Why does everyone think a 4hr slow cooker recipe is helpful?

Seriously, if I’m around to turn on the slow cooker 4 hours before dinner, I’m around enough to cook. Okay, now our slow cooker can switch over to warm after a set number of hours, but things still cook (at least a bit) on warm. It might be that my first slow cooker didn’t have a timer option and I came home to quite a few batches of overcooked chicken something. But 4 hour cooking times in a slow cooker still sounds like a really awkward time to work with/around.

Eh, I might just be cranky about how many vegetables I chopped up for this one – more specifically, how long I was standing up to do so. Also how much in leftovers there are. Trust me, there was no way this recipe, as written, was going to fit in my 6 quart slow cooker.

I think I’m starting to understand what Adam means by his (usually anguished) cries of “It got away from me!” We are totally going to be eating this for the rest of the week.

At this point, in a change from how things usually go around here, I’m thinking I will not keep this recipe. Basically too much work for the end result (for me) – those of you with working olfactory senses might get more out of it.

Vegetable & Chickpea Stew

Original from TheKitchn.com
Makes … lots. 8-12 servings?
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 17; Dinners: 3 recipes left

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 – 1 large onion, diced
  • 10 purple potatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp salt, divided
  • 1 tbsp curry powder of choice
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • 2 cups broth
  • 32 oz chickpeas
  • 4-5 small peppers, diced
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
  • 28 oz (5-6) tomatoes, diced
  • 10 oz baby spinach
  • 1 can coconut milk
  1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot on medium heat. Add the onion and 1 tsp of salt; sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and 1 tsp of salt; sauté for several minutes.
  2. Add the curry, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and chili powder; cook, stirring a bit, until fragrant – about 30 seconds. Pour in some of the broth and scrape the bottom of the pan to pull up any brown bits. Add the rest of the broth, chickpeas, peppers, cauliflower, tomatoes; stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 45 – 60 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  3. Add the spinach and coconut milk; stir until spinach wilts. Pull off the heat and adjust any seasonings if necessary. Serve.
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In which the difference between Adam & my palette is made apparent

This is one of those dishes that will not be sticking around, not because it’s not good – in fact Adam says he rather likes this one, but because it doesn’t work for both of us. Turns out there isn’t enough textural differences within this bake for me to think I’m actually eating something. Also needed the hot sauce that was a) said to be optional (no… not really) and b) I forgot to add before baking. Adam definitely liked these ramkin sized bakes more after topping off with Sriracha. Probably would have also helped to trust the cooking length directions. What can I say, the egg didn’t looked cooked through until twice as long as called for. At which point, there were some hard-boiled like eggs on top.

Part of what made me feel this one took a while were the chickpeas. The original recipe calls for basically a can of (already prepared) chickpeas. But since Adam makes hummus, we don’t buy canned chickpeas. Yeah, he insists on buying dried chickpeas and soaking them the night before making hummus. All the hummus. mmmm, hummus. Any rate, there’s been another recipe calling for chickpeas so I’d prepared a batch for that recipe. … I don’t really work with chickpeas much and misjudged how much dried chickpeas I’d need. And thus ended up with 8 cups of cooked chickpeas. Yes, this is even more than Adam would use in one hummus making go. So! mentally I was adding in that time to the prep-time for this recipe. Or at least a portion of it. And that was not a terribly pleasant experience so I may have remembered more time than it actually took. ::shrug::  Any rate, be smart and use canned chickpeas if you make this one.

The other part of why this felt long was the first portion on the stove, followed by baking. It’s a thing from learning originally on stir-fry, I think. Mentally my brain goes ‘if I’m sautéing stuff on the stove, why aren’t I dumping everything else in (eventually) and finishing on the stove?’ Not a mental thing with baking… makes perfect sense to me to mix everything together and then put it in the oven. Must be categorizing the mixing parts as ‘prep work’…

End result, would I recommend this one to y’all? Only with certain caveats:
1) if you cannot smell (for any reason – a cold or allergies will do it), move along, this is not the recipe you are looking for
2) if you don’t like hot sauce, again not the recipe for you. the extra kick is needed to make the rest interesting (to us any rate)

Sausage, Chickpeas, Kale and Egg bake – Single Servings

Original from TheKitchn.com
Makes 8 seven ounce ramkin size servings
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 23; Dinners: 4 recipes left

  • 1 onion (variety to your taste), medium chop
  • 2 tbsp olive or other neutral oil
  • salt
  • 1/2 lb sausage (chicken was our choice), sliced
  • 1 bunch of kale (variety to your choice), stripped of the stalk and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 cups -OR- 2 cans cooked chickpeas
  • Hot sauce (variety to your choice)
  • 8 eggs
  • 8 seven ounce ramkins
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. In a medium frying pan, sauté the onion with a pinch of salt in the oil. Cook until the onion softens and begins to turn translucent. Add the sausage, break up into crumbles, and continue cooking until the sausage browns.
  3. Add the kale to the frying pan. If the kale is a bit wet from washing, continue on; if not, add a splash of water to the pan to steam the kale. Cook until kale is wilted. Add the chickpeas and stir gently to distribute but not mash them.Taste for salt.
  4. Distribute the mixture between the ramkins and top with some hot sauce. Make a well in the mixture, crack an egg into a small bowl, then slide the egg into the well. Sprinkle with salt, preferably finishing salt and set on a baking sheet (for ease of getting all the ramkins in and out of the oven). Repeat with remaining ramkins. Slide sheet into the oven and bake for 7 minutes, or until the whites are set but the yolk still looks runny. Enjoy.

Note: you can use a toaster oven instead of a full-sized oven if you like.

I so wanted this one to be worth copying…

I am aiming on cutting down my (our) meat consumption – bit tricky when Adam loves meat so much. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not aiming for vegetarian or vegan (personally don’t think I have the discipline for either, plus I get really tired/unhappy without animal protein [I think it’s the concentration]). Any rate! Cutting down on meat consumption – basically, I’m trying to aim for actual USDA portion recommendations (6 ozs is less [visually] than you think) and one or two meatless nights. Which you know, is still higher than historical averages. It’s a health thing, a portion control thing, and a trying to walk the environmental talk I believe.

So! I rather wanted this recipe to work out – it’s got a lot of things I love to eat (pasta, broccoli, cheese!, chickpeas) and making a big casserole is great for the leftovers and building lunches to take to work.

One, the kitchen ended up looking like a disaster zone. Now admittedly, that’s on me and my need to improve on dealing with multiple moving parts and cooking implements. But multiple moving parts! Any time that pops up, stuff better be freaking amazing to be worth the time (and stress) of making it again.

Two, there was just something missing. Not ‘eh, it’s okay, we’ve made better’ (which is enough to boot a recipe) but something was actively missing. Maybe I needed to mix in some nuts for texture. Or have actually exchanged the 1% milkfat cottage cheese we accidentally grabbed for the 4% called for in the recipe. Also, it’s just too light, even after we browned up some ground beef (using the same seasonings as the main part) and mixed that in.

So, multiple moving parts (which usually stresses me out, especially on a weeknight) producing something that neither of us found very tasty. I’m still posting the recipe to this one, since maybe one of y’all will make it amazing for your family.

Tomato-Mozzarella Pasta Bake

Originally from TheKitchn.com
Makes ~10 small servings, 6-7 large servings?
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 26; Dinners: 6 recipes left

  • 1 lb pasta, your choice of type
  • 1 lb broccoli, fresh
  • 4 medium tomatoes, divided
  • 3/4 lb onions, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • one 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained
  • dried basil, to taste
  • 1/2 lb full-fat mozzarella, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F; lightly grease a 9″x13″ casserole dish and set aside. Heat a large pot of salted water. Add the pasta and cook until barely al dente. Drain, then return to the pot.
  2. Steam the broccoli, drain and cut into bite-sized florets. Toss with the cooked pasta. Chop three of the tomatoes into rough pieces and toss with the pasta. Stir in the onion, garlic, chickpeas, and ~half the basil you plan to use. Tear about 2/3rds of the mozzarella into small chunks and fold this into the pasta mixture.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, cottage cheese, and lemon juice. Stir in the Parmesan. Add this mixture to the pasta, along with the salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer the pasta to the casserole dish and spread out evenly. Slice the remaining tomato into half-moon slices, then arrange on top of the pasta. Tear the remaining mozzarella into pieces and scatter between the tomato slices. Drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the casserole is bubbly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with other half of basil. Serve.

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