Greek Restaurant Inspired Beef Stew

Greek Restaurant Inspired Beef Stew
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
I fell in love with the beef stew at a local place called King Kong. After many attempts, I've come up with this recipe, and I think it's as good or better!
Author:
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2½ pounds cut up gold potatoes
  • 1 kg (about 2 pounds) beef chuck, cut into ½ inch pieces trimmed of the fat
  • 1 15 ounce can north beans, rinsed and drained well
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • approx 3 liters (quarts) water, or more, see recipe
  • 1 tablespoon Ghee (see note)
  • ½ teaspoon salt, as needed, optional
  • 4.00 cup drained, Green Beans, Fresh Cut Rinsed and Drained
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
Instructions
  1. Prepare all your ingredients ahead of time. Finally dice your onions, cut your potatoes into ½ inch cubes and soak in water til using (this helps prevent oxidization), cut your beef into ½ inch pieces, rinse your beans well, drain your green beans, and mix your tomato paste with all your seasonings. This helps prevent clumps of seasoning in your stew.
  2. With your pot over medium-high, saute your onions til it softens and just starts to brown, this should take about 3-5 minutes. Then add your beef and stir it around. If you want you can brown your beef, but it isn't required. Add enough water to cover your beef by a few centimeters, or about an inch. Add salt now if desired.
  3. Cover, reduce the heat, and boil until the meat is tender. Anywhere between 30-60 minutes. Check on it every so often and add a bit more water if needed so it doesn't boil dry. After meat is tender add your potatoes and enough water to color by a few centimeters or an inch. Boil the potatoes until fork tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  4. At this point add the rest of your ingredients, making sure to dissolve all the tomato paste and seasoning. If you want to, boil your soup down more until it thickens like mine. Adjust the salt and pepper and you're done! This soup only gets better in the fridge the next day and is excellent over toast, cornbread, or plain ole rice. Delicious and a sure fire recipe!
Notes
Any type of onion or any type of potato can be used, I just prefer sweet onions and yukon gold potatoes.
If you don't have ghee you can use olive oil or use ½ tablespoon oil and ½ tablespoon butter for the same rich taste
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 cups Calories: 397 Fat: 7 Saturated fat: 3 Unsaturated fat: 2 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 45 Sugar: 5 Sodium: 646 Fiber: 8 Protein: 36 Cholesterol: 55
 

S.M.A.R.T : Tacos Week (Faylina’s Vegan Tacos)

So for this weeks SMART meal we were given the topic of tacos. YAY! I love eating tacos, they’re a great way to full up on healthy carbs and tons of fresh vegetables. Although these aren’t my typical tacos, I found they were still super tasty and amazing.
Best of all, this WHOLE meal (including the leftovers) only cost me… you ready for it?…: $11.00! Sure that seems like a lot, but you must figure I’ll get probably 6 meals out of this for my husband and myself so that breaks down to only $1.83 per meal. Not bad at all.
I used:
A homemade multi-grain flour tortilla – click HERE for my recipe
homemade re-fried pinto beans
romaine lettuce
green bell pepper
spring onions
guacamole
medium spicy salsa

For two of these tacos I calculated 1220 calories. That may seem like alot however I skipped lunch, oops!

How could I have improved them? Well, nothing beats fresh tomatoes on a taco, unfortunately since its the end of the month I already ate most of my produce, and what was left (2 romas) went bad to the point I couldn’t trim the bad bits so we had to toss them. Never-fear, this is why I keep salsa in the fridge. I also really like olives on my tacos, I’m not sure why It was just something I was raised with. I know that’s not traditional, but I still like them. I think next time I have tacos I’ll get some from the olive bar at Whole Foods. All in all, this meal was freaking amazing. I was so full after two tacos and the cron-o-meter showed I received almost 100% of my vitamins and minerals. Oh yeah, talk about healthy and delicious!

Better yet, I had left-overs for my husband’s lunch. I packaged the vegetables and salsa in a seperate container than the tortilla shells and pinto beans. That way he can warm up the beans without cooking the veggies, and the shells stay fresh and not soggy.
Don’t know what smart is? Click HERE for my explanation of it.

Non-Traditional Bruschetta – Vegan (with directions for Gluten-Free)

Ingredients:

2lb ripe tomatoes (I used two HUGE beefsteak tomatoes)
1 regular size French style baguette
2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
1/4 cup grape seed or olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 medium onion,sweet yellow or red
half bunch Italian parsley, minced VERY fine
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
pinch salt or to taste
few cracks black pepper or to taste

Directions:

Start by turning your broiler on. If using an electric stove like myself, move your racks to the middle, doing this step ensures your bread will toast evenly.

With a sharp, serrated knife slice on the diagonal down your baguette about 1/4 inch slices. You will get about 20-24 slices depending on size. Place these on a tray in a flat even layer and set aside. Take a small pan and add 1/4 cup grape-seed oil (you may use extra virgin olive oil also), along with 1 tablespoon of your finely minced garlic, and 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of dried basil. Put the heat on low and just let slowly heat up, DO NOT rush this. The object of this is to perfume and flavor the oil, not to cook the dried herbs. If you rush this, you will burn the basil and your bread will taste terrible.

Cut your tomatoes into cubes less than 1/4 inch in size. The easiest way to do this is to put the tomato in half, then make 1/4 slices around the tomato. Take those slices onto your board then make long slices, turn those slices then cut long slices again, this will produce cubes. You NEED a sharp knife, if you do not have a sharp knife, you will mush the tomatoes (you could also harm yourself).

Cut your onion into small pieces. The easiest way to do this is to cut the onion in half the long way then cut off the top bit. Now hold the onion vertical and slice 3 cuts into the onion SLOWLY, so you don’t cut yourself, almost all the way to the root but leave a little uncut. This makes layers, now set your onion flat on your board and cut vertical strips along the onion. Follow the natural lines, as this will help. Finally, turn the onion and cut it up and down. Your end result are small pieces of onion. If you cannot do this properly, or don’t like this method. Simply slice the onion thinly and rock your blade around your board until the pieces are small OR use a food processor to pulse the pieces small, NOT puree.

Prepare your fresh Italian parsley (not regular parsley) by washing and drying the herbs. Cut thin slices all along the leaves until you get to the roots (we will not be using the roots however save them in a freezer bag for the next time you make broth/stock, adds amazing flavor). Rock and chop in all directions until your parsley is small pieces, you don’t want large pieces stuck in your teeth. You may have to pile the herb back up to help cut it.

By this time your oil and basil mixture should be starting to sizzle or bubble. Turn off the heat and let it naturally cool down just until it stops bubbling. In the mean time, add all your tomatoes, onions, and parsley into a bowl. Add a pinch of salt, a few grinds of fresh pepper, remaining 1 tablespoon of minced garlic (see video if using pre-minced garlic from a jar) and approximately 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Stir well, making sure not to squish the tomatoes though. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking, adding more salt or vinegar if needed. However keep in mind it’s not suppose to be super salty or sour, just a subtle hint of each.

Once your oil cools down, take a spoon (obviously metal so it doesn’t melt) and spoon a SMALL amount of oil on each piece and spread it around. Repeat for all the bread slices. Once all the slices are done, scrap off any LARGE clumps of garlic and basil. If you fail to do this step they will burn in the oven, which is not tasty. You also only need to oil one side of the bread. Once all the pieces have been oiled and scraped, stick them in your oven on high broil in the middle racks for about 60 seconds. You will need to watch these very closely. The point is not to brown the bread, but to lightly toast them so they do not go soggy with the addition of the topping. Once the tops are lightly toasted or JUST starting to brown around the edges, flip them all over with a heat proof tongs and replace in oven. At this point I like to turn off the broiler as the remaining heat is enough to finish the job. Leave them in there another 30-90 seconds or until they just start to get crispy. The way you tell is to lightly scrape your tongs or a fork against the top, if you hear a dry sound, they are done. Remove from oven.

RIGHT before serving (do not do this ahead of time) spoon on a couple tablespoons of your tomato mixture (be sure to stir first). Try not to get a lot of juice on the bread. Enjoy! A red wine goes great with this dish or these are great served before pasta dishes. To be honest with you, I just ate a ton of these by themselves for dinner and I was happy! ^.^

For a gluten free version, make sure to use a gluten free baguette or bread. For bread slices, cut them into triangles for a neat design. Toast as mentioned above and be careful you use gluten free vinegar. This recipe is naturally vegan friendly (always check bread ingredients though as some companies use milk).

For nutritional information, its for non-gluten free with 20 servings.

Quinoa with taco like Seasoning – ShayLoss inspired!

So I was watching my Youtube subscriptions today and there was a new video from ShayLoss. For those who have never seen his videos, its a channel of this guy named Shay who used to be really obese and now hes lost a bunch of weight. He gives tips for healthy living and weight loss, etc. He is not a vegan, but he gives good advice. His video today was a recipe, click HERE for the video, but warned though its 23 minutes long. The gist of this video was a recipe for a quinoa salsa/taco filling sorta thing. It was good sounding, but you know me, I had to change it a bit. It tasted SO good I knew I had to share. So please try this. Everything you need for it is in season right now!

Ingredients:

2 cups white quinoa, rinsed VERY well
3 cups water
3 large tomatoes , diced
1 medium bell pepper, diced
1 medium white onion, diced finely
1 bunch cilantro, minced
1 hot pepper (optional), minced and seeded
3 tablespoons garlic, minced finely
1-2 limes, juiced
1 can chickpeas, rinsed VERY well
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce (no more than 20% sodium per tablespoon, less is better)
1 tablespoon cumin powder

Directions:

Start out by rinsing your quinoa very well. The easiest way to do this is use a large bowl and place the quinoa in it. Fill with very warm/hot water and use your hands to kinda squeeze the quinoa. Don’t worry, you won’t hurt it! Drain the water by slightly tipping the bowl, I do this over a fine mesh strainer in-case I spill some. Repeat this until the water is clean and the qunioa does not feel slimy or has lots of bubbles.

Bring your 3 cups of water to a boil in a larger sized pot with a lid. Add in your quinoa when the water is vigorously boiling. Stir well to ensure there are no clumps. Reduce the heat to a simmer (that’s a 2 or 3 on electric stoves). Cover with the lid and let cook for 5 minutes. Stir and recover. Let cook for 10 more minutes. Stir again making sure to scrap the bottom. If all your water has been absorbed, recover and turn off the heat and let set 10 minutes. If it still needs time to cook off the water, give it 5 more minutes. (after a total of 20 minutes, if you still have water left, you’ll need to strain it because you probably added too much, don’t worry its still fine!)

While your quinoa is resting for 10 minutes, prepare all your other ingredients. Keep in mind you want your veggies in smaller sized pieces. Core your tomatoes and dice them. Seed a bell pepper and finely dice. Mince a medium onion or thinly slice. Mince your garlic and wash in warm water to remove bitterness. Finely mince your cilantro, I choose not to use the stems since they are tough, but you can if you want. If you want a little extra flavor, add a FINELY minced chili pepper. I suggest removing the seeds, but if you want super spicy you can leave them in. I used a Fresno pepper, they’re red in color and have a nice spice and flavor. Open a can of chickpeas and rinse them very well, there should be no bubbles left and no slimy texture.

After your quinoa has rested, add all your prepared vegetables. Stir well and break up any clumps of quinoa. Now juice your limes into the mixture. I used a HUGE lime (it was the size of a lemon, no joking!) so I only needed one, however you might need two. Taste as you go and adjust the flavor. Stir well again.

In a small bowl, add your oils, soy sauce, and cumin powder. Whisk this together well and then add it into the quinoa. Stir VERY well. This is your sauce so you want to ensure you get it on all the pieces.

Try it now, if it needs more salt, add more soy sauce or use coarse salt. If it needs more tangyness, add more lime juice. Serve warm with tortillas or chip. OR Serve cold and mix with lettuce or cooked pasta for a new flavor.

I honestly have no clue how much this makes since I didn’t measure it, however I ended up with a large dutch oven full of it! I’m guessing around 10 cups. This is an amazing recipe and I think one that everyone should try, even if you’re not sure about the quinoa. If you cannot find quinoa for some reason I would suggest trying this with couscous if you can eat gluten or buckwheat groats if you cannot. The nutritional information is for quinoa and all the ingredients listed above. Serving size I gave was 100g, however in the picture above that is a small 5 inch plate with 312g on it. While it still does have fat added to it, its far less than the original recipe and honestly it adds to the flavor. I ate this with a little bit of chipotle salsa on-top. Enjoy! (and yes, as you can see this is a kitty approved recipe!)