I babysit my twin grandbabies 3-4 days a week, and they are adorable handfuls! They keep me so busy that it’s hard to find the time to make dinner, that’s about when they get a wee bit fussy. Many days my husband and son pick-up dinner on their way home, but there’s really nothing like a home cooked meal.
To keep us fed and the twins happy I’ve turned to my crock pot. It makes my life so much easier, it’s a great way to multi-task. I toss ingredients in it in the morning before the twins arrive and have dinner ready in the evening. My crock pot is even big enough to cook food for my son and his wife, so I pack some up to go. I just have to keep reminding them to bring back the containers if they want more home cooked meals!
Beef Stew is one of the best things to cook in a crock pot. The slow cooking process makes the meat tender and tasty so you don’t have to use the more expensive cuts of meat. I’ve made stews on the stove, most of the recipes I’ve come across involves dredging the meat in flour, just an extra messy step in my opinion. My crock pot stew doesn’t involve dredging, I just toss all the ingredients in the pot and my stew comes out just as good, if not better.
Beef stew is just one of those comfort foods that I need every so often, specially when it’s chilly outside. I know that sounds weird if you know I live in Hawaii, but has been getting quite chilly at my house, at least for me. I wear a sweater when the temperature drops to 60!
My family, like most folks in the islands, eat stew with steamed white rice. You can serve this stew with rice, or any other starch you prefer. Hope your family loves it the way my family does! Enjoy!
The Best Crock Pot Beef Stew
3 1/2 lbs. chuck roast
1 lb. bag baby carrots
3 large celery stalks
6 small or medium sized potatoes ( I prefer Yukon Gold or the Red Skinned ones)
1 large onion
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbls. rosemary (dried or fresh)
1 tbls. oregano (dried or fresh)
3 tbls. cornstarch
sea salt to taste
1. Cut roast into 1″ chunks trimming off fat.
2. Wash celery stalks and slice into 2″ sections.
3. Scrub potatoes well and cut in half, then cut halves into 4 chunks each.
4. Toss everything, including baby carrots, into the crock pot.
5. Sprinkle with spices.
6. Pour vegetable broth and 1 cup beef broth over all.
7. Dissolve cornstarch in remaining 1/2 cup beef broth and pour over all.
8. Stir everything together making sure the cornstarch mixture is well distributed.
9. Cover pot and set on slow cook for 8-10 hours.
Serve when ready. Store leftovers in airtight container in the refrigerator. Believe me you’ll want to make extra just for leftovers, it tastes even better the next day!
If you’ve a yen for some comfort food nothing is more comforting than this Italian Herb Pot Roast. It’s delicious, filling, and oh so easy to make!
I make this Italian Herb Pot Roast in the crockpot. All you have to do is toss in all the ingredients, including the veggies, set the pot to slow cook, and when you come home your dinner’s ready!
What makes my Italian Herb Pot Roast different from all the other pot roast recipes out there? I add lots of garlic and a bit of Balsamic Vinegar to give it extra flavor. And since you’re throwing everything in the pot it’s really a complete meal. Best of all I use chuck roast, one of the least expensive cuts of meat. This meal isn’t only easy to make, it’s easy on the budget too!
Italian Herb Pot Roast is the perfect comfort food for rainy or snowy days. Served with a loaf of fresh crusty bread or even garlic knots it’s simply a delicious meal the whole family will enjoy!
So the next snowy or rainy day, or just because you feel the need for some good old fashioned comfort food haul out your crockpot and make some Italian Herb Pot Roast. Here’s the recipe!
2-3 Lbs. Chuck Roast
4 Large Potatoes scrubbed clean and cut in quarters
2 Cups Baby Carrots
1 Large Onion cut into large chunks
6 Cloves Garlic finely minced
1 Tbls. Italian Seasoning
1 Tsp. Oregano
1 Tsp. Rosemary
1/2 Tsp. Thyme
2 Cups Beef Broth
1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
Toss all the ingredients into a crock pot.
Stir gently making sure to get some of the liquid on top of the roast.
I used to make homemade Pasta Sauce with fresh tomatoes and seasonings. Those days are long gone. With everything going on I just can’t seem to find the time so like many busy folks I started to use store bought sauce in a jar. There are many brands and flavors out there, many of them are just fine I guess, but they just aren’t the same as homemade. Well you don’t have to settle for generic pasta sauce. With just a bit of dressing up you can make jar pasta sauce taste like homemade. Yes even the less expensive store brands! All it takes are a few extra ingredients stirred into the sauce as you heat it. No chopping involved, promise!
I make this sauce to use for spaghetti, ziti, and other pasta dishes. You can even use it for pizza, and it’s great for dipping my Stromboli in!
You can make sauce ahead for later use. I usually pour it into mason jars and store in the fridge for about a week or so. For longer storage you can seal it or freeze it in the jars, that way you’ll always have pasta sauce handy!
I like to use fresh herbs from my garden. I always keep small pots of herbs in the kitchen. It’s a very inexpensive way to add fresh herbs when you need them. Just pinch off what you need when you need it. But if you don’t have fresh herbs no worries, just use the spices in you spice rack!
Here’s what you need to dress up your store bought jar of pasta sauce.
1 Jar or Can of Pasta Sauce – Original or Garlic & Onion work best
1 Can Diced Stewed Tomatoes – Italian Style – half drained
1 Tbls. Garlic Powder
1 Tsp. Oregano (fresh or dried)
1/2 Tsp. Rosemary (fresh or dried)
1/2 Tsp. or 3-4 leaves Basil (fresh or dried)
Place jar pasta sauce in a pot.
Add stewed tomatoes, garlic, and herbs. If you’re using fresh herbs rinse them in water, pat dry with a paper towel, and tear into small pieces before adding to sauce.
Stir to mix well.
Simmer about 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes to keep from scorching.
Serve over hot pasta or place in jars for later use.
Store sauce in the fridge for about a week or freeze.
Almost Homemade Pasta Sauce
Dress up store bought jar pasta with a few easy ingredients. It will taste like homemade!
Another one of my favorites when I’m visiting Jordan or Dubai is Shish Taouk, Lebanese Chicken Kebobs. I eat this for dinner almost everyday when I’m in that part of the world, basically because I don’t eat lamb (which I’m told is very good there) and really because I just love it.
Shish Taouk, like Souvlaki is marinated in yogurt, placed on skewers, and grilled; the biggest difference is the spices used in the marinade. I mix my marinade in a large mason jar that way I can shake it until all the ingredients are combined, then I pour the mixture into a large ziplock bag and place the chicken pieces inside. I marinate the chicken overnight in the refrigerator and place them on skewers just before we grill them.
Another “secret” I’ve discovered in the Middle East is to let the cooked chicken skewers “set” in a large covered WARM pan for about 5-7 minutes before serving. This lets the chicken soak up it’s juices and the meat comes out very tender and juicy.
In Lebanese restaurants in both Amman and Dubai Shish Taouk is usually served with french fries and hummus with pita bread. I prefer to have it with steamed white rice. You can even place the chicken (sans skewers) on a pita add sandwich fixings and have a Shish Taouk Sandwich.
3 pounds chicken tenderloins – cut into cubes (each tenderloin will make 3-4 cubes)
1 cup lemon juice
3 Tbls. minced garlic
1/2 cup FULL FAT Greek yogurt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 tbls. tomato paste
salt to taste
Place all ingredients except the chicken pieces in a large jar.
Shake jar until well combined.
Pour mixture into ziplock bag.
Add chicken cubes to bag.
When ready to grill place 3-4 chicken cubes on to a skewer.
Grill until just done -do not over cook – chicken should be firm but not hard
Place skewers in warm covered pot for 5-7 minutes to set before serving.
Whenever we are in LA there’s this place we frequent, Zankou Chicken; although their specialty is the delicious rotisserie chicken they also serve beef and chicken kebobs and shawarma wraps. We love the beef shawarma so much that we buy a dozen or so to take home with us.
Since there are no trips planned to LA anytime soon I decided to try my hand at making my own.
Shawarma is usually cooked on a spit and slow roasted as it turn, I don’t have one of those machines so I found a way to make it using just my oven and stove top.
To make the meat extra tender I used thinly sliced boneless beef short ribs with all the fat trimmed off. I adapted a chinese restaurant method used to tenderize their stir fry meat and it made my ribs very tender.
The secret to great shawarma is the spices used to marinate the meat. So get out your spice rack to make this tasty recipe. We make it into wraps using either pita bread or nan. Served with crunchy dill pickles and my sun dried tomato/roasted red pepper hummus and you’ve got a filling meal.
My family thinks my version is just as good as the shawarma we buy at Zankou!