Monday, September 19, 2011

How to use leftover smoked Tri Tip

My husband smoked this weekend...  fabulous tri tip in his smoker. He had soaked it in teriyaki sauce overnight. O.M.G. I think it was my favorite one yet, since he started smoking meats about six years ago (I am pretty sure it all started when we lived in Nevada).

Anyway, surprisingly, we had leftovers! He gave me permission to use the meat however I wanted to in dinners this week. First thing that came to my mind was crockpot... Stroganoff... 'cause let's face it, stroganoff with ground beef gets boring, simple and fast, but boring. However, I went to the pantry on my break from work (I work as a transcriptionist from home) and found a single packet of "HOT" chili mix. Jackpot!

So I diced up the meat, added 3 quarts of canned tomatoes to dilute the heat in the seasoning, the seasoning packet, stirred up and turned the crockpot on low. I didn't even set the timer. About 4:00pm this afternoon I added cornstarch to thicken the chili. Oh, I also had my son add some fresh tomatoes from the garden. *NOTE* do not add cornstarch directly to the hot soup, it will clump. Mix the cornstarch with cold water until all clumps are gone and stir it into the hot liquid. I turned the crockpot up to high for about 30 minutes so that he cornstarch would thicken.

Serving homemade cornbread with Texas Roadhouse Cinnamon Honey Butter!

I <3 my crockpot!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I am flattered!

The Relief Society in my ward has asked me to teach a crockpot class for Super Saturday in October. So it's weighing on my mind what I should do. My objective is to show that crockpot cooking is not intimidating and to share conversion from oven-baking to crockpot cooking so that one can still make their favorite recipes.

So I guess I better get cracking... Stay tuned for the plan...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Wrong Cut of Meat

This is just a quick note to say that pork rib tips are not the greatest piece of meat in the world...

It probably doesn't help that my family is getting sick one by one, and I can feel it trying to kick me down...

So I really like the gaucho bbq sauce that my parents make, but it didn't even seem right today...

A flop in the cockpit today :-/
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Friday, July 1, 2011

In Training.... Again

I took time off after my 5K the end of April and used every excuse under the sun to not start running again (not that I ever was a runner... ever).

Why start again now? In my cleaning sprees lately (decluttering, dejunking, pre-moving/pre-packing cleaning) I came across a flyer for another race. A 6K. I don't know why I think I can run farther when I had to walk half of my last race. But I find myself setting the goal and setting up a training plan. Ha!

So today was a 20-minute workout, 10 of which I had to run... I did it! Tomorrow is longer...

My point? Well, if nothing else I will be in better shape. I have nagging thoughts that I need to be in shape physically and spuritually real soon.

So I am also training by listening to the New Testament recordings and need to get back to our family Book of Mormon reading in the mornings. Something tells me it's really important... but try telling that to kids...

So we pray, and hope that our family is getting it, as little as it might be at this time. It's important. We take it a little bit at a time so we can be prepared for our 1K, 1 mile, 3K, 5K, 6K, whatever it is for us spiritually.
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EZiest Baked Potatoes in the Crockpot!

Olive oil (or Canola oil)

1. Scrub potatoes
2. Poke potatoes - we don't want any exploding
3. Rub oil of choice on skins - I like my skins soft so I can eat it
4. Wrap in foil
5. Place in crockpot on high 3-4 hours or low 6-8 hours.
6. Serve as usual with favorite toppings or set aside to use another day like for potato salad!

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Marinated Chicken

I have time for a quick post...

We have a long-time friend, who has since passed on, who I think came up with this recipe made famous at the Manti Pageant in Utah, only he used turkey breasts and grilled the turkey. Oh, heavenly...

Well, I like my crockpot, and the recipe is in my trusty crockpot cookbook by Debbie Harman.

But here is my twist because I ran out of soy sauce, I don't know, a week or two, or three weeks ago, and haven't replaced it!

So I used (eyeballed):

1 1/2 to 2 cups lemon-lime soda pop (soda, pop, soda pop, coke, depends on where you live, or where you've lived)
1/4 to 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce (I was pouring directly from the bottle)
1/4 cup olive oil (again, eyeballing, just drizzled it over my chicken in the marinade container)
3-4 chicken breasts

I buy frozen chicken breasts with no bones or skins. I could probably save some money if I wanted to, but these days I just don't have time to "prep."

So everything sat in the container for a couple hours, but then I thought I had better get it into the crockpot so we have something to eat this evening. I finished my rush files this morning, but I still have four regular files to finish before 5:00, hence the love of my crockpot...

**Dump the chicken and the marinade ALL in the crockpot and set on high for 3-4 hours.

I may or may not set the rice in my rice cooker to finish at 5:00... I have two really cool methods, fool proof - microwave in my Pampered Chef rice cooker or my fancy schmancy rice cooker (at the moment I have no clue what the brand is, but it has a "keep warm" setting). Spoiled, I know. And since I posted this originally, someone pointed out that I didn't say whether or not to include all the marinade (the two-star line above is new), I pulled out my rice cooker, Aroma brand, and followed the directions for my rice.

I'll dress up some green beans for a side and voila... dinner at 5:00!

Incidentally, I am a little anxious today as well because my oldest is going on a field trip to the school he will attend next year, middle school... I just want be the best mom I can be and teach him to be the best man he can be.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Creamy Chicken and Rice

The goal was Creamy Chicken and Rice from Debbie Harman's "Slow-Cooker Cookbook" on page 49. The recipe is simple enough and I thought with my experience in the kitchen as a mom, that it would be a piece of cake.

I could not have been more wrong!

We have a habit of eating dinner around 5 o'clock because of various sports practices since our oldest was, I dunno, six or seven. IMHO (in my humble opinion) evenings are crazy anyway, but why would you have practice AT dinnertime? Then again, why do we put our kids in these extracurricular activities?

I've said this before, I'll say it again, my crockpot is my best friend in the kitchen! But the dish that was supposed to take three hours on HIGH ended up taking five hours on HIGH!

After three hours the rice wasn't cooked. Nothing worse than uncooked rice in a meal that has rice! (There are probably worse things in life, but at the moment, there's nothing worse!)

So luckily I had made some jam-filled muffins using the Blueberry Muffin recipe on page 122 in my "Hummingbird Bakery" cookbook. Delish! (and another post) And I had some leftovers that I directed the older kids to heat up and serve while I was gone visiting teaching (sharing an uplifting message and checking on ladies I have been assigned to each month -- a church assignment).

I turned the crockpot back on for an hour and added more water, and left. This is after I had already let it go over an hour the original time.
*SIGH* the verdict: edible, but not my best creation in the kitchen. While not the worst, I will have to think about doing that one again.

My version of Creamy Chicken and Rice

4 small chicken breasts
1-1/2 C rice (uncooked)
1/2 tsp salt
1 lg can cream of chicken soup
1-1/2 C sour cream
2 C milk
16 oz frozen broccoli

And then I also added Pampered Chef's Jamaican Rub seasoning... I like that flavor...

Spray crock insert with olive oil. Place chicken in crock. Pour uncooked rice over chicken breasts. Sprinkle salt over rice. Spread soups, sour cream and milk over the top. Cover and cook on HIGH 3 hours or LOW 6 hours. Stir chicken to break into smaller parts. The original recipe says to add the broccoli afterwards and cook on HIGH for 30 more minutes. (That may be where my folly lies. I added the broccoli with everything else.)

Anyway, once I finally had COOKED rice I served it with sharp cheddar cheese sprinkled on top.

My husband liked it! Or at least, he said it was yummy. Next time I will follow the directions to a T.

Monday, February 14, 2011

To Cure My Family

I am making homemade chicken noodle soup to boot out these sick germs that we've been hosting for a week or so. I realize that my friends have had it much worse, but I just can't deal with it any longer. I work full time at home being a mom and transcribing insurance claim interviews.

And I haven't gotten the hang of taking pictures to document my moves yet, so this is another one without pictures.

I chopped 2 onions using my mandolin slicer. I peeled the dry skins off and then sliced the onions almost the whole way down in one direction. Then, using the guard, I pushed the onion across the mandolin with the "chopping" blade so that it cut little squarish pieces. VOILA! And hardly any tears from onions!

Next I threw in a bag of frozen carrots. I think I may have had some carrots in the fridge, and I try to use the frozen stuff for emergencies, but I was just not in the mood to slice carrots this morning.

I added some really thick chicken gravy leftovers from the fridge, just to use it up, and added 6 cups of water. I will probably end up putting in some "better than bouillon" chicken-flavored paste later.

Threw in 4 smallish frozen chicken breasts (I am cooking this on high).

Added some fresh cracked pepper, enough to see that I had added it; about 1 tsp red pepper flakes; 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper; about 4 sprigs of dried rosemary crushed in my hands after pulling the leaves off the twig (that was actually kind of fun/therapeutic); 1/2 tsp cumin; and a little bit of grated nutmeg as I had no allspice (my friend gave me a real nutmeg and I used my grater/zester that I got for Christmas and haven't ever used!).

*Don't forget the noodles! Time allowing, I will make a quick batch of homemade noodles to drop in at the end. They taste so much better than store-bought egg noodles! I'll let you know a recipe if I do that...

Set the crockpot on high and timer for 4 hours! Here it almost 30 minutes later and I'm already starting to get the first smells wafting through my house! So excited!

I did adapt this recipe from "Best Chicken Soup for Colds and Flu" found at Best Chicken Soup for Colds and Flu.

I'll be serving this with homemade French bread not made by me. But I'm going to see if I can find the recipe she used!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dinner Experiment with HONEY

I started with:

1/2 pkg bacon and cut it into little strips so that it would brown more quickly and crumble perfectly, took the bacon out and placed it on napkins (I didn't have any paper towels) to drain the excess fat;
1# ground turkey browned in the bacon grease - it pretty much sopped it all up,but the flavor was great!
1/2 pkg mushrooms washed and I separated the stems from the buttons and tossed them into the *turkey;
Worcestershire sauce drizzled over the meat until the aroma pierced my nose (love Worcestershire, so this is a taste thing, I would guess);
Honey drizzled across the top of the meat, but sparingly, I didn't want it to be too sweet;
Rosemary (from the co-op that dried by itself in my pantry!) leaves off 2 "twigs" and crumbled them over the meat and then added the bacon back in.

I just let it simmer in the sauce and served with white rice that was steamed in with green onions in chicken broth.  I used my amazing rice cooker that keeps the rice warm after it's done cooking, it even has a timer! So easy!

*Side note: My oldest claims to really NOT like mushrooms, like his Aunt Bob, but guess what! Even he liked these mushrooms that sat in the Worcestershire sauce! HA!

Okay, so my kids are not normal. They like Brussels sprouts over green beans! They've been bugging me to get asparagus. Got some from co-op this last time, so I set out to find something yummy... Well, I decided I would use the "Golden Crusted Brussels Sprouts" recipe but used the asparagus instead, and then I drizzled again! HONEY! I was in the mood for honey, I guess.


So here it is:

1 pound asparagus, washed and the(very small) woody ends chopped off, but leave the leaves sauteed in olive oil (I feel like I need to call it "EVOO" like Rachel Ray!);
Sprinkle a little salt and pepper (here I would have used coarse sea salt if I had had some, but I was out, so I used table sea salt);
And at the end, drizzled the honey and "tossed" all the asparagus so it was all covered.

Kids ate everything on their plates, so I deem this experiment a SUCCESS!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Orange Tortilla Soup

So I forgot to take pictures along the way. Forgive me. I have never been super great at journaling.

I have been following several blogs during the past year or so, and this is the recipe I made for our dinner today, being Soup Day, January 26, 2011.

I did tweak the recipe for the things that I had in my pantry. For example, I used a quart of home-canned tomatoes, some liquid drained and I put them in the blender - I almost left them whole. And I did not have any cilantro in the house. Oh, and I used my crock pot!

I sautéed the vegetables in the fry pan first, as directed. I put my liquids in my crock pot instead of a stock pot. I added my vegetables, turned to the crock pot to low and went to work. Well, my work station is in the next room. I transcribe digital audio files of recorded insurance claim interviews. The two little ones played with Legos and dolls while I worked for 45 minutes.

When I was done, I put the chicken in the same fry pan with the OJ and spices it had been marinating in and decided it was time for a nap for my 2yo. Near disaster! I forgot about the chicken on the stove and decided to take care of some laundry. The OJ burned, but the chicken was salvageable. In fact, it was downright tasty!

Okay, I think I'm getting a little ahead of myself...

Let me start at the beginning.

1) I have a mandolin slicer. I can do Julienne slices, french fry cuts, thin slice, thick slice, chopped, it was cool! I used all 3 cutting inserts that I own! I diced the onion (cut the onion one way and then sent it through the mandolin slicer the other direction); I sliced the celery; I Julienned the carrots after I peeled them.

2) I chopped my own garlic (don't have a garlic press - I had one once upon a time when we were first married, but I never used it so I gave it away).

3) I use Better Than Bouillon chicken base (yes, it has some hydrolyzed soy protein - not a fan of soy) to make my chicken broth - did 3 cups water, so 1 TBS chicken base.

4) I used 1 qt home-canned tomatoes after draining some of the liquid and putting it in the blender and basically getting rid of any chunks, instead of tomato sauce and water.

5) Used store-brand OJ and made it up for normal drinking, and used 2 cups.

6) Added the chicken broth, OJ and tomatoes to the crock pot and turned it on low, then added the vegetables after sautéing them first.

7) I marinated frozen chicken breasts in OJ and Pampered Chef Jamaican Jerk Rub and then cooked the chicken in the same. Then I diced the chicken and put it in the soup.

8) Turned the crock pot to keep warm and added some cumin for a little more flavor as I did not use any taco seasoning mix with my chicken.

The result, well, I love the taste! I plan to serve tortilla chips and sour cream and a little cheese, maybe olives... I hope the kids like it! They are the final judges!

So next time I will have pictures to go along with my post... MAYBE! 
Well, my presence is here, but the time is not.  I must go tend to my little ones. I shall return soon to get this thing going!