About Food

Fun and tested family friendly recipes and new food finds.

Slow Cooker fun for busy moms

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Preparing dinner after a long hard day is not an easy task.

The biggest complaint I hear from most mothers is trying to decide what to make.  The second largest complaint is finding recipes that are quick and not too complicated.

In comes the slow cooker.  I know that not all things taste great in a slow cooker, but no one says that you need to use it on a daily basis.

Once or twice a week is suffice and a great help on those extremely over scheduled afternoons.

 

I went on a little internet search and found some interesting recipes that I thought I’d share with you.

I plan on trying these recipes out over the next couple of weeks and will let you all know what I think (or should I say, what the boys think as I’m cooking mainly for them. I can survive on chips and chocolate)!

If any of you try them out, let me know your thoughts.

 

Here is what I found:

 

To die for crock pot roast recipe on www.Food.com

The initial photos and the reviews seem quite fantastic.  My only issue are all of those “packets” of dressings and sauces that it calls for.  I just keep thinking “sodium, sodium, sodium.”  But I guess when desperate to have a roast on the table when time is an issue, sodium can step aside once in awhile.  Based on the reviews,  it’s well worth a shot at trying.

 

 

 

 

Apricot Chicken on About.com – BUSY COOKS

I love apricots and I love chicken.  So far in all of my crock pot experiences, chicken is not always the ideal meat.  Yet this recipe had me taking a double take.  The opening paragraph is a little misleading as it states that it only calls for 4 ingredients (every busy moms dream) however when reading the recipe it doesn’t take long to realize that it’s more like 6 or 7.  That being said, the instructions are pretty clear and the reviews are very positive.  I’m definitely going to try this one out.

 

 

Slow cooker/crock pot Vegetable beef soup recipe on Cully’s Kitchen

Now this is something that is up my alley.  The ingredients are many but  real foods (like meat and potatoes mmmmm).  Also, lots of great photos to help you out!

I’m also glad I came across this food blog as this blogger Cully seems to be onto something …..

 

 

 

 

So happy Crock cooking people.  I’m off to try my new slow cooker.

If you  have any quick recipes to share, do send them over!

 

 

Cookie Madness!

I haven’t written about food in awhile and I know that I should! It’s just with my new found high blood pressure (no shock there) I find myself having to be even more cautious of how careful I am with my food.  This is particularly annoying as I’m one of those people that loves to cook (yet more importantly, loves to eat).

I participate in a cookie exchange every year with my book club and absolutely love it. The cookies are a fantastic part of it all but the camaraderie outsmarts the sweetest cookie by far. Although I have a nice collection of cookie recipes, I can never have enough.  I am completely stumped as to what to make this year.  I am searching for something quite easy and quick but something that stands on its own (no pun intended) and is quite simply awesome.  I’m in search for the ultimate cookie.

Do you have that cookie????

Oh my God Spaghetti Sauce Discovery (not for those on a diet)

I just discovered a nice blend of things to throw into my tomato purée.  I love tomatoes on their own, but most people are accustomed to a little extra something-something in their spaghetti sauce.  Having an Italian husband, sauce in a jar is a no-no.  I’m really spoiled as I receive beautiful jars of homemade tomato purée donated to me by my incredible parents-in-law every year.  For those of you, who aren’t this fortunate, use a tomato purée (usually sold in glass jars) or a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes.  No pre-seasoned sauce for this please.

 

I love a nice glass of Porto wine once in awhile so I usually have a bottle floating around somewhere in my home.    For those who don’t particularly care for Porto (many find it too sweet) understand that this is a wonderful wine to cook with.  If you plan on using it for cooking, buy a decent one but it doesn’t have to be expensive or a particular brand.  Alcohol cooks out when heated, so no worry about anybody getting drunk on their spaghetti.

 

The next addition is something that I just thought I’d add for kicks.  Maybe some of you have already tried this, but this is the first time that I thought of doing this: Montreal Steak spice!  Adding this is really the kicker in this recipe.  This may not be a good idea if feeding sauce to the real little ones as many parents like to hold off on too many spices too soon.  So in all honesty, as this sauce is literally done in less than 20 minutes, I would whip up something else for the tiny one that day!  You can double up on this sauce and freeze half for another time.  This also holds well in the fridge for a good 4 days.

 

My husband refuses to eat any pasta that isn’t “brown”.  New health kick and I totally agree, however I just had to use some artisan pasta for this and unfortunately, all I have found so far are traditional semolina types.  I used a meaty cavatelli noodle.  It captured the sauce perfectly.

 

Last but not least, you’ll need two items to mommy-fy this recipe.  Good Parmigiano cheese and a jar of hot peppers IN OIL!  Again, spoiled here, I received the most amazing peppers from the kitchen of my sweet friend Athina Salvatore!  I am hoping that she will gladly provide me with her recipe (or even better, continue to spoil me with her gracious jars)!

 

Oh my God Spaghetti Sauce Discovery (not for those on a diet)
1 tbsp Olive Oil (ah, what the heck….up this to minimum 1/8 of a cup!)
3 cloves of garlic chopped or 1 tsp of garlic powder (feel free to up this amount if you are a garlic fan)
1 tbsp Montreal Steak Spice or any Steak spice mix
2 cups button mushrooms cut into quarters (nice, big, almost whole and meaty)!
½ cup Port Wine
1 28 oz can or jar of puréed tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or fresh basil (Optional)

•    Using a stove-top stock pot, heat oil and add:  Garlic (or garlic powder) and steak spice
•    Sauté approximately 2 minutes
•    Add Mushrooms and coat well in Olive oil, garlic and steak spice mixture!
•    See and smell it SIZZLE!  As it starts to really heat up, add the Port wine!
•    Stir well, blending all those flavours.  Add the crushed/puréed tomatoes
•    Bring to a rapid boil (Watch the splashing! That could be LETHAL) and reduce heat.
•    Add chopped herbs and simmer for another 5 minutes.
•    Serve HOT on pasta, top with nice oily hot peppers and sprinkle with freshly grated parmigiano cheese!

 

Add a tasty and colorful Salad, a dry bottle of red wine and as long as you’re at it (not caring about calories today that is) a long toasted baguette à la garlic bread style.

Grelot and Sweet Potato Jamboree!

 Grelot and Sweet Potato Jamboree!

Potatoes are something most children enjoy.  Sweet potatoes are known to be a staple item in most baby food products.

This nifty recipe brings both types of potatoes together, tiny grelot and good old yams, offering a wonderful richness and comfort.  If grelot potatoes are not available, Yukon gold or new potatoes are a nice alternative.

I begin with cooking the Grelot potatoes and add the yams/sweet potatoes 20 minutes later as these tend to cook quicker.   Many people who are not accustomed to using ginger in their food may decide to omit this item from the recipe.  I urge you not to.  The ginger gives a hit of zest to the dish that is fantastic and not overwhelming at all.  The flavors are nicely balanced and bring out the sweetness of the yams/sweet potatoes.  Don’t use the powdered ginger, only fresh ginger for this recipe.  I add fresh spinach to the dish at the very end to give it a nice splash of green and added iron.  This is entirely up to you.  This recipe calls for no added salt. As the chicken stock has its fair share of sodium, adding extra salt is to your discretion.

This is a side dish that is best served with a nice meat choice. Although I have adopted a more vegetarian based diet myself, I would probably serve this with succulent roast pork or as a Thanksgiving Day side dish with turkey.  These potatoes can be easily puréed for the very little ones.  This is a true fall recipe that is both easy to make and easy to serve.  This dish can be made in a slow cooker.

INGREDIENTS:

1 onion chopped
3-4 cloves garlic chopped
1 inch piece of FRESH ginger peeled and sliced in half (basically whole.  Do not chop into the dish)
Approximately 10 grelot potatoes cut in half.  With the peel!
1 cup chicken stock
2 large sweet potatoes (yams) peeled cut into 1 inch cubes
2 cups Fresh baby spinach sliced in thin strips

 

INSTRUCTIONS:


•    In a sauté pan, add olive oil and sauté onion, garlic and ginger.  2-3 minutes.
•    Add grelot potatoes, sauté for 5 minutes.
•    Transfer to a roasting dish with a cover (a corning ware type of casserole dish with lid)
•    Add chicken stock
•    Bake at 375 for 20 minutes
•    Add Yams, stir well and continue to bake for another 20 minutes or until potatoes (both grelot and yams) are easily pierced with a fork.
Stir in spinach.  Spinach will wilt on its own.
Remove ginger pieces (discard).

 

***TIPS***
Mommyfied:  Add a sprinkle of hot peppers!  Maybe some salt?  Freshly ground black pepper!
Babyfied:  Great puréed!
Toddlerfied:  Serve as is! Sprinkle with some cheddar for the cheese lovers???

 

***Replacements***
Yukon gold, new potatoes:  Yukon gold and new potatoes are delicious with their skins on providing extra vitamins and less work for mommy as there is no peeling.  As these potatoes are often twice to three times larger than the little grelots, cut them into 1” cubes as the yams/sweet potato.  Use approximately 4 whole potatoes.