Cheap Eats

Oct. 28th, 2015 08:17 pm
calzephyr: (birds)

We have been doing so good for eating in lately - I was paid today and kind of surprised at the amount of money left in the bank at the end of the month. I wasn't quite feeling that way when I spent $105 on three bags of groceries at Safeway on Sunday though!

It's true that I bought some indulgences like a box of bakery cookies for work and some cherry strudels, but even a beef roast seemed indulgent at $24. Do you think this post going to be about Crockpots? Of course.

I really appreciate the Crockpot trio. The beef roast just barely fit in one crock, but I made a whole bunch of vegetables in the other. I get organic groceries delivered sometimes from Spud, and cooking the whole bag of carrots was a good idea again. I added in creamer potatoes and a couple of parsnips along with a handful of organic green beans.

This is the beauty of slow cookers - when you arrive home and put the key in the door, that warm hearty scent seems like it's just for you. The beef roast was excellent, it fell apart with the slightest touch of the fork.

I also bought a deli chicken and made butter chicken with a jar of sauce on Sunday. Leftovers on Tuesday, random dinner tonight.

When my Dad made random dinner, it was truly random, like a can of baked beans and baked salmon or some other combo that didn't really go well together. I was actually surprised by how well tonight worked. I took the leftover vegetables and broth from the Crockpot, threw in some red lentils and set it to simmer. Since I didn't want the fridge to be the place where good intentions go to die, I threw the rest of the beans in the steamer along with two portobella mushrooms I ordered from Spud that didn't quite fit into any meal plans. I nuked a tray of deli mac and cheese and the leftover chicken, and with copious amounts of soy sauce, it was all quite a feast. Dessert was a box of Jello that found in the back of the cupboard on the weekend. Hubs loves it.

I think part of the satisfaction is simply from all the pennies that were pinched in the process.

calzephyr: (birds)

Every home should have a slow cooker. If I get fanatical about it, it's because it's simply magical. Ingredients go in and delicious meals come out :) It is often forgiving and a life saver for cheap cuts of meat. It's inexpensive and will last for years :D 

I actually have an official Crockpot buffet. It's this big thing that has three 2.5 quart crocks. You can make soup, dinner and dessert all at once, or three kinds of warm drinks or chili for a party. It's amazing. I don't use it very often, but when I do, it's well worth it.

I accidentally bought a pound of radishes recently when doing online grocery shopping. That's a surprising amount of radishes. I looked online for radish recipes and one of them suggested adding them to beef stew. So into one crock went half a bound of radishes, four carrots, a red pepper, half a package of stewing meat that was languishing in the freezer, some garlic, lots of ground pepper, a boullion cube, two cups of water and two tablespoons of soy sauce. When I arrived home, I switched it to the warm setting and added a cup of frozen broccoli. The broccoli steamed while the rice cooker was on.

The broccoli was a nice touch as slow cooker dinners can get brown real fast. All the colour cooked out of the radishes and they had a mellow taste along with a potato like texture. Whew! I didn't have to try and get rid of them at work :) I would totally buy radishes again.

The second crock was a soup that I think will benefit from more salt or lemon - something to give it a little zip. I had a brand new carton of vegetable broth that had just expired. Before dumping that in, I let a half cup of red lentils soak in a cup of water while I cut up the other ingredients - namely a red pepper and garlic. I added the broth and when I got home I added some frozen peas. Whew! I hate letting food go to waste.

The third crock was left empty, sadly. Next time it won't be!

Food Win

Jan. 5th, 2015 09:24 pm
calzephyr: (cooking)
The best part about multiple crockpots is that you don't have to wait while one is in the dishwasher! I made a simple dish tonight with carrots, beef, vegetable broth, carrots, potatoes and celery. The vegetables and broth were all organic and so delicious. The carrots were local - I think the potatoes were from BC. Anything tastes better when it hasn't sat on a truck for days! We had some rice along side it and leftovers for one lunch and plenty of broth leftover for something else.

In the past I loved these kinds of food wins because the price of food certainly isn't going down. Generally we buy the same things over and over - so a shopping trip that was $50 ten years ago is now $70 and creeping higher. I have to get back in the cooking habit - unfortunately over the past two years I was too busy or exhausted or unorganized to really do much cooking.

This year too, I would like to waste less food. Most households throw out a shocking amount of food and ours is no exception. It's just money out the door :( Oftentimes my husband buys things that he forgets about, like sardines, or I just tell myself I will steam that red cabbage tomorrow. Eating out was something my family rarely did, and it's easy to become spoiled!

Food Fail

Jan. 1st, 2015 04:02 pm
calzephyr: (cooking)

I need to get more iron in my diet and one way that was suggested to me was red lentils. So I found a red lentil curry recipe online, added some carrots, a potato and a little beef to satisfy the mister to the Crockpot. The good news is that the house smelled amazing when I got home. The bad news was that the curry was too acidic to really enjoy it, plus the curry kind of turned into lentil loaf. Those little red lentils will hold a surprising amount of liquid. The nice folks at TQC gave me some suggestions on how to save it, though. Next time I will double the amount of liquid and make it when I'm at home so I can stir it more often. I will also use prepared curry sauce from a jar or something like Glico or Vermont curry brands too!

calzephyr: (cooking)
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I would marry the crockpot. How I love to turn him on ;-)
calzephyr: (cooking)
I bought another slow-cooker magazine - no one told me it was Crocktober! And on the back was an ad for this awesome three crock dealie. Sadly, I don't think it is available in Canada, or at least, it's not on the Canadian version of the website. Aw man!! Maybe it's worth a trip to Great Falls to get one...I could make three kinds of curry! Three kinds of chili! Or a roast, beans and potatoes! Three kinds of soups! All at once! It is too awesome for me to comprehend right now.
calzephyr: (cooking)
Once again I could resist a crockpot special. It occurs to me that I have simply substituted cross-stitch magazines for crockpot ones. At least I have a hope in heck of finishing a crockpot ;-) Although it may seem like Mr. Crockpot should be on summer vacation, there's nothing more dreadful than turning the oven on. Our house is sitting at about 84 degrees right now. Hot!

But this magazine has a few redeeming recipes in it and I made one on Monday - I bought a dozen mild Italian sausages, a dozen panini rolls and all the other ingredients for a good time! We invited some friends over and everyone agreed - this is a thumbs up meal. It makes it's own tomato sauce for dipping and there were even enough leftovers for dinner on Tuesday. Another timesaving crockpot victory! Right now he's working hard at making chili - I was too tired this morning to get it started for dinner tonight, but that's OK. Chili's always better the next day. I'll have to input the recipes another day - I couldn't find them on Better Homes & Gardens website.

Cwik Curry

Mar. 31st, 2009 08:43 pm
calzephyr: (cooking)
I made this tonight and posted it to [ profile] what_a_crock earlier. Alas, hubs is still at work, so it'll be dinner tomorrow. Usually I measure out my recipes, but his is a real eyeballer for our 2.5 quart crockpot. It's more of a Japanese style curry as opposed to an Indian curry.

First I add potatoes. Just enough to cover the bottom, so about 3-4 average red potatoes or 20 creamer potatoes, quartered.

Then I add shaved baby carrots, just enough to cover the potatoes.

I slice an onion in half and coarsely chop it before adding it on top of the carrots.

I open the package of meat and add about 8 cubes of stewing beef or 2 chicken breasts. I freeze the leftover meat.

I use curry that comes in bricks. Usually these come in packages of 2 large bricks with four squares on them each. I place a brick in a measuring cup and boil about 2 cups of water in the kettle. I add the boiling water to the measuring cup and dissolve the brick.

When the curry has dissolved completely I pour it into the crock pot and scrape any undissolved goopy parts on to the meat.

I cover it and set it on low for about 8 hours. We usually have our curry on top of a little rice as well.
calzephyr: (cooking)
I was thrilled to see [ profile] what_a_crock spotlighted on the home page. There was another slowcooker community I joined, but it was so inactive, and this one is totally bustling. I'm quite intrigued by this recipe for chocolate cake!


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