Tag Archives: crock pot

Holy Taters ‘n Beans, Batman!

In my pantry today:

  • 1 26.5 oz can black beans
  • 3 sm sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 small yellow onion
  • 1.5 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 small sweet pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chile de arbol powder
  • 1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • dash asafoetida
  • dash water

Holy Taters 'n Beans, Batman!As it turns out, I am making a crock pot meal today… but not one which utilizes the free haunch-meat of rodents (April Fools!). A big spicy pot of something meatless was on the menu — in fact, I don’t see any meat happening in the very near future. Not until the image of the half-squirrel LouLou once did bring inside stops suddenly also being in a delicious sauce. Cut your onions, pepper and sweet potatoes. Put onion and pepper into the olive oil already heated to H on the slow cooker scale. Add turmeric and let simmer for a few minutes, then add the beans and remainder of the seasonings. Rinse out the can with a little water and mix it in along with your sweet potatoes. Cover and cook until sweet potatoes are tender… this can be arranged whether you’d like it set before you leave the house bright and early, or whether you want it a little quicker. Either way you’ll get at least 4 spoons for dinner.

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London Broil is Falling Down!

In my pantry toady:

  • 1 lb london broil
  • 1 14 oz can pinto beans
  • 2 medium Russet potatoes, quartered
  • 1 14 oz  can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 large sweet yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 pinch asafoetida
  • 1 tbsp sour cream

beefbbeansMaking pot roast without actual gravy (or bullion, etc) was a challenge… until it proved to be easy enough for even a dim child. Throw it all in the pot, set it and return in that amount of time (ish). We let the slow cooker run a little longer than anticipated… which meant our worst case scenario here was whipping the fallen apart potatoes in the food processor with a little sour cream. Best worst case scenario ever! The meat-n-beans get 5 spoons, and the potatoes end up only getting 4. I might’ve liked them more about two hours before we got there. Regardless, this is a major win for naked meat!

7 Meals in 36 Hours (Or, “Driving Through Driving Through”)

In my pantry today:

  • 5 freezer and 2 “tonight’s” dinners

See I wasn’t really writing about what I was doing while I was doing it and the photographs are shameful afterthoughts to two days’ work and to several new recipes. I’ve been meaning without much forward momentum to make more meals to freeze and have on hand — while we could eat prepackaged dinners from the Indian grocery as if they’re going out of style (assuming they’ve ever been in it), there’s got to be a cheaper and more nutritious business to be had. It will all start painlessly enough:

  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 1 medium bulb garlic
  • 1/3 c olive oil

Slice and mince the respective bulbs and put everything in the crock pot on H. Let cook until the onions begin to beckon translucence. Erstwhile, work on two meals worth of

Aloo Matar

  • 1 10 0z can whole white potatoes
  • 1 c peas
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 4 small-medium jalapeno peppers
  • 1 32 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 c vegetable broth
  • 2-3 tbsp coriander
  • 3-4 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

Chunky slice the onion, garlic and chiles. I left the seeds in the peppers this time because the four I picked were pitiful in stature. Melt ghee and sprinkle in the mustard seeds. Cook on ML until the onions begin their wilt then crank the heat to M. The mustard seeds should be popping by the time you mix the turmeric, ginger-garlic paste and 2 tbsp each: coriander, cumin into a buttery paste. Transfer everything to a food processor, pour in a dollop of broth and pulse until as smooth as possible. Return to the pan, add tomatoes and broth. Stir and bring to a low boil on M. Reduce heat to L and let cook down for a few hours before adding additional seasonings, sliced potatoes and peas. It’s not exactly like the store-bought version I so love, but it is an adequate substitute full of good things. 4 spoons.

Now go back to the crock pot. Everything should be sizzling at a light boil. Strain out all the onion and garlic chunks and throw them in the food processor. Pulse until as smooth as possible, then divide 2/3 of the goop back into the crock pot and 1/3 to a new pot on the stove. In this pot, there will be some kind of completely inauthentic version of

Red Bean Makhani

  • 1/3 pulsed crock pot doins
  • 1 11 oz can red beans
  • 1 6 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/3 c half and half
  • 1/3 c vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp hot curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

Mix seasonings into the pot, making it even funkier a gunk. On heat rising to M, add in the tomato sauce, vegetable broth and cream. Throw in the beans and everything cook at a light boil on L for an hour or two. Then, return to the crock pot for marinarings. 5 spoons.

Crock Pot Marinara

  • 2/3 pulsed crock pot doins
  • 3 36oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 6oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1 14oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 4 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp basil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Put all of that in the crock pot and cook on L overnight. 4 spoons.

There’s enough going on in the Aloo Matar pot before the potatoes and peas went in that 1c was taken out as a base for a

Creamy Corn Curry

  • 1 c that stuff in pan #1
  • 1 c corn
  • 1 c diced frozen spinach
  • 1 16 oz container 1% milk
  • 1 5 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1/3 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

That little cardboard box of milk in the back of the cupboard? Empty it into a saucepan and bring it to a low boil, then keep it there for a couple hours. When it has thickened, skim off the skin and add the reserved stuff from pan #2. Stir cornstarch into the evaporated milk then thusly stir that into the milkpot. Add a little more almond milk to thin out any overthick attitude. Stir in corn and spinach, remove from heat. 4 spoons.

Five meals went into the freezer, and still there was enough marinara to make a

Cheesy Penne Bake

  • 3-4 c penne pasta, cooked
  • 2-3 c marinara
  • 1/3 c Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c mozzerella cheese
  • dusting of cayenne

Mix the pasta and sauce in a baking dish and sprinkle cheese atop. Bake in a 350 oven for 20m or until cheese is beginning to brown at the edges of the dish. This 5 spoon dish concludes a deeply satisfying almost-two-day-long act against the desire to hit a drive through at the end of a long day. I am so grateful to have had the ingredients and time to start taking care of this before the most hectic parts of the holiday season begin. Happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Hot [Crock] Pot Chili

In my pantry today:

  • 3 poblano peppers
  • 4 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 56oz/7c/3.5lb petite diced tomato
  • 1 c corn
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp taco seasoning
  • 1 tsp red hot chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

This ended up being the finest batch of chili I have made to date — and it’s completely vegan. I say that because not only should it surprise you, but because it does so for me as well. It’s a tribute, really, to how little meat needs to do with flavor.

Start out with your onion and garlic pieces with oil in the crock pot on H. Walk away and halve your peppers, taking care to leave seeds out or in depending on your spice palate. Put them open-side down on a baking sheet and put them closely under the broiler until their skins begin to char, then remove them from the oven, remove the skins from their shoulders, and dice. Throw those into the crock pot with the garlic and onion, stir and leave on H for a few more minutes. Following enough of a break to begin some dishes or some such nonsense, add canned tomatoes with liquid and cooked beans, reduce crock pot to L and let simmer for several hours. Stir in all your seasonings a little while before dinner — it tasted so flavorful before I did any of that that I nearly didn’t add a single thing; the taco seasoning will get it from “a little too liquidy,” though, into proper chili territory. Despite — or maybe because of? — the lack of meat, this chili deserves 5 spoons.

Comfort Soup (Or, “Three Animals Walked Into a Crock Pot…”)

In my pantry today:

  • 1/2 c lentils
  • 5oz canned chicken breast
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1c celery, sliced
  • 1c carrots, sliced
  • 3c kale, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp sausage grease
  • 1 large onion, thin-ish slices
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5c broth (I used vegetable despite the meaty base)
  • 1/2 c half and half
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

So it’s chilly, the wife is home sick and I’m not feeling too spunky, myself. It feels like soup time; not just any soup time, mind you — it’s comfort soup time. Start the onions and garlic out in the sausage grease… in the crock pot. Turn it on MH, stir and let sit for an hour or so. Turn off. Run those two godforsaken errands you don’t really want to have to drag your ass out of bed to do. Come back. Assemble!

Turn the crock pot back on to MH Stir in sliced carrots and celery. Cut potatoes into bite-size chunks and stir into the mess. And what the heck — drain that little can of chicken sitting in the cupboard and toss it in. Sprinkle on and stir in all the seasonings so that all of the soup bits are well-coated in the glory of flavor. Then enter your broth. After the first cup or two, stir in the lentils. Begin folding in little fistfuls of kale, alternating with the remainder of the broth. Bless the entire stew with half and half, cover, and let cook on M-MH until the potatoes are soft. All of the comfort of a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs soup with all of the vegetative nutrition of a salad bar — you’ll need all 5 spoons for this pot!

From the Land of Produce Sales and Pantry (Or, “Vegan Chili”)

In my pantry today:

  • 4 c diced Roma tomatoes
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, largely diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, small chunks
  • 1 small red pepper, diced/seeds removed
  • 1 pitiful, small bell pepper from the plant outside
  • 2/3 c corn
  • 1 c cooked white beans
  • 1 12oz can red beans
  • 1 c vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 4 tbsp chili powder (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (we use 90,000 BTU powder, so use your own noggin on this too. Yeah. That’s not a typo. 90,000.)

This was an entirely vegan dish until I put the cheese on it. Apologies.

So I got really excited about a big sale on Roma tomatoes at the store. Some might venture to use the word “overzealous.” And seeing as how it’s now a little too chilly for tomato salads to be fully enjoyed and one can only have so many salad caprese dinners, the answer choices to the sudden conundrum of a kitchen full-o-maters boil down to (ha!): 1. blanch or 2. just cut them all up and make chili.

Put your onion, garlic, chili pepper and mustard seeds in olive oil warming to M on the stove. When the seeds begin to crackle and pop, stir and reduce heat to L while you finish dicing all those now-godforsaken tomatoes. Dump them all into a crock pot and use a spatula to clean all the oiled up pan contents in with them. Add corn, beans and seasonings with broth and set the timer for 4 hours (I now now that essentially translates to “high”). Four spoon alarm!

Blood-n-Guts Halloween Soup

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c cooked red cabbage (freezer storage shout-out!)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can green beans
  • 64oz broth (I kept this vegan with vegetable, but any animal will do)
  • 2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

‘Tis near-about the season for drinking blood and eating guts without having to apologize for it! This one is easy and can be eaten in so many ways once settled in the crock pot — the 6 quarts of soup this recipe makes is great for freezing whatever you can’t eat after a day or three. Take my word, however that this won’t need to get punishing for a few consecutive meals. A very basic vegetable soup is like a basic black dress —  it’s easy to dress up or down.

As it is this soup is a pretty rainbow of nutrition in its formative stages, then after a while the anthocyanins will turn the entire shebang into a spooky crime scene photo. See those ingredients up there? Put them all in a crock pot, set it to whenever you want a frightfully good dinner (but give it at least 4 hours to coalesce; the longer it sits, the darker the red).

Last night, we enjoyed ate our bloody slop topped with thin slices of asiago cheese and garlic breadsticks. It was very definitely 5 spoons… of DARKNESS! (moihahaha, et al)

Unintentionally Vegan Homecoming (or “What a Crock of… Awww, Love.”)

In my pantry today:

  • 2/3 c dried lentils
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 4 medium russet potatoes
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 heart of celery, diced
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tsp safflower oil
  • 6 c vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp hot curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

Crush the cloves of garlic well, and let them simmer in the ghee/oil mixture for a few minutes. Before the garlic turns brown transfer it, along with everything else up there to your brand new off-the-wedding-registry crock pot. Set the timer and smile, because maybe now you can properly cook beans. 4 spoons!

I still have neither found nor purchased a new camera. Pictures will continue to be Google Image Search results and/or cell phone-resolution shots. First world problems suck, but we still make do… in fact, we had to borrow someone else’s camera for our awesome, should-write-a-book wedding trip to NYC.

(Oh and yeah, I just got married!!!!!!!!)

 

Kielbasa, Cabbage and Quinoa (w/ Cheese)

In my pantry today:

  • 1.2 head cabbage*
  • 1 turkey polska kielbasa
  • 1/4 c quinoa
  • 2 c vegetable broth*
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

So I thought too late to take a photo of the quartered half-cabbage I’ve had in a bag of broth for the last two days. The other half of the quartered cabbage is in the freezer. Both halves, fearing the same natural end of produce’s rightful place, huddled together for salvation two days ago in a crock pot. So there was all this cabbage I’d saved from the trash can and no apparent endgame.

This bag of cabbage was in about 2c of the vegetable broth/garlic paste mixture from its crock pot. I bought a turkey kielbasa and decided upon quinoa to balance everything out. I sliced the kielbasa and let it brown on M in a deep frying pan. Once it began sticking, I poured in 1.5 c of the cabbage broth and the now-chopped cabbage. Add asafoetida, cayenne and just a hint of cinnamon. The other 1/c c of broth use to cook your quinoa. Strain cabbage and sausage out and top with quinoa and Parmesan cheese. 5 spoons!

Living the Dream: Cube Steak Style! (or, “What a Crock!”)

In my pantry today:

  • 4 big slabs of cube steak
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 packets au jus mix
  • 1 packet onion gravy mix
  • 1c Dad’s leftover-from-frozen Christmas gravy
  • 3 c water
  • 1 c kale chips
  • 3 medium russet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Yesterday, during the meatsplosion, I immediately set today’s dinner up in the crock pot; today finds it the best cube steak I have ever eaten. Well, >burp< found it, that is.

I will start by saying that I feel kinda weird cooking with meat now — how a few months of gradual dietary changes have culminated in feeling like meat is a long-lost ex lover coming back for CDs is beyond me. A lot of the weight I’ve lost is due in part to eating a lot of protein, which for most of my life I believed came only from delicious animal flesh. And speaking of animal flesh:

First thing’s first — take Dad’s Christmas roast beef gravy out of the freezer and put it in the crock pot on H to begin it’s thaw and move to the other counter. Dice your onion then crush ‘n slice your garlic cloves. Mix your three sauce packets with three c water. Put all that noise in the crock pot and leave it on H for about an hour, then turn to L and leave for 24 hours. Wait until tomorrow to put that carrot in to avoid a total mushpit.

The next day’s dinnertime you’ll just need to slice and boil, then smash and butter your potatoes. I’m a big fan, both for texture and convenience, of leaving the skins on; there isn’t much simpler than making mashed potatoes so why complicate it with more knives and poor fine motor skills? Slice your carrot and put in the crock pot to cook on L while the potatoes boil. When the potatoes flake apart upon sticking a fork in their boiling starch-water, it is time to drain and smash. Milk and butter make the smashings fun and delicious — add just a smidgepinch of salt here.

Put your meat and gravy on top of your potatoes then top with kale chips (visual interest and nutrition!). You’ll have already made kale chips, right? From what I understand we should all be eating that green on the daily. This recipe gets 4 spoons — it was close to a 5 spoon moment, but, well, cube steak can aim only so high.