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Posts Tagged ‘crock pot’

English: Irish dinner

Irish dinner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ha, ha, ha, I bet you thought I meant I was going to recycle more, use rags instead of paper towels, refuse to buy strawberries in March because in order to arrive here, they left a HUGE carbon footprint.  Sorry to disappoint my readers and dash their expectations that I might be looking at the world with a more global view to saving the earth for the next generation – oh no that’s not what I meant at all!!

This sunny but cold Sunday, the day before St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I would attempt, yes attempt to make my first Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner.  My husband is not sure why I’m thinking of doing this and now 3 days later, after I’ve bought the corned beef, the cabbage and the potatoes and carrots, I’m thinking the same thing!  If we were in NYC we might go out for our annual Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner as we have for the past umpteen years but we are not in NYC.  Actually we will be back in time to catch some of the world’s best and longest St. Patrick’s Day parade. However Monday holds a sacred place in my heart.  Everyone who knows me, knows that Monday night is Mah Jongg night and since there isn’t a Colleen in the group, no one other than me seemed to think St. Patrick’s Day deserved any special consideration.  Well that settled that.  No Irish supper for Peter and I on Monday!

I did consider taking advantage of the considerable Irish-American population at the Jersey Shore and thought we might dine tonight at Clancy’s Tavern,  The thought of enjoying a meal served and cleaned-up by someone else as well as the camaraderie of fellow diners and congenial drinkers certainly held its allure. BUT then I remembered how crazy Clancy’s can be; noisy, boisterous, and so loud, it’s hard to talk to your dinner partner!  It’s really more bar than restaurant, Irish to its core so I started thinking that probably a good portion of the population might take advantage of an extended St. Patrick’s Day celebration by starting early in the weekend, only to continue right through to Monday night!  AND then I remembered that on Sunday night a couple of my favorite TV shows are on, not to mention one of those rare occasions when I am in total control of the remote.  How could I think of missing The Amazing Race, 60 Minutes and especially The Good Wife.  I could DVR the shows but then I wouldn’t have the time to watch them because they would be on the TV in NJ and I’ll be heading back to NYC.  

So now that I’ve settled that in my mind, I took my crockpot out and am hoping the corned beef will cook to its fall-apart texture this afternoon while I’m out and about.  The packaging said to bring it to a boil and then cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours and add the vegetable an hour before meat is done. That flies in the face of most of the recipes I’ve read so I’m thinking 4 hours in the crockpot with the potatoes, carrots and onion on the bottom, topped with the corned beef will do the trick. I do hope it gets to bubbling point and then about an hour before I’ll toss in the cabbage.  carrots.  I happened to be on the phone with my cousin, Marian this morning, and she too was attempting a first time Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner.  However, she called her niece who writes a cooking blog and was told to put it in the slow cooker for 8 hours AND she put the cabbage, carrots and potatoes in with the meat right from the get go!  I advised her to at least remove the cabbage otherwise I think she would end up with cellulose and mashed potatoes.  We’ll compare notes later this evening, probably during the commercials!

Uh oh, I just took a good look at the photo I put in this post and see that the little red potatoes should have been left whole; I halved and even quartered some – I guess I will be the one with mashed potatoes!  Oh well, ERIN GO BRAUGH

 

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Yes I do like to cook…BUT not always!  After all, living in NYC, the capitol of take-out and delivered food makes it really easy to never have to cook.   Not to mention the late late serving hours in many restaurants and the neighborhood Coffee Shop that’s open 24 hours.  Can you imagine how liberating and indulgent that is?  If you can’t sleep and you think a Belgian Waffle would hit the spot, you can just pick up the phone at 3:00 am and in 15 minutes you can be pouring maple syrup over a steaming hot waffle.

Ok I digress…this past week, I’ve been cooking every night and one of the main reasons is economics.  I’m not making Beef Wellington, or Lobster Bisque.  I served up some yummy food and none of the meals cost a lot.

I started off making a batch of Butternut Squash Soup.  This savory version of a root vegetable soup came from the latest issue of Wegman’s MENU magazine.  It’s not as thick and rich as some other recipes, however, it has a flavorful twist.   Here it is:

1 TBS olive oil

1 cup of chopped onion

1 cup of thinly sliced leeks

1 cup thinly sliced celery

1 TBS chopped garlic

2 bay leaves

2 tsp salt

pepper to taste

2 pkgs of cleaned, cut butternut squash (20 oz ea.) or 3 lbs bulk squash cut in 1 inch dice

2 cartons of vegetable broth ( I used chicken broth)

2 TBS amber maple syrup

pumpkin seed oil ( I didn’t have any)

toasted pumpkin seeds (had those and toasted them)

You’ll need a stockpot and a blender

Heat olive oil in stockpot on MEDIUM.  Add onions, leeks, celery, garlic, and bay leaves;  season with 2 tsp salt and pepper to taste.  Cook, stirring, 10 minutes till softened bu not browned.

Add squash and stock.  Increase heat to MEDIUM-HIGH.  Bring to a simmer, cover, vented.  Reduce heat to LOW; simmer 20-25 minutes.

Turn off heat.  Remove bay leaves.  Stir in maple syrup.  Working in batches, add soup to blender.  Puree till smooth, pouring pureed soup into another pot.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

Ladle soup into warmed serving bowls, garnish each with 1 tsp pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil.

The next day I got the stockpot out and made one of favorite winter Wegman’s recipes;  Slow-Cooked Beef Minestrone.  I  posted this truly economical and delicious recipe previously -see post at https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/slow-cooked-beef-minestrone/

On another night  we had veggie burgers and as a side dish I made Pan Steamed Cauliflower, also a Wegman’s MENU magazine recipe.  This is a great way to prepare  vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower.

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tsp chopped garlic

1 anchovy fillet (in the jar, not tin) or 1  1/2 tsp capers

1 – 1  1/2 lb trimmed vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, romanescu, brocoletti, green beans)

1/2 cup water

1 tsp salt

cracked black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil, garlic, and anchovy on MEDIUM-LOW.  Cook, stirring, 2-3 minutes (until anchovy dissolves).

Raise heat to HIGH.  Add vegetables, water, and salt. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer; cover.  Cook, stirring occasionally 8-12 minutes or until water is evaporated. 

Season to taste with pepper.  Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice, grated cheese or red pepper flakes, if desired.

My husband loves pasta so we don’t go too many days without a pasta night.  I decided to make a special sauce – Wegman’s San Marzano Tomato Sauce.  This was Soooo Goooood.   I will post the recipe for you but not today because I just previewed this post and it’s already getting long.  And to finish up my Wegman’s Week,  I prepared Chicken Breasts with a Lemon Caper Sauce -I’ll post that one later too.

Wegman's brand,

San Marzano Tomatoes

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Slow-Cooked Chicken Cacciatore a/k/a Chicken Hunter Style

Tomorrow morning I’m taking the crock pot and gonna cook up a storm.  I need to make a couple of meals and freeze some of them.  If I don’t, I find myself coming home late and too tired to cook and that leads to ordering in or eating junk.  Either way it’s no good, one costs too much money and the other ends up being empty calories.  So tomorrow morning I’ll make the Chicken Cacciatore and give my husband a real meal and freeze the rest.

3 lbs cut up chicken (split chicken breasts and thighs)

Flour for searing

2 TBS olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

8 oz of baby bella  mushrooms sliced

2 cups diced green peppers and onions

1 cup dry red wine

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 pkg (24 oz) of seasoned tomato sauce.

Salt and pepper to taste

Dust chicken with searing flour

Heat oil on MEDIUM in large braising pan; add chicken.  Brown lightly on all sides, 8-10 minutes.  Transfer chicken to slow cooker.  Discard all but 1 TBS oil.

Add garlic, mushrooms, peppers and onions to pan.  Cook, stirring occasionally, 3-4 minutes, until vegetables soften slightly.  Add wine; cook 1-2 minutes.  Add Italian seasoning and tomato sauce; stir.  Bring to simmer and remove from heat.

Add sauce mixture carefully to slow cooker.  Cover;  cook 3-4 hours on HIGH or 6-7 hours on LOW.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  I’m going to add some red pepper flakes too.  Serve over pasta or rice.

And omg, this house is going to smell DEE-LICIOUS tomorrow!

Recipe from Wegman’s Menu Magazine Fall 2009

Cooking Lab: Italian - Pollo alla Cacciatora (...

Chicken Hunter Style

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