Beef Stew



When we first married I depended heavily on McCormick’s Seasoning packets.  That is the only way I made beef stew for YEARS!   About 15 years ago I found a beef stew recipe in a church cookbook. That recipe was a little different from the one it has become today.  However, just like this recipe the original stew recipe had a beer in it.  Yep, you read that correctly, I got that recipe from a church cookbook. Some of you reading this may know that I’m a Baptist preacher’s daughter.  Well, I can assure you that it was not in one of my beloved Baptist cookbooks. Now, I am not a beer drinker, nor have I ever been, but I do like to cook with it.  It lends such a rich, wonderful flavor that you can’t get from anything else.

I found this interesting tidbit at food…

“Why cook with beer? Beer adds a rich, earthy flavor to soups and stews that makes them taste like they’ve been simmering for hours. Beers with a sweet or nutty taste can add depth to desserts. And don’t worry about getting drunk – virtually all of the alcohol evaporates during the cooking process.”

Read more at:

Like I mentioned, the recipe has evolved over the years. I have slowly made it my own. At the suggestion of my friend, Melanie, I use chuck roast in this stew. I cut it into approximately 2-inch cubes a day or two before preparing the stew. Put the beef into a large ziplock bag, place the bag in a large bowl, then let the beef stand in the refrigerator at least 24 hours. When you are ready to prepare the stew, drain the meat and dry each piece using paper towels. I usually do this by lining a large sheet pan with paper towels, spread the beef in a single layer and then blot it dry with additional paper towels. At this point, I remove the paper towels and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and flour. Toss to coat on the pan. Then it’s time to start browning the beef.

This recipe makes a huge pot of stew. I make my stew in a 5-quart crock pot, and it is almost full. Skim off as much fat as possible before serving. After it has been refrigerated, you can remove the fat that rises to the top.

Beef Stew
  • 4 to 5 lb. beef chuck roast, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • flour to coat
  • 6 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered or cut smaller if using large potatoes
  • 1 lg. onion, quartered
  • 1 lb. mushrooms, optional
  • 12-oz. amber beer
  • 32-oz. beef broth
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. hot sauce
  • 4 to 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Additional salt and pepper
  1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven. Sprinkle beef cubes with salt and pepper, then coat with flour. Brown the beef in the Dutch oven. Work in batches and do not over crowd the pan. Add more oil when needed.
  2. Remove the beef from the Dutch oven and place into a large crock pot.
  3. Add the carrots, potatoes, onion, and mushrooms.
  4. Add the beer, beef broth, paprika, hot sauce, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  5. Cover and cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or low for 8 hours.





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Fritos or Doritos Pies



Not Just Sunday Dinner is almost 4 years old!  The first recipe I ever posted was a Super Bowl recipe.  It was Hot Crab Dip and I posted it on February 1, 2011.  Honestly,  it amazes me that NJSD has grown as it has.  I have readers all over the world and I have a newspaper column in several small town newspapers…and it all started because I was bored.

Before moving to the farm I had a job that I loved, in Florida, as a Design Consultant.  I use the word “job” loosely because it was more fun than anything.  I worked for our builder, and friend, Mitch, and I basically shopped!  I selected the flooring, plumbing fixtures, lighting, paint colors, cabinets, etc. for his spec houses.  It was like building my own house again everyday.  I really enjoyed it!

When we moved to the country the housing market was on the mend, but finding another job like I had in Florida was not going to happen and I needed something to do.  I thought about a public job but I had been at home since Wes was born.  I felt that I was unqualified to do anything other than cook, clean, volunteer at school, or maybe drive a taxi for kids.

A friend in Florida had started a stamping blog.  I have always loved cooking and entertaining friends and family so a food blog just felt like a good fit and something I might enjoy doing.  I never imagined that it would last and I’m so glad that it has.  Besides being a mother, this is the best job I’ve ever had.  I have so much fun sharing tried and true recipes and new recipes that I have tested.  I love hearing from you via comments or emails.  Thank you for visiting my blog and helping it grow.

Today’s Super Bowl recipe is for Fritos/Doritos Pies.  This chili is not a “saucy” chili which makes it perfect for this Fritos/Doritos Pies.  The pies are like chili nachos.  I like to set up a Fritos/Doritos Pie Bar so my guests to build their own pies.  To supply your own Fritos/Doritos Pie Bar you’ll need small bags (1 1/8-oz. to 4 5/8-oz.) of Fritos, Cool Ranch Doritos, and Nacho Cheese Doritos.  I usually have bowls of shredded Cheddar cheese, sliced black olives, sour cream, jalapeños, and sliced scallions.   I have plastic spoons, in my the teams colors of course, and one last very important item, scissors.  You’ll need a pair of scissors for your guests to cut their bags lengthwise because you make the pies in the bags.  It’s so easy and fun and delicious!


Super Bowl Chili
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lg. onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 (10-oz.) cans Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. ground red pepper
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 (16-oz.) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (16-oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • small bags of Fritos and/or Doritos
  • Garnish: Cheddar cheese, sliced black olives, sliced scallions, jalapeños, and sour cream
  1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain and return to pan. Add Rotel tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, sugar, red pepper, black pepper, salt, and oregano. Stir to combine.
  2. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add beans and cook about 15 minutes.
  3. Cut bags of chips open lengthwise. Spoon chili with a slotted spoon on chips, into bags. Garnish with desired toppings. Serve with a spoon.




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Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball


Chocolate-Chip-Cheese ball

Sorry for being MIA last week.  I was slightly under the weather.  I have been self medicating but still not sure if I’m getting better.  Like it or not…and I DO NOT…I may have to visit the doctor yet.

I’ve been trying to focus on Super Bowl recipes.  I was actually going to put this recipe in the newspaper this week but decided it probably wasn’t “Super Bowly” enough.  This is a recipe that I’ve made several times over the past 10 years.  It’s wonderful and I’m not sure if you would consider it an appetizer or a dessert.

I’m including toffee bits in the recipe because I did put them in the cheese ball pictured.  I’m still not convinced that you can really taste them in this cheese ball though.  If it’s not something you have in the pantry and you don’t want to buy them just leave them out.  You can roll the cheese ball in mini chips or pecans.

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball
  • 2 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • ½ c. butter, softened
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • ¾ c. powdered sugar
  • ¾ c. mini chocolate chips
  • ½ c. toffee bits (optional)
  • ¾ c. finely chopped pecans or additional mini chocolate chips
  • Graham crackers
  1. Beat cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add vanilla and mix. Add sugars and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and toffee bits, if using, mix well.
  2. Cover and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. Place about half of the chopped pecans or mini chips in a medium-sized bowl. Remove mixture from the refrigerator and shape into a ball. (Mixture will be very sticky) Put ball into bowl, on top of nuts or chips and pour remaining nuts or chips on top. Cover the ball completely with nuts or chips, moving it around in bowl and shaping as you go. Place on a serving dish, cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve with graham crackers.


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Bacon Wrapped Brats

bacon wrapped brats

Super Bowl Sunday is February 1st and most likely you have started to make your plans.  I know that my list has been started.  You know by now that I am a planner so I make list for everything.  Occasionally, if I have an extremely busy day, I will even have a chore list for my housework.  When I run errands I have a list of each stop I need to make, in the order I need to make them, and what I need to do at each place.  I simply work better with a list. 
Our friends, Michelle and Jimmy are hosting the Super Bowl party this year.  The Super Bowl is always a fun time surrounded by friends, family, and food.  These brats are delicious, wrapped in bacon and grilled to perfection.  This recipe comes from the maker or our grill, Traeger.  Wesley claims that this is the best thing I’ve ever cooked.  I’m not sure what that says for my cooking, since these are so very simple, but I’ll take it as a compliment anyway.  Serve these with the traditional hot dog condiments or make this delicious mango salsa for a delicious topping.

Bacon Wrapped Brats
  • 1 pkg. brats
  • 1 pkg. bacon
  • toothpicks
  1. Heat grill to a medium-high temperature.
  2. Wrap 1 to 2 pieces of bacon around each brat, securing with toothpicks. Place on grill and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until brats are cooked through and bacon is cooked to your liking.
  3. Remove from grill and let rest 5 minutes. Serve on buns with your favorite toppings.

Mango Salsa
  • 2 mangoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tbsp. chopped purple onion
  • ¼ c. chopped cilantro
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped fine
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 2 pinches granulated sugar
  1. Mix all ingredients and refrigerate for a hours before serving.


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Layered Zucchini and Tomatoes


layered zucchini and tomatoes

I’m always looking for something new and interesting to cook.  It seems that even though I cook for my newspaper column and for the blog that I still get stuck in a rut of preparing the same foods over and over.  I do a lot of roasted veggies, and I love them, but sometimes I want something different.  I found this recipe for Layered Zucchini and Tomatoes in Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking by Natalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart.

I was looking through the book just hours before cooking dinner.  When I found this recipe the ingredient list was short and I just happened to have everything, except fresh oregano, which I replaced with fresh thyme.  I used panko for my breadcrumbs and diced tomatoes since I was using leftover tomatoes from taco night.  It was a delicious side dish that I will be making again!


Layered Zucchini and Tomatoes
Serves: 2 to 4
  • 2 small zucchini, trimmed and sliced lengthwise into ¼-inch slices
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced horizontally into ¼-inch sliced and drained on paper towels
  • ½ tsp. salt (plus more for sprinkling zucchini in colander)
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ c. dry breadcrumbs
  • ½ tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • ½ c. grated Swiss cheese
  • ½ c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1½ tbsp. butter
  1. Place sliced zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Set over a bowl or in the sink and let stand for 15 to 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water, place zucchini in an even layer on paper towels. Pat dry with another paper towel.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter a 9 x 9-inch baking dish.
  3. Layer half of the zucchini in the baking dish. Follow with half the tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Mix together the breadcrumbs, oregano, and cheeses. Sprinkle half of the cheese mixture over zucchini and tomatoes. Repeat layering one more time, ending with the cheese mixture. Dot with butter, and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 20 to 25 minutes.
May be made several days ahead and reheated.
Leftovers freeze fine.




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