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What I made for Dinner last night – Thanksgiving in March

March 10, 2011

It was meaty, so fair warning.  As I may have mentioned, my kitchen currently has a refrigerator, a sink, and no walls.  We’re in week two of this.  Cooking was getting complicated as everything that should be in the kitchen is in the dining room (slowly creeping into the adjacent living room) and covered with a fine layer of kitchen wall tearing down dust.  This is why you aren’t invited over.

So I’m cooking everything in the crock pot.  And this week, it’s been meatier than usual around here. But – there you go.  I’ve felt so crappy this week, that the meat days are over, and next week I’m putting the necessary time and planning into getting menus together, instead of using a pre made list from somewhere else.

Last night’s dinner was pretty good though – so here you go.  Adapted from a Prevention Slow Cooker recipe

Turkey & Cranberries

  • 1 Turkey Breast – about 3 lbs
  • 1 can of whole cranberries (I could not find fresh cranberries, which I would have preferred)
  • 1/4 cup of Dried French Onion Soup Mix, no sodium
  • 1/2 c of Orange Juice
  • 2-4 cups of water, to cover.

Lay the turkey breast in the crock pot.  Mix cranberries, soup mix and orange juice, and pour over turkey.  Add water to cover.

Cook for 7-8 hours on low (or, in my jacked up 6 quart crock pot, on keep low).

This was, because of the OJ, very sweet.  Nahm said “I like it!  It tastes like bakery!”  Nahm likes things from the bakery.

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Oof

March 9, 2011

Fell asleep on the couch last night and forgot to put on oatmeal.  This is what I was going to make.

A note – I’m going to start posting stuff besides oatmeal in the next week, but I’d kind of like to keep this blog meatless, and we’ve been eating meat this week out of laziness, because everything is going in the crockpot and I found a whole magazine with recipes in it, that were all meaty and it was easier than actually meal planning last weekend.  This weekend I will do better.

Kindapple Upside Down

March 8, 2011

I was envisioning an oatmeal with a good crunchy sugary topping, and this recipe didn’t quite do it, unfortunately.  It’s not bad – it’s just not my favorite.

But the most disappointing oatmeal is still more delicious than the perfect Froot Loop, is all I’m saying.

Caroline used to call pineapple “kindapple” back when she was a wee little thing.

So – with an arrow pointing you to Healthy Slow Cooking, from whence the basic oatmeal recipe springs – I give you, Kindapple Upside Down Oatmeal.  I have no clue how to improve this recipe to get it to do what I wanted it to, Darn it.  If anyone has suggestions, I’d love it.

What to Do

Spray a 4 quart crockpot with cooking spray. You will need:

  • 4 slices of dried pineapple slices
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 C Steel Cut Oats
  • 4 C So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk

Cover the bottom of the crockpot with the sliced pineapple.  Sprinkle the sugar over the top.  Put the oatmeal over the top evenly and add coconut milk.  Cook overnight on low.  Eat.

I was hoping that the sugar would melt kind of crunchily like it does on an upside down cake, but what it did was melt into a liquid, but it’s okay.  It was still good.  It just wasn’t what I wanted.  What surprised me is this, colon, this was, by far the least sweet of the oatmeals I’ve tried.  It was sweet enough, but had a nice pineappley tartness.

Nutrition Info: Calories – 252, Calories from Fat – 63, Total Fat – 7  g (10% RDA), Saturated Fat – 5 (25% RDA), Cholesterol – 0, Sodium -15 mg, Total Carbohydrate – 41.2 g (13% RDA), Dietary Fiber 4 g – (16% RDA), Sugars 9 g, Protein 6 g – (12% RDA). Est %age calories from: Fat: 27%, Carbs: 65%, Protein: 9%.  Percent Daily Values based on 2,000 calorie diet.  Individual needs may vary, based on individual diet.

Word to the Wise

March 8, 2011

Tomorrow’s oatmeal may very well be a disaster.  We shall see.

Maple Pecan Sticky Bun Oatmeal

March 7, 2011

It’s hard to find a good sticky bun, I think.  Often I think they’re too sticky, or too sugary sweet, or too gooey or too gross, and not all that good for you.  (A “classic” Cinnabon bun is all of the above, I think.  I’m getting a little sick just thinking about it). A good one is heaven on a plate.  A bad one, and you might as well just eat a Twinkie.

My memories of growing up in Vermont include the smell of fall, the smell of spring, walking through snow that came up over the back of my boots and lodged itself in the arch of my foot, and Maple.  Loads and loads of Maple in all sorts of forms.  Not to go all Bubba from Forest Gump on you, but there was maple syrup, maple sugar candy, hard maple sticks and lollipops, and, of course, Sugar on Snow.  It was a taste that took me a while to love.  As a kid, I found the maple sugar candy way too sweet, (!) and there is a rich thickness to the flavor that really had to grow on me.  But when it did, it stuck.  Now a dollop of maple syrup tastes like home, and you can use it to flavor all manor of things.

The process for making the stuff is something I don’t understand, except that I think God and nature do a lot, but not all of the work.  Vermont got hit with about 2 feet of snow last night, enough to shut some stuff down, which is a Big Deal, and I read a comment on Facebook last night that suggested that it was a good “sugar snow.”

Photo

Three generations work together on one of the last gathers of 2009 sugaring season. Bob Bragg in the driver's seat looks on as one of his eleven grandchildren, Lucia, tips a pail of sap into the strainer. Dan, at the edge of the photo, heads into the woods for more. Note the fashionable splash of pink on the tractor seat.

My preference now is the dark, thick, Grade B, but if you are a Fancypants, well, you can go with the Grade A Fancy.  It’s right there in the name.

But anyway, I digress.

Kathy’s Oatmeal has broken me.  “What else can I do with it?” We all brainstormed, carrot cake, cheesecake (really, Nahm?  Seriously?  That’s going to take some thought…), and Charlie hit on Sticky Bun.   So here you go.  Maple Pecan Sticky Bun Oatmeal.  Makes me feel the snow creeping down the back of my boot.

As always, all recipes build off the basic recipe at Healthy Slow Cooking, and, as always, if you haven’t been there, go. Now. I mean it.

The Night Before

Spray a 4 quart crockpot with cooking spray and put in:

  • 1 C Steel Cut Oats
  • 4 C So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk
  • 1 T Cinnamon
  • 1 C raisins or Zante Currants

To make the morning easier, make your topping and put it in the fridge.  The topping is:

  • 1 T chopped pecans stirred into
  • 1/4 c of Maple Syrup (Real Maple Syrup.  Not that Aunt Jemima Crap. Oh my gosh, I mean this so much I can’t tell you. You can order it online if you want from the good folks at Bragg Farm and make one of my Mom’s former students happy. It may look a little spendy, but it will last you a long long time.  It may even last you so long that it gets mold on the top.   If that happens, just skim the mold off, reboil, and refrigerate.  There.  Your daily dose of grodyness).

Cook on low over night, go to sleep, and dream of oatmeal.  Wake up.

Put the oatmeal in 4 bowls, and top each with a quarter of the Maple Pecan Topping.  Eat.  Die Happy.

Nutrition Info: Calories – 393, Calories from Fat – 74.4, Total Fat – 8.27  g (12% RDA), Saturated Fat – 5.23 (25% RDA), Cholesterol – 0, Sodium – 21.75 mg, Total Carbohydrate – 71.95 g (23% RDA), Dietary Fiber 6.5 g – (25% RDA), Sugars 41.31 g, Protein 6.21 g – (12% RDA). Est %age calories from: Fat: 34%, Carbs: 59%, Protein: 8%.  Percent Daily Values based on 2,000 calorie diet.  Individual needs may vary, based on individual diet.

Scratching my Brain – and a Plug.

March 6, 2011

There is this little part of my brain where the creativity lives. It is very tiny. But every once in a while, something scratches it and BAMMO! let the ideas roll.

I follow some blogs, through a blog reader. One I like a lot is Herbivoracious because I try to cook vegetarian with some regularity, and his pictures are purty, and if you haven’t seen it you should click on that link and roll around for a while.  He has a facebook page, which I follow, and the other day he asked for links to other Vegetarian blogs, and I found Healthy Slow Cooking.

Healthy Slow Cooking is a vegan blog centered on using a slow cooker.  Since I currently have only a refrigerator and sink (and no walls) in my kitchen, I have decided, after a week using the roaster and the grill, to put everything away except the crock pot.

And in one of those wonderful moments resulting in what Rob Brezny calls pronoia (the sneaking suspicion that the universe is conspiring in your favor) I got to Healthy Slow Cooking just in time for Oatmeal Week.  You should really go over to Healthy Slow Cooking right now, before you do another thing, before you read another word, and tiptoe through the creative plethora of oatmeal recipes over there.  Really.  Now.  Go.  I’ll wait.

Back? Wow! Right?  My brain has been CRANKING since I saw that with all the incredible possibilities of oatmealy goodness.  So I sent her a message this morning, asking if she minded if I linked to her blog and stole her basic recipe, and played with it, and she very graciously said yes.

I LOVE oatmeal, but have had bad luck with it in the slow cooker in the past, and have learned some things.  1: Do not use rolled oats.  I have heard that you can slow cook them, but this has not been my experience.  They either burn or come out as unappealing yick.  2: Don’t use a slow cooker that is bigger than 4 quart, and if you halve this recipe, I would use a 1 – 1 1/2 quart, as Kathy recommends.   Too much space, and I think that may contribute to the burn.

Without further ado, I give you Chocolate Raspberry Brownie Oatmeal, with credit to Kathy at HSC.

Chocolate Raspberry Brownie Oatmeal

The Basic Oatmeal Recipe (Doubled, because I have 4 people to feed)

  • 1 cup of steel cut oats (I use McCann’s Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal)
  • 4 cups of liquid (Most of Kathy’s use So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk.  You could use water, but at 50 calories a cup, why on earth would you?)
  • 2-4 Tablespoons of sweetener (Like Kathy, I prefer agave nectar.  Adjust based on the level of sweetness you like)

What I Added To the ingredient List to achieve Chocolate Raspberry Goodness

  • 2 Tablespoons of Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Cup of Frozen Raspberries
  • 1 Square of Ghiradelli 100% Cacao Unsweetened Dark Chocolate
  • 1 Tbsp of chopped walnuts

What you do

  1. The night before you decide you want to eat this, spray the inside of a smallish slow cooker with cooking spray. I used a 4 quart, but a little smaller would be okay.  Bigger might be a mess.  I cannot overstate how easy this step makes clean up.  The oatmeal just pulled away from the sides in a skin.
  2. Put the oatmeal, the coconut milk, the cocoa and the raspberries in the crockpot and turn it on low.
  3. Go to bed.  Try to sleep with visions of breakfast dancing in your head.
  4. Wake up about 8 hours later.  Immediately remember that you have an oatmeal treat waiting for you in your kitchen with a refrigerator, a sink, and no walls.  (Also electrical outlets, thank heaven).
  5. Stir in the agave nectar.  I used 2 Tablespoons, and it was just sweet enough, but not as sweet as a decadent brownie.  I would note that the raspberries added a sweetness all their own, so more agave may have made it sicky sweet.  I would leave it at two, and then let your individual people add additional sweetener as they like.  Stir the oatmeal thoroughly.  It will be liquidy on the top and a bit dryish around the edges.  Mix it up good.
  6. Put a fourth of it in a bowl.  Sprinkle with chocolate and walnuts.
  7. Eat.
  8. Turn heat down to “Keep Warm” so it will be ready if the teenagers ever wake up.

Nutrition Info: Calories – 284, Calories from Fat – 89.4, Total Fat – 9.93  g (15% RDA), Saturated Fat – 6.26 (31% RDA), Cholesterol – 0, Sodium – 15.03 mg, Total Carbohydrate – 42.13 g (14% RDA), Dietary Fiber 6.69 g – (26% RDA), Sugars 9.79 g, Protein 6.15 g – (12% RDA). Est %age calories from: Fat: 34%, Carbs: 59%, Protein: 8%.  Percent Daily Values based on 2,000 calorie diet.  Individual needs may vary, based on individual diet.

Update from the Kitchen

March 6, 2011

We have torn the whole kitchen to bits (well, the great guys with Greenhaus Consulting have) and it is grodier than EVER.

Right now I have a sink, and a refrigerator. No Walls. No stove. No oven.

Will post pics after I recharge my phone, but stay tuned to see how I am getting this family fed.