Corn Bread – slowcooker

Happy St Patrick’s Day – I have my corned beef simmering on the stove top. Instead of peeling my veggies like I normally do so everything is prepped ahead of time; I decided to make some cornbread in my slow cooker. Yeah you read that correctly.  I have been getting and give a couple of subscriptions of Better Homes & Gardens for more years than I can remember; and this last one came with a slow cooker recipe booklet. There were several bread recipes listed and me being my skeptical self had to try one of them.
img_3970.jpgI wasn’t sure how this would turn out in a crockpot that creates a lot of moisture; but it was a simple enough to throw together and I didn’t have to pick up anything from the store so why not give it a try. Well I did make a slight substitute. I don’t have frozen corn in my freezer; so I substitute a half of a can of niblet corn I have in the cupboard.

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May not look perfect but it has great flavor

I never really paid too much attention to; or I haven’t bought a regular box of tinfoil in a VERY long time but I can tell you it will be my last box. It tears so easy that I find little use for it. Guess I have always purchased the heavy-duty boxes? Maybe it’s one of those older and wiser moments to note.
IMG_3973IMG_3974Slow Cooker Corn Bread

Ingredients
1 cup yellow corn meal
¾ cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup milk
½ cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
⅓ cup vegetable oil
Tinfoil
Nonstick spray

Directions
Line a 3 – 4 quart oval slow cooker with foil. Coat with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl stir together the corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt
IMG_3975IMG_3976In a medium bowl combine the remaining ingredients. Add egg mixture all at once to the cornmeal mixture, stir just until moistened (batter should be slightly lumpy). Spoon into the prepared slow cooker. It will only be about ¼ of the way up the sides in the beginning.
IMG_3978Cover and cook on high for 1½ hour to 1¾ hours or until a toothpick comes out clean, if you can, halfway through the cooking time spin the liner half turn.
Turn of cooker, if possible, remove crockery liner from cooker. Remove lid carefully so the condensation does not drip onto the bread. Cover opening completely with paper towels; replace lid. Cool for 10 minutes. Using foil, lift out bread. Peel off foil and cool bread completely on a wire rack.
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My daughter and I really liked it a lot. my husband is not a fan of corn so that part of the recipe he was not a fan of; Good then there is more for us! side note he doesn’t like corn chowder either so there’s that.

Makes one loaf approx. 8 slices.
290 cal, 14g fat, 35 carb, 1g fiber

Sausage, spinach, tomato tortellini soup

Soup is my jam period – I mentioned quite a while ago my dream of opening a soup joint or something along those lines. I also share quite a few soup recipes on this blog and I am pretty  sure I will continue to do so. Every time I make a soup that makes me smile, and no not all of them do, I have failed or made just meh soup before but my successes far outweigh my failures. When it is a fabulous one I say out loud to no one in particular “the world needs to have this” and since I don’t have a soup joint and I don’t know everyone in the world I will share another warm, tasty, comfort bowl full of goodness with you all.
img_3953.jpgMy husband even said this was his favorite soup that I have made, that’s saying something! It is definitely in my top 5 but I have made and shared some pretty incredible soups over the years.
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The one common denominator is homemade chicken stock. If you are still not making your own broth, we need to talk. It is SO easy to do using your slow cooker and a leftover chicken carcass. Put the chicken in the bowl add a couple of roughly chopped carrots, celery, onion and some garlic. Cover with water and place on low overnight. In the morning strain out the liquid gold and discard of all the veggies and bones. Taste it to see if you like it or if it needs a little salt. I let it sit all day or overnight in my fridge to let the fat solidify so I can remove it all. Freeze it or use it now!

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Start by using the best ingredients you can find and your soup will be delicious!
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Sausage, Spinach, Tomato, Tortellini soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounce sweet italian sausage, casings removed roughly 2 long links
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
¾ teaspoon dried oregano
6 cups chicken broth
1 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
10-12 ounce package of fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
5-6 ounces baby spinach
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the sausage and break it up a bit, add the onion and cook till the sausage is cooked through a little browned, about 10 minutes making sure to break up the large chunks. Add the garlic and the oregano cook for another minute.
IMG_3950Add the broth and the tomatoes. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the tortellini, lower the heat to a simmer. Cook till the tortellini is tender, according to the package directions about 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach, and cook till it is just about wilted. Season with salt and pepper, grate some fresh parmigiano-reggiano cheese over it and serve.
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Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking magazine

Slow Cooker Short Ribs

Did you watch the game last week? You know the one I am talking about; Patriots against Chiefs wow that was stressful. I don’t usually yell to to much during the game but I was quite loud (according to my daughter who was upstairs) and on the edge of my seat those last 8 minutes of the 4th quarter. I knew when we had the ball and 2 minutes on the clock that Brady could make it down the field. I wasn’t as confident when Mahomes had 34 seconds to do the same. That kid just might be the next Brady!

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My garlic, onion and broth – only carrots I had on hand but they worked

OK I know you don’t read this for my sports commentary so what will you be making for the Superbowl party next week? Guess I can’t stop myself 🙂 I’m thinking meatball grinders and a dip or two.I might have to do wings just because! I always make so much food and we never finish it all. We really don’t even have a party it’s just the fam. But it’s still a party. GO PATS!

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tomato paste in a tube – best invention!!!

Back to food – I was at Sam’s club a couple of weeks ago and stumbled across a package of short ribs that were sliced pretty thin, I have only ever seem them in more of a cube chunk then sliced long and thin. I grabbed them because I wanted something for the slow cooker and figured I would give them a try. They were SO good. I apologize for not taking a picture of my plate before I ate. I thought about it for a second but it didn’t happen. So I will tell you I served it with mashed potatoes and sauted broccoli – crazy good compliments from the table.

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don’t over crowd so they can brown

Below is the recipe I used however I didn’t use these measurements and she didn’t have garlic but I rarely make anything like this without it. Who am I kidding I never leave it out. I literally used what I had on hand and it worked out quite nicely. I was able to use up some things from the fridge and made a very easy, quite tasty meal.
IMG_3920.JPGIngredients
8 beef short ribs
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
Thyme
1 large carrot
1 onion – chopped
1 rib celery – chopped
1 apple – chopped
1-2 cloves garlic – chopped
⅓ cup red wine
¼ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
¾ cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper

Directions
Browning the short ribs is an important part of the process, you are building up the flavor so don’t skip this part.

Season the ribs all over with kosher salt and black pepper. Heat your pan with oil and add the ribs, without overcrowding. Let them get nice and browned on all sides. Add them to the crock when browned.
IMG_3919.JPGAfter you have browned them all, if there is too much oil in your pan drain some of it off, but leave all the browned bits, again that is all flavor and you’ll want it. Add the onions, celery, carrot and garlic saute for about 3 minutes. Add the apple and tomato paste cook for another minute or so. Then add all the liquids making sure to scrape up any and all of the browned bits in the bottom of the pan.
IMG_3921.JPGPour this over the ribs and put the temp on low and leave it for the day. 8-9 hours or 10 if you can’t get it any sooner.
IMG_3925.JPGOnce done, I took out all the meat and didn’t use the leftover liquid but you could totally strain it and use some of it to make a gravy.

 

Recipe adapted from foodtasticmom.com

Chicken Gnocchi Soup – Crockpot

We have finally gotten to the weekend free to do what you have ignored for the last 2 months because of the holidays. 99% of the decorations are put away, I still have the porch looking a little festive but I am down with that. Plus its too early for the Spring look and I don’t really have anything for the in between and I don’t want it to be naked; it would look too depressing.
IMG_3891.JPGYesterday was also the first time I have done a “normal” grocery shopping. Basically meaning I didn’t need to pick up anything for a particular dessert, casserole or a dinner in general. I can get back into a somewhat normal routine. Which in itself can be very calming at least in my world.
IMG_3879.JPGToday I figured; well most Sundays I try to prep for the week ahead; as best I can anyway. I figure I can at least take care of breakfast, lunches and snacks; for the most part. Dinner is usually whatever I have in the fridge or freezer. More often than not I look in the fridge and see what I need to use up or clean out and that dictates what we are having for dinner.

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The soup I am going to share with you literally was because I bought a huge bag of gnocchi from my favorite farmers market in Montreal over New Years; if you are ever in Montreal, Quebec please visit Atwater Market or Jean Talon Market – you won’t be disappointed. I also had a larger than we normally buy half and half that will most definitely go bad before my husband has enough coffee to use it all up. Plus I had just made some chicken stock the night before so instead of freezing it I thought I could make a soup. Add a few more ingredients and voila dinner or lunch is ready.
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I need to give a shout out to my sister-in-law for the bay leaf – she brought me a baggie full from her bay leaf plant that she has growing at her house. Yeah I didn’t even know that was a thing. Let me just say that the ones I buy from the spice aisle in the grocery store is lets just say less than stellar in comparison. Her’s is SO easy to find and pull out of whatever I added it to. the ones from the store if I can find a whole one are a whole other story.

Ingredients
2 pounds chicken breast
½ cups shredded carrots
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon celery salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
5 cups chicken stock
1 cup half and half
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 package approx 16 ounces potato gnocchi
1 cup chopped fresh spinach

Directions
Place the chicken in the bottom of your slow cooker. Add carrots and garlic. Along with the spices. Cover with the chicken broth or stock, whatever you have on hand. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours.

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Remove the bay leaf and discard. Remove the chicken and once cooled a bit; shred or dice whatever you like. Make a slurry with the half and half and cornstarch and add it along with the gnocchi to the pot. Place the chicken back in the pot. Cover and place on high for about 30 minutes or so. You want to make sure the gnocchi is cooked through and the soup thickens. 
img_3890Add the spinach just before serving and allow it to wilt a bit. Adjust the salt and pepper to your taste and enjoy!

 

Recipe adapted: http://www.fivehearthome.com

Turkey Chili crockpot/slow cooker

How many parties have you hosted or attended? How many guests do you have staying with you? Who has plans to ring in the new year? So many things to do, so little time!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday however you celebrate!

IMG_3745.JPGThis time of year is always crazy busy and it’s like we are all racing to make sure we fit everything in we possibly can. Oh and let’s also throw in 2 birthdays and an anniversary all within 6 weeks. Needless to say I have already declared January a sugar free zone at the office. And I am threatening to follow suit at home. There will be a rebellion for sure.
IMG_3742.JPGWe had an awesome Christmas party last week I have no idea how many people were here but at one point in the night I walked outside and counted around 24 cars, that’s a lot of people and I think this one had the most people singing along, it was glorious!
IMG_3743.JPGWe were 11 for overnight and 13 for breakfast with that many people there is no way to not be organized and part of my organization is to have something in the crockpot all day just in case anyone needs a little something to snack on and want to help themselves.
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Turkey Chili
1.25 lbs. lean ground turkey or lean ground beef
1 small white onion diced
1 29 oz. can tomato sauce
1 15 oz. can black beans rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. can kidney beans rinsed and drained
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste

In a large pan over medium-high heat. Add diced onion to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the ground turkey and cook until it is browned, breaking it up as you cook it. Add the spices to the pan, the heat in the pan helps the spices come alive.

Add the cooked turkey and onions to the crockpot and then all the other ingredients, stir well to combine.

Cover with lid and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6-7 hours.

Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken

I brought out my slow cooker again –  we were going to busy and dinner was either going to be late and out or I could make it beforehand. OK so I also wanted to try a new recipe I found. It all works right?
IMG_2986I actually used my slow cooker for the sweet and sour chicken that I will confess was ridiculously easy to just throw everything in the crockpot before I went to work and put it on low and go. But when I got home I used the rice cooker so dinner was literally all set when we were done with our meeting. So easy and very tasty plus it was a huge time saver and way cheaper than going out.
IMG_2979I don’t always plan ahead; or at least not as much as I wish I did but having a nicely stocked pantry and freezer plus having plenty of homemade chicken stock on hand I can whip up some of the recipes I come across. This one I did have to pick up a red pepper and a pineapple; well I didn’t need an actual pineapple but I have another recipe in mind for the rest of the pineapple.

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My chicken stock was still frozen – it will melt!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 red bell pepper – chopped
1 ½ cups chicken stock
1 medium yellow onion diced
3 medium carrots thinly sliced
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp ground chili paste
½ cup ketchup + 1/4 cup 

Take all the above and put it in your slow cooker and turn it on low for about 7-8 hours.
Remove the chicken and set it aside.

Whisk the next 2 ingredients together
¼ cup pineapple juice
2 tbsp cornstarch
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Turn it on high and slowly add the pineapple/starch mixture. And the other ¼ cup of ketchup. Cook this uncovered until the sauce is thick.  Shred the chicken and add it back into the pot to re-heat.

Serve over rice.  Slice some scallions on top and if you have any sesame seeds on hand sprinkle some on top
(I didn’t search for mine – I said well stocked pantry not organized 🙂 )
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Crockpot Cauliflower Bolognese

Harvest season is upon us and I WISH I had a time elapsed camera set up near my squash because for the life of me I cannot figure out how on Monday they are almost but just not the right size and come Tuesday and they are like DAMN what the heck!

1st harvest 2018

1 cup measuring cup for scale


IMG_2964This morning (Saturday) I was sitting at the island enjoying my tea planning my day, making my grocery shopping list and trying to figure out what we might we eating this week. I figured I would head out to the garden and see what needed to be pulled.  I have already gotten way more radishes that any one human could eat luckily they are my Dad’s favorite and my daughter went into work (my favorite restaurant in town) tonight and asked if they might be interested in some; thankfully they said yes.
IMG_2954Veggie season gets me thinking of inventive ways to serve them. Right now it is only the squash and radishes but I see a head of Broccoli forming an the tomatoes are a few sunny days away. I tried a new recipe today using my slow cooker, which actually is not just a winter tool in my world. It doesn’t heat up the house and we get a nice meal with not a lot of effort.
IMG_2956I am going to call it a mock bolognese only because it doesn’t have any meat in it. Though I fried up some sweet italian sausage to serve along side it for us. You could make this totally vegetarian if you so wish to.
IMG_2958Crockpot cauliflower bolognese

Head of cauliflower cut into flowerettes
28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes
1 medium diced onion
3-4 cloves of garlic
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1-2 cup chicken broth – or veggie broth
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
IMG_2962Put everything in the crockpot, stir and place on high for 3 ½ hours.  Once everything is cooked down take a potato masher and break up the cauliflower taste for salt and pepper. Leave it a little chunky and ladle over zoodles or spaghetti.
IMG_2971I had planned on making zoodles since I have so many in the house not but I was running late and my husband worked on a roof all day so he needed the pasta, some bread and even a cocktail.

Enjoy!