There are many times when I get ideas/suggestions from the food blogs that I subscribe to. One such reference is Foodie Crush. Recently they offered suggestions on tips to make superb meals at home. (It’s not difficult!)
I will list the headings here and then you can read the entire – it’s not long – article by using the link above, “7 Easy Tips to Cook More at Home“. Enjoy!

  1. Start with favorite recipes and organize your list.
  2. Prep ahead of time.
  3. Keep staples stocked.
  4. Whip up one-sheet or one-pot meals.
  5. Host more dinner parties.
  6. Invest in equipment you’ll love and use.
  7. Make now, freeze for later.

And then try this recipe adapted from Chef Jacques Pépin. Great for Valentines Dinner coming up.

Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce

Source: adapted from Chef Jacques Pépin
Active Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 2 hr 40 min
Serves: 4
1 T unsalted Butter
2 T Olive Oil
2 lbs trimmed Beef Flatiron Steak, Beef Cheeks or Chuck, cut into 8 pieces
Celtic Sea Salt and fresh ground Tellicherry Black Pepper to taste
1 c finely chopped Onion
1 T finely chopped Garlic
1 T All-Purpose Flour
750-ml bottle dry Red Wine – Cab Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah or Zinfandel
2 Bay Leaves
1 med Thyme sprig
5 oz Pancetta
15 Pearl or small Cipollini Onions, peeled
15 Crimini Mushrooms
15 Heirloom Baby Carrots, peeled
Chopped fresh Italian Parsley, for garnish

1) Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange the meat in the casserole in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 8 minutes. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat the meat with it. Add the wine, bay leaves and thyme, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
2) Cover the casserole and transfer it to the oven. Cook the stew for 1½ hours, until the meat is very tender and the sauce is flavorful.
3) Meanwhile, in a saucepan, cover the pancetta with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain the pancetta and slice it ½ inch thick, then cut the slices into 1-inch-wide lardons.
4) In a large skillet, combine the pancetta, pearl onions, mushrooms and carrots. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, ¼ cup of water and a large pinch each of sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until almost all of the water has evaporated, 15 minutes. Uncover and cook over high heat, tossing, until the vegetables are tender and nicely browned, about 4 minutes.
5) To serve, stir some of the vegetables and lardons into the stew and scatter the rest on top as a garnish. Top with a little chopped parsley and serve.