Showing posts with label slow cooker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label slow cooker. Show all posts


Slow Cooker: Lentil Soup

When we moved into our own apartment, we quickly realized how great slow cookers are. We have a 2.5 quart super basic model--it has four settings: high, low, keep warm and off. It's a little bit small for two people, but a soup recipe will usually give us two generous dinner servings and one lunch serving.

When we moved out, my parents gave us a collection of beans as a moving out present. Slow cookers and beans are best friends. We use our slow cooker to make batches of garbanzos and black beans for use in salads, salsas and dips. Lentil soup is also one of the first things we made in our slow cooker.

This recipe can be as simple or complicated as you desire. We like to brown all of the aromatics in a big frying pan and then add them to the slow cooker. That takes time, but makes the house smell delicious. For the quick and easy route, chop everything in a big food processor, dump it in the slow cooker and go.

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Slow Cooker Lentil Soup
makes 2.5 servings

2 carrots
2 celery stalks
0.5 onion
3 cloves garlic
2t cumin seed {optional}
3c water or broth
1c green/brown lentils
1 28oz can tomatoes
2-3t cumin

1. {Optional} Chop/mince the carrots, celery, onion and garlic and saute in a pan over low heat until the onions are translucent. (You are trying to mingle flavors first.) Add the cumin seed. Turn the heat up to high and briefly brown the ingredients until things are just about to burn.
2. Dump all of the ingredients into the slow cooker. Turn on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
3. Garnish with cilantro or parsley, and more cumin seeds.
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Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or emailing me at piquantprose [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Roasted Tomato Soup

Tomato soup is one of my favorite foods. It's warm, tangy, luscious, and pairs well with cheese and basil--two more favorite foods.

I haven't been able to make a proper tomato soup for a while, since we didn't have a blender. However, we are now the proud owners of an immersion blender, and I took full advantage of that opportunity.

I prepped this soup this morning, and by the time I got back from my final dress fitting (!) it was ready to be blended and eaten. I enjoyed it with almost stale Acme baguette and a generous heap of basil.

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or emailing me at piquantprose [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Split Pea Soup: Peas Optional

In an effort to declutter, I sold a number of old books to our local used bookstore, Moe's. In addition to making space for the books I'll actually read, they gave me Moe's money to spend in the store.

I spent a long time browsing (as I do in all stores), and eventually ended up in the cookbook section. (Somehow, I always end up there--like father, like daughter.) As I flipped through the various books, mostly from long disproven fad diets, I saw the yellowed spine of a small, unassuming, paperback book.

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I'd heard the name before, but never bothered to delve deeper. When I opened the pages, I was immediately enchanted--the recipes were all about the vegetables. They were simple, varied, fresh, savory, delicious.. I bought it.

Of course, it has taken me months to actually read its contents, and select a trial recipe: split pea soup. Dan and I made this last night and it was marvelous. The soup is thick, hearty, filling, and flavorful. 

Due to Dan's dislike of mustard and vinegar, I had to alter the recipe somewhat. If you do not have such an aversion to mustard, a squirt of Dijon upon servings does wonders to brighten the flavors and tickle your tongue.

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Split Pea Soup
serves 4 when served with bread
based on Molly Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook

2 qt. slow cooker (or a big pot and lots of time)
sharp knife
frying pan
stirring utensil

1.5c dry green split peas
3.5c water
1 bay leaf
1t salt

2T oil
0.5 onion, minced
3 stalks celery, minced
1 potato, thinly sliced (2-3mm thick)
2c sliced carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
0.5c chopped tomatoes
0.25t thyme

0.25c freshly chopped parsley
Dijon mustard, pepper for serving

1. In the slow cooker, combine the split peas, water, bay leaf and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 hours. (If you don't have a slow cooker, simply simmer this, covered, for 3-4 hours.)
2. Saute the onion, celery, potato and carrots in the oil until the potato and carrot begin to brown slightly. Add the garlic and chopped tomatoes; saute for an additional 5 minutes. (This looked good enough to eat plain!!! I may make this for lunch some day.)
3. Add the vegetable mixture to the slow cooker, along with the thyme. Let cook for an additional 15 minute.
4. Just before serving, add the mustard and parsley. Serve with toasted hunks of bread, in warm bowls.
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The ingredient list is long, but you probably have most of the things on the list already. The process couldn't be simpler.

Each serving has just under 400 calories, with around 20g of protein, and less than 10g of fat. (You could cut the fat by using just 1T of oil.)

If you're a carnivore, chorizo would be good in this, as would the more traditional ham. (Great way to use leftover Christmas ham!!!)

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or emailing me at piquantprose [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Savory Oatmeal

Every time I make this, I get weird looks in the dining hall.

"Is that cheese in your oatmeal?" my companions ask me with wrinkled noses. "Gross!"

Yes, people, that is CHEESE in my oatmeal, delicious, gooey, savory cheese. And if you've never tried it, you're missing out big time!

Not eating meat, dining hall brunch options can be fairly limited. Donuts aren't exactly a great post-practice fuel and buffet style scrambled "eggs" got old about 2 years ago. Plus, I like to get at least one of my 10 daily servings of vegetables (yes, I normally eat ten, not five) before dinner time.

Here's the solution:
1. Pile spinach high in a bowl (I'm talking as much as you can possibly fit) and microwave it for a minute and a half. If there's no microwave, use a little bit less spinach and the oatmeal will be hot enough to get it mostly cooked.
2. Put a big scoop of oatmeal on top of the spinach. Microwave for another 60 seconds if you like your food mouth-burning hot like I do.
3. Add cheese, pumpkins seeds, and whatever else looks good from the salad bar. (If you're a meat eater, bacons bits are particularly delicious!!!)
4. Stir thoroughly and chow down (carefully--it's hot!!!)

Don't eat in the dining halls? Make it at home with your slow cooker!


Chili con Carne

Housesitting this summer, my parents left us a bunch of chorizo and ground beef in the freezer, a lot of beans in the cupboard, and an extensive spice collection. With direct instructions to use up all the food in the house, we decided to make a big batch of chili.

Having never made (or really eaten) chili before, this was a complete experiment. Given that chili is now my go-to soup, I'd say it was also pretty successful.

Hearty chili with plenty of beans
Chili con Carne

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. chorizo, either sliced or broken up into chunks

1 minced spicy green pepper (whatever your local store has)
1 minced red bell pepper
1 minced jalapeno
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped

3T chili powder (we used a mix of several kinds; use whatever you have on hand)
1.5T brown sugar
3t dried oregano
3T cumin
1t allspice
1t cloves
1 28oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 15oz. can of pureed tomatoes (we used a food processor; if you don't have one, add more diced tomatoes)

1 15oz can black beans
1 15oz can pinto beans
1 15oz can cannellini beans

Slow cooker oatmeal

Brown sugar, cranberries, and oats, waiting to enter the slow cooker.

Seeing as it's finally getting cold and rainy out, it seemed just about time to switch from cold morning cereal to hot morning cereal (at least for a bit).

Our first attempt at oats was an absolute failure. We used what we thought were steel cut oats but were actually quick cooking steel-cut oats. After 8 hours in the slow cooker, we ended up with soup. After it cooled, it solidified into something oat-like, but we decided it probably wasn't worth eating.

We learned a valuable lesson from that experiment, though. We put dried cranberries in the night before (with extra water to make up for them!), hoping they would rehydrate overnight. They sure did rehydrate, and I can tell you now that I prefer my cranberries dehydrated.

Breakfast the next morning. Yum.
Slow cooker oatmeal
Serves 4

1.5 cups of steel cut oats
4 cups of water
1 cup of half and half

brown sugar
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