Tag Archive: slow cooker

Southwest Stew with Cornbread Boats

The Terlingua chili Cookoff people say, “You don’t know beans about chili if you put beans in your chili.”   – definitely not turkey.  So, this is called Southwest Stew.  The perfect thing for a rainy day with nothing to do.  I love chiles in all their forms and flavors.  This meal is a reflection of that.  Also, I am forbidden to buy more spices until I use the ones I have.  This will make a good dent in that.  I miss my friends at Savory Spice Shop in the Arboretum.

For the stew:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1.5 pounds of turkey
  • 2 tablespoons of Organic Ground Cumin Seeds from Savory Spice
  • 2 tablespoons of Black Canyon chili powder from Savory Spice
  • 1 tablespoon of chipotle chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons of Sweet and Spicy Hungarian Paprika from Savory Spice
  • 1 tablespoon of Montreal steak seasoning
  • 1 10 oz. can of diced tomatoes and jalapenos
  • 2 4 oz. cans of diced Hatch green chiles (I used hot)
  • 2 15 oz. cans of black beans rinsed and strained
  • 64 oz. of low sodium tomato juice

For the cornbread:

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup stone ground cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

For stew:

Peel the onions and chop into 8 chunks and place in the food processor.  Chop the tops off of two fresh jalapenos.  If you are afraid of heat….you probably shouldn’t make this, but you can remove the seeds and ribs of  the jalapeños.  Cut in half and place in food processor with the onion.  Peel three cloves of garlic and give a light mince.  Add to food processor.   Pulse until finely chopped.

In a Dutch oven set over medium heat sautee onion, garlic and jalapeños in olive oil until softened.  Add turkey and crumble.  As the turkey browns add the spices one at a time and mix.  Cook and stir until turkey is cooked through and spices are spread evenly.  Add diced tomatoes and green chiles.   Stir to combine.  Add tomato juice and black beans.  Reduce heat to low and get your tasting bowl ready.

Cook over low heat stirring frequently for at least 6 hours if not more.  You could transfer to a crockpot at this point.  After the first hour, taste for seasoning.  If it is too hot add a little sugar or apple cider vinegar one teaspoon at a time up to four or add a square of bakers chocolate.  Continue to taste as flavors will evolve during the cooking time.

For cornbread:

Preheat oven to 450° .

In a large bowl, stir the cornmeal, salt and baking soda together. Stir in the egg, melted butter and buttermilk.

Bake in a mini-loaf or muffin pan for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven when the top of cornbread is brown and it feels firm to the touch.  Immediately turn out to keep from over-drying.

To serve:

Cut out a large wedge or circle from individual muffins.  Fill with stew and set in bowl with a thin layer of stew.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Add a small dollop of sour cream and top with cut out wedge.

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Homemade Apple Sauce

I have seen recipes for this everywhere.  I thought…what is the big deal?  Its applesauce.  Where is the big benefit to making this yourself?  How much of a challenge could applesauce be?  Why all the fuss?  Accordingly, I had to try this and see if I could make it better.

Wow….now I get it.  This was great.  I don’t think I could ever use a jar again.  If you are in the small minority of people who haven’t seen or tried a recipe for make it yourself, you should give it a shot.

  • 8 apples peeled, cored and cut in chunks (I used a mix of granny smith, golden delicious and honeycrisp)
  • ¼ cup of brown sugar (I love those pre-measured and sealed sacks)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 lemon peel
  • Teaspoon of lemon juice

Place in a slow cooker on low for six hours stirring occasionally.  At the end of six hours remove the cinnamon stick and lemon peel.  If you would like a finer sauce use a potato masher or immersion blender to puree.  I had it just the way it was and I can’t stop eating it.  I already need to make more.  This makes about three cups.

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Foodie Friends Friday

Baby Back Ribs

While I was making the zucchini cake I decided to use my crock pot for something good for dinner. My crock pot is grossly underused. My goal is to correct that. Things taste so good and can be slowed cooked while I’m at work. What’s the matter with me? These were so easy and smelled good too. They were “fallin off the bone delicious”!

I made up a rub about 6 months ago for something else and I used the leftovers for the ribs.

Simple recipe for an all-round rub: Basically it was paprika, salt, pepper, cumin, and red chile powder. I used equal parts and mixed it well. Rub it on both sides of the slab of ribs and let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

For the ribs:

Slice 1 large yellow onion and put in the bottom of the crock pot. Put the ribs on top of the onion. I had to cut about 1/3 off and squeeze into the pot to make them lie flat.

Pour 1 can Dr. Pepper and 1 cup of your favorite barbque sauce over the ribs. Turn the crock pot on high and cook for about 6 hours. I turned the ribs once after 5 hours and added 1 more cup of barbque sauce. I turned the crock pot to low at this point and let them cook for 1 more hour. But they would have been fine left on high the entire time.

Remove the ribs to a platter and cover tightly with foil to keep warm. Transfer the juices/sauce to a sauce pan. Simmer to reduce slightly. Serve over the ribs as desired.

Mid-Week BBQ

I guess I am still hungry for Fourth of July festivals as I woke up this morning craving BBQ.  Good thing that I know just the quick fix to cook all day while I am at work.  I’ll set up my crock pot and let it cook dinner.  Throughout the day I began to elaborate on the Tuesday night party.  Maybe I want some Mexican and something fresh and fruity too.  How am I going to get this all in one dinner?  That is how my kitchen experiments start.  I began to imagine the recipe below.  It was good.  Real good.  I have leftovers in case I need some more this week.

Pulled Pork Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Salsa

For the pork:

  • 1 pork tenderloin fat trimmed
  • 1 bottle of your favorite BBQ Sauce
  • 1 16 oz bottle of Dr. Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of chipotle chili powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Corn or Flour tortillas
  • Cheese and/or toppings

In the morning place all the ingredients through the salt and pepper into the crock pot and set to low.  Leave to stew for 6-8 hours.  Before removing from the pot fix the salsa (see below).

When ready to eat remove to pan and finish the shredding.  This should be very easy and almost done for you.  Serve with warmed tortillas, salsa and your favorite cheese.  I used Cotija.



For the salsa:

  • 2 pineapple rings
  • ½ of a red onion finely diced
  • 2 jalapeños finely diced
  • 1 cup of tomatoes finely diced  (I take mine as I get them from the garden, today’s crop was cherry tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons of cilantro finely chopped
  • Juice from ½ a lime
  • Salt

Pre-heat your grill or grill pan to medium.  Spray with cooking spray and add pineapple rings.  Spray the top side with cooking spray and let cook for three minutes or until deep grill marks appear.  Flip.  Cook 2-3 minutes more to char the other side.  Remove from pan to a plate and put in the refrigerator to chill.  When they are about room temperature, cut into small pieces.

Add all of the fruits and vegetables to a bowl and pour lime juice in and stir.  Salt to taste.  Serve over tacos.

I grilled a few extra pineapple rings for dessert!

Keeping notes on recipes…..Or escapades with Customs at the border crossing!

Our favorite family recipes aren’t written down except in the collections I have put together for my children.  They probably were at some point. (The side of a can of soup or the back of a box of pasta)  The recipe as we know it today has evolved and I never write down those minor tweaks to remember what I did.  You know what I’m talking about.  Those foods someone asks you to make for their birthday or a holiday.  Repeat requests for a special food is what I deem traditional food.  Those things that everyone will gather round to eat at dinner time if you mention that is what you are making.  It makes them feel loved because you are making what they like best.   Without fail I could tell my son I was making Dorito Casserole or Broccoli Rice Casserole and he would make sure to be there.  He loved the leftovers too.  The same with my youngest daughter.  Scalloped potatoes always brings “Yum.” Brisket does the trick for my oldest daughter.

Have you ever made something off the top of your head and then you can’t remember exactly what you put in it to make it so good?  I have done this forever.  Or I found a recipe in a magazine, bought the ingredients, made it and totally lost the recipe or couldn’t remember which magazine it was in.  That is the one thing everyone liked the best.   I have never had the presence of mind to write things down as I get the creative juices flowing or tear out that page.

It seems I made the same things over and over because my kids would eat it and their dad liked it.  Actually, I don’t remember my children complaining about too much we had to eat as they were growing up.  They didn’t like tuna fish sandwiches.  I discovered much later my oldest daughter doesn’t like anything with mayonnaise in it.  I never noticed she didn’t eat creamy potato salad, but she never said a word until she got much older.  I don’t remember my son ever complaining about any food I made.  I probably would have made it anyway if their dad liked it.

One time I made a pork roast for my mother’s birthday that was melt-in-your-mouth delicious and simple to make. I put it in the crock pot and we took off for Juarez, Mexico (about 20 minutes from my house!) to buy yarn.  My mother had heard we could buy yarn to knit with on her knitting machines there at very reasonable prices.  So we took plastic garbage bags with us and took off.  Once we found the shop we loaded the back of my car with black bags of yarn and headed for the bridge to get back on US soil.  I can’t imagine how naïve I was to think Customs wasn’t going to want to examine those bags and questions us about what we were going to do with it. To this day I am amazed we made it back with the yarn.  The woman who went through the back of my station wagon and each and every bag just kept asking us what we were going to do with it.  When I told her my mother practiced knitting on knitting machines, and she would use every ounce of this yarn for her children and grandchildren she finally shrugged her shoulders and walked away.  I put those bags back in the car and headed across that bridge!  We neither one spoke until we were back on this side of the river.  Then we laughed just to relieve the tension.  (Back to the meal.)

I can still remember the ingredients for this pork roast today.  My dad was on a special diet for his heart and she had not fixed pork in a long time.  He wasn’t with her on this trip, so it was a special treat for her.  I scribbled the recipe down for her on a piece of paper.  Years later I found that piece of paper in a drawer in her kitchen when I cleared out her house to sell.  I remembered then how good that meal was.  It was for her birthday.


Pork with Garlic in the Slow Cooker

  •  4-5 pound pork loin roast
  • 3-4 garlic cloves peeled, cut in half length-wise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 package Lipton dry onion soup mix
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups white wine or chicken broth
  • 1 large yellow onion sliced into ¼ ” thick slices
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Cut pockets in the pork roast and insert the peeled garlic cloves liberally all over the meat.

In a large pan (I like a Dutch oven) heat the olive oil.  Season the roast with salt and pepper and sear the roast until brown on all sides.  Remove the roast from the pan.  Cover the bottom of the slow cooker with the onion slices.  Place the roast on top of the onion slices. Sprinkle the roast with the dry onion soup mix and thyme.  Combine the mushroom soup and wine/chicken broth.  Pour this over the roast.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

You can use the sauce to serve over the meat.  This is delicious served with oven roasted butternut squash and new potatoes.  We had a Pumpkin Cheesecake for Momma’s birthday.


A Cold Winter’s Night….Soup!

Soup PotI made a tasty crock pot soup yesterday.  1 chopped leek, 2 chopped carrots, 2 sliced zuchinni, 2 bay leaves, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut in small pieces), 1 box low sodium chicken broth, 1 cup water and as much chopped kale (stems removed) as would fit in the crockpot.  I used about 4 large leaves. I cooked it on high for about 4 hours and 1 hour on low.  Nice and warm – and healthy.  Give it a try.