Showing posts with label slow and low. Show all posts
Showing posts with label slow and low. Show all posts

Sunday, September 23, 2012

good sense

When I cook for the carnivore I obviously can't taste the food, so I have to rely on my other senses. I listen for the sizzle of the steak in the pan. I look at the browned skin on the chicken thighs. I feel the thick cut of the bacon. And finally, there is my sense of smell, which I used in this recipe. When I made these crockpot carnitas, my whole house smelled like a Mexican restaurant. I knew before the meat hit my man's lips that this recipe was going to be a repeat in out house.

Now, I should start out by saying that as my carnivore hubs pointed out to me, carnitas is traditionally made with pork. This recipe, which I found on this great blog - eat, live, run - called for beef and that is what I used. If you want to substitute pork I think you could. In fact, the original recipe called for flank steak, but I could only find a flat iron. I made a few other adjustments too. Here is what you will need to make this marvelous Mexican dish as I did:

1.5 lbs flat iron steak
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 small white onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red chili pepper, seeded, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Start by mixing the spices together in a small bowl. Then rub the mixture generously over the meat. Place the steak in the crockpot. Cover with the chopped onions and peppers (ours came from either our backyard or our CSA). Turn the heat on low and cook for eight hours. Shred the meat in the pot with two forks. How easy is that?

Serve on your favorite type of tortilla - flour, corn, or even whole wheat. I was lucky to get my carnivore to eat the peppers that had marinated in the meat juice all day, and that was only because he grew some of them. But, if you have a less veggie averse meat eater you can top your tacos with avocado, cilantro, salsa and lime juice.

You can almost taste it now just reading this, right?

menu ideas:
Since I didn't have to worry about the carnivore's main dish after I put it in the slow cooker after breakfast, I made my own soy crumble tacos. Mine were complete with avocados, tomatoes, and all the fixins. We also had grilled corn in the husks and seasoned black beans.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

beat the heat

The other day the temps here in Memphis dipped into the upper eighties. The carnivore and I looked at the forecast the day before and remarked on how nice it was going to be outside. Just imagine how pleasant it is going to feel we thought...but, after an hour or two of working in the yard the next day the carnivore looked at me and said, "Just cuz it feels moderately cool doesn't mean it isn't actually hot. It is still in the upper eighties." True.

And if you are like me (and many southerners out there) having a steamy hot kitchen on an already muggy day is no fun. This really is why we quick fry just about anything. So, when presented with a half of a chicken in our recent meat CSA, I weighed the options of either baking it in the oven for an hour or so (and thus also heating my house several degrees) or tossing it in the crock pot. No brainer. I'll take the cooler and set-it-and forget-it version any day.

Simply drizzle the bottom of the pot with olive oil. Then add in in half a diced white onion. Season your chicken with a mixture of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder and celery salt (just a dusting of each. Place the chicken in the pot skin side up so the fat from the skin can flavor everything as it cooks. Surround the bird with carrots and top with a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. Cover and cook on low four 4-6 hours. The chicken should easily pull apart for serving along side the veggies.

I wish I had a picture of the finished product for you, but the carnivore was ravenous from his yard work and got to it before I could even think to grab the camera. He usually knows better, having lived with a food blogger for awhile now. What can I say? Maybe the heat got to his brain...or maybe the chicken just smelled too good.

menu ideas:
On the night the carnivore had this, I also had carrots that I steamed separately and we shared buttered english peas as well. I had a fake chicken patty for my main course.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

super bowl

Sometimes there is nothing more comforting than a big bowl of stew for dinner. Now, if your carnivore is anything like mine, he may wonder what you are having for dinner after the soup appetizer, but I promise you can beef it up (pun intended) enough to fill up anyone. This bowl of soup is simply super.

To make these two stews gather these ingredients:
Two quarts of broth, at least one veggie
1 package of stew beef
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
2 bags of frozen mixed veggies
2 carrots peeled and diced
2 small yukon gold potatoes, diced
1/2 large white onion, finely diced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 can of white beans
2 tblsp of olive oil
salt and pepper
italian seasonings
1 lb of elbow pasta

Start by with either two crockpots, or two large pots, or one of each. Put the heat or flame on low. Add in 1 tblsp of oil to each. Add the beef into one with some salt and pepper. Next add half of the onions in each. In the vegetarian one add in the celery (you can also add this to the carnivore pot if your guy will go for it). Next add in the broth and  frozen veggies to both. My hubs like the plain mix with green beans and peas, I like the more exotic one with okra and lima beans. Pick what works for your family. (It is all more veggies than my carnivore would normally eat.) Then pour half of the can of tomato sauce in each. In the veggie pot, add the white beans for protein. Then add in the fresh carrot and potato to each. Salt, pepper and season both. I like italian seasonings like oregano and garlic, but you can add just about anything that appeals to you. Stir each (with separate spoons) and cover. Let cook for several hours - til the veggies are fork tender. In a separate pot boil salted water and cook elbow mac according to package. When you are ready to eat, put a bit of pasta in a bowl and then top with the stew. Eat while steaming hot.

The great thing about these stews is not only can you set one or both up in a crock pot at the start of the day and forget about it, but you can also freeze your leftovers (there will be plenty). Simply defrost and reheat over a low flame or in the microwave whenever you need a quick meal. One tip though, don't add in the pasta til you are ready to eat. Storing it in with the rest of the goodies will lead to all your broth disappearing and your pasta growing to gargantuan size.

Humble and hearty, this stew will have you coming back for more. Hope you enjoy!

P.S. I am entering this in the Charity Souper Bowl in honor of Miss Kitty

Monday, October 4, 2010


As I have told you, I recently discovered my slow cooker. This whole set it and forget it world is a very new and exciting thing for me. With just a bit of planning on days when I know I am going to have a crazy afternoon, I can come home to a ready made meal for me and the carnivore. Just the other day I made this real quick ravioli because I was taking our little guy to his check up late in the afternoon. I knew between the doctor visit and traffic I would be wiped out by the time we got home. So, I set up this simple meal and had it ready to go when we got back. I'm calling it Snooki because its easy and Italian...ha!

For this recipe you will need the following:
1 bag of frozen cheese ravioli 
1 16oz can of organic tomato sauce
1 16oz can of organic diced tomatoes
2 tblsp of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and diced
1/4 cup of grated parmesan
Italian seasoning (basil, parsley, oregano) 
Kosher salt & freshly cracked pepper
1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese
Fresh basil (optional)

First, let me say I recommend going to your local Italian shop and getting the good stuff when it comes to the ravioli. It just tastes better. Plus, you get to support your local foodie establishments. Also, if you get a cheese and spinach variety you are sneaking one more veggie into your carnivore. 

So, to make this dish, start by turning your slow cooker on low. Add in the oil and garlic. Next add in the tomato sauce and the diced tomatoes. Season the mixture with Italian spices. I like to pick fresh herbs from my garden, but dried will do. Just remember you need less. We like a lot of basil in my house so I add a lot to my sauce but you can do whatever. Stir in the parmesan along with a bit of salt and pepper. Put in the ravioli and coat them thoroughly with the sauce. Let this cook for at least four hours. Then add in the mozzarella, because more cheese is always a plus in my book. Stir it in and continue to cook for another ten minutes or until it melts. Serve with a bit of freshly chopped basil if you have it on hand.

The results are fabulous saucy gooey good! And it takes hardly any time at all. Who doesn't need that on a hectic day? So whether you live on the Jersey Shore or not, this easy Italian dish is sure to hit the spot.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

set it and forget it

So like many of you I have a slow cooker that takes up a lot of space in my cabinet, but rarely makes an appearance on my counter top. Sometimes I even forget it is in there. Don't get me wrong, I have used it. But, I will admit it has always been for things like Rotel dip or bar-b-que cocktail weenies. And yes, I know you can make everything from breakfast to dessert in it - I just haven't. Well, nevermore...

As I have mentioned before I do cook meat for the carnivore. He has made his dietary choices and I have made mine. So, the other night when I was craving my spectacular spinach patties (that he wouldn't touch), I crawled on my step ladder and got that slow cooker out of that top cabinet to make my meat eater this really easy roast.

To make three servings you will need:
A small beef roast, about 2lbs.
1 cup of veggie broth
1 package of dried onion soup
3 cloves or garlic, peeled
1 large stem of rosemary
1 tblsp of olive oil
salt & pepper

Start by dusting off your crock pot - seriously, rinse it off if its been in the cabinet for awhile. Plug it in and turn it on low. Add in the oil and the garlic. Salt and pepper the roast. Place the broth and onion soup in the pot. Stir until mixed. Add in the roast and use a spoon to coat it with some of the liquid. Finally, top if with the rosemary stem. Cover and let it cook at least six hours.

Can I even tell you how fantastic my whole house smelled? The carnivore was salivating when he hit the door. And when I removed the roast, sliced it and served it with a bit of the juices - he could barely wait to dig in. Bonus - all I had to do was set it and forget it. More time to mix up and make those spinach patties for me!
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