Bob Hopkins Firehouse Oven Stew

This was Evie’s request for supper today. This stew has stewing beef, which Evie calls steak, all beef to her is steak and she loves steak. Unless it is ground beef that is hamburger, or hangerburger as she called it until recently.

This recipe came from my uncle, a retired paramedic, who made this stew in the firehouse where he worked. I think Evie likes this because she thinks it is cool because it is what they ate at the firehouse. The original recipe that I have written down just calls it oven stew, but we changed it to include the firehouse, Evie eats it much better that way.

This stew is very easy and quick to put together, but it is slow food, cooks for 3-4 hours in the oven. Basically you put it in the oven and forget about it until it is done. You can check on it and stir it once or twice if you feel like it, but don’t have to.

I am not sure if my pictures will show properly, I always has trouble inserting them and they preview differently than when they post…..so I don’t know what you are going to see here, if it is too messed up I will repost.

Take 1-1/2 lbs stewing beef and cut into small chunks
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, slices (I use 3)
1-2 potatoes, chunked

7 &1/2oz can tomato sauce
½ cup beef broth
¾ tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper
I add a few splashes of Worchestershire sauce too.

Combine all ingredients in a roaster or casserole dish.

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Cover and cook at 300F for 3-4 hours until tender. Makes 4 large servings or 5 smaller ones. We serve with crusty bread or rolls.

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This was quite thrifty for us to make because we had the meat in the freezer and had everything else in the fridge and cupboard. Everything other than the meat is quite cheap to buy, but usually stuff you would have in the kitchen.

Stew was good today because it was freezing outside, again. We went for a short bike ride to the lake and walked along the edge. The lake has been drained quite low and we could walk on the ground that is normally under 3-4 feet of water. It will be full again soon and we will be there to see the ducks, geese and loons. We did have an exciting find, a rock that had plant fossils in it!

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Rotini Pie and Maple Sap

Today we were going to visit an old working sugar bush to see maple syrup being made the old fashioned way, but it was a bust, sort of. We went got kind of lost found another sugar bush that was finishing up production, the new way, with tubing and vacuum. Not very exciting for a 4 year old. We did see some friendly, very curious cows and did see a few taps and buckets.

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I was planning to have some nice pictures and stories from the sugar bush, but some adventures just don’t pan out.

We came home and made rotini pie for supper.

I have been making this recipe since I was very young, at least early teens. I think the original recipe came off a pasta box or sauce jar and has been adapted and changed many times. I am always asked for the recipe. It is quite simple and thrifty, could even be adapted for a vegetarian (as long as cheese and eggs were ok).

Basically, make a meat sauce (or meat free).

I just sauté lightly a small onion finely diced with a large clove (or two small ones) of garlic. I finely chopped, but you could mince.

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I add a little pepper and some dried oregano (ours we dried from our garden last summer). Add pasta sauce and simmer.

Sometimes I also add a splash of balsamic vinegar.

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Cook 3-4 cups of rotini according to package directions. Drain and add back to the pot and let cool for just a couple of minutes.

Stir in two eggs that have been lightly beaten, a handful of shredded mozzarella, and about ¼ cup finely grated parmesan.

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Stir together and place into a 9 or 10 inch pie plate.

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Sprinkle another couple of handfuls of mozzarella on top of pasta and sprinkle of parmesan.

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Top with meat sauce, then more mozza and parmesan.

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Bake in 350F oven for 20-30 minutes until hot and cheese is melted and bubbly.

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Let cool about 10 minutes before cutting into pieces.

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Very Yummy!

Hello and welcome

Welcome to my blog.  This is my first post and it has been along time coming, three years to be exact, mainly because I have been busy and have chickened out a few times.  I have taken the leap and here we are.

Over the next year I hope this blog will get me back to cooking & baking more and inspire you to cook &/or bake and try something new.  I hope to try new recipes and let you know how they turn out, and prepare some old favourites to share with you as well.

Over the past year we have had a few cooking adventures.  This summer, we prepared the back portion of our garden into a vegetable plot and had a bigger garden than in the past.  Unfortunately, we had a very dry summer and it wasn’t as productive for our cucumbers or tomatoes.  Our celery and leeks grew very well, but our schedule took over and we didn’t harvest them in time to save much from the ice and snow.  Next summer we will be more diligent.  Hopefully it will be a great gardening summer and we will harvest and preserve what we grow.

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We did preserve some this summer:

A sparse amount of grape jelly

Yum Yum pickles, Evie loves these!

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pickled beet

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pickled veggies, plum sauce, tomato sauce, salsa and pizza sauce. Image

Other than preserving we have not been very adventurous this year.

I did make my first tourtiere for Christmas Eve supper, from a recipe given to me by a co-worker, and it was delicious!

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I have been trying out a few Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Moroccan recipes, delish. I am currently reading “Saha: A Chef’s Journey through Lebanon and Syria” by Greg and Lucy Malouf.   It really is a lovely book.  I love the writing and I can’t wait to try some of the recipes.

I have a little bit of a recipe obsession.

I especially love those old vintage recipe cards that have been in families for years and if you have those along with any frugal kitchen tips that have been passed on to you from your grandmother or anyone else, please share them with me and I will try them too.

I have been thinking of what to make and post as my first cooking adventure of the blog and thought something by Julia Child would be nice, as I watched her show on PBS when I was a kid, not sure if it was for the cooking back then or just to annoy my brother he really did not like listening to her.  I think it was actually a bit of both.

It turns out that my next post will not be a tribute to any great chef or celebrity, but a tribute to all of the cooks, grandmothers and mothers out there who simply have had to make do and use what they had to feed their family, as I had a fridge full of vegetables and a leftover baked ham.  It turned into a wonderfully delicious meal combined an icon of Canadian food, French Canadian Pea Soup with a Newfoundland twist… Mt. Scio Farm Savoury and Doughboys.

That will follow in my next post.