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
about a teaspoon turmeric
about 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
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.
On March 7, the Capital Weather Gang – the coolest (ha!) gang around – declared winter in DC to be officially over.
The CWG is a really big deal around here. Like when they say tomorrow is a Four Domes day (– that’s four Capitol domes to you, non-DC native) – you KNOW you’re sleeping in late tomorrow, and at the very best, you’ll be “teleworking.” Hello, federal government.
So when they said winter was over, and spring was here, and that there’d be no more snow, and that only sunshine and puppies and rainbows were ahead, we BELIEVED them. The whole CITY believed them. There were discounts at coffee shops and consignment stores to celebrate the arrival of spring.
In other words, I live in Washington, DC, ok? I shouldn’t be waddling to work in my down coat on April 13th. CWG, next time, knock on wood when you make declarative statements like “pronouncing winter over now is really, really safe.”
The only saving grace is that it’s totally acceptable to make really heavy, spicy, ridiculously easy winter curries in our crock pot.
Slow Cooked Chicken Coconut Curry
1-2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into cubes
2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 can coconut milk (light is fine)
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons sambal oelek
1 big handful curry powder
pinch red pepper flakes
a big pinch salt
1 big pinch pepper
1 red bell pepper, chopped
optional – chopped jalapeno (*note – between the sambal oelek and the red pepper flakes, this dish is one hot wollop of a dish)
2-3 tablespoons cornstarch
cooked basmati rice
Put all ingredients from chicken through black pepper in the crock pot and give it a good stir. Cover and cook on low for four hours.
At the four hour mark, add the bell pepper and cook for about 20 minutes. Add a bit of cornstarch to thicken up the mixture and cook another 10 minutes or so (don’t let your bell peppers get soggy).
Serve with rice and your desired toppings. Keep some milk/water nearby because it will light your mouth on fire (in a good way).
Plentiful, spicy-ful, ridiculously easy, and definitely good for making you think about warmer climates, where there are no down coats and no domes looming in your future.
I am loving this week of the root vegetable. Dinner is done in 20 minutes, everything is (fairly) healthy, and the earthiness of the veggies can sometimes stop me from wishing it were spring.
And then here comes morning, and I actually have to blow dry my hair, so it doesn’t freeze (literally) on my walk to work, and I put on my fleece jacket underneath my long down coat, and then my hat and mittens and boots, and even root vegetables can’t save me. Oh, spring. You’re going to be glorious.
Roasted Root Vegetable Tart
one or two cups roasted root vegetables (parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, fennel, onions, yum)
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed (don’t let it get too sticky!)
pinch flour, for rolling out the dough
1 cup mushrooms
1 cup spinach
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
2-3 oz crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup cream cheese
salt + pepper
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, gently roll out the puff pastry dough so you have a larger surface area. Put on a large baking sheet, score all the way around (about an inch from the edge), and lightly prick the dough with a fork (to let air escape while it bakes). Place in the oven and bake about 7-8 minutes, until lightly golden.
While the puff pastry bakes, gently combine the three cheeses in a small bowl. No need to over work it.
Pull the puff pastry out and lightly spread the cheese all over. Top with vegetables – root veggies, mushrooms and a little bit of spinach. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about 10 minutes.
You’re dominating winter.
So easy, so quick & it even looks pretty! Fact: puff pastry is a gift to dinner.
It is either a mark of supreme laziness or supreme awesomeness that with one 35 minute rotation through my oven last night, we now have the basis for a week’s worth of meals sitting pretty in our refrigerator.
Given that I was able to spend Sunday brunching with the Hubs, imbibing with our friends, and snoozing/alternately chowing down on cheese through the Oscars, I think we can all agree that supreme awesomeness is more likely. Bonus: our grocery bill was kind to us this week, too.
Roasted Vegetable & Goat Cheese Salad
assorted root vegetables, peeled & diced. Note: you can use any variety you like (obviously). This is what we roasted here at home:
1 sweet potato
3 pounds or so butternut squash
1 bulb fennel (quartered, not diced)
1 red onion (quartered, not diced)
1 bag baby spinach
crumbled goat cheese
homemade dressing (or any dressing you like)
optional: nuts, prosciutto, etc.
(Do we even need directions?)
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Peel, dice and appropriately chop your vegetables and scatter in large baking dishes. Toss in olive oil, salt and pepper; feel free to use your favorite spices, as well. Roast for about 35 minutes.
As the veggies come out of the oven, assemble your salad – the warmth of the vegetables will slightly melt the goat cheese, creating a delicious creaminess, and lightly wilt the spinach. Spoon a little dressing over the salad and serve immediately. Preferably with some cheese + charcuterie.
The Husband was highly skeptical of a “salad” for dinner. I sweetened the deal with an accompanying cheese board, and we both went to bed with full & happy stomaches. I just wish that bedtime had happened a little earlier…too much Oscars!
Last week, I had epic plans to make Ottolenghi’s Very Full Tart.
Which I did, sort of. There were (obviously, because why can’t I just follow a recipe, why why why) some tweaks. (I guess because when recipes call for things like zucchini, which I hate, you know there have to be some adjustments…& one adjustment, leads to another, and another…)
Very Veggie Not-Quite-Tart
1 red or yellow bell pepper
salt & pepper
1 smallish eggplant, diced
1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 large onion, thinly sliced (or 2 medium onions)
2-3 dried bay leaves
about 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
leaves from about 10 fresh thyme sprigs
1/3 cup ricotta (full fat works best)
about 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
a handful cherry tomatoes, halved
about a cup heavy cream or milk
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Remove the stem and seeds from the bell pepper, place in ovenproof dish, drizzle a bit of olive oil over it and stick in the oven.
Toss the diced eggplant with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little bit of crushed reds on a large baking dish; stick in the oven for about 10-12 minutes.
Add the sweet potato to the eggplant pan and roast another 20 minutes. In a large saute pan, heat some olive oil and saute the onions with bay leaves and a pinch of salt for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove all the vegetables (including the pepper) from the oven. Reduce the temperature to about 325 degrees F. Cover the pepper with foil and let cool. When cool enough to handle, peel and chop into smaller slices.
Grease the bottom of a pie or tart pan. Spread out the panko bread crumbs on the bottom and halfway up the sides.
Scatter the onion over the panko, cover with roasted vegetables (eggplant, sweet potato, bell pepper), and top with about half the thyme leaves. Dot the veggies with both types of cheeses. Scatter the halved tomatoes about the top.
Whisk the eggs and cream in a small bowl with salt, pepper and some crushed red peppers. Carefully pour the mix over the veggies and top with the remaining thyme leaves.
Bake the tart for about 40 minutes or until the filling sets. Admire your handiwork and serve with a small salad, (topped with any roasted vegetables that didn’t fit into your tart).
This came out deliciously, and was great for a number of tasty, subsequent lunches. However, it won’t become a staple around here anytime soon, given that it took 2+ hours to make. This is more of a snow day kind of meal. Which, speaking of, where IS my snow day?!