bcmom's kitchen

bcmom's kitchen

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.

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