Burgundy Beef Stew-Slow Cooker

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This is a tasty beef stew with vegetables, herbs, wine and a touch of brandy.  It’s easy to fix in a slow cooker and tastes so good when eaten in a warm, cozy kitchen or maybe in front of the fireplace.

BURGUNDY BEEF STEW - SLOW COOKER

½ lb. chuck steak, fat removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tsp. olive oil, divided
1-½ cups chopped onion
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
16 baby carrots, cut into ¼ inch slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tblsp. quick-cooking tapioca
1 cup Burgundy wine
½ cup beef broth
¼ cup brandy
1 Tblsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
½ tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 cup mushrooms, sliced

In a medium skillet over medium high heat, heat 1 tsp. oil and brown chuck steak cubes on all sides – do not cook through.  Set aside

In a 3-½- or 4-quart slow cooker place chopped onion, potato cubes, carrot slices, garlic.  Sprinkle tapioca over the top.

Place beef on top of vegetables.  In a medium bowl, whisk together wine, broth, brandy, tomato paste, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Pour over ingredients in slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low heat for 8 to 10 hours or on high heat for 4 to 5 hours.

Near the end of cooking time, in a small skillet, cook mushrooms in the remaining 1 tsp. of oil over medium-high heat until browned.  Stir mushrooms into beef mixture.

Makes 4-6 servings

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Chicken and Cheese Dip–Crock Pot – Slow Cooker

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I adapted this recipe from one I saw a couple of years ago on Crockpot Recipe Exchange.  It was easy to mix the ingredients and let them cook in the slow cooker for about 2-½ hours.  The result was delicious – cheesy with a lot of chicken  and a delicious flavor.  I used the coriander chutney and didn’t need any additional seasonings.  You might want to taste and add salt, pepper or some kind of hot sauce.  I used this as an entree and it made a nice lunch for three people with leftovers for supper.

CHICKEN AND CHEESE DIP

  • 8 ounce package of cream cheese. cubed
  • 3 cups (12 oz.) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 14.1 ounce can of diced tomatoes, lightly drained
  • 4 oz. mushrooms, sliced and sautéed just until tender
  • 2 Tblsp. dried minced onion
  • 2 cups cooked chicken breast, diced
  • 1 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 1-½ Tblsp. Coriander Chutney or 4 oz. can of diced green chiles

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Put all the ingredients in the order listed into a 2-1/2 quart crock pot. Place the lid on and cook on low for 2.5 – 3 hours.
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NOTE:  STIR EVERY 30 MINUTES TO BE SURE THE CHEESE IS MELTING.

I like to serve this with Tostido scoops.  Mixture can be kept warm in crockpot for up to 2 hours.  Reheat leftovers in the microwave or in a small pan on the stove.  This dip should be piping hot.


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Slow Cooker Caper Chicken

My youngest daughter is a busy stay-at-home mom who always finds time to get together with me on Fridays for lunch.  I try to make meals that are tasty, quick and easy, and reduced in fat and calories.  Here is what we enjoyed last Friday.

This is a tasty low-fat dish adapted from one I found on The Pioneer Woman Cooks.   The count for the chicken and sauce according to my Diet Power software based on 6 servings is:  144 calories, 9.18 g fat, 56.9 mg cholesterol, 1.54 g carb, 0.2 g fiber.  Additions such as rice and vegetables should be counted separately.

SLOW COOKER CAPER CHICKEN

  • 2 boneless-skinless chicken breast halves, each cut into 3 sections
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 dashes Greek seasoning
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup steak sauce (A-1 Steak Sauce)
  • 2 Tblsp. capers in brine

Place the chicken breast pieces in the slow cooker.  Pour lemon juice over the top and sprinkle with black pepper and the Greek seasoning.

In a separate bowl, mix the melted butter with the steak sauce and capers.  Pour this mixture over the chicken breast pieces and cook for 4-6 hours on low.

I served this chicken and sauce with rice and steamed broccoli.

Beans and Dumplings – A Depression-Era Meal

One of my earliest memories is of sitting at a table with my mother, father and little sister.  We are in a one-room, second-floor flat on Elm Street in downtown Cincinnati in the mid-1930s.  All day, Mother has watched over a simmering pot of beans with a pig hock added for flavor.  My father has come in from his timekeeper job on the WPA and we are having about the cheapest supper possible in the midst of the Great Depression.  I have a plateful of beans and a tiny bit of the small amount of meat that is on a pig hock (my father gets the biggest portion of meat and my mother claims to love chewing around on the bone).  The beans are steaming and the teaspoon or so of meat is flavorful – I love it!  It was said in my family that you weren’t an Applegate if you didn’t love beans, so I guess I qualified as a full-fledged member of my father’s side of the family.

As time went on and my father moved to better jobs with the City of Cincinnati and then Dayton Acme (a World War II defense plant), there was more money in my mother’s food budget and she stopped using the mostly-fat pig hocks and either threw in a pork chop or two to cook with the beans or had crisp bacon or fried ham on the side.  This was the only time my father ate pork … along with his beans topped with chopped onion and a lot of black pepper.

By the time my future husband started coming to the house for meals, Mother had added a big cast iron skillet full of fried potatoes to the menu.  It was his favorite supper.  After we were married, I continued to have this meal one night a week.  Every time I hear the John Denver song, “Back Home Again” and the line about “supper on the stove” and the wife who felt the baby move, I think about my young husband coming home to an expectant wife in our little apartment with the windows all steamed up and a big white and red graniteware pot of beans simmering on the range.

My four children didn’t inherit their parents’ love of a bean supper and I got out of the habit of making it.  But now that I’m alone, I crave the beans of my childhood, especially in the fall and winter.  I make a healthier, easier version with a slow cooker.

GREAT NORTHERN CROCKPOT BEANS

  • 1/2 lb. Great Northern dry beans
  • 6 cups cold water*
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ham flavored soup base (L. B. Jamison’s)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place the dry beans cold water in the slow cooker.  *I use this amount of water to insure that I’ll have enough broth to make dumplings.  Cook on low overnight – approximately 8 hours.  Add the ham flavoring, then taste before adding salt and pepper.

I was the only one in the family who liked dumplings with my beans and I used to make a one-person serving.  This works very well for me now when I want to make a meal just for myself.

DUMPLINGS FOR ONE

  • 1/4 cup of My Biscuit Mix**
  • 1-1/2 Tblsp. (approx.) of cold water

In a small bowl, stir the biscuit mix and water together to make a thick, moist dough.

Heat about 1 cup of bean broth and 1 cup of beans in a small pot to boiling.  Drop the dough into the boiling mixture by the tablespoonful, making three dumplings.

Lower the heat to simmering, cover the pot and continue simmering for 10 minutes without lifting the lid.  Note:  The white and red graniteware lid is from my original 1952 set.

Serve immediately with chopped onion and a grating of black pepper.  A small serving of meat is good, but not necessary (to me, at least).  Today, I happened to be browning hot sausage to freeze for my Thanksgiving stuffing and kept back enough to make myself a small grilled patty.  It tasted wonderful.  This is truly my soul food.

**MY BISCUIT MIX

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tblsp. baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)

Mix together the flour, salt and baking powder.  Cut in the vegetable shortening.  Store in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

This is good for making individual servings of biscuits, pancakes … and dumplings. 


Recipe for Walt’s Polish Stuffing

Pork BBQ and Strawberry Glaze Pie

menusignToday’s lunch menu included an easy Pork Barbecue and an equally easy Strawberry Glaze Pie. I like to buy about 2 lbs. of lean boneless pork ribs (called Pork Loin Gourmet Ribs in my store).  The ribs are cooked overnight in a slow cooker, then the next day the meat is pulled, combined with a sauce and baked in a 300 degree oven for 2 hours.  I like the slow cooker for cooking the pork but prefer the flavor and consistency of the barbecue when it’s baked after the sauce is added.

MOM'S PULLED PORK BARBECUE

  • Servings: Approx. 10)
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  • 2 lbs. boneless country style ribs

Trim any fat from meat and place in slow cooker.  Let cook 8-10 hours on low. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F Remove meat from slow cooker, drain and allow to cool until it can be pulled apart.  Place the pulled pork in a 9×9 baking pan. Make the sauce:

  • One 24 oz. bottle of catsup
  • 2 Tblsp. dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tblsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 Tblsp. dried minced onions
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar

Pour the above sauce  ingredients directly on top of the pork in the baking dish. withsauce Mix well and place in preheated 300 degree F oven.  Bake uncovered for two hours, stirring occasionally.  Barbecue is ready at this point but can be covered and kept in a 170 degree F oven until ready to serve. Serve on buns with coleslaw on top or on the side.

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STRAWBERRY GLAZE PIE

Preheat oven to 410 degrees F. Roll out pastry for a single crust, 9″ pie (see my Sure-Fire Crust recipe).  Prick the crust with a fork on the bottom and sides. piercingPut a piece of aluminum foil loosely on top of the crust and fill with dry beans.  I keep a jar filled with a pound of dry beans which I use over and over again. beansBake crust @ 410 degrees F for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and lift out foil with beans.   Place the pie plate back in the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Strawberry Filling and Glaze

  • 5 cups of fresh strawberries, divided
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tblsp. cornstarch

Hull strawberries and if they are small they can be left whole.  Otherwise, cut in half to make fairly uniform pieces.   Place one cup of strawberries in a small saucepan. Crush berries with a big spoon or potato masher.  Add water.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and continue simmering for 2 minutes.  Pour the berry mixture through a sieve into another small saucepan. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch – slowly whisk this mixture into the berry/water mixture and place on medium heat.  Cook and whisk constantly until mixture is thick and clear – about 2 minutes. In the baked pie shell, place one-half of the strawberries and top with one-half of the glaze. Repeat with remaining berries and glaze. glaze2 Chill for at least an hour – an inverted pie plate makes a good cover.

coverServe with whipped cream or topping. slice A really tasty lunch – and the leftovers are good, too!