Thursday, September 25, 2014

Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats

2 apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2-1/2 to 3 cups chopped)
1-1/2 cups fat-free milk (or substitute non-diary alternative like almond milk)
1-1/2 cups water
1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar (or substitute maple syrup or other desired sweetener)
1-1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 5-6 pieces (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional garnishes: chopped nuts, raisins, maple syrup, additional milk or butter

Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for approx. 7 hours (slow cooker times can vary). Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add optional toppings, if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Freezes well.

To reheat single servings: Put 1-cup cooked oatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Add 1/3 cup fat-free milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot.

Recipe can be doubled in 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Increase cooking time 1 hour.


  • This recipe was a creamier texture than the other one I tried.
  • It made 4 generous servings (could also be 5 smaller ones).  We ate two right away and refrigerated the other two for later in the week.  It was better fresh, but microwaved just fine too.
  • I can't remember what kind of apple I used, but it was pretty bland.  I'd try something like a granny smith next time.
  • I bought a small crock pot just to try this recipe, but it seems to have a hot spot (evidenced by the very overcooked corner of things).  I'm going to return it and try a double boiler method in my regular crock pot next time.  (see below)
  • Source
  • UPDATES: I used the double boiler method below and it was perfect.  I also used two unpeeled granny smith apples this time and the apple flavor was much more pronounced.  I'd recommend both of these and will be making this recipe regularly throughout the winter.
  • Makes 5-6 servings and reheats well in the microwave.

Double Boiler Method:  (Source)
You can completely avoid burnt oatmeal edges and cook it for an extended time by turning your slow cooker into a double boiler. It's easy.

Find a heat-proof bowl that will nest inside your slow cooker.
Coat the inside of the bowl with cooking spray.
Add water to the slow cooker on the outside of the bowl, until it reaches approx. half way up the side of the bowl.
Add the oatmeal ingredients to the bowl, and stir.
Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for up to 8 hours (it was ready sooner, but it held for 8 hours)
This method worked great for me. I had my slow cooker on for 8 hours of cooking, and then it went to the warm mode for awhile after that. There were absolutely no browned or burnt edges. The texture of the oats was perfect. Another benefit of this method--clean up is a breeze! I put the bowl in my dishwasher and dumped the water and dried inside of slow cooker with a towel--done!

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced bell peppers
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion

For the Lemon Oregano Dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • juice and finely minced zest of one lemon
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tbsp dried oregano)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


  • Bring the water, salt and quinoa to a boil over low heat.
  • Cover and simmer slowly for 15 to 20 minutes until the grains are cooked but still a little firm to the bite.
  • Remove from heat and add the tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, olives and green onion.
  • Toss everything together with the Lemon Oregano Dressing.
  • For the Lemon Oregano Dressing
  • Whisk together the olive oil, honey, lemon zest, oregano, salt and pepper.
  • Pour over the salad while warm and toss very well.


  • Healthy, easy, good for several days, uses garden ingredients I have now.
  • I got this recipe from Deb L.  She added cubed avocado and really liked it.
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Friday, September 12, 2014

Black Bean Soup

I don't know if this was the best soup I've ever eaten, but we did like it and it was easy enough to finish up the cooking when I got home from work.

1 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
4 carrots, diced
3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
6 cups chicken broth
4 15-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed (you can also make your own recipe-ready black beans)
Salt and pepper
Saute onion, garlic, pepper, carrots, and celery in oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally and cook until softened. Add chili powder and cumin and saute for a few more minutes.

Stir in broth and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Remove a few cups of the soup and puree in a blender. Stir pureed soup back into the soup, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for about 5 more minutes.

Serves 6.


  • This could easily be an "all Aldi" recipe and if you started with dried beans the cost per serving would be pennies for a very hearty soup.
  • I had turkey stock in the freezer from last Thanksgiving and used that instead of the broth.
  • I did the saute step this morning and reheated for the last 25 minutes when I got home later in the day.  
  • Guessing it would freeze well.
  • Easy and good.

Slow-Cooker Asian Braised Beef Short Ribs

Serves four to six.
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth 
  • 3/4 cup hoisin sauce 
  • 3 scallions, white parts minced, green parts sliced thin 
  • 4 teaspoons Asian chili-garlic sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon instant tapioca 
  • 5 pounds bone-in English-style short ribs, excess fat trimmed 
  • Salt and pepper 
Combine broth, hoisin, scallion whites, chili-garlic sauce, and tapioca in slow cooker. Season short ribs with salt and pepper and nestle into slow cooker. Cover and cook until beef is tender, 9 to 10 hours on low or 6 to 7 hours on high.

Transfer short ribs to serving platter, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. Skim excess fat from surface of sauce. Pour sauce over short ribs and sprinkle with scallion greens. Serve over rice.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Grandma's Cole Slaw

How could I not have posted this before?

First the "official" recipe:

  • 7/8 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 c vinegar (calls for "tarragon or other")
  • 1/4 c salad oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 head of shredded cabbage

Now the version I usually make:

  • half of the dressing recipe (cut cabbage, especially when shredded, adds liquid to the recipe and a full batch of dressing is always too much, imo)
  • using miracle whip
  • and plain, white vinegar
  • skip the onion
  • medium/small head of cabbage
  • Quite often I don't measure very carefully - it's a pretty forgiving recipe.
  • It was originally from the A & W or Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in Staples and my recipe card calls it Ozzie's Cole Slaw.  (Ozzie Anglin? was the restaurant owner.)
  • It was cut down from a huge restaurant recipe, hence the 7/8 cup measurement.
  • If you use some red cabbage, add it at the last minute or the dressing will get all pink.

Crock Pot Barbecued Ribs

I made this in the crock pot today using boneless ribs I had left over from the adventure in the photo.
They were very easy and adding the baking step at the end made them better than the average, overcooked crock pot meat.

 3 pounds baby back ribs, trimmed
 salt and ground black pepper, to taste
 1/2 cup water
 1/2 onion, sliced
 1 clove garlic, minced
 1 (18 ounce) bottle barbeque sauce


  • Season ribs with salt and pepper.
  • Pour water into slow cooker. Layer the ribs into the slow cooker. Top the ribs with onion and garlic.
  • Cook on High for 4 hours (or Low for 8 hours).
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  • Transfer ribs to a baking sheet. Discard onion and garlic. Coat ribs with barbeque sauce.
  • Bake in preheated oven until the sauce caramelizes and sticks to the meat, 10 to 15 minutes.


  • I used boneless ribs
  • and less barbecue sauce than called for
  • Very easy with a better than average finish.  Quick enough to do after work.
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Friday, September 5, 2014

Mexican Biscuit Casserole

1 1/2 lb. hamburger
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
3/4 c water
1 16 ounce can kidney beans, undrained
1 11 ounce can corn w/ sweet peppers, drained

3 1/4 cups bisquick
1 c milk

3 c shredded cheese

  • Brown the hamburger, add water, seasoning mix, beans and corn.  Bring to boil.
  • Meanwhile, mix milk and bisquick and form biscuits.
  • Put meat mixture into a sprayed 9 x 13 dish.
  • top with at least half of the cheese and then place the biscuits on top of the hot meat mixture.
  • Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until the biscuits are lightly browned.  
  • Take out of the oven, top with remaining cheese and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Very easy and we all liked it.
  • Next time, change the meat to 1 pound, put it in a 9x9 baking dish and use half a batch of biscuits.  (We thought the meat to biscuit ratio was pretty low.)
  • Regarding the biscuits - this recipe could be made easier with a can of refrigerator biscuits.  It could be made tastier with a home made biscuit recipe.  Really, any would work.
  • This could be a freezer meal.  Just package the cooked meat mixture in a ziploc and package it with the right amount of cheese and a pack of frozen biscuits.  Assemble before serving, but it's probably worth noting that the meat would need to be reheated before assembly.  (Not sure if that's important or not, but the original recipe specifically says "hot."
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