Tag Archives: vegetable

Buffalo Meatball Subs

Buffalo Meatball Subs
Buffalo Meatball Subs

A day late & dollar short, that kinda sums up this here blog. Made this concoction for the playoffs & it turned out way better than expected (I’m not one for the buffalo sauce).

Surprised that I really couldn’t find a meatball recipe that didn’t involve frozen Italian meatballs from the store, so just somewhat had to wing it on that end. Really try to do mostly whole foods when making these crocks – sometimes it doesn’t work out that way.

Stuffs:

  • 2 lb ground chicken/turkey
  • 1.5 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 carrots – finely diced
  • 2 celery stalks – finely diced
  • 2 egg – beaten lightly
  • 2 cups buffalo sauce (Franks, is what I used)
  • 4 oz blue chess crumbles
  • 1 small container greek yogurt (4-6 oz?)
  • 6-8 hogie buns (from bakery not crappy off the shelf – you have more self respect than that, right?)

Make it happen:

  • Heat oven @ 450 degrees (sadly, you need to oven)
  • In large bowl combine chic/turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, carrots, celery
  • Form into 2 in. balls – yes, I said balls
  • Cook in baking dish for 15 mins (might need to do a couple batches)
  • Move the meatballs to crock pot & pour the buffalo sauce over
  • Crock on low for 6-8 hrs.
  • When ready to serve, put meatballs on hogie buns & broil for 1 min (for crisp buns, be careful!)
  • Top with yogurt/blue cheese mixture

Yep, this is one of those amazing sportball slow cooker dishes. Just enough bad crap with some good mixed in there for good measure. Not scientific, but I believe taking out the frozen meatballs helps somewhat.

These were amazing – you could eat w/o the buns – so that is something. Great tasting main dish with the yogurt/blue cheese topping – you can eliminate if need be, but I wouldn’t suggest doing so.

P.S. swear I’m going to learn how to take good photos of food – there is an art to it & obviously I don’t possess that skill.

Spicy Pork Shoulder, Potato & Eggs

Pork, Potatoes & Eggs
Pork, Potatoes & Eggs

For football season I love to make some breakfast dishes – east coast games are sooooo early dammit.

Breakfast dishes are difficult, so am always looking around for another way to make some eggs & whatnot – sorry, I’m just not an oatmeal or cinnamon roll person – I go savory all the way. If you want sugar, check Pinterest. Don’t get me wrong, Pinterest has up-voted one of my crocks quite a bit (thanks Sonja!).

I digress, ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless pork shoulder
  • 1 cup salsa (suggest, medium or hot…)
  • 1 white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 lg russet potatoes – peeled & cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 green or yellow chile peppers, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican 4 cheese
  • avocado slices for serving

Make it happen:

Pork, Potatoes & Eggs
Pork, Potatoes & Eggs

Cut the pork into 1 inch pieces (I used 4 lb shoulder & used rest for another crock), place in sealable bowl, add salsa & diced jalapeno – marinate in fridge overnight.
Lightly grease crock with olive oil or use spray.
Mix onion, potatoes, chile peppers, garlic & salt/pepper.
Place pork marinade (from overnight) in bottom of crock & add in onion, potatoes, chile peppers, garlic & salt/pepper.
Cook on HIGH for 3.5 hrs.
15 mins before serving – make 6 indentions in crock mixture & crack eggs into each indention (closer to edge cooks faster).
Lightly shake the cheese over mixture, cover & cook.
Make sure egg whites are solid or you can serve sooner if you like over easy… Serve with avocado slices on top & a crumpet!

Wow, this dish was pretty amazing. Potato mixture came out just soft enough, but not too mushy (with crocks it is tough cause you can get a lot of moisture that might ruin the veggies). The eggs cooked way faster than I was expecting, but were eggcellent (see what I did there). Lastly, the pork was so incredibly tender & had just the right amount of kick – I could use more kick, added some hot sauce. Avocado on top – great for a bit of cool & color.

Done & done. If you cook one of my breakfast crocks – try this one.

One final note: get everything ready the night before & that way you can just throw in the slow cooker early & go back to bed  for a bit (unless you have kids, you’re on your own at that point).

Chickpea & Vegetable Curry

Chickpea & Vegetable Curry
Chickpea & Vegetable Curry

Ok,  veggie folks who may have asked for at least one more crock – that I’m not being a complete carnivorous biped, here you go. Had a head of cauliflower & some other veggies that needed to be used up. So, thought I would look around a bit & see what could be made with the items that I had on hand.

Haven’t been too successful with the veggie dishes so I was a bit worried that this one would go down the same. I was super happy with the end result.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 peeled & 1/4” sliced carrots
  • 2 tblsp curry powder
  • 1 tblsp peeled & grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded and diced
  • 2 14oz cans chickpeas
  • 1 cup frozen cut green beans
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper flakes
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 14oz can vegetable broth
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
  • 6 lemon wedges for serving

Lets get it going:

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and carrot – cover and cook until tender. Add curry powder, ginger, garlic, and chile (add 1 tblsp of water – mixing curry powder) – cook for a minute or so.
Dump onion mixture into slow cooker.
Stir in chickpeas, salt/pepper, pepper flakes, tomatoes, broth & put the frozen green beans on top.
Cook on HIGH 6 hrs or LOW 3 hrs. (I did the 3 hr method & think this works best so the veggies don’t get too soggy).
Add spinach, basil & coconut milk about 15/30 mins before serving or until spinach wilts.
Serve over couscous & garnish with lemon wedges.

Side dish:

Baked some sweet potato french fries (as you can see in photo – keep an eye on your fries or they’ll turn out a tad crispy!).

As mentioned, this crock turned out pretty darn great – tons of flavor & the cauliflower came out fantastic & wasn’t mushy.

There you have it – a veggie dish done right. I think for veggie crock I’m going to attempt Eggplant Lasagna…

Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs

Squash Meatballs
Squash Meatballs

Lets turn the last post on its head, spaghetti – decided to go with an ingredient I hadn’t yet tried, spaghetti squash. It is my mission to go outside my comfort zone when making these crocks.

Need to lose a tad bit of this gut that I’ve acquired from copious amounts of fermented hops via excellent Northwest beers. Enter the somewhat paleo diet.

For the most part, just trying to eat whole foods with limited packaged foods.

Enough with the preachy, more with the crocky.

Ingredients:

  • 1 med/lg spaghetti squash
  • 1 can 14oz tomatoe sauce (no salt added)
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 3 green onions / diced
  • 4 cloves garlic / minced
  • 1/2 leek / diced
  • 1 stalk celery / diced
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp each | basil / thyme / oregano (be liberal with these)
  • 2 tsp of homemade chili garlic sauce*

Do it:

Squash Meatballs
Squash Meatballs Plate

Mix onions, garlic, leek, celery, egg whites, herbs & turkey meat together – form into 1 1/2 inch meatballs.

Cut squash in half – use a big knife, cutting is kind of difficult.

Mix tomato sauce & chili garlic sauce together*. (see sauce below)

Put a small layer of tomato sauce in crock bottom (just enough to cover bottom), put squash cut side down. Layer the meatballs as best you can & then pour remaining tomato sauce over meatballs.

Set on LOW for 5/6 hrs.

Other:

  • Pull the squash out w/ fork or other implement – scoop out the innards of squash & separate to plates.
  • Put a few of the meatballs on top of spaghetti squash & then pour some of the sauce over all of that.

Dang, that dish was amazing. Had no idea that spaghetti squash was so good & my homemade hot sauce would push it forward. Low fat, meaty & just enough hot (its a steady hot).

.* Homemade Chili Garlic Sauce

  • 2 jalapenos
  • 2 red jalapenos
  • 2 serranos
  • 6 habaneros
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 tblsp apple cider vinegar
  • Put in food processor – processor it up to a viscous paste.
  • Simmer on Med for 10 mins
  • Done with that

Last tip: I would make a whole crock of the meatballs & minus the squash – they are amazing.

Peace out.

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.

Stuffed Green Peppers

stuffed_pepper_1
Stuffed Green Peppers

This one brings me back to my childhood. Mom would make this dish every so often & I  remember how excited my dad would get. We (me & my sis), on the other hand, did not get all worked up about Stuffed Pepper night. That smell of the peppers cooking in the electric skillet was not appealing in the least.

Now look at me! My tastes have since refined & decided to give this one a shot because it sounded easy & green peppers are sorta cheap.

electric_skillet
Electric Skillet

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium green bell peppers
  • 1 lb. ground beef, lean
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice (used fancy brown rice medley)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tblsp black pepper
  • 1 can Ro-Tels tomatoes
  • a few dashes of red pepper flakes
  • (should have added some worcestershire sauce, but didn’t – next time)

Make it happen:

  • mix beef, onion, rice, and seasonings together
  • cut tops off of peppers and hollow out any seeds
  • stuff peppers with equal portions of beef mixture
  • place stuffed peppers in crock
  • cover and cook on LOW for about 6 hrs
stuffed_pepper_2
Stuffed Peppers Finished w/ crappy corn!

Was pleasantly surprised how this turned out. The green peppers had an amazing flavor to them from sitting in the crock all day long. I wouldn’t go so far as saying “roasted” flavor, but pretty damn close.

The beef…as mentioned, could have used some more flavor. Think if I’d have added the worcestershire that would have helped, along with trying to spell that bloody word.

I’ll give it a good rating as this seemed nostalgic & the pepper parts were super delicious.

Gingery Carrot Soup

hungry_man
Carrot Soup

Whew… if this isn’t out of my wheelhouse I don’t know what is. Trying to spread my foodie wings & fly like an eagle – until I’m free. Couldn’t help that one. The fruit vs. savory on this one was way out of bounds, yet I felt a need to make it my own by throwing the original recipe a curve & adding a few items that were not called for. In essence, I parried. Plus according to some, I’ve been usurped by a dude doing some sort of hand job at his house or something (props to the name)…that is beside the point. Onward!

The original is Gingery Carrot Soup w/ Orange & Parsley

Fixin’s:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped up
  • 3 tbsp ginger root, minced (that is hard to do btw)
  • 1 tbsp grated orange zest
  • 1 tbsp rough graded peppercorns
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 6 thinly slice lg carrots
  • 4 cups chicken stock (or veggie)
  • 1 1/2 fresh squeezed orange juice (are you kidding! just buy high grade oj w/ pulp)
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped up all nice
  • 1 or 2 handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 1 chopped red pepper
  • tad bit of salt
  • 1 can (14/15 oz) Coconut milk

Let us get it started:

  • Put onions in skillet w/ olive oil & cook until softened ( 3 mins ). Stir in ginger root, orange zest, black pepper & bay leaves & cook for extra 1 or 2 mins. Once done, throw in slow cooker.
  • Add carrots & chicken stock – stir that thing up!
  • Cook on LOW for 8hr or HI for 4hr. At end of that time stir in Orange Juice, parsley & red pepper. Cover & cook for 30 mins longer on HI. Remove the bay leaves at end of the 30 mins.
  • Puree. If you’re like me & don’t have one of those fancy pants immersible blender things – then just work in batches in a regular blender. Transfer back to slow cooker. Add 1-2 handfuls of spinach & 1/2 cup of coconut milk. Cover & cook for 30 mins+ longer on HI (until spinach wilts a bit).
  • At the end – put in bowls & drizzle with some coconut milk to make it all pretty.
  • Serve w/ a nice crusty bread for some dipping!
soup_in_bowl
Soup in bowl w/ bread

Well, well, well aren’t we all Downton Abbey there gov’ner? With your puree’d soup & crusty bread.

Admission – this was damn good. Would serve this as a small bowl before a light meal (but could go for main dish if thats what you’re into). For you veggies & soup connoisseurs this is flavorful, smells excellent & visually appealling.

Good day to you sir. I said good day (audible snort & turn back whilst putting monocle back in).

Shitake Hot & Sour for National Soup Day

shitake_crock
Shitake Crocke

Back to normal one crock mode. So, apparently it was national soup day the other day. Was snow bound, but was able to trek down to store for supplies.

Had almost all of the sundries except for a few (who the hell has firm tofu on hand?). Anywho, this seemed like a good one to do – loves me some asian fare. (more ranting below)

The ingredients:

3oz/24 dried shiitake or black Chinese mushrooms
2 carrots, cut in slices
1 can bamboo shoots, rinsed
2 14-ounce pkg firm tofu
1 tsp pepper
4 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
4 1/4 water
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce (you’ll need a lot more, trust me)
1 tablespoon chile-garlic sauce or spicy chili crisp
1 tblsp minced ginger
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
3 cups cooked lo mein noodles  (did bean thread noodles)
1 cup sliced green onions

Make it:

  • Cut up dried mushrooms in 1/4 slices if you can – might break apart. Add to slow cooker.
  • Add carrots and bamboo shoots. Cut tofu into 1/2-inch cubes, add to slow cooker and sprinkle w/ pepper. Top with cabbage.
  • Combine 4 cups water, broth, both vinegars, soy sauce, chile-garlic sauce and ginger in a lg bowl/pan; add to the slow cooker.
  • Cover & set on LOW for 8 hours (4-6 if in hurry)
  • Whisk the remaining 1/3 cup water, cornstarch and sesame oil in a bowl. Stir into the soup. Cover and cook on High for 20 minutes.
  • Cook noodles separately (keep it that way). Add noodles to bowl & put broth/soup mixture over noodles & serve!
shitake_bowl
Shitake Bowle (too much?)

This was subtle – meaning, I get why the asian dishes are good – TONS OF SALT. Tried reigning it in, but just isn’t the same. Would suggest adding more hot chili sauce to make up for it.

Not to say this wasn’t delicious – this completely was, but realized when you get soup (or other delicious dishes) @ restaurant that they add assloads (technical term) of salt to your food.

Won’t end this as a downer or failure – let us crock on bitches! Oh, wait – Jay-Z retired bitch…

Let us crock on respectable women peoples. Doesn’t roll off the tongue as well.

P.

Crock Polyamory

carnitas_1
Carnita Crock

Was asked to crock our company holiday party (it was a bit late, but party none the less). Had 4 crocks going at once. A bit of sweat & some improvising made this happen. The only downside to this is that I don’t have many photos.

1. Carnitas

  • 3 lbs pork shoulder or 3 lbs pork butt
  • 4 cups chicken broth , hot
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder , medium hot
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • small tortillas

Cooking: basically throw the shoulder in cooker & dump the spices in – cook on LOW for 8hrs (we had to cook on HI for 4hrs)

Very good. Serve w/ shredded cabbage, salsa & sour cream on a small tortilla.

lettuce_wraps
Let Us Wrap

2. Chicken Lettuce Wrap Things (the biggest hit) supposedly like PF Changs although, I’ve never had, but supposed to be good.

  • 1 1/2 pounds extra-lean ground chicken or turkey
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar   no need to add this
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon Asian chile paste or spicy chili crisp
  • 5 ounces bamboo shoots, canned and drained
  • 12 ounces sliced water chestnuts, canned and drained
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
  • 4 green onions, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • 14 crisp iceberg or romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce

Making this: put all of the ingredients in cooker – you’ll need to toss this quite a bit to make sure that the meat gets separated. May want to add a bit more hoison. Hoison not my fav, but most folks like the sweet meats.

Serve on Romaine lettuce or other broad leaf lettuce. Very delish. Everyone loved this dish, so this is a winner!

3. Swedish Meatballs

  • 1 cup bread crumbs – not spiced
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons dried onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • the below is for later –
  • 1 (10 1/2 ounce) can condensed French onion soup
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Cook this: lots of work

  • Put most ingredients together in lg bowl. Mix. Once mixed roll the mixture into teaspoon sized balls & put in cooker.
  • Cook on HI for 4hrs. At 4hr mark, mix last ingredients (soup, flour, sour cream & worcestershire) & pour over balls. Cook for another 1hr.

These were good, but not up to IKEA standards. Had leftovers 2 days later & way better then initial launch. So goes it & I wouldn’t discount the balls if you’re doing a party.

ingredients_1
Ingredients

4. Veggie Chili

  • 1 Medium Zucchini, diced
  • 1 Medium Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1 Medium Onion, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup Celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 cans Ro-tels
  • 1 bag Frozen Corn, thawed
  • 1 can Kidney Beans, rinsed
  • 1 can Black Beans, rinsed
  • 1 can (14 oz) Vegetable Broth
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 3 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper or, to taste
  • 1 tsp Salt or, to taste
  • 1 tsp Pepper or, to taste

Put all of this in crock & set for 8hrs (had to set for 4hr) – didn’t really eat this, but according to others this was very good & kinda spicy.

Creamy Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

tomato soup & grilled cheese
tomato soup & grilled cheese

So, I had planned on making this earlier in the week & decided to wait. Then the night before making, I went out & had some at restaurant. Tomato cappuccino (all frothy like), I forgot to ask what kind of cheese they used, but yummo (seriously hit me if I ever use that in mixed company). Also ate blue cheese stuffed dates – usually opposed to mixing my fruits w/ anything. Me denying mixing of said sweet & savory lets me keep my non-foodie card just a bit longer. And I usually pronounce foodie bullshit all wrong so that helps.

Anywho, to the soup. This is so easy (except for one aspect) that I can’t believe I hadn’t done so before.

The components:

  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes , undrained
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tblsp oregano
  • 1 tblsp sweet basil
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter (oops, forgot this – you’d never know the difference unless you’re Paula Dean riding on my back)
tomato_crock_1
Exciting Shot of Tomato Soup

Make it happen:

  • Add undrained tomatoes, chicken broth, oregano & basil to the cooker on HIGH for 5hrs
  • @ 5hrs strain tomato remnants & blend to a puree until no bits are left (see below)
  • Add puree back in
  • Add cream to the mix
  • Leave on WARM or LOW for 1hr

This is the below section. So talking about foodies – well, if I’d have had the proper “straining” apparatus the straining may have went easier. Attempted to use a 1/2 moon pan colander, that did not work the best & hilarity ensued. Wish I had video cause this was a comedy of errors that left the countertop, floor & pants covered in tomato spunk.

panini_maker
Sexy Panini Shot

Grilled cheese – are you freaking kidding me – you have to have this. Used Dave’s Killer Bread, munster cheese & butter. Here is where it gets to the “danger zone!”. Give just one side of the bread w/ butter a quick grind of sea salt. This is a grilled cheese turning point for me personally. Try it & you’ll agree.

End result: the soup was amazing (on par w/ any I’ve had in a restaurant) – glad I didn’t use the full 2 cups of cream it called for or the butter – you know the grilled cheese part.