Cooking Girl NY

Recipies for those who LOVE to COOK.

Slow cooker beef stew and Banana bread October 23, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurenzo @ 6:01 pm

Saturday October 22nd 2011

This week may have been one of the most challenging weeks I have had in a very long time. I usually don’t look forward to the weekends.. In  my mind it’s just another day on the calendar- but this week I was counting the minutes until Saturday. All I wanted to do was sleep in, clean my house and cook. I feel for the past few weeks I haven’t had the passion to do anything except sleep. I was even eating canned soup for dinner! So, Saturday came and after sleeping in to the ripe time of 8:30 (what a treat!) I felt refreshed and ready to go. First thing I did was clean out my closet. What a disaster- 3 bags of garbage and 3 bags for good will later it was time for the supermarket. Matt was kind enough to continue cleaning the house – he really is one of the good ones 🙂 I had noticed that morning when I was bringing in my 5 glasses of half empty water from the nightstand that I had a full bunch of bananas that were just about ready to be tossed and it hit me BANANA BREAD!

Off to the store I went to purchase ingredients for my banana bread – most of which I had in the house all I needed was walnuts. I was also craving something that would warm me up and could be made in the slow cooker. Beef stew.. Haven’t had that in about 3 years and it was the perfect project for a lazy Sunday at home.

When I got home I started mashing and mixing and before I knew it I was pulling a beautifully baked bread from my tiny oven-I swear it looks like I have an adult size version of the easy bake oven I am truly amazed how I produce any food out of my kitchen. It smelled amazing and looked even better. Matt and I each had a piece for breakfast and it is definitely better the next day.


5 medium overripe bananas

2 cups all purpose flour

1tsp baking powder

1tsp baking soda

½ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp salt

1 cup sugar

2 eggs – beaten


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan and set aside. In medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg , cinnamon and salt. Form a well in the center and set aside. In another bowl mash bananas and add 1 cup sugar and 2 beaten eggs. Mix well. All at once pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture. Mix lightly until just absorbed and combined. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a knife in the center comes out clean.  You can also add a stussel topping by combining 1 tsp flour, 1 tablespoon of packed brown sugar and 1 tablespoon sugar. Cut 2 tablespoons of cold butter into the mixture and sprinkle over bread before baking.  

Sunday October 23rd 2011

We didn’t sleep in this morning. I was up at 7:30AM folding laundry and cleaning up the kitchen from the night before. I started prepping my stew for the Crockpot and remembered a little tip from Julia Child. Always pat the meat dry or it won’t brown! Thanks Julia. Also don’t crowd the mushrooms. The stew is still simmering in the Crockpot, it has about another 2 hours to go. The house is filled with good smells and I can’t wait to dig in.



2 lbs lean bottom round stew meat – cut into 2 inch cubes

1 cup all purpose flour

2 tablespoons special seasoning (recipe to follow)

1 cup dry red wine

2 cups beef stock

¼ cup olive oil

1 6oz can tomato paste

1 onion – chopped

2 cups baby carrots

3 celery stalks cut into 1 inch pieces

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 cup frozen peas


In a medium bowl combine flour and 1 tablespoon special seasoning. Pat the meat dry and toss in flour mixture. In the meantime heat half the oil in a sauté pan. Add the meat a few pieces at a time and brown on all sides. Add browned meat to the Crockpot. Continue until all meat is browned (add the rest of the oil if needed) and in the Crockpot. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of flour and 1 more tablespoon of special seasoning. Add the chopped onion and mushrooms to the sauté pan and begin to soften. Add the 6oz can of tomato paste and cook about 5 minutes. Add mixture to the Crockpot. Deglaze the pan with 1 cup red wine and scrape up all the left over bits. Pour into the Crockpot. Add the carrots and celery to the pot and mix well. Add beef stock to the Crockpot and stir.  Set Crockpot to low setting and cook for 7-8 hours. At the last minute add the frozen peas and heat through. Serve with noodles, mashed potatoes or just on its own.

*special seasoning – 1 tablespoon each  garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika- combine well and store in airtight container.


Cooking just makes me feel alive again. Even if I don’t eat what I have made it feels good to just produce something that smells good, looks good and tastes good. Cooking allows me to free my mind of all stress and forget about all my worries. I hope you like these recipes and I hope you get the same satisfaction out of cooking that I do.


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