So I’ve always really loved my slow cooker. Always. But now, I really, really, really love my slow cooker. Without it, we would be eating cereal, ice cream, and peppermint patties for dinner. Which was ok while I was pregnant (I DID throw in some prenatal vitamins, ok?) but not so much anymore. At some point, I’d like not to LOOK pregnant anymore.
This dish is a 7AM, pre-work, post-feeding baby creation. As in, what do we already have that I can throw in the slow cooker, get dressed, get baby ready, go to work, come home, feed baby, and then feed Husband and me? This, is turns out.
- 2 breasts chicken, diced
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 jalapeno, partially de-seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 can diced tomatoes (I liked using the ones with a bit of diced chili pepper)
- splash chicken stock
- about a teaspoon salt
- about a teaspoon pepper
- handful cumin
- about a teaspoon turmeric
- about 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- to serve:
- couscous, cilantro, sour cream/Greek yogurt
- Dump everything in the crockpot. That’s right. No pre-seasong, no pre-searing, just straight into the crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. Serve over couscous (takes less than 2 minutes to cook! amazing!).
I was surprised by how delicious this was, given the haphazard way it came together. Hence, why I’m sharing it here with you. Huge bonus: it makes enough so that you don’t have to worry about dinner the following night.
It does make me wonder, though – what do normal, non-cereal eating working-outside-of-the-house people make for dinner!? Please (please) enlighten me.
A few weeks ago our dishwasher stopped working. This was not a big surprise; the appliances in our kitchen are all from the late 1970s, early 1980s if you’re feeling generous. The joys of renting an apartment is that you can know nothing about dishwashers, and yet, they still somehow magically get fixed.
Except in this case, we now have a new fridge and a new stove, but our dishwasher is still sad and broken. On the bright side, when we cleaned out the fridge, we also tackled the cabinets. I found a bag of red lentils my mom bought when the baby was first born. I also found a green curry paste that went bad in May 2013. Do lentils + curry = dinner? Though the can of paste went in the garbage, we dined on this delicious concoction last night.
Red Lentil Coconut Basil Curry
- coconut oil
- 1 onion, sliced thinly
- 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
- about 1 teaspoon grated ginger (I keep mine in the freezer for just this occasion)
- big handful curry powder
- about a teaspoon cumin
- about half a teaspoon cinnamon
- about a teaspoon salt
- just a sprinkle of red crushed peppers
- half a teaspoon turmeric
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 1 cup red lentils
- about 4-5 leaves basil
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- a big handful baby spinach
- juice from half a lime
- to serve: naan or rice, Greek yogurt, green onions
- In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil over a medium heat and add onions. Saute about 4-5 minutes, and add garlic and ginger. Cook until everything is nice and soft.
- Add all of the spices (curry powder, cinnamon, salt, turmeric, cumin, crushed red peppers) and the jalapeno and give everything a good toss through. (Don’t be afraid to add a little more coconut oil to keep the spices from sticking to the pan.)
- Add the lentils, coconut milk, stock and basil. Turn the heat down and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the spinach and fold in gently, letting it wilt. Add lime juice and adjust seasoning to taste.
- Serve with rice or naan, and a dollop of Greek yogurt. Top with a bit of green onion for a nice finish.
The answer to the question above is a resounding yes. This is so, so good. Even better, it’s healthy (I think). Best of all, this cooks itself in about 25 minutes, total. That includes the time to cut your veggies and mince your garlic. Yes.
While I grant that it’s totally odd to be eating heavy slow cooker dishes when the temperature outside is approaching 100 degrees F and every time we step outside I melt into a small puddle that incidentally seems to attract all the mosquitoes in the DMV area, the slow cooker seems to be one of the few ways I actually get dinner to the table these days. Just another reason for my love affair with the crock pot: dinner can basically be done by the time baby goes down for and then wakes up from his first nap. And I can spend the rest of the day feeling like at least I accomplished one thing.
Slow Cooked Coconut Curry Chicken
- 2 pounds bone-in chicken breasts, skin removed
- salt and pepper
- coconut oil
- 2 cans coconut milk
- a big heap fresh basil
- a big handful yellow curry powder
- a handful chili powder
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- a big squeeze chili paste or 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch or flour
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated or minced
- to serve:
- cooked rice or barley
- more basil
- sour cream or Greek yogurt
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add a little bit of coconut oil.
- Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Add them to the pan (don’t overcrowd the pan!) and get a nice brown sear on each side. Remove to a plate while you assemble the slow cooker ingredients.
- In the slow cooker, combine coconut milk, basil, about 2 teaspoons salt and a teaspoon pepper, curry powder, and chili powder. Stir to combine and then add the red onions, garlic, and chili paste/jalapeno. Place the seared chicken on top.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours and then remove the chicken; let it cool for a few minutes so you can shred it.
- As chicken cools, add the ginger to the slow cooker. Combine a little bit of cornstarch or flour with about a tablespoon cold water and give it a quick stir – add this to the slow cooker to help thicken the sauce a bit.
- Shred the chicken, removing the bones, and then return it to the crock pot. Cook on low for another ten minutes or so.
- Serve on rice (we used barley – oh so good), topped with cilantro.
Of all the dishes in slow cooker land, this is the one I’ve heard the most rave reviews from my husband about. In fact, I was pretty sure I shouldn’t be posting this recipe, with the 100 degree heat and all, but then Husband asked: “but what if you forget how you made it?!” I won’t, because I basically just adapted to our taste from this fabulous lady, but your wish is my command, honey.
Just a few weeks ago, I wrote about the epic bridal shower my mom threw for one of her BFF’s daughters. She made lobster paella and smoked salmon canapes. We drank champagne and rose. I left home feeling happy, full, and totally in awe.
So, it was sort of a hubris-filled idea to host a bridal shower for one of my BFFs this past weekend. You will note from the picture below what was not on the menu: lobster paella or smoked salmon canapes. (Obvi on the champagne and rose, though).
For everyone’s benefit (and so that I’d actually have something to feed 15 people), I stuck to some tried and true standards. These are truly the go-tos in our house: I realized as I was posting this that every single item is something I’ve already posted about here. Which tells you I’m either really uncreative, or just totally confident in these recipes. Probably both.
(I think) it turned out beautifully. And most important, my friend Sasha seemed really touched.
I hope everyone went home happy and full. Unfortunately, I was already home, which means I was also in charge of cleaning up.
Good thing I had lots of leftover champagne and rose. And basil vodka lemonade. (Main idea: create a basil-infused simple syrup by boiling 1 part water, 1 part sugar and 1 big handful basil. Add to lemonade, another handful basil and a big old splash of vodka. Start showering/TPing the bride/asking the embarrassing “how well do you know your future spouse” questions.)
There’s nothing I don’t love about Mexican food.
Onions? Check. Cilantro? Check. Heat? Check. Crispy, fried corn chips? Check. Melted, delicious dairy? Yes, please. Something you can make with veggies or with meat, so Husband doesn’t complain about wasting away? YUP.
Because we tend to have Mexican food fairly often, I keep a lookout for interesting twists. This quick-pickling innovation, from Cooking Light, really is as good (and as quick) as it sounds. Reduce the amount of jalapeño if heat isn’t your thing. But seriously, make these.
Ground Turkey Tostadas with Pickled Onions and Jalapeño
- 1 thinly sliced red onion, divided
- 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 small jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced
- olive oil
- 1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- large handful chili powder
- about half handful ground cumin
- 2-3 cloves minced garlic
- small handful smoked paprika
- small handful garlic salt
- handful pepper
- handful crushed red peppers
- corn tostadas
- to serve:
- sour cream, cilantro, cheese, avocado
- Combine 1/2 of your sliced onion, vinegar, water, a little bit of sugar, about 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the jalapeño in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for a minute. Remove from heat and place to the side while you make the rest of your meal.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil and add the other half of the onion, along with bell pepper. Cook down about 5 minutes, and then add ground turkey and garlic. Break the turkey up and add all of the spices. Cook 5-7 minutes, or until browned.
- Drain pickled veggie mixture. Top tostadas evenly with the ground turkey, pickled onions and jalapeños, a bit of sour cream, avocado, cilantro – whatever makes your heart sing.
While lamenting the effectiveness of the tostada as a food delivery system, Husband agrees: we should pickle more vegetables, more often.