Beef Short Ribs – Slow Cooker

Who doesn’t love ribs? I mean, aside from Mike, who doesn’t? Anybody else out there as crazy as my man to not like ribs? Lunacy! I’ll tell you though, the reason he doesn’t like ribs is the bone. He’s not a fan of using his fingers to eat – doesn’t want to ruin his manicure… Just kidding, he just doesn’t like messy fingers. I don’t either but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make for the tender, saucy, succulent meaty ribs. And pizza – of which he also uses a fork and knife. So, I thought I’d do something nice for him and hunted down some rib fingers. Basically, the rib meat without the bone. I whisked together some homemade, no-cook bbq sauce and let the crockpot do the work. I put them with some mashed potatoes (also a treat around here) and some garlic green beans. The sauce is misleading, a taste from the pot is overly vinegary and I really wasn’t sure about it. But then I tried the meat and had no doubts. It was perfect. Sprinkled a bit of sauce over my potatoes and had a pretty well-rounded, delicious meal if I do say so myself!

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Homemade Yogurt

I have some serious rants about yogurt. Things that really just get my goat every time I buy it. We like it for breakfast, I use it in cooking and some baking but is it just me or is it outrageously expensive? I could easily spend $30+ a week on yogurt. I want to say that I do this without batting an eye but that’s just not true. There is a lot of eye-batting at the dairy counter. Plenty of blink-blinking going on! Making yogurt this way costs me $7 for 7-10 days worth! Another thing that causes excessive blinking is the ‘nutritional value’. When was the last time you looked at the nutritional information on your favourite yogurt? I’m usually pretty shocked by the amount of sugar and fat in one of those itty bitty containers. Itty. Bitty.

Which leads me straight into complaint #3 – Is there anybody out there that thinks a 2oz container of yogurt is satisfying? Aside from a 3 year old, that is. I’ve noticed over the years that the sugar content is going up but the servings are getting smaller. Ridiculous! Complaint #4 stems from the part of me that likes to know where my food comes from. I don’t know where the milk came from, what kind of process it went through, how long it sat before being fermented etc. So yeah, then there’s that. But we all know I like the easy things in life. Anything to make life a little more convenient, a little bit more tolerant of my laziness, I’m in. And we certainly know I love my slow cooker. Homemade yogurt has got to be one of the easiest kitchen experiences – EVER. I started off by making this on the stovetop. It’s a great method for small batches but is a smidge more high maintenance in that you really have to monitor the temperature. Make this once and you’ll never have to buy yogurt again. With this recipe you can control where you buy your milk and what you put in the yogurt in the way of flavor; as much or as little sugar as you want, fresh berries, honey – you choose! It’s perfect in every way – you can probably tell I’m passionate about my yogurt.


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Crock Pot Beef & Broccoli

Beef. Broccoli. Sauce. What more does one need in life? A personal chef you say? Well, I can’t give you that but I can say that the next best thing is a crock pot/slow cooker. Come home from work, dinner is made and it’s like your personal chef has been slaving over a hot stove all afternoon. I really just like the simplicity of this recipe. All of the ingredients are basic and are certainly pantry staples in my house. This recipe has a nice flavor, not spicy, not sweet, not salty. Just delicious. Your kids will probably like it too!

Crockpot Beef & Broccoli (4)

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Chicken Stock

So like I said in the last post, roasted chicken is a double hitter. Roast up your chicken with some spices, butter and veggies and after dinner, remove all of the meat from the bones and throw the carcass in a slow cooker with your roasted veggies (or fresh veggies if you used the roasted ones for dinner) and some water. I’ve done up this recipe with the assumption that you’ll use fresh veggies. You can use any veggies you want and can add any additional spices you want. I’m not sure how aware you are of the salt content of store bought stocks. Even the low-sodium versions are loaded with salt. It’s used as a preservative and I think it’s virtually unavoidable if you’re going to buy it. No judgement though, I have certainly bought my fair share of stocks but there is almost no sodium in this recipe – I didn’t add any more to the crockpot and it has a pure, delicious chicken flavor. This recipe is absolutely just as easy to make as it is to throw the carcass away so I highly recommend it! You can split it into freezable containers and keep it stored away for several months, or you can do what I did and make Garlic Parsley Risotto and Creamy Cheesey Polenta with it – a great hearty soup is also a solid option. It’s great to plan almost a week’s worth of recipes around one chicken, let me tell you!

Chicken Stock (3)

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Crockpot Curried Beef

Fall is coming. It has been such a hot, dry summer in Vancouver – a rarity to be sure! Basically overnight the temperature went from a range of 20-27 degrees celcius straight down to 9 degrees. Bring on the cool nights and solid sleep! I wake up so much more rested in the fall when the temperatures start to dip. When it comes to food though, I immediately start wanting hearty, bold and full dishes. Something simple but with serious flavor. I threw some stewing beef in the crockpot this morning with some from-scratch curry and as I left for work, asked Mike to give it a couple stirs throughout the day. I got a text around noon that said “what is in the crockpot because it smells f**k’n amazing!” I was excited to come home to a complete dinner but when I walked through the door a “woah” escaped my lips and I hoped the whole neighborhood could smell this. It smells crazy good and I couldn’t wait for the rice to be done. Heaven folks, pure curried heaven.

Curried Beef

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Potato Leek Soup

I don’t think I’ve actually ever had potato leek soup before. Parsnip Leek soup yes, and it was amazing, but not potato. I don’t what the hell I’ve been thinking all this time! It’s incredibly delicious. I never thought that 2 main ingredients that are kind of bland on their own, could pack such a heart-warming and soul-soothing punch. I’m all over this. It’s the perfect season for this soup too. Creamy, thick, hot and super filling. Maybe because I couldn’t stop at only one bowl! For some reason I was always under the impression that potato leek soup wasn’t an ‘easy’ soup. I don’t know where I got that notion but I was WAY off. I threw this in the crock pot, walked away and came back to magic. Make it with some Baking Powder Biscuits to round out the perfect winter meal!

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Jumbalaya – Slow Cooker

I have never made Jumbalaya before. I saw this recipe on Pinterest and it looked sooooo good. I was craving something hearty and this certainly fit the bill. The fact that it is made in a slow cooker, sealed the deal. Throw a bunch of ingredients in a pot when you wake up and when you come home from work – Voila! Magic. I’m not sure how authentic this recipe is, but if it’s not close, it’s still really good. I didn’t change the recipe too much, made it spicier, used chicken breasts instead of thighs, italian chicken sausage (all in the name of lower calories) and next time I make it, I’ll add okra. Because I’m pretty sure jumbalaya is not jumbalaya without okra. Anyways, you should make this. It serves anywhere from 8-12 people, given your guests may be the complimentary types and go back for seconds.

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Apple Butter Jam – Slow Cooker

I have all sorts of emotional passion-words for how amazing this recipe is. I grew up with my mum’s apple butter jam which was always so buttery and smooth and rich. Love it. This is definitely comparable but with a lot less sugar (none actually!) and it takes simple to the next level. I find jams intimidating because they seem a bit high maintenance. I’m just learning how to cook here people, canning is a whole different skill set. This jam is freezable too so if you prefer not to can, freezing is a great alternative. Make it, divide it into freezer safe containers and freeze it. You can make Christmas presents in July! There is absolutely no reason you can’t make a pear butter jam or half and half using the same method. Just use soft and ripe pears, the woody ones won’t cook down properly. The only special tool this recipe requires is a slow cooker. I’m sure 98% of people have one kicking around their basement from 1974.

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BBQ Cran Chicken – Slow Cooker

I purchased a nice little book of slow cooker recipes from Reader’s Digest. This is the first I’ve tried and if you’ve tried and liked my Spicy Tangy Chicken in the slow cooker than you’ll enjoy this one too! It’s quite similar but is quite a bit healthier! But I like it most because this is way faster to make and isn’t spicy … though you could make it so!

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Chicken Thighs with Chile

This super simple recipe is a life saver on the days you don’t want to cook. It doesn’t take all day in the slow cooker so you can start it in the late afternoon and have it ready for dinner. It’s really satisfying and quite filling. Serve as is, over rice or as a complimentary dish to your favourite meal. If you’re cutting rice out of your diet, it would be a great addition over polenta or to a grain/seed like millet or quinoa.

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