Slow Cooker Sweet Ribs

We’re coming out of a pretty great weekend.  Friday was Walt’s and my 10 year wedding anniversary.  We had always said we’d like to spend our 10 year anniversary in Italy but life had other plans for us and that’s OK, maybe we’ll be able to do it for our 15th.  It was a great day without Italy, Walt surprised me and took the day off so we could spend it together and go out for dinner.  Having him home was a nice surprise.

Saturday we went and picked up a few pumpkins and Sunday was dedicated to flag football, even in the rain.  This year Joshua’s on the “Lions” and they won 32 to 14, so far they are 3-0 for the season…Way to go Lions!!  Coming home from the game Sunday to Mississippi Pot Roast in the slow cooker and homemade Hershey Chocolate Pie made the end of our weekend perfect.

Now we’re back to Monday.  Today Nikki has orientation for new job, so proud of how she’s handled all of the changes her life has gone through over the last few months.  I get to take Eric to school today, be prepared Nikki, if he cries we’re outta there!!

On a good note, the count down to my next weekend begins; 4 days, 24-30 hours.  I know, I have it rough.  Today I’m going to leave you with a recipe for slow cooker sweet ribs.  They are not Walt’s smoked,  slow grilled baby back ribs but they are moist and tasty, perfect with a side of homemade cole slaw on fall or winter day.

Slow Cooker Sweet Ribs

SLOW COOKER SWEET RIBS 

What You’ll Need:

4 pounds country-style boneless ribs

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. vinegar

1 bottle of Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce

2 tbs. brown sugar

Directions:

  • Spray slow cooker with cooking spray
  • In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients except for the ribs themselves
  • Place ribs in slow cooker
  • Pour sauce over ribs, and turn to coat
  • Cover, and cook on Low 6 to 8 hours, or until ribs are tender
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Mongolian Beef – Slow Cooker Style

WoW, not only has Monday arrived on what seems like the heels of last Monday, it’s also the last Monday of September.  September seemed to fly by much quicker than I would have liked it to, the grandbabies just went back to school it can’t possibly be September 30 already….I’m not ready to slide into October!!

Working, even part-time, has attributed to the days just flying by.  When I was home full-time one day just kind of melted into the next but now that I’m out of the house six hours a day and hanging out with little Eric a few days a week before coming home I’m back on a schedule of sorts so as I check off things that need to get done and routine tasks time just flies by.

Fall and winter are not my favorite times of the year.  Now is the time I start my countdown to next spring with holidays; Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year.  Come on…..let’s bring them on, celebrate and move on to the next.  January 1st the excitement increases, now it’s a down hill slide into Spring; slushing through Valentine’s Day,  breezing into Easter Sunday and Memorial Day until summer arrives once again, bringing warm temperatures, lots of color and time outside.

But, it is fall and with the changing of the seasons and temperatures comes heartier meals; soups, stews, sauces.  I pinned this Mongolian Beef recipe from the “Meet Penny” blog at http://www.meetpenny.com/2013/06/recipe-crock-pot-mongolian-beef/  while surfing on Pinterest.  I pinned it a while ago and kept passing it over all summer, waiting for the weather to get a little cooler and for Joshua’s flag football season to begin so that I could throw it into the crock pot and have a (hopefully) delicious meal when Walt and I got home.

I made this dish a few weeks ago and it was fantastic, Walt and I both loved it.  Of course I made a few minor little changes…

  • Instead of using the London Broil or the beef tip roast I just used 2 lbs. of stew beef and the beef was amazingly tender*
  • Instead of dry sherry I used a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water**
  • I purchased already slivered carrot strips – next time I will slice the carrots, my thin carrot slivers got lost in the meat and the sauce, I’d rather have carrot slices that I can pick with a fork***
  • I used ground ginger instead of fresh****

This was the perfect dish to come home to on a Sunday afternoon after a football game.  We walked through the door and the house smelled wonderful, I made rice (not instant) and we were ready to eat.  Give it a try, I bet you’ll love it too.

MONGOLIAN BEEF – SLOW COOKER STYLE

Crockpot Mongolian Beef

 What You’ll  Need:

1.5 – 2 lbs. Stew beef*

1/4 cup corn starch

1 medium onion thinly sliced

3-4 large carrots sliced thinly***

1/4 tsp. ground ginger****

2 cloves minced garlic

3/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup water

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar and 2 tbsp water to equal 1/4 cup (Replaced 1/4 cup dry sherry)**

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 tsp. black pepper

Directions:

  • Toss beef strips/pieces in cornstarch and set aside
  • Mix remaining ingredients in your crock pot and place beef over top (Don’t mix in sauce yet)
  • Cover and cook for 6 to 8 hours
  • Gently stir the beef into the sauce mixture and serve over rice

Source:  http://www.meetpenny.com/2013/06/recipe-crock-pot-mongolian-beef/

Slow Cooker Chicken and Stuffing

Welcome to Monday everyone!!  Our perfect spring weather continues here in Michigan slowly, steadily wiping away our memories of cold, snowy, rainy, dismal days.  Days like today and the last two are what I look forward too once we get through the Christmas holidays….these are the days that I wait for and literally count down to.

Of course warmer temperatures has brought an increase in utilizing our bbq grill.  This past weekend we spent time outside in the yard cleaning up and uncovering things so a quick hot dog or burger as we moved through Saturday and Sunday was perfect for us and tasty.

Grilling though did bring up a quick conversation on whether or not to leave the slow cooker out or to put it in the cabinet downstairs for the summer.  For right now I’m opting to keep it out and use it at least once maybe twice a week during the summer.  My reasoning is to use it instead of the oven in order to keep the kitchen cool.

Today, I have a tasty slow cooker recipe for you.  When I first found this recipe and saved it I went back to it several times before deciding to give it a try.  I hesitated because I just wasn’t sure how well a stove top stuffing would turn out in a slow cooker I was afraid it would either be undercooked or that it would turn to mush.

I’m happy to say that this chicken and stuffing dish turned out fantastic and I’m happy to share it with you today.  The chicken was tender and the stuffing was nice and moist.  We served it with mashed potatoes and peas and it was a delicious meal.  Walt, not generally a fan of boxed stuffing gave it two thumbs up which means it will be a keeper in our house.

I found this recipe on http://team-t-adventures.blogspot.com/2010/01/easy-crockpot-chicken-stuffing.html through Pinterest.  Give it a try, let us know how it turns out for you.

 

Chicken and Stuffing

SLOW COOKER CHICKEN AND STUFFING

What You’ll Need:

4 thawed chicken breasts

1 6 oz. package of Stove Top Stuffing Mix

1/2 cup of sour cream

1/4 cup of water

1 can cream of chicken soup

Directions:

  • Spray you slow cooker with non-stick spray
  • Lay chicken breasts on bottom of slow cooker – Season (I used Lawry’s seasoning)
  • Open the envelope of stuffing and pour evenly over chicken (yes – uncooked)
  • Whisk sour cream, soup and water together in a small bowl
  • Pour the mixture evenly over the stuffing (you may have to spread it a little)
  • Cook on LOW 4 hours until chicken in cooked through
  • Fluff and serve

Destiny?

Destiny…..”The hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future; fate.”  I truly do believe that things happen for a reason; the detour, the lost keys, a last-minute change in routine.  Events that happen to either put us in the right place at the right time or events which happen to keep us from being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  When the outcome is positive it’s because it was meant to be, when the outcome is negative I believe it’s because we’re meant to learn something from it.  Some of us learn from those experiences…some of us don’t.

I was scheduled to start a new job on Friday with Home Depot as a sales associate.  Yesterday at 1:00 p.m. the human resources person for the location I’ll be working at called to confirm my appointment on Thursday to complete employment paperwork and confirm my orientation at a sister store on Friday.  At 2:00 p.m. the phone rang again and it was the HR person informing me that orientation has been cancelled and could potentially be scheduled for next week, she’ll call me back.  I inquired as to whether or not I should still come in on Thursday to fill out the papers and she said no.  She said that they were undergoing some “changes” and that I would be notified of a new orientation date.  I will admit I hung up confused, disappointed, frustrated and yes, I will admit, even a little angry.

Has destiny stepped in?  Is there a reason for this delay that will alter my future or is it making sure I’m not in the wrong place at the wrong time?  Will another position present itself to me in the next few days that I would rather accept?  Perhaps my job board stalking will finally pay off?  I know, now you’re wondering what a “job board stalker” is, let me explain; a job board stalker hangs out on all the popular job boards sites all day, each board open on the lap top and as soon as a job is posted, not yet one second old, you immediately hit the send button with your resume attached hoping your resume is at the top of the heap.

For whatever reason, I am not starting a new job this Friday.  Will I ever actually become a Home Depot employee?  Only my “destiny” knows what it has planned for me, I’ll wait and see what she has in store.  For now I’m still looking, still hopeful that my resume will spark interest with the right person, at the right time and for the right place.

Today I am going to leave you with a recipe for “Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie Stew” which I found on http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Slow-Cooker-Chicken-Pot-Pie-Stew/Detail.aspx.  This recipe is great when you know you have a taste for chicken pot pie but know you won’t have time to whip one up when you get home after a long day.  Throw everything into the crock pot in the morning, come home and bake a roll of your favorite Pillsbury biscuits and you’ve got dinner on the table.

Of course I made some minor modifications to mine, well actually some major changes which is reflected in my recipe below.  The link above will take you to the original recipe on allrecipes.com. which inspired my version.  Enjoy!!

SLOW COOKER CHICKEN POT PIE STEW 

Slow cooker chicken pot pie

 What You’ll Need:

4 chicken breasts cut into cubes

5 large red potatoes – washed and chopped into small pieces

1 small onion chopped

2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup

1-2 cloves of garlic minced fine

1/2 tsp. Tarragon

1 – 16 oz. bag frozen mixed vegetables

1 can Pillsbury Country Style Biscuits

Directions:

  • Spray crock pot with cooking spray
  • Place into crock pot in this order; chicken, onions, garlic, potatoes
  • Mix tarragon with the cream of chicken soup and spread over the top of the potatoes in the crock pot
  • Cook on High for 5 hours
  • Add the bag of frozen mixed vegetables
  • Cook on High an additional hour
  • When ready, bake biscuits as directed on package
  • Serve pot pie stew over hot biscuits

Source: N. Rezich – adapted from allrecipes.com

Back Into The Groove

Yes, yes, I know…it’s been a while.  I don’t know why, I just couldn’t get motivated to write.  Not for lack of anything going on….there is ALWAYS something going on here.

Saturday we celebrated Walt’s dad’s 81st birthday.  It was fun to get together with Walt’s family, I love catching up with Walt’s sister Anna and her girls, Nina and Michelle.  Nina and her husband Chris are expecting their first child this a summer, a baby girl.  So exciting!!  Michelle has four children, the oldest is sliding into those scary teen years..Joey will be 16, he’s a boy, but none-the-less  you still worry about everything.  Michelle also has a pre-teen daughter, Adrianna, a sweet quiet little lady who, like all girls, is exploring and creating her own identity her own niche.  I am so glad those years are behind me but Michelle seems to have things under control.  Josh went with us, he loves hanging out playing with John and Mary’s big old dog and with Michelle’s other children, the younger ones, Lindsey and Billy.

Monday, our Joshua turned nine years old.  Nine, I remember the day he was born so clearly…..not even 5 minutes old and he tried to pee on me…lol, I even changed his first poopy diaper.  I tell Josh that story all the time, I’ll stop when he starts dating so I won’t embarrass him.  I was lucky that Cindy allowed me to stay in the room while she delivered, it was an amazing experience.

I had a second interview with the Home Depot this week and things look promising.  I interviewed for a sales associate position in the garden dept. and actually got a call for a season position, 29 hours a week.  I’ll share more about that another time.

Today I’ll leave you with a great slow cooker soup recipe, Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup.  Walt and I loved this, try it we’re sure you will too.

SLOW COOKER CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

Chicken Tortilla Soup

What You’ll Need:

1 lb Chicken breast, trimmed
15 oz Can sweet whole corn kernels, drained
15 oz Can diced tomatoes, drained
5 Cup Chicken stock
3/4 Cup Onion, chopped
3/4 Cup Green pepper, chopped
1 Serrano pepper, minced
2 Cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp  Chili powder
1 1/2 tsp Salt, divided
1 tsp Ground pepper, divided
Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Seasoned tortilla strips

Directions:

  • To your slow cooker add the first 9 ingredients plus 1 tsp salt and 3/4 tsp ground pepper.
  • Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

Source:  http://www.pincookie.com/slow-cooker-chicken-tortilla-soup/

Busy Monday, Busy Week

Monday morning, coming out of a wonderfully relaxing and quiet weekend.  Walt and Josh played games on Playstation and watched basketball (oh boy) while I read a lot and finished a book, “Safe Haven.”  It is the beginning of what looks to be a very busy week.  Doctor today, an appointment with Robin on Tuesday to drop off our tax info and an interview on Wednesday.  In between all of those appointments there will be stops at the books store and Michaels, a Paczki run on Tuesday.  Since my wreath turned out so well I will probably make a trip to JoAnn’s for fabric to make St. Patrick’s Day and Easter/Spring Wreaths.  Oh yea, I will not leave without all of those great little cutting helpers like mom has, the rotary blade, the mat and the ruler, what a difference those made in getting my material cut into strips quickly and evenly!

We did a lot of cooking this weekend, which included but wasn’t limited to, homemade chicken soup, coconut muffins, slow cooker chicken and rice.  I wanted to make brownies yesterday but after thinking about it I really want to pick up some Paczki on Tuesday and that’s just too many sweets for us for one week.  So….the brownies need to wait because we can’t pass up Paczki Day!

After three weeks of putting it off, yesterday I found the courage to sit down with the wireless printer and just go for it.  Within 30 minutes it was up and running on not one but two computers.  WooHoo…I did it without either of my go-to-girls, Nikki and Cindy.  Yes when it comes to anything that has to be assembled, downloaded or technical I always go to Nikki and Cindy who just seem to be able to these things without a blink of an eye.  After it was all done I sat back and wondered what took me so long!

Surprised and shocked to wake up this morning to find that Pope Benedict XVI is retiring, having a difficult time putting my head around that one.  I am even more taken aback by the fact that he states his retirement will begin on February 28.  He gave a two-week notice just like someone who works for General Motors, Johnson Controls or General Electric…..WHAT??!!??  I’m sorry, I hold the Pope to a high standard, he just doesn’t get to resign as if worked for one of the automotive giants.  I don’t now, maybe it is the right thing, maybe a younger Pope with an open mind is what my religion, what my church needs right now.  Change is on the horizon, I pray that it’s a positive one.

Short post today so I can get to my appointment but I’ll leave you with a new recipe I tried last week, it’s a recipe for Kielbasa and Sauerkraut made in the slow cooker.  I will admit at first I was just a little leery but I’m so glad I didn’t talk myself out of making this, it was really tasty.

Are you on Pinterest?  Join us: http://pinterest.com/nancyrezich03/

APPLEY KIELBASA 

Kielbasa and kraut

What You’ll Need:

For The Kielbasa:

2 lbs. fully cooked kielbasa sausage

¾  cup brown sugar

1 cup chunky applesauce

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

2 cloves garlic, minced

For The Sauerkraut

1 jar of sauerkraut

¼ cup brown sugar

Directions:

  • Cut kielbasa into 1″ pieces
  • Combine brown sugar, applesauce, and mustard
  • Add the kielbasa to the brown sugar, applesauce, mustard mixture
  • Drain sauerkraut and rinse with cold water
  • Make sure you squeeze out excess water
  • Mix kraut with ¼ cup of brown sugar
  • Note:  You can heat up the kraut and brown sugar in a frying pan for a few minutes to remove excess water before placing in slow cooker
  • Place in slow cooker
  • Pour kielbasa mixture on top of the kraut
  • Cover and cook on high for 2 – 3 hours until thoroughly heated

Source:  http://busycooks.about.com/od/appetizerrecipe1/r/applekielbasa.htm

Home On The Rezich Range

Today we’re home on the Rezich Range and we’re chatting (ok, we’re blogging) about beef stew.  Beef Stew, everyone seems to love it including us but it’s generally not something I think of as a Sunday meal.  When I think of Sunday meals I think of pot roast and chicken, turkey with stuffing, but never beef stew.  I always thought of beef stew, much like I do spaghetti, as a mid-week kind of meal.  We can chalk that up to my childhood memories of the great meals my mom created on Sunday’s and believe me, it was never stew or spaghetti those were always weekday meals.

Now that Walt and I have declared our Sunday’s as “Slow Cooker Sunday” (at least during winter) I wanted to switch things up a bit and I thought to myself, “hey why not stew, the settlers and cowboys ate beef stew on Sunday”….in fact almost everything they ate could have been considered a stew or a soup.  Besides, beef stew, much like a pot roast meal, consists of veggies and meat slow cooked in a tomato sauce or gravy.  Stew has chunks of meat while pot roast is a big piece of meat.  It’s a “you say potato..I say potato” kind of thing.

Anyway, after pondering this “stew on Sunday” dilemma for a few days, this is the thought came to me (yep family and friends…hunker down this post is going to be one of my quirky ones).  When settlers first came to our country they lived off the land.  They spent their days clearing land, planting crops, feeding livestock, drawing water, hunting for food, building homes, creating communities.  Food was scarce and generally families were large with a lot of people to feed.  Because time and food sources were limited as were cooking utensils, meals were generally cooked in one pot or one skillet over an open flame.  Meat, vegetables, roots, plants, water, were all thrown into one big pot and simmered all day while everyone worked to create a new life in the colony.  Although many believe that stew is an American dish it really does have roots abroad; stew dishes actually date back to the roman days when stews were made of fish and lamb.  If you think about it, stew or a stew like dish probably really originated when man first discovered fire.

Sometimes we read stories or see movies that are roughly based on or around actual history of those days long ago.  We might wonder and fantasize about how great part of that life style might have been; the adventures of first settlers who headed out to explore and discover the west or cowboys out on the range, their lives very hard yet simple.  We can imagine them setting up camp for the night, cooking stew over an open fire.

Ever notice that cowboys always seemed to have a “Cookie” some jolly old cowboy who did all the cooking, the guy who would throw meat, veggies, maybe plants and roots with a little water into a pot which would cook and simmer over an open flame all day ready to feed the masses when the cowboys came back after a long day out on the range.   “Cookie” would ladle out the stew into tin cups or plates and watch as the cowboys would dig in to his tasty creation.  Of course there was always coffee brewing too (oh, and whisky) but that’s another blog story.  But you kind of get my point stew has been around for a long time, a part of our history many times memorialized in movies and stories, even history.

This week I decided that if the settlers could do it and the cowboys could do it then the Rezich’s could also rustle up a good old fashion stew for Sunday dinner.  We did just that this past Sunday for Slow Cooker Sunday. The recipe I have for you today is one of the lost treasure recipes that I found last week while I was flipping through all of my neglected cookbooks.  The word EXCELLENT printed in my handwriting next to the title of a recipe forgotten as the internet, name brand on-line recipe sites, Allrecipes and Pinterest pulled me further and further away from my books and the tasty recipes we once made.

This stew, which I found in the Pillsbury “One-Dish Meals Cookbook” on page 247, was as tasty as we remembered and we will definitely make it again.  The only thing I will do differently the next time is to add a water/flour roux about 30 minutes before the end of cooking time.  Although the stew does thicken upon standing, I like a really thick stew but this time I let Walt talk me out of adding the roux so the stew wasn’t as thick as I would have liked it.

OLD-FASHIONED BEEF STEW

Slow Cooker Old Fashion Beef Stew

What You’ll Need:

1tbsp.               Oil

1.5 lbs.             Beef stew meat cut into ¾” cubes

4                       Medium carrots, peeled and cut into ½” slices

3                       Medium red potatoes – unpeeled, cut into ½ inch cubes (I used 5 russet peeled and cut into cubes)

1½ Cups         Frozen pearl onions (from a 16 oz. pkg.)

3 Cups             Vegetable juice cocktail (I use V-8)

3 tbsp.             Quick Cooking Tapioca (not Jell-O Tapioca pudding mix)

1 tsp.                Beef-flavor instant bouillon

2 tsp.               Worcestershire sauce

1½ tsp.           Monosodium glutamate (I leave this out)

¼ tsp                Pepper

Directions:

  • Heat oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat until hot
  • Add beef, cook and stir 4 to 6 minutes or until meat is browned
  • In a 3.5 to 4 quart slow cooker, combine browned beef and all remaining ingredients, mix well
  • Cover; cook on low setting for 9 to 10 hours or until beef and vegetables are tender

Source:  Pillsbury “One-Dish Meals Cookbook” on page 247 – Copywrite 1999 by The Pillsbury Company

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday everyone are you ready for the weekend?  I know we are.  We’re also waiting for the mini snow disturbance, 1-3” our local weather channels are calling for.  You can’t really call it a snowstorm, 1-3” is an annoying disturbance, it’s not 6” which really gets in the way.  I thought the snow was supposed to start early so when I woke up this morning and opened the curtains I was surprised to find that no snow had fallen, I did a little happy dance.  I turned on Good Morning America and just happened to catch our local news and weather break the snow is on its way, it’s just a little delayed.  Bring it on I did all of my running yesterday!

Today is going to be a quiet day I’m going to bake some M&M cookies then attempt to hook up the printer I purchased a week ago.  Yes, I am procrastinating setting up the printer, if the truth be told I am afraid of this project, afraid of screwing it up because it’s wireless.  I know I need to just jump right in and get it done, I wish I would have just arranged for Best Buys Geek Squad to do it.  I can’t procrastinate any longer, it has to be done.  Wish me luck.

I am going to attempt to make homemade tartar sauce again today.  I guess attempt isn’t really the right word, I actually did make a great homemade tartar sauce about a month ago we just didn’t get to eat it because when I opened the refrigerator door the bowl of tartar sauce came flying out and crashed onto the floor, what a mess that was.  It was my fault, on several levels; first I put it in a glass bowl instead of in a covered container.  Two, I set the uncovered bowl on top of two small Tupperware bowls that, at the time, I didn’t know weren’t staked evenly so when I set the bowl on top of them it moved the top Tupperware making it even more unsecure.  When I opened the refrigerator door, the jolt of the door opening made the Tupperware slip even more causing the bowl to slip right out of the refrigerator and crash on the floor.  Lesson learned, tartar sauces stored in covered Tupperware bowl and not stacked onto anything else!

Speaking of Tupperware I was invited to a Tupperware party tonight, I haven’t been to a Tupperware party in probably 30 years but I’ll pop in tonight for a quick visit and see what they have.  My corner cabinet, a lazy Susan style, has been driving me crazy lately; maybe I’ll be able to find a few containers to help me get it a little better organized.

My new thing is Pampered Chef, I don’t like to host the shows, I don’t generally like to attend them either but I do love to order from Pampered Chef.  At one time I was into Longaberger Basket parties, I hosted them a couple times a year and I went to any and all of them that I was invited to.  I own so many baskets I’ve lost count, they are all over the house and many are still in boxes in the storage room, never unpacked when I moved into this house.  I still find it hard to believe that the first basket I bought for $26.00 now, 30 years later sells for almost double.  I hope when I’m gone Nikki and John don’t sell them in some garage sale for .25/each, but hey I wouldn’t know anyway right?  To Nikki and John…..I will know and I will haunt you, don’t sell my baskets for a quarter.

Time to get this day started so I’ll leave you today with Paula Deen’s recipe for Slow Cooker Swiss Steak.  As with most slow cooker recipes this one assembles pretty easy.  It’s tasty, the meat is very tender.  We served it with mashed potatoes and corn; it made a very hearty tasty meal.  Give it a try

SWISS STEAK

Swiss Steak

What You’ll Need:

1 1/2 pounds round steak, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 (8 ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms

1 Cup sliced onion

1 Cup sliced celery

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

½ cup water

1 (0.87-ounce) package brown gravy mix

½ teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions:

  • In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine steak, mushrooms, onion, celery, and garlic.
  • In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, tomato sauce, 1/2 cup water, gravy mix, salt, and pepper.
  • Pour over steak mixture.
  • Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

Source:  http://www.cookingwithpauladeen.com/recipe_results.php?id=3192

Another Cold Michigan Day

Another cold day in Michigan, at 11:00 a.m. it’s only 9 degrees and yes, I am counting down the days until spring.    This year spring officially arrives on Wednesday, 20 March 2013. That means it is exactly 55 days, 7 hours until spring makes its official appearance.  I am waiting and I will admit not very patiently.

I have no reason to go out into the cold so I am staying in.  Today will be a day to work on a few projects I keep putting off.  As I sit here it sounds like a plan however once Walt walks out the door for work and I finish this post it could be an entirely different story.  Rather than finish a project I will probably, more than likely, start a new one or do nothing at all.  I don’t know what it is lately, I am completely unfocused, hopefully this too shall pass, sooner rather than later.

This week I wanted to get a jump on my meal planning for next week so yesterday I spent some time going through some of my cookbooks.  I’ve spent so much time on Pinterest lately, pinning and trying recipes from Pinterest that I’ve completely neglected the many cookbooks that I have.

I have a lot of cookbooks, hard cover, soft cover, name brand, famous chefs, church fund raiser books, specialty recipes…on and on and on.  At one time I was the queen of the checkout line cookbooks, you know, those little 8.5×5 books published generally by name brand companies.  If there was a new one published it was in my cart, Pillsbury, Campbell’s, Betty Crocker, Taste of Home.  Books containing recipes for everything and anything; comfort foods, easy meals, slow cooker recipes, recipes using hamburger, casseroles and more.

This is just a small sampling of the checkout line books I own:

Cookbooks

As I flipped through my checkout line books, I was excited to find recipes that I remember making, marked as EXCELLENT! but for some reason only made once and forgotten never to be made again.  Actually that’s not true, I do know the reason for only making them once or twice, it’s because yet another new recipe book found its way into our kitchen and the old recipe was forgotten and replaced with something from one of the new book.

Now I’m on a new cooking mission.  My plan is to make at least one or two recipes from the cookbooks that are on the bookcase that I insisted be installed when we remodeled our kitchen in 2007.  The other day I found cook books that I had forgotten about on the bookcases down stairs, I plan to add them to the books on the kitchen bookcase. I want to pull a way, just a little, from the on-line recipes and go back to the books that have recipes we’ve tried and loved in the past.

Next week’s menu planner has been started and so far it has several recipes from those lost and forgotten recipes books, I can’t wait to make them again and share the recipes with all of you.

Today I will leave you with a really great recipe that we tried on Saturday, Slow Cooker Sausage and Peppers.  First the house smelled amazing all day long.  Second, this recipe is delicious!  I would go so far as to say that even if you didn’t want to use this recipe as a sandwich recipe it could easily pass for a stuffed pepper soup because there is a lot of liquid.

SLOW COOKER SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS

Slow Cooker Sausage and Peppers

What You’ll Need:

1  tbs olive oil

1 lbs bulk ground sweet sausage

1/2  lbs ground beef

2     15oz cans fire roasted tomatoes

1      8oz can tomato sauce

1      small onion, sliced

1      red pepper, sliced

1      green pepper, sliced

Sliced provolone or mozzarella

Fresh rolls

Directions:

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat
  • Brown the sausage and ground beef, breaking into bite sized portions as it cooks
  • Transfer to a large slow cooker
  • Stir in the roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce, onion, and peppers into the slow cooker with the sausage mixture
  • Cook on low for 5-7 hours
  • Toast rolls with a slice of mozzarella on each until golden brown and cheese is starting to melt
  • Using a slotted spoon (there is a lot of liquid), pile sausage and pepper mixture onto rolls

Sources:

It Looks Like Monday…..But It Sounds And Smells Like Sunday

When I look out my window this morning I know that it’s Monday, a very cold somewhere around 18 degrees kind of Monday with a light dusting of snow.  Trash and recycle bins line our street, people out and about early sweeping off the unexpected snow that fell during the night before they head off to work.  It looks like any typical Monday.

The sounds and smells however are reminiscent of our typical Sunday.  I can hear Joshua’s humming (he always hums, I’ll explain that one day) coming up the stairs as he plays a game on the Playstation downstairs.  Big “Sunday” breakfast of bacon, sausage and pancakes has been cooked, eaten and cleaned up this morning but the smell of sausage and bacon lingers in the air as I begin today’s post.   It may look like Monday,and in fact it is Monday but it definitely sounds and smells like Sunday in our house today.

Walt and I had a full “grandbaby” weekend.  Eric came to stay with us on Saturday night, our little guy is getting over yet another round of bronchitis so he was, for the most part, pretty laid back.  A little Playmobil, some Max and Ruby, Fresh Beat Band (they annoy me, I don’t know why), snacking on banana’s and red grapes, ending the night watching “Finding Nemo.”  On Sunday we had our “Sunday Breakfast,” a new chicken dish in the slow cooker.  Eric played and watched a little TV until Nikki came to pick him up in the early evening.  It was a good visit, Eric likes having Grandma and Papa to himself from time to time.

Joshua and Kaylee had a full weekend with their mom and her family.  Ice sculpture shows, a hockey game, family birthday’s to celebrate with dinners and parties.  They had a pretty full weekend, however Josh, not wanting to leave us without a visit, worked us into his busy weekend schedule and spent Sunday night with us since there is no school today due to Martin Luther King Day.

Last night Josh played video games while Kaylee and Papa colored.  Cindy and I had a visit before she rounded Kaylee up and headed home.  Josh spent the night which is why today, Monday, it sounds and smells like Sunday because I prepared another big Sunday breakfast on Monday.  Josh and Papa are going to play a little Playstation before papa heads off to work and Josh will head back home so he can hang out with some of his buddies this afternoon.

Even with everyone in and out I had a weekend full of cooking and baking my only dilemma right now is to where to start the sharing.  Do I start with Friday’s Gooey Butter Cake or Saturdays Slow Cooker Peppers and Onions?  Maybe I should start out with the one thing we both agreed we won’t try again…..Sunday’s “Crockpot Honey Garlic Chicken” which I found on “Rachel’s Nest” through Pinterest; http://www.rachelsnest.com/2011/08/honey-garlic-chicken-crock-pot-recipe.html.  I don’t know who the original author of this recipe is so I can only post where I found it.  You can visit Rachel’s site through the link above.

Now you may wonder why I would post a recipe that we didn’t like all that well.  First because I promised myself when I started this little blogging adventure that I would share all the recipes we try on our blog, be it good, bad or ehh.  After all that is the point right, sharing what we’ve tried and what we’ve learned.  Second, just because Walt and I didn’t like it doesn’t mean that someone out in this great big blogging universe won’t think that it’s fantastic, after all there are a lot of people who posted how much they liked this on Rachel’s blog.  It’s all about your palate preference.

I followed the recipe exactly as written and although Walt and I both like soy sauce, I especially love dipping my sushi in soy sauce with a little wasabi mixed in, the soy sauce in this dish was just way to over powering for us, the sauce just a little too bitter which surprised me because of the honey.  I decided to add some brown sugar and let it cook a few minutes longer and it became a little bit sweeter.  We did eat it, Walt had seconds and he will take the rest to work for lunch on Tuesday, it’s just not a recipe we will attempt to make again.

After this, the second time I attempted to make something of oriental fare, Walt has officially informed me that we are no longer going to try any type of oriental dishes either stove top or slow cooker, they just don’t seem to work out well for us.  I don’t know, maybe we are spoiled by the great Chinese restaurants we have close to home so when we make our own we are disappointed in how it turns out.  As I sit here and write, it has just occurred to me that I was so disappointed that I forgot to take a photo!

So family and friends I leave you with this recipe and unfortunately no photo.  If you love soy sauce try this, you may have a different opinion of this recipe than we did there are many who tried it loved it.   We ate it, it’s just not a recipe that Walt and I care to try again.  If you do try it, let us know how it turned out for you.

Today is “National Hugging Day” give someone a hug!!  Have a great Monday everyone!!

CROCK POT HONEY GARLIC CHICKEN

What You’ll Need:

1 Package of boneless, skin-less chicken breasts

3 Garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 Cup soy sauce

1/2 Cup ketchup

1/2  Cup honey

Pinch of basil

Salt & pepper to taste

Cooked Rice

Instructions:

  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours
  • Remove chicken from crock pot and transfer to covered plate to keep warm
  • Reduce the sauce in a pot until thickened to desired consistency
  • Serve sauce over chicken and rice