Guinness Beef Stew

Had some lean stew meat in the freezer from Trader Joe’s, so I thought I’d celebrate my first day on vacation for Christmas– and the first day of winter, even though it’s 58 degrees and raining! After early morning grocery shopping, running a 5k at the gym and tons of cleaning and rearranging of stuff at the house I decided to whip this hearty dish up. It smells heavenly.
I only had 1.5 lbs of meat instead of the two called for, but ran the rest of the recipe through pretty much the same as it called for. 1.5 lbs makes 4 servings. Chris ate two and is stuffed to the gills!
It took exactly 2 hours in the oven at 310F (300 for everyone else– our oven is a tiny bit under temperature).
I had mine with crusty bread and butter, Chris had his over egg noodles.

Wish I had enough calories to drink a Guinness with it, but it was excellent.


  • 2 pounds stewing beef
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper – I used about 3 tsp of kosher salt
  • Pinch of cayenne (I omitted this)
  • 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
  • garlic clove, crushed (I doubled this)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree, dissolved in 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/4 cups Guinness (one 12 oz bottle)
  • 2 cups largely diced carrots
  • Sprig of fresh thyme (I used about 1/2 tsp dried)
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish (really does help freshen it up… I chopped it and threw it in at the end)


Trim the meat of any fat or gristle, and cut into 2-inch cubes. Toss beef with 1 tablespoon of the oil. In a small bowl, season the flour with salt, pepper and cayenne. Toss meat with seasoned flour. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Brown the meat on all sides. Reduce the heat, add the onions, crushed garlic and tomato puree to the skillet, cover, and cook gently for 5 minutes. Transfer the contents of the skillet to a casserole and pour half of the Guinness into the skillet. Bring Guinness to a boil and stir to dissolve the caramelized meat juices on the pan. Pour over the meat, along with the remaining Guinness. Add the carrots and thyme. Stir and adjust seasonings. Cover the casserole and simmer over low heat, or in a 300 degree F oven until the meat is tender, 2 to 3 hours. Garnish the beef with parsley and serve.


Turtle Cookies

Yay! Christmas baking has begun!
After work, and our run at the gym tonight, I made the Christmas dinner tilapia oreganata test run and then baked some mini apple crisps… Chris’ idea just in case there was a lingering fishy smell in the oven.
Then I made a new cookie recipe… what a day!
I love turtles… those yummy pecan/caramel candies covered in chocolate.
Better Homes and Gardens had a recipe to make a cookie version.

It made 32 for me (said it would make 36).
1 egg
½ cup butter, softened
2/3  cup sugar
2   tablespoons milk
1  teaspoon vanilla
1  cup all-purpose flour
1/3  cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4  teaspoon salt
16  vanilla caramels, unwrapped
¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons whipping cream
1 ¼  cups finely chopped pecans

1. Separate egg; place yolk and white in separate bowls. Cover and chill egg white until needed. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat well. Beat in egg yolk, milk, and vanilla.
2. In another bowl stir together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until well combined. Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or until easy to handle.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. In a small saucepan heat and stir caramels and whipping cream over low heat until mixture is smooth. Set aside.
4. Slightly beat reserved egg white. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in egg white, then in pecans to coat. Place balls 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheet. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each cookie.
5. Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are firm. If cookie centers puff during baking, repress with your thumb. Spoon melted caramel mixture into indentations of cookies. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool. (If necessary, reheat caramel mixture to keep it spoonable.)
6. In a double boiler heat and stir chocolate pieces and 1/4 cup heavy cream over low heat until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Add more cream if necessary Let cool slightly. Drizzle chocolate mixture over tops of cookies [it came out thick when I used a spoon, afterwards I heard that a fork works better]. Let stand until chocolate is set or throw into fridge to set quickly.

Tilapia Oreganata

Made a test run for Christmas Eve dinner… tried one version with tilapia and one with flounder.
The flounder was mushy and fishier smelling. Definitely sticking with the tilapia. This was delicious!

4 tilapia fillets (ours were about 5.5 oz each)
3/4 cup italian breadcrumbs
1 tsp grated pecorino romano
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp dried oregano

Preheat oven to 450 F.
Line sheet pan with foil and brush with olive oil. Place fillets on foil.
Mix remaining ingredients in bowl. Top fillets with mixture and bake for 10-14 minutes until opaque.

This was delicious! The lemon and fresh parsley really made it so flavorful. Forgot to take a picture, but this is close.