We recently moved from our fun city-town to new country-town. This new, wondrous, scary, different, amazing, curious place has had me spinning since the move process started. But we’re settled now!
I plan on learning how to cook with a pressure cooker soon (sale notice compliments of http://www.mamainsticts.com). Sweetpea started Montessori preschool, I now work part time, and baby-to-be is doing great! I’ve started freezing new slow cooker recipes so I’m hoping to post a bunch of winners soon! We recently tried a slow cooker Strogonoff…it was good but just not Strogonoff. So back to the drawing board on that one. More to come!
While I was making pumpkin pancakes this morning (BECAUSE IT’S AUTUMN!!!!!), I thought I’d throw together a slow cooker recipe.
Yes, I love cooking with my daughter. She and I threw (literally) together our pumpkin pancakes this morning. I love that she wants to “help”. Anytime I’m in the kitchen, she’s asking to “heeaaallllllllllllpppp?” I love learning play!! I try to say yes! Get right in and up here. Cleaning up can easily happen and I can always make the recipe again if it all ends on the floor. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Pumpkin-Pancakes/ (I did add about an extra 1/2-3/4 c milk to thin them down…as George said…not a fan of pancake bricks…I’ll take the pancake version).
Anyhow, while the pancakes were cooking (on very very low) we put together the spices and juices in the slow cooker while we defrosted the chicken in the microwave (on the defrost function). 8 minutes later I put the chicken in the slow cooker and turned it on for 6.5 hours.
1 1/2 pounds boneless and skinless chicken breasts or thighs
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
4 t prechopped garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder I used cayenne (I’m apparently out of chili powder)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
The recipe went on to say broil it and crisp it up but if you don’t have time…don’t!
I had grand plans of making 5 slow cooker recipes this week. That was until I accidentally strained the beans out of the pot into the sink…etc…etc…So we had two slow cooker menus, the standby pasta dinner, and a quick chicken dinner (quick-ish = 45 minutes).
As my mother would say, both recipes were “Banner Batches.” I liked the soup so much I had it for lunch twice in addition to dinner on Tuesday. Okay, that could have been influenced by the fact that my lunch planning was slightly lacking. Friday’s lunch was “buy your own” … whoops.
1. Easy Springtime Crockpot Minestrone
Notes: Some people on the http://www.howsweeteats.com website commented that this was flavorless or flat, but to me it was perfect. I loved it and so did George.
2. Slow Cooked Jerk Pork with Caribbean Mango Salsa
Notes: I think I woke up twice during the night as this one was cooking. It smelled AMAZING. The jerk seasoning added a lot of flavor. I thought I might skip making the salsa…the mango salsa really made this dinner amazing.
This past week was a dream: dinners prepped on Sunday, 5-10 minute heat up time and best of all….AMAZINGLY GOOD!
My husband sent me this link: http://www.buzzfeed.com/melissaharrison/slow-cooker-spring-dinners this past week-ish. I dutifully marked it and promptly forgot about it until he asked what I thought of the Spring-time recipes he’d sent. Quickly re-opening the link, I made last minute changes to our grocery order (thank you http://www.peapod.com). Am I glad I did or what! I tried 3 of the recipes and found a fourth (we’re trying another 5 this upcoming week!). Could not give a higher recommendations.
My notes: I used generic salsa verde, chicken thighs (what I had on hand), and served with sour cream/ corn tortillas/shredded (purple) cabbage. I threw this in the slow cooker while I was prepping for the week.
My notes: Sorry no picture (they had an intense legal page). This did take a minute to make (probably because I wanted to use my stick blender). I halved the recipe and we enjoyed corned beef/mustard/swiss cheese sandwiches for lunch.
My notes: Just think of this as: 1) Veggie prep, 2) Chicken prep 3) Spice rub prep. I cooked this for 8-8.5 hours and it tended to be a smidgen dry because of this. Cook for 7.5 hours. This was DELICIOUSLY DELICIOUS. We made quesadillas for lunch out of these for two people in addition to dinner. Cannot recommend this one enough. The instructions look overwhelming but it turned out to be pretty simple.
Seeing that this past week was a meat mash wash (read my recipes failed to be delicious), I am going to rehash my top 5 recipes (which might be my last couple posts??). In no particular order other than flavorful, easy to make, and down right good.
How I do it:
1. Prep and freeze on weekend
2. Cook at night (thaw prior to cooking) Monday morning before work place in containers (we like glass)
5a. Thaw Tuesday night’s dinner Monday morning
6. Monday night….dinner’s ready! SO MUCH TIME FOR ACTIVITIES!!!!!!
When I first looked at this recipe, I thought: NO WAY. However, as I idly read through the related blog (http://www.stacymakescents.com/crock-pot-beef-fajitas), I found the recipe ultimately became spices, meat, slow cooker, so I gave it a shot. Since I tend to be pretty clueless about meat cuts, it was helpful to me to read as long as you have 2-2.5 lbs o’beef — it did not matter. This recipe was flavorful and a home run as my mother says.
In short this recipe is: Spices + Meat + Brown = Ready for slow cooker.
Beef Fajitas (Modified)
2 ½ pound beef roast (I used chuck roast, but apparently any cut will do)
1/2 yellow onion sliced
3 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon of chopped/bottled garlic
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1. Combined spices, coat meat, browned meat (3 minutes on each side…not required it just seals in alot of flavor), cook or store in freezer.
2. When ready cook on low for 8 hrs.
3. We served with salsa, sour cream on tortillas (so not 100% Paleo…). We didn’t have any bell peppers etc.
Note: For a Paleo version, the cooked beef was delicious by itself and I would have served with lettuce.
So I finally think I am ahead of the game. Last weekend I made a whole bunch of frozen slow cooker recipes. I may have realized yet again I DO NOT have it straight on chicken and that I should never ever cook pork belly (no matter how organic or grass fed). So let’s just say my “Savory Chicken” was well received by our new family addition (our rescue Siberian Husky Niko).
I used ground turkey, did not use canned mushrooms, did not add celery (George isn’t a fan) and cooked on low for 8 hours. I did play around with the “tomato juice.”
As for the tomato juice….I may need to back track on this one. I’m not a big fan of Bloody Mary drinks so a while ago we bought two bottles of mixes (sans alcohol) to “convert” me. I just don’t get the spice and the tomato…it’s a bit nasty to me. So the good idea fairy thought I’d clear out some fridge space and use the Bloody Mary mix for the tomato base. The ingredients looked pretty straight forward and were alcohol free so…why not. I used a bit of the “Bold and Spicy” and their “Traditional” mix as well.
Definitely on the delicious side of the house. I am finding that slow cooker soups turn out pretty good. I just don’t want to eat soups 24/7.
I think I’m a bit out of sync here. I need to post here AFTER I’ve tried the recipe(s). However, this week I’m just too excited about two sites I’ve found. I shortened the recipes to keep with the goal of quick-easy-simple however my changes MAY have been influenced by what I had on hand. I am loving coconut milk, fresh ginger and am pretty excited about cilantro! After making the Savory Pepper Steak from last week, I am convinced the trick for slow cooking is building flavor. I’m hoping these last three items make for delicious dinners this week!
1 large yellow onion, about 2 cups diced
5 large garlic cloves, about 2 tbsp minced 1 Serrano chile pepper, about 1 tbsp minced (half deseeded) I used a can of chopped green chilis and kept the juices
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp ground coriander 1/2 tsp ground fenugreek I didn’t have on hand
1/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1 can coconut milk (not light)
2 cups fresh cilantro, chopped 4-6 chicken thighs, boneless/skinless (approx 1.25- 1.5 lb) I used 5 gmo free, organic chicken drumbsticks.
I didn’t brown the chicken or the beef…I threw it all in a plastic bag, labeled it and froze it for this up coming week. We’ll see how it turns out!
If you’re interested, I’m on Pinterest as ‘Mama Thyme’, I’m tracking the recipes I love and my research recipes (recipes in test).
Today I am writing from a small unglamorous town while on travel for work. The whole saying goodbye to George and Sweetpea is never exactly easy, but these little trips fulfil my engineering/industrial -isms. There’s that and sleep. A full night of uninterrupted sleep is simply glorious.
I’ve tried about 6 of mommysfabulousfinds recipes but found that I really needed to take them out after 6-8 hours, which for our working family is just not possible. Even though the slow cooker switches to warm, the meat still cooks and becomes tough, dried out meat mash. As I learned previously, cooking slow cooker meals at night, packaging them in containers for the day and reheating for dinner does the trick.
1 lb pre-chopped thawed beef (I try to go for GMO free, organic etc)
1/2 chopped red onion
1/2 chopped large green pepper
5 t chopped garlic (yes I cheat and use the pre-chopped)
1 can original Rotel
1 can chopped green chilies
1 T Steak Seasoning
2 T Worcestershire Sauce
1 T A-1 Steak Sauce
I did not drain the Rotel or the chilies. Since I planned to cook this recipe in the morning I placed it all in a glass container (and refrigerated it) prior to cooking.
The last time I made this, it was easy to make, flavorful and delicious.
Fun Fact: When you have leftover meat and don’t enjoy groundhogs day: try making burritos/quesadillas/sandwiches for lunch!