Mauve Cabinets and a Bottle of Red

My two passions–Food and books

Guinness Hunter’s Pie March 17, 2013

Filed under: Casserole,comfort food,Fall/Winter — hmills96 @ 7:14 pm

The man I’m marrying lives and breathes Notre Dame. He’s got auburn hair and green eyes (Yes, Jen. Green eyes. Not blue.) He’s stubborn, opinionated, and loving. He’s about as Irish American as you get in Indiana.

I have some Irish blood somewhere along my mutt pedigree but I’ve never taken St Paddy’s day very seriously. The last few years, it’s just meant a couple of beers at one of my favorite old pubs up in Muncie, where they always have some live bluegrass music playing.

This year, and probably every year from here on out, it meant waking up to Guinness instead of orange juice. A tradition I am quite OK with. And normally, he would make corned beef hash…a tradition I am not quite OK with yet. We had biscuits and gravy this morning because we forgot to stop by the store last night.

A friend of mine was given some venison yesterday and, luckily for me, found out that she’s not such a fan. Knowing that I have a much more adventurous palate, she knew I’d probably like it. YES! What a better way to use it on St Patrick’s Day than in a Shepherd’s Pie!

This was sooooo yummy. For those of you who enjoy the gaminess of venison, this dish is perfect for it. It makes the gravy even more savory than it normally would be with lamb or beef. If you don’t like the gaminess, you can certainly make this with “normal” meats.

Guinness Hunter’s Pie
Adapted from

1 Tbsp olive oil
4 medium carrots, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 lb venison
1 cup frozen peas
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup Guinness
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup beef broth
6 cups mashed potatoes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat olive oil over med high heat. Cook carrots until just tender, add onion and cook for another minute.

Add venison and cook until browned. Season with salt and pepper.

Add butter and peas.

Sprinkle with flour and stir.

Add tomato paste, Guinness, and Worcestershire.

Let reduce slightly, then add broth. Reduce until sauce is thick. Remove from heat.

Grease casserole dish. Pour in meat sauce. Spoon mashed potatoes on top.

Bake in oven for 20 minutes or just browned on top.


Crockpot Lean Pork Roast July 11, 2011

I have some big plans for my future. I can’t tell you what they are yet, only that I could use some prayers, thoughts, etc for the next several months. I’ll let you guys in to my secret as soon as I know what’s going to happen!

Part of this new plan is to lose weight. I need to lose 10 pounds at first, but want to lose 20 altogether. I started this plan Tuesday, and I’ve already lost 5 pounds!

I’m doing the Slimfast 123 plan, which is working really well. I’m doing a bowl of oatmeal in the morning, a slimfast shake at lunch, and some kind of meal in the evening. I usually stick a slimfast bar in there somewhere as a snack.

My biggest struggle with this diet is the variety. It’s a LOT of sweets during the day, and I’ve never been a HUGE sweets person. Occasionally yes, but I much prefer more savory foods. By the time I get home at night, I crave real protein. So yesterday I decided to braise a lean pork shoulder so that I could have some good things in the evening. This recipe is more of a how-to than anything. there isn’t much to the marinade–just a few things to tenderize the meat and bring out the flavor of the pork. I’ll use the meat to make tacos, pulled pork sandwiches (on lowfat bread and with a vinegar based sauce instead of a heavier one), etc etc.

Crockpot Lean Pork Roast
Original Recipe

1 lean pork shoulder
1 can light beer
2 Tbsp Worcestershire
1 Tbsp mustard
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp garlic salt
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp honey
1 large onion, quartered
Dry rub of your choice
1/4-1/2 cup red wine
2 cups chicken stock

Trim most of the fat off of the shoulder. It’s ok to leave some, it will keep the meat moist. But mine came with a good 1/2″ of fat on one side…that’s too much!

In a large plastic bag, combine all ingredients, excepting the pork and onions. Add the pork and marinate overnight (or at least 4 hours).

Remove pork from marinade and pat dry with a papertowel. Rub on all sides with your favorite dry rub. Brown on all sides in a medium skillet over medium high heat.

Place in crockpot with onions, wine and chicken stock, and turn crockpot on medium low (mine is the 8 hour setting. Cover, and let it do it’s thing for 6-8 hours.

The meat should be fall off the bone tender when it is done. Literally. The shoulder bone was completely separated when the pork was done cooking. Use two forks to pull the pork apart. Use for anything!


Marinated Chuck Roast June 4, 2011

Filed under: Beef,comfort food,Fall/Winter — hmills96 @ 8:17 pm

Its a stormy night here in Indiana. I’ve already spent some of the evening hiding under my stairs as a funnel cloud spun over Yorktown. No confirmed touchdowns, but several reports of damage have already come through. A transformer blew just east of my house, and unfortunately, a fatality was reported in Madison County when a tree landed on a campground in Mounds Park. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of that victim.

However, before all this nasty weather hit, I started an amazing meal. I’ve had a few chuck roasts in my deep freeze for awhile, but did not really know what to do with them. After this recipe, there is no problem in that area anymore!

This meal takes awhile, but it is soooo worth it. This was just amazingly delicious. The marinade and slow, long braising made a normally tough cut melt into my mouth. And the gravy that resulted from the braise was so savory and delicious. I cleaned the pan with dinner rolls.

Marinated Chuck Roast

Adapted from Food for a Hungry Soul

3-4 lb chuck roast
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp country dijon
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup Zinfindel
6 cloves garlic, smashed

Mix all ingredients together in a large bag or container. Marinate chuck roast for 3-4 hours.

Remove roast from marinade and let it come to room temp. Preheat oven to 350. Preheat large saute pan/skillet over med-high heat.

Sear both sides of roast–only about a minute on each side.

Pour marinade over meat and roast in oven for 1 hour.

Let the roast rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing. While the meat is resting, put pan back on stove and let remaining sauce reduce.

Slice thinly against the grain. Serve with gravy and simple roasted vegetables.


Eggs and Tomatoes March 23, 2011

I will always love winter. My friends give me hell for it, I mean, we live in Indiana after all. Sure it’s not the upper Midwest, but it gets COLD here. And the ice. And the snow. And did I mention ALL THAT ICE???

Don’t get me wrong, I love the spring. Summer not so much. For all of you balking at that–get sun-poisoning where you can’t walk for 3 weeks. Then you’ll understand. Plus, my migraines always hit really hard this time of year, as the temperatures and pressures go up and down and up and down.

All of that said–it is GORGEOUS out today! (I’m writing this Monday night, but you guys won’t see it until Wednesday.) I normally swim on Mondays, but I couldn’t wait to get home and head to the park for a walk. 72 degrees in March? Yes please! I’m dog sitting my Mom’s “princess” and the two of us had a blast walking around Morrow’s Meadow.

When I got home, I was hungry, but didn’t want to put a lot of effort into the meal. Eggs sounded good, but not just eggs and toast–boooooooooring. I had seen a recipe for a Moroccan-style tomato sauce with eggs on top somewhere. I don’t remember to be honest. It had a bunch of foreign ingredients that I cannot pronounce. But I figured, hey, I can do that my way! So I did. And it was awesome. I would recommend doing this with some heavy Italian bread–my white Wonderbread (don’t hate, it’s good) didn’t quite hold up to the heavy sauce. But the rich creamy yolk and the herby tomato sauce…mmmmmmm….

It wasn’t pretty, so no pictures this time. But this was a great throw-together meal. Just toss in whatever herbs or spices you have on hand. Play with your food!

Eggs and Tomatoes
Original Recipe

1/4 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of herbs, chopped (I used rosemary and sage)
1/2-1 cup diced or crushed tomatoes
Salt & Pepper
2 eggs

Heat some olive oil in a pan. Toss in some onion, garlic, herbs. Let them cook for a minute or two over medium heat, until soft. Add tomatoes, cook for another minute or two. Season with salt and pepper.

Carefully crack eggs over sauce. Cover. Cook until eggs are just set.

Serve with thick, crusty French or Italian bread. Eat in your pajamas in front of the TV. This is not a fancy dinner. Could be breakfast too, if you like savory in the morning like I do.


Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Cannellini Beans March 2, 2011

I love pasta. It’s kind of my “everything but the kitchen sink” type meal. When I’m pushing my budget for my biweekly pay cycle, but have a gourmet craving, it’s so easy to throw whatever I have into a pan and simmer for awhile.

This is one of those great dishes. Sun-dried tomatoes and cannellini beans are two ingredients I stock up on when I have some cash and keep them in the pantry. And when have you ever not known me to have garlic and pasta? I used bowties but I think longer pasta would be great with this, like fettuccine. A splash of lemon juice, if you had it, would brighten things up even more, and play off of the tart tomatoes.

Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Cannellini Beans
Adapted from Amateur Gourmet

4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups pasta

Boil your pasta in salted water.

Pour 1 Tbsp of sun-dried tomato oil into a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, let cook for 1 minute, until just soft. Add sun-dried tomatoes, cook for another 2 minutes.

Add 1 ladle of pasta water. Simmer until reduced by half.

Stir in beans, a pinch of salt, and another ladle of pasta water. Simmer for 4 minutes.

Add pasta to the sauce and toss together. Serve and relax!


Lemon Oregano Chicken February 28, 2011

Filed under: Chicken,Fall/Winter,Lemon,My Recipes,Quick and Easy,Spring/Summer — hmills96 @ 7:38 pm

The weather around here has been pretty crazy lately. I’m not sure what Indiana did to Mother Nature but she is TICKED OFF and is not afraid to show it. I don’t remember a winter this cold or this snowy. Normally, I’m a huge winter fan. Bring on the snow. The problem is, this year I have an hour commute. That makes a really big difference in my winter attitude. There were two days, a few weeks ago where I missed two days of work because of the massive ice storm that hit our area. Then Friday, we got hit hard again. We had enough snow that I couldn’t get up the hill to get out of my neighborhood until noon! I did end up going to work once everything started to melt off, but I was pretty frustrated.

Then last night brought a BOOMING first storm of the season. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard thunder that loud! It poured and poured, from about 9pm to 4am. The ground was already saturated from the snow meltoff, so everything is flooded around here. There were a few funnels, maybe a touch down in the area as well.

Because of last night’s storm, I didn’t get much sleep. I’m a storm fanatic so not only did thunder keep me awake, but so did the adrenaline from studying the storm cells racing across the state. I was up from about 2-3:30! That didn’t make for an easy Monday let me tell you! We were swamped, and one of my teammates is on vacation until tomorrow so things were pretty crazy.

By the time my day was over, I was definitely ready for something delicious. My food budget has been tight so I haven’t been cooking much. But I had some chicken thighs, and a lemon that I needed to use. This recipe came from my head, just a way of using up what I had on hand. You’ll probably recognize the technique, it’s really just a variation of something I do all the time. But the combination of flavors came out fantastic! I threw in some Brussels sprouts and a little butter before I stuck the pan in the oven, and the flavors all caramelized together. It was a really good combination.

Lemon Oregano Chicken

Original Recipe

1 chicken thigh, skin on
1 lemon
1 tsp oregano
Salt & Pepper

Preheat your skillet over Med-High heat with a little olive oil. Preheat oven to 450.

When hot, place chicken skin side down in pan. Brown for about 5 minutes, then flip over and do the same to the other side.

Put pan in oven for 15-20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Serve with roasted veggies.


Boeuf Bourgenion January 6, 2011

Filed under: Beef,comfort food,Fall/Winter,Freezer Meals,Mushrooms,soup,wine — hmills96 @ 9:05 am

Yesterday was one of those days where I was REALLY mad, for NO reason at all. It was ridiculous. All day long I was in a sour mood. By the time I got off work, I was exhausted, and planning to just go home and put my feet up, maybe get absorbed into No Reservations. But, all the way home I was thinking about the mushrooms that I had bought that I needed to use. By the time I got there, I was already thinking about Boeuf Bourgenion–more specifically, Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourgenion.

It was not as hard a recipe as I had imagined. It just takes a really long time to cook. But after three hours, I went to take it off the heat to cool overnight. Somehow, in that process, I ended up with a fork in my hand. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. Oh man, this is gooooooood. There are some recipes that I think “Ok, that’s decent, but I probably won’t make it again.” Then there are SOME recipes that are just so incredible that you just can’t stop eating. This is one of those recipes.

Make this, and soon. You can eat it the day you make it, but I’m told it gets better if it sits overnight. So I’ll be having it for dinner tonight. I cannot wait!

Boeuf Bourgenion
Adapted from Julia Child

3 lbs stew beef (1 inch cubes)
Olive Oil
3 large carrots, sliced
1 large onion, diced
Salt and Pepper
2 Tbsp Flour
3 cups red wine (something full-bodied, preferably Burgundy)
4 cups beef stock
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 crumbled bay leaf
2 cups baby pearl onions
2 cups button mushrooms, quartered
2 Tbsp Butter

In a dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over med-high heat. Add meat and brown. (It’s best to do this in stages, the meat will brown better if you don’t add it all to the pot at once.) Remove to a large bowl and set aside.

If needed, add more olive oil to the pot. Sweat onions and carrots until onions are translucent.

Add meat back to pot. Season with salt and pepper, then add flour. Toss to coat the meat, and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add wine, stock, thyme, garlic and bay leaf. Simmer (NOT BOIL!) for 2 1/2-3 hours until meat is tender.

While meat is stewing, prep pearl onions and mushrooms:

Add pearl onions to a large skillet. Cover with water. Bring to boil for 2-3 minutes. Pour off water and set onions aside to cool.

To the same skillet, melt 2 Tbsp butter. Add mushrooms and sautee until caramelized. Set aside to cool.

After the 3 hours, remove meat and veggies from the pot with a slotted spoon. Simmer sauce for 2-3 minutes to reduce.

At this point you have two options:

1. You can add everything back to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes to bring everything to temperature. Then serve over rice or with crusty bread.

2. OR you can add only the meat and carrots back to the pot, and keep the mushrooms and pearl onions separate. Cool in the refrigerator over night, and then when ready to serve, add everything to the pot and put it back on the stove to warm. Again, serve over rice or with crusty bread.

****Had the final product for dinner last night, with a bit of crusty french bread. The sauce was thick and rich, the meat and veggies were tender. Oh man. This stuff is GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD.****