Beef and Broccoli

So this recipe had MANY variations online that I saw. Many of them included oyster sauce, which in reality, I wasn’t too sure of. I know I can find it, but how does it smell when I open the bottle? What if I drop the bottle, how gross will my kitchen smell? Would I ever be able to serve this to a friend of ours who’s allergic to shellfish? (I probably know I could to that last one, but I didn’t want to take the chance since we don’t have an endless supply of epi-pens on hand).

We absolutely loved this dish. In fact, I even made a comment to the hubby that this was the first time we ever finished the entire meal from the crockpot that first night. We had no leftovers at all and I was excited to make this again! I also was excited to see how many interests I sparked on Facebook after posting the picture, I guess it’s something different!

This recipe is a combination of all the ones I saw online, plus a few “tweaks” to suit ease for me.

Beef and Broccoli

1 pound of beef london broil or chuck roast
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil or sesame oil
3 garlic gloves minced, or 1tbsp crush garilc
2 tbsp cornstarch
Fresh or frozen broccoli (as much as you’d desire)
2 tbsp all-purpose flour (if needed)
Hot cooked rice (optional)

Here’s what you’ll need (sans flour). The steak I used was London Broil (it was whatever was frozen in my freezer -it was partially defrosted). Ignore the bottle of the Bakon Vodka in the background.

Slice the beef fairly thin but not too thin, maybe about 1/2 and inch. Like I said previously, my meat was still slightly frozen, which I wanted. It was easier to slice.

Next, mix broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, oil, and garlic together.

Place the beef in the crockpot and cover with wet mixture. Cook on low 6-8 hours.

In a cup (I used a mug), mix some of the warm/hot liquid mixture from the crockpot with the corstarch until smooth. Pour cornstarch mixture into the crockpot with the beef and mix to combine.

Add the broccoli and stir.

Cover and cook on high for an additional 30 minutes (for the sauce to boil to thicken with the cornstarch).

If after the 30 minutes and the sauce has not thickened (like mine), add the 2 tbsp of all-purpose flour to thicken it up, sprinkle it in and continuously mix until you see it thicken.

Stir and enjoy! I served it over rice here.

Trust me, you’re going to love it. I enjoyed it more than if I got it from a take-out place.

I remember tasting the wet mixture briefly before pouring it over the beef in the crockpot and said that it was one pretty awesome sauce. I could probably do the same for chicken…I’ll try it soon.

Enjoy!

-crock on!

PS -I promise to figure out what’s going on with my camera soon, the pictures aren’t coming out as crisp as I’d like.

Apple Crescents

Typically, apples and apple desserts remind me of the fall season. Coincidentally enough, that’s also my favorite season. The air is changing, the temperature is becoming more crisp, the beginning of the school year buzz is always exciting, and that smell of leaves just seems to make me happy deep down to the core.

Well after the past few weeks of craziness with below freezing temperatures and constant snowfall (and sometimes blizzard-like conditions), I wished we were back to the beginning of the fall season. I’ve begun to hate having to bundle up like the younger-brother in A Christmas Story when I have to even venture out to take out the trash. I miss the feeling of just tossing on a sweatshirt and heading out.

Pillsbury crescent rolls are a staple in our small little family. We like to have them for dinner (with hot dogs especially), breakfast (part of an egg casserole), and now dessert.

I know this isn’t a crockpot meal, but I figured I could share some other favorites of ours as well. I also apologize for the state of my pictures in this post, not sure why they’re slightly out of whack, must’ve been super excited to enjoy!

Apple Crescents

1 can Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (could be other brands)
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 apple (I used Granny Smith for tartness), cut into 8 slices
1/2 cup cinnamon and sugar mix
Ice cream -optional

The only ingredients you’ll need. It’s so simple!

Set your oven to the packaging instructions, 350 degrees I believe.

Brush on your melted butter onto each crescent dough triangle.

Sprinkle each with enough cinnamon and sugar to cover, the melted butter will begin to absorb the mix.

Place a slice onto the larger side of the crescent triangle and roll towards the smaller end forming that known crescent roll shape.

Bake according to package instructions, mine took about 13-15 minutes but everyone’s oven is different -they’re like snowflakes  (ugh! snow on the brain!)

Let them cool for about 5 minutes out of the oven. I then served them with a drizzle of caramel sauce and a burst of whipped cream (we only had moose track ice cream in the house and I didn’t feel it fitting).

What I’d personally do next time is peel the apples. I forgot that I’m not a fan of unpeeled apples in my pies or crisps, but other than that, nothing else. These are great as a party dessert.

Watch out, they’ll go fast!

-crock on!

“Italian” (Mexican) Chicken

Growing up, my mother let me watch every time she cooked. She got me involved in much of the prep work too. Even before that though, I remember sitting in the hallway just outside the kitchen with my play food set “grilling” up some plastic burgers or chicken with those fake grill marks that appeared with luke-warm water. I loved that stuff. I had practically every piece (I still do I believe). A plastic microwave that chimed after about 15 seconds, a grill that when you turned a crank, it made sizzling sounds. I mean who doesn’t love that plastic teapot where you lifted up the handle and once you let go, it began to whistle? That was my life.

I had so much more but these were my life growing up. I even started looking at other pictures and reminiscing about all the things I had. If you had them too, google image: fisher price teapot and see all the others…now I want to harass mom to find them!

So there’s a reason why I put “Italian” in those quotes. In fact, I can actually see in my mind a few friends doing the old air quotes because in reality, its not really Italian, it tastes more mexican.

I mentioned my mother and me cooking alongside her earlier for a reason. This recipe flat out reminds me of my mother. You know how Italian salad dressing has all those different ingredients in it? Peppers, onions, olive oil, vinegar, black pepper, and other yummy things; well my mother uses that dressing in practically everything. Tortellini salad, pasta salad, to marinate steak or chicken in, I know I’m forgetting something else; but she uses it for a great deal of her cooking. In reality, truly thinking about it, its actually a pretty good dressing/marinade for a lot of food; and it’s been passed on to me.

I came across the recipe and immediately fell in love. I think it might’ve been because of the use of the Italian dressing or because it reminded me of my childhood, who knows? I did though adapt it a bit.

“Italian” (Mexican) Chicken

4-6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 packet of Ranch dressing powdered mix
1/2 bottle of Italian Dressing (I tend to stick to Wishbone brand)
1 cup water
About 1 tsp of crushed garlic
About 1/8 cup of dried onions (real onions work but I tend to use these when I don’t want that ‘over-powering’ onion flavor)
About 1tbsp of Mrs. Dash Table Blend (my seasoning obsession) -optional
About 1tsp of ground red pepper (cayenne) -optional
1 small bag of frozen corn -optional
1 8oz. can of black beans (drained) -optional

Salt and Pepper to taste

This is what you’ll need.

I halved the chicken, salted and peppered each side, and placed it in the crockpot.

Then, I mixed all the other ingredients together and covered the chicken in the crockpot with the mixture. Set it on low for 8 hours, or high for 4 hours.

The smell in the place coming home from work is one of my favorites!

When there was about 1/2 hour-45 minutes left of cooking, I shred the chicken and like to add in the small bag of frozen corn and the can (drained) of black beans. I’ll then re-cover and let it cook.

This is the result (sans corn and beans). Sadly, I didn’t take the “after” shot since we apparently jumped right into eating! (That tends to happen in the house.)

I’ll typically serve this as tacos with some lettuce, cheese, sour cream (any other fixin’s), and then it refrigerates well and I have it over salads for work the next few days.

 

-crock on!

 

Here’s the somewhat adapted recipe (you’ll have to scroll down a bit):

http://mcconkiemenu.blogspot.com/

Something Sweet

I wanted to start off with something you don’t see everyday, dessert in a crockpot. When I’d tell someone about creating a dessert in the crockpot, they’d give me that strange look like I was crazy, or ask, “isn’t that more suitable for pot roast?”

I wanted to try it, who cares about pot roast for dessert?

I pulled up my pinterest and searched for a crockpot dessert and I came across a cookie/brownie combination where you create the two ingredients seperately then layer them in the crockpot together; set it on high for a few hours; then serve. I was slightly nervous about putting so much sugar without much liquid right into the crockpot. Luckily for me, I found those wonderful liners in Target where after you cook everything right into the bag (in the pot), there’s practically no clean-up. The result was a hit!

“Heaven in a Crockpot”

1 box fudge brownie mix
1 pouch chocolate chip cookie mix
1/2 cup butter (salted), melted
4 eggs
ice cream (optional)

The ingredients needed for this glorious adventure!

I mixed up the Betty Crocker mix with1/4 cup melted butter and 2 eggs.

I then mixed up the remaining 1/4 cup butter with 2 eggs.

The consistency was a little weird compared to what I’m used to when making the box mixes but it’s understandable. My husband loves this part!

Layer in the mixes, alternating a few scoops of each until each mix is completely in. (Note: see the crockpot liner?)

Cover and put on high for 2-3 hours. I usually go in between to the less time side, since anticipation typically gets to me (and the hubby too).

Once completed (you’ll know, it’ll smell heavenly), I served it warm with a scoop of ice cream and drizzles of chocolate sauce and caramel.

We both loved it! I’m SUPER happy I used the liner since clean-up might require a decently given soak.

 

-crock on!

 

Here’s the page I got the initial recipe from:

http://www.recipe-diaries.com/2013/05/29/heaven-in-a-crockpot/

Crock on!

So, a while ago, Brian (my lovely husband) thought that purchasing my own domain would be a great holiday gift. Not knowing what I’d do with it, I kindly talked him out of the idea. I didn’t see a point to buy something that I wouldn’t use or have no idea what to do with, little did I know though, that at some point down the line, I would.

After getting married this past August 4 (2013), and buying our very first home, we honeymooned and settled in before the new school year began.

It took about a month or so after settling in together, that I realized that I lacked one key cooking tool/appliance (aside from a toaster). A CROCKPOT was something I was on a mission to get. Of course, I pinned ridiculous amounts of crockpot recipes on Pinterest, but I still did not have the actual crockpot. Well one extended weekend (Columbus Day weekend to be exact), I wandered to the outlet stores here on Long Island and purchased my first crockpot. Well technically it was a slow cooker and not the crockpot name-brand, but hey, it does the same trick and it was a pretty decent size (6qt.)!

I finally became obsessed with slow-cooking/crockpotting. When I say obsessed, think of it more as OBSESSED. The kind where a teenager gets OBSESSED with a certain boy band such as the Backstreet Boys, and brings a battery-powered Christmas lights-light up sign to one of their concerts (yea I have no idea who that could’ve been). Once I get into something I enjoy, I really get into it.

So basically after that, it’s really all just been history. I did get a smaller (4qt.) crockpot (name brand), with a cute decorative design outside from mom for the holidays, and I’ve practically never been able to look back.

I plan to share some of my favorite recipes with whomever is willing to read, attempting to make life easier for the rest of you. Many think “crocking” is difficult, or they don’t know what to cook other than the typical pot roast or pulled pork; I’m here to help break you from those chains and show your inner “crock-star!”

Crock on!