May 282013
 

Since my family was going to be together on Memorial Day weekend, I thought it would be fun to try something totally different: Ethiopian Night!  I have been to a local Ethiopian restaurant and really enjoyed the food, and I did some research online to try and recreate the meal.  First up was a chicken dish, Doro Wat.

When planning this meal, I was optimistic that we’d be spending all day playing at the beach.  So I thought using a crockpot recipe would be very convenient.  As it turned out, I had plenty of time to cook since it was rainy and cold, but it was still nice to have the crockpot do the work.

I merged 3 different recipes to come up with the one below, and I already cut back on the quantity of spices.  But I have to warn you that this version is still HOT.  I used the Berbere spice from Penzey’s, and the first ingredient is cayenne pepper.  So I recommend you adjust the amount of seasoning based on your family’s tastes.

My family forgave me for this oversight, and despite the heat level, almost everyone enjoyed this dish.  The chicken was tender, the sauce was flavorful, and it was most certainly a fun ethnic dining experience.  I served the Doro Wat with collard greens and injera, which I’ll tell you about later this week.

 

ethiopian plate

 

Crockpot Doro Wat

3 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 large Vidalia onions, peeled and chopped
1 t garlic salt
1 t dried thyme
1 T Berbere seasoning
1 c. red wine
3 T tomato paste
Juice from 1 lime

Place chicken and onion in the crockpot.  Sprinkle spices, and toss to coat.  Add wine and tomato paste, and stir well.  Cook on High for 5-6 hours.  Add lime juice; stir, and serve.

May 212013
 

I got on a roll last weekend with my crockpot, and after cooking a turkey breast, I used it to bake potatoes.  I got the idea from a Budget Bytes post, and just had to try it myself.  She baked white potatoes, but I wanted to try both white and sweet.

The method is simple.  First, you wash the potatoes and pat them dry.  Then, prick them with a knife in several spots.  Rub them with a little olive oil, and wrap them up on foil.  Place them in the crockpot, and cook on High for 4-5 hours, or Low for 8-10 hours.  That’s it!

The original recipe warns against crowding too many potatoes in the crockpot, so I cooked 2 white potatoes, and 2 sweet potatoes.  Both of them came out great!  In a blind taste test, I don’t think I could tell the difference between a traditional baked potato and the crockpot version.

You might think of potatoes as a fall/winter food, but potatoes make a great lunch or dinner any time of year paired with a big green salad.  And when it’s 90F in your kitchen, you’ll be happy you don’t have to turn on the oven.  Enjoy-

 

 

crockpot potatoes

May 202013
 

There’s nothing like a turkey sandwich with freshly roasted turkey.  Some of the deli stuff is OK, but most of it is salty, and the texture just isn’t the same.

I admit, cooking a whole turkey is very intimidating, and I’ve never actually done it in my own kitchen.  Instead, I’ve cooked turkey breasts which yield all white meat, without all the fuss. And now I discovered you can cook a turkey breast right in the crockpot!

This recipe, inspired by Skinnytaste,  is perfect for summer.  You don’t have to heat up the kitchen by using the oven, and you can either make a turkey dinner, or use the meat for sandwiches for the week.  If you find a turkey breast on sale (I got mine for $1.19/lb. at Target) it can also be cost effective compared to deli meat.

The turkey in this recipe came out amazing; it was tender, juicy, and reminded me of Thanksgiving.  I did have some trouble with the gravy not thickening up very well.  Gravy is really not my ‘thing’, so I played with it a little but gave up pretty quickly.  If you do love gravy, I think the cooking liquid in this recipe is a flavorful base, but you may need to add more flour.

Even without perfect gravy, I am calling this recipe a success!

 

crockpotturkey

 

Crockpot Turkey Breast and Gravy

1 T oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 t minced garlic
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/3 c. flour
2 c. vegetable broth
1 c. water
1/2 c. white wine
2 t seasoning (I used Penzey’s Mural of Flavor, but the original recipe called for sage)
1 (4-5 lb.) turkey breast

Heat oil in a frying pan.  Add onion, garlic, and carrot, and cook for 15-20 minutes, until soft and beginning to brown.  Add flour and 1 c. vegetable broth.  Stir to combine, and break up any lumps.  Pour mixture into the crockpot.  Add remaining broth, water, wine, and seasoning to crockpot, and stir.

Sprinkle turkey with salt and pepper, and place in crockpot, breast side up.  Cook on Low for 5-6 hours, until an instant read thermometer registers 165F.  Remove from crockpot, cover loosely with foil, and allow to set for 15 minutes.  Remove skin, and carve away.

For gravy, allow liquid to cool slightly in the crockpot for 10 minutes.  Remove visible fat with a spoon.  Strain remaining liquid into a saucepan.  Simmer on medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until thickened.  (Note: My gravy didn’t thicken up well, and needed more flour.)

-Adapted from Skinnytaste

Apr 302013
 

This recipe does not photograph well.  Actually, it doesn’t look that great in person either.  But since I gobbled it up, enjoying every bite, I decided to share it with you.

I started with this recipe from the Crockpot Recipe Exchange.  But there was something that bugged me about using a whole bottle of BBQ sauce in a lasagna.  I can’t claim to always avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup (hello, ketchup!) but I thought I could do better.  You might say I was inspired by the Penzey’s BBQ Seasoning in my spice cabinet.

Just like in my Crockpot Vegetarian Lasagna, there’s a lot of extra sauce.  It’s perfect for scooping up with some freshly baked bread.  I really liked the BBQ flavor as a spin on traditional lasagna.  So even if this was a mess in my dish, it was a yummy mess, and I’ll make it again.

 

Crockpot BBQ Chicken Lasagna

1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
2 T Penzey’s BBQ Seasoning
1 (24 oz.) container fat free cottage cheese
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
6 oz. lasagna noodles, broken as needed
2 c. reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
2 c. shredded, cooked chicken breast

In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, sauce, paste, and BBQ seasoning.  In a medium bowl, combine cottage cheese, Parmesan, and egg.

Layer in your crockpot as follows:  1 c. sauce; 2 oz. noodles; 1/2 cottage cheese mixture;
3/4 c. reduced fat cheddar; chicken; 2 c. sauce; 2 oz. noodles; remaining cottage cheese mixture;
3/4 c. reduced fat cheddar; 1 1/2 c. sauce; 2 oz. noodles; remaining sauce; remaining cheddar.

Cover and cook on Low for 4-5 hours.  Let stand for 30 minutes before serving.

-Adapted from the Crockpot Recipe Exchange

Mar 272013
 

I wasn’t sure what to call this, really.  It’s kind of a goulash, I guess.  Or maybe a stew?  Like chili, without any chili powder.  No matter what you call it, it made some balanced meals for the week.

It’s a very simple dish of browned ground turkey and vegetables.  Browning the turkey is an extra step, but worth the effort.  This also allows you to drain off some of the extra fat.  The vegetables came right from my freezer, no chopping required, but you could use any combination of fresh or frozen.

And now I am off to make preparations for Easter dinner, no crockpot required!

 

 

Crockpot Ground Turkey and Vegetables

1 (20 oz.) package ground turkey, browned and drained
1 (16 oz.) package frozen stew vegetables, such as onions, carrots, and potatoes
1 (16 oz.) package green beans
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 c. water

Mix all ingredients in your crockpot.  Cook on High for 5-6 hours.