French Onion Stew

When my younger son was in grade school he started ordering French onion soup in restaurants like Panera Bread.  He’s always been a fairly adventurous eater, but that one surprised even me.  I decided that if he was going to eat it, I’d learn to make it….but, I must make a confession, I’m not a fan of plain French Onion soup. It tastes so much like onion (go figure).  So, I experimented with several components of soup that I do like and came up with this recipe.  It has turned into a meal that we can all agree is the perfectly indulgent meal. ~Tracy

FrenchOnionStew

French Onion Stew

French Onion Stew

    Ingredients:
  • ~3.5 oz. Shiitake mushrooms (usually one small container), chopped
  • ~8 oz. baby Portabella mushrooms (chopped)
  • ~1 ½ to 2 medium yellow onions, halved and sliced
  • ~2 t. freshly grated ginger
  • ~4 cloves minced garlic
  • ~1 tsp. salt
  • ~1 ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ~1 ½ c. shredded beef, such as a rump roast cooked in this method
  • ~2 c. fat free beef broth
  • ~1 10 ½ can beef consume (such as Campbell’s)
  • ~3 T. low sodium soy sauce
  • ~1 ½ - 2 c. water (adjust as needed if stew is too thick when barley cooks)
  • ~1 c. uncooked barley
  1. Place chopped mushrooms into a bowl.
  2. Cover with boiling water and let stand approximately 30 minutes.
  3. Spray the bottom of a large stock pot with cooking spray.
  4. Saute onions, garlic, and ginger in sprayed approximately 10 minutes or until softened and just beginning to brown.
  5. Add mushrooms, beef, and a tablespoon or so of the mushroom liquid to aide in the saute process.
  6. Continue to saute for another 5 minutes.
  7. Add soy, consume, broth, water, and barley.
  8. Simmer 30 minutes until barley is tender.
  9. Transfer servings of stew to oven-safe bowls.
  10. Top with your favorite cheese such as grated parmesan, or swiss.
  11. Place bowls under the broiler for only a couple of minutes until cheese melts and begins to lightly brown.
  12. Carefully remove bowls from oven and serve with your favorite bread.

This soup makes approximately 10 one-cup servings. Each serving is 3 WW Freestyle points each without cheese.

https://foursistersdish.com/2018/11/01/french-onion-stew/

 

 

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Beef Tamale Pie

October is a big month in my family.  My birthday is Saturday, and so is Mom’s.  Then Dad’s is 4 days later.  Lots of celebrating to do!  To top it all off, we take our annual sisters’ trip in October.  Can. Not. Wait!  Yes, October is a fun, busy month.

With all of that happening, we won’t be home much on the weekends, which is when I do the majority of my cooking.  Without my big weekend meal prep sessions, I’ll need quick dinners I can whip up after work.

This is one of those easy, speedy meals, prepped and in the oven in very little time.  It’s certainly easier than making actual tamales but just as tasty!  ~Erin

Beef Tamale Pie from Four Sisters Dish

Beef Tamale Pie
    Ingredients
  • 1 ½ c. yellow cornmeal
  • ½ c. all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 c. hot tap water
  • 1 egg
  • 3 T. light butter, melted (I use Land O’ Lakes Light)
  • ½ lb. 96% lean ground beef
  • ½ medium onion, optional
  • 1 (16 oz.) jar fat-free chunky salsa
  • 1 (15.5 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ¾ c. reduced fat Mexican blend shredded cheddar cheese
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Spray a deep-dish pie plate with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. You can use a 9x13 pan instead, your layers will just be thinner.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt with a whisk.
  4. Add hot water, melted butter, and egg to the cornmeal mixture; whisk until well-combined.
  5. Pour the cornmeal batter into the bottom of the pan and spread evenly; set aside.
  6. Cook the beef and onion (if using) in a large skillet over medium heat, until beef is no longer pink.
  7. Add the salsa, beans, garlic powder, chili powder, and ground cumin; stir to combine.
  8. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat and stir until heated through.
  9. Spoon the meat mixture over the cornmeal batter to within half an inch of the edge.
  10. Bake 20-25 minutes, until crust is set.
  11. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with cheese.
  12. Let stand 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
  13. Cut into wedges and serve with additional salsa, if desired.

WW info.: This recipe makes 8 servings. Each serving is 6 SmartPoints on WW Freestyle.

https://foursistersdish.com/2018/10/01/beef-tamale-pie/

Mongolian Beef

I’m like many of you, always looking for ideas to mix up our dinner routine. I love Asian inspired foods, and this is a hit at our house. A little smoky and a titch spicy, it’s the perfect recipe for all the picky eaters around here! ~Kathy

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Mongolian Beef
    Ingredients:
  • ~1 T. cornstarch
  • ~¾ c. reduced sodium chicken broth
  • ~2 T. reduced sodium soy sauce
  • ~1 heaping T. hoisin sauce (which ever brand you love as they vary a bit)
  • ~1 dash liquid smoke
  • ~½ to 1 tsp. red pepper flakes, optional
  • ~3-4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • ~½ tsp. garlic salt
  • ~1 tsp. sesame oil
  • ~1 lb. boneless top sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
  • ~1 ½ tsp. olive oil
  • ~8 green onions
  • ~3 c. hot cooked rice (just cook using instructions on box)
  1. Begin cooking rice; follow instructions on your box.
  2. In a small bowl, combine broth and cornstarch until smooth. Stir in the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, liquid smoke, pepper, garlic, garlic salt, and sesame oil; set aside.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet, stir fry beef in 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil until no longer pink. Remove from pan and keep warm.
  4. In the same skillet, stir fry the onions to crisp tender in remaining olive oil. Stir the cornstarch mixture gently then add to the pan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring for 2 minutes, or until thickened.
  5. Reduce the heat, add beef and heat through. Serve over rice with additional soy sauce, if desired.
  6. Garnish with fresh, thinly sliced green onions.

Weight Watchers info.: Makes 4 three-ounce servings of beef mixture at 5 points each. (Point total does not include rice, so that you can adjust for the type and quantity of rice you prefer.)

https://foursistersdish.com/2018/09/10/mongolian-beef/

Super Duper Spaghetti with Beef

We are huge fans of spaghetti at our house; it was (and still is!) always a favorite of both of my picky kids even when they were little…maybe that’s why we started calling it “super duper” — and it stuck!  (As you’ll see it the picture, it literally stuck everywhere too!  Luckily, since it’s been four years since this pic, they’re a bit neater these days!)  At any rate, all the prefab sauces are either way too sweet (yuck!) or just painfully bland – not to mention full of a zillion unnecessary additives and sugars.

My own recipe is almost as fast as opening a jar.  Plus you have to wait for the noodles to cook anyway; may as well take those few minutes to throw together this super flavorful, super healthy, super duper version!  ~Robin

Super Duper Spaghetti with Beef
    Ingredients:
  • ~1 ¼ lb. 95% lean ground beef*
  • ~ 3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced (or 1 ½ tsp. jarred, minced garlic)
  • ~14.5 oz. (1 large can) Hunt’s tomatoes, petite diced, undrained
  • ~15 oz. (1 large can) Hunt’s diced tomatoes, undrained
  • ~12 oz. (2 small cans) Hunt’s tomato paste
  • ~6 oz. water (one small tomato paste can-full)
  • ~4 tsp. dried oregano
  • ~½ tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
  • ~4 tsp. Italian seasoning (I like McCormick’s)
  • ~2 -3 tsp. garlic salt, as preferred
  • ~1 tsp. garlic powder
  1. Put your spaghetti noodles on to boil (whatever your favorite brand is; I use Ronzini Healthy Harvest 100% Whole Grain); cook to al dente.
  2. While noodles are boiling, in a large stock pot, brown the ground beef with the minced garlic. Once cooked, drain any excess oil.
  3. In the same pot, add diced tomatoes, petite diced tomatoes, and tomato paste.
  4. Add the 6 oz. of water.
  5. Finally, add all the spices. (Add garlic salt 1 tsp. at a time so that you can measure it to your own taste.)
  6. Simmer for 5-10 minutes until heated throughout and flavors have combined well.
  7. Add the sauce to your al dente pasta and enjoy!

*My package of beef was just a little bigger than usual, but the points are the same and all the other ingredients amounts don’t differ if you use exactly one 1 lb of 95% lean beef instead – I just went ahead and used this much since I had it.

Weight Watchers Info.: This meat sauce is only 2 SmartPoints per ½ cup serving. Makes 15 servings; freezes very well. (Remember to count the points for your pasta.)

https://foursistersdish.com/2018/08/06/super-duper-spaghetti-with-beef/

Hamburger Steak with Caramelized Onion Gravy

My husband loves beef.  Maybe it has to do with the fact that he’s a cattle rancher and was raised by cattle ranchers, or maybe it’s just a man thing.  Whatever the reason, he loves a good steak or burger.  Stands to reason that he would love this hamburger steak.  And he does.  We all do.  I’ve been making it for years and it always hits the spot!  Seasoned hamburger steak, smothered in caramelized onion brown gravy, and served over mashed potatoes… it’s country cooking at its finest.  ~Erin

Hamburger Steak with Caramelized Onion Gravy

Hamburger Steak with Caramelized Onion Gravy
    Ingredients:
  • ~ 2 large yellow onions
  • ~ 1 T. light butter (I use Land O’ Lakes Light)
  • ~ Olive oil cooking spray
  • ~ 1 lb. 93% lean ground beef
  • ~ ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ~ 1 T. dehydrated onion flakes
  • ~ 1 tsp. dry ground mustard
  • ~ 1 tsp. Wyler’s beef granules (or one crushed beef bouillon cube)
  • ~ 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ~ 1 T. ketchup
  • ~ ½ tsp. seasoned salt
  • ~ ¼ c. Progresso garlic & herb seasoned breadcrumbs
  • ~ 1 (0.87 oz.) package reduced sodium brown gravy mix (I like McCormick brand.)
  • ~ 2 T. dry Lipton Onion Soup & Dip Mix
  • ~ 2 cups water
  1. Thinly slice the onions (I use my mandolin slicer).
  2. In a medium sized skillet, melt 1 T. light butter over low heat and add onions; stir them to coat them with the butter.
  3. Cook the onions over low heat for 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until caramelized. You can let them cook while you prepare the rest of the recipe, just don’t forget to stir them once in a while. (If you are making mashed potatoes, now is a good time to start those boiling too.) If the onions start to look too dry, give them a quick spray with the olive oil cooking spray.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together ground beef, pepper, onion flakes, dry mustard, beef granules, Worcestershire, ketchup, seasoned salt, and seasoned breadcrumbs, until incorporated. Do not overmix.
  5. Divide into 4 patties. If you’d like to be precise, mine were exactly 4.6 ounces each.
  6. Spray a medium skillet with cooking spray and cook the patties over medium heat on each side until brown and cooked through; set aside.
  7. Clean any residual oil from the pan with a paper towel.
  8. Add the dry gravy packet and 2 T. onion soup mix; whisk in water.
  9. Bring the gravy to a boil over medium-high heat, then immediately reduce heat to low.
  10. Add the caramelized onions and the hamburger patties to the gravy; simmer for 3-5 minutes until gravy is thickened and the meat is heated through.
  11. Serve over mashed potatoes.

Weight Watchers Info.: This recipe makes 4 servings. One hamburger steak patty with half a cup of onion gravy is 8 SmartPoints.

https://foursistersdish.com/2018/08/02/hamburger-steak-with-caramelized-onion-gravy/

Corned Beef Done Right

After I created this recipe, my family has become fans of corned beef. This isn’t the extremely salty, painful-to-eat corned beef you might have tasted in the school cafeteria or from the can (eeewww!). It is tender, juicy and flavorful. The slow cooker does all the work while you are busy through the day. Serve alongside mashed potatoes, a veggie or salad and dinner is served. Used leftovers to make a Reuben sandwich that will knock your socks off! ~Kathy

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Ingredients:

1 packaged corned beef, flat cut*

1 medium onion

1 c. beef broth

1 garlic clove

1/8 tsp black pepper

Red pepper flakes

Instructions:

Slice onion into thick slices or wedges. Place half of the onion into the bottom the slow cooker. Crush or mince garlic clove and place in slow cooker with onion. Add beef broth to slow cooker.

Remove corned beef from package. Discard seasoning packet. Rinse well to remove brine. Trim fat and discard. Place into slow cooker on top of onion and broth.

Top beef with black pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes and remaining onion.

Cover, cook on low for at least 8 hours.

When tender, remove to a platter and slice about ½ inch thick, against the grain.

*Packaged corned beef comes in two cuts: flat cut and point cut. They are labeled on the top of the package. You will want to ensure you have the flat cut for the best results.

Weight Watchers Info: Each 3 ounce serving is 6 SmartPoints.

Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole

This is the easiest (and tastiest) unstuffed cabbage casserole ever.  Why?  No cabbage chopping/shredding required!  Instead, I take the short-cut of using bagged cole slaw mix to cut down on prep time. Ain’t nobody got time to hand-shred cabbage.  ~Erin

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Ingredients:

2 bags (16 oz. each) tri-color cole slaw mix (shredded cabbage & carrots)

1 ½ T. minced garlic, divided

1 T. olive oil

2 ½ tsp. salt, divided

1 ¼ tsp. black pepper, divided

1 lb. 96% lean ground beef

1 onion, finely diced

1 tsp. thyme

2 tsp. paprika

½ tsp. oregano

1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce

1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes

2 cups cooked brown rice

3 cups shredded low moisture, part skim mozzarella

Crushed red pepper flakes for serving, optional

Instructions:

Cook brown rice according to package directions; set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large, high-sided skillet, saute both bags of cole slaw mix in 1 T. olive oil until it’s wilted to about half its size (about ten minutes), stirring occasionally.  Add 1 ½ tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper in the process of stirring.  Remove from the skillet and set aside.

In the same skillet, cook the ground beef and onion with 1 tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. pepper, and ½ T. minced garlic until browned; then drain beef.  

Add thyme, paprika, and oregano and cook until fragrant (about a minute).  Add canned tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer on low for about 10 minutes.  

Add 2 cups cooked brown rice and stir to combine.  

Spray a 9×13 in. casserole dish with cooking spray.  Layer ingredients starting with half the coleslaw cabbage, then half the meat/tomato/rice mixture, and one cup cheese.  Repeat with the last half of cabbage, then meat/tomato/rice mixture but reserve the 2 cups of remaining cheese.

Bake for 25 or until hot and bubbly. Spread the top evenly with the remaining 2 cups of cheese.  Cook for 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted.  Sprinkle each serving with red pepper flakes, if desired.

Weight Watchers Info.:  This makes 8 servings at 7 Freestyle points per serving.

Italian Stuffed Shells

This recipe is a hit at our house.  My husband says it’s better than lasagna (one of our favorites)! These are great for dinner at home or would be a crowd pleaser at a pot luck.  Truly, Italian comfort food.  With simple ingredients, you can crank out an impressive dinner for your family. Serve alongside a green salad, and ta-da, dinner is complete!  The mix of cheese….  Come to Mama!   ~Kathy

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Ingredients:              

12 oz. Jumbo pasta shells (make plenty – some will break; you need about 34 for this recipe)

½ lb. 96% lean ground beef

1/3 c. chopped onion

1 c. shredded parmesan cheese (not the powdered type)

1 c. (1% fat) cottage cheese

1 (7.5 oz.) package cream cheese with chive and onion

2 c. low moisture part-skim mozzarella, shredded (reserve ¾ c.)

3 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp. garlic powder)

¼ tsp Italian seasoning

1 tsp pepper

2 tsp dried parsley

1 (24 oz.) jar reduced fat spaghetti sauce

3 T. water

Optional garnishes:  fresh chopped basil or parsley

Instructions:

In large pot, bring salted water to a boil.   Cook pasta just until al dente (about 10 minutes).  Drain, rinse in cold water and turn open side down on paper towels to dry.

While the noodles are cooking, cook ground beef with onion.  Season with salt and pepper.   Drain grease and set aside.

Combine parmesan cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese and 1¼ c. mozzarella.   Stir in eggs, garlic, Italian seasoning, pepper and parsley.  Stir in ground beef mixture.  Combine well.

In a small bowl, mix together water and ¼ c. spaghetti sauce.   Spread into the bottom of a greased 9×13 pan.

Fill each shell with a heaping tablespoon of cheese mixture.  Set into pan open side up.  Continue filling shells until cheese mixture is gone.   Top with remaining sauce.

Cover loosely with foil and bake in a preheated 375˚ oven for 40 minutes.   Turn oven off, remove foil.  Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.  Leave in oven for an additional 5 minutes.   Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Top with fresh chopped parsley or basil if desired.

 

Weight Watchers Info.:  This makes approximately 34 stuffed shells.  A serving of 2 shells is 7 Freestyle points.  A serving of 3 shells is 11 Freestyle points.

Make Ahead Meatballs

If you’re a busy mom (or dad) like we all are, or someone who likes to do their food-prep ahead of time, then this is a great recipe for you. It seems like these days there are so many sporting events and meetings that if I waited until we all got home to start dinner….well, let’s just say we might as well eat in our pajamas. One of the things that I’ve found helps a lot is to pre-prep as many of our meals as I can over the weekend. This recipe is one of my favorites because it makes so many meatballs that can be used in a variety of ways. Our favorite way to eat them is with a special semi-homemade barbecue sauce (I’ll include that recipe), but I also leave some dry and freeze them to use for spaghetti or meatball subs — or any other way you’d like them!  ~Tracy

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Meatball Ingredients:

2 ½ lbs. extra lean hamburger meat

1 lb. breakfast sausage (Use turkey sausage for Weight Watchers.)

2 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. salt

2 c. quick cook oatmeal

2 eggs, beaten

1 c. finely chopped onion

1 12 oz. can evaporated milk

 

Meatball Instructions:

Mix all ingredients well and form into balls approximately the size of a golf ball (for recipe purposes I weighed meatballs in 1.5 oz. servings before cooking).  

Bake meatballs at 350 for approx. 50 min. or until cooked through.

 

Barbecue Sauce Ingredients:

2 c. catsup

2 tsp. liquid smoke

1 tsp. garlic powder

½ c. finely chopped onion

1 c. brown sugar

½ bottled barbecue sauce (I prefer Head Country Original)

 

BBQ Sauce Instructions:  

Mix all ingredients in sauce pan and simmer on low for approx. 15 minutes to melt the sugar and blend flavors. Spoon sauce over meatballs during last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking to caramelize sauce onto meat.  

Weight Watchers Info.: Recipe makes approximately 70 meatballs (1.5 oz. each before cooking).  Using extra lean (95/5) ground beef and turkey sausage, these meatballs are 2 Freestyle SmartPoints each (not including sauce).  

 

Slow Cooker Beefy Pinto Beans

BeansLogoThis is my husband’s recipe for beefy pinto beans.  He made this for me when we were newly married and honestly, until then, I didn’t know how to make pinto beans.  Sounds silly because they are like the easiest meal in the world to make.  If you can run water, you can make pinto beans.  I just never had done it before we got married and didn’t know where to start.  (The basic directions are usually on the package, I found out later.  Duh!)  The good thing about beans is that they are customizable and basically take on the flavor of whatever you cook with them.  I grew up with ham in my beans.  My husband, who was raised on a cattle ranch, always had ground beef in his beans.  I like them both ways, but I prefer this beefy version over the ham… especially with some chopped up jalapenos and fresh cornbread mixed in!  If you’ve never tried making pinto beans, try them this way.  The beef and seasonings add so much flavor!  I think you’ll love them.  ~Erin

 

Ingredients:

2 pounds dry pinto beans

3 T. seasoned salt (I use Lawry’s)

1 lb. 93% lean ground beef, browned

Water

Optional: pickled jalapeños

 

Instructions:

Rinse your beans in a colander and remove any beans that don’t look normal.  Place the beans in the slow cooker pot and cover them with 2 to 3 inches of water above the top of the beans. They will expand a lot.  Allow the beans to soak overnight at room temp.

In the morning, pour the water off the beans and rinse them again.  This doesn’t have to be a perfect rinse job.  Just pour as much off as you can without dumping them in your sink, run water over them, and repeat a couple times.

Finally, fill the pot with enough to cover the beans with about an inch to an inch and half of water over the top of the beans.

Cook the beans on low for at least 10 hours.  When about 2 hours of cook time is remaining, stir in the seasoned salt* and cooked ground beef and continue to cook for the last 2 hours.

Serve the beans with cornbread and, if desired, chopped pickled jalapenos.

Weight Watchers Info.:  This recipe makes 11 servings.  Each serving is 8 ounces (about 1 cup).

Old SmartPoints:  9 SmartPoints

New Freestyle SmartPoints:  2 SmartPoints

*The salt is not added until the end of cook time because, if added too early, it inhibits the tenderizing process.