Archive for August, 2009

Slow Cooker Bottom Round Roast

Easy slow cooker recipe. As I am at the end of my financial aid, and, frankly, broke until I get my Fall money, I have to use the stuff in my fridge and freezer. Which, since I try to buy as frugally as I can. When I see a good deal, I get a lot :)

I originally got the bottom round roast for chili, as I prefer mine with beef chunks (as they are better able to stand up to multiple hours of cooking). But, I had an extra.

So, this is my very simple recipe. Laugh if you want, it tastes great and feeds me for a few days.

One Bottom Round Roast
One package onion soup mix
One can condensed cream of mushroom soup
One tsp dried minced garlic
salt and pepper

I salted the roast, and browned it in a large skillet. I put the roast in the slow cooker, and deglazed the pan with about a half cup of water. Poured this over the roast, and topped it with pepper, the onion soup mix, and the can of mushroom soup. I was very careful with the mushroom soup, as I wanted most of it to cook on top of the roast, rather than on the bottom where it could burn.

High for 6 hours, or low for 8-10. I cooked it in roast form on High for 4 Hours, then cut the roast and let it simmer in the sauce for another hour.

Serve with Bread. (And, yes, I made this bread almost specifically for sopping up the sauce made by this dish.)

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Bread: Take (6?)

I stopped counting. :)

I promised to break up with my Whole Foods Whole Wheat Flour. It is apparently super protein based (like 14%)!. (To compare, regular bread flour is about 12%, and specially marked “high gluten” flours are 14%. The Whole Foods brand was their Whole Wheat All Purpose flour.)

One of my first attempts was with unbleached white flour, which has far too low of a protein content. The dough was very watery. Still baked up a semi decent loaf, it just would not come off the parchment paper.

Using unbleached white flour (which is what you are supposed to use) makes a great dough. I do not really like the sourdough taste of the aged dough, so I try to use it quickly.

This attempt was my attempt to rescue my whole wheat flour. I used a mix of whole wheat (2.5 cups) to white flour (4 cups). I had to add an extra 1/2 of a cup to the recipe for it to work. (Check out the original recipe at Artisan Bread in Five.)

I cooked it in a loaf pan, without the rack, and it turned out great! The loaf pan leaves a less crispy crust, which is what I was looking for in this loaf (as I wanted to make PB&J and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.)

I am looking forward to trying other breads from their book(Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day), to see if I can find one that does not taste as sourdough after a few days.

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Generic Tomato Sauce

Two cans of diced tomatoes, juice and all.

One can of tomato sauce.

One garlic clove, minced

One tablespoon Italian Seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste.

Red Pepper flakes for heat. A shot of vodka if you like.

Put into a 1.5 Quart Slow Cooker. Set on low, or high, it doesnt really matter. Let it cook until bubbling, then let it sit. Really, this type of tomato sauce gets better the longer it cooks.

I would either boil the juice separately, or take the lid off the slow cooker for about 30 minutes towards the end of cooking to let the juices concentrate down to a more sauce like consistency.

You can use this sauce liked jarred sauce. It is about as much sauce as you would need for one pound of meat. I might combine this with a jar of sauce and two pounds of meat for lasagna. Yum!

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Overcooking brownies imparts a nice bitterness to the brownie itself. While not a cooking disaster, it probably isnt a good idea. Must pull brownies sooner :)

This recipe has been in my family forever, and both of my grandmothers use it (as we shared and pulled it from an older cookbook. The kind that local organizations put out as a fundraiser. If you ever run across these, they often have the best recipes.)


1 1/2 cup flour
2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup pecan halves (optional)

Place all ingredients in mixer bowl. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Pour in greased 9×13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

This recipe also halves well — cook in a 8×8 or 9×9 inch pan.

I halved my recipe, and cooked it in an 8×8 pan. I checked it at 20 minutes, and it was not done, then I got distracted and pulled them at 30 minutes, hence the slightly darkened bottom crust. Still yummy :)

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Chicken Marsala with Onions

I made chicken marsala again tonight. Used the last of our chicken breasts, unless I have missed some in the freezer :)

Made a few changes. I used onions, which added a sweetness to the final dish. I did not add the flour until later, which did not thicken the sauce as much as I would like. I had the heat on too high, so I removed the chicken before it was done, and let it finish cooking in the sauce at the end.

I do think I will use the onion again, it was good. I will endeavor to remember the flour at an earlier stage, so the sauce can thicken. :)

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Ode to Rotel

I love Rotel Diced Tomato With Green Chilis. Absolutely. The best (easy) cheese dip is a can of Rotel Tomatoes and Velveeta Cheese. Heaven.

I recently scored great deal on Green Enchilada Sauce at Target. In the same section, they had Rotel. But, rather than simply Rotel with Green Chilies, this was Rotel with Habaneros.


I took a bite of the tomato, and my mouth is still burning! :)

In the rice cooker, I have two cups of rice, 3.5 cups of water, some kosher salt, and half a can of Rotel. I warmed the other half with the chicken from the crockpot. Mix together, add cheese, and serve. Yummy, and very spicy!

(If anyone can tell me where I can buy Rotel with Habaneros online, I would love it!)

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Green Chicken Enchiladas

My friend cooked this for me a few months before I left Texas, and I was determined to learn how to make it so I could have it up here in Brooklyn.

But, up here, tomatillos can be hard to find. Tomatillos look like small green tomatoes with a wrapping. They are plentiful in Texas, but can be hard to find up here. They have them at my local store, but, well, not very fresh.

This time, I attemped to make it with Salsa Verde. This basically has what I would make in my own sauce, which are tomatillos, jalapenos, cilantro, and some spices. (You can read my recipe at AttemptedCooking or just use a jar salsa.

Green Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Mixture
2 cups Cooked Chicken.
2 cups black beans (I used dried beans, or you can use canned).
Cheese, if wanted.

Cream Cheese Mixture
1 16 oz Jar of Salsa Verde. (or homemade Salsa Verde)
1 8oz package of cream cheese

1 8ct or 10ct package tortillas (flour or corn)

Heat salsa verde in a medium pot. When hot, mix in package of cream cheese. Mix chicken and beans in another bowl. You can mix this with cheese and some of the cream cheese mixture if you want.

You have a few options for how to assemble these. The easiest is to make a casserole. Corn tortillas work better for this purpose, as they dont fall apart as easily as flour tortillas. Put two small spoonfuls of cream cheese mixture in the bottom of a loaf pan, and layer with corn tortillas (cut in half or quarters to make a more solid layer). Add the chicken and bean mixture, then cream cheese mixture, then cheese. Add another layer of corn tortillas, and layer until you either run out of a mix, or run out of room in the loaf pan.

Or, you can do more traditional enchiladas. These work with flour or corn, depending on your preference. You have to heat the tortillas in order to make them pliable. I tend to microwave them for a few seconds until warm. You can also warm them on a cast iron skillet or other flat skillet. Just warm for a few seconds on each side until warm and pliable.

Take a baking dish, 9×13 ish, and put just enough of the cream cheese mixture to moisten the bottom of the pan.

Take a tortilla and lay it flat. Spoon in the chicken and bean mixture, and top with some cheese. Roll the tortilla around the filling. Place the tortilla roll, seam side down, in the baking dish. Repeat until you run out of dish or ingredients. Top with the remaining cream cheese sauce, and cheese.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until hot and bubbly.

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Salsa Verde

I spent two months in Mexico for a study abroad program. By the time I left, I was so sick of eggs and salsa verde that I did not eat them for a while. After I moved, and started on the current cooking craze, I wanted to try to make my own sauce. Luckily, if you can find the ingredients, salsa verde is pretty easy to make.

Jalapenos or Habaneros
Cilantro (if you want)

I tend to add about one pepper per 2-3 tomatillos, and this makes a VERY spicy salsa. You can always reduce the amount of peppers.

Remove the husks from the tomatillos, and rinse under water. They will be kinda sticky, but dont worry about it. Take the top off the jalapenos or habaneros (and, please, be careful! I did not pay attention one time and burned the corner of my eye with habanero juice! Ouch! You can use latex gloves if you are sensitive. I tend to just hack off the top and dump it into the water, so i never touch the inside.)

Bring a pot of water to boil, enough to cover the tomatillos and the peppers. Salt the water, and boil the tomatillos and peppers for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Reserving the boiling liquid, put tomatillos and peppers into a blender. (You can cool them first if you want). To the blender, add salt, a few cloves of garlic, and a quartered onion. Blend until smooth. (If this is warm, be careful, and be sure to vent the top of the blender).

At this point, you can add cream cheese and make the perfect sauce for enchiladas. Or you can use this salsa directly in cooking. Or, it makes an excellent spicy dip for chips, as an alternative to red salsas.


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Chicken Marsala

My partner asked me to learn to make Chicken Marsala. I do not like to drink wine, so I had never cooked with it. But, I like cooking for other people, so I attempted it.

It was actually easy! It was almost like making gravy, but easier and not as thick. There are a few different varying recipes out there, so this is how I did it. I took my inspiration from recipes by Emeril Lagasse and Tyler Florence.

I took two chicken breasts, and cut them in quarters. (Once down the middle, and then once again to split them in half long ways, so I had 1/4ths, and not strips). I lightly pounded them with the heel of my hand. (Fun!) I put salt and pepper on the breasts, then dredged them in seasoned flour. I then browned them in a large saute pan in some olive oil. I wanted them to be done with this step, as opposed to browned then finished cooking in the sauce.

I sliced the mushrooms, then sauteed them in the leftover oil, but added a tablespoon of butter. I added salt towards then end. The mushrooms soaked up all of the butter, so I added half a tablespoon of butter, and some extra flour. We like a lot of sauce, so I turned off the burner and added 1 cup of Marsala wine. I turned the burner back on, and stirred the wine around to scrape up the bottom of the pan. When the wine had reduced, I added 1 cup of homemade chicken broth (straight from the crock pot), and reduced it slightly. I added back in the browned chicken breasts, and let it simmer and cook for a few minutes.

Served over pasta. Yum!

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Bulk Chicken and Stock

I am not sure where I learned this technique, but it saved me quite a bit of money.

In Texas, I could get chicken leg and thigh quarters for less than 49 cents a pound, in a two pound bag. Cheap! Its about twice as much here in Brooklyn, but this technique still saves time and money.

Take a bulk pack of chicken quarters, legs, or thighs. (This time around, I used chicken thighs, because they are easier to work with.) Remove the skin, and either discard or use to make schmaltz (next attempt!).

Place the chicken parts into a crock pot. You can add some salt and pepper if you want, but the chicken is good how it is. Cook for a few hours on high or low, until the chicken is done. I typically dont worry about it until it starts making the apartment smell yummy :) I check to make sure that all the chicken is done before pulling it out.

During this time, the chicken will have given off a lot of liquid. Keep this in the crock pot. As the chicken cools, remove the meat from the bones, and then put the bones back into the crockpot. When all of the meat is of the bone, and all of the bones are back in the crockpot, you can add water and salt. I then let this cook, usually until I am about to go to bed. :) Cheap stock, and yummy.

I tend to freeze the meat in small pieces, and in about one to two cup portions (depending on what storage containers I have available.)

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