My daughter went hunting for the very first time this year. I learned to hunt when I was about her age and remember sighting deer with my dad, though I never really took to it. I preferred to help cut the meat into its proper […]
One of my favorite soups from when I was a kid was a vegetable beef and barley soup… from a can of condensed soup, of course, as that was the trend. This version is packed full of wholesome ingredients, and none of the bad, making it a hearty healthy meal.
Vegetable beef and barley soup is easy on the budget as you can use the less ideal cuts of beef (like round steak) diced into bite size morsels or stew meat. Since these cuts of meat tend to be more tough, I put them in a slow cooker with the vegetables for a few hours to soften into tender melt-in-your-mouth goodness. Then, I add the remaining ingredients and continue to slow cook another few hours until all the ingredients have melded together and the barley and vegetables are tender. The resulting taste is a perfect blend of earthy and nutty goodness in a comforting bowl of bliss. Barley is a gluten containing grain (less so than wheat) so if you need to stay gluten-free, you can substitute Asian barley (also called Job’s tears) or arborio rice for a similar taste and texture.
- 1-2 pounds stew meat or other beef (or venison) cut into bite size pieces
- 1 cup turnips, parsnips or potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1-2 cups celery, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste if needed)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen green beans, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 cup peas
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon basil
- ½ teaspoon marjoram
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- ½-1 cup tomato sauce
- ½ cup barley, Asian barley or Arborio rice
- 4 cups beef or vegetable broth
- water if needed to achieve desired consistency
- Place beef, turnips, celery, carrots, onion, garlic and salt in a slow cooker and stir to combine.
- Cook on low about 4-5 hours until meat is fully cooked and begins to become tender.
- Add remaining ingredients and continue cooking 2-4 hours until barley is tender.
- The barley will make the soup much thicker as it cooks so if you need to add water, do so as it's cooking until you reach your desired consistency.
Venison is a meat I grew up eating which harnesses a unique field to table flavor. It also carries a heaping dose of nostalgia. My dad used to take me ice fishing when I was young with my brother and sister. We would play endless rounds of card games like Kingman’s Corner and Crazy 8’s and eat endless amounts of Snickers candy bars and venison hot sticks. Then, in a sugar crazed frenzy further fueled by soda pop, we’d take off out onto the ice and skate around in a sad attempt at hockey. Venison stroganoff is one of my favorite venison recipes. This is my take on a creamy comfort dish that reminds me of many winters at home as a kid.
After meeting my father for the first time, my husband fell in love with the annual deer hunting adventure and spends a long weekend each year hanging out with the guys in the woods dangling from trees in freezing temps and walking through marsh and bramble in pursuit of deer (sounds like a GREAT time doesn’t it?? ha!). Some years are more prosperous than others and this year his efforts were rewarded with a nice stash of venison in our freezer. Venison stroganoff is a simple Hungarian style dish that easily blends the unique flavor of this lean game meat into a sauce perfect for ladling over pasta or smashed potatoes. You can also use beef in this recipe but if you have access to venison, give it a shot as this venison stroganoff will rock your socks off!!
Hungry for more venison recipes? You might also enjoy my Venison Steaks with Sweet Smoky Aioli, Veggies and Venison Chili , marinated venison chops , and venison tenderloin with creamy mustard sauce too!
- 2 pounds venison (roast or steaks) cut into thin strips against the grain
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup shallots or red onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 pound cremini or shitake mushrooms, sliced or diced
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons cognac or red wine
- ¾ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon spicy Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
- 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
- 1 tablespoons flour mixed in a slurry with 2 tablespoons water to thicken if desired
- Season meat with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
- Heat two tablespoons of butter on medium high in a large cast iron skillet and when it is hot, brown meat on each side until barely pink.
- Transfer meat to a dish and set aside. Do not drain juices.
- In the same skillet, add the rest of the butter and sauté shallots and garlic just until translucent.
- Add mushrooms with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and sauté until mushrooms start to brown and liquid evaporates.
- Add broth, cognac and worchestershire. Simmer until liquid coats mushrooms about 10 minutes.
- Stir in sour cream and mustard.
- Add reserved browned meat and any accumulated juices.
- Stir in dill and paprika.
- If you desire a thicker sauce, stir in a slurry of flour mixed with water until desired thickness.
- Serve hot as a thick stew, over egg noodles or over mashed potatoes.
Oh, how I LOVE hotdish. I mean, it’s a one dish meal with veggies, meat and usually a starch, warm and scrumptious to provide comfort and joy with every bite. Just the thought of a warm wintery hotdish (not to mention eating them) brings back a […]
It’s a comfort food kind of day. We’re in the process of selling our house so it’s been a challenge to keep the house clean and still manage to cook and so forth between showings. I swear, all I’m doing these days is cleaning, and re-cleaning, and cleaning again. I will be so glad when that’s over!!! Comfort food comes in all kinds of varieties. Most of the time, it just needs to be warm and delightfully savory. Something simple I could imagine my grandmother cooking for me even if it’s not exactly the same as her recipe would have been. Like this spaghetti squash and meatballs. The meatballs are an old recipe that I’ve altered slightly and of course, pouring them over spaghetti squash is super healthy. Put these little delicious meatballs over rice noodles and they are equally as fabulous. Or eat them without noodles… like appetizer style with a toothpick.
If you’ve never tried a spaghetti squash it’s really about time that you do. First let me preface this by saying I hate squash. I never liked it growing up and haven’t liked it as an adult. I was prompted to try it mostly cuz it looked fun. Anytime you can shred something and play with food it qualifies as a good new adventure to me! So I found a nice freshly picked spaghetti squash at a local farm’s pumpkin patch. Next came the chore of figuring out how to cut it in half for easy baking. It takes a little force but here’s the easiest way I’ve found to do it. Slice the stem end off to make a flat surface. Then stand it on that end and rock a large chef’s knife through the center while pressing down to break it into two halves. Scoop out the seeds, and place it cut side down on a baking sheet to bake.
It will essentially steam itself this way with the moisture from within. Once the outer skin of the squash gives to the touch, then you take it out of the oven and scrape it with a fork. It’ll shred into spaghetti looking strands like magic!
Of course, while the squash is baking, you’d be smart to mix up the meatballs and form them into small little orbs of goodness. These get a slow simmer in a simple tomato sauce and then served over the squash. The flavor of the squash is so mild that it takes on the flavor of whatever you put onto it so you’d never know you’re eating something so healthy. It won me over! If you want to be fancy, try placing a piece of mozzarella inside each meatball. It’s amazingly good!! You can also crockpot these little meatballs as an appetizer. Just form them, put them in a crock pot with the tomato sauce and let them cook 6-8 hours until cooked through.
- 1 medium to large spaghetti squash
- 1 pound ground beef or pork
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 3 teaspoons parsley
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon coconut flour (optional, use if you want firmer meatballs but they work fine without it)
- 6 cups tomato sauce (about 2 large cans)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Slice the stem end off of the spaghetti squash to make a flat surface. Turn it onto this end and rock a chef's knife from the top end while pressing down to cut the squash into two halves.
- Scoop out the seeds and place cut side down onto a baking sheet.
- Bake squash until the skin indents lightly with the press of a finger. About 30-40 min depending on the size of your squash.
- While the squash is baking, place all meatball ingredients except the tomato sauce in a mixing bowl and mix with your hands. Really, it's the easiest way to get it all mixed up.
- Form small balls with the meat mixture and place in a large saucepan.
- Pour tomato sauce over meatballs so they are all submerged and simmer covered for about 20 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through. They can continue to simmer longer than this if you're waiting for the squash to finish.
- When spaghetti squash is tender, take it out of the oven and shred with a fork.
- Place spaghetti squash strands in a serving bowl and serve with meatballs and the tomato sauce overtop.
You can cook these in a crock pot as well. Place meatballs in crockpot and cover with tomato sauce. Cook 6-8 hours until they are cooked through.
This is an unusually warm fall day. Nearly October and nearly 80 degrees. Despite really wanting to be outside, I’m stuck inside nursing a head cold. Ish. I’ve been diffusing thieves essential oil in my oil diffuser off and on the past few days in […]