Thursday, February 28, 2013

February 28: Greek Chicken Pitas with Creamy Mustard Sauce

Here are the ingredients for the filling:
I put the cut up onion and bell pepper in the crockpot, then put 1 lb chicken on top. I seasoned it with 2 tsp. Greek seasoning, then I cooked it on high for about 2 hours:
Here are the rest of the ingredients:
I removed the chicken and sliced it, then I removed the veggies with a slotted spoon:
I mixed up the sauce - 1/4 cup each of yogurt and mayo, 1 tbsp mustard, and 1/4 tsp salt:
To serve, I loaded up pita pockets with chicken, veggies, sauce, some sliced fresh cucumber and tomatoes, and topped it off with feta cheese:
These pitas were delicious. They would have been even better if I could have gotten real pitas, and not just flatbreads. They were too sweet. Other than that, I loved them. The kids and DH did too.
See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February 27: Ham with Fruited Bourbon Sauce

I made this ham today, starting at around 1:30pm. I cooked it on high for 4 1/2 hours, but I could have cooked it on low for 9-10 hours. Here are the ingredients:
I had to trim the ham because I bought a 10-pounder, and the recipe called for a 6 pound ham. Also, it wouldn't fit in the crockpot. So I trimmed it and put it in the crockpot that had been sprayed with cooking spray. In a bowl, I mixed up 1/2 cup apple juice, 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup raisins, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, and 1/3 cup dried cherries (I was supposed to wait till the last 30 minutes of cooking time to put the cherries in, but I didn't read the directions close enough. They were fine.) Then I poured the mixture over the ham, covered it, and cooked it on high for about 4 1/2 hours: 
I removed the ham to a cutting board, then poured the sauce to cool 5 minutes in a measuring cup in order to skim the fat. Then I poured it back into the crockpot. I mixed up 1/4 cup each of cornstarch and rum (could also be bourbon or apple sauce), and stirred it into the sauce. That cooked on high, covered, for 20 more minutes. It was supposed to thicken, but it just got clumpy:
I sliced up the ham and served it with the sauce:

I was disappointed because I didn't like the rum sauce. It would have been so good had I used juice instead, and I ruined it. I'm throwing out the rest of it and I'll eat the leftovers without sauce. DH didn't like it; he ate the cold ham that I trimmed off. DDs liked it because it was sweet with the fruit (I didn't give them any rum sauce, just raisins and cherries).

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February 26: Greek Braised Beef Stew

Today I made this Greek stew. I started it at about 11am. I gathered up these ingredients:
I put 1/4 cup flour in a plastic bag with 2 tsp Greek seasoning, some salt and pepper, and shook it up to coat:
I browned the meat in hot olive oil, working in two batches:
I transferred the meat to the crockpot, then added 2 large onions cut into 8 wedges each, a pint of grape tomatoes, some kalamata olives, some fresh oregano, and a can of reduced-sodium beef broth:
I cooked it on high for about 6 hours:
The stew was served with lemon wedges and fresh sprigs of oregano:
This soup was really good. I'm glad I used the reduced sodium broth, because the olives added a lot of salt. I loved the texture of the tomatoes, and the lemons really brought out the flavor. This one's a winner.
For dessert, I made a recipe I found on Pinterest: microwave mug brownies! This is so easy, and I usually have all these ingredients on hand:
1/4 cup each of flour and sugar
2 tsp cocoa powder
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp oil
3 tbsp water
You just mix up the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients, stir, and microwave for 1 min. 40 seconds. Our microwave is old, so it took 2 min. 40 seconds for it to be perfect. We ate it with strawberry ice cream and it was delicious. I took a picture of it b/c I thought I might have to send it into Pinstrosity, but it came out great!

Monday, February 25, 2013

February 25: Hearty Beef Short Ribs

Today, from the Holiday Entertainment section of the cookbook, I made Hearty Beef Short Ribs. I wanted to cook them on low, so I started at about 9am.
I salted and peppered 2 1/2 pounds flanken-style short ribs, drizzled them with olive oil, then browned them in a hot skillet:
After a transferred them to the crockpot, I added 2 diced carrots, 2 diced celery stalks, a diced large onion, 3 minced garlic cloves, and 3 bay leaves:
In a small bowl, I mixed up 1/3 cup each of crushed tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and red wine:
I poured that over the ingredients in the crockpot, and I cooked it on low for about 8 hours:
I removed the ribs to a platter, so tender they were falling off the bones, then I transferred the sauce to a blender and blended it for a few seconds:
Then I served the meat with the sauce. I was too tired today to make any side dishes, so pardon the plain-looking photograph.

This meat was so good. Possibly the best meat I've ever had. I keep saying that with these recipes. I guess it's the slow-cooking of it that makes it wonderful. I will definitely make this again. It's not too expensive... under $10 for 2 1/2 lbs is pretty good I think.

The tip at the bottom of the page says: "For a change of pace from ordinary short rib recipes, ask your butcher for flanken-style beef short ribs. Flanken-style ribs are cut across the bones into wide, flat portions. They provide all the meaty flavor of the more common English-style short ribs with smaller, more manageable bones." My butcher wasn't sure what flanken-style was, but when I described it to him, he said it's often referred to as "Hawaiian-style."

Sunday, February 24, 2013

February 24: Steamed Southern Sweet Potato Custard

Today's recipe was a delicious sweet potato custard:
I mixed up canned sweet potatoes, evaporated milk, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 eggs, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, and 1/4 tsp salt in a blender:
I poured it into an ungreased casserole. I was supposed to cook it in the crockpot filled with 2 cups water for 2 1/2-3 hours, but my crockpot was still dirty from the soup this morning, so I just baked it at 375 for about 40 minutes.
It turned out great. Custard is done when toothpick comes out clean. I served it with cool whip and nutmeg on top:

I really like this custard. It was basically pie filling. I could have poured it into one of my pie shells and it would have been a delicious pie. It was still good though. Yum!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

February 23: Chicken Tortilla Soup

Not sure about this soup. I forgot to thaw out the chicken early enough. I guess I'll make it tomorrow morning and eat it when we get home from church.

ETA 3/1/13

I made this recipe on Sunday, but forgot till now to update this post. Here are the ingredients for the first part:
First I put the chicken in the crockpot:
In a bowl, I combined 2 cans diced tomatoes, 1 can green chilies, 1/2 cup chicken broth, a diced yellow onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, and a tsp cumin. Then I poured that mixture over the chicken:

That cooked on high for 3 hours, then, when we got home from church, I gathered up the rest of the ingredients:

I sliced 4 tortillas, chopped 2 tbsp cilantro, cut up an avocado, and cut the lime into wedges:
I removed the chicken from the crockpot, shredded it, then added it back in along with the tortillas:
I served the soup with cilantro, Monterrey jack cheese, avocado, and a lime wedge.

This soup was absolutely delicious. There was nothing about it I didn't like. If I wasn't making a different recipe every day, I'd probably make this recipe every week. DH liked it except that there were so many tomatoes. He was sick, so I think he didn't enjoy it as much as he would have. The kids liked it too.

Friday, February 22, 2013

February 22: Lentil and Portobello Soup

Today I made this soup from the "veggie variety" section of the cookbook. I started around noon:

I sliced up the mushrooms:

I chopped the onions, carrots, and garlic, then cooked them in a hot skillet in olive oil:

I transferred them to the crockpot, then layered on a cup of lentils, 2 cans of diced tomatoes, 2 cups of vegetable broth, the mushrooms, a tsp dried rosemary, and a bay leaf. I cooked that on high for about 6 hours.

It was a little dry when I went to serve it, so I added a cup of water, then scooped it into bowls.

This soup had a great flavor. I really liked it; the tomatoes and mushrooms added a lot to the texture. I put a dollop of sour cream on top and it made it perfect. I think I might make this again, but DH wasn't too fond of the mushrooms. He just didn't put any in his bowl, so it's okay.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

February 21: Peppered Beef Tips

Today was grocery day. I was exhausted, so I came home, ate lunch, quickly put the dinner on to cook, and took a nap. I'm not sure why, but I didn't sleep. It was really bright in my bedroom, maybe that's why. Anyway, I threw it together quickly because tonight's meal was an easy one. Here are the ingredients:

I cut the meat into cubes and put it into the crockpot. Then I minced 2 garlic cloves and sprinkled them on the meat along with some pepper:

I poured a can of condensed french onion soup and a can of cream of mushroom soup over the top of the beef, then cooked it on high for about 5 hours. The recipe said 8-10 hours on low, but I didn't have that much time.

I cooked up some macaroni shells to serve the beef tips on:

And I served the beef on the noodles:

This meal was not bad. It's one of those nice comfort meals. There is something about the onion soups that I don't like, but not so bad that I won't eat it. I'm not sure what it is, but maybe next time I could try this with a different kind of soup. DH and the kids really liked it, but I only gave the baby noodles.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February 20: Seafood Bouillabaisse

I'm not sure how to pronounce this one. I think it's BOO-yah-baze. Correct me if I'm wrong. I started this dish at around 1:00pm. I didn't have raw mussels or clams, so I substituted a can of baby clams. So here are the ingredients:

I chopped up 1/2 fennel bulb and an onion and 2 cloves garlic. Then I cooked them in a skillet for a few minutes:

To make the broth, I put that in the crockpot, added a 28oz can of tomato puree, 8oz of clam juice, 2 bottles of beer, a bay leaf, some salt and pepper. I cooked that for 4 hours on high.

I added the fish: 1/2 pound red snapper, some clams, and 12 large unpeeled shrimp. I let that cook for about 20 minutes on high:

Then I served it with a lemon wedge:

I didn't like this soup and neither did my husband. The kids didn't like it either - none of them. The shrimp was good (but why couldn't it be peeled?), and the red snapper was good. The broth was bad. I thought it would be good. But it was very bitter. I will not make this recipe again.