So many slow cooker recipes indicate a “dump and cook” method, but then taste like that’s exactly what you did. (I’m not eating any food from a recipe that includes the word “dump”!) We all wish this simple cooking method worked in just such a way–especially during the hot summer months. In truth, many meals need a bit of pre-sautéing or browning before that long simmer or they are, to my palate, steamed to death and all the same color–the very reason some good cooks tell me they tried a slow cooker once and gave it away soon thereafter.
If you spent too much time watching the Alabama-Georgia game last night, and neglected to take anything out of the freezer, you, like me, might be wondering what’s for supper Tuesday night. Slow cooker to the rescue and read on…
If you’ve been following the blog, you’ll know I have a stack of much-loved French cookbooks that are surely the stuff of which dreams are made…well, at least my dreams. I’m not as much of an armchair cookbook reader as some, though there is always a stack next to my reading chair–even at Christmas. Maybe especially at Christmas. (List of said books upcoming on a blog page. I promise.)
Despite devoting the lion’s share of my time to cooking, even I sometimes just have to throw something in the slow cooker, pray for success, and run. A couple of fairly recent keepers in that category are:
I’ve been making pumpkin chili off and on for years now… It seems to be my fall go-to for chili because ,#1 I’m not happy unless there’s chili in the freezer and, #2 making different kinds of chili changes up the menu and wakens the palate. Today’s version creates a pretty smooth, but not-too-spicy chili that doesn’t taste pumpkiny, but still has all the potassium, fiber, nutrients, and overall health goodness pumpkin offers. Pumpkin is also low in calories: go, pumpkin! If you are partial to chunky Pumpkin-Chicken Chili, try my stovetop version made with boneless chicken thighs and lots of vegetables like zucchini, along with both pureed and chunks of pumpkin. Continue reading
My niece Jamie is a married mom of three with a demanding full-time job as an accountant for a big company. With no time to cook, she just laughs and says, “I don’t even know how to feed my family!” Husband Jerry is not an admitted cook, either. And that’s the way it is for lots of young moms and dads. Continue reading
If you wanted a slow cooker pot roast recipe, I doubt you’d look here. (I don’t do a lot of slow cooker.) Maybe you wouldn’t look anywhere; you’d just put your meat and vegetables together into the pot with your wine, broth, or herbs and turn it on. That’s what I do on the occasions I make this meal. I decided to blog it, though, because I had such good luck getting a big frozen piece of meat cooked and on the table quickly using a slow cooker. No more excuses if you’ve forgotten to unthaw your meat and the morning has disappeared; you can still make a great no-watch meal in a short afternoon. The rest of the time is yours to take a bath, watch the dogs sleep, read the paper, garden, call your daughter, or binge-watch Downton. So put this one in your back pocket for when you need it…
(Below: Right after the Super Bowl. All worn out.
FROZEN POT ROAST SLOW COOKER DINNER with horseradish, carrots, and onions IN 4.5 HOURS
I cooked Monday for Inter-Faith Hospitality network (IHN) families; it’s something I’ve done for years at more than one church. It’s a way of living life that makes a lot of sense to me; I like to cook and there are people who need dinner. Here in Colorado Springs at First Congregational Church, we bring already cooked or nearly finished complete meals to a church kitchen where families without physical homes gather, eat dinner with us, and then spend the night. A group of churches and temples work together and the homeless people spend a week at one place and then move to another while awaiting jobs and/or permanent housing. It gives all of the congregations a chance to participate without burdening any one financially or otherwise with the full-time housing of the ever-changing group.
Typically, but not always, a dinner coordinator makes contact a couple of months ahead and asks what I’d like to make; for other churches there’s a set menu for each week. The families aren’t the same, so it doesn’t matter if there’s meat loaf on Monday and chicken with rice on Tuesdays, etc. every time. That gives the dinner coordinator a repeating group of tasks that the volunteers become used to. For instance, if I’m a shopping volunteer, I might know that every two months I’ll make a run to Costco for fresh milk, ground beef, chicken pieces, broccoli, spinach, etc. Once a year, I might need to buy paper napkins and cocoa mix. If I’m a cooking volunteer and I’m scheduled for Wednesday, I know I’ll be making baked potatoes with toppings. I find I like both options, though the latter gives me time to spend with other volunteers cooking in the kitchen rather than fixing food on my own at home.
If you’re like me, you’ll be all over MSNBC Tuesday night like icing on wedding cake. Like blue on jeans. Like red on Merlot. Like chocolate on chips. Oh well, whatever you’re on, you might want something done and done to get you through that long night. Just, please, God…let be over and clean and obvious. No hanging anythings and the Ohio machines all working fine.
I already made my chili and froze it. I just run that 4 quart container under hot water in the morning til it “pops” and then gently slide the frozen chunk into my crock-pot on “low” for the whole day. (Make sure and add a little water to the crock-pot before the frozen chili.) But since you didn’t know ahead of time…. Try this spicy, filling crock-pot chili that only asks you to….
|1. Saute two onions, four cloves of garlic, 1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper, and 3 stalks of celery ( all chopped) in 2 tablespoons olive oil. (I do all the chopping in the food processor.)|
|2. Brown 2 pounds turkey Italian sausage (1 pound each hot and sweet or to taste.) in another skillet.|
|To speed things up, I do it at the same time.|
Pour the vegetables and meat into a 6 quart crock-pot and add:
2 28-ounce cans chopped tomatoes
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon each: dried basil and oregano
1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin and fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons each: Dijon-style mustard and lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional (if you didn’t use hot Italian sausage)
1/2 cup red wine (or chicken broth)
2 cups water
1/2 cup green or brown lentils (well rinsed and picked over)
1 15-ounce can each: black beans and pinto beans (drained and well rinsed)
Stir well, taste and adjust seasonings. Turn crock-pot to low and cook 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Serve hot with tortilla chips and grated cheese.
two-dog kitchen and around the ‘hood
Hurricane Sandy Relief: Donate to Food Bank for NYC … right after you vote!
|On the back porch: still ripening cherry tomatoes Dave picked 3 weeks ago.|
|African chard from Wendy’s garden. I’m eating this in my egg-white omelets.|
|Basil growing in the south DR window.|
|My eastern garden smoke bush.|
|Burning Bush–great fall color|
|More of Wendy’s sage–picked last week and in water in a glass.|
|Up close chard. Still eating from the yard in November. Thanks, God.|
Sing a new song,
Sorry to be late in posting…I hate leaving my blog sit stale. Family illness has kept me away. Things are on the upswing now…
And I’m so glad the election is (hopefully) about to be over. Please pray for those without homes, heat, and power on the east coast. Our daughter now has power in New Jersey, but many don’t.