Friday, 27 January 2012

I Embraced the Pot Roast

You know....every so often...ok...not so every so often....but on that rare time when the stars are in alignment all your cooking in one day turns out.  For me, that was today.

This past week I have been immersing myself in the "Pioneer Woman's" blog.  It has been amazing!!!  Ree Drummond is speaking my cooking language.  On Tuesday I made her Bruschetta.  It was so amazing my husband pronounced Yummy, and he want's to have it again and again!  (hint...butter and bread and a hot skillet....makes all the difference! shhh)  Then today I embraced the pot roast.

I am like any woman with lots of things to do. I throw a roast in the slow cooker and cross my fingers.  For the most part they are ok...even good.  BUT THIS POT ROAST......amazing.  Ree said to embrace it and I did.  It gave me a great big bear hug back...(ok, I know that was cheesy)

Totally go to her website to receive the step by step, picture by picture explanation to this wondrous meal.  It is so worth the look.  I will highlight a few of the techniques that will leave my poor slowcooker  crying "where are the roasts....they are gone..."(once again...cheesy..I know)

It begins with a hot pan with olive oil in it.  Brown half cut onions and carrots in said skillet. Secondly, season the meat WELL.  A good amount of salt and pepper.  Then sear the meat in the skillet after the vegetables.  Next is the de-glazing.  1 cup of beautiful red wine poured over the browned bits left in the pan from the meat and veggies.  Scrape the pan while the wine bubbles. 

Ok, assembly.  In roaster, put meat, veggies, de-glazing wine, 1 cup of beef broth and some rosemary and thyme.  YYYUUUMMMM!!  Cover.  Here is the key.  It's in the temperature.  275 F.  for about 3 or 4 hrs (depending on size of meat)  Don't peak, just inhale the beautiful aroma that will fill you home.  When done, the meat will literally fall to pieces.  Serve with mashed potatoes.  ***Did you notice there were no potatoes in the recipe... Potatoes taste mealy and kinda not the greatest when done with meat.  I just boiled some tiny spuds and served with.  DYNAMITE BABY!!  My whole family enjoyed the meal  a lot.  My poor brother in law missed out as he had a prior engagement.  But I bet he would have wished he was eating with us!

So I embraced the Pot Roast.....Such a great hug it was!

p.s.  I made some killer boiled chocolate/peanut butter cookies as well.  The stars were working for me. Alas, tomorrow everything may burn...who knows.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Snack Lady

I have started a new venture this week.  I am a snack lady!  Our church is blessed with a thriving children's ministry that reaches out to our small community!  Loving kids by teaching them out the One who loves us!!  My job....feed the kiddos!

Every Tuesday for the rest of this winter and spring "Friends" club happens in our church basement.  60 kids coming straight from the school across the street and they are HUNGRY!   Ladies in our church and community have signed up to make a healthy snack and a sweet treat for each week.  (I'm signed up for Valentines week...heehee. Pink cupcakes....:) My job is to prep what is brought for each week and serve the kids with a smile and a howdy do!  I love it!

This week it was a reminder of how the kitchen works and where everything is and the such.  I was so happy for my friend Amy to be their to help.  THANKS AMY!!!!  We chopped oranges and cut sprinkle covered yummy Rice Krispy Squares!  At 3: 20 the kids started arriving.  They ooohed and aahhhed over their snacks and joined their group leaders.  It was a great start to the year.  :)

I am the SNACK LADY....but I won't wear a hairnet....sorry.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Chili for a Chilly Day

It is -40 C. today in my northern Alberta town.  That is cold ANYWHERE!  The buses aren't running and there in an ice fog that is lingering over the town.  Deep Freeze!  My husband still had to go to work and I hope the hot tea in his thermos cheers him up on this chilly day.

In honor of such a day I decided to make a pot of Chili. But not just any chili, a new revelation in browned meat, tomatoes and beans.....Tuscan Chili.  It is Fantastic!  This recipe goes beyond the regular chili with whack loads of chili powder and kidney beans.  David and I declared this version our favourite yet!  So here it is.  Enjoy with some fluffy biscuits or Naan bread.

P.S. - This recipe is from the Festive 2011 Kraft Magazine, "What's Cooking"  I made a few changes to make it extra special.

1 lb Italian sausage casing removed.
( I added a few strips of bacon cut up and 1/2 a chorizo sausage diced)
1 onion, chopped
1 EACH green and yellow pepper, chopped
1 can (19 ounce) diced tomatoes
I can of tomato paste
1 can (19 ounce) of white kidney beans, drained
*(I used a 19 ounce can of mixed beans)
1/2 tsp of basil
1/2 tsp of oregano
1 1/2 cups of mild cheese - your choice!

1. Crumble sausage into large skillet. Add onions, cook until sausage is done, stirring frequently. Drain. Transfer to SLOW COOKER.

2. Add tomatoes, peppers, and tomato paste; mix well. Stir in beans. Add spices. Cover with lid. Cook 3 1/2 - 4 hrs on LOW, or 2 1/2 - 3 hrs on HIGH.

3. Serve topped with grated cheese. ENJOY.

I know I will on this frosty, Chili - I mean Chilly day.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Comfort in a cup,,,, or bowl.

I am slowly emerging from the fog of a cold and flu.  I haven't had any appetite lately, which has helped the weight loss goal I want to meet this year, but really I didn't want it to happen this way.  Slowly I am looking forward to cooking again.  I've cleaned out the Christmas clutter out of the fridge and pantry ready to start anew.  What to make - Comfort - yep, in a bowl.  A nice pick me up.

Soup has always been a favourite.  I love a variety of soups, from my mom's vegetarian borscht to my sister in law's corn chowder, served with Na an bread. Yummy French Onion soup made in my new chowder bowls my husband got for me for our anniversary makes me smile while remembering that first cheesy stringy bite.  Soooo good.  I've tried my hand at pureed soups ( Cream of Broccoli), Taco soups with tortillas in it, and a full meal deal in a Garden Minestrone.   Wouldn't you laugh though, my boys favourite soup is Cream o Mushroom a la' Campbell's.  They slurp that up like no one's business.  I make my homemade soups and they look at me like "You expect me to eat that?"  Oh well, one day I may win them over.

I really enjoy making my own chicken broth with left over Sunday chicken.  So easy to make.  I wonder why more people don't make their own broth.  It uses the whole bird , smells wonderful, and tastes way better than any store bought variety.  I love smelling the earthy thyme, spicy pepper and the chickeny chicken.  Julia Child always said that chicken should taste chickeny.  I agree. I've discovered the holy trinity of carrots, onions, and celery  (aka Mirapoit) flavor the broth amazingly.  So simple in ingredients.  Add chicken, more carrots, onion and celery and spaghetti noodles and you have a bowl your grandma would be proud to call her own.   Just smelling it makes me feel better.   That is how I feel about a bowl of homemade chicken soup - comfort and restoration in a bowl.  

I think its "thyme" to make a pot.......:)