November 14, 2015

Slow Cooker Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes

Slow Cooker Crockpot Mashed Potatoes! This recipe is perfect for holiday meals when you have lots of things on the stove top or in the oven. #ThanksgivingPin it here.

Crockpot Mashed Potatoes

Crockpot mashed potatoes are now on my list for Thanksgiving this year. I’m done standing over a huge pot of boiling water waiting for my potatoes to cook, while juggling a turkey, gravy and other meal ingredients. I tried these slow cooker mashed potatoes this last week and I’m sold!  I hope you like them, too.

INGREDIENTS

5 pounds of potatoes, peeled and diced 1″ cubes
I used a combination of Yukon gold and Russet

Chicken stock, 1.5 cups

Butter, 2 Tablespoons

Fresh garlic, 2 cloves, minced

Sour cream, 1.5 cups

Optional – parmesan cheese, chives, cheese and more butter!

HOW TO PREPARE

1.) Peel your potatoes and dice them into 1 – 2″ inch pieces

2.) Toss potatoes into slow cooker

3.) Pour chicken stock over potatoes. Add butter and garlic to the slow cooker with the potatoes.

Crockpot-mashed-potatoes-recipe

4.) Cook on low for 8 hours

5.) When potatoes have softened, toss in sour cream and mash with a potato masher in the crockpot until the consistency you’d like. (If I had fresh parmesan cheese I would have shredded this and added it at this time to mix in.)

6.) Turn to warm and serve from the crockpot!  Top with your favorite gravy or toppings.

Slow Cooker Crockpot Mashed Potatoes recipe!

 

 

May 7, 2015

Tomato and Avocado Lime Salad (Relish, Salsa) recipe

Tomato-Avocado-Lime-Salsa-RecipeFind this recipe and other salad recipes on my salad Pinterest board

Tomato, Avocado Lime salad

What could this be . . . a recipe?!? Oh yes, my friends – I still have a kitchen and I still eat food, although you won’t know it from the lack of recipes on the blog lately!

But I got a little motivation this morning and made up this Tomato, Avocado Lime salad – and I can’t decide if it’s a salad, a relish or a salsa. You’ll have to make it and decide for yourself.

With summer season on the horizon, tomatoes should be easy to find under $1/lb and avocados should be under $1 each (check WinCo for the best price!). Making this an inexpensive salad to whip up on a hot summer day when you don’t want to cook.

I’m going to suggest – eating it like a salad, topping your burger with it, scooping it with chips or using as a relish on grilled chicken (or fish). But of course, you can do whatever you want with it.

INGREDIENTS

2 medium ripe tomatoes, diced finely (I used tomatoes on the vine)

1 firm avocado, diced

1 yellow (or orange) pepper, seeded and diced finely

1/3 cup diced red onion, diced finely

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice (or be a rebel and use lemon)

salt and pepper to taste

optional – a pinch of cumin

HOW TO PREPARE

1.) Dice up all your ingredients. Toss into bowl.

2.) Add olive oil, vinegar and lime juice. Salt to taste.

3.) Eat while it’s fresh!

The lime juice should keep the avocados from discoloring. The balsamic vinegar gives the whole salad a darker look – but the flavor can’t be missed!

Tomato-Avocado-Lime-Salad-recipe

Adopted from this Food.com recipe.

ENJOY!

January 1, 2015

Winter Bok Choy Slaw recipe

 Mouse over image to PIN or click here 

Originally posted in January 2013, I’m sharing again – it’s one of my favorite winter salads. 

If you like your salads to be pretty, this Winter Bok Choy Slaw could definitely win the title of America’s Next Top Model, Salad Edition. I think it would be a great side (or topping) for some fish tacos or some grilled fish.

My husband, who is not a fan of “slaw” thought this was one of his favorite salads. I think it tastes better overnight in the fridge as the flavors seem to marry and the peppers mellowed.

INGREDIENTS

3 Cups thinly sliced baby bok choy
Make sure it’s baby bok choy – because it will have more tender leaves.

1 Cup grated carrot

1 Cup thinly sliced purple cabbage

1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced
I think next time I’ll add two mangos. I liked this part of it a lot. The sweet mangos help cut the spice in the jalapeño.

1 small jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
Make sure and use latex gloves when you seed and chop a jalapeno pepper. You do not want seed juice in your eyes. Believe me. If you don’t like spice, start with 1/2 jalapeno – you can always add more if you want more kick.

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

2 Tablespoons lime juice (use fresh)

1 Tablespoon agave nectar
I used honey. 

2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
This has a very strong flavor, don’t overdo it 

1 tsp. low-sodium tamari

1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped

HOW TO PREPARE

1.) Combine bok choy, carrot, cabbage mango, jalapeño and cilantro in a large bowl.

2.) Add lime juice, agave, sesame oil and tamari. Toss to combine.

3.) Garnish with smoked or toasted almonds

Add chicken if you want a more substantial meal.

Source: This recipe was adapted from the January/February 2013 issue of Vegetarian Times.

This salad recipe is part of our Soup and Salad recipe series!   You might also like:

October 10, 2013

Slow Cooker crockpot baked potatoes

Crockpot-baked-potatoes-whole pin it here.

Crockpot Baked Potatoes

Slow cooker baked potatoes. Your life will be changed forever. I can’t believe how frugal and EASY this was. Although I grew up in a house that had baked potatoes 3-5 nights a week as a side dish (usually cooked in the microwave), I think I’ve made baked potatoes for dinner twice in the last 13 years. The idea of turning on the oven for 2-3 potatoes seems ridiculous and I have some not-so-good memories of over- or under-cooked potatoes from the microwave (sorry, mom).

But then I tried crockpot baked potatoes this week. And now I see us going through a 15-pound bag of Russet potatoes in no time. It’s was so easy and the flavor was great.  I hope you try these and like them as much as we did!

Crockpot-baked-potatoes-cook

INGREDIENTS

Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes

Tablespoon olive oil

Salt to season

HOW TO PREPARE

1.) Scrub potatoes to remove any dirt

2.) Take a fork or knife and carefully stab your potato. In a friendly way. To create some vent holes.

Crock-pot-Baked-Potatoes

3.) Rub olive oil onto skins of washed potatoes. Sprinkle with salt. (Don’t put the oil on before stabbing, they are slippery)

4.) Wrap in a piece of aluminum foil

5.) Set into slow cooker and cook for 8 hours on low. Or if you wait until the last minute like me, high for 3-4 hours. Don’t overload the crockpot, unless you’re able to rotate the potatoes halfway through, because you’ll end up with overcooked potatoes at the bottom and undercooked at the top.

Crockpot-potatoes-baked-whole

6.) Using tongs remove hot potatoes from crockpot, remove tin foil, slice them open and serve them up!

Make up a batch of these for your next party and serve with a baked potato toppings bar. The toppings for potatoes are endless. Seriously. Here are a few to get you started. . . butter, sour cream, cheese, olives, chives, bacon, chili, taco meat, salsa, plain yogurt, black beans. . . what other ideas do you have?

Baked-Potatoes-crockpot-slow-cookerpin it here

It’s Crock-toberAs part of this month-long series I’m featuring slow cooker and crockpot recipes that are easy and inexpensive! Send in your recipe and if I feature your recipe on the blog you’ll get a $10 Amazon gift card! 

July 19, 2013

Grilled Stuffed Zucchini recipe – bacon, mushrooms, parmesan


Originally published August 2012, I’m bringing this back for those of you harvesting zucchinis!

Got zucchini? We do. We’ve been harvesting zucchini from our garden for the last few weeks – and while I was admittedly getting tired of it, this recipe has re-kindled my love for zucchini.

We started with a recipe from Vegetables from an Italian Garden: Season-by-Season Recipes (Amazon), one of my favorite Italian cookbooks. And we modified it to fit our preferences – including adding bacon and grilling, instead of roasting, because it’s just too stinkin’ hot to be turning on the oven.

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May 2, 2013

How to dehydrate pineapple

how-to-Dehydrate-Pineapplepin it.

How to dehydrate pineapple

Drying pineapple is a fantastic way to preserve it as a healthy snack. As a mother with two small kids, it’s a way I can take a sticky, generally messy fruit and make it a snack safe for the car or for on-the-go! It’s great to chop up and add to trail mix.

This particular time, I used canned pineapple!  WinCo had canned Dole pineapple for $0.31 cents a can back in February, so I had stocked up on sliced pineapple in juice (not syrup). I couldn’t find any information online about drying canned pineapple – so I thought I’d just try it (the price was right!). It worked great, in my opinion. As we head into the summer we should see fresh pineapple for as low as $1 each – and when that happens ‘ll be picking some up for drying at that time.

How to dry pineapple:

Pineapple-on-dehydrator-trays

1.) If using canned pineapple, use the sliced variety. Drain pineapple well. Place slices on drying trays. If using fresh pineapple, remove skin and core pineapple (these pineapple corers and slicer would be ideal!)

2.) Cut pineapple into even slices, about 1/4 inch thick

3.) Place on your dehydrator trays, dry at 130 degrees F for about 14 to 16 hours

4.) You’ll know it’s done when the pineapple feels dry and leathery but is still flexible

I dried two whole cans of pineapple and my kids had eaten it within 24 hours! They loved it.

Dried-Pineapple-how-to-dry pin it.

I love how they look like little flowers. Wish I was creative enough to figure out a way to use them as “flowers” in some other application – perhaps as a cupcake topper or something?

Dried-Pineapple-piecespin it.

Store in an airtight container away from sun, moisture. . .and if you want them to last for more than a day. . . away from your kids.

I referenced these books especially, which I’m guessing you can find at your local library (or Amazon):

As for the type of dehydrator that you need – I think all of them are pretty great. First you can check your local thrift shops, because they are big appliances I think people get tired of storing them and donate them a lot.

Nesco-Food-Dehydrator-best-price

Amazon has this one – Nesco American Harvest FD-37 400 Watt Food Dehydrator – for $34.99. I have a lot of friends who have this one and love it!

Nesco-FD-80-square-dehydrator-1

Amazon also has this Nesco FD-80A Square-Shaped Dehydrator for just $59. This is a great price. Regular price is $98 and it has nearly 5 out of 5 star reviews.

Excalibur-dehydrator-reviews

I personally have the Excalibur 3900B 9 Tray Deluxe Dehydrator, Black – but it’s probably much more than the average person needs. The only reason I splurged is because I found a crazy good deal that included a lightning deal and a gift card I had. But I have to say that I do love it and it has amazing reviews for a dehydrator.

I’ve been a drying a lot of things lately! See my recent posts:

I’d love to hear from you – what do you dehydrate? How do you use your dehydrator? Have you dehydrated pineapple before? Have you used canned pineapple before?

April 18, 2013

How to dehydrate mushrooms

How-to-Dehydrate-Mushrooms Pin it.

How to dehydrate mushrooms

Drying mushrooms is a great way to preserve them for later – which is exactly what I wanted to do with the pile of mushrooms in my fridge. This was my first time dehydrating mushrooms and it was incredibly easy – and I’m happy I now have them on hand for soups and sauces down the road.

When researching how to do dehydrate mushrooms I found a lot of disclaimers about dehydrating wild mushrooms you find in nature. If you’re not an expert forager, don’t go eating random mushrooms you find in the woods. If it’s toxic in it’s regular form, it certainly isn’t going to be any safer after drying.

I stick to store bought mushrooms, thank you very much. I might *live on the edge* and buy marked down mushrooms, but that’s as exciting as I get with ‘shrooms. This time I dried some full size portobello mushrooms (manager markdown!) and some baby portobellos (Costco!).

Mushrooms-Portobello

The first thing you’ll want to do is wipe the mushrooms off. Clean ’em up just like you would before cooking with them. I didn’t want to wash or rinse my mushrooms because this would only add moisture, which seems silly right before drying them. I wiped the mushrooms down with a paper towel. I bet if you wanted to rinse them off, it wouldn’t hurt. Just dry them well before dehydrating.

Mushrooms-Remove-Stems-to-dry

Then you may want to remove the stems. Because portobello mushrooms have a thicker stem – I opted to remove the stem. I saved those for a batch of vegetable broth.Some of the fancier mushrooms I think have a lof flavor in the stem – so you decide if you want to keep it on or not.

Drying-Mushrooms-in-dehydrator-temp

Then slice the mushrooms in 1/4 inch slices and spread them out on dehydrator tray.

how-to-dry-mushrooms-dehydrator

Dry mushrooms at 130 degrees F for 8 to 14 hours*. I opted for 12 hours. If mushrooms have any moisture remaining in them, could grow bacteria or mold, so I opted for a little longer. They will shrink a lot in the process.

*I saw some sources that recommend drying the mushrooms at 90 degrees F for a few hours and then increasing it to 130 degrees F. But I cannot find any information on why they are recommending this. Anyone know? I just went with one temp, the whole time.

Dried-Mushrooms-on-dehydrator-tray

I won’t lie. Drying mushrooms may leave an earthy smell in your house. If you are generally sensitive to mushroom smells, this could bother you. I live near Ostroms Mushroom farm, so I’m used to it. You might not even notice, but I like to give you a heads up.

How to Store Dried Mushrooms

As with most dried foods, you want to store it in an airtight container away from moisture and light. Places like World Market Cost Plus have inexpensive  pantry jars with sealable lids (like the one pictured below). These can be labeled and added to your pantry shelf!

Dehydrated-Mushrooms-how-to

How to Rehydrate Mushrooms

I’m not an expert on this since this is my first time dehydrating mushrooms. BUT from what I’m seeing – the best method is to soak in cold water for about 4 hours. You can soak them in hot water to speed up the process, cover the bowl with a plate or lid. Everything I read said to keep the water you use to rehydrate the dried mushrooms, as it makes good stock. I’m planning to use the dehydrated mushrooms in soups, so I’ll just add a little more broth to compensate. If you’re a drying expert, and you know how to rehydrate dried mushrooms, please chime in here!

I referenced these books especially, which I’m guessing you can find at your local library (or Amazon):

As for the type of dehydrator that you need – I think all of them are pretty great. First you can check your local thrift shops, because they are big appliances I think people get tired of storing them and donate them a lot.

Nesco-FD-80-square-dehydrator-1

If you’re thinking about getting a dehydrator, Amazon has this Nesco FD-80A Square-Shaped Dehydrator for just $55. This is the best price it’s ever been on Amazon. Regular price is $98 and it has nearly 5 out of 5 star reviews.

Excalibur-dehydrator-reviews

I personally have the Excalibur 3900B 9 Tray Deluxe Dehydrator, Black – but it’s probably much more than the average person needs. The only reason I splurged is because I found a crazy good deal that included a lightning deal and a gift card I had. But I have to say that I do love it and it has amazing reviews for a dehydrator.

I’ve been a drying a lot of things lately! See my recent posts:

I’d love to hear from you – what do you dehydrate? How do you use your dehydrator? Have you dehydrated mushrooms before?

March 22, 2013

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Red Onions recipe

Roasted-sweet-potatoes-onions

Roasting sweet potatoes and red onions

I’ve never roasted sweet potatoes before. All I have to say is I’ve been missing out. Tonight for dinner I roasted sweet potatoes with red onions. The “marinade” was super easy and it has a little spice, a little sour, a little salty and a little sweet.

INGREDIENTS

Non-stick cooking spray

2 large sweet potatoes, uncooked, peeled and diced in 1-inch chunks

1 large red onion, peeled, diced in 1-inch chunks

Marinade:
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon Agave (you could probably substitute honey)

DIRECTIONS

1.) Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2.) Spray a baking sheet with the non-stick spray

3.) In a large bowl, add all your diced sweet potatoes and onions

4.) In a small bowl, make the marinade

5.) Pour in marinade. Toss until it’s evenly coated.

6.) Spread vegetables out evenly on your baking sheet and put into oven.

7.) Bake at 425 degrees F for 30 minutes. I recommend halfway through (15 minutes) that you take the pan out  and turning them over with a spatula, so one side doesn’t get overly done. Then putting it back in for the remaining 15 minutes (for a total of 30 minutes).

I have a funny story to tell you about this recipe.

I told my son to try it.
He replied, “I don’t like sweet potatoes.
I said, “You’ve eaten sweet potato fries and you liked them.
He replied, “Yeah, well those were made with fries.”

How can I argue with that?

Recipe-Roasted-Sweet-Potatoes-chili

I’d love to hear – how do you make your sweet potatoes? What are your favorite vegetables to roast? You can also check out this recipe for Roasted Root Vegetables with balsamic vinegar – yum!

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