Chicken Sausage with Bell Peppers & Spaghetti

Chicken Sausage Sauce
Chicken Sausage Sauce

Welcome back to me & the slow cooker. Definitely been a while, but I aim to do a lot more posts. The other item that I need to address is my food photography.

There is some sort of art to this & I’m going to do my best to make the dishes appear to be more appetizing. In the past I’ve just went for the “whatever” mode & am going to try to change my ways after this post.

Picked up some chicken sausages via my favorite store display “Managers Special”. Had some whole wheat pasta that needed to be removed from cabinet – so begins the newest slow cooker dish.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 mild Italian chicken sausage links (prefer hot, but this is was a $1.43 “managers special”), sliced at 1 3/4″
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into 2 to 3 inch long strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into 2 to 3 inch long strips
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced into slivers
  • 1 yellow onion, thin sliced & halved
  • 8oz of Agaricus bisporus (crimini) mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 sm can (14oz) can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 lg can spaghetti sauce (just got the cheap stuff)
  • 1 Tbsp of dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 pkg spaghetti

Make it:

offensive dish
offensive dish picture

Saute the peppers, garlic & onion until semi-soft. Throw the sliced sausage in there until just browned – doesn’t need to be cooked thoroughly as the slow cooker will do the rest of the work.

Throw ingredients in crock (besides spaghetti – don’t be stupid!) & set for 8 hrs.

Just before ready to eat cook spaghetti per instructions on the box.

Put pasta on plate, pour some stuff from crock over it & serve with a baguette.

Experience: this was quite good – tons of flavor & just the right amount of sausage to sauce ratio.

A ton of leftover sauce – frugal as I am, threw that in a freezer bag for later use.

Done, P.

White Bean & Chicken Stew

White Bean Stew
White Bean Stew

I haven’t crocked as much as I should, since receiving a dutch oven… hard to say, but enjoy that one too. Wish we could have a ménage à trois w/ me, crock & dutch oven – damn, that is so sexy. Ok, done with the dream sequence (keep going if you aren’t finished).

Here is a quick & easy white bean stew (still haven’t matched the dutch oven version I did a bit ago, dammit).

Fixin’s:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper (more if you like the heat)
1 pound boneless skinless chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans (white beans)
1 cup canned chicken broth
1 7-ounce can diced green chilies
2 handfuls of cut up kale
1 cup Chopped fresh cilantro (throw on top at end)

White Bean Stew #2
White Bean Stew #2

Make it happen:

  • throw chicken in crock
  • saute onion & garlic & put on top of chicken
  • mix cumin, oregano, red pepper, chilies & chic broth together then pour over
  • add the beans & kale at half way mark (4hrs) if possible

Cook:

  • Set crock to 8 hrs
  • as mentioned add beans/greens @ 4hr mark if possible – you don’t want that shit soggy!

Done:

  • Put some diced up cilantro on top of that delicious dish!

End result was quite pleasing. Although, if I had it to do again – would love to cook whole chicken a day ahead & then add 1/2 the chicken meat to crock at the 4hr mark – seems like a lot of work, screw that.

White Bean Side Dish
White Bean Side Dish

For a side dish, I made baked soy sauce brussels sprouts w/ pine nuts – I love greens (yum, btw). For your info – I was the weird kid that took leftover spinach at school lunch. Remember that odd pizza with the cornmeal at the bottom – loved it!

Crock out, P.

#chicken, #crock, #brussel, #schoolpizza

Fajitas Via Crock

Fajitas
Fajitas

So I’m going the way of the Paleo eating & cutting out some of the gluten (I know a bit trendy), but I need to lose a tire size or two for my Costa Rica vacation @ end of Jan. along with an nice back waxing.

This dish is pretty darn easy & if you’re able to stick around to put the veggies in at the half way mark to keep them crispier. A big plus is that you can use the food in a few different ways – put it in omelet, eat out of a bowl or throw it on a tortilla.

The trick to this is time cooked & slicing the meat pretty thin.

Stuff:

  • 2 lbs boneless sirloin or flank (sirloin is cheaper) – slice 1/8″ thick
  • 1 whole lemon, juiced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tblsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tblsp pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 1 cup cilantro, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 3 chipolte peppers w/ sauce, blend in mixer/processed

Crock it:

  • Put meat in crock
  • Mix lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, chili powder, jalapeño, cilantro & chipolte together – then stir in w/ the meat
  • Cover with onion & diced tomatoes.
  • Set on LOW for 6hrs – at the 3hr mark – add the bell peppers (doing so keeps them from getting too mushy)

Great crock & comes out with a lot of flavor. Depending on the meat choice – flank vs. sirloin – the meat will either stay together or fall apart (sirloin tends to fall apart). Also, if you don’t like the heat – use 1/2 the chipolte & 1/2 the jalapeño.

Sides: Guacamole, cheddar cheese, sour cream, tortillas or whatever else you think is proper.

I made this to keep on hand for quick easy meals & throw some guacamole on top for a good time.

*Sorry for un-meal photo, but was just cooking to eat later.

Vivir felizmente.

Moroccan Beef & Parsnips

Moroccan Beef & Parsnips
Moroccan Beef & Parsnips

Forgot to publish this earlier – did this one a couple weeks ago!

Felt like doing something a bit different & out of my wheelhouse taste wise. Recipe called for a beef brisket, but damn that piece of meat is super expensive & wasn’t small enough. I should have thought ahead & went to my local butcher & checked with them, alas, I am quite lazy & did not.

Hmmm, apricots with meat. This is where it gets iffy for me, but I know a lot of folks enjoy the sweet & savory. Really trying to expand my palette & attempt new items in my cooking.

Here goes:

  • 1 large onion, sliced into wedges
  • 2 parsnips, chopped
  • 2 lbs boneless beef brisket (too expensive so I just used a pot roast)
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup whole dried apricot

Add the onion & parsnips to crock (I never add the veggies to the bottom, they just get too mushy & I usually add at about 1/2 way thru time wise, but didn’t this time).

Mix coriander, cumin, cinnamon, garlic & nutmeg together then rub into the meat. Place meat in the crock. Mix the wine, broth & honey together & pour over the meat & veggies.

Add the apricots around the meat & on top of the veggies.

Set on LOW for 6hrs.

Well… not too bad, but as mentioned not my thing. The parsnips, onion & apricots made a nice side to the meat. Weird, usually when I cook the meat in some liquid the meat just falls apart, but this time it was a tad dry – good taste to meat though.

Not sure I’d make it again, yet is always fun to experiment & try something new.

Curry Tomato/Shrimp Soup

curry tomato
Curry Tomato & Shrimp

I’ve done another tomato soup in the blog, but this one cut out the dairy & replaced with coconut milk – and adding a bit of spice. Trying to do a few more soups in my crock quest & this one did not disappoint (except for one item, revealed later).

Pretty darn simple & really not a ton of ingredients compared to some of the crocks that I do – I love that.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans (14oz ones) diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can of coconut milk.
  • 3 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large yellow/red pepper cut into strips (I used sliced fire roasted in jar)
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut large chunks of florets – try to keep as much of stem as possible
  • 1 bunch of chopped green onions (keep the green tops for garnish)
  • 1 cup of chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 pound uncooked shrimp (thawed)

Cook it:

  • Set on LOW for 6hrs, but heres the trick for nice veggies… put the first 5 ingredients in for 3hrs – then at the 1/2 way mark put in the cauliflower, green onion, carrots & celery.
  • 10-15 mins before the time is up, place thawed shrimp in to cook.

Serve it up. I served this w/ Allens | Kale Greens in a can – holy crap these are super good.

Oh, I didn’t get any of the shrimp – my son decided any shrimp in the soup was his & fished out every single one. The soup was good enough anyways & enjoyed eating sans crustacean.

Onward, P.

Asian Sriracha Rubbed Turkey

brine
Breast/Legs in the Brine

Hope you all had a wonderful T-day. Saw a post a couple days before thanksgiving & got the bright idea that I needed to make it my own & try to do so in the crock. This recipe called for dish to be baked in the oven of course & so there is always the chance it just might not turn out as stellar in slow cooker.

First – needed to find a 8lb turkey…impossible. I forgot that these turkeys now are frakenturkeys & could wrestle Godzilla to the ground. So, went for a large breast & couple legs – thats right I sound like some kind of turkey perv. The whole point of the crock was that dinner would be asian themed (except for the stuffing) & turkey was rubbed w/ that fantastic Sriracha sauce. Quite a bit of work all in all, but well worth the trouble.

So here it goes:

  • 4lb. turkey breast & 2 1lb. turkey legs, thawed and brined (see below – is done before cooking!)
  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup Sriracha chile sauce
  • 2 tblsp ground ginger
  • 2 tblsp garlic powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 bunch Thai basil
  • 3-4 stalks lemongrass (cut in matchsticks)
  • 1 bunch scallions (diced up)
  • 1 tblsp minced ginger
Pre-Cook in Crock

Dry the turkey w/ paper towels after pulling out of the brine.
Mix the mayonnaise, sriracha, ginger & garlic powder together & then rub the mixture all over the turkey.
Place the breast/legs in crock & sprinkle the meat w/ pepper, basil, lemongrass & scallions. Note: added some of the solid bits from the brine & added that on top also.
Set on LOW for 8hrs.

About the brine:

  • 4+ cups water
  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 16 whole black peppercorns
  • 6 whole star anise pods
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 6 green onions, diced
  • 5 dried shitake mushrooms
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped up
cutting board
On the Cutting Board

Put all of the ingredient in a large pot & submerge the turkey in for about 10-12hrs. (When submerging, make sure you hold on tight to that great – otherwise you’ll get coated in brine juice)
I drained the brine, but saved some of the solid bits & put over the turkey along w/ other ingredients.

I realize that Paula Dean makes sweet love to a jar of mayo, but I was a tad skeptical slow cooking dish coated in the mayo. The smell alone of this cooking was making me salivate halfway thru the day. Holy. Freakin’. Turkeybits. Crock way exceeded my expectations – the basic flavor of the meat was fantastic & not very spicy at all (was expecting a a bit more kick).

The white meat turned out quite moist & stayed for quite some time w/o drying out. Leg meat, as my son put it – this borders on weird sounding coming from your kid – “orgasmic”. I guess this kinda sums the review of the meat.

The Plate of Goodness

Oh yeah, the sides – did asian themed mashed potatoes & classic stuffing.

Lao Nai Yang Yu (Chinese Spicy Mashed Potatoes) – these were super good, I’d make these again even not on T-day. Potatoes were quite spicy, so next time making them I’d pull back on the chili paste a bit.

Classic Stuffing – this is always my fav side dish on t-day, loves me some stuffing. Had never made stuffing from scratch & this really couldn’t have been easier & I have to say, gives my folks oyster stuffing a run for best in class. Made a bit of turkey gravy to drizzle (ok, drown) over stuffing – you can’t have stuffing w/o gravy on top dammit!

This whole meal was amazing & I wish I could have shared w/ few more people to confirm how damn tasty meat was. Will need something pretty spectacular for Xmas to kick this holiday feast off the pedestal.

Until next time…

Spicy Hot & Sour Soup w/ Pork & Mushrooms

seaweed
seaweed toasted

So, had been kicking around idea of making some soup w/ crock this Sunday since the Seattle gray has descended.

Settled on doing this hot & sour soup. Made a trip to our asian market to pick up some ingredients & spent $75 more than I should have buying a bunch of crap that I can’t even read the package. Don’t be daunted – you can pick up most all of these ingredients at any large grocery store.

Here are the items (enough for 4 people):

  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms (slice up in strips – I buy dried, so you’ll need to drop them in hot water for 30-45 mins)
  • 4 ounces oyster mushrooms (sliced – these are kinda hard to find, so you can double the shiitakes)
  • 1 -2 tablespoon chili paste  (1tblsp – for semi hot & 2 for a nice heat)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste (or minced ginger)
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced/smashed
  • bamboo shoots (small can)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 1/4 cup water
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten (more about this later)
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 1 lb pork, thinly sliced (used small pork shoulder & cut off as much fat as possible & then cut as thin as possible – takes a sharp knife or you’ll struggle)
hot sour soup
hot sour soup

Put the chicken broth in crock w/ soy sauce, rice vinegar, pepper, bamboo shoots.

Mix ginger, garlic, pork, 1/2 of the green onion & lightly cook til pork is just cooked on outside.

Set the crock for low 6hrs.

At about the 3hr mark add the mushrooms, then at the 4hr mark add the cornstarch mixture (1/4 cup cold water & 3tblsp cornstarch) & dump in crock.

Finally, about 30 mins before serving slowly spin in the 2 eggs. This doesn’t work very well. If you’ve had egg drop soup you need the broth to be almost boiling & put in the eggs so it cooks on putting in…sadly, in crock it doesn’t get hot enough to make the great egg, but you do get the eggs to cook in broth. Maybe, put in diced hard boiled eggs?

I have to say (besides the eggs not cooking correctly) this was a great soup. The pork was tender, mushrooms still meaty & the spice (to me) was just right – not too hot, but just hot enough. Again, if you can’t take heat, just use 1 tblsp of chili paste.

Serve w/ spring rolls or rice crackers & top w/ rest of green onion. I thought soup was enough & just served w/ toasted seaweed (I know fancy!)

Crock soups for winter are amazing & this one was fantastic & inventive – two paws up.

Meatloaf

Asked if there was one meal that my kid would want, what would it be for Sunday Nite Dinner Time? Surf & Turf. Hmmm, not in the cards at 3pm on a Sunday for me (plus, lobster is pricey).

So, we narrowed it down a bit. Second choice? Meatloaf & a baked potato w/ the fixin’s. That is a bit more like it. Between football games I procured stuff & came up w/ a delightful (and completely midwest) meal. This kid has been on the coast way too long to request this kind of meal, right? I thought it would be sushi or mimosa (jk).

The baked potato, that one is a given – 30 mins in foil & then 30 mins out – remember to slather it down w/ olive oil, poke it a bunch w/ a fork (gets aggressions out if nothing else) & then salt / pepper before cooking.

As for the meatloaf:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 diced up carrot
  • 1 diced up stalk of celery
  • 1/2 red pepper diced
  • 1/2 diced onion
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tblsp pepper

Mix this all together & put in a well greased crock pot. Spread it around so it is all even & whatnot.

Top glaze:

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • few dashes of worcestershire
  • few dashes of hot sauce (franks or tabasco)
  • mix up & coat top of meat

Put on LOW for about 7hrs or HI for 4hrs.

Was super skeptical about doing the loaf in crock – I do like me the crusty top part & cooked glaze from oven cooking. Pleasantly surprised at how moist & delicious this was. The veggies should have been chopped up a bit more in this (a food processor would be great for this), but like having some roughage in the loaf as opposed to just solid meat. I give it a solid B at this point & not a BM, yet…

OMG – baked tater. Have never used fresh chives – if you can do so – do so, this made it seem healthy & semi fresh. I found them in “manager special” section for 50 cents! The 30/30 combo worked amazingly well – the skins were perfect. Top w/ sour cream, (real) bacon bits & butter – best thing I’ve had in months!

So, loaf it out. The second best loaf I’ve had in crock next to that salmon loaf – which is in blog, look it up.

Loaf out, P.

Beef Stew

beef stew
Beef Stew

Well, nothing goes better with watching zombies/people get their heads bashed in than beef stew! The stew kinda looked like a mixture of brainmeatcarnage…

Haven’t gotten to the posts for a bit & that is not good for me or you all.

This is way simple & only takes a handful of ingredients – I thought this crock wouldn’t be that great cause there were so few items, but once again the crock did not disappoint.

Here goes:

  • 1 lb stew meat (bottom round)
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 3 cloves garlic diced
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 can drained diced tomatoes
  • 1 can diced green chiles
  • 2 potatoes (1 in cubed)
  • 1/2 tblsp oregano
  • 1/2 tblsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Throw it all in & set on low for 8hrs. Remove the bay leaves & cinnamon stick before serving.

Was surprised by how much the red pepper flakes made this spicy, but the cinnamon stick mellowed it out. Made this w/o flour (a lot of the recipes call for adding flour, but wanted to see how this turned out sans the thick flour stuff).

Served this fantastic stew w/ a nice crusty sourdough baguette & that proved to be a huge plus for dipping. Who the hell doesn’t like dipping something in something.

Curry Chicken Soup

Ok, so obviously I repeat myself – but, this not a bad thing.

Different curry recipe – and souper easy. See, I’m funny.

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 can chic broth
  • 1 lb chic cut into 1″ cubes
  • 12 green onions diced (use 1/2 in crock then 1/2 to top afterwards )
  • 4 tblsp of green curry paste (can add cayenne to spice it up a bit)
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 1 red / 1 green peppers diced up
  • 1/2 head of cabbage (used nappa cause leftover – but can use regular)

Best to keep it on low for 4/6hrs so that the coconut milk doesn’t curdle.

This is so easy & delicious. Pour the stuff over some white rice & you have yourself a dinner.

chic curry soup bowl