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Archive for the ‘slow cooker recipes’ Category

Vegetarian Chili

  Every year at work, we have a chili cook-off to kick off the start of March Madness.  The cook-off is always on a Friday, and it’s always during Lent.  For us Catholics, Lent is a time when we don’t eat meat on Fridays.  The only chili that I felt I made well enough to serve to other people has always had meat in it.  Leaving the meat out just didn’t taste right.  That meant I couldn’t eat my own chili during the potluck lunch! 

  This year, I thought I would do some research online for good vegetarian chili recipes.  This recipe base came from a recipe in Gourmet magazine. You can find it on epicurious.com.  It was highly rated, so I tried it out this week on my Hubby before I made it for the cook-off.  (Thanks for being my guinea pig, Love!)

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Suggested Use of Apple Butter 

Well, I have been blogging for about 2 months now, and it is time to dip my toes in the water and try out a food blog event! 

The theme for blog or bust this month is fall.  What could be more fall-like than apples, brown sugar and spices slowly cooking all day long?  So I made a big batch of apple butter!  The aroma that this makes as it cooked away in the crock pot was amazing.   It doesn’t take much to get lots of flavor, it is a mix of sweet, tart and spice all at once. 

 Apple Butter:

  • 12-14 apples, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water (you could use apple cider too)
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice 

 Mix all of the ingredients in a slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.  Mash the mixture while still in the crock pot with a potato masher or back of a spoon.  Cook uncovered on low heat another 1 to 2 hours until the mixture reaches a thick consistancy.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Since I made such a big batch, I had to give some away to friends, making it a good idea for future homemade holiday gifts.  It should last in the fridge tightly covered for about 3 weeks.

I had been putting it on my waffles in the morning instead of real butter, but last night we found a great use for it: grilled turkey, cheddar and applebutter sandwiches!  It was really nice paired with a hot bowl of soup.  I love fall!  I can’t wait to start posting some Thanksgiving recipes, the countdown has begun!

Thanks to the clumsy cook for hosting this event!  

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meatball sub

Hi all!  A few weeks ago I made tomato gravy with meatballs, and as usual, I had some sauce and meatballs left over to go in the freezer.  This time I didn’t have as much sauce as I thought I would, so I knew these meatballs were destined to become meatball subs.  They fufilled their predetermined fate this evening after Michigan gave my husband a heart-attack and came back to beat Michigan State.  Go Blue!

I know this might seem like a no brainer to many well-accomplished chefs… but sometimes I think we all need a reminder that a meatball sub can be a good use of leftovers. I have also been known to put them on top of a make at home pizza. Yum…

My meatballs will never be on par with Mom’s, but Jason likes them well enough.

Here is my round-about recipe for meatballs:

  • 2 lbs ground meat (this can be all beef, or a mix of beef, veal and pork)
  • a little splash of red wine (optional)
  •  about 2 tbsp of italian spice mix
  • about 2 tbsp dehydrated onions
  • about 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • garlic salt to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • dried or fresh bread crumbs; see below

Mix the ground meat and the next 6 ingredients.  Break up the egg in a small bowl, then add that to the meat mixture.  Add enough breadcrumbs until the mixture isn’t slimy (gross but true).  Form into balls and bake in a 350 degree oven until no longer pink on the outside.  Transfer the meatballs into a simmering pot of tomato sauce, homemade or store bought (You aren’t getting my recipe for tomato sauce).  Cook for at least 30 to 40 minutes. 

To make this fast on gameday, you could always buy the frozen meatballs (blasphemy!), and then cook them in jarred sauce (more blasphemy!).  Then put them into a nice hoagie roll, top with lots of mozzarella, then some parmesan, then wrap in foil and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  For parties,  you could keep the meatballs and sauce warm in a crock pot while the game is on, and just have the fixin’s ready for whenever people want them. 

The result is really good with chips, a pickle and a beer.

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Well, to me it does at least.  I don’t use the crock pot much during the summer months, but once the weather cools down, it is a whole different ball game.  That doesn’t mean that it is cool here in NC.  It is hot and humid and just dreadful, but the sun is out and my AC is working so it is great inside the kitchen!

The start of football season gets my appetite going for cold weather food like chili and pot roast and cheese dips and.. well, there will be time for all that later.   To kick the season off in style, we made French Dip sandwiches in the slow cooker/crock pot (which one is it anyway?).  Who cares, I started dinner at 11:00am and didn’t have to do a thing until I threw the salads together.  I will stand up and cheer for that! Now, if we could just get Michigan to win a game….

“Brilliant!” French Dip Sandwiches

  • 2-3 large onions, sliced ( I used vidalia and red onions, it was what I had). 
  • 4 lb bottom round roast (it was on sale, but you can use any other kind of roast)
  • “Canadian” steak seasoning to taste
  • 1 bottle of Guinness beer  — Brilliant!
  • 2 cans or 1 large carton of beef stock
  • 1 package french onion soup mix
  • Rolls
  • Cheese (swiss or provolone is good)

seasoned roast

Coat the beef roast with the seasoning, then brown it on all sides in a hot pan coated in olive oil. Place 1/2 of the onions in the bottom of the crock pot.

browned-roast-ready-to-cook.jpg

When browned, place the roast in the crock pot on top of the onions.  Pour the Guinness into the pan and use that to scrape up the bits that have stuck to the pan during browning.   Add the beef stock and the soup mix to the pan and mix together.   Pour this into the crock pot and add the remaining onions.  Put the lid on and cook on LOW for at least 6 hours- DON’T PEEK!  Now go watch some football!

I normally take the roast out after it has been cooking for 6-7 hours and slice it, then put the slices back into the juice.   If you let it go longer than that, you will probably have to shred the meat, which is good too!

This is really good in a nice roll with a little prepared horseradish sauce and swiss cheese.  Use the “au jus” to dip on the side, which is why they would call it a French Dip!  Taste it first, because sometimes I add a little beef bouillon to give it an extra salty kick (but I like salt!).

french-dips-008.jpg

Enjoy, I hope your team won on Sunday! 

I promise once work slows down I will be better about posting on time!

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