Chrissy Inspired Beef Stew

Let me be clear, this recipe was tailored from the recipe in Chrissy Tiegen’s 2nd cookbook Cravings: Hungry for More.  I’ve made some notable adjustments, but wanted to make it clear that I did not develop this recipe from scratch.  If you have been curious about Chrissy’s cookbooks, let me also tell you loud and clear, THEY ARE AMAZING.  The recipes I’ve tried so far have all been keepers.  Especially with Christmas around the corner, I can’t tell you enough how much I recommend these cookbooks.  There are tons of recipes, laughs, tips, and there is an emphasis on Thai food which I haven’t had the guts to try out.

Now this stew.  This stew is one of, if not THE best thing I’ve ever made.  Yep. Ask Nate. Ask the chef.  He even said the meat was perfect. Oh, and no shame, after I put the leftover stew in a container – I mopped up the sides of the pot with 2 rolls.  No food waste here!!  Yes, it takes some time, but honestly, once you get everything in the pot and simmering, you can walk away and get other things done while you wait for the magic to happen.  This meal is perfect for a fall day, winter snow, rainy days, anytime your belly needs a hug!!

5 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons butter

2 pounds stew meat, cut into chunks

1 onion, diced

3 heaping spoons jarred garlic

1 – 6 ounce can tomato paste

4 cups beef broth

1 can French onion condensed soup

1 slice of bacon, raw

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

4 carrots, cut into 2” pieces

2 celery, cut into 2” pieces

1 – 15 ounce can of white beans, drained and rinsed

2 bay leaves

In a large pot/dutch oven heat oil and butter over medium-high heat.

Pat meat dry and season with salt & pepper.  Add to pot and sear until brown on each side. THIS STEP IS SO IMPORTANT TO DO CORRECTLY! Don’t overcrowd your pot or the meat will steam instead of brown.  And the browning is what gives your stew the crazy good flavor.  You may need to do this step in 2 batches. Place each finished batch on a plate to rest. Besides overcrowding, the other key to browning is not touching/peeking at the meat.  Leave it alone for a couple minutes, then check it.  You’re going for a brown crust, not black & burnt J

You will have a lot of leftover oil/fat when you’re done.  Remove all but 3 tablespoons. Then add the onion to the same pot. Stir and scrape around the pot to coat the onions in the brown bits from the meat. After about 3 minutes, add your garlic (jarred or fresh), and let it cook another 3 minutes.

Next, add the tomato paste, stir & scrape around.  Let it continue to cook for 2-3 minutes to really infuse the onions with the tomato paste and deepen the tomato flavor. *I have purposely not used anymore salt and pepper* Don’t do it! J

Add the broth, scrape the brown bits off the bottom! Add the French onion soup, Worcestershire, sugar, beef/juices from plate, and the slice of bacon. TRUST ME on the bacon…bring mixture to a boil, and cover/simmer over medium/low heat for 2 hours. The liquid will thicken and darken (I cracked the lid the last 45 minutes to reduce the sauce more).

Next, throw in the rest of the ingredients…the carrots, celery, white beans, and bay leaves. Cover/simmer another hour.  Depending how thick or brothy you prefer your stew, you will want to crack the lid or not.  But keep a close eye on it if you decide to crack the lid, it will thicken quicker than you think.

Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  Between the salt/seasoning on the meat, French onion soup, and bacon, I didn’t have to add anything!

Serve over mashed potatoes, rice, noodles, by itself, mop it up with a roll/sponge like I did!!  ENJOY!!

Quick and Easy Fruit Cobbler

I’ve been making this recipe for a while. It’s so easy I honestly forget it even counts as a recipe. It’s a great way to use up a bunch of fruit and odds & ends in your fridge…especially in the summer! What’s better is everyone loves it and it tastes like you slaved the day away…andddddd you definitely didn’t! The hot and cold, sweet and tart, and the soft and crunchy just makes this dessert nearly perfect!


1 box of yellow cake mix

1 cup sugar

A few table spoons lime juice

A pinch of salt

Dashed of cinnamon

1 stick of butter

Any combination of fruit will work: peaches, blueberries, strawberries, apples, cherries, raspberries, think of it as a fruit purge!

Ice cream

OMG – imagining caramel drizzle


Preheat oven to 375

Mix diced/sliced fruit in baking dish with the sugar, lime juice, pinch of salt and dashes of cinnamon.

Pour cake mix over the top and spread out.

Slice butter into pieces and place over the top of the cake mix. Sprinkle more cinnamon over the top.

Bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving over ice cream!

Southern Tomato Pie

Southern Tomato Pie

One thing I will not give up from when this blog was known as “The Not So Desperate Chef Wife,” is when something is “Chef-approved” aka husband-approved. Nate said this pie was delicious and asked specifically how I made the crust because it was “money!” Haha

Also, I can’t emphasize enough the power of homegrown and home ripened tomatoes! All tomatoes are good, but homegrown is great kind of thing. When you grow your own tomatoes you are able to control exactly what goes into them and the flavor when they’re able to ripen fully is unmatched. I’d be willing to bet those who claim to hate tomatoes haven’t had the magical tomato to convince them.

***For all the mater haters – try growing ‘Sungolds”…they are so sweet and taste like fruit, not a tomato! They are a smaller grape tomato, but it’s like eating candy!

Simple Pie Crust:

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

3/8 teaspoon baking powder (I did 1/8 teaspoon baking soda)

7 tablespoons butter, melted

1/4 cup water

Pie Filling:

Tomatoes, thinly sliced

Handful of basil, chiffonade (sliced)



Garlic powder

Choose Topping: Pimento cheese or a mayo/cheese mixture…1 1/2 cups shredded cheese + 3/4 cup mayonnaise…Dukes only of course!!

Simple crust instructions:

Mix dry ingredients in a pie dish

Add wet ingredients and mix with a fork

Pad down the dough and up the sides of pie dish

Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes – until slightly golden brown and remove

Tomato pie instructions:

Layering the slice tomatoes with salt, pepper, garlic or onion powder, basil in between. I ended up with 3 layers.

Top it with the cheese mixture

Bake for 35 minutes or until the cheese is brown and beautiful.

Let it set out for 10 minutes before serving.

***extra step – I salted the tomato slices earlier so the water would drain out and not end up with a watery pie. If you do this, be careful not to over salt when doing the layers. You probably won’t need to add any salt!

Best Barbecue Meatballs on the Planet

I live in the South, and we are known for being in the “Bible Belt.” Well, what most don’t realize is that means we are ALL eating church supper on Wednesday nights. Now – let me be clear – I understand and cherish the value of these weeknight dinners and fellowship. But the food has to please everyone young and old, so the flavors aren’t always…giving me fireworks. That’s okay! But this one night, my flavor bells WENT OFF!!!! Meatballs. Because of these holy mother of meatballs!

Not only is the flavor spot on, these babies are so convenient and versatile. You can make a double batch of meatballs and freeze them for later. I freeze them on a tray and then place them in a ziplock bag so I can grab however many I need for a quick dinner. Form the balls into a smaller size if you want to serve at as a party appetizer. I’ve also made the sauce a day or 2 in advance and kept in the fridge. If you run out of ketchup, just use barbecue sauce. Have fun with the vinegars. Cut back on the sugar if you need too. Oh, and instead of egg, I used mayonnaise last night!


For the meatballs:

1.5 lb ground beef

1 cup milk

1 cup breadcrumbs

1 egg

For the sauce:

1 onion, diced

1 bell pepper, diced

6 tablespoons sugar

1 cup catsup (ketchup?? Lol)

1/2 cup vinegar

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce


-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

-Mix the meatballs ingredients in a bowl. Form into balls and place in glass casserole dish.

-Mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl and pour over the meat balls.

-Bake uncovered for 45-60 minutes..

Country Sausage Quiche

1 package of Neese’s country sausage, browned

1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

4 eggs

2 cups half and half

1 cup all purpose baking mix

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Pinch of salt and pepper

Toppings – sour cream, chives, hot sauce, salsa, tomatoes, whatever!

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees

-Spray a glass pie dish with nonstick spray

-Add sausage as the first layer, then sprinkle with green onions and cheese

-Whisk eggs, baking mix, half bad half, thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper together until smooth

-Poor over sausage/cheese

-Bake for 45 minutes until you can stick a knife in the middle and it comes out clean

-Let stand for 5 minutes



Easy Chicken Bake


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can Cream of chicken soup
1 cup or sour cream
1 packet of onion soup mix
Half a sleeve of Ritz crackers, crumbled
Salt and pepper

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Place chicken breasts in 9×13 baking dish
-Season with salt and pepper
-In a bowl, mix cream of chicken, sour cream, and onion soup mix.
-Pour mixture over chicken. Spread with a spoon/spatula

-Sprinkle cracker crumbles over top
-Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour
-Uncover and bake for another 30 minutes
-Eat and enjoy!! #ThisCarolinaGirl

Southern Chilli…

Bourbon Barrel Smoke Flake…instead of your typical kosher salt.  That was my super secret ingredient.  This gem is made by Bulls Bay Saltworks out of McClellanville, South Carolina.  The salt is literally smoked using oak bourbon barrels and truly adds a unique smokey flavor where ever you use it.  (No, you won’t get drunk eating the salt!!)

Southern Chilli

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground turkey
2 celery stalks, diced
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 28 oz diced tomatoes
12 oz tomato paste
16 oz can of baked beans
1-2 table spoon oregano
1-2 table spoon onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 table spoon worstxhe sauce
1 sweet potato, diced into small cubes
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 cup water
Toppings – cilantro, hot sauce, cheese, sour cream, etc

Brown meat, add onions and cook a few minutes, add all the veggies and stir around. Add all the seasonings, then the “wet ingredients” (diced tomatoes, water, paste, Worcestershire sauce). Basically, everything should be in the crock pot!!!

High for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Serve with favorite toppings.

*my crock pot has a sauté function so I can do this all in one pot. They are relatively more expensive than your typical crock pot, but I HIGHLY recommend making the investment the next time your crock pot bites the dust 😉   


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Chicken Parm Meatloaf

Source: What’s Cookin Chicago?

1 lb ground chicken (ground turkey can be substituted)

1 egg

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 small onion, grated

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup pasta sauce (homemade or store bought)

1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend

minced parsley for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf pan with cooking spray, set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese. To not over handle the mixture otherwise it will get tough. Place the mixture in the greased loaf pan and form into a loaf. Top the meatloaf with pasta sauce.

Place filled loaf pan on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and sprinkle the top with the remaining shredded cheese. Place the meatloaf back in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted.

Remove the meatloaf from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving/slicing. Garnish with parsley if desired.

* To make ahead/freezer meal – Prepare the meatloaf mixture as directed and place in a disposable loaf pan. Cover and freeze.** When ready to prepare and serve, defrost the meatloaf completely and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Top with pasta sauce and place filled loaf pan on a baking sheet.  Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and sprinkle the top with the remaining shredded cheese. Place the meatloaf back in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving/slicing. Garnish with parsley if desired.

** Alternately, you can top the meatloaf with pasta sauce before freezing and then bake from frozen, uncovered for 55-60 minutes on a baking sheet. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and sprinkle the top with the remaining shredded cheese. Place the meatloaf back in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving/slicing. Garnish with parsley if desired.

Brown Sugar Chicken

Source: For a Hungry Soul

About 3 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken (I’ve used both thighs and breasts)

1 ( .7 ounce) packet of dried Italian dressing mix (such as Good Seasonings)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 12 inch x 9 inch pan and set aside, and/or it may be preferable to line your dish with aluminum foil as the sugar tends to caramelize while baking.

Rinse chicken, pat dry with paper towels.

Combine and the dried Italian seasoning mix and the brown sugar, mixing together well.

Dip and press the chicken pieces into the mixture, coating front and back and place into your prepared pan, topside of the chicken facing up. Any extra coating that remains can just be sprinkled over the chicken.

Carol says to cook for 50-60 minutes or until chicken is done. I do that as well, but during the interim, I turn the chicken over a couple of times and spoon the resultant saucy melted brown sugar mix over the baking chicken allowing, with the final turn leaving the topside facing up for the last bit of baking. I want to get as much of that flavorful coating as I can.

Carol, I want to thank you again for such a delicious share. I’ve already made this recipe twice and am looking forward to it again and again!

Baked Apples

Adapted from: The Harris Sisters
5 apples, cored, and sliced (you can peel, I choose not too)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup apple juice
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp butter, cubed
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Add apples, sugars, apple juice, cornstarch, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla to baking dish, stirring to incorporate.
  3. Place butter on top of apples
  4. Cover and bake for about 1-1.5 hours.  Stirring every 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the foil for the last 30 minutes.