Crockpot

Italian Beef Stew (Crockpot)

by Shawnda on January 23, 2012

in Beef,Crockpot,Lighter & Healthier,Soup, Stew, and Chili

Italian Beef Stew (Crockpot)

Can we pretend that I just didn’t use the word “stew?” Because half of the adults in this house turn a sickly shade of green at the very mention of the word.

I’ll admit, it’s not the most appetizing word. And maybe it doesn’t always conjure up the most appetizing images. But contrary to what my husband thinks, there is a such thing as good stew. A hearty beef stew and a glass of red wine is not a shabby way to end a cold and grey winter day.

Only we don’t call it “stew” in this house, because my husband won’t eat “Italian beef stew.” But he’ll polish off a second helping of “Italian beef in the crockpot.”

But what’s in a name anyway, right?

Italian Beef Stew

Crockpot Italian Beef Stew

A hearty beef stew made in your crockpot/slow cooker.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil, divided
  • 2 lb beef round roast
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 large onion, sliced into thin wedges
  • 2 large carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces (split in half if they
  • 8 oz red potatoes, skin-on, quartered
  • 1 14.5 oz can reduced-fat/sodium chicken broth
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 4 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 sprig rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 2 sprigs each thyme, and oregano (or 1/2-1 tsp each dried)
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup spinach leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup basil leaves, chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large pan over high heat until very hot.
  2. Cut roast into 2-inch chunks and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add half of the meat to the pan, searing for 1-2 minutes, until nicely browned, before flipping or stirring.
  4. Sear for another 2 minutes and use a slotted spoon to transfer meat to the crock.
  5. Repeat for remaining meat.
  6. Add onion, potatoes, carrots to the crock pot.
  7. Add the chicken broth, wine, and tomato paste (I dropped it in by the spoonful and let it distribute while cooking).
  8. Top with garlic and herbs.
  9. Cook on low for ~8 hours.
  10. At the end of the cooking time, remove 1/4 cup cooking liquid and whisk in cornstarch until smooth.
  11. Stir slurry into the crockpot, cover, and let cook for ~20 minutes.
  12. Stir in the spinach and basil and serve.

Notes

Yields: 6 servings

Adapted from Better Homes & Garden

Estimated time: 8 hours 30 minutes

Nutritional Information
Calories: 351 | Fat: 6.6g | Fiber 3.9g | Protein 47.7g | Carbs 21.1g
Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 8

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Light Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Happy 2012!

After a wonderfully overindulgent December, we are in total detox mode over here. Okay, maybe not total detox… but as total as two beer and margarita lovers can be :)

As a result, we’ve been trying our hardest to eat fresh and light lately and this soup has been one of our favorites. The broth is lightly flavored with ginger, soy, and rice vinegar and is loaded with veggies and chicken. It is pretty darn healthy and plenty filling on its own but we served it with roasted broccoli.

The original recipe was actually a crockpot recipe, but I felt like it required just as much hands-on time as this converted non-crockpot version. But if the crockpot version interests you, know that you can follow the recipe below, put everything but the noodles, pea pods, green onions, and cilantro in the crockpot, and let it cook on low for 6 hours. When you get home, turn it to high and throw in the noodles and pea pods until the noodles have cooked (BHG suggests 30 minutes).

And if anyone ever figures out an effective all-beer or half-beer/half-margarita detox, let us know. I’d pay pretty decent money for it. And would probably be pretty good at it :)

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

A light, yet very filling, Asian chicken noodle soup.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 cup grated carrots (~2 medium)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp dry sherry
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 14.5 oz can fat-free chicken broth
  • 4 oz thin Asian noodles like somen or chow mein
  • 6 oz snow pea pods (thawed, if frozen)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (dark green parts only)
  • Small handful of cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Spray a large pot with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.
  2. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
  3. Add sesame oil and chicken to the pan.
  4. Sear 3-4 minutes on each side, until nicely browned.
  5. Transfer the chicken to a plate and drain excess grease from the pan (do not scrape the browned bits or grease from the pan).
  6. Reduce heat to medium.
  7. Add carrots, red bell pepper, garlic, sherry, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, water, and chicken broth to the pot.
  8. Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes and add to the pot.
  9. Simmer (don't boil) over medium heat for 40 minutes.
  10. Add the noodles to the pan and let cook for 4-5 minutes (check the package for cooking time).
  11. Add the snow pea pods and green onions, and let cook for 2-3 minutes, until the pea pods have turned bright green.
  12. Salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Turn off heat, divide between 6 bowls, and serve garnished with cilantro.

Notes

Yields: 6 servings

Adapted from Better Homes & Garden

Estimated time: 1 hour

Nutritional Information
Calories: 181.4 | Fat: 4.4g | Fiber 1.4g | Protein 22.4g
Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 4

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Korean Beef Tacos with Cucumber Slaw

How often do you use your crockpot? A while back, mine actually broke. The safety glass in the lid exploded into eleventy billion perfect little squares that scattered across the kitchen and pantry floor. And none of us were wearing shoes.

I wasn’t that sad. Aside from pulled pork and french dip sandwiches, it saw little action. I didn’t really miss it at first. A covered dutch oven and a 275 degree-oven produces the same fall-apart, amazingly tender meats as a crockpot. But I couldn’t leave to run errands with the oven on. And heating up the oven for 6-8 hours seems less energy-efficient. So I begrudgingly replaced it a couple of weeks ago.

These tacos were one of the first things I made in the new crockpot (which is digital! And programmable! And has a tiny hole in the lid for a digital thermometer!). I saw them on My Life as a Mrs last week – she combined Joelen’s Korean beef short rib recipe with Jaden’s pickled cucumbers to make a taco so flavorful, it gives my beloved smoked brisket taco a run for its money. For real.

The meat is cooked in a mixture of soy, brown sugar, garlic, fresh ginger – and the sriracha I added for extra heat. 3 hours into it, if you’re home, your house will smell amazing! Because I used quite a bit less brown sugar than the original recipe called for and I added extra water that the original recipe didn’t call for, I reduced some of the liquid in a sauce pan while I was shredding the cooked beef. This concentrated the flavors and made a thicker glaze that nicely coated the beef. Certainly not required if you’re in a hurry. But totally worth it if you’ve got time.

We served the tacos topped with a cucumber slaw, bean sprouts, cilantro, additional sriracha, and a dollop of Greek yogurt.The cucumber slaw adds a cool, tangy, fresh crunch to the tacos. They’re also loaded with water so I took the extra step of salting them to pull out some of the excess moisture since I was making the slaw ahead of time.

Tina noted that short ribs were quite pricey in her area and used back ribs instead. I have successfully used chuck roast (which is what I use for french dip sandwiches). As for the leftovers? If you get tired of tacos, tuck the leftovers and a couple of mango slices inside a spring roll wrapper.

Korean Beef Spring Rolls with Mango

Crockpot Korean Beef Tacos with Cucumber Slaw

Tacos filled with sweet, tender Korean-style beef and tangy cucumber slaw.

Ingredients

  • For the Korean beef:
  • ~5 lbs beef short ribs (can also use chuck roast or back ribs)
  • 1 bottle (10 oz) low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbsp ginger, grated
  • 6 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp sriracha
  • 1 cup water (optional)
  • For the Cucumber Slaw:
  • 1 cucumber (seedless recommended)
  • Thinly sliced red onion rounds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • crushed red pepper flakes to taste
  • For the tacos:
  • 16 small wheat tortillas
  • cilantro
  • bean sprouts
  • Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • sriracha

Instructions

  1. To make the cucumber slaw, slice the cucumber very thinly and sprinkle with salt. Place in a colander and let sit for up to an hour over a bowl or in the sink.
  2. Shake additional water from the colander or pat with paper towels.
  3. Transfer to a bowl and toss with red onions, rice vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Refrigerate until ready to use (leftovers get less and less crunchy as they sit but it can be made ahead, just pour off any accumulated liquid and toss with an additional 1-2 tsp vinegar to taste, if necessary).
  4. To make the Korean beef for the tacos, spray your slow cooker crock with non-stick cooking spray and add the ribs.
  5. Whisk soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar with the garlic, ginger, sriracha, and oils.
  6. Pour over the ribs in the crockpot. (I thought the liquid level looked a little low so I added ~ 1 1/2 cups of water.)
  7. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  8. (optional) Remove 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid and skim the fat from the top. Pour the liquid into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer while separating the meat from the bones. Reduce the liquid by about half and pour over the shredded meat.
  9. To assemble, serve the shredded meat on warmed tortillas topped a spoon of cucumber slaw, cilantro, bean sprouts, sriracha and a dollop of yogurt.

Notes

Yields: 8 servings

Adapted from What's Cookin' Chicago and Steamy Kitchen via My Life as a Mrs.

Estimated time: 9 hours

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Brie and Brisket Quesadillas with Mango Barbecue Sauce

Updated from the archives

I was fortunate enough to not only grow up in southeast Texas amid an incredible abundance of Tex-Mex restaurants, but to grow up just down the street from an incredible Mexican woman. Homemade tortillas, migas, and tamales were just a very few of the authentic Mexican dishes that Martha turned out of her kitchen.

I remember helping roll out flour tortillas (because Martha didn’t use a press) and wrapping tamales (because child labor was easily rewarded with leche quemada, a Mexican confection, or Nintendo time back in the day).

We do love our quesadillas around here. Matter of fact, there’s a member of this household who rarely glances at the menu when we go out for Tex-Mex. The other member of this household is less discriminate, whether it be a traditional variety or a more exotic mixture of caramelized onions and brie, a barbecue & brie, or a “black & bleu.”

Martha understood the relationship between a good life and good food – the woman was always busy in the kitchen cooking for a big family event. So even though the mixture would probably be met with raised eyebrows and a few words I wouldn’t understand, I know she wouldn’t object to me violating a Tex-Mex classic with a homemade mango-barbecue sauce.

Project Pastry Queen tackled this dish a few months ago when Tara selected the recipe. I originally blogged this back in November of 2007. I’ve since learned a little more about food photography – and how to bust out the crockpot for this recipe.

Brisket & Brie Quesadillas with Mango Barbecue Sauce

Tacos or quesadillas loaded with sliced brisket, brie, monterrey Jack, and topped with a mango barbecue sauce.

Ingredients

  • Brisket
  • 3 lb brisket
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 oz Dublin Dr. Pepper (made with real sugar)
  • Mango Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 3/4 – 1 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp Creole (spicy brown) mustard
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 cup mango chutney (1/4 cup homemade or purchased)
  • Quesadillas
  • 8 8-in flour tortillas
  • 8 oz brie, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup monterrey jack, shredded
  • olive oil or cooking spray, to brush tortillas
  • cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. To make the brisket: Rub the meat with salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic.
  2. Place brisket in the crockpot and pour the Dr. Pepper over the top.
  3. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  4. Remove from the crockpot and let rest for 15 minutes.
  5. Slice against the grain (1/8-1/4 inch thick).
  6. To make the barbecue sauce: Heat olive oil in a 2-qt sauce pan.
  7. Saute onions for 5 minutes.
  8. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
  9. Stir in the remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes.
  10. Transfer to a blender or food processor and run until smooth.
  11. To assemble the quesadillas: Heat a griddle or large pan over medium-high.
  12. Lay out the tortillas. Divide the meat, brie, and monterrey jack between the tortillas, placing the meat and cheese on half of the tortilla.
  13. Top with a spoonful or two of barbecue sauce and fold the other half over.
  14. Place on the heated grill (brushing the tortilla with oil or cooking spray will prevent sticking).
  15. Cook until the bottom is crisp and flip over.
  16. Remove from heat and cut into 2-3 wedges. Serve with extra barbecue sauce.

Notes

Yields: 8 servings

Adapted from The Pastry Queen, 2004

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