slow cooker Big Red soup.

January 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

I am not a Nebraska Cornhusker, aka a “Big Red” fan.  I am 100% a Ohio State Buckeye (and a Kent State Golden Flash every now and then because of my fiancé.)  But I sure do love this Big Red Soup.   The soup may be named for a Nebraska football team, but spoiler alert:  It’s just a simple, tasty slow cooker soup that will keep well in the fridge all week long.

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Slow Cooker Big Red Soup

adapted from Taste of Home magazine

What you need:

  • 2 pounds beef stew meat (cut in 1-inch cubes)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3/4 cup of chopped sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans of tomatoes in sauce (14.5 oz cans)
  • 1 can of low-sodium beef broth (10.5 oz can)
  • 1 can of low-sodium chicken broth (10.5 oz can)
  • 1 can of tomato soup, condensed and undiluted (10.75 oz can)
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup of picante sauce
  • tortilla chips and shredded cheese for topping

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What to do:

Drizzle your olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Cook the beef until it’s browned on the outside.  Then, put the beef in the bottom of your slow cooker.  Add all of the additional ingredients, except for the chips and cheese.  Let the soup cook on low for 8-10 hours, until the beef is tender.  Ladle the soup in bowls.

Top with crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheddar cheese, if you like.

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I definitely like.

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slow cooked beef short ribs.

November 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

A quick story for you:  last month, my boyfriend, Ty, took me on a trip to the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky for my 30th birthday.  It was a wonderful trip, and we ended it at this restaurant in downtown Louisville called Proof on Main.  In typical fashion, I had been stalking the restaurant menu for weeks, planning my meal.  I was either going to order the short rib or the bison burger with truffle fries.  Then, we get there, and at the very last second, I blurt out an order for the gnocchi with duck.  Ty orders the short rib.  I start to panic internally—why in the world did I decide to order duck gnocchi?  I guess I felt compelled to be spontaneous?

Anyway, fast track 10 minutes or so, and they bring out a luscious, gigantic short rib served on a bed of roasted cauliflower to Ty.  And they bring out an odd plate of tiny gnocchi with huge chunks of duck meat to me.  Immediate entrée selection regret.  And at my 30th birthday dinner of all times.  Tears may have been welling in my eyes.  I cannot confirm this.  But no questions asked, Ty swaps our plates.  He takes my odd duck dish and gives me his absolutely divine, melt in your mouth short rib entree.

I am one lucky lady.  (Even though I’m pretty sure he did this only because it was my birthday and I was already kind of emotional about starting a new decade.  We are both pretty possessive of our food. No joke.)

Anyway, back in Ohio, I decided to attempt short ribs at home, for the first time, as a thank-you to him.

I totally delivered.

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The best part about this recipe is—the slow cooker!  I am convinced it is magical.  The meat just gets so tender.

You do need to brown the ribs before they take their extended slow cooker nap.  It really does make a big difference, and only takes a few minutes.  I also know short ribs are on the more expensive side, but they are totally worth it for a special dinner at home.  Definitely much less expensive than ordering them at a restaurant!  Win win.

Recipe adapted from Eat, Live, Run

What you need:

  • 3 pounds of beef chuck short ribs
  • 2 whole shallots, minced
  • 2 ½ cups of Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 C beef broth (I used low-sodium)
  • 3 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 ½ tablespoon of all-purpose flour
  • Black pepper and sea salt, for seasoning

Directions:

The first thing you need to do is brown your short ribs.  To do this, heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat.  Wait until the skillet warms, then add your short ribs.  I seasoned them very lightly with black pepper and sea salt.  Let the short ribs brown on one side for 4 minutes, then use a pair of tongs to flip them.  Brown the other side for 4 minutes.  They should be starting to caramelize.

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Using your tongs again, move the short ribs from the skillet to your slow cooker.  Let the ribs be for a few minutes while you make your sauce!

Allow the skillet to cool for a few minutes, then turn it on medium heat.  Saute your minced shallots for 5 minutes.  Then, add your tomato paste.  Saute for another 4 minutes.

Now the fun part!  Add the wine and the beef broth into the skillet.  Stir with a spatula, mashing the tomato paste into the liquid mixture.

Add your brown sugar and flour.  It will take a few minutes to stir the mixture well and be sure to mash out any clumps of flour.

Let the sauce come to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  This will smell amazing, by the way.  Ladle the sauce over the short ribs already in your slow cooker.  Add another dash of salt and pepper, then close the lid, and set the slow cooker either to cook on high for 7-8 hours or low for 11-12 hours.

I cooked ours on high for 8 hours, and when I removed the lid to check the meat, it was so tender, it slipped right off the bone.  Score!

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I served these over some mashed potatoes and sautéed mushrooms.

I still haven’t fully recovered.  So good.

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slow cooker bourbon chicken sandwiches with apple slaw.

October 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

I have a confession:  Sometimes I get overwhelmed in the kitchen.  There are those moments when it seems I’ve used every spatula and skillet I own to prepare one simple recipe.  There are times when the dish just doesn’t turn out the way I hoped.  But more often than not, the recipe turns out better than I expected–and every messy utensil and dish was so worth it.

This is one of those recipes.  People, these bourbon chicken sandwiches are SO GOOD.  I promise.Image

I saw the recipe on Iowa Girl Eats and adapted it ever so slightly.  What great flavors!  Also, having just returned from the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky, I was looking for an excuse to cook with bourbon.  Mmmmmm.  There are two parts to this recipe:  the slow cooker bourbon chicken, and the apple slaw.  They go so good together!  These measurements will amount to six generous sandwiches.

What you need:

for the bourbon chicken…

  • 2 pounds of chicken breasts, sliced in half
  • 1 C ketchup
  • ½ C bourbon (I used Jim Beam)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (I used low-sodium)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

for the slaw…

  • 3 C thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 2 small apples, thinly chopped (I used honeycrisp!)
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt

to complete the sandwiches…

  • 6 oz. gouda cheese
  • 6-pack of King’s Hawaiian sub rolls (you could use any bread, but these are amazing)

What to do:

Place all of your sauce ingredients into a large slow cooker.  Whisk until blended.

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Put your chicken breast halves into the slow cooker and cover with the sauce.  Cook on low for 4-5 hours, until chicken is tender and pulls apart easily.

After your chicken is done cooking—and before you shred it—remove two cups of the liquid from the slow cooker and bring it to a boil in a small saucepan.  Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer for 20 minutes or so.  It will begin to reduce and thicken.  Set this reduced sauce aside.  Shred your chicken and keep it in the slow cooker with the remaining liquid.

Blend your olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, and lime juice in a large bowl.  Add your sliced cabbage and chopped apple to the bowl and thoroughly coat.  Sprinkle with sea salt.

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Now:  construct your sandwiches!

Line a baking sheet with foil, and lay out your bun tops and bottoms.  Top each bun bottom with shredded chicken and a spoonful of the reduced sauce, then a slice (or 5) of gouda.

Broil for 2-3 minutes, until cheese melts.  Keep a close eye on them so the bread turns golden, but doesn’t burn.

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cheese melting action.

Top each sandwich with a heaping spoonful of the apple slaw.  Then:  EAT ALL THE SANDWICHES!

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