Saturday, January 8, 2011

Crock Pot Yummy

I have two new recipes...yay! I don't like to post a recipe until I've cooked it a few times, and know that it will be a staple in my family. These two recipes come from the same cookbook, The Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes, which I give a B rating. I love to use my crock pot. It makes life so much easier when I have two little kids. But, I've tried several recipes from this book, and only a few so far have been too delicious not to share.

The great thing about these two is that they share some of the same ingredients. I decided to make them both in the same week, and since there is a lot of chopping involved of carrots, celery, and onion, I just chopped enough for both recipes to use in the same week. Enough babbling, here are the new recipes....enjoy!

Spiced Butternut Squash & Lentil Soup

1 Cup dry lentils
2 1/2 cups peeled butternut squash, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. garam masala
4 cups vegetable broth

Rinse and drain lentils. In a crockpot, place lentils, squash, onion, carrot, and celery. Sprinkle garlic and garam masala over vegetables. Pour broth over all.
Cover and cook on low heat setting for 8-9 hours or on high for 4 to 4 1/2 hours.

MY TWIST: Add some butter to each bowl. It is SOOOO delicious with a little butter added.
A HINT: I always buy a larger butternut than what is called for. I do not peel, as it is very hard to peel a hard squash like this. So, I simply cut off the skin, not worrying too much if I cut off a little squash too. You could make life super easy and buy frozen, already cut up butternut at places like whole foods.

The next recipe that is delicious and shares some of the same ingredients is.....

Spicy Black Beans and Rice
2 cups dry black beans
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot
1 medium green bell pepper
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped (take out seeds for less heat)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 bay leaves (I just use dried)
2 14 oz. cans chicken broth (veggie would work too)
2 tbsp. butter, softened
2 tbsp. flour
4 cups hot cooked rice

Rinse beans; place in large saucepan. Add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to boiling, then reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour. (You could also place beans in cold water and let soak overnight to avoid this step). Drain beans.
In your crockpot, combine beans, onion, celery, carrot, bell pepper, jalapeno peppers, garlic, cumin, coriander, thyme, salt, black pepper, and bay leaves. Pour broth over all.
Cook on low for 10-11 hours, or high for 5- 5 1/2 hours. If using low heat, turn to high when you have 30 minutes remaining, and add butter and flour together to make a paste. Pour it into crockpot. Cook 30 minutes longer. Serve with hot rice.

MY TWIST: I served this bean mixture on a quesadilla with cheddar cheese for my kids and they gobbled it up! I loved that they were eating carrots, and celery, and didn't even know it!

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