Tag Archives: slow-cooker

The Pilgrims would be proud

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I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s a holiday coming up this Thursday. Something involving turkeys, cranberries, drunken family fist-fights…. you know the usual holiday fare. This year mi familia is having a big get-together with most of mi papa’s family coming in from different parts of the country as well as a few of mi mama’s. Hopefully not the ones who end up throwing things and bringing up childhood issues of bitterness and resentment. I’d really hate for the cops to have to drop in for a little visit again this year and find my great-abuela tied up in the closet with a pair of socks stuffed in her mouth… it’s just embarrassing.

So as I look forward to this magical day, I try to stay de-stressed in the kitchen by cooking up delicious and easy recipes utilizing my slow cooker. With all the preparation that will be involved on Thursday, it’s nice to only dirty up one pot on the nights leading up to that day. Last night I made the familia a lovely Lentil Bolognese dish which was not only incredibly tasty, but allowed me plenty of time to visit with everyone as well as take a little snooze in mi abuela Martha’s suitcase which she so kindly left open just for me. Gracias Abuela!

Lentil Bolognese over Pasta

2 cups green lentils, soaked and drained

2 cups vegetable broth or water

2 large carrots, diced

2 large celery stalks, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 large yellow onion, diced

2- 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained

6 oz can tomato paste

2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp ground red pepper

salt and pepper, to taste

1 package pasta or potato gnocchi

Directions:

1) Put all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover, set heat to low and cook 5-6 hours or until lentils are tender.

2) Boil pasta or gnocchi according to package directions. Serve Bolognese sauce over hot pasta/gnocchi and top with parmesan cheese.

3) Enjoy!

Well mi amigos, I must be going now. There’s a turkey to be thawed, some furniture and glass objects to be nailed down, and some guests to greet at the boating dock. Have a bueno Thanksgiving, everyone!

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If you can breathe, you can slow cook

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I love my slow cooker, I really do. I pretty much possess every kitchen gadget and appliance that is sold at our local Bed, Bath and Beyond (well, except for that sweet Margaritaville machine… I’m still holding out for that one… maybe my birthday), but the slow cooker is probably my favorite and most used of all. I honestly think the slow cooker, along with an electric can opener and a Magic Bullet, should be in every kitchen of every home across the country. In fact, one doesn’t even have to have a kitchen to be able to use a slow cooker. Just an outlet and some food items with which to slow cook– and of course the patience to wait 5-8 hours for the meal to be done. I hear salmonella poisoning from under-cooked chicken is not so fun. Just ask mi mama (another reason why we don’t let her do the cooking around here).

So now that the weather has gotten much colder and the rain has decided to settle in for the next 9-10 months, my desire to bust out the slow cooker has definitely intensified. Especially on those days when I am extremely busy and know I won’t be home until after dinnertime. Wednesdays are those days for me, for sure. I have pilates in the morning, a standing lunch date with the Cock-a-poo down the street followed by a walk to the dog park, Zumba in the afternoon and then Mariachi band practice in the evening. Usually those evenings I come home exhausted and definitely not in the mood to get dinner on the table for mi mama and papa. That’s where my handy-dandy slow cooker comes in and saves the day. This past Wednesday, in particular, I got up bright and early, threw a bunch of different items from the fridge and pantry into my slow cooker and set the temperature to low before grabbing my yoga mat and heading out the door. And when I came home 7 hours later, the house smelled absolutely heavenly and my slow cooker had magically transformed some basic ingredients, into a delicious dinnertime meal.

Zesty Salsa Chicken Stew

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 cup salsa or picante sauce (any kind, any level of heat)

14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, no-salt added, undrained

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, chopped into 2″ pieces

1 tbsp cumin

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp red pepper

1 tsp dried oregano

2- 14.5 oz cans beans (kidney, black, pinto etc.), rinsed and drained

6 oz can tomato paste

sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped green onions (optional)

Directions:

1) Place chopped onions, bell pepper, salsa, diced tomatoes, chicken pieces and spices in slow cooker. Stir to combine.

2) Set slow cooker to low, cover and leave 6-7 hours. Do not lift lid during this time.

3) Add beans and tomato paste, stir to combine, cover and leave another 30-45 minutes.

4) Remove lid, and serve as is or over a bed of rice, quinoa, millet or couscous. Top with sour cream, shredded cheese and/or green onions and devour.

Another tasty weeknight meal that takes almost no time and effort to make. So go show your slow cooker some love and make this yummy dish right now!

I, on the other hand, must be going  in order to do some other domestic duties. I have a hot date tonight and still need to iron my new outfit. Now if I could just figure out how to turn the darn thing on….