Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Oreo Cheesecake - #29daysseducedbybruce - day 17 of 29 BONUS

I really believe anything can be made in and by Bruce.  I love this man.  Er, ummm, machine.

Couple notes, the recipe doesn't tell you, but put a layer of paper towels down under the lid.  It'll trap the condensation and keep it from dripping back down on your cheesecake.  I put this in an 8" round cake pan and it was absolutely the perfect size.  It fit nicely in my large oval crockpot, and held all the ingredients. I actually had prepared two cake pans to make two because I thought it would be too much for the small cake pan, but it ended up all fitting in nicely.  2 to 2 hours and 15 minutes on high seems to be the magic number.  This was a tasty treat for the fam and the work wife.

Crockpot Cheesecake with Oreo Cookie Crust

3- 8 oz packages cream cheese softened 
3/4 cup granulated sugar 
1 tsp vanilla 
2 eggs 
5 tbsp butter (melted) 
2 cups Oreo cookies crushed 
Crisco, coconut oil, or nonstick spray 

Notes / Directions
1. Prepare bowl/pie plate by greasing liberally with Crisco, coconut oil, or nonstick spray.

2. Crush oreos in blender or food processor.

3. Combine melted butter and cookies together til well mixed.

4. Press cookie crumbs into the bottom of greased bowl.

5. Combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand or hand mixer until smooth, creamy, and fluffy.

6. Add eggs one at a time to mix well.

7. Spread filling over crust.

8. Place container in slow cooker, add water carefully up to ½” under the rim of bowl.

9. Replace lid.

10. Cook on high for 2 hours, or until top is firm, and toothpick or knife inserted in center comes out clean.

11. Allow to cool for 30 minutes.

12. Place in refrigerator to set for an hour or more.

OMFG Barbacoa Tacos - #29daysseducedbybruce - day 17 of 29

I don't think I've ever been phatter, phuller, or happier than I am at this very second.  I want to take my clothes off and roll around naked in this meal.  There may never be a reason to leave the house again.   The only disappointment in this meal is my (Mexican) children complaining about the spiciness.  My abuela is rolling over in her grave at the humiliation of these whimps.

Do NOT change anything about this recipe, do not pass go, do not collect $200.  

Barbacoa-Style Beef Tacos

- 3-4 lb Beef Chuck Roast 
1 can Chipotles in Adobo Sauce, Chopped 
5 Cloves Garlic, Chopped 
1 tbsp Ground Cumin 
3 tsp Oregano 
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves 
1/2 Cup Beef Broth 
1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar 
1/4 Cup (fresh) Lime Juice 
3 Bay Leaves 
Flour/Corn Tortillas 
Sour Cream 
Black beans 

Notes / Directions
For Serving: (optional)
- Flour/Corn Tortillas
- Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Salsa
- Guacamole
- Rice
- Black Beans

Cut the Roast into approximately six to eight large chunks. Season well with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat oil in a large skillet and sear the beef chunks (in batches if necessary) on all sides until browned. Transfer seared meat to slow cooker. 

In a medium bowl combine chopped chipotles, garlic, cumin, oregano, cloves, beef broth, vinegar, lime juice, and additional salt and pepper (to taste). Mix well, then pour over beef in the slow cooker and add bay leaves. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, until meat shreds easily. 

Remove bay leaves. Remove and shred beef. Return beef to slow cooker to marinate at least 10 more minutes, or until ready to serve. Great on nachos, tacos, and burritos!

Sweet and Sour Chicken - #29daysseducedbybruce - Day 16 of 29

Every once in a while I'll make something so good I want to slap my momma.  Every once in a while I'll cook something that Adrian will eat without acting like I'm pouring battery acid in his eyes.  This dish was both of those things.  Adrian declared it "one of my best"...and that, folks, is all you need to know.  For a kid who can't stand anything, this was his everything.  

It's not a traditional sweet and sour chicken like you would find in a Chinese restaurant, in that the chicken is not breaded and fried.  Otherwise, all the flavors are there without the odd colored red syrupy sauce.  It certainly had the flavor of a traditional sweet and sour sauce, just not the bright red unnatural color.  The ONLY thing I would have changed about this was maybe not put the carrots in at the beginning and letting them cook all day.  They came out a nice lovely soft, but I think I would have preferred a little more crunch to my carrot.  As a bonus, I used up the remaining egg rolls that we hand rolled a couple weeks ago.  They were amazing.  

Let me know if you try it, folks.  

Slow-Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken

Makes: 8 servings

1 can (20 ounces) pineapple chunks in juice
1 cup baby-cut carrots, cut in half
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger root
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
Hot cooked rice or chow mein noodles, if desired

Notes / Directions
1. Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Place pineapple chunks in small bowl; cover and refrigerate.

2. Place carrots, onion, garlic and ginger root in 4 1/2- to 6-quart slow cooker. Top with chicken. Mix soy sauce, brown sugar and reserved pineapple juice; pour over chicken.

3. Cover and cook on low heat setting 7 to 9 hours or until juice of chicken is no longer pink.

4. During last 30 minutes, add pineapple and bell peppers. Increase to high heat setting. Mix cornstarch and water; stir into chicken mixture during last 10 minutes of cooking. Serve with rice.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Beef Teryaki - #29daysseducedbybruce - Day 15 of 29

Today was an exhausting holiday.  I did a ton of cooking in the morning, literally about six hours, of prepping breakfasts and lunches for the week, as well as making dinner for tonight.  Tonight's dinner, however, couldn't have been simpler or more tasty.  It's always a good sign when Nathan asks for seconds before everyone else has even started.

Other than mixing the sauce for this recipe, there was really no work.  This was one of those dump, stir, and cook meals.  Adding the bag of thawed frozen veg at the end for the final step really couldn't have been simpler.  Let me know if you try it.

Slow-Cooker Teriyaki Beef and Vegetables

Makes: 6 servings

1 1/2 lb beef round steak, trimmed of fat, cut into thin bite-size strips
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry or apple juice
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 can (8 oz) sliced water chestnuts, drained
1/4 cup water
1 bag (1 lb) frozen broccoli, carrots & cauliflower, thawed*
1 1/2 cups uncooked regular long-grain white rice
3 cups water

Notes / Directions

1. In 4- to 5-quart slow cooker, mix steak and 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch until evenly coated. Gently stir in soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, ginger and garlic. Top with water chestnuts.

2. Cover; cook on Low heat setting about 6 hours.

3. About 30 minutes before serving, in small bowl, blend 1/4 cup water and remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch until smooth. Stir into beef mixture. Stir in thawed vegetables.

4. Increase heat setting to High; cover and cook 25 to 30 minutes longer or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Meanwhile, cook rice in 3 cups water as directed on package. Serve beef mixture over rice.

Meat Loaf and Mashed Taters - #29daysseducedbybruce - Day 14 of 29

I was not to be swayed by Valentine's day to not cook in my crock pot.  Not even with the tempting offer of Steak and Hashbrowns at Waffle House (by reservation). 

First off, in the morning, we hosted a breakfast party for approximately 30 of our friends and neighbors to cheer on the Austin Marathoners.  I prepped most of the food in house, on the stove, but busted out every single one of my five crock pots to keep everything warm outside as we cheered.  I really really really wish I had gotten a picture of everyone working together in harmony.  

After getting everyone cleaned up an put away, I put Bruce and Barbara to work making Valentines dinner.  Bruce readied the meat loaf while Babs prepared the mashed potatoes.  

The meatloaf was the best.  I can't think of a single bad thing to say about the meatloaf.  It turned out really well.  Note the foil lining the crock pot with the meat loaf on top.  This is ESSENTIAL, so that you can lift the meat loaf out when it's done cooking.  

The potatoes were awful.  I don't know what happened to them.  Perhaps they weren't cooked well enough?  I've always been really hit or miss with potatoes in a crock pot and not sure what I'm doing wrong with them.  I tried to mash these with a standard hand masher when they were "done" (according to the recipe instructions), but they were still hardish.  I then put them in my Kitchenaide mixer to try and "mash" them, and potatoes kept flying out everywhere.  It was a real mess.  I need to work on these a bit more.  I'll try it again before I give up on them completely.  

If you try either of these, let me know your thoughts.

Classic Slow-Cooker Meatloaf

Makes: 6 servings

1 1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried sage leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, finely chopped, or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg
3 slices bread, torn into small pieces
1 small onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
1/2 cup ketchup

Notes / Directions
1. Line 4 1/2- to 5-quart slow cooker with foil. Spray foil with cooking spray.

2. In large bowl, mix all ingredients except ketchup. Shape mixture into loaf, and place in center of slow cooker. Spread ketchup over top.

3. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 6 to 7 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours or until meat thermometer inserted in center of loaf reads 160°F. Remove meatloaf from slow cooker to serving platter. Cut into pieces to serve.

 Easy Slow-Cooker Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Makes: 14 servings
Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
4 hrs 30 mins

3 lb small red potatoes
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chives-and-onion cream cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk

Notes / Directions
1. Halve or quarter potatoes as necessary to make similar-sized pieces. Place in 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add garlic, oil, salt and water; mix well to coat all potato pieces.

2. Cover; cook on High setting 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours or until potatoes are tender.

3. With fork or potato masher, mash potatoes and garlic. Stir in cream cheese until well blended. Stir in enough milk for soft serving consistency. Serve immediately, or cover and hold in slow cooker on Low setting up to 2 hours.

4. Halve or quarter potatoes as necessary to make similar-sized pieces. Place in 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add garlic, oil, salt and water; mix well to coat all potato pieces.

5. Cover; cook on High setting 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours or until potatoes are tender.

6. With fork or potato masher, mash potatoes and garlic. Stir in cream cheese until well blended. Stir in enough milk for soft serving consistency. Serve immediately, or cover and hold in slow cooker on Low setting up to 2 hours.

Split Pea Soup - #29daysseducedbybruce - Day 12 of 29

Our house is a house divided when it comes to soup.  I was raised on soup, all kinds of soup, and love almost every type of soup you can throw at me.  Jed's love of soup is limited to, basically, chili.  And he loathes Split Pea Soup...which is why I made a big ol' batch of it, knowing there'd be extra for me. 

Walt has been experimenting with his own crock pot lately and has, in the last month, told me twice that he's made some banging Split Pea Soup.  I had a left over ham bone from New Year's Eve in the freezer, just waiting for an opportunity to make some soup.  So I modified Walt's recipe a bit to make dinner on Saturday.  

Nathan loved it.  Downed his first bowl and asked for a second.  Jed was shit talking it before he even tried it.  But I made some toasted sour dough bread to go with it and he sopped that shit up like it was a Baylor girl trying her first fried pickle with a cup of Ranch.  For as much as he "hates split pea soup" he swore it was the sour dough toast that made it so delicious.  

Thank you for the inspiration, Walt.  I did make a couple of minor alterations to your recipe, but most of it stayed the same.  If y'all try it, let me know your thoughts.

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

Makes: 8 servings
Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
7 hrs

7 cups water
1 (16 ounce) package dried split peas, rinsed and sorted (2 1/4 Cups)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 stalks celery, finely chopped (1 Cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup) 
1 Cup Chopped Carrots
1 Cup Cubed Potato
1 Bay leaf
1 ham bone or 2 lbs ham shanks or 2 lbs smoked pork hocks

Notes / Directions

1. Mix all ingredients except ham in 5 qt slow cooker, then add ham.

2. Cover and cook on low heat 8 to 10 hrs or on high heat 6 to 7 hours until peas are tender Remove ham from cooker; place on cutting board.

3. Pull meat from bones, using 2 forks; discard bones and skin.

4. Stir ham into soup.

5. Stir well before serving.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Bacon Cheeseburger Soup - #29daysseducedbybruce - Day 11 of 29

Nothing beats a blustery winter day like a piping hot bowl of soup.  This soup was good, a bit starchy for me, but it was tasty in a pinch.  It's kind of like a trashcan soup, where you take a bunch of stuff you have laying around your fridge, dump it in the crock pot, heat it all up, and call it a day.  Easy breezy. The only thing that may have made this better was maybe putting it in a bread bowl?  I don't know.  I just feel a little empty when I haven't chewed something with a meal.  Like, I could never just exist on a smoothie.  I need to masticate.  

Let me know your thoughts if you try it.  

Bacon Cheeseburger Soup
1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained of fat
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 (32 oz.) container chicken broth
4 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup carrot, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, seeds removed, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili powder, optional
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
bacon, crumbled optional
Notes / Directions
Place ground beef, tomatoes, potatoes, carrot, bell pepper, onion, celery and garlic in your slow cooker and pour chicken stock over the top.

Season with chili powder, salt and pepper, then stir everything together. Cover slow cooker, turn on HIGH and cook for 3-4 hours, or until vegetables are softened.

Stir flour into heavy cream until no chunks remain, then pour mixture, along with cheddar cheese, into slow cooker.

Stir to combine, then cover and cook for another 20-30 minutes, then ladle into soup bowls, top with cheese and crumbled bacon, if using, and serve hot!