Great Recipes with a Few Basics

At this trying time where we are all stuck in the house due to the Coronavirus, I reminded how my Mother cooked great recipes with a few basics. She has been through hard times and learned to make delicious meals with a few simple ingredients. Thank God, I learned from her.
When I went to the grocery store, I stocked up on the basic vegetables that would last a long time. Carrots, turnip, potatoes, onions, acorn squash, frozen peas, canned soup etc. I made sure I bought ample chicken and beef broth. I always have organic hamburger I get at Costco, which comes in Cryovac packaging that I throw in the freezer.

I went there recently and got 2 packages of our favorite strip steaks and used my food vacuum sealer machine and froze them individually for future use. I always have Bell and Evans chicken which is also sold in Cryovac packaging in the freezer.

I realize at this point items in the grocery store are “slim pickins”, but its never too late to realize how easy it is to throw a few things together and get a delicious meal.

Hamburger Stew

One of them is Hamburger Stew. Saute an onion with some hamburger in a skillet until cooked. Add some beef broth (I used 2 cans). Add the veggies of your choice. I add carrots. You can also add frozen peas, cubed potatoes, cubed turnip, etc. You could even add some canned white beans or canned tomatoes. You could make it like a vegetable stew instead of soup. The variations are endless. It’s about creating recipes,not following them.

Chicken Stew

The other is Chicken Stew. Add a little oil to a skillet and heat the oil. I just cut a chicken breast into 3/4 inch strips and throw in a zipper bag with flour. Saute floured chicken strips until slightly browned on both sides. Remove from pan. If there is any oil left in the pan, remove. But don’t remove the brown frond from the pan. That is going to make some great flavor.

Put cooked chicken strips back into pan and add 2 cans of chicken broth, some sliced carrots (and celery or onion if you choose) and cook until carrots are done.

For both examples herbs are key. I always, always put in Parsley (fresh or dried), dried Celery Flakes, my favorite dried vegetable seasoning, salt and pepper. It adds so much flavor I wouldn’t think of cooking without them.

Also have some cornstarch on hand. It is the easiest way to thicken the sauce for either the Chicken or Hamburger stew. Just take a couple heaping teaspoons and mix with a little water in a cup. Pour into stew and cook on medium high until thickened to the consistency of your choice.

I serve my stews over mashed potatoes. Make sure you make enough as leftovers are great for the next day.

Foil Dinner

Another great recipe that comes to mind…Foil Dinners.

I got this recipe years ago when I just got married. It was from the Betty Crocker recipe card packs that you purchase and receive every month. I used to make this all the time when my kids were little. Cut 4 pieces of 18″ foil. Add to the center of each foil, 1/4 lb or so steak tips, 1 sliced carrot, quarter package frozen peas, and one cubed fresh potato for each. In a separate bowl you mix one can of Cream of Mushroom soup and an envelope of dry onion soup mix. I just divide the soup mixture evenly and put on top of the meat and vegetables. The recipe calls for adding cherry tomatoes, but I have never done that. Fold opposite sides of the corners of the foil together and fold packet like a tent. Seal securely and place on a cookie sheet. bake at about 450 degrees F for about 50 minutes or until meat and veggies are done. This is a great recipe on only takes a few staple items. Always have at least one can of Mushroom soup and dry onion soup mix.

More ways you can throw together veggies, and I made these the other night. My hubby said those veggies are so good. There is no recipe, just saute together: one red bell pepper pieces, one thinly sliced onion. Throw in sliced summer squash, sliced zucchini squash, and a clove of minced garlic. Add parsley, basil, salt and pepper. It’s super delicious, fresh, and tasty. I made it the other night because I had the veggies in the fridge and wanted to use them up.

The possibilities are endless. Take this time at home to create your own timeless recipes. And everyone….STAY SAFE.



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