Tag Archives: slow cooker

Beef & Udon Noodle Soup

7 Apr

A little late getting this post up, but I’ve been doing my best to stick to my “make two new recipes every month” resolution. Last month, I made straight-ahead dense chocolate brownies for the first time (and homigad. So good.) and this fragrant, healthy, simply made soup. I got a great piece of blade roast from our butcher that was juicy and tender after 8 hours in the slow cooker. The lemongrass and ginger were fantastically aromatic, lending a lot of flavour to the broth. As always, I added hot sauce to my own bowl which rounded out the dish beautifully. It’s cold and dreary in Toronto this week – this recipe is perfect to ward off the fake-spring blues!

Ingredients

1.5lbs of blade pot roast
3c low-sodium beef broth
5 thin slices of fresh ginger
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed, bruised and sliced crosswise
1 ts each, salt and pepper
3 packages udon noodles
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 sweet pepper, cut into matchsticks
1tb fish sauce
1 lime, juiced

Directions

1. Place the broth, 4 cups of water, ginger, lemongrass and salt and pepper into the slow cooker. Submerge the roast, cover and set the slow cooker to low for 8 hours.
2. When ready, remove the beef with a slotted spoon, place in a bowl and shred with two forks.
3. Skim as much of the fat off the top of the soup as possible, then add the carrots, peppers and noodles into the broth. Replace the lid and set the slow cooker to high for 10 minutes.
4. After the 10 minutes are up, return the shredded beef to the broth. Add the fish sauce and lime juice and give it a stir. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

soup

Picture credit to Canadian Living.

Slow Cooker Burrito Bowls

12 Oct

Every time the seasons change, I start hunting for new recipes. Anything I can toss in the slow cooker in the morning and have ready for dinner in the evening shoots straight to the top of my to-try list. When I came across a burrito bowl recipe from The Kitchn, I was pretty sure it was going to be a hit. It’s healthy, it uses ingredients I have in the house already and appeals to the adults and the foodNURDling. We topped the tender chicken, fluffy rice and kernels of corn and black beans with shredded cheese, avocado and hot sauce. You could also add sour cream, salsa and/or cilantro. I let everything cook for 6 hours, but you could certainly go 8 hours if that’s the timing that works for you. Cook up some rice on the stove, top with all the burrito-y goodness and you’re set!

Makes a lot. Unless you’re feeding a football team, you’ll have leftovers.

Ingredients

1-1 1/2lbs chicken thighs or breasts
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 c chicken stock (plus more for rice)
2 ts chili powder
2 ts salt
1 ts cumin
1 ts pepper
1 15oz can black beans, rinsed
1 c corn
2 c rice
Optional: sliced avocado, shredded cheese, salsa, cilantro, sour cream, hot sauce

Directions
1. Place the chicken, diced tomatoes, stock, chili powder, salt, cumin & pepper in the slow cooker. Ensure the chicken is immersed in the stock/liquid from the tomatoes. Add more stock (or water!) if necessary. Cook on low for 5 1/2 – 7 1/2 hours.
2. When the timer goes off, add in the black beans and corn. Stir everything let it cook for half an hour.
3. In the meantime, cook up the 2 cups of rice (I used jasmine rice, but you can use whatever you have in your kitchen). If you’ve got extra stock, use that instead of water. It’s much more flavourful.
4. When the 30 minutes are up (or are close enough to up) remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred it with a couple of forks, taking care to remove any small bones. Toss the chicken back into the slow cooker and stir.
5. Grab some bowls and spoon in some rice, then the chicken, beans and corn with a good helping of the sauce. Top with whatever appeals to you and enjoy!

IMG_1037

Slow Cooker French Toast

14 Apr

What else needs to be said? Those are four beautiful words when combined. This recipe makes something akin to bread pudding, but without the sogginess that sometimes accompanies it. This is a glorious, sweet, luscious, calorie-laden treat that I made for dinner on the weekend. (Should you so desire, you could add sliced apples into the mix or top with bananas or berries.) While it was undeniably decadent, it didn’t feel especially heavy or overly filling – I didn’t desperately want a nap post-dinner. It fed four adults and a very happy toddler and took almost no time to throw together.

You probably already have most of these ingredients kicking around your kitchen, so why not treat yourselves to a yummy breakfast for dinner this week?

Serves 4.

Ingredients

1 loaf of bread, cubed

Egg mixture
2 1/2 c milk
7 eggs
2 ts cinnamon
pinch of salt

Topping
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c butter, softened
1 ts cinnamon

Directions

1. Coat your slow cooker with cooking spray.
2. Toss in one layer of the bread, a little less than half the loaf.
3. In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients until they’re mixed together really well. Spread half across the bread in the cooker. (Don’t worry about it being perfect. Just try to get a fairly even coating.)
4. Add in the rest of the bread and the topping.
5. Combine the egg mixture ingredients and pour evenly over the top of the bread and filler.
6. Set your slow cooker to low and cook 6 hours. If you have a bit of extra time, remove the lid and cook another 30 minutes so you get even more crispy bits on top.

Slow-Cooked Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

30 Apr

Of my non-essential kitchen tools, my slow cooker is the one I use the most. (Maybe I should take it off the non-essential list.)  I love it because it can be used to make so many dishes from breakfast right through to dessert. Currently, it’s mostly being used for overnight oatmeal. I’ve tried out a few variations but my favourite is a version of apple cinnamon oatmeal that smells incredible in the morning when you get up. I am in no way a morning person so anything I can do to make those groggy moments a little easier is good for me. Just throw the ingredients in the night before et voilà: healthy, filling, warm breakfast that requires little more than scooping it into a bowl….although you can’t go wrong adding a little bit of quality maple syrup to your oatmeal in the morning. Just sayin’.

I make a double batch so we have enough for several meals. I highly recommend doing this. It’ll keep in the fridge for a few days and you can always freeze it. (If you do decide to make the larger batch, I recommend adding a little bit more than double the cinnamon.) The recipe below is based on one over at The Yummy Life.

Ingredients

3 apples, peeled & cubed
1.5c milk
1.5c water
1c uncooked steel cut oats
2 tb brown sugar or maple syrup
2 tb butter, cut into small pieces
1 ts cinnamon
1 tb ground flax seed, optional
1/2 ts salt

Directions

1. Coat the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD. You will need a drill to remove the cooked on oats if you don’t coat the slow cooker.  Trust me.
2. Add in all the ingredients and stir.
3. Set the slow cooker to to low and cook for 7-8 hours. (If doubling, give it an extra hour.)
4. In the morning, inhale the goodness that awaits you. Scoop some into a bowl, add a little milk, and you’re good to go. You could opt to add more maple syrup, brown sugar, walnuts, raisins or anything else your little heart desires.

Sweet Potato and Smoked Turkey Soup

26 Nov

Soup, soup. I love soup. And when it’s this tasty, basic and healthy, it’s hard not to love it. We added a few drops of hot sauce to our bowls post-cooking as we are wont to do. I thought it was much better with it, but spice is certainly subjective.

Additionally, the original recipe calls for Cajun seasoning. If you have it, wonderful. If not, just mix up the ingredients I listed below: there’s a good chance you already have them in your pantry.

Ingredients

1 smoked turkey thigh/leg (1lb)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 onions, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 ts salt
1 ts pepper
1 ts cayenne
2 ts paprika
1 ts oregano
6c water
1 tb cider vinegar

Directions

1. Trim and discard any excess fat from the turkey leg/thigh (but keep the skin).
2. Place the turkey, garlic, onions, celery, potatoes, spices and water in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
3. Remove the turkey from the soup and allow to cool. Remove and discard the skin. Shred or roughly chop the meat.
4. Place 4 cups of the soup in a blender and purée. Place the puréed soup and the turkey back into the slow cooker.
5. Add in the cider vinegar and stir. Season to taste and serve!

Moroccan Tomato Soup

12 Nov

It’s November in Toronto. No offense to the November babies out there, but it’s kind of a miserable month. It’s cold. It’s rainy. It’s generally kinda dreary. So what’s one to do to combat this downer of a month? Get in the kitchen and cook up something warming and delicious to make you forget about the blah-itude outside! This Moroccan tomato soup fits the bill and then some: it’s finished with creamy peanut butter that lends it a lovely richness.

This is a very balanced recipe, with no ingredient overwhelming another. If you like your food on the spicier side, add a little more cayenne than what’s called for here.

Serves 6.

Ingredients

2 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 280z can crushed tomatoes
1 pinch of cinnamon
2 tb brown sugar
2 tb chili powder
1 ts cumin
1/2 ts black pepper
1/2 ts salt
1/2 ts cayenne pepper
1/4c tomato paste
1 tb red wine vinegar
3/4 c creamy peanut butter

Directions

1. Toss the onions, garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste and 2 cups of water into a slow cooker. (Or a big pot set on low on the stove. Whatever you’ve got!)
2. Stir in the cinnamon, sugar, chile powder, cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper and red wine vinegar.


3. Cook on low for 5 – 8 hours.
4. Add in the peanut butter and, using an immersion blender, purée until smooth. (If it’s a bit thick, add in a little water and purée again.)

Penne w/ Braised Beef & Rosemary Sauce

1 Oct

Having a big ol’ kitchen to mess around in has inspired me to get back in there and try some new recipes. We had a friend over for a Dinner ‘n’ Dexter night and I wanted to make something hearty and comforting. I know our friend is a big fan of pasta (as am I) and I have lots of herbs kicking around, so I opted to make a braised beef and rosemary pasta sauce. Not too fancy but definitely comforting, aromatic and flavourful. I recommend making this in the slow cooker as you’ll be using stewing beef. The longer you let it go in the pot, the more tender it will be.

Serves 4.

Ingredients

1.5lb stewing beef, cubed
2 tb veg oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 tb dried rosemary
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 ts dried oregano
2 tb balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 ts dried thyme
1 ts salt
2 ts pepper
2 ts fresh rosemary, chopped
Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Directions

1. Pour the vegetable oil into a pan and set to medium-high heat. Brown the beef in batches being careful not to overcrowd the pan, roughly 1 minute per side. Season with salt & pepper. Place browned meat on a plate and continue with next batch.
2. Lower heat to medium and add in the onion, dried rosemary and a pinch of salt & pepper. Sauté 3-4 minutes until onions soften.
3. In the slow cooker, combine the onions and rosemary and the crushed tomatoes, vinegar, oregano, thyme, 1/2 cup of water and season with salt & pepper to taste. Put the beef and any of the juices that have accumulated into the pot and stir. Set to low and simmer for 4-6 hours until the beef is tender, stirring and tasting occasionally.

Simmering away…

4. With a few minutes to go, add in the fresh rosemary and stir.
5. Cook pasta to al dente and ladle sauce over. Top with parmesan cheese.

Recipe Recount

14 Oct

I came across a list of “food resolutions” while flipping through a notebook during a meeting (don’t judge – I was mostly paying attention). I had a look at the list and, amazingly, I’ve actually checked off a lot of them!

I wanted to learn to make mussels – I made two kinds! There was definitely some trepidation on my part as it had been ingrained inot me that it is not hard to poison someone accidentally by serving them bad shellfish. So I made sure that I tossed any mussels I thought might, maybe, potentially be open. I scrubbed them til they shone, then inspected every cooked mussel to ensure they had opened fully after cooking. I had been reassured by a friend who’d made them many times that making mussels was easy and inexpensive (not to mention the delicious results) and she was 100% right.

So, mussels: check. Next up: a new fish dish each month. I haven’t been keeping close track of this, but I did learn a cod dish and several new tilapia and salmon dishes.  Of all of these, I think the salmon baked in foil with a tomato and shallot dressing was my favourite. It had a slew of bright flavours that complimented the rich salmon – and it was absurdly easy to make.  Great for a dinner party and would be especially good for impressing the in-laws.

Getting off the seafood track, I wanted to learn to make quinoa. I had tried before and it came out….crunchy and kind off-tasting. Then along came a girlfriend who made this  fabulous quinoa dish. One bite and I was hooked, knowing I’d have to make it myself. And I did. Two days later. I’m still tooling around with other recipes as this grain needs more spicing and flavouring than something like rice. If you use a teaspoon of salt for rice, you’d probably want about twice that for quinoa.

Last on this resolution list is barbeque sauce. I made one that I loved about a month ago and will undoubtedly take another few runs at it to perfect it. I saw one posted yesterday, however, that looks so good it’s been bumped to the top of my list. Peach jalapeno barbeque sauce? Ummm, yes please.

I’m also baking more than I have before, as evidenced by the cookie and whoopie pie recipes that have shown up here lately…and by the tightening of my pants.  I’ve still got to tackle lamb (figuratively, of course…) and am always looking for great vegetarian recipes. I spent a lovely afternoon with an even lovelier friend drinking wine and ransacking her vegetarian cookbook collection. I found all sorts of goodies that the hubby and I will test out on our Meatless Mondays.

So what remains on this list? For one, brisket. I love using my slow cooker and brisket would cook beautifully in it. Anyone out there have a great brisket recipe that I need to try?

I’m also interested in family recipes. I’ve got my mom’s famous dessert in my little blue book ready to make (though I’m sure I’ll never be able to make it exactly like she does)  and my mother-in-law’s chocolate chip cookie recipe.  What I’m most excited about, though, is a good friend’s offer to show me how to make his Serbian mother and grandmother’s recipes for chicken paprikash and perogies. Drool.

If you’ve got anything you think I should make, please let me know! I’ll add it to the ever-expanding list!

Spice-Rubbed Pulled Pork

15 Nov

Tasked with making dinner for my father-in-law this weekend, the decision was made that it should be a southern feast: pulled pork, cornbread and coleslaw. But having made the the same pulled pork for a while now, I felt like I  needed a new recipe. After some searching, I came across a great spice rub which I altered slightly to make my own.  Last night, we sat down to a dinner that was undeniably a huge success: both in-laws, J and I ate far too much. The pork came out beautifully: sweet, a little bit spicy, very well-rounded. And the kicker? Just a touch of smoke. So. Good. Everyone go make pulled pork RIGHT NOW.

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

Rub

2 tb black pepper
1.5 tb cayenne
2 tb chili powder
2 tb cumin
2 tb brown sugar
1 tb dried oregano
3tb paprika
2 tb salt
1 ts white sugar

1 3-4lb pork butt
1/4 c water
1/2 ts liquid smoke* – optional, but very tasty
1.5 c barbecue sauce
1 lime

Directions

1. Mix the spices for the rub in a small bowl.
2. Thoroughly coat the pork in the spice rub. (You  may have some left over: it’ll be great on any protein.) Wrap up the pork as tightly as possible in plastic wrap and put in the fridge anywhere from three hours to a full day. The longer you leave it, the more the spices will infuse into the meat.
3. When you’re ready to cook, get out the slow cooker and set it to low.
4. Add in 1/4c water, the liquid smoke and the pork. Set the timer for 8 hours and walk away.
5. Remove the pork from the cooker into a large bowl, pulling it apart with two forks. Discard fat.
6. Put the pork into a pot big enough to handle it.  Add the bbq sauce about 1/3 of a cup at a time and incorporating some of the liquid left over from the slow cooker until you get it as saucy as you like. (Stop making jokes….)
7. Serve with a wedge of lime – or, if you’re making sandwiches, squeeze some lime juice into the pork before you serve it.
8. Get out of the way of the stampede to the table!

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