Tag Archives: Cook

Easy, Delicious Burgundy Beef Meatballs in the slow cooker

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Several years ago I discovered Rachel Ray. Not literally, as in, I’m who found her and made her famous. I mean, I found her show, “30 Minute Meals”, on the Food Network. I learned how to cook from her, mostly. I did learn some things from my Mom and Sister, but at a young age I was not interested in cooking, so foolishly, I didn’t seek to learn from them. Now, I want to learn from them, from Rachel Ray and from anyone who is willing to give me recipes along with some instructions as needed. One of my favorite, “30 Minute Meal” recipes is the Beef Burgundy, or Beef Bourguignonne, as is the official title.

Recently I was looking through a cook book and found a lovely slow cooker recipe for Meatballs in red wine. That started the wheels turning, and I have combined the two recipes to come up with Burgundy Beef Meatballs. My son liked the egg noodles, but not the meatballs. He likes the regular meatballs with spaghetti sauce, but not so much the burgundy meatballs. He is, after all, just 4 so I wasn’t too surprised the flavor’s didn’t appeal to him. My husband and I, however, devoured them, last night as well as tonight. They taste even better when allowed to sit over night.

The meatball recipe I will give makes a lot of meatballs, so I used some for the spaghetti dinner one night then froze the remainder of them.

For the slow cooker, or crock pot, recipe you’ll have to plan on eating this the next day. The reason being, the meatballs need to be frozen in order to be able to cook them all day without turning them into golf balls. It’s worth it, trust me, I’m the queen of not wanting to take more than a few minutes or an hour to cook, much less one whole day, but you’ll be glad you did! Apparently, I’m also the queen of run-on sentences.

I’ll give an alternative at the bottom though, if you don’t want to wait.

Meatballs:

2 lbs. ground beef

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups regular bread crumbs

11/2 teaspoon cilantro leaves

1 large shallot finely diced

1/4 teaspoon pepper

4 strips thick cut bacon

2 tablespoons flour

Beef stock

Mix the all the ingredients together (except bacon, flour and stock)

Line a baking dish with foil Shape into ‘golf ball’ sized balls, you’ll want about 30 meatballs for the slow cooker

Place in prepared pan (no need to grease or use oil)

Bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes or until the meatballs are no longer pink in the middle

While the meatballs are baking:

Fry the bacon in a skillet until crispy

Remove and place on paper towel lined plate

Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease

Keep heat on medium,

add the flour and stir until combined and a lovely shade of light brown, being careful not to burn

Add the beef stock 1/2 a cup at a time and stir with whisk until there are no lumps and the gravy starts to thin a bit

You don’t want a very thick gravy

Crumble the bacon into the gravy

After the meatballs are cooked through, add them to the gravy and let them cool

Once cool, place the meatballs AND gravy in a zip lock baggie, or freezer safe container and place in the freezer overnight

The next day, or whenever you are ready to make the Burgundy Beef Meatballs, place the frozen meatballs with the gravy in your slow cooker and add the following:

1 bag Pearl Onions

4 sprigs of Thyme or 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme

2 Bay leaves

2 1/2 cups red wine

1 1/2 tsp dried Oregano

1 cup Sliced mushrooms (preferably not from a can)

2 cups of beef stock

1 cup water

Cook on high for 4 -5 hours or on low for 8 hours

Serve with egg noodles

If you don’t want to wait overnight then simply add the above ingredients into the skillet with, a very thin, gravy. Add the meatballs, allow to simmer together for about 30 minutes, watching carefully that the gravy doesn’t burn, or thicken too much.

Store left overs together with the egg noodles, overnight in the fridge, you will love the way the flavors melt into each other. Divine!

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Slow Cooked, Lemon Chicken

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Last year I was given a large Crock Pot for Christmas, or slow cooker.  This year, I was given a fantastic cook book to go along with it.  It’s called “Fix-It and Forget-It, Christmas Cookbook, 600 Slow Cooker Holiday Recipes.”  I am really enjoying this cookbook. There is nothing better than the smell of slow cooked meals permeating the house.
My husband picked out the Lemon Chicken recipe and I modified it a bit to suit how I like to cook.  I don’t like to cook things before I, well, cook them.  So if a recipe calls for braising, or browning, I usually won’t.  Such is the case with this recipe.

MY NOTES:  I did not brown the chicken pieces.  I used about 7 lbs of pre-cut thighs with the skin on.  I also didn’t thaw the lemonade I just put it on top of the chicken and I added lots of pepper.  I love lemon pepper chicken.   I also added the cornstarch to the slow cooker at the beginning.  I got a little ahead of myself, as I just realized I was suppose to add it at the end.  While I was typing it into this blog to be exact.  It didn’t make too much of a difference.  This recipe is delicious and could even be used as a BBQ for the summer.  The chicken is so tender it falls off the bone and most of the above ingredients are found in sweet BBQ sauce. I suggest adding some “red pepper flakes” for some kick and serving with baked beans and cole slaw.  A very versatile and delicious dinner!

 

 

 

 

“Lemon Chicken
Judy Newman
St. Mary’s Ontario Canada
Fix-It and Forget-It by Phyllis Pellman Good
Good Books, Intercourse, PA 17534

Makes 10-12 servings

Prep. Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 3-4 hours
Ideal slow cooker size: 5 qt.

1/4-1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
5-6 lbs. chicken, cut into pieces
2-4 Tbsp. oil, divided
1 can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. vinegar
2 Tbsp. cold water
2 Tbsp. cornstarch

  1. Combine flour and salt in a shallow bowl.  Dredge chicken pieces in it, one at a time.
  2. Place 2 Tbsp. oil in large skillet.  Brown several pieces of chicken in oil at a time.  Be careful not to crowd the skillet, or the chicken will steam and not brown.  Continue until all pieces are browned on both sides, adding more oil as necessary.
  3. As you finish browning pieces of chicken, place them in slow cooker.
  4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together lemonade concentrate, brown sugar, ketchup and vinegar.  Pour over chicken
  5. Cover.  Cook on High 3-4 hours.
  6. Remove chicken, place on platter, cover with foil and keep warm.
  7. In a small bowl blend cold water into cornstarch.
  8. Stir into juices in slow cooker until well blended. Cover and continue cooking juices several minutes, until thickened and bubbly.
  9. Spoon some of thickened juice over chicken to serve.
  10. Place remaining juices in serving bowl and pass as topping for chicken and cooked rice…..”

Slow Cooked, White wine & Plum Chicken Breasts

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I got a Slow-cooker cook book for Christmas.  It is super!  I found a delicious recipe for slow cooking chicken breasts.  The only problem, I didn’t have some of the ingredients.  I didn’t want to go back out to get them so I created my own recipe with the help of my Mother-in-law, Susan.  When I was listing the ingredients I would be using, she suggested using the dried plums, or prunes.  It added a really nice flavor undertone.

 

 

Slow Cooked, White wine & Plum Chicken Breasts:


4 large frozen Chicken Breast (skin less)

Fresh Ginger root

10 dried plums (prunes) *see note

2 cups White Wine

1 can of Chicken Stock

1 package of French Onion Soup mix

3 crushed garlic cloves

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

In a slow cooker, place the frozen chicken breasts

Pour wine & Chicken stock over the chicken

Sprinkle the dry soup mix on the moistened chicken so it sticks a little

Peel the ginger-root then cut about 10 thin slices of ginger and place in the cooker

Add the remaining ingredients

Cook on Low for 3-4 hours

 

*Note: I must say it turned out very well, just one note of caution.  The fruit absorbed the taste of the alcohol and ginger, so I wouldn’t recommend eating it.

 

 

Handmade Cinnamon Broken Glass Christmas Candy

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I enjoy watching the Cupcake and Cake wars on Food Network. I find it fascinating when the chefs make their own candy and spin them into fabulous designs. I may not be able to craft a candy cane, or fantastic flowers or spinning fairies with candy wings, but I can make some delicious cinnamon candy.

I got the recipe off a friend and co-worker who called it Rock Candy. He would bring bags of it around Christmas and we would all go crazy for it. He wrote the recipe on a torn piece of paper, that is much stained from years of use. I suppose I’ll print off a new one after I blog it to you all.

I do have some warnings to go with this candy, I learned the hard way.

Warning 1: Try as hard as you can not to have your face or any other body parts close to the hot sugar when you add the cinnamon oil. A facial is nice, but having pure cinnamon oil infused into your open pores is miserable. It’s much worse if it goes up your nose, much worse. Trust me, I tried to stay away from it tonight and a little got on my face. My cheek is a little hot, and my hand is red and tingling a bit. I smell very nicely of cinnamon though.

Warning 2: Try to use a very deep pot, or make sure you have on a shirt you don’t mind to ruin with the food color. Once you drop the food coloring into the hot sugar, it will start sputtering and erupt like a volcano of red dye.

Ok, with the warnings out-of-the-way, lets move on to the good part. Making candy! YUMMY.

NOTES: The past few years I used a wooden spoon and was so disappointed that my candy didn’t have a nice cinnamon, well honestly, any cinnamon taste to it. This year I used a stainless steel spoon, and my candy is so nice and Cinnamon flavored.

Rock Candy or Broken Glass Candy

3 3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cup white corn syrup

1 cup water

1 small bottle of Cinnamon oil (find in Pharmacy or bulk food store)

Red Food Coloring

Candy thermometer

Sheet pan with sides

aluminum foil (optional)

butter/oil

Powdered sugar

Have the sheet pan prepared before you start boiling the sugar, also have the cinnamon oil bottle opened and close by as well as the bottle of food coloring. Things move quickly once hard crack stage is reached, be prepared.

Mix sugar, corn syrup and water and bring to a boil

Stir constantly until thermometer reaches 300-310 degrees

Remove from heat Immediately stir in cinnamon and food coloring

Pour into sheet pan that has been oiled (or place a piece of aluminum foil on sheet pan and butter it)

Let cool Once cool take the handle of a butter knife, or case knife and crack the candy into pieces

Place in a bowl or zip lock baggy and Roll in powdered sugar

This recipe is very versatile, you can use any sort of flavored oil you like. Peppermint, wintergreen, anise….likewise, you can use any color food coloring you like as well.

If you are making a Gingerbread house, you can pour the candy into pre-made little molds to make the window glass and “glue” it in with royal icing. Place a light inside the house (single corded lights can be found at craft shops all around. They have one socket for a Christmas light bulb) and you’ve made a magical gingerbread house for Christmas.

You can also form foil into a circle and pour the candy into it to make a lovely pond for skaters to skate upon in front of your gingerbread house or Christmas village. Simply tint the candy blue instead of red, once cool dust lightly with powdered sugar to look like snow-covered ice. My Mom always did those things when she made our Gingerbread houses. She really is creative.