Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Liquid Gold, My First Christmas Gift to Myself

Every year we are bombarded with magazine articles, television segments and blog posts about how to consume Thanksgiving leftovers in the days following Thanksgiving. I love those recipes! Look forward to them every year! This is not one of those recipes. This is a recipe of what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers on Thanksgiving Day itself! Too full? Can't imagine it?

How many times have you read about the wonders of homemade stock? Have you ever made it? I do and regularly. I save chicken carcasses and put them in ziplocs in the freezer and I also do the same with my veggie scraps. Until this year, it never occurred to me to use my turkey carcass. And even if you've never saved a veggie scrap in your life, on the days leading up to Thanksgiving the perfect ones are in abundance. Celery, carrots, parsley, and onions are just what you need for good stock.

Even though I normally save my carcasses and scraps and freeze them, why wait? Why bag? Why not just put my turkey carcass directly in my Hamilton BeachSet & Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker and let the stock cook overnight? The carcass is just sitting there on Thanksgiving! My friend, Matt Baird, says the best stock comes from bones that have never been frozen, so there ya go! Wisdom right from the mouth of my favorite butcher.

Post-Thanksgiving Dinner Overnight Turkey Stock
by Sandra

1 turkey carcass, in pieces, including leftover skin, meat scraps, pan drippings
Veggie scraps including celery, onion, carrots or other non-starchy scraps
A few springs of parsley
1 Tablespoon peppercorns
1-2 bay leaves

Place all ingredients, besides the water, in the slow cooker.  Add as much water as you can. Set the slow cooker on low. Sleep off the L-tryptophan! You can cook the stock for as little as 10 hours and I've cooked it as long as nearly 24, so cook it for as long as fits in your schedule and until it is a rich, golden color and tastes delicious. Cool the broth down in an ice bath in your kitchen sink (another tip from Matt the Butcher) and then strain the solids and freeze in ziplocs with 2 cups of stock per bag. Lay the bags flat in the freezer to maximize space. Remember to label the bags with the date. If you want to make fat-free broth, after straining away the solids, put the broth in the refrigerator to cool completely. The fat becomes a solid layer on the top. Simply break it up and discard it.

P.S. Are you going away for Thanksgiving dinner this year? You might check in advance with your host, but I know if I had a guest who offered to set up my slow cooker for overnight stock, I'd invite that guest back every year!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Are You Afraid of Cooking Lamb?

A lot of people are. Sit down and have a cup of coffee with me and let's bite into a leg of lamb! I have been experimenting with it recently and I'm in love. Some of the best dishes I’ve had have been cooked over long periods of time, so I decided to try it in my new Hamilton Beach Set & Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker which has a temperature probe. This is a really easy recipe that will result in beautiful slices of mouth-watering, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness.

Roasted Lamb
by Willie

Boneless leg of lamb

Salt and pepper
1 pot of strong brewed coffee, cooled

Olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons fresh Turkish oregano or 1 Tablespoon dried oregano

Poke holes in the lamb with a skewer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the lamb in a bowl and cover with cooled coffee. Cover. Marinate overnight.

Pat the lamb dry and brown it in olive oil in a hot skillet. Place the lamb in the slow cooker, insert the temperature probe, and set the slow cooker to 145°F
. Set it and forget it! Let rest 5-10 minutes, slice, and serve.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Slow Cooker Dressing

Like so many of us, I am gone for many hours each day. With our lovely Houston drive time, I am gone about 11 hours, door to door. When I get home, I am not in the mood to cook dinner. This Set & Forget 6 Quart Programmable-Slow Cooker from Hamilton Beach is making my life so much easier! I do the prep work the night before and put it in the slow cooker before I leave for work. We also have a single oven. I have fond memories of my double oven at another house. This slow cooker is going be invaluable to me during the holidays. I will be able to make desserts (bread pudding which Mark loves), sides, hot drinks and, of course, more dressing and leave the oven for the big turkey. For this challenge, I roasted a whole fresh chicken and it accompanied the dressing, which was incredible.

Slow Cooker Dressing
by Sharyl
Adapted from this recipe for slow cooker stuffing

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
12 cups dry bread cubes (I used white bread and dried mine on trays in the oven – 170 degrees, for about an hour)
2 cups chicken broth (or as needed)
2 beaten eggs

Over medium heat, melt butter in a large pot. Add onion and celery and cook until onions are translucent. Stir occasionally. Add the parsley and cook for a few more minutes. Add the poultry seasoning, sage, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper and stir. Add 1/2 the bread cubes and 2 cups of chicken broth and the beaten eggs and mix to combine. Add rest of bread cubes and mix. Depending on what kind of bread you use and how dry it is, more chicken broth may be required to moisten the dressing. Transfer dressing to slow cooker and cook on high for 45 minutes and low for an additional 4 to 8 hours. Do not clamp the lid in place. The clamps are for transport only. Stir occasionally and add more chicken broth if needed. Heat the chicken broth before adding more. I did not need to add more broth. I wanted the dressing to be moist, but not wet. Enjoy!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Hungry Man's Chicken and Vegetables

Hungry Man's Chicken and Vegetables
by Lesia

1 whole young hen
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons Caribbean seasoning
2 tablespoons lemon juice
5 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons dried thyme
1 pound red potatoes, quartered
1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
1 pound green beans with ends broken off
3 medium onions, quartered
1 stick salted butter, melted

Mix together broth, vinegar, salt, pepper, Caribbean seasoning, lemon juice, garlic and thyme in a large bowl. Place hen in marinade and coat well, then place hen in a Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker. Layer vegetables around hen beginning with potatoes on the bottom, carrots, green beans and finish with onions on top. Pour butter over top of chicken and vegetables then pour remaining marinade mixture over chicken and vegetables. Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 6 hours.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mixed Vegetable Fricassee featuring East Texas Purple Hull Peas

The Holiday Season brings many challenges when it comes to getting a good healthy meal on the table. The hustle and bustle can often leave us unmotivated and exhausted. However, it's also the time of year that we have opportunities to gather with friends and family, who head back home to celebrate the season. Our good friends at Hamilton Beach have stepped in to help make life a little easier with their Set & Forget 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker. With the help of this slow cooker, entertaining and sharing favorite foods with family and friends will be much easier.

You can also head off to work or the mall and leave the cooking to Hamilton Beach with the convenient programmable mode that will allow you to set the slow cooker on a low or high setting for your desired time. At the end of your cooking time, it will automatically switch over to warm to keep your dish hot until you arrive home and are ready to serve. There are also two other cooking modes. One is by temperature using a probe and the other manually, which I used in preparing my dish.

Check out the other great features at the link above. One of my favorites is the clip lock that secures the lid and allows you to travel with your dish without having to worry about spillage.

Today, I have chosen a dish that comes from my East Texas roots. During the summer months, my extended family and I head to the farm stands and farmer's markets to pick up a bounty of black eyed peas, purple hull peas, cream peas, fresh corn, okra, etc. We purchase large amounts that we freeze and use throughout the fall and winter months. You will find that my Mixed Vegetable Fricassee featuring East Texas Purple Hull Peas is hearty enough for Meatless Monday (omitting the bacon) or will compliment any casual or formal meal.

Mixed Vegetable Fricassee featuring East Texas Purple Hull Peas
by Linda
Adapted from The Kitchen Table cookboook

3 cups frozen purple hull peas (frozen black-eyed peas or other type of field peas will work too)
4 ounces uncured peppered turkey bacon, chopped finely (I used Trader Joe's)
2 cubes of Dorot Crushed Garlic or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carton low-sodium vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups frozen okra, cut into rounds
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 1/2 cups sweet tri-color peppers, seeded and sliced into rings or strips
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper (omit if your bacon is heavily peppered)
1 cup roma tomatoes, sliced

Chopped green onions for garnish

1. Rinse frozen peas and place in slow cooker.

2. Add bacon, garlic and vegetable broth.

3. Manually set slow cooker for 4 hours on the high setting.

4. Two hours into your cooking time add okra, corn, tri-colored peppers, jalapeno, parsley, basil, salt and pepper.

5. The last thirty minutes of your cooking time, add tomatoes.

6. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.

7. Place in serving dish and garnish with green onions.

Serve with your favorite rice and hot green pepper sauce. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

For a Cozy Evening

Winter Beef Stew
by Lesia

3 Tablespoons butter
2 pounds stew beef
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup cooking sherry
5 large carrots, peeled and sliced
6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large onion, chopped
28-ounce can diced tomatoes
15-ounce can tomato sauce
2 cans beef broth
1 package Au Jus mix
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 bay leaves

Melt butter over medium high heat in large skillet. Add meat and lightly brown on all sides. Place meat in bottom of the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker. Add garlic to remaining butter and juices and cook until aromatic. Add sherry and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside. Place carrots, potatoes, and onions on top of meat in slow cooker then pour juices from skillet over the top. Add tomatoes, sauce, broth, Au Jus mix, and spices. Cover and cook on high heat for 6 hours.