Sunday, October 18, 2009

Potato Soup in the Crockpot

8 potatoes peeled and chopped

1 med. white onion chopped

2 carrots, chopped small

2 ribs celery, chopped

1 can (2 C.) chicken broth

2 TBL. dried parsley

1 1/2 tsp.salt

1/4 tsp. white pepper

1 C. milk

1/2 C. Flour

green onions, chopped
bacon, fried and chopped
grated cheddar cheese

**Put all ingredients down to pepper into crock pot. Add water to within 1 inch of the top of the crock pot. Cook on high for 8 hrs. 1 hour before serving, put milk into container w/lid. Put flour in milk, and shake. Stir in milk/flour mixture into soup. Serve soup topped with green onions, bacon, and cheese as desired.

This is a very easy soup (I'm all about the easy). It is VERY good and my kids love it. Then of course my kids fight over who gets the last piece of broccoli, and eat artichokes. However, this is a good soup for kids because there's nothing "weird" in it, everything is chopped and diced small, and it's creamy. Also, you can serve it in a bread bowl like chowder and they think that's really cool.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Crockpot Beef Stew

I apologize now for this recipe. You see, like many of my recipes they are in my head and not from a book. So, there are no "exact" measurements. When you read my recipes think of the Pirates of the Caribbean....they're not rules, more like guidelines. So here goes...


1-2 lbs stew meat

small bag baby carrots (I chop once in half to make easier bites for the little ones)

1 small onion (I use white), chopped

4 med-large potatoes, cubed

2-3 stalks of celery, chopped

2-3 gloves garlic, chopped (I use fresh, but you can stuff in jar)

2-4 C. beef broth

salt and pepper

*** Okay all I am going to give you my secret. Actually it's not a secret. My mother is Hispanic and she would laugh (and agree) and so would my Grandma when I say that any person of Mexican heritage knows that the meat always tastes better when it has been browned in bacon fat before going into any soup or stew. It's not exactly low fat, but hey "The fat is what gives it the flavor" words spoken verbatim by my Grandma. Anyway, I try not to use A LOT of bacon fat in my cooking, but I can't help myself (it's the Mexican in me). So, here's what I do.....

I buy the stew meat already cubed. I season it with salt and pepper. Warm a skillet with only 1-2 TBL of bacon fat on med-high because you want to brown the meat, not cook it. The juices in the meat will come out however once those steam off is when you'll get the good browning. Don't stir and fuss with the meat so much let it get a good brown coat on all sides. Chop onion and garlic while meat is browning. When meat is about halfway done browning, throw garlic and onion in pan. Stir around until everything has nice brown color. Turn off heat, sprinkle about 1 TBL flour on top of meat, stir. Meanwhile, sometimes it can take a while for the juices to steam off and that's when I get everything else (potatoes, carrots, and celery) chopped and cubed and into crock pot. Then I pour meat into crock pot, give it a good mix and pour in beef broth. A mistake many people make with the crock pot is putting in too much liquid. This is a stew and should be thick, so I only start with 2 C. of beef broth. I cook on low. If you are gone all day, don't worry the stew won't dry out, just add more broth if needed when you get home. If you're home, check it about midway through to see if it needs more liquid. My family likes it really thick so I wait until the end to add more liquid. The vegetables seem to soak in more of the juices and flavors this way.

Well, I think that is it. I hope I didn't forget anything. This is a great meal for these cold days. I serve it with biscuits and green salad. AND, no I'm not Betty Crocker. Pillsbury has really good ready to make frozen biscuits (my family prefers Southern Style) that you just pop in the oven. Honestly, I do make homemade biscuits from time to time (about as often as a Bigfoot sighting, but anyway) and I can't make them any better than these ready-made babies. So, I say why mess up the kitchen?

Lady Di