Dinner By Dagny

Not just food, food with flavor

Archive for the tag “crockpot”

Beer Braised Short Ribs over Pureed Cauliflower

A few months ago I  made braised short ribs on the stove and they came out delicious.  However, I’ve been dwelling on cooking them in my crockpot for a while now.  As there is nothing quite like loading the crockpot and then forgetting about it until dinner.  I use “forget” loosely here as I find that the smell becomes more prominent during the day and every time I walk by I take a tweak through the lid to see how everything is going.

Originally I was going to just used the braising gravy from the last time I made short ribs, as it was so good that I froze it.  But then I was looking around for crockpot recipes just to confirm cooking time and came across this recipe at It’s a Keeper. I made a few adjustments like cutting down the volume of onions, adding garlic and I used a Guiness Extra Stout as that was what I was able to find (I didn’t think the pumpkin lager would go well).  I have been bored of potatoes lately and we had already had rice, so I looked for alternatives – pureed cauliflower or pureed white beans.  Cauliflower was outvoted, and I’m very glad for this decision

Ingredients

2 small onions

3-4 pounds bone-in beef short ribs

4 garlic cloves

1 bottle beer (Guiness Extra Stout)

2 Tbsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp tomato paste

2 tsp dried thyme

2 tsp beef base granules

3 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cold water

1 head cauliflower

1 Tbsp cream cheese

Adobo and Pepper to taste

Directions

1.  Layer onions and short ribs in crockpot

2.  Season with Adobo and pepper

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3.  Whisk together beer, brown sugar, mustard, 2 cloves garlic crushed, tomato paste, thyme, beef base, flour and cold water in a bowl

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4.  Pour over short ribs and onions

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5.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours

6.  Clean and Cut cauliflower into small florets

7.  Boil in large stock pot for 6 minutes

9.  Blend in food processor or blender the cauliflower, cream cheese, 2 garlic cloves until smooth

10.  I kept the cauliflower in a warm oven with a pat of butter on it to keep until we were ready to serve

Results

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I served the short ribs over the cauliflower with an arugula salad with clementines and shaved parmesan, dressed with a simple vinagrette.  My oldest daughter devoured 3 short ribs and a helping of cauliflower.  While she said that the cauliflower was not her favorite preparation it was ok.  And at first she didn’t even notice it wasn’t potatoes.  My youngest disliked it from the moment she was told it was cauliflower.  She also devoured a short rib.  My cousin took leftovers for lunch and I can’t wait to heat up the leftovers for lunch.

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Crockpot Lamb Stew

I picked up bone-in lamb for stew meat at the grocery store imagining the rich, flavorful stew I could make from it. Of course, I didn’t actually have a recipe though. I knew I could do this in my crockpot on one of our busy evenings. When it came time to look for a recipe, I came across this one by Munchie Musings. Originally I thought I would defer the whole dredging in flour and browning, but after reading her compelling arguments on the additional flavor I changed my mind.

My vegetable choice had to do more with my family and my own personal tastes than anything else. Potatoes, onions and carrots are standard stew vegetables, but I enjoy mushrooms and my oldest daughter is a huge fan of fingerling potatoes, especially after she grew them last summer. So, I did fingerling potatoes, baby carrots, baby bellas, pearl onions and parsnips (recipe recommended the last two). I wasn’t sure what my girls would say about the parsnips, but they didn’t even notice them. They must have thought they were white carrots or another type of potato.

Ingredients

2 pounds bone in lamb meat

Adobo

Fresh cracked pepper

1/2 cup flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

12 oz bottle Guiness

1 1/2 cups fingerling potatoes

1 cup baby carrots

1 cup baby portabellas

2 med parsnips, peeled and chopped

3 cups water

3 chicken bouillon cubes

1/2 teaspoon thyme

2 tablespoons cold roux (olive oil and flour)

Directions

1. Cut lamb meat off bone and into bite size pieces

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2. Toss lamb meat with flour, Adobo and pepper

3. Heat olive oil in large pan and saute lamb meat until brown

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4. Once all meat has been browned, brown bones

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5. Deglaze pan with Guiness, scraping bits off the bottom of pan

6. Put lamb, bones, beer, scrapings and all vegetables in crockpot

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7. Season vegetables with Adobo, pepper and thyme

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8. Cook on low for 6.5 hours, until the meat falls off the bone and vegetables are tender

9. Add roux and let sit on warm for another 30-60 mins

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Results

I got exactly what I expected.  A rich, hearty stew with tender meat and perfectly cooked vegetables.

Crockpot Beef Stroganoff

Beef stroganoff is one of those meals I remember from my childhood.  I think it was one of my mom’s favorites, but I could just be making that up.  I saw some thin pieces of round steak and decided that I would make beef stroganoff.  My kids don’t love mushrooms, but they do like pork chops with mushroom gravy, so that’s the way I pitched it.  I said it was steak with homemade mushroom gravy, usually called beef stroganoff.

I was also pretty sure that I could do this in my crockpot so went in search of a recipe.  Unfortunately most of the recipes call for several cans of cream of X soup, but that wasn’t what I was looking for.  I wanted the traditional recipe (where sour cream is added to make it creamy), just modified for the crock pot.  Fortunately, I was able to find one that was true to what I expected (thanks recipe gir!).  My kids did enjoy it leaving only a single serving as leftovers, so that’s good.

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs steak, sliced into chunks

~ 1 lb baby portabellas sliced (I ended up using not quite one carton)

1 onion chopped

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 cup beef broth

1/2 cup red wine (that’s what was open)

3/4 cup sour cream

2 tbsp corn startch

Adobo and cracked black pepper to taste

1/2 bag cooked whole wheat noodles

Directions

1.  Combine beef, mushrooms, onions, tomato paste, wine and beef broth

2.  Cover and cook for 5 1/2 hours on low

3.  In a small bowl combine sour cream and corn starch.  Add to crockpot and mix

4.  Cook an additional 30 minutes until sauce thickens

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Mediterranean Chicken Pasta

As a process, cooking often starts with an ingredient. I often don’t know what I am going to do with it, until I start. This recipe was pretty indicative of that. I was planning on chicken and knew that I wanted to use my crockpot for the majority of the work as it was our annual spring karate tournament and the family would be out all day. I started searching for cockpit chicken recipes online, but it took a while for inspiration to set in. Most of the recipes were variations of smothered cream of xxxxx (you name it) soup. That seemed a little heavy for me.

My youngest daughter asked if we could have pasta so that also added another element to the mix. So this left me with only a few options for a lighter, tasty crockpot chicken recipe that could be served over pasta. I finally came across this Greek chicken recipe that I thought could make work.

Ingredients

3 pounds boneless chicken breast
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 jar marinated artichoke hearts
1/2 jar kalamata olives
1 small can sliced black olives
1/2 bag frozen broccoli
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp white wine
3 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp oregano
3 tsp Adobo
Feta to garnish
1 box whole wheat rotini

Directions

1. Add olive oil, white wine, minced garlic, oregano, and Adobo to crockpot and mix together
2. Add chicken breasts and turn to coat
3. Add in tomatoes, artichoke hearts and kalamata olives. Stir
4. Cook on low for approximately 8 hours (my crockpot has a meat probe that allows you to cook until the meat reaches a specific temperature. I used that but the time is also correct)
5. Add in black olives
6. Optional – thicken sauce by making a cold rue of olive oil and flour and add in a cup cooking liquid. Add back to crockpot and stir
7. Cook pasta per box instructions to al dente (approx 9 mins). Add in broccoli after 2 mins, for approx 7 mins cooking time
8. Toss with crockpot mixture

Results
This was a great way to end our evening. Everybody enjoyed it.

 

Smothered Pork Chops

So yesterday was my birthday and I wanted something tasty, but didn’t want to put too much effort into my birthday dinner.  I had some pork loin chops in the freezer and decided that was as good as anything else.  My mother did some variation of this recipe for my entire life, but never in the crockpot and usually with white rice not brown.  So here’s to simple and tasty home cooking.

Ingredients

2-3 lbs pork chops (boneless, bone in or pork loin chops)

2 cans Campbells cream of mushroom with roasted garlic soup

1 soup can milk

1/4 shitake mushrooms (optional)

DIrections

1. Add pork chops to crock pot

2.  Mix 2 cans cream of mushroom soup with 1 can milk in a small mixing bowl until fully mixed (minimal soup clumps)

3.  Add soup and milk mixture to crockpot

4.  Cook at high temperature for ~5 hours in crockpot

5.  At 5 hours, check pork chops for tenderness (pork chops should fall apart)

6.  Add 1/4 cup shitake mushrooms.  This is an optional step, however my husband grew them and we wanted to harvest them and eat them before they went bad.  I broke them into pieces and added them to the crockpot to sit for about an hour on warm with the other ingredients.

7.  Keep on warm until ready to serve.  We served it with brown rice, green beans and peas and corn

 

 

 

Beef with Peperoncini

Adding a little alcohol to my cooking is a pretty common occurrence.  This includes a splash of rum in the curry, wine to deglaze a pan, baste poultry or as liquid for steaming fish.  I’ve even been known to drunken the berries before baking them in cookies or muffins.  Combined this with my husband’s home brew hobby, and the “Cooking with Beer” magazine for $4.99 was a no-brainer in the grocery store line.

I bought it as I thought maybe it would inspire my husband to cook something yummy with his new found hobby, but after it sat on the counter for about 6 months, I finally got around to looking at it.  There were a couple of recipes that sounded interesting, but this “Spicy Italian Beef” seemed right for the family.  It wasn’t just the beer or beef, but the inclusion of peperoncini which my family loves, and the fact that it allowed me to break out my new crockpot, made it seem like an obvious choice.

I mentioned it to my cousin Cait and my neighbor Susie to get some preliminary feedback.  They both thought it sounded delicious and wanted to come over for dinner the night I made it.

The actual recipe for “Spicy Italian Beef”:

1 boneless beef chuck roast (3 or 4 pounds), trimmed of fat

1 jar (12 ounces) peperoncini, drained and stems removed, plus additional for serving

1 can (about 14 ounces) beef broth

1 bottle (12 ounces beer)

1 onion, minced

2 tablespoons Italian seasoning

1 loaf french bread, cut into thick slices

Directions:

1.  Add beef, jar of peperoncini, broth, beer, onion and Italian seasoning to slow cooker, do not stir.  Cover; cook on LOW  to 10 hours.

2.  Remove meat from slow cooker; shred with 2 forks.  Return shredded meat to slow cooker; mix well. Serve meat mixture on french bread with additional sauce from slow cooker and additional peperoncini, if desired.

Dagny’s Modifications: 

I mostly stayed true to the recipe on this one since I hadn’t made it before.  That said, I used

  • 4 – 5 pounds beef.  I cut the meat into big chunks, to fit better in the crockpot.
  • 1 16 ounce jar of peperoncini
  • 1 bottle Corona (recipe didn’t specify beer type, but I sought out the experts — Poppa John (my daddy) and husband for suggestions)
  • I didn’t have the combined “Italian” seasoning, but I had garlic powder, tomato pesto, and italian mixes, for dipping sauces, like rosemary & garlic, sundried tomato & basil and garlic & tomato.  I mixed a teaspoon of each of the seasonings together and looked for the Italian flavoring of garlic, basil, oregano, rosemary to shine.
  • 1 spoon to stir
  • Adobo and pepper.  About 7 hours into the cooking time, I checked the meet for both flavor and done-ness.  Neither was to my liking, so I added Adobo and pepper and changed the temperature to high for the last hour that I was going to be cooking it.
  • While I served it with the french bread, I also added a side dish of buttered noodles (in case it worked better than the soggy bread) and roasted cauliflower with olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic, sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Susie brought the wine and the salad.

The results:

  • It was pretty good.  My family, Cait and Susie all really enjoyed it.  My husband, who isn’t really a pot roast fan, didn’t speak for 5 minutes, while he thoroughly enjoyed his dinner.  He even went so far as to ask for it for it to be packed as leftovers for the next day’s lunch.
  • We decided that it shouldn’t be called “Spicy” as there was not anything spicy about the meal, so we changed the name to Beef with Peperoncini.
  • The original recipe said that it would feed 10-12 people.  I increased the amount of meat to between 4-5 pounds and only have 2 servings left.

And yes, I know that everyone wants to see what it looks like, but I forgot to take a picture.  We were all too busy eating it.  I’ll try to do better next time.

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