slow cooker

Ham bone soup

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Yesterdays lunch

It’s beginning to be a bit like groundhog day around here starting our 6th week working from home! At least that is what my daughter keeps saying. We both work for different companies albeit the companies share a parking lot but they couldn’t be more different. We also have different hours but I created a workstation for us both along one of the walls in the den. It is actually a really cool space but again it is kind of a little groundhog dayish. To break up the monotony a little we are having spirit week this week and there will be pictures.
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What do you usually do with your ham bone if you make ham for Easter? I usually give mine to my mother-in-law. She makes split pea soup which is probably one of the top things to do with a ham bone. But not with me; I love soup but split pea is not for me. I am sure it stems from my childhood not liking green vegetables. I do eat frozen peas on occasion but they are not my go to. So for me to add peas to any of my soups just doesn’t happen.
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My Mother-in-law is still in FL until we are able to get them home safely. Yes I could throw it in the freezer and save it for her but I wanted to try making a soup with the leftovers and make a bone broth with the ham bone. So here is what I made and I might have to fight my mother-in-law for my ham bone next year!

Ingredients

leftover ham diced
1 or 2 carrots diced
1 or 2 celery sticks diced
1 onion diced
2-3 garlic diced
1/4 teaspoon Thyme
1/4 teaspoon Cajun spice
3 tablespoon flour 
6 cups Broth
1 can Pinto beans or 2 Potatoes
1-2 cups Water
 2 tablespoons olive oil 

Instructions

In a stock pot add the olive oil over medium heat add the ham, celery, carrot and onions and saute for 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or so. Add the spices cook for another minute. Add the flour and cook for 4-5 minutes. 

Add the broth and water bring to a boil. Add beans or potatoes and then lower the heat to low and simmer for about 30-40 minutes. Take a potato masher and break up some of the beans/potatoes it will help thicken the soup.  Season with salt and pepper if needed. 

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Ham bone broth in my slow cooker – cover with water turn on low and let it go!

 

 

chicken and rice soup with homemade stock

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you can’t tell me that won’t make an amazing stock

How are you holding up? We are doing well though this morning made me “think” a little differently than my norm. I was about to make french toast and grabbed the dozen of eggs from the fridge and immediately thought; wow that’s going to use a lot of my eggs we should have something else. I put the bacon back and looked around and had 3 English muffins left in a package, some left over hollandaise sauce from last week and a few slices of lunch meat ham. Waste not want not mode kicked in.
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this make me 8 cups of what I call liquid gold

I am sure we are all in that mode these days with trying to stay home but still maintain some semblance of normalcy. I do struggle with wanting to support my local restaurants that we used to frequent before a month ago and we do order out at least once a week. I am having a hard time finding balance with spending money as normal; dinner out, Amazon, grocery stores etc. I want to support them but I also want their staff safe and not have to go out for me. I hope that make sense!
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I am frugal by nature; I save leftovers, I will take stale bread and make breadcrumbs. I freeze Parmesan cheese rinds for later use. I will make up a dinner using whatever fresh veggie is about to expire. I will make a soup out of almost anything. If it’s good I’ll make it again.  I made risotto the other night and made extra so I can make up rice cakes because the last time I made the “extra” into arancini (Italian rice balls) and already have a bag of those in the freezer.
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I have implored you numerous times to make your own stock; now is the time to make it happen! If the stove top method freaks you out; use your slow cooker. A five pound roast will make several meals for your family. I dare you to test me!

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These trays are awesome, 2 cup portion size so each tray is 8 cups. I got them on Amazon

Sorry the recipe card wont work

5 pound roaster chicken – Bell and Evans or Misty Knolls are the best in my opinion
1 medium onion, small dice, or if you are not a fan grate the onion so they disappear but add flavor
3 carrots, peeled and diced into similar sizes
2 stalks celery, cleaned and diced into similar sizes
1/2 cup Jasmati or similar rice.
8 cups chicken stock
Stock:
chicken carcass, couple of carrots, couple of celery, sliced onion. garlic clove or two smashed, season with salt and pepper

Soup:

in a stock pot add a little olive oil and the onions, carrots and celery. saute for about 5 minutes. Add the rice and let it barely brown. It adds a little more flavor. Cover with the stock and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. remove from the heat and add the leftover chicken. I prefer to shred the chicken versus dicing it. Your choice.

If not using leftover chicken, use a couple of boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into chunks and seasoned liberally with salt and pepper. Saute the pieces in the stock pot before you start this recipe. set the chicken aside, add the veggies and scrape up all the bits from the pan. That will add even more flavor.  

Stock: 

After removing all of the meat from the chicken add the carcass to your slow cooker. top with roughly chopped veggies and cover with water. put on low for the night. when you wake up in the morning. I let my stock cool on the counter in a container, then I put it in the fridge overnight or until it completely cools. I want all the fat to solidify on top so I can remove it.

After having dinner with your roasted chicken, remove all of the meat and use some in leftovers or chicken salad, save some for the soup.

Stay safe –  Stay healthy and Stay home as much as you possibly can. Stay in touch using Facetime, Zoom, Skype or whatever else is available to you. We have been having virtual happy hour with some of our friends with IPhones, and last night a bunch of us used Facetime while a couple of friends played piano and the rest of us sang or listened. We are going to try zoom next week

Chicken Chili in the slow cooker

I hope you are able to keep in good spirits during this trying time in our world. I know the local government in every state are having to make a lot of decisions they have never had to make in their lifetime as well as us as citizens. So the topic of conversations we have had all start with what’s going on. I am OK with discussing the world but my hope is there are other things that come up so we don’t wallow in it and able to keep some normalcy to our lives.  I am still going to be making food to feed my family and if it’s worth sharing I will. 

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I had some chicken breast I took out of the freezer and needed to use them up. There were four chicken breasts so I took three of them and put them in the crockpot and the last one I sliced up, seasoned and pan seared it for chicken salad. This chili has a lot of ingredients I keep in my pantry pretty much at all times.  When canned goods are on sale I load up on them and save them for a rainy day. In comparison to other states I feel NH is only misting right now. If you get my reference.  

img_4700This is a great meal to set it and forget it. I do wish it wasn’t so cold outside I would love to get out into the garden and turn the soil and start my list of what we are going to grow for the season.  I also hope the garlic I planted last fall will bring me joy. Every year is different for me, some years I hit the mother load and others is utterly disappointing.  Stay tuned I am sure I’ll share with you the results.
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Chicken Chili in the slow cooker

Donna Clark - Cooking at Clark Towers
quick throw together warm comforting meal that also freezes well
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 8 mins

Ingredients
  

  • Boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cans of beans - great northern navy pea beans, black beans Or any combination
  • 1 can hominy
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 1 can chopped green chilis
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • Chicken broth

Instructions
 

  • Place chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker
  • saute onions and garlic till they are soft
  • Top with beans
  • In a medium bowl combine taco seasoning, Chilis, Rotel, soup and broth. Pour over beans
  • Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours
  • Before serving shred chicken to your liking.
  • Top with shredded cheese, sour cream and chives or green onions
 

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.
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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

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