Category Archives: Slow Cooker

Spicy Lentil Spinach Soup

slssMust be getting cold out! The soup recipes have been quite popular on the old blog! Here’s a new one for you. It’s very low in fat, contains good sources of iron and fiber, and, it’s quite tasty!

Spicy Lentil Spinach Soup
1 can or one cup prepared lentils
2 cups frozen spinach or three cups fresh spinach
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
2 or more cloves of garlic, crushed
4 cups of water
Olive oil

1. Saute both types of the onion, celery, and carrots in the olive oil until the carrots start getting a little soft.
2. Add in the spinach, lentils, and spices and stir until combined
3. Pour in the water. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or more.
4. Eat.

This was very good soup, and note that it wasn’t blended. I actually took soup with chunks to work, ate it at my desk, and wore none of it. I was very proud of. I’m so proud that I will tempt fate and try it again tomorrow.

Note the lack of meat in this soup. Completely vegan. It was quite hearty and filling and I didn’t feel sluggish at 3:00 as I am prone to when I have heavier lunches.

This is not a lovely soup. As you may know, I don’t excel at food photography. Lack of true effort often has that effect. But it’s really hard to get a pretty picture of a not so pretty soup. Trust me when I say, what this soup lacks in beauty, it makes up for in really good flavor and excellent ease. You will not be sad you tried it.



FIRST Fish Stew

ffsDoes this happen in your house?

“What would you like to take for lunch next week?”

[deafening silence while the wheels in the little 13 year old brain of My Faithful Assistant churn…]

“I KNOW! Let’s make something that has ingredients that spell out FIRST!”

Oh. Yay.

The boy knows his mom and I do love a culinary challenge. So here is our FIRST week of school FIRST Fish Stew.

FIRST Fish Stew
2 lbs fish of choice (F)
1 lb Idaho potatoes – chopped and roasted (I)
1 red pepper, chopped (R)
1 bunch of scallions, chopped with at least an inch of the green part (S)
1 tsp Tumeric (T)
1 can coconut milk

1. Chop the fish and combine with the roasted potatoes, scallions, tumeric, and coconut milk in a large skillet. Cook until fish is done. It took mine about 20 minutes because I cut the fillets  into smaller chunks to fit in a thermos.
2. When the fish is done, add the chopped red pepper and simmer for another 10 minutes. The peppers will still be slightly crisp.
3. Serve!

This was a really delightful stew, if I do say so myself. The coconut milk made it very aromatic. It was filling but not too filling. In my opinion, it is a perfect lunch food. Lots of protein and veggies. Good stuff! Of course, when it came time to actually make lunch, My Faithful Assistant decided for his old favorite, Practically Instant, Homemade Potato Soup. Oh well! It was still fun to make the stew!


Slow Cooker Moo Shu Pork “Tacos”

msptThe poor slow cooker, work horse of fall and winter. This gentle, steadfast friend is completely neglected in my home in the summer. This is a tragedy. It requires so little effort. No heating of the house by the oven. No suffering at the grill. No excessive pizza or other carryout. Yesterday, I decided it was time to rekindle my relationship with this pal of mine and make some tasty Moo Shu Pork Tacos!

Moo Shu Pork Tacos
4-6 cups shredded cabbage
1-2 cups shredded carrots
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 can sliced water chestnuts
2 lbs pork tenderloin, chopped into the smallest possible pieces you can manage
1/2 cup Hoisin sauce

1. Combine the veggies and put them in your slow cooker (no smaller than 4 qt) that you have sprayed with cooking spray.
2. Add the chopped pork and the Hoisin sauce.
3. Cook on high for 3 hours.
4. Serve in whole wheat tortillas – I may be taking liberties with the term “tortilla” and for that I apologize. You can top with some extra Hoisin sauce and more shredded carrots.

Even though my kids are far from small, I still hesitate to serve brand new recipes. The feeling of rejection after I’ve worked on coming up with a creative alternative to the usual boring summer food still cuts to the core. And this Asian fusion type of food is not something we would normally eat in my house. We eat a good variety of food, just not combined together. I am happy to report it was a hit, in spite of the reaction to the smell of cabbage cooking.

This would be great with chicken or you can just forego the meat and make Moo Shu veggies.

We’re in for a healthy stretch of hot weather in Central Maryland. I’m happy to have my leftovers of this and I’m excited to find some more summer slow cooker recipes.


Honey Sesame Chicken

hscMany of the best slow cooker recipes require you to cook for just a few hours. This doesn’t usually work for me. I guess if I could prep things on the weekends and have them all set in a ziplock, I’d be golden. My kids could put them on when they got home from school. But that doesn’t usually happen.

With snow days number 8 and 9 this week, I had plenty of time to give one of these short time slow cooker recipes a try. I started with this recipe for Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken from The Kitchen Whisperer. I didn’t have all the ingredients so I modified it a bit and I used chicken thighs, not breasts. My version is below. Click on the link above to see the original recipe.

Honey Sesame Chicken
2 lbs chicken – I used thighs
1/2 cup honey – original called for a full cup but I didn’t have enough
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp grated ginger or 1 tsp ground ginger
4 tbsp ketchup
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tbsp cornstarch
6 tbsp water
Green onions and sesame seeds to garnish

1. Place the chicken in a 5 quart slow cooker that you have sprayed with cooking spray.
2. Combine honey – cayenne (no water, cornstarch or garnishes yet!) and pour over the chicken.
3. Cook on high for 2-3 hours.
4. When done, take the chicken out and leave the sauce in the pan.
5. Combine corn starch and water and make a slurry.
6. Pour that in the slow cooker with the sauce and mix. Cook for another ten minutes on high until it thickens slightly.
7. Chop up your chicken and put it back in the sauce. I also added about two cups of broccoli florets.
8. Serve with rice and garnishes.

This was a huge hit. I knew it would be and I really can’t wait to have it again. I plan to make up some more sauce this weekend and have My Faithful Assistant put it on for me on Wednesday when he gets home from school.

This would be great with beef or pork, too. And it would be fantastic with some crispy vegetables.


Homemade, From Scratch, Shocking Chicken Broth

photo (4)Original post Feb 14, 2013

Here are some comments about this chicken broth from my most severe critics:

“You’re throwing that away!?!?”
“This is amazing!”
After searching for recipes for broth, I came across a few that were quite simple, but contained a stunning step, that, I have to admit, I was not comfortable with at first. But after consulting the wife of a broth expert, I decided I needed to give it a whirl.
Homemade, From Scratch, Shocking Chicken Broth
Leftover roast chicken, or two chicken breasts or some chicken thighs
3-4 cups chopped veggies
1 onion, cut in fourths
water to cover
1 TBSP salt (I used sea salt)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
season as desired. I used 1 tsp of poultry seasoning (parsley, sage, thyme)
1. Raid your produce drawer for all the fresh veggies you have that are nearing their demise. I had cabbage, celery, a leek and some carrots. Grab the onion, too.
2. Put the chicken, veggies, onion, and garlic in a four quart or larger slow cooker.
3. Cover with water.
4. Add spices.
5. Cook on low for 8 hours.
6. Turn off the slow cooker and allow to cool.
7. When cool, place a colander over a stock pot large enough to hold the contents of the slow cooker. Pour everything into the colander. The broth will drain into the stock pot leaving the meat and veggies in the colander.
8. This is the hard part. It may be the most important step in this recipe. Throw everything in the colander away. 
Consider this: your chicken and veggies have been hard at work all day. They have given every last bit of flavor they can muster, sacrificing their life’s essence for the good of your broth. It is time to bid them farewell and retire them to the trash. If I could think of a way for you to repurpose these valiant ingredients, I would, but I can’t. Really. They’re done. Let go and throw them out. Remember, I asked you to grab the veggies that were nearing their demise so you probably would have thrown them out anyway.
You may now use the broth for your favorite soup of mine. (snicker). Check the soup category on the right for ideas. If you refrigerate it overnight before you use it, the fat will rise to the top and you can spoon it off. You can also make this overnight, by putting everything in the slow cooker at bedtime. Pretty nice to wake up to the tantalizing aroma of chicken broth!
If you just want to make veggie broth, omit the chicken. If you want to make something more exotic, play around with the spices by adding ginger, curry, lemon grass, or cumin to make your favorite international flavor.