Slow Cooker - Curly Creamy Meaty Pasta

It seems we might be trying a bunch more slow cooker recipes, judging this school year's schedule.

For this one we first prepared 1 lb. of curlicue pasta and stuck it into the fridge.

Then we tossed the following into the slow cooker: 2 lb. stew beef, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, pepper, 1 quart of vegetable broth, 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce, 2 minced cloves of garlic, and 1 tablespoon of mustard.

Then we mixed roughly 4 tablespoons of flour with a bit of water and added it as well. We turned the pot on low for 8+ hours and went about our day.
When we came home we looked into the pot, added the pasta and 1 cup of sour cream, set the table, and ate. Yummo!

Slow Cooker - Veggie Chili

Here is another slow cooker chili recipe that worked for us. All veggie. All easy. All yum!

All we had to do was to throw the following into the pot, turn it on low and wait 8 hours: 1 onion, 3 cloves of garlic, 2 stalks of celery, 2 bell peppers, 1 small can of diced tomatoes, the same can worth of water, 1 quart of vegetable broth, 1 cup of lentils, 1 cup of quinoa, 1 can of pinto beans, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper.
To get all fancy we offered some Tabasco sauce and cheeses to serve. (This is about as easy at it gets, right?!)



Crêpes

We literally stumbled out of the Louvre one day on our world-tour-of-all-things-yummy dazed, tired, and hungry and accosted the first tourist-feeding cycling Crêperie conductor we came across. He cooked up five of the thin warm pancakes right in front of us, slathered them thickly with Nutella, confiscated our day's ration of Euros, and sent us on our way. Bumbling along, nibbling, we melted in pure satisfaction.

So back home stateside we naturally gave it a go. Without any of the fancy paraphernalia. It turned out magnifique! Enough so to allow us to finally empty our suitcases, admitting we wouldn't return anytime soon.
So here it goes. We briefly melted 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter on the stove and stuck it into the freezer to cool down. In one bowl we mixed 200 ml of water with 300 ml of milk. In another we whisked 2 eggs together with 2 tablespoons of sugar, a good pinch of salt and 1/3 of the milk mixture. Then we added 200g of flour piecemeal while continuously beating out any lumps. Then we added the butter, stirring, and at the end the remaining milk mixture.
We covered the bowl with a towel and let it stand at room temperature for an hour. We lightly dampened a pan with sesame oil and fried up the Crêpes like pancakes. They only needed a minute on one side and half a minute on the other. Upon retrieving, we folded them once, slathered them with Nutella, and then folded them twice more for a on-sixth-sized wedge.
Voila! ! Délicieux! Encore un, s'il vous plait!

V-Egg-etables, yay!


We are licking our chops with this delicious and easy 1-2-3 summer dinner. Here we go.

First we chopped up some small red tomatoes into bite size pieces, covered them with water and a half tablespoon of salt, brought them to a boil, and let them simmer for about 10-15 minutes. We stuck a fork in one to test.

Then we halved and sliced 2 leeks, discarding all hardy dark green parts and tons of dirt hiding between the layers.

We picked a good couple of tablespoons worth of thyme leaves.

Sliced half a head of savoy cabbage.

And cut off the hardy ends of 2 bushels of green asparagus.

Next we sautéed in olive oil over medium heat - "1" - the leek with a little salt and a few dried chili flakes ...

and stuck our nose in it. Oh my!! For 5 minutes. Then - "2" - the cabbage for 5 more minutes. And lastly - "3' - the asparagus for another 5 minutes.

For the finishing touch we dropped 5 eggs on top, covered them with a lid, waited a few minutes, and served.

Voila. A shout out to Jamie Oliver's magazine for this wonderful dish. Happy forks all around.


Potato Salad

For a summer barbeque we gave this potato salad a try.

First we cut up a  2lb medley of colorful small new potatoes into small bite size chunks. We placed them into a pot, covered them with water, added about half a tablespoon of salt, and brought them to a boil. After about 10 minutes of simmering we checked on the potatoes. We tried to get them out just as they turned soft and before they got mushy.

Then we sliced up and fried 10 strips of bacon. We placed both the taters and the bacon into the freezer right away to cool them down. We also tossed about half a tablespoon worth of mustard seeds into the bacon grease and placed a lid over them. We removed them right after a few moments as they started to pop like corn kernels.

When everything had cooled down, we used our hands to mix together the potatoes, the bacon, the mustard seeds, a few sliced scallions, and some white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste.

There you have it. Gorgeous!


To round out the affair we prepared and grilled up a few shish kebabs, ...

sausages and hot dogs.

Slow Cooker - Saucy Meatballs

As our days become decidedly more messy we are pushed to try out more slow cooker meals. This one comes courtesy of Emily Green and her fun blog Emily Bites. Though it requires cooking a fresh pot of pasta as you come home it still made life easier. She also suggests serving the meatballs and marinara sauce on buns.

We couldn't get around tweaking this a little to fit our pantry. First we shredded dried bread into 2 handfuls of bread crumbs. We added it into a bowl with 1 lb of ground beef, 2 eggs, a handful of freshly shredded Parmesan, a quarter cup of milk, a bit of garlic powderdried oregano, dried basil, salt, and pepper. We mixed it all up with our hands, adding a few breadcrumbs when it felt too mushy, and formed about 16 meatballs.

We fried them up on the outside only and tossed them into the slow cooker.

For the sauce we diced up half a big onion, 2 cloves of garlic, and a handful of fresh leaves of basil.

Check out the basil plant by-the-by. It has grown like crazy within 6 weeks or so.

In the same pan loosening the fried beef bits we melted the onions for a few minutes in olive oil, added the garlic for another, and then 1 big can of crushed tomatoes, 1 small can of tomato sauce, a little tomato paste, the basil, salt, and 1 bay leaf. All that got transferred right away into the slow cooker.
We let it simmer on low for 8 hours.
It was so scrumptious that we forgot to take a picture of the final result. It was an excellent end-of-the-week-just-feed-me dish. Thank you Emily!

Pizza Pockets

We took a stab at turning our pizzas into pockets. To get going we turned the oven to 425F.

Next we formed 2 pizzas worth of dough (here is how easy it is to make your own) into 5 balls (since we had 5 hungry people at the ready with forks at hand). We also got the following items ready: sliced mozzarella cheese, grated cheddar cheese, grated parmesan cheese, minced garlic, cut cherry tomatoes, cut artichoke hearts, and fresh basil.

We rolled out each ball of dough and heaped on a pile of goodness to each of our liking.

Then we folded the dough over and tugged in the edges. Each pocket received a few slices as air vents and off into the oven they went for 15 to 20 minutes.

That gave us time to set the table and prep a salad.


Broccoli Stir Fry

A shout out to Melissa and Marcus of My Whole Food Life! We tried their Easy Broccoli Stir Fry recipe and chalked it down as a winner. Here is how we managed to screw it up.

For starters we prepared a pot of rice and chopped up 3 carrots, 2 heads of broccoli, 2 handfuls of snow peas, 2 garlic cloves4 green onions, and searched in the cupboards for a couple handfuls of edamame beans and sesame oil.

Next we prepared a peanut sauce by combining roughly 1/2 cup of natural peanut butter (just peanuts), a knob of ginger which we grated, 1 Tbsp of soy sauce, and the juice of 1 orange and 1 lime.

About 10 minutes prior to the rice being done we heated some of the sesame oil in a pan and then gently fried up the veggies all at once, shy of the green onions. By continuously nibbling we decided on a extraction point of perfect crunchy softness, added the sauce, served it on rice and garnished it all with the green onions.

Hmmmmm ... belly-tickling goodness!!

The Five Bowl Roasted Chicken

Yikes this turned out good. It was hard to stop eating. A roasted chicken, potatoes, and leek tray. Definitely a weekend dish. We allowed ourselves two hours to get it on the table.

First we chopped up 5 potatoes and placed them in the first bowl with 2 lbs. of chicken breasts and drumsticks. We tossed them up with salt, pepper, cumin, and olive oil. Letting them marinate for 30 minutes while we warmed up the oven to 425F.

In the second bowl we mixed up 2 sliced leeks, the zest of 1 lemon, salt, pepper, and olive oil.

In the third bowl we mixed Greek yogurt, sour crème, herbs (dill, oregano, chives), 1 grated clove of garlic, salt, and pepper.

In the fourth "bowl" we washed 2 handful of arugula.

And in the fifth bowl we squeezed the juice of the previously zested lemon.

There. 5 bowls.

When the oven was hot we placed the chicken and tater mix onto a tray and roasted it for 15 minutes. Then we spread the leek over it and roasted it for another 30 minutes.

To serve we drizzled the lemon juice and the arugula over the tray. We let everybody load their plates and add the yogurt to their liking.


Roasted Broccoli Pasta

This was an absolute winner for a weekday eating. It took maybe 40 minutes or so.

First we turned the oven to 425F. Then we tossed 2 heads worth of broccoli florets onto a baking tray and seasoned them with cumin, salt, and pepper.

We stuck them into the oven for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, we cooked 1lb of pasta.

In a food processor we whizzed up 2 slices of stale bread, a handful of freshly shredded Parmesan, the zest of 1 lemon, salt, and pepper.
  
Then we tossed it all together: the cooked broccoli, the pasta, and the bread and cheese mixture. As well as a small container of ricotta cheese, and a couple of glugs of olive oil.

We broiled the heap of goodness for a few minutes to get a nice crispy crust going and dug in. Totally delicious.