Slow Cooker - Beans

We figured a smoked ham steak must be a southern thing.  You know. A big slice of meat with a bone in it. No idea. But we thought it definitely worth a try for our next slow cooker trial.

Here is what we did. We cut up the smoked ham steak, half a large onion, 3 sticks of celery, 3 carrots, and 3 peeled potatoes.

We tossed those and 2 cans navy beans, drained and rinsed, one quart of vegetable broth, a tablespoon of tomato paste, dried thyme, salt, and pepper into the slow cooker on low for 8hours+.

Before we ate we added a handful of baby spinach and found a loaf of yummy crusty bread. - YUM!

Cheese Cake - a Shot in the Dark

Under the protective cloak of night we gathered in the kitchen to secretively prepare Mama's birthday cheese cake for the next morning's traditional birthday-cake-breakfast.
Here is what we tried in the shallow beams of flash lights. And, oh my, did it turn out splendid.

First we wrapped a spring form pan in turkey size aluminum foil to make it water tight. 2 layers. No seams. No rips or punctures.

We preheated the oven to 350 F, whizzed up 15 Graham Crackers (roughly 225g) in a food processor, mixed in 2 tablespoons of sugar, a pinch of salt, and 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted.

All that got mixed by hand and pressed into the bottom of the form pan. We placed it into the oven for 10 minutes, removed it, and lowered the temp to 325F.

Then we whipped up 4 packs of cream cheese (about 900g) in a mixer until it looked smooth. A good 5 minutes.
Then we added 1 1/3 cup of sugar and whipped it for another 5 minutes.

Then we added one by one without stopping the mixer a pinch of salt, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 4 eggs, 2/3 cup of sour cream, and 2/3 cup of heavy whipping cream.

We placed the spring form pan into a roasting pan, the cheese mixture into the form pan and onto the crust, and the whole thing into the oven.
Then we ever so carefully filled the roasting pan with about an inch of boiling water. Making sure the form pan and in it, more importantly, the cake-to-be was staying dry.
We baked it for 1 1/2 hours.
To keep the top from cracking we turned off the oven and opened its door for an hour before we carefully lifted the cake, form and all, out of the water bed and into the fridge.

Yum. What a keeper. Mama showed up the next morning, dug in, and turned the clock by a year with a big grin from ear to ear.

Roasted Veggies and Chicken

For a quick prep on a lazy weekend we shoved some veggies and chicken into the oven.

We cleaned and chopped up as much broccoli, carrots, and sweet potatoes as seemed plenty for our hungry hearts.

We arranged them in neat piles around a few chicken breasts on a roasting pan, spread 2 chopped cloves of garlic, and sprinkled olive oil all over.

A little salt and pepper and off into the preheated oven at 400F for 40 minutes.

There was not a crumb left. The kids were fighting over the veggies. Girl Scout's honor.

Banana Bread

We gave it a go at another all American classic - banana bread. Perfectly good for using overripe bananas. For starters we turned the oven to 375F and frothed up 12 table spoons of butter with 1 cup of sugar (Now we do understand that this might not stack up to your health standards, but oh my was it yummy. We might substitute the sugar with a 1/4 cup of honey next time around).

Then Lucy added 2 eggs,

3 bananas, and 4 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream, mixing it all up.

Then we folded in 2 cups of flour as well as

1 teaspoon of baking soda and a small handful of chopped almonds (any nut would be good).

We spread the goodness over two 9 inch baking pans and shoved them into the oven for 25-30 minutes.

Look at it. Just unadulterated gobble it down and lick your fingers delight.

Slow Cooker - Split Pea Soup

"If you say one more time - ohh, it tastes just like it would back in Germany - we'll skip right to the ice cream!!"
But for real for real; this thing was off the shizzle. We put real ham hocks into it. For taste. Beat that!

Okay. But first we chopped up a whole bunch of stuff: 4 carrots (they don't have to be that colorful), half a red pepper, 2 sticks of celery, 1 whole big onion, 4 cloves of garlic, 2 bay leaves, and about 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves. All that and 2 ham hocks (1 is plenty) we placed into a slow cooker. 

We added 1 pound of split peas, salt, and pepper. We covered it with 2 quarts of vegetable broth and turned the slow cooker on low for 8+ hours.

Before we left for bigger and better things we chopped up a few beef franks and tossed them into a scolding hot cast iron pan for a short while. (If we can get our hands on good quality Vienna sausages, we'll use those.) Discarding the greasy juices we popped them into the fridge to add them later upon our return.

Check it out! Everybody dug in and fought for the best pieces. Perfect fall fodder for the masses.

We did remove the hog's ham hocks prior to eating. We might try it sometime with big chunks of bacon instead. Just to see how it might turn out.

Slow Cooker - Goulash

Now here is one to remember. A goulash by way of a slow cooker. Another step in the quest to finding 8 hour slow cooking ideas for that Time-Tugging-Tuesday of ours. Check it out:

We started by cutting up 2 pounds of good quality happy cow beef into chunks and searing it well in olive oil together with 8 slices of chopped up bacon.

We chopped up 1 whole big onion and 3 cloves of garlic. When the beef looked good we added first the onion for 5 to 8 minutes and then the garlic for a short bit.

Next we added about 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, red pepper spice, salt, and pepper.

After another minute we added 1 glass worth of red wine and let it cook away.

That gave us enough time to cut up 1 red pepper. 

All that we placed into the slow cooker and covered it with 1 quart of vegetable broth. We let it cook on low for 8 hours +.

To serve we offered creme fraiche, parsley, and some crusty bread. Voila! 

It was delicious. Despite the fact that a discussion broke out on what the 5 major food groups are. And that we were basically shoving down a big bowl of meat. Which Lena especially had no objection to.

Roasted Chicken

After three and a half hours of treacherously climbing through NC mountain ranges the girls demanded a hearty dinner. We obliged. We stuffed an entire chicken in the oven. 

A happy free range chicken that is. We filled it with 2 lemons, fresh bay leaves, rosemary, sage, and 3 cloves of garlic, unpeeled. We rubbed it all over with olive oil, salt, and pepper. We roasted it at 375F for 1 and 1/2 hours. Half way through we basted the bird with its juices and added more herbs and lemons to the pan.

My goodness! It was pure bliss. Lucy and Papa went for the legs, while the rest sliced off meat from the breast. When slicing became futile the forks came out and the bones were picked clean. Good eating. (To round it off we had made some mashed potatoes and carrots. But who cares. With a bird like that happiness ensues.)

Slow Cooker - Sloppy Joes

All right. Here is another Slow Cooker recipe. One that can be cooking for eight hours and be put on the table in seconds - Sloppy Joes.

It was quite simple and yes - sloppy. We browned 2 pounds of happy cow beef, placed it in the slow cooker and added a whole bunch of stuff. Namely: half a chopped onion, 1 chopped green pepper, 2 tablespoons mustard, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 can tomato sauce, half of that can worth of water, roughly one half cup of ketchup, a quarter cup of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, a little salt and pepper, and 1/8 cup of flour.
We turned the bad boy to low, turned to more pressing matters for about 8 to 9 hours and ate. 

To do so we got a bag of hamburger buns. The girls loved it!

Apple Fritters

Apple Fritters. Here we go:

In one bowl we mixed up 1 cup of flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as 2 tablespoons of sugar. In another 1 1/4 cups of almond milk and 1 egg.

Then we added the milk to the flour while whisking.

Next we cored and sliced up 4 apples.

Last we heated up coconut oil, slathered the apples in the batter and then fried them up till golden crispy.

Slow Cooker - Chili

Okay. Here is another attempt at this slow cooker business. Our unfounded reservations remain and so does our packed schedule and the hungry crowd. And, admittedly, this chili wasn't bad and truly ready to serve 8,9 hours later.

All we had to do in the morning was to fry or rather sear 1 pound of ground beef.

We chopped up 1 pepper, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 sticks of celery, and half an onion.

All this we mixed up in the slow cooker with 2 cans of red kidney beans, 1 can of canellini beans, 1 big can of crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, dried basil, dried oregano, and 1 of the small cans worth of water. We turned the beast to low for 8 hours +, went to school, work, gymnastics, etc., and ate.

A loaf of bread and Tabasco sauce added the right flair. Not bad. Right?!