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.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Slow Cooker Dinner Rolls

Holidays are joyful opportunities to connect with our families and friends, to share a celebratory feast. Holidays are stressful tests of a cook's ingenuity. How can both statements be true? In my kitchen, there's a simple answer: I have only one oven and for big holiday meals, I'd prefer to have two or even three. How else can I manage pies, cookies, a roast, baked vegetable gratin and dinner rolls?

Finally, for the rolls, I've got the answer: Use my slow cooker! I've tested this thoroughly with a Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker from Hamilton Beach If you want to have fresh and amazingly good dinner rolls while your oven is in use with something else, these are for you. Cook them while the oven is in use and just before serving, run the rolls under the broiler to brown the tops.

Slow Cooker Dinner Rolls (with or without herbs)
by Maurita

Will make 9 large dinner rolls

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1/4 to 1/2 cup minced fresh herbs (optional)
2 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
3 - 3 1/2 cups flour
Parchment paper
Melted butter

In a mixing bowl stir together water and yeast.

Add herbs, salt, and flour; mix to combine. Don't bother to knead it, just make sure there aren't any streaks of dry flour. The dough will be sticky. Cover dough with a tea towel, and let rise until doubled in size, an hour or more.

Line a large slow cooker with parchment paper and sprinkle it liberally with cornmeal. Punch dough down, and divide it into 9 equal sections. Form each into a ball and distribute evenly in the base of the slow cooker.

Cover slow cooker and bake on high for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Your time for baking may vary. Check the rolls by gently poking the top. They should not feel like wet dough, but they won't be crusty - they'll be set, and not sticky on the tops. Remove from the slow cooker by means of the parchment paper.

Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter, and broil until crust is browned.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Spiced and Spiked Apple Cider

After doing a lot of interesting research about glogg, grog, wassail, and mulled wine, I found that there wasn't much consensus as to what the ingredients were for any of those recipes.

Possibly because folks had been dipping into the eggnog.

If you want to call this by some other name, that's perfectly fine with me. Call it Groggy Gloggy Wassail, if you like. I just call it delicious.

I started with apple cider and added flavors I knew I'd like. If I was going to add one more thing, it might be cloves, but at the last moment, I decided to leave them out.

The flavor of this cocktail is reminiscent of apple pie, but the star anise add an interesting twist. It's pretty danged good, if I say so myself.

Hot Spiced & Spiked Apple Cider
by Donna

1/2 gallon apple cider
1 cup white wine
1 cup rum
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
1 orange

Put the apple cider, wine, rum, cinnamon sticks, and star anise into your slow cooker I was using the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget programmable slow cooker. Use a peeler to remove the zest of the orange in thin, wide strips. Place the zest in the slow cooker, then juice the orange and add the juice as well.

Cover the slow cooker and set it to high to warm the cider. The longer you cook it, the more the flavors of the spices will infuse into the cider, but it's pretty good as soon as it warms up.

Once it's hot, you might want to turn it down to low or warm if it will be served over a long period of time - you just want it pleasantly warm for drinking, so it doesn't need to be simmering when you serve it.

Leftovers can be strained and refrigerated and served chilled. Or reheat it for more warm drinks on chilly nights.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Slow-Cooker Braised (Caramelized) Onions

What I love about slow cookers is their convenience. My Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker is like a magical device that turns raw ingredients into luscious food with almost no work. Let me explain with simple braised (caramelized) onions.

Have you ever caramelized onions on the stovetop? First, you melt butter in a big heavy pan, then you add a bunch of onions, and stand there, stirring and cooking, for an hour or more. Stand there. Stir. Monitor the heat. Check for any signs of burning. Stand there. Stir more.

There's a better way! How about this: Stick of butter, onions, and herbs in your slow cooker. Cook for a couple of hours, stir once, then cook more for hours and hours, blissfully unattended with no worries about burning. This is a better way!

Slow-Cooker Braised (Caramelized) Onions
by Maurita 

Will make 6 cups caramelized onions

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
About 6 pounds large Spanish onions
2-4 Tablespoons fresh thyme

Peel and cut onions in half. Slice the onions about 1/4" thick from "pole to pole" - they'll hold their shape a little better cut this way. Cut the butter into eight pieces and scatter pieces over the bottom of the slow cooker insert. Layer the sliced onions and fresh thyme leaves into the slow cooker. Don't be afraid to completely fill the pot - they will cook down and not spill over.

Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Stir the onions well, then replace the cover and cook on high at least 6 hours more, until the onions are tender. When the onions are tender, if there is a lot of liquid in the pot, remove the lid and continue to cook on high another hour or so, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Turn off the slow cooker and let the onions sit, uncovered, for an hour to cool.

Transfer to pint jars and store in the refrigerator.

Note: These freeze very well. They have a zillion uses from onion soup to caramelized onion pizza to perfect accompaniments to meatloaf sandwiches to...well, you get the idea. Make a big batch, freeze them in pints, and thaw them as you need them. You won't regret it.