Sunday, May 25, 2014

Beef Barley Soup (Version 2, Stovetop)

Another cold, drizzly day made me so glad my mom sent me back from the U.S. with a bag of barley. This is beef barley soup weather for sure! Maybe the only good thing about the dreary weather. Since my only recipe is for the crockpot, here is the stovetop recipe. I feel like every time I make soup it is slightly different based on available ingredients, but this is a good starting point.

What you need/Ingredients:
  • 1 lb beef, cut into small pieces
  • about 1 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 C. red wine
  • 1/2 C. barley
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 3-4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 t. thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tomatoes and 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
What I'd add if they were available: a few stalks of chopped celery and some cut up mushrooms.

What to do/Directions

  • Cut up the beef into small pieces and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Warm some olive oil in a pan over medium heat and cook beef, stirring frequently. Drain fat if necessary and add onion, stir. After a few minutes, add garlic and cook until fragrant; remove from heat.
  • While the beef is cooking, put broth into a pot and put on high until the broth is bubbling. Add barley, potato, carrots, wine, thyme, and bay leaves.
  • Add cooked beef into pan. Lower heat to "low" and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour, until barley is soft. Add tomatoes and bell peppers and cook for a few more minutes. (You can add these at the beginning but I prefer them a little less cooked)
  • Add salt and pepper if necessary and enjoy with warm, fresh bread. Or, if you're like me, store-bought bread. I don't judge.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Make Ahead Quinoa Breakfast "Porridge"

I am trying to eat healthy, but there is this problem. Actually, two problems when it comes to breakfast. They are called chipa and mbeju. They are these super delicious, bready, surely too tasty to be good for you things they make here in Paraguay that I just can't get enough of. AND, they make them and sell them where I work. So I need to bring something to work to help me fight those mid-morning mbeju cravings. I just made my breakfast for the next week. It took about 30 minutes and only a few ingredients.Also, quinoa is very filling and it will keep away those morning munchies.

What You Need

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups of your favorite type of milk and/or water. I used about a cup of coconut milk and a cup of water.
  • Toppings of choice: I like raisins, cinnamon, and a tiny bit of brown sugar. Sometimes I throw on a few almonds, too.

What to do
  • RINSE the quinoa. Most people who don't like quinoa didn't rinse before preparing.
  • Put the rinsed quinoa and your 2 cups of liquid into a pot, and boil over low heat until the quinoa "pops." Optional, but not recommended step: go to turn on the stove, realize you are out of propane, and go cook your quinoa outside on the grill instead.
  • Serve, or dole out into your dishes for the week. I always eat my breakfast at work so I like to have it ready to grab from the fridge to go. The hardest part of this whole recipe (for me) was finding 4 clean containers with lids!

  • Heat when ready to serve, if you aren't eating it right away. (I like to eat it hot, but I guess you could eat it cold too).