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Saint Patricks Day is coming and I know what you are thinking not another Beer Battered Fish or just say no to Cornbeef and Cabbage. Personally I could live on cabbage alone but I understand that it is probably just me and Irish are not really known for their renowned cuisine. I’m sorry did I say it out loud? They are however known for their alcohol. So when I found this Slow Cooker Recipe in my new favorite mag Eating Well I just had to make it. It calls for Guinness can you get more Irish then that? And it is slow cooked so it will ripen while you are enjoying your neighborhood parades and fest.
You will need: 2 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, 3 pieces of bacon, 6 tbs plus 1/2 cup all purpose flour (divided), 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground pepper, 4 tsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 2/3 cup Guinness Beer or stout (14 oz can) plus more for drinking, 1 lb whole baby carrots (cut into 1 inch pieces), 1 (8 oz) package crimini or button mushrooms, 2 cups chopped onions, 4 garlic cloves mined, 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth, 2 cups frozen peas (thawed)
Combine 6 tbs flour with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper
Cover the chicken evenly in flour
Heat 2 tsp of oil in the pan over medium heat and half cook the chicken till brown. Reduce heat to medium add 2 tsp more oil and cook the rest.
Place in a bottom of 5-6 qt slow cooker.
Dice the bacon
Add to the pan and cook stirring for 2 minutes
Add remaining 1/2 cup flour over the bacon and cook stirring constantly for 2 more minutes
With your other hand pour yourself a Guinness making sure you set aside 1 2/3 cups, or open two 14 oz cans, drink only one
Add it to the pan scraping the bottom pieces
You will have a thick paste like mix when finished, about minute.
Pour mixture over the chicken adding mushrooms over the top. Hopefully you bought the presliced ones but if you did not halving them will be enough.
Add cut carrots, chopped onions and 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
Top with 1 cup chicken broth, cover and pour yourself another Guinness, go to a St. Patty Party or Parade leaving 2 cups of frozen peas on the table.
This will cook 4 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low so plan accordingly.
When ready stir in the peas and cook till heated through 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Dig in Enjoy by now I am sure you are pretty hungry.
One or more Guinness may been consumed while writing this post, sorry for the spelling errors.
HAPPY SAINT PATRICK’S DAY !!!
Nutritional Information, makes 8 servings, serving size 1 1/3 cup, cost per serving under $2.50
365 calories, 13 g fat, 88 mg cholesterol, 28 g carbohydrate, 0 sugars, 30 g protein, 4 g fiber, 570 mg sodium, 650 mg potassium.
I know you are already getting tired of my slow cooked recipes but they have been a life saver. Plus this one is exceptional, amazing, just plain WOW. It comes from this months Eating Well magazine that I got by mistake, meaning it was a subscription I got because of subscribing to another mag. I am so glad that I did because it is by far my favorite food magazine EVAA and when the february issue came out with new crock pot recipes I vowed to make them all. Starting with the most exotic one of the bunch Ethiopian Spiced Chicken.
To be honest I never tried Ethiopian food and since I already had all the spices from my last excursion to an Indian Market I rolled up my sleeves and dug in.
You will need: 1 1/2 cups lentils (red preferred), 2 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, 1 tbs butter, 3 tsp olive oil, 4 cups chopped red onions (2 med or 1 extra large), 5 cloves garlic, 1 tbs minced ginger, 5 tbs berbere spice blend (see note), 1/4 cup dry red wine, 1 (14oz) can diced tomatoes, 2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth.
Note: Berbere is a blend of garlic, fenugreek, allspice, red pepper, ginger, chiles, coriander, cinnamon and black pepper spices, made available for purchase in specialty stores. It is a staple of Ethiopian cooking but it can be easily made from well stocked spice rack (especially if you make Indian food).
Mix 4tbs garam masala, 1 tbs hot paprika, 1 tsp ground fenugreek and 1 tsp salt. Yields exact amount for the recipe.
Wash lentils in cold water until water runs clean. Make sure you look through them lately I have been founding either very dried up lentil or a stone in a bag which is never pleasant to see or bite into.
Spread the drained lentils on the bottom of the slow cooker and top with trimmed chicken (don’t worry there is much more of it)
Dice the onions
Mince the garlic
Peel and grate the ginger root
I had to make my own spice so I placed 4 tbs Garam Masala (also a spice mix available in most grocery stores, sometimes I find it at Walmart but not Kroger, go figure),
1 tbs paprika (I used mild since there are kids in this house, but you can get spicy)
1 tsp ground fenugreek that I did purchase in an Indian store few weeks ago. I guess if you have to make a spice run may as well get berbere.
and 1 tsp salt
Melt 1 tbs butter in the pan
Add onions and cook till soften 4-6 minutes
Add garlic and ginger and cook till fragrant 1-2 minutes
Dump the spices and cook until well mixed in
and very fragrant 2-4 minutes
Now it is time to open the wine, unless you opened it already. You know I did. 1/2 cup of red wine to deglaze the pan, the rest MINE.
Deglazing means using wine (alcohol) or stock to scrape off the bits and pieces stuck to the pan while the liquid evaporates.
Add can of tomatoes and mix till mixed (I love my extended vocabulary)
Time to top the chicken with the pan mixture and pour 2 cups of reduced sodium chicken broth on top.
Cover and cook until chicken is falling apart, about 5 hours on high, 7-8 hours on low.
The end result is amazing flavorful stew that everyone in my family loved. Actually I had an impromptu friends show up and they loved it too. Thankfully the recipe was nearly allergen free meaning gluten free, dairy free, nut free. It is also very inexpensive. I have never cooked much with chicken thighs before but whole 2.5 lbs was only 5$ or so.
I guess it all depends on the wine you use but according to the magazine this meal makes 8 servings about 1 1/4 cups each when the cost per serving is 2.50$. Here is the nutritional info per Serving:
406 calories, 13 g fat (4g sat, 5g mono), 89 mg cholesterol, 34 g carbohydrate, 0g sugar, 36 g protein, 7g fiber, 672 mg sodium, 672 mg potassium. High in Iron (28% daily value)), Zinc (27% dv), Folate (26% dv), Potassium and Vitamin C (20% dv), Magnesium (16% dv).
Not only great tasting but easy and good for you too.
A few weeks ago Canadian Foodie asked me what I thought may be the new food trends of 2012. Of course I drew a blank since I only go to places that have a children’s menu. Those places never ever change based on trends or health fads, usually the greasier the better, which may be fine for a growing toddler but not for mommy and daddy.
When pondering longer I figured out the 2012 Polwig family trend and that is called Slow Cooker or Crock Pot. Whatever you want to call it, I love it. Of course my wonderful hubby is quick to point out that it was not love at the first sight. Apparently when I first laid eyes on it I said something about making a garbage run.
What did I know? I was a single girl from the city that did not have to worry about cooking for a family of five. I could run around town all day come home and have some soup. Now after running around all day at about 6pm I hear the door open and a friendly voice asking me “what’s for dinner?” and he doesn’t like soups.
So the only way to stay sane, or semi sane is to use this beast, and I am, so expect more, a lot more slow cooking. Well at least this winter.
Below is a recipe for Italian Style Pot Roast adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution, but for other slow cooker recipes click here.
You will need: 8 ounces bacon (about 8 slices) chopped, 2 onions, 4 carrots, 6 garlic cloves, 2 tbs minced fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried, 2 tbs tomato paste, 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (entire packet in my case), 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/2 cup dry red wine, 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes, 1 cup low sodium chicken broth, 2 bay leaves, 2 (2 1/2 to 3 lb each) beef chuck roast (tied), salt, pepper, parsley.
Note: I only used one beef chuck since 2 1/2- 3lb of meat is enough for one meal. The test kitchen used two smaller roasts because they cook more evenly and are easier to fit in a slow cooker.
Note 2: I served it with pasta but the book prefers cooked polenta.
Cover porcini mushrooms with boiling water and let sit when you do the chopping.
Peel and dice the carrots
Mince the garlic
Drain the liquid from the mushrooms and finely chop or mince
Cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp
Place in the slow cooker, turn the cooker on (low/high depending how much time you have)
Pour all but 2 tbs of bacon grease from the skillet. Add carrots, onions, garlic and minced mushrooms.
2 tbs tomato paste
2 tsp dried oregano (2 tbs fresh)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Cook mixing together until the veggies are soft and lightly browned about 8-10 minutes
Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup dry red wine. Meaning pour in and scrape the bottom pieces off.
Make sure to pour yourself a glass too, which is one of the primary reasons why I love slow cookers. 1/2 cup in the rest is mine.
No I did not drink the entire bottle, I used it for cooking.
Transfer the mixture to slow cooker, add 2 bay leaves, 1 cup chicken broth
and a 28 can of crushed tomatoes
Season the meat with salt and pepper
Place in the slow cooker, cover with sauce, close the lid. Cook 9-11 hours on low and 5-7 hours on high until the beef is tender.
When done remove the roast from the pan and keep covered. If you used one most likely you will be looking at shredded beef so let the sauce settle for 5 minutes then remove the fat from the surface.
Serve over pasta, sprinkled with parsley or just make yourself a tasty sandwich.
It is 2012 and all of us have started on some resolutions. I have decided to conquer the world with my ideas, eat healthy, exercise and get smarter, all in the extra 20 minutes I have in a day. I do have an easy way out, this chopped salad that says fresh and crisp in the fridge for few days so you always have a healthy lunch ready, unless you take it to work instead.
The reason why it stays so fresh is because it is made of napa cabbage and radicchio (red small iceberg lettuce) you will need half of each, 1 apple, 1 red pepper, 2 carrots, 3 stalks of celery, 1 cup sliced almonds, 1 cup cherry flavored craisins (dried cranberries), 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp honey, 1/4 tsp sugar, 4 oz goat cheese (chevre).
Note: Use whatever vinegar or oil you have handy. I have made it with rice vinegar and grape seed oil and it tasted the same. Let’s rephrase: my untrained palette was unable to tell the difference so do not go out of your way to purchase the exact vinegar or oil.
On another note chances are that an average kitchen will have olive oil and white wine vinegar over rice vinegar and grape seed oil, but I digress.
Turn oven on broil, place the almonds on aluminum foil and broil till slightly golden.
Dice carrots, celery and red bell pepper to desired salad size.
Chop Napa Cabbage and Radicchio
Peel and dice an apple, use your favorite crispier kind. I used a Pink Lady, I think, it has been a long year.
Dump all into a mixing bowl, top with cranberries and toasted almonds.
Crumble goat cheese over the salad
To make a dressing mix 1/4 vinegar
with 1/4 cup oil (sorry mine is green b/c I am using grape seed, need to use it for something)
Top with 1 tsp honey and 1/4 tsp sugar. Mix well until it becomes almost creamy looking
Pour over the salad and toss.
The salad gets better as it waits a few minutes and all the flavors have a chance to dance together.
It is a great option for a grab and go lunch and will not get to soggy by the time you get to work. Best part it will work wonders for your waist and your wallet.
HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!
This is the list of most popular dishes of 2011, but I have to be honest and say that I cheated. You see when I actually looked up the most popular recipes the top five were the same as last year and I didn’t think it would be fair. Obviously these recipes have been around the web for a little bit longer so they got a lot more exposure. It is like clicking on Netflix top 100 movies and realizing that most are over 5 years old, of course they have been seen by Everyone.
Therefore I am sorry for tampering with the results but if you really want to see Vegetarian Miso Soup, Simple Christmas Treat, Veggie Pasta Bake or Zucchini Chips (most to less popular) click here for out 2010 list.
Here however are top 2011 NEW recipes:
10. Raspberry Cheesecake
I can totally understand why this recipe made it to top 10, cheesecake AND raspberries, what’s not to like.
9. Beef Chili with Ancho, Red Beans and Chocolate
This is my favorite chili, spicy, thick with tons of flavor, actually it is more like flavored beef since once it is cooked can be served as a dip as much as a soup.
8. Vegetarian Bean, Swiss Chard and Lemon Soup
My step dad made this soup for me this summer and I fell in love. Even though he is yet to give me a recipe I made one up. It is the mixture or creamy beans, flavorful swiss chard and lemon that make it so irresistible, or maybe it is my bean addiction.
7. Cheese Tomato and Basil Tart
Quick, easy, yummy what’s not to like. Puff pastry with herb flavored riccotta cheese and tomatoes. Perfect for breakfast, appetizer or dinner.
6.Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow Cupcakes
This is my daughters favorite recipe. Since we made it she has talked about it in her preschool and made drawings about it. Apparently making Rainbow Cupcakes is her favorite Mommy and Me activity, who knew.
5. Greens and Beans- Black Eyed Peas for New Year
I technically made this dish Dec 31 2010 so it did not get a chance to make the 2010 round up. Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens are supposed to bring New Year Good Luck and the herbs and ham hock add to the flavor.
4. Zucchini with Mint Yogurt Dressing
I am always surprised how popular zucchini recipes are on the net. Last year Zucchini Chips was my most popular recipe. The only possible explanation is that once you grow zucchini you end up with a lot more then you can handle so you always look for something new.
3. Chicken Parm Polwig Style
Love this chicken. It is super crispy with panko herb coating with a rich tomato sauce. The only problem, which I realized after posting, I never added any parmesan to it. Can it still be called Chicken Parm without the Parm?
2. Stuffed Poblano Peppers
I have made this recipe at least once a week for a couple of months, now we don’t eat it quite as often. I guess we get tired of the same food over and over. If you have not tried it yet, do so. It is fast, easy to make and extremely tasty.
1. Easy Crock Pot Roast
Everyone is looking for Easy Slow Cooker Meals that can be made when they work. No wonder it has been a winner, even though it has not been on the web for that long. Mouth watering meat with vegetables in gravy with almost no effort. I call that perfect New Year Meal.
I understand that this is most longest named post on this site. Sorry I could not help myself. We love cookies. Who doesn’t? And this is the season for cookies, not these cookies but why not start with something smarter right off the bat then wait till January. This Smart cookie is our favorite but don’t worry even with it’s good taste you can’t eat the entire box thanks to all the fiber.
You will need: 1/2 cup all purpose flour, 1 c whole wheat flour, 1 cup oats, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 1/2 sticks (12 tbs) butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, 1 large egg, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 mashed banana, 1 package craisins (pick your flavor), 1/2 cup favorite nuts (we use hazelnuts or walnuts).
Preheat oven to 350 deg
Mix together 1/2 cup all purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour
add 1/2 tsp baking soda and salt
To the mixing bowl add 1 1/2 sticks of butter, 1/2 cup regular and 1/2 cup brown sugar, mix until creamy
Add the egg and continue mixing
Make sure your banana is over ripen, if it is not place it in the microwave for 10 sec, then mash it with a fork
Add to the flour mixture together with 1 cup of oats, mix well
Now it is time to search your cupboard for some interesting dried fruits, you may find currants like me or raisins, blueberries, cherries etc. All perfectly suited in this recipe.
Add Craisins, Nuts and other dried fruit to your liking, mix well
Place on a baking sheet, or have your sous chef do it with an ice cream scoop.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden
Let cool and serve. They will be fluffy they will be moist and they will be good enough to serve as an on the go snack or breakfast. Store in a ziplock bag up to a week (don’t worry they will not last that long)
Creamed Spinach is one of my old time favorite side dishes. I could probably skip the meat and concentrate on the iron in this baby instead. This recipe is with Boursin Cheese and just in case you never tried it, you really really need to especially the garlic and herb version that I am using here. Try it with wine and crackers or try it with some spinach and wine. Just do not forget the cheese and the wine and you should be fine with whatever you serve it with. Sometimes I like it with a spoon but that is on special occasions only. When I am home alone on the couch.
The cheese is creamy fresh white with addition of garlic, parsley and chives. It can get a bit pricey but it is discounted quite often.
You will need: 1 package of chopped spinach (10 oz), 1 medium onion, 1 cup of skim milk, 1 package Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese (5.2 oz), 1 tbs flour, 1 tbs butter Optional: bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese
Chop up the onion and melt 1 tbs of butter in the pan
Have the sous chefs place the onion in the pan, hopefully they will not touch their eyes
Saute Until Golden
Add 1 tbs flour and cook for about 1 minute mixing constantly
And staring at it as it gets golden brown
Add the milk
Mix well until the cheese dissolves and incorporates into the milk
Just like this, yummy
Make sure the spinach is defrosted and have been well squeezed so there is no extra water, mix well
Now you can cook it for a few more minutes and eat it up or you can place it in a bowl sprinkle with parmesan and bread crumbs and bake in the oven until bubbly (175 deg 15 min)
Here is the final product, unfortunately in bad light, we all have those days, but believe me it was amazing. Now pass along some crackers and wine.
I have been so in love with my slow cooker lately that I took him on a road trip to Chicago. My parents who live in the city are way too busy to cook and with just two of them it is so much easier to just grab something on their way home. They don’t even own a microwave much more a slow cooker. For me knowing that we will be spending most of our days in zoos and museums the last thing that I wanted to do is worry about kids nutrition. So I brought it with me, on a 16 hour car ride.
When we finally made it to Chicago, and it was a lot colder then I expected, I put it straight to work making Pot Roast with Mushroom gravy, super quick one pot dish. I should probably mention that it is perfect comfort food for a cold winter day.
You will need a 2-3 lb Chunk Roast (Pot Roast), 2 cans (15.5 oz) of Cream of Mushroom Soup, 1 bag Onion Soup mix, 1 small bag of mini carrots, 1 lb bag of fingerling or baby potatoes, 1 cup frozen peas
Note: You can substitute small potatoes with frozen french fries
Trim the meat of excess fat
It may not be much but it will be great for your waist and even better for your best friend, who will wag his tail in excitement
Place the meat on 1tbs olive oil and brown on all sides.
In the meantime empty the contents of Cream of Mushroom soup (2 cans) and Onion Soup mix into the bottom of your slow cooker and mix well
Wash the potatoes.
Make sure the roast is well brown on all sides, that means however many facets the beef has. It will give it a nice deep flavor.
When done place in the slow cooker
Surround with potatoes and carrots. If there is not enough room for the vegetables don’t worry there will be.
As the meat continues to cook it will shrink. It will also give off liquid which will make the gravy less dense but still tick. Therefore sit back and relax, do not add any water just cover. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 5-6.
When the meat is falling off the bone (last hour) add frozen peas and cook until warmed through
Come to a home cooked comfort meal that everyone will love. I wasa surprised to see my 4 year olds eat at least half a pound of meat each, smiling and happy.
Finally I got a little organized. I have decided to give you a new Thanksgiving side dish idea each day of this week and I was ready with over 1,000 food photos. Until I tried to upload them last week and my brand new camera or my not so new storage card gave up on me. Which means it may be a busy week unless I enlist the help of two almost professional cooks. I know that by now they will not let me cook without them.
They helped me make this amazing corn pudding which is almost like a corn custard or spoon custard, and since it is really easy to make they could almost do it themselves.
You will need: 1 lb frozen corn (thawed out), 4 eggs, 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 stick of butter (4 tbs), handful of chives (or entire .66 oz box), nutmeg, 2 cups of milk, 2 tbs sugar (not pictured), pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 450 deg. Place half of the corn mixture in a chopper or blender
Add to the whole corn and top with 2 tbs sugar
Pour 2 cups of milk into the bowl
add eggs and mix well.
Don’t forget to look good, you never know who is watching.
Melt 4 tbs of butter and add to the egg/milk mixture
Throw in some snipped chives, or dry ones if you can’t find fresh, mix well
Mine ended up being slightly longer then expected since my sous chef is still in training.
Add 1/4 cup flour and pinch of salt
continue mixing until distributed
Finally adding the corn mix to it
Butter a 1.5 quart/liter dish, I used 5×9 loaf pan
Pour the mixture into the dish and sprinkle with nutmeg
bake for 40-45 min until golden and pulling of the sides
Cool slightly and spoon unto the plate.
This past week my little babies turned 4 and I have still not learned how to buy their school treats. Instead of going to the spa, for a much needed haircut or a long walk I rolled up my sleeves and start cooking. Then the next day I arrive unbathed, unmakeuped and most likely unshaven to drop them off.
The great thing is that my kids are now very appreciative of all my crazy creations and can recall with excitement our last year celebratory Sesame Street Cupcakes.
The bad thing is that my kids are now very appreciative of all my crazy creations and will recall with excitement all the crazy things I made for them. Which really means that I will never be able to buy a regular store cupcakes and pretend they were my own.
Unless they grow up, like my teenager and come home and says “Home made pizza again, can’t we just order one for once”
I will be there faster then I think. For now I am enjoying their smiles when they see their Angry Bird characters in eatable form. What rising 4 year old does not love angry birds? Provided their parents allow them to play a violent game of crashing kamakaze like birds into pigs that stole their eggs. Provided their parents own an I-something that will allow them to buy the app …
To make any of the birds bake a boxed caked (your favorite kind) and mix it with a box of (prepackaged) frosting like we did here.
Then it was time to decorate. I used store bought eyes, skittles for beaks, funfetti frosting sprinkles for hair, red twizzlers for tops and edible pens (buy at micheals, walmart or on line here) and candy melts. Do not add water based food coloring to chocolate or it will become flaky, if you want to color it yourself use oil based food coloring.
I dipped the red bird first in white chocolate then in red chocolate. His eyes are were store bough which I have been told you can buy beaks too, but since we had a lot of Halloween Candy left over I cut a skittles into 4ths and used that instead. His top feather is made of a twizzler cut in half. The back hair was made of sprinkles from the funfetti cake, colored black with edible pen.
Blue bird was coated in blue chocolate, had skittles beak and sprinkle hair. I made him a little more oval and added candy eyes. I tried to make the eyes with white chocolate pieces and colored the tops with black marker but they looked like a piece of female anatomy more then eyes.
I formed the yellow bird as a triangle before placing in the fridge. He was coated fully in yellow and the white piece is made of cut up marshmallow.
The piggies were made round and got a little marshmallow (half) placed on their nose as there were chillin’. Their ears were green gummies cut into smaller pieces. Then all was dipped in green candy melt and marked with pen.
After all the work they were wrapped and headed to preschool, carried by two over eager kids.
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