bcmom's kitchen

bcmom's kitchen

Friday, June 10, 2016

Slow Cooker Pepperoncini Beef

I'm in the middle of planning dinner menus and shopping lists - and trying to figure out how it's all going to get done - for a week-long camp that is coming up very very soon.  Thankfully I do have help, and it will get done - and we are going to feed a lot of hungry people!

Somewhere in the search, I came across this recipe.  The person who mentioned it said these sandwiches were fantastic and 'could not be easier' and they sounded like exactly the sort of thing I was looking for.  But, of course, I needed to try them first, right?  Right.  So we had these sandwiches for dinner tonight, and they really are fantastic.  Of course, I didn't exactly follow the recipe because what would be the fun in that? (I'm guessing that the original recipe is really good; I just thought I'd add a couple things)

Slow Cooker Pepperoncini Beef
adapted from A Year of Slow Cooking

  • 2-3 lb. Chuck roast
  • 1 T onion soup mix
  • 1 cup pepperoncini juice
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 10-12 pepperoncini peppers 
  • sliced Provolone cheese
  • crusty bread, rolls or buns
  1. Place roast in the bottom of crock pot
  2. Sprinkle with onion soup mix; pour pepperoncini juice and broth into crock pot and add pepperoncinis.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  4. Shred beef with two forks and stir.  Serve on bread, rolls, or buns with a slice of cheese.

The original recipe called for just pouring a 16-oz. jar of pepperoncini over the roast - that's it, just a roast and a jar of pepperoncini.  So I complicated it a bit by adding the onion soup mix and beef broth, but this recipe is still super simple.  Also, I'm not sure how many peppers and how much juice is in a 16-oz. jar, because I buy them by the gallon ($6.99 at GFS!).  So I just guessed.

This ended up quite juicy, but that's OK because you want some of that oh-so-tasty broth along with your beef because it soaks into the bread and comes pretty close to absolute perfection.  Messy perfection, but perfection nonetheless.  Just be sure to have some napkins handy, and hold over your plate.

For those worried that this might be a bit spicy, it really isn't.  There's a nice tang to it, but it's really not spicy.  Of course those who like a little spice will want one (or two) of the warm pepperoncinis on their sandwiches.  (it doesn't really add much heat, but the flavor is great)  I would recommend removing the peppers before shredding the beef - which I did not do.  Otherwise you will end up shredding some of the peppers too, and then it's really hard to serve up a sandwich without some pieces of pepperoncini in it.  Also, you'll end up with random stems floating around that nobody wants to eat.

We had a nice garden salad to go along with our sandwiches.  Did I mention that I'm getting lettuce, lettuce, and more lettuce out of my garden?  My husband skipped the salad and just had another sandwich.  I had more salad - but then I couldn't help snitching a few pieces of this beef as I cleaned up the kitchen after dinner.  So good!  I'd definitely recommend this recipe.  So much flavor with so little work - I think we have a winner. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Southwest Zucchini Patties

It's time again for Secret Recipe Club reveal!  My secret blog assignment this month is pizza rossa, a lovely blog written by Rachael.  Rachel has lived in Switzerland since 2001, and she and her husband have been vegetarians for many years.  She loves sharing delicious and healthy recipes, along with some decadent sweet treats, and encouraging people to try something new.

Looking through Rachael's blog, I found several recipes I really want to try. Tuscan Style Roasted Vegetables, Spinach & Zucchini Pie, and Potato and Spinach Waffles are just a few that caught my eye.

But I eventually decided on these zucchini patties.  They just sounded so good. (Mine got a little extra browned, so the picture does not do it justice, but trust me, these are good.)

Southwest Zucchini Patties
adapted from pizza rossa

  • 1 lb. zucchini, 1 medium or 2-3 small
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 can (15 oz) can kidney beans
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • 2 T chopped cilantro
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • about 1 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • Oil for frying
  1. Grate the zucchini on a box grater and spread over a couple of sheets of paper towels; top with more paper towels and put a heavy cutting board on top. 
  2. Rinse and drain the corn and kidney beans in separate strainers.
  3. Lightly beat the eggs in a mixing bowl.  Add kidney beans and roughly mash with the back of a fork or a potato masher. Mix in corn, zucchini, minced onions, and cilantro.  Add cumin, cayenne, salt & pepper.
  4. Stir in enough breadcrumbs so the mixture becomes quite stiff.  Use damp hands to shape the mixture into patties.
  5. Heat about two tablespoons of oil in a skillet and cook the patties until well browned on both sides, 4 – 5 minutes per side.
Makes about a dozen large patties or 20 small ones

These smelled so good as soon as I mixed the ingredients together.  And then, when they were cooking - even better.  I added the cilantro and cut the cayenne down because my husband does not like things too spicy.  Other than that, I pretty much stuck with Rachael's recipe - except I just wrote 'bread crumbs' when I copied the recipe instead of dry bread crumbs, so I ended up using more bread crumbs than the recipe called for, and the mixture never did get very stiff.  So next time I'll be sure to make sure my bread crumbs are nice and dry and see if that makes any difference.  It still formed nice enough patties that cooked up really well.  I cooked them for 5 minutes on the first side without disturbing them, just to be sure they held together, which is why mine ended up a bit over-browned. 

Rachael served hers with some gorgeous pico de gallo, which would have been great, but we just topped them with salsa and sour cream  So good!  I wasn't sure how my husband would respond to having these for dinner and no meat (Gasp!), so I made some Spicy Avocado Chicken too, as an alternative option.  He ate some of both, and then went back for two more of these patties.  I'd say that's a win.

The leftovers heat up really nicely, and I have eaten a few of them cold too.  They're pretty much good however you eat them, and I'll definitely be making these again.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Crockpot Tapioca Pudding

I've always liked tapioca pudding, but for some reason I haven't been able to make a tapioca pudding that I've been happy with.  I've tried the recipes on the packages (a couple times), and I tried making it in the crockpot one other time.  It just didn't turn out the way I thought it should. So, obviously, I haven't tried all that many times...

This time, I was going to make my husband his favorite chocolate pudding - there are only the two of us, and we don't go through a gallon of milk quite as quickly as we used to when the kids were living at home, so there was milk that needed to be used - but I really did not have time to stand over the stove and stir that pudding.   That's when I remembered the tapioca pudding my friend Brian made last month, and his turned out quite good, so I thought it was worth another try.  I definitely had time to throw the ingredients in the crockpot and stir it once in a while, in between all the other things I was trying to get done.

It turned out great!  This is the recipe - good flavor, good consistency, and so easy.

Crockpot Tapioca Pudding
adapted from allrecipes

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 6 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup small pearl tapioca
  1. In 5-6 quart crockpot, beat eggs.  Add sugar, salt, and vanilla and mix well.  Mix in milk and tapioca.
  2. Cover and cook on High for 3 hours (or Low for 6 hours), stirring occasionally.  (Every 1/2 hour for the first 1-1/2 hours and then every 15 minutes for the last)

I'm not sure what recipe I used the last time; this is just one I found when I searched online for one.  I took the recipe and incorporated some of the suggestions from the reviews - adding a bit of salt and some vanilla.  And that was it.  Super simple.  Oh, and the recipe is basically 1-1/2 times the original because I needed to use the milk, and it was a better amount for the size of my crockpot.

For me, I think the key to a good tapioca pudding is stirring it enough that the tapioca doesn't clump up in big clumps, while not stirring it so much that the tapioca breaks down completely.  So, start out stirring every half hour, but as soon as you notice the tapioca starting to clump, make sure you stir it more often - and even get a bit aggressive with it to break those clumps up.  Not too much because you still want those fun little clear balls that make tapioca pudding special.  Did that make sense?  I used a silicone scraper which seemed to work really well.

Also, this got quite thick.  I may cook it a little less next time to see if I can get it to be just a bit creamier.  I don't know that will work, but I think one of the reviewers on the original recipe mentioned it.  Stirring a bit more often toward the end will help with keeping an eye on it and knowing when it's at the right consistency.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Spring Greens

It's a good thing we like salad, because there is a whole lot of lettuce out in the garden.  Last year's lettuce went to seed, and so we have a lot of new lettuce this spring.  I also followed some advice I read from an old friend and scattered some seeds in the garden sometime in early March on the chance that some of them would survive the freezing and thawing and come up.  You guessed it - more lettuce.  And some radishes.

I've also got a couple chard plants that somehow survived the winter and are growing like crazy.  So, I have chard and radish greens to use, too. The other night I sauteed some of the greens with garlic and olive oil, added a bit of balsamic vinegar, and then fried a couple eggs to go on top - over easy so the yolks could run down into the greens.  It was incredible easy but oh so tasty.  (and I didn't think to take a picture until after I'd savored every last bite)

 The next night I added a bit of rice to the greens and served them with grilled chicken.  (Yes, I had this two nights in a row.)  Both were really yummy and a great way to use all those happy spring greens. I'm throwing radish greens in my salads, too - so good!

Sauteed Spring Greens

  • Olive oil
  • Minced garlic
  • Chopped greens - Chard, radish, spinach, whatever you have
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Cooked rice (optional)
  1. Heat olive oil in medium skillet;  add garlic and saute for a minute or two.
  2. Add greens and cook until softened and tender, stirring often.  You may need to add a bit of water as the greens cook.
  3. When greens are cooked, add salt & pepper and drizzle with a bit of Balsamic vinegar.  If using rice, stir it in and cook until heated through, stirring.
  4. Serve topped with fried eggs or grilled chicken. 

Seriously, super simple.  And I didn't really use any measurements, just tossed things in the skillet.  Just remember that greens cook down a lot, so you'll want quite a bit of greens to start with.  And they're good for you, so you can eat as many as you want.

I pushed the greens to the side of the skillet and fried the eggs right beside the greens, and I suppose you could actually cook your chicken in the same skillet, too.  But I seasoned mine and grilled it on the George Foreman grill.  I used a boneless thigh, but if you prefer breasts that would work just as well.  And, I'm sure there are plenty of other things that would be good on a nice bed of greens.  Any ideas?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Crockpot Chicken with Apricot Mustard Sauce

It's time again for Secret Recipe Club reveal!  My secret blog assignment this month is Life on Food, an amazing blog written by Emily.  Emily is new to Group A this month, so I'm excited to get this first chance to check out her blog.  She lives in Connecticut with her husband and their little one, and her blog features food that they eat on a regular basis.  But just because we're talking about everyday food that is simple to prepare, do not think that has to mean boring.  There are so many amazing-looking recipes on Emily's blog!

The very first recipe that caught my eye was Emily's latest for these wonderful looking Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies.  I was seriously tempted to stop looking right then and head to the kitchen.  But then I scrolled down and found this recipe for Easter Rice Pie which really intrigues me.  Is it a dessert or is it a side dish?  And who knew you could use rice in a pie?  I definitely must try this.

Then I found the perfect recipe - Cinnamon Sugar Almonds.  I have been meaning to try something like this for ages.  However, since the recipe is a previous SRC post, I will have to save the it for later.  And these super fudgy brownies.

And then I found this recipe for Apricot Mustard Chicken which really had my mouth watering.  All those flavors just sounded so amazing!  There's also a recipe for Crock Pot Applesauce Chicken and Crock Pot Coconut Curry Chicken and Crock Pot Pad Thai Chicken.  They just all sound so good. But I decided to stick with the apricot chicken.

Crockpot Chicken with Apricot Mustard Sauce
from Life on Food

  • 3 Tbsp Apricot preserves
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom
  • 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into pieces
  • Toasted coconut
  1. In bottom of crockpot, mix together preserves, mustard, and spices. Mix in chicken, cranberries, and apricots.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. (Stir a couple of times if you're around)
  3. Serve with rice or couscous.  Garnish with toasted coconut.

Emily left her chicken breasts whole, but I figured I'd just cut them up in the end, so why not before?  I also added the dried cranberries and apricots to the mix.

It didn't turn out as pretty as Emily's, but the flavors were just as amazing together as I thought they'd be.  We both really liked it, and I will definitely make this again.  I am thinking that next time I want to try using boneless thighs instead of the breasts, just to see how that works out.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole

I made this a couple weekends ago.  It was very simple and tasty.  Because there are only two of us, I only made a half recipe, but it would be just a easy to make the whole recipe, and it would be great if you have a house full of people to feed.  You put everything into the crock pot the night before, and you have a fresh hot breakfast ready and waiting the next morning.

Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole
adapted from Everyday Dishes

  • 1 lb. sausage
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • sliced mushrooms
  • fresh spinach
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. ground mustard
  • 30 oz. bag frozen hash browns
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar
  1. Brown sausage with onion and garlic; add mushrooms and brown.  Add spinach and cook until wilted.  Set aside.
  2. Beat eggs in bowl.  Add milk and seasonings.
  3. Grease 4 or 5 qt crock pot.   Pour hash browns into crock pot and then add eggs and sausage mixture.  Stir together and then add 1-1/2 cups cheese.  Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
  4. Cover and cook on low overnight.

The original recipe was to be mixed up and refrigerated overnight and then baked in the morning.  I wasn't sure how it would work in the crock pot exactly so I doubled the milk.  I think that was just about right.  I also added a bit more cheese, because it seemed like the right thing to do.

I'll definitely make this again.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Crock Pot Chicken w/ Potatoes and Green Beans

I've seen pictures of this recipe (or a similar one) going around on Facebook or Pinterest (I'm not sure exactly which), and it looked easy and tasty.  I had never actually looked at the recipe until I went searching on Pinterest today.  Why not, right? 

There are quite a few variations of this recipe out there, some of them are baked in the oven and some are for the crock pot.  The yard really needed mowed this afternoon because it has been raining so much and the grass has been growing and growing - and today was the only day all week that didn't call for more rain.  The grass probably would have been knee high by the next time I could have gotten to it.   So I needed something I could throw into the crock pot in the morning and be able to have dinner tonight.

I really liked that this recipe uses a fresh homemade sauce to cook the chicken and vegetables.  But don't let that scare you away, because it's really simple - olive oil, lemon juice, and some seasonings.  Yum!  Put the chicken and vegetables into the crock pot, pour the sauce over the top, and come back at dinner time for a delicious meal.

Crock Pot Chicken w/ Potatoes and Green Beans
adapted from The Magical Slow Cooker

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 cups diced red potatoes
  • 8 oz. green beans (fresh or frozen)
  1. In 1 cup glass measuring cup (or small bowl), mix olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt, pepper, and garlic with whisk.
  2. Put sliced onion on bottom of 5 to 6 quart crock pot.  Put chicken in the middle with potatoes and green beans on either side.  Pour seasoning mixture evenly over the top.
  3. Cover and cook on Low for 7 to 8 hours (or High for 4 hours).  
  4. Shortly before serving, slice chicken breasts and allow to sit in the broth for a few minutes.  Enjoy.

I didn't really change a lot from the original recipe.  I threw some sliced onion in the bottom of the crock pot, and I used frozen green beans because I didn't have any fresh ones.  The chicken breasts were also still pretty much frozen when I put them into the crock pot.

I used a bit more lemon juice than the recipe called for.  The juice from one lemon wasn't quite enough, so I squeezed another one and that was too much.  I really should have checked after squeezing the first half of that second lemon.  But I didn't think about that until after I'd squeezed the second half.  It turned out really good, extra lemon juice or not.  Just be sure to use fresh lemon juice and not the stuff that comes from a bottle.

Fun fact: if you measure the olive oil into the measuring cup and then squeeze the lemon juice on top, the lemon juice will go to the bottom, allowing you to measure it, too.  Did that make sense?  I really should have taken a picture, but I didn't think about it.  Maybe next time.

I really love how simple and flavorful this is.  It's definitely my kind of recipe.

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