bay leaf, and any drippings from chicken in a pot.  Simmer on low/medium heat for about 30 minutes.  Strain out bay leaf and all chicken bones and skin.  Any chicken meat pieces can stay in the pot.

Chicken StockYou will be left with about 4 cups of chicken broth.  If you didn’t have a roasted chicken you can just use canned chicken stock and cooked chicken and start at this point.

Chicken and Herb Dumpling VegetablesTo the broth in the pot add carrots, celery, and onions simmer on medium heat for about 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Whisk together 1/2 cup water and flour, to make a slurry and stir into simmering soup.  Now it is time to season your soup, if you used canned stock you don’t want to add as much salt.  Add thyme, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, and salt to soup.  Now taste and add some more to suit your taste.

Add your peas in frozen or thawed, and bring soup back to a slow simmer. Taste soup before now, make sure flavor is spot on before putting dumplings on.  Now it is time to prepare the dumplings.

Herb Dumplings:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 3/4 cup milk

Combine all except butter and milk.  Whisk the dry ingredients until combine.

Using a pastry cutter or fork, add butter and cut into flour mixture until it is a coarse crumb.  Add milk and mix into a sticky dough.Herb Dumpling Dough

Drop large spoonfuls into simmering soup.  Cover the pot and allow the dumplings to cook for 15 minutes.

Chicken and Dumplings will be extremely hot, be careful and enjoy!

Chicken and Herb Dumplings

No-Peeking Beef Tips

No Peeking Beef TipsWe do not eat a lot of red meat in our house, and Mr.Picky refuses to eat roast.  These beef tips are the closest things to roast or stew I will be ever to cook again.  This is a crock pot recipe, and needs no attention (no-peeking).  The meat is so tender, and the sauce is pretty amazing.  I either serve these over mashed potatoes (when Mr.Picky is not home) or egg noodles.

No-Peeking Beef Tips:

  • 2 lbs. stew meat
  • 1 (10 3/4 oz.) can of mushroom soup
  • 1 envelope of onion soup mix
  • 12 can of lemon-lime soda or stock of your choice

Place stew meat in the bottom of slow cooker, and then sprinkle with onion soup mix.

Mix mushroom soup and soda together and spoon on top of meat.

Close the lid and cook on high for 4 hrs. or about 6-7 on low.  Do not lift the lid or stir until done.

Variations:

*I have added some sautéed mushrooms at the end, and even some sour cream to make it into a stroganoff.

*I did not have any soda the last time I made these and used some vegetable stock, turned out a little different but just as good.  Probably could use club soda as well and cut that sugar out.

* Substitute cream of celery or cream of chicken for the mushroom soup.

This recipe came out of my favorite slow cooker recipe book Fix-It and Forget-It Big Cookbook by Phyllis Pellman Good.

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