This is such an easy recipe, I’m almost ashamed to post it. But it made the best spaghetti sauce I’ve EVER tasted. Honestly, I considered licking the pot. I always try to “amp up” store-bought spaghetti sauce and this is now my favorite way to do it. This might just revolutionize pasta night at your house too.
I used bone-in pork chops because I think they have great texture and just the right amount of fat. By searing them first, you keep the moistness in the meat, but by prolonging the cooking process and finishing them in the crock pot, the meat becomes so tender, it will literally fall off the bone and you can cut it with a fork.
The leftover sauce in the crock pot can be used on the meat, the pasta, on garlic bread… or cook a little extra and then freeze the pork-infused sauce for another dinner. Seriously… sometimes I even impress myself. This sauce is now a new family favorite after just one meal. Enjoy!
1.5-2 lbs bone-in pork chops
2 T. olive oil
3 cups spaghetti sauce (traditional style)
1 lb box thin spaghetti
Heat oil in flat skillet. Cook pork chops for 4-5 minutes on each side or until brown sear forms. Pour half of the spaghetti sauce into crock pot, put pork chops onto sauce and then cover them with remaining sauce. Cook on high for four hours or until meat is soft enough that it pulls away easily from the bone. Cook pasta according to package directions. Serve meat with pasta and cover both with sauce.
This afternoon, I went with my family to an apple orchard to pick fresh, local produce to enjoy. It felt organic. Not in the “lacking chemicals and pesticides” way, but in the “feeling connected to the earth and supporting something good”. My kids loved picking the fruit and sampling all the different kinds of apples. I am eager to make my escalloped apples recipe as soon as possible.
But the best part of the day was coming home to dinner already made and a very hungry family to feed!
One of my favorite meals to cook and eat is pot roast– meat, potatoes, carrots, celery, onions… all the basics. It’s so filling and full of great nutrients. One crock pot is a whole meal. But sometimes I like to vary it up a little. I made a very similar recipe today, but instead of beef, I used three turkey legs as our protein.
The meat becomes so tender it falls off the bone. I used whole carrots because they make such a nice presentation and Read more
In the midst of summer heat, I love to use my crock pot to cook the season’s ripe vegetables. My kitchen stays cool and my taste buds get to dance. This week, I had friends bring me fresh beets from their community CSA. I love roasting beets in a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, so I thought this would be a fun challenge for the crock pot.
When you roast beets in the oven, there is the chance of overcooking, resulting in a dried, wrinkled sad result for this moist and vibrant treat. With the locked-in moisture of the crock pot, I really think that beets get the chance to both marinate and cook to perfection.
Please note— this recipe calls for FRESH produce. This recipe is not intended for canned beets. When you are preparing fresh beets, be cautious that the juice doesn’t dye your hands, your counter or your cutting board. But you will benefit greatly by doing the preparation, because the taste and texture of using fresh produce for this recipe is so much better than you could ever replicate with a canned product.
6 large fresh beets, greens removed and skins peeled, sliced
3-4 fresh white radishes, greens removed and skins peeled, then sliced Read more
“To make a good salad is to be a brilliant diplomatist —
the problem is entirely the same in both cases.
To know exactly how much oil one must put with one’s vinegar.”
Oscar Wilde 1856-1900, British Author
Dinner was not a crock last night. We grilled out brats and had cold side dishes, drank chilled wine and enjoyed time with friends. Sometimes I really enjoy the contrast of a hot main dish and the refreshment of cold accompaniments. I made a vinaigrette salad last night that everyone seemed to really enjoy, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you too. Tomorrow I’ll use the crock pot, but this was a nice change.
Making a vinaigrette salad takes only a few ingredients, but just the right balance (as Oscar Wilde said in the quote listed above). You want chemistry and harmony and simplicity in the perfect mix. Depending on the potency of your ingredients, you may want to divide the dressing measurements in half and add a bit at a time until you get a good balance. Remember that when the vegetables marinate, they will absorb some oil and vinegar and release some water, so you might want to drain the salad a little bit before serving. Enjoy!
1 English cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
2 c. cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 medium sweet onion, cut into chunks
1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. can green beans, drained and rinsed
3 T. fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 c. extra light olive oil
3 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. coarsely ground pepper
Mix all vegetable together, then drizzle with oil, vinegar and seasonings. Toss salad together and then add parsley and mix one more time. Refrigerate at least an hour and then drain, if needed, before serving.
Happy Cinco de Mayo! This is a really easy recipe for enchiladas– you buy the sauce already made and a handful of other ingredients. When you put it all together it tastes authentic and just the right balance of flavors and spice. I always keep a bag of flour tortillas in the refrigerator, so even though enchiladas are traditionally made with corn tortillas, I’m going to use the ones I already have.
Enchiladas are pretty much a corn (maize) tortilla wrapped around any variety of fillings, including meats, potato, seafood, vegetables, cheese, beans or any combination of these, covered in a red chili sauce. The Spanish word “enchilado” means spicy or hot, but that doesn’t mean that your taste needs to be extreme. You can add intensity with jalapenos or Tabasco if you’d like to crank it up a bit. This dish is also a great way to get your family to fill up on protein and you can use shredded beef or chicken if you prefer it over ground meat.
I suggest serving this dish with some Spanish rice or refried beans and some shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and a dollop of sour scream. And if you serve dinner and request “dos cervezas, por favor”, I say cheers to you and enjoy your celebration!
1 lb ground turkey
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 can diced green chiles
1/2 c. salsa
3 T. olive oil
10 tortillas (corn is traditional, flour ones still work)
1 can enchilada sauce
1 c. shredded colby jack cheese
2 T. jalapenos (from the jar)
Heat olive oil in a separate pan and brown meat until crumbled and cooked throughout. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add green chiles and salsa to mixture and stir, turn off heat. Pour a little enchilada sauce into the crock pot, just enough to coat the bottom. Roll 2-3 T of meat mixture in each tortilla and then place each one in separately, seam-side down (this works easiest in an oval shaped crock pot). Cover tortillas with remaining enchilada sauce, then the cheese and then sprinkle with the jalapenos. Cook on low for 3-4 hours. Ole!!
This morning I am participating in the Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure. It has been my privilege to support this cause and all the amazing women and men that are fighting cancer every day. We all know someone, have loved someone or have experienced this battle ourselves. We must provide courage and compassion to support each other and on a day like today we add enthusiasm and charisma as well. I am proud of my community for running (no pun intended) such an amazing event every year.
One of the goals of the I AM THE CURE campaign this year is to “start the fight by living right!” It only makes sense that I challenge myself today to make a healthy PINK meal. I think we’ll call it Crock for the Cure. Maybe someday I’ll run my own fundraiser along these lines, but for today, I’d like to provide you with an easy colorful recipe. Enjoy!
(to find a Race for the Cure in your area, visit http://ww5.komen.org/findarace.aspx)
4 salmon steaks (about 1-2 lbs of salmon; deboned, skin on)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
1 T. pink peppercorns
1 c. white wine
1 T. olive oil
2 T. fresh dill, chopped
1/2 t. salt
Start by coating crock pot with a non-stick spray. Place salmon steaks side by side in the crock pot. Drizzle with olive oil, peppercorns, salt and fresh dill. Scatter sliced red pepper on top. Pour wine around edges of fish, but don’t rinse off the seasonings. Poach for 2 hours on high.
To continue the theme, mix 1 T. softened cream cheese into 1/2 c. cocktail sauce and serve with the fish. It will be pink and spicy and will complement the opaque color of the fish.
My head had been swirling with a mix of the traditional children’s song about a certain London Bridge and the contemporary naughty version of the song by a certain Mrs. Black-Eyed Pea. While I might not have the cute sequin British flag on a pair of boy shorts, I think my London Broil is a fine salute. The funny thing about the name “London Broil” is that there actually isn’t any connection to London or English foods and you don’t actually have to broil this cut of meat, even though that direction is clearly stated in the name.
This beef steak is a good balance of muscle and fat and is moist and juicy. It can also be labeled as top round steak or flank steak and it’s still the same part of the cow. It is helpful to marinate this cut of meat overnight before cooking in the oven, but you can get that same effect by cooking it on low with the marinade on the meat in the crock pot. If the meat doesn’t fall apart when it’s done cooking, you can remove it from the crock pot and make thin slices across the grain of the meat. Leftover slices also make really good cold roast beef sandwiches.
A simple meat and potatoes dish is a great way to have a filling dinner without having a lot of fuss. So be American and crock pot your London Broil today!
2-3 lb. London Broil (also called flank steak or top round steak)
4 potatoes, cut into chunks
6 carrots, peeled and cut
1 medium onion, quartered
1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce Read more
I think it’s a wonderful community celebration when a baby is born. Friends and family gather to welcome the sweet little child and help the new parents with meals and errands and extra hands for diaper changes. Tonight, it’s my turn to bring dinner to some friends and I’m pretty sure that they already assume it’s going to be something from the crock pot. The debate begins about what to make— it doesn’t have to be for an occasion, let’s admit that this debate happens practically every day, right?!
Let’s see– vegetarian or dairy is requested and the meal needs to feed two adults and a 2-year-old, too. I’m guessing that pasta dishes and soups have already been dropped off or stocked in the freezer, so I decided to do an Asian tofu dish and serve it with rice. Tofu is a unique protein, but it cooks up nicely and can suck up a whole bunch of flavor from whatever it accompanies. There are different consistencies of tofu sold, but I suggest using an extra firm one, it’s easiest to work with as a substitute for meat.
If you are scared of squishy food, you could make this dish with chicken instead. But give it a try– you might actually like tofu! The toughest thing about cooking it, is that sometimes it can really stick to the pan. Let it cook on each side without moving it around in the pan and then flip it quickly with a thin spatula. Enjoy!
1 brick of tofu, drained
3 T. olive oil
1/2 c. orange juice
1/4 c. honey Read more
I’m pretty sure everyone has a grandmother-aged person in their life that makes the “perfect brisket”. It’s moist, juicy, flavorful and pulls apart perfectly. We’ve tried and tried to repeat the old world secrets, but somehow our ovens continue to dry out the meat or make it tough to chew. Look no further– grandma might not have used a slow cooker, but these recipes are very easy and have amazing results.
Here’s a great little nugget for you: my mom always cut off the last inch of the brisket before cooking it. I figured it was because of how she trimmed off the fat, skimming the top of the cut of meat and then cutting off the chunk at the end. I asked her about it and she said that it was how her grandmother did it. So I asked my grandmother why her mom cooked the meat in that particular way and she said, “because her pan was too small, the meat never seemed to fit right so she cut off the end so the brisket would lay flat.” It’s funny how traditions begin.
If you are looking for a pulled beef sandwich to serve at a spring BBQ, fork apart the meat when it is done, then top it with your favorite BBQ sauce and serve it on a braided roll. Oh– was it mean to say BRAIDED ROLL to those of you celebrating Passover? My bad.
EASY difficulty brisket
1 3 lb. beef brisket
1 bottle italian dressing Read more
My husband’s family use to have this amazing tradition; every Wednesday night we would all go to his grandmother’s house for dinner. Gaga’s recipes usually start with butter or oil and a little salt and pepper and from there, it could be chicken or beef or vegetables or any number of simply wonderful simple dishes. But one of my favorites is Gaga’s cabbage casserole.
Every time Gaga made this, I knew that the kitchen would be uncomfortably warm from the oven being on and that it would taste so good that there would rarely be leftovers. This dish doesn’t even taste like cabbage, it tastes like fluffy goodness that you can say is actually good for you. Save yourself the perspiration and make this dish in your crock pot instead. If you want to finish the casserole off, remove the crock and place it under the broiler for a couple minutes, just so the top layer crisps.
This dish is simple and the salt and pepper really give it most of its flavor, so it’s great to make as a complement to pretty much any meat. It’s not a main dish, but it will probably be a favorite! I wouldn’t recommend freezing this casserole, but refrigerating it and reheating it is fine.
1/2 head cabbage
1 sleeve of saltine crackers (if you want it to taste more buttery, use a Ritz style cracker instead)
3 T. olive oil
salt and pepper
Shred the cabbage, the smaller the pieces, the better. Put the crackers in a zipper bag and smash them till they are itty bitty, but not powder. Layer the cabbage and then the cracker crumbs in the crock pot; in between layers drizzle about 1 T. of olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper. When all of the cabbage, crackers, seasonings and oil have been layered, pour milk into the crock pot until it almost reaches the top layer, but not quite. It usually takes about 4 cups of milk. Cook on high for 3 hours. There shouldn’t be much liquid left when the casserole is done– the crackers absorb most of it, but make sure that your cabbage is soft, it shouldn’t be crunchy at all.
Enjoy this with pretty much anything. Gaga would be proud if you made this on a Wednesday night at your house, too.