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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.

Baked Mac & Cheese

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There is no comfort food that can compare to mac & cheese. I know, I know, everyone has their own recipe and it is always the best. I, too, have my own recipe and according to my (very) humble opinion it is the best. All you gourmet mac & cheese snobs may turn up your noses at the addition of Velveeta to this recipe but, kids, if you want creamy mac & cheese you HAVE to use Velveeta. Don’t worry there’s plenty of real cheese in the mix.

Frankly, I don’t know why anyone makes the “blue box” when the real stuff is so easy and soooooo much better but what do I know? Leave the “blue box” stuff in your basement storage room in case of apocalypse and make the real stuff.

Mac & Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • half an onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 (8 ounce) package processed American cheese (I use a bag of shredded Velveeta)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion for 2 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk, salt and pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until mixture boils and thickens.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

To the milk mixture add the cheddar and Velveeta cheeses; stir until cheese melts. Combine macaroni and cheese sauce in a 2 quart baking dish; mix well. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.