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Rainy Days are Perfect for This Chicken, Carrot and Sweet Potato Stew

It’s been pretty rainy and chilly here in our part of New York this week, so much so that the heat actually kicked in and came on the other morning, letting me know that the colder weather is rapidly approaching. It means I spend the early morning hours wearing my sweater around the house while I type away about various topics for my writing, covering everything from dental offices and travel tips to Thailand vacation spots and video gaming. Work has been busy lately and since the weather is cooler it is the perfect time to break out the slow cooker and make some soups or stews. This seemed like the perfect time to make this recipe from Cooking.com for chicken, carrot and sweet potato stew, a nice, thick, hearty stew that was easy to put together and has some great flavors to it.

Chicken, Carrot and Sweet Potato Stew

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes

1-2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 cup white wine

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 bay leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place the chicken, sweet potatoes, carrots, onion, minced garlic, tomato paste, white wine, thyme and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Stir the ingredients to combine everything well. Cover the slow cooker and cook the ingredients on low for 5 hours or until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through. Remove the bay leaves and put the stew into a large bowl or serve right from the crock of the slow cooker.

Believe it or not, that’s all there is to this recipe. It is very simple to put together and gives you a nice stew with a great tomato-based broth. I added in a couple of diced and peeled parsnips that I had on hand to get a little bit of extra flavor in there as well and I think you could pretty much add any fall vegetables that you really like, such as some diced butternut or acorn squash, to go along with the meal. You could always use chicken broth or water in place of the white wine if you did not want to use the wine and I think you could even substitute skinless, boneless chicken thighs for the breast meat if you prefer the dark meat or even use some stew beef instead of the chicken if that is what you prefer. Whatever you decide, it is a nice and simple mix that you can put in the slow cooker early in the day, set about your business and then have a great stew for dinner. I served this with some of the not quite whole grain baguette that I had made and it was perfect.

That’s all I have for today’s recipe. Check back next time for another new recipe and see what’s cooking. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day, stay dry, and enjoy your meal!

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Never Mind the Mall! Make Your Own Bourbon Chicken in the Slow Cooker

If you have spent any time at all in any mall, you have more than likely ventured into the food court once or twice. While you may typically find fast food options that everyone is familiar with, you are also likely going to find some type of restaurant offering you up free samples of the famous bourbon chicken seen in malls everywhere. I had been thinking about trying to replicate this on my own at home recently and after reading many of the recipes I found online I realized that a lot of these recipes do not actually use any bourbon at all in them and the name actually comes from Bourbon Street in New Orleans and not the content of the recipe. While this made sense, I was kind of looking forward to using a little bit of bourbon in a recipe because you can get some great flavor from it. I did finally come across a recipe from Betty Crocker that makes use of bourbon and is made in the slow cooker, allowing me to put everything together quickly and just let it cook until dinner time.

Slow Cooker Bourbon Chicken

1/2 cup bourbon

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/2 cup chopped green onions

Spray the slow cooker insert with cooking spray to prevent any sticking from occuring during the cooking process. In the slow cooker, mix the bourbon, the honey, the soy sauce, the rice vinegar, the ketchup, the chopped onion, the chopped garlic and the grated ginger until it is combined. Add the chicken breasts to the mixture and toss to coat the chicken.

Cover the slow cooker and cook on the Low heat setting for 6 to 8 hours. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker to a cutting board or platter. With 2 forks shred the chicken breasts or break the chicken into bite-size pieces, whichever you prefer. Return the chicken to the slow cooker and toss it to coat it in the bourbon sauce. Place the chicken in a large bowl or on a platter and sprinkle the green onions over the top before serving.

There is not much to this recipe at all and it is a great slow cooker option when you want to try something different. The bourbon sauce is full of flavor and not too sweet, making it just perfect for your meal. I served this with white rice to keep things very simple and the meal was all put together very easily. You can start this one before you leave for work or school in the morning and it can be done waiting for you when you get home. If you are looking to make this without the bourbon, you can use chicken broth or even Apple juice instead for flavor.I think it tastes better than anything they serve you at the food court in the mall and you may never look at those free samples the same way again. This will even be great as a pulled chicken option to serve on buns with some coleslaw.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Break Out the Slow Cooker for These Slow Cooker Asian Barbecue Ribs

Since I don’t have the advantages of having a charcoal or gas grill it sometimes feels like it can really limit some of the things I can cook, particularly when it comes to making ribs. I have been able to find some great recipes for making ribs in the oven and they have turned out well, but I am always looking to see if there is something new I can try to get even greater flavor out of a meal of ribs. I came across this recipe awhile back from Kelsey Nixon on the Cooking Channel for Asian barbecue ribs that are made in the slow cooker, which makes them perfect for you to try for a weeknight meal when you want something ready for you when you get home from work. These are very easy to make, with just a few ingredients that go a long way to giving you some great flavor.

Slow Cooker Asian Barbecue Ribs

1/4 cup sesame oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 bunch green onions, white and green parts, chopped

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup chili sauce

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup honey

2 racks pork baby back ribs (4 to 5 pounds)

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Heat the sesame oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the ginger, garlic and green onions until all are fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar, chili sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey and 1/2 cup of water. Whisk the mixture until everything is fully incorporated. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Continue cooking until the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and allow it to cool.

Sprinkle the ribs generously with salt and pepper and place the ribs in an upright position in the slow cooker. The meaty side of the ribs should be facing outwards. Spoon the sauce over the ribs and cover the slow cooker. Cook the ribs in the slow cooker on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Strain the sauce from the slow cooker into a saucepan and remove any accumulated grease from the top of the sauce. Combine 1 tablespoon of water with the 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and whisk them together in a small bowl. Add the cornstarch mixture to the saucepan and bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the sauce until it has thickened and serve it with the ribs.

I actually added one more step to this recipe at this point. When I removed the ribs from the slow cooker, I put some of the reduced and thickened sauce onto the ribs and then placed the ribs under the broiler for about 2 minutes to really get a nice glaze and crisp up the ribs some more. I think this made a big difference as far as flavor, texture and look of the ribs and I would do that again with this recipe. The sauce was great, giving a nice Asian flavor and flair to the dish with the ginger, soy sauce and honey. The ribs were very tender inside and crisp on the outside just the way I like them. I would definitely make this one again.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Pork, Slow Cooker Meals

 

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An Alton Brown Special – Slow Cooker Pepper Pork Chops

Alton Brown’s recipes are always among my favorites. He seems to take the time to make sure everything is going to be cooked just right so that you get the best taste and flavor out of your dish. This was particularly true of the dinner I made last night that uses his recipe for slow cooker pepper pork chops. Granted, part of the dish is actually made on the stove top before it makes its way over to the slow cooker, but this helps you to get great browning for the pork chops and onions before they go into the slow cooker to get that falling-off-the-bone flavor and texture to them. There is some prep work that needs to go into this one beforehand, which includes brining the pork chops for 24 hours, but it is well worth the effort.

Slow Cooker Pepper Pork Chops

2 cups vegetable broth or water

1/2 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 tablespoons black peppercorns, slightly crushed

1 pound ice

4 (1 to 1 1/2-inch thick) bone-in pork chops

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/3 cup dried apple slices

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, julienned

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Combine the vegetable broth, 1/2 cup of kosher salt, brown sugar and the crushed peppercorns in a medium saucepan and set it over medium-high heat. Cook just until the salt and sugar have dissolved then remove the mixture from the heat and add the ice to the saucepan. Place the pork chops in a large zip-top plastic bag along with the mixture and seal the bag. Place the bag in a plastic container and refrigerate the pork chops overnight.

Remove the chops from the brine, rinse and pat them dry. Season both sides of the chops with kosher salt and set them aside.

Place the apple slices in the slow cooker. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the pork chops on both sides until they are golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. Once they are browned, place the pork chops into the slow cooker on top of the apple slices.

Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to the saute pan followed by the onions ans saute the onions until the begin to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth to the pan to deglaze. Add the black pepper and the dried thyme and stir the mixture to combine. Transfer the entire mixture to the slow cooker, set the slow cooker to high, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Decrease the heat to low and continue cooking for another 4 1/2 hours or until the pork is tender and falling away from the bone. Serve.

The brine really helps to add some great flavor to the pork. If you aren’t a big fan of pepper, you might want to skip this one because the pepper flavor from the brine certainly permeates the pork well. I thought it had fantastic flavor and loved the taste of the pepper with the onions and apples. I served this with some simple white rice and I also made a mashed butternut squash, which was a great side dish for the pork and one that you can easily use as a side dish for your Thanksgiving plans. I’ll be posting the recipe for that dish tomorrow.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for more recipes. I am working on a lot of things, including a bunch of dishes that are perfect for Thanksgiving that I will be highlighting throughout the month of November. Michelle’s birthday is at the end of this coming week, so we’ll be doing some Thanksgiving dishes for her birthday since I am not cooking at home this holiday. I’ll also be trying my hand at her birthday cake this year, so we’ll see how that turns out as well. Keep checking to see what is next. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on November 2, 2013 in Cooking, Dinner, Pork, Slow Cooker Meals

 

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Slow Cooking for Spring

Sorry I didn’t get to blog this weekend;work just got in the way I guess. Anyway, for now, here are 5 recipes from Williams-Sonoma to use in your slow cooker for spring. Each one looks tasty and delicious, so give them a try. I’ll be back tomorrow with my roast beef dinner. See you then!

Slow Cooking for Spring.

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Oven Barbecued Ribs, Broccoli Slaw, Slow Cooker Pork Chops and a Meal Plan Menu

I took the weekend off to spend some time with the family, but now it’s back to the blog. Yesterday, we had a nice meal of Oven Barbecued Baby Back Ribs and Broccoli Slaw. It made us all think about summer coming fast since the weather has been so mild this winter. Oven Barbecue Ribs are great to make any time of the year. You can use any store-bought sauce that you like, or a dry rub, or make your own sauce. I often use a dry rub or make me own sauce, and I’ll post those recipes as we get into the warmer weather. Yesterday I just used Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce, which is our sauce of choice. There’s not much to oven barbecuing ribs, so the recipe is quite quick.

Oven Barbecued Baby Back Ribs

1-2 racks pork loin baby back ribs (about 2-3 pounds each rack)

1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce, homemade or store-bought

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Lay the ribs, meaty side up, on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Wrap the pan tightly with foil. Roast for 2 hours. Remove the foil and brush the meaty side of the ribs with barbecue sauce. Continue to roast, uncovered, until the bones have separated from the meat, about 1 hour longer.

That’s all there is to it. You can do the same with spareribs if you prefer them; I like the taste of the baby back ribs better myself. I served this with a nice broccoli slaw. This slaw has a little kick to it, but you can eliminate the red pepper flakes from the recipe if you prefer something milder.

Broccoli Slaw

1 cup shredded carrots

2 cups shredded broccoli slaw

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 lime, zested and juiced

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

In a large bowl, combine the carrots, broccoli slaw and red onion. Set aside. In a small saucepan, add the vinegar, lime zest, lime juice, salt, sugar, red pepper flakes and the black pepper. Bring to a light boil over low heat. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Add the olive oil to the vinegar mixture, pour over the vegetables and toss together to combine. Refrigerate until serving.

It made for a nice, refreshing dinner. Tonight’s dinner, following along with my schedule, is a slow cooker meal. Tonight I am making Slow Cooker Pepper Pork Chops. This is a recipe I got from Alton Brown of the Food Network. It takes a little prep work as the pork chops need to be brined overnight, but it’s definitely worth it.

Slow Cooker Pepper Pork Chops

2 cups vegetable broth or water

1/2 cup salt

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 tablespoons black peppercorns, slightly crushed

1 pound ice

4 (1 to 1 1/2 inch thick) bone-in pork chops

2 teaspoons salt

3 apples, cored and sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, julienned

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Combine the vegetable broth or water, 1/2 cup salt, brown sugar and peppercorns in a medium saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Cook just until the salt and sugar dissolve, then remove from the heat and add the ice. Place the pork chops into a gallon zip-top bag along with the mixture and seal. Place in a plastic container and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the chops from the brine, rinse, and pat dry. Season on both sides with salt and set aside. Place the apples in the slow cooker. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the pork chops on both sides until golden brown, approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side. Once browned, place the pork chops into the slow cooker atop the apples.

Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan followed by the onions and saute until they begin to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth to the pan to deglaze. Add the black pepper and the thyme and stir to combine. Transfer this to the slow cooker, set to high, and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Decrease the heat to low and continue cooking for another 4 1/2 hours, or until the pork is tender and falling away from the bone.

If you want to leave the slow cooker in the morning and not have to turn anything down, you can leave the pork chops on low the whole time and cook for 8 hours. I am serving this meal simply, with some white rice and steamed  vegetables (cauliflower and broccoli).

As for the meal plan for this week, here is what I am making:

Monday: Slow Cooker Pepper Pork Chops, White Rice, Steamed Vegetables

Tuesday: Trinidadian Chicken Stew

Wednesday: Hamburgers, Oven Fries, Oven-Fried Onion Rings

Thursday: Fettuccine Alfredo

Friday: Monkfish ( I haven’t decided how I am cooking it, but I did buy it and freeze it).

They are all simple, tasty meals. By the way, I won’t be eating the fettuccine, I’ll be having crab-stuffed trout that day, so I’ll post both recipes, but they will both be delicious :). I think that covers everything for tonight. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave a note and say hi. Until tomorrow, enjoy your meal!

 

 
 

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Slow Cooking Some Stew

Tonight’s dinner has been cooking all day and it smells terrific. Beef stew is one of those meals that you can make all day in the slow cooker or all day on the stove, and it makes the whole house smell great. You don’t need a lot of ingredients to make it and you can always add other vegetables to it if you want.

Beef Stew with Bacon

4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon salt, plus more, to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste

2 pounds boneless beef chuck, trimmed of excess fat and cut into chunks (I am actually using a london broil instead this time)

3/4 cup fresh mushrooms, halved if large

1/2 pound baby carrots

4 to 5 small red potatoes, scrubbed and quartered

1/2 pound frozen pearl onions (you can use 1 large yellow onion, chopped, instead)

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup dry red wine

1 cup beef broth

2 tablespoons tomato paste

In a large fry pan over medium heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off the drippings into a small heatproof bowl, leaving about 1 tablespoon drippings in the pan. Set the pan, reserved drippings and bacon aside.

In a sealable plastic bag, combine the flour, the 1 teaspoon of salt and the 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Add the beef chunks and shake to coat evenly with the flour mixture. Return the fry pan to medium-high heat. When the drippings are hot, add half the beef chunks and cook, turning once, until well browned, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the beef to the slow cooker. Repeat with the remaining beef chunks, adding the reserved drippings if needed. Scatter the mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, onions, and garlic on top.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the wine, broth and tomato paste. Mix well, bring to a boil and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the pan bottom. Pour the  contents of the pan over the vegetables and beef. Cover and cook on the high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours or the low-heat setting for 8 to 9 hours. The beef should be very tender. Stir in the reserved bacon. Cook, uncovered, on the high-heat setting for 10 minutes more to thicken the sauce slightly. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Of course, the stew is great served with some crunchy bread, rolls or biscuits. If you would like to see a simple biscuit recipe, just check here for a previous blog entry that included the biscuits. You can always freeze any leftovers to save to be re-heated on a later day or use it for lunches during the week.

This was a pretty simple slow cooker meal, which is ideal for a Monday night. Tomorrow night, I’ll be making Bacon Chicken Ranch Quesadillas and we’ll be having the leftover black beans and rice and mango pineapple salsa, both from Sunday’s dinner. If you have any questions or there are any recipes that you might like to see or if you have some ideas for the blog, please feel free to leave a comment. Until tomorrow, have a great evening and enjoy your meal!

 
 

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Jennifer Probst

a little bit naughty a little bit nice

Laissez Faire

Letting Life Lead

simple cooking recipes

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