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Guinness Beef Stew

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Winter finally decided to show up. On Saturday we had nearly a foot of snow. I love when the snowstorms happen on Saturday because then I get to just sit around and enjoy it without worrying about the safety of getting to work or my husband getting to work. My favorite way to spend snow days? Drinking hot chocolate in front of the fireplace reading Winnie the Pooh to my daughter (the real Winnie the Pooh) with something that smells amazing in the crock-pot. Add in a little baking time and I’m in heaven. Saturday was my perfect snow day. I threw this beef stew in the crock-pot and hung out with the baby. Later, while she napped, I baked.

Honestly, I’m not a huge beer drinker. Don’t get me wrong, once in awhile I enjoy a little but it really isn’t my thing. But cook with it? Oh, yeah. My favorite beer to cook with is Guinness. Its deep, dark tones really enhance things like chocolate and beef. If you aren’t a beer drinker, don’t worry. The flavor of the beer really isn’t that strong. In fact, if no one told you what it was, you would have a hard time guessing what that “something” is.

If you have a snow day or you just have a hankering for something that sends your senses back to Great Britain give this recipe a try. Your house will feel like a cozy pub in no time!

Guinness Beef Stew

  • 1 lb stew meat , cubed
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 -3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion , chopped
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 12 ounces Guinness draught
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 red/white potatoes , skin on, quartered
  • Handful of baby carrots, chopped
  • ¼ cup flour

Season meat with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet until just smoking. Brown the beef. Transfer to a slow cooker.

Add remaining oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and onions to the skillet and cook until onions are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, 1 cup of beer, sugar, thyme, chocolate and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Transfer to slow cooker.

Add the carrots and potatoes to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 9-10 hours or 6-7 hours on high.

Set the slow cooker to high. Whisk the flour and ¼ cup beer until smooth. Stir mixture into the slow cooker. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Remove bay leaves.


Shepherd’s Pie

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Shepherd’s Pie makes me think of Great Britain and leaves me pining for Scotland. Technically, Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb but my husband isn’t into lamb and I don’t really like the way my house smells after I’ve cooked with it. Stale sheep isn’t exactly aromatic. I suppose I could call this Cottage Pie but that isn’t nearly as fun nor does it invoke images of my border collies doing actual work. Work that does not involve herding the cat or licking peanut butter out of Kongs.

Believe it or not, this recipe really doesn’t take that long. It is on my weeknight rotation if that says anything at all. You can have this on the table (easily) within 30 minutes. It’s all about multitasking, friends.

Shepherd’s Pie


Mashed Potatoes:

  • 2 pounds potatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • cream, milk, or chicken broth


  • 1 pound ground beef/lamb
  • 1 carrot or a handful of baby carrots, chopped
  • half an onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire, a couple shakes
  • ½ cup frozen peas

Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain potatoes and mash them with sour cream and cream cheese. If needed, add cream.

While potatoes boil, brown meat in a skillet. Add chopped carrots and onion to meat. Cook 5 minutes. Place meat mixture in a bowl and set aside. Melt butter in skillet, add flour. Whisk about 2 minutes. Add broth and Worcestershire. Season with salt and pepper. Thicken gravy. Add meat mixture to gravy. Stir in peas.

Preheat broiler. Pour meat into a casserole dish. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly, seal the edges. Broil until browned.

Swiss Steak

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Happy Friday! Fridays are (technically) a day off for me. Which translates into I try not to go to the office and I work from home. But it also means I have time to try new recipes or at least spend a little extra time cooking than I normally would on a week night. I love this recipe because you throw everything into a dish and stuff it in the oven for an hour. During that time you can do other things like play with a baby, get caught-up on emails, do the dishes, or simply enjoy the heavenly smells that emanate from your oven perfuming your home. Heck, with an hour you can do all of those! And with little one-dish wonders such as these you don’t have to worry about sides! I just served up a side salad and some bread.

I don’t know why this recipe is called Swiss Steak. It doesn’t seem very Swiss and calling it steak is extremely generous. But then I’m a meat snob.

Swiss Steak


  •  I used 3 of those little minute steaks
  •  ¼ cup flour
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  •  1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • half an onion, chopped
  • half a green pepper, chopped
  •  a few shakes Worcestershire sauce


Place flour, salt, and pepper in a Ziploc bag. Place meat into bag and coat entirely. In a skillet, brown meat in oil. Transfer meat to a 2-qt. baking dish; set aside.

To pan drippings, add tomatoes, carrot, celery, onion, green pepper, Worcestershire sauce and a pinch of flour. Cook over medium heat and stir for 2 minutes. Pour over meat. Cover and bake at 350 for an hour or until the meat is tender.