Winter’s Coming: Two Yum Deluxe Oatmeals

Yes indeed.  Snow is coming down all over the map – and before Thanksgiving!  Oatmeal, plain, is good for you.  Oatmeal fancied up and fixed in a slow cooker or overnight in the fridge is….wonderful and good for you.  This is comfort food that stays with you and sustains you.

Depending on the ingredients you choose, both of these can be vegan, dairy free, and sugar free.  The slow cooker oatmeal had the whole house smelling of apple pie the next morning and had my cat trolling for breakfast.  The cinnamon on top of the oatmeal was crusty and the apples just fell apart in my mouth.  If slow cooker oatmeal be the music of life, then play on!   Or so says my paraphrasing of Mr. Shakespeare.

The overnight oats are what I need in the morning  – something nourishing, tasty and idiot proof.  Yeah, idiot proof.  I’m not the brightest bulb in the pack before I’ve had a gallon of coffee.  This oatmeal is prepared the night before and “cooked” in the refrigerator.  I like it cold, room temp, or nuked until hot.  I carry the container with me to work and while my puter is revving up, I’m scarfing down this oatmeal.  When in Switzerland, I fell in love with muesli and this dish comes close.

Enjoy.  You will be so glad you fixed these and even more glad you ate!

public domain clipart

public domain clipart

Slow Cooker Irish Oatmeal
◾1 cup steel cut oats (or Irish oats) Not: quick, instant, etc.
◾4 cups liquids (I used 2 cups water, 1 c. natural apple juice & 1 cup regular flavor almond milk)
◾2 tsp cinnamon (I use a good cinnamon, usually Saigon)
◾1 apple, skinned and chopped
◾1/4 cup raisins, or craisins, or dried plums (chopped into raisin size pieces)
◾Stevia, honey, raw sugar or other sweetener of your choice to taste, or no sweetener
◾Optional: ¼ c. chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds….I love nuts. You don’t have to.

Add apples, dried fruit, and cinnamon to slow cooker, next oats. Stir in four cups of liquid. Stir in rest of ingredients. Set slow cooker to low setting for 7 hours. The cinnamon on top will be crusty, and the apples should just fall apart in your mouth. You can also add the chopped nuts afterwards in case someone has nut allergies.

Overnight Oats
1 part liquid (apple juice, soy mild, almond milk, milk)
1 part rolled oats (non-instant or quick cooking. I like Irish oats)
fruit: apples, peaches, bananas, mangos, strawberries, blueberries, raisins, prunes, etc.
sweetening: sugar, raw sugar, brown sugar, stevia, honey, maple syrup, none.
Seasoning: cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, orange zest
Extra: nuts, crumbled muffins, fruit preserves

Method: Mix together and place into a container and cover. Put in fridge. Eat the next morning.

 

Nikujaga – Japanese Beef Stew, crock pot version

nikujaga01[1]    This is an excellent cold weather dish. It is similar to other stews of this type. I like best to use thinly sliced fatty beef but the type the Japanese use is hard to find. Instead, my adaptation to this recipe is to use nice chunks of chuck roast. I also use Yukon gold potatoes so they stay more whole but if you use regular potatoes and they start to dissolve into the broth, that tastes good too!

Japanese stews are not thick like many of ours. They are more brothy and when served in a bowl over rice, they are similar to a dish, donburi – meat bowl. This stew will have your whole house smelling fragrant and homey. I was taught this recipe years ago from my Samurai, who liked both American and Japanese stews. We’d cook this on a miserable cold rainy day and enjoy for supper. It is also good sopped up with a nice baguette but I like the rice better. Serve with a dry white wine or better yet, some sake. But soft drinks work just as well!!

You can also substitute some bok choy or regular cabbage for the snow peas. Adding a small can of sliced mushrooms (yes….can. That’s what he did and I figured, hey, it’s a Japanese stew and he is Japanese so I am not arguing) along with the snow peas is good too. If you want to throw in a quartered turnip that’s also good.  You can also add more water for more broth.

どうぞめしあがれ douzo meshiagare, y’all! (eat well you all ! – said by the cook before the meal to the diners)
 

Ingredients
2 lbs beef stew meat (brown in a bit of oil before adding to crock pot)
1 cup water
3 tbs. Japanese sake
3 tbs. mirin
3 tbs. sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 lb baby carrots (whole)
3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large white onion, diced
10 snow peas halved
quarter sized piece of ginger, grated
cooked sticky rice
garnish with some chopped parsley and/or slivered scallion

Directions:
1 Put all into crock pot and cook on low 10-12 hours or on high 4-6 hours.
2. Add snow peas last two hours of cooking time
2 Stir before serving. Serve over sticky rice.  Use chopsticks to stir or stir carefully to not break apart ingredients.

I hate football but love to cook….

Last Saturday was the saga of how the pantry saved me from my husband’s last minute football extravaganza. This Saturday, I had plenty of notice, since the game is at 1:30 and he told me yesterday afternoon.  As we speak, the house is filled with the aroma of slow cooker “Asian” chicken for pulled chicken sammies.  Slaw was made last night. A punch bowl of mixed snack food and M&M’s are centered on the coffee table in front of the couch. On the kitchen counter are a plate with hand sized watermelon wedges and chocolate chip cookies.  A plate of assorted pickles are also good. Kosher dill slices, hot pickled okra (I’m Southern, remember?), bread and butter chips, assorted olives –  It’s up to you and what you have on hand.  If they’re still hungry, they’ll have to go out in the backyard and bag some squirrels during halftime.

When folks visit, I send them home sober.  Soft drinks, sweet tea and lemonade are in the fridge.  Strong paper plates, heavy duty plastic cutlery, and a couple of rolls of paper towels for wiping mouths and hands stand at the ready.  Are you ready for some football??? Heck no. I’m ready for a nap.

どうぞめしあがれ douzo meshiagare y’all!

133076675[1]

Asian Pulled Chicken Sammies
6 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup lite soy sauce
1 – 2 tsp. fresh minced ginger
1 – 2 tsp. minced garlic
1 – 2 sriracha sauce (optional)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 can (16 oz.) tomato sauce

Preparation:
Wash chicken; pat dry. Place chicken pieces in a crockpot. In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and tomato sauce. Pour sauce over chicken. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours or until chicken is tender and juices run clear. Take chicken from sauce and use two forks to shred. Return meat to sauce and mix well. Have buns and slaw ready for them to assemble. Serves 6.

Easy Vinegar Coleslaw
14-oz bag store-bought cole slaw mix, rinse in cold water and drained
several scallions, sliced, to taste
1/4 cup chopped red or green pepper
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1 – 3 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger root
Juice of 1/2 lime
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl, combine last five ingredients and whisk together.  Stir in the veggies, and toss well to combine.  Let the slaw sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, then toss again.  Refrigerate for at least one hour, and up to two days.  Use a slotted spoon to serve the cole slaw, as quite a bit of liquid will collect in the bowl as the slaw sits in the refrigerator.  Or to make it easy for guys, drain and place slaw in a bowl for them.

Punchbowl Munchie Mix
The ingredients are up to you. This mix will be: Cheetos, bbq corn chips, cocktail peanuts, pretzels, wavy potato chips, large bag of peanut M%Ms. The object is to fill the bowl. Mine belonged to my great-grandmother and is large enough to use to bathe a toddler – just the right size for four guys.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
I make the standard Tollhouse cookie recipe. During holidays or bake sale times, I quadruple the recipe. I make rolls of the cookies from one recipe, wrap well and freeze. On occasions like this or just because, I bring out a couple of rolls, thaw, slice, and bake. You can also purchase the rolls or tubs of cookie dough. Quick and easy.

Saved by Pantry – again. Football: Bah humbug.

Okay, so sometimes my husband has the brain of a gnat. I still love him but at noon today, he tells me he has invited several of his friends to come watch VA Tech and Alabama play football at……5:30. First game of the season and Hokie that my husband is, he has been marking off this day on the calendar with alternating burgundy and orange X’s.

After I landed back on the floor after shooting up to the ceiling, I made an immediate survey of my pantry and freezer. Times like this make me glad I am obsessive-compulsive about always being prepared to feed a horde of hungry gamers, not to mention several guys stoked for the first football game of the season.

So the menu is:  Calico Beans, salsa and chips, sausage and cheese balls, Dump Cake, Jalapeno Cornbread. Easy and I have everything on hand. Several pitchers of lemonade, sweet tea, and cans of cold sodas will keep them hydrated. The pantry saved my husband – this time.  Payback will occur when it is basketball season and Duke is running wild.   どうぞめしあがれ (douzo meshiagare) Y’all!

 

calico beans

 

Calico Beans
•4 ounces bacon, about 10 to 12 slices (jar of bacon pieces)
•1 pound lean ground beef
•1 cup chopped onion
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
•1 tbsp. dry mustard
• 2 cans pork and beans
• 1 can lima beans or black beans, drained
•1 can kidney beans, drained
•1/2 cup ketchup
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 tbsp. vinegar
Dashes of Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce.

Preparation:
Brown bacon, ground beef, and chopped onions. Combine drained ground beef mixture in slow cooker with remaining ingredients; cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 5 hours.

Sausage and Cheese Balls
2 pounds pork sausage (hot or mild) or turkey sausage
1 1/2 c. buttermilk baking mix
16 oz. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions
Let ingredients come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Combine the sausage, baking mix, cheddar cheese, onion, and garlic powder. Mix well and form into 1 inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. I use baking parchment to line baking pan.

 

 

dump cake

Dump Cake
•1 (20 ounces) can crushed pineapple, undrained
•1 (21 ounces) can prepared more fruit cherry pie filling
•1 (18.25 ounces) box yellow cake mix
•2 sticks (1 cup or 16 Tablespoons) of butter or margarine, each cut into 12 slices
•1/4 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, etc., your choice)

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (325 for glass baking dish). Have a 9 by 13-inch baking pan ready.
Dump undrained pineapple baking dish or pan and spread it out evenly.
Using a spoon, dump globs of cherry pie filling evenly on top of the pineapple.

Sprinkle the cake mix evenly over the cherry and pineapple layers. Cut butter into slices with a butter knife and place slices evenly over cake mix. Sprinkle nuts on top if you’re using them.

Bake for one hour. Use heavy oven mitts to remove the dump cake. To serve, scoop cake out with a large spoon like a cobbler, and dump it on a nice plate. A scoop of vanilla ice cream is delicious with dump cake. Serve warm or cold.
I used vanilla cake mix and added some fresh blueberries I had on hand. This is my favorite go-to and to eat dessert.

 

 

SONY DSC

 

Jalapeno Cornbread

1 cup buttermilk (or milk)
1/4 cup oil or butter
2 eggs
1 cup cornmeal (I use a local yellow stoneground)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced

Directions
Mix the buttermilk, oil and eggs. Mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
Mix the dry ingredients in to the wet and then mix in the jalapeno peppers. Pour the Mixture into a grease 9×5 inch loaf pan and bake in a preheated 375F oven until a toothpick pushed in the center comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes.  if you have them on hand, some chopped green scallions add an extra pop to this.

Recipes – KISSATURDAY 2

Yowser…it’s cold here!!! Nights in the teens, days in the 20’s. You folks in parts of Canada and Alaska can laugh all you like, but it is cold for us.

So…something warm and yummy for Dinner – I’m going again with the Keep It Simple Saturday. For dinner (and leftovers) – a slow cooker Swiss style round steak. It’s on sale for $3.99 pound at a local chain. I like to pair the Swiss steak with yellow rice and a tossed salad. You can add garlic, oregano, and thyme, and give it an Italian flair and serve with pasta. Dessert for the evening is going to be toasted, sliced pound cake (purchased – did I mention today was KISSaturday?) and topped with ice cream or sherbet of your choice.

Breakfast is cheese toast with a side of fresh fruit. Lunch is chunky tuna salad stuffed into pita pockets and cut up veggies on the side. I keep cut up veggies on hand all the time for my bento and my husband’s lunch or for snacks. Same with fruit. I buy fresh strawberries on the cheap or, use bananas cut up with pineapple chunks. Apples, oranges, and tangerines are always on hand. We are big on getting our five servings of fruit and veggies every day. You can use canned fruit in juice for ease and frugality. Sometimes I open a can of chunky mixed fruit in their juice and add sliced banana.  But I am a fresh girl….in more ways than one!!!

I am going to fix the tuna salad first so the flavors can blend and then throw the round steak together in the slow cooker. When this gets to going, your house is going to smell sooooo good! You can watch basketball games on the tube, run errands, have that rare lunch with a friend, sneak in a nap or read…..be all kinds of busy while this cooks without you having to worry.

Now remember, this is KISSAturday – not haute cuisine-impress your foodie friends-make something exotic Saturday. Ingredients are simple, easy to find, based on frugalness, and tried and true combos for a savory comfort factor. We’ll get into fancy-schmancy another time.  Enjoy your Saturday. Don’t make yourself crazy. And take some time to take a walk and enjoy winter beauty…it has its own style and is as seductive as spring, if you learn to appreciate it.

Cheese Toast– per serving
(I shouldn’t have to tell you this but……)
2 slices of bread – your choice
Schmear of low fat margarine or be bad and use butter
Cheese of your choice – enough to cover two slices of bread

Schmear butter on bread and top with cheese. Please cheese side up in a toaster over or under the broiler until it is melted and bubbly.

Chunky Tuna Salad
2 standard cans of chunk white tuna in water, drained
¼ c. chopped onion
¼ c. chopped green or red pepper
¼ c. chopped celery
Dash of hot sauce
Dash of lemon juice
     Enough mayo to bind ingredients. Mix all well. Some curry powder is good added to this as a change from standard mixes. Stuff in pita pockets, spread on bread slices, or eat as I do on lettuce.

SWISS STEAK
1.5 – 2 Lbs beef round steak, cut into serving size pieces: 6 – 8
2 cans whole or diced tomatoes, smushed
1 envelope onion soup mix (I use ½ envelope and use a store brand)
1 medium onion sliced
1 small green pepper, sliced
Salt and pepper
Few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
     Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. Put some of the tomatoes and veggies in bottom of cooker and top with steak pieces. Top with remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Serve with rice, noodles, or mashed taters.  If you do the Italian seasoning, serve with pasta.

swiss steak

Slow Cooker Recipe: Part II Meatless Chili

People have an opinion about chili.  Ask them.  They’ll tell you.  It has to be just meat and no beans, it has to be hot enough to scorch the small hairs if dropped in your lap, it has to have special home crafted chili powder, it has to be made with lots of veggies, it has to be served over spagetti noodles….on and on.  Whatever.  IMHO, my take on chili is: easy, full of flavor, cheap.  Easily adjustable to individual palates and diets, this chili is just plain ol’ good.  Start it at breakfast and scarf it up at supper time with your family or some good friends.  Wash the slow cooker….done!!!!

 

Olive oil – 1 – 2 tbs4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
Small bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
Small zucchini, chopped (or not or small chopped sweet potato). 
1 28 ounce can tomatoes (if using whole, peeled, chop or mush up with your hands)
Several shakes hot pepper sauce or to taste (Crystal, Franks, Tobasco, etc.)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp chili powder
1/3 tsp cumin
1  1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
4 standard size cans beans, drained and rinsed (I used  dark kidney, pinto, great northern, and red beans drained and rinsed, basically, what I had in the pantry) 

How To:
On medium heat, sauté chopped veggies, garlic and onion about 3 minutes, until al dente.  Add the cumin and chili powder and cook for another minute. 

Place sautéed ingredients into slow cooker.  Add remaining ingredients and stir well to combine.  Cover and cook on low setting for about six – eight hours.  About halfway through cooking, I checked for the need to add some additional liquid or adjusting seasonings.   

Serve over cooked brown rice, quinoa, or not. You can do it southwestern style and serve with tortilla chips or old school with saltines, crackers, or bread.

Non-vegan serving option:  top with low fat sour cream or plain yogurt, shredded cheese, chopped scallions, any or all.

Slow Cooker Food: Part I Irish Oatmeal

NOTE:  I posted this last November.  I am posting again along with another post of Overnight Oats.  I have made some changes to this.  For those of you who want to eat healthier and don’t have the time, and trust me, I understand, this is a great recipe.  So is the Overnight Oats but I’ll get into that in that post.  Below is the original post for this:

*******

It is starting to be crazy time…..in the states we have the Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years insanity.  I like to fix food that is brainless, yummy, and soothing. I also like foods for crappy rainy/snowy weather that puts its arms around you and soothes and warms you.

NOTE:  Some of you may have noticed I do not add pictures of food being prepped, packages of ingredients, etc.  My thing is:  you all cook.  You know how to chop things, what food ingredients look like, etc.  Unless it is something downright weird or incredibly hard, you are on your own.  I trust you.  If you every have any questions, please do contact me.

Slow Cooker recipes Part I:  Slow Cooker Irish Oatmeal

  • 1 cup steel cut oats (or Irish oats)  Not: quick, instant, etc.
  • 4 cups liquids (I used 2 cups water, 1 c. natural apple juice & 1 cup regular flavor almond milk)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (I use a good cinnamon, usually Saigon)
  • 1 apple, skinned & chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins, or craisins, or dried plums (chopped into raisin size pieces)
  • Stevia, honey, raw sugar or other sweetener of your choice to taste, or not
  • Optional: ¼ c. chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds….I love nuts. You don’t have to.

Add apples, dried fruit, and cinnamon to crock-pot.  Plus 1 cup steel cut oats.  Then 4 cups liquids.  Stir everything well and set slow cooker to low setting for 7 hours. The cinnamon on top was crusty, and the apples  fell apart in my mouth.  My whole house smelled like apple pie.  Even my cat was trolling for breakfast.  This reheats well.  You can also add the chopped nuts afterwards in case someone has nut allergies.

Steel Cut Oatmeal

Steel Cut Oatmeal (Photo credit: missYcola)

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