All the hustle and bustle was worth every minute. What a beautiful Christmas.
Christmas Eve dinner was an amazing crockpot ham recipe that I am attaching here for you to add to your recipe boxes. This is the second time I have made this recipe and I highly recommend it. It feeds up to 18 people an amazing gourmet ham that allows you to enjoy all the holiday festivities without being tethered to the kitchen. The results are a beautiful moist sweet melt in your mouth ham!
The best part of the day was the little guy. He was so excited and so polite. He did not complain when we took our time savoring each gift from under the tree.
I was so excited (and honestly, had been hoping) to get a new pair of crocheted slippers from my favorite Sister In Law! You may remember the beautiful gray ones from last year, well I wore a hole right through the bottom of them. I have retired them until I am able to sew soles on them. I was so excited to get another pair! It was an added bonus that they couldn’t match my Christmas Pj’s any better if they tried!
Christmas concluded with an amazing Prime Rib dinner. I used an old recipe from my husband’s family. I should post that recipe for you too, eh? Okay, I will add it to the blogging inspiration list, I promise! Our tradition is Prime Rib and Yorkshire pudding (popovers). We added an old family recipe for Cesar Salad, some yummy butternut squash and an incredible dessert of Mimi’s own homemade Tiramisu.
The perfect Christmas with amazing family, wonderful memories and many, many leftovers!
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas filled with friends, family and many happy memories. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and all the love and hope for a wonderful 2013. Happy New Year!
Now that we are past the Halloween and Sandy rush, my mind has shifted to comfort food. I have had my crockpot out almost every night. A few months ago, I tried the oven version of Jamie Oliver’s Perfect Roasted Chicken. All I can say about this recipe is that it is perfect. You MUST try it if you haven’t already.
This week I tried the same recipe in my crockpot to see if it would work.
The roasted veggies weren’t as good as the oven, but still good. The chicken was just as FABULOUS! Of course, I used a free range chicken, which can get expensive. So I used the bones and skin to make my chicken broth, making a second meal of chicken soup. This used up the rest of the organic celery, carrots and onions too. I only added two grilled free range chicken breasts because my family prefers white meat in soup.
This gave us dinner for 3 nights total (for a family of 3), making the $8.00 free range chicken well worth the cost. Thank you, Jamie Oliver for inspiring me and families everywhere with your amazing dishes!
What’s in your crockpot as the weather grows cooler?
Since last year, our eating habits have changed. This has made me revisit some of our favorite recipes. This comfort food crockpot dish wasn’t changed too much, but I was able to add a few alterations that make it even better than before!
Apple Glazed Pork Roast
4lbs pork loin roast
6-8 large apples
1/4 cup Angry Orchard Hard Cider (crisp apple)
3 tbl brown sugar
1-2 tsp fresh ground ginger (depending on taste)
Trim excess fat from loin, set aside. Core and quarter apples. Place apple quarters in bottom of crockpot. Place roast on top of apples. Combine cider, brown sugar, and ginger. Spoon over top surface of loin, moistening well. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees (medium well) in the middle.
Serve with apples on top.
This was, by far, the best soup I have ever made. I think partly because I started with my own homemade broth.
Sidetracked: I just did a search on my blog to link to the recipe for my broth and realized that after 5 years of blogging, I have never told you how I make it. Well, that ends now! After making Rosemary Crockpot Chicken (I now add lemon and use fresh garlic), I put all the bones and unused meat (including skin) back in the crock. The more meat left, the better tasting your broth will be. I add enough water to almost fill the crock, a few more sprigs of rosemary, a bay leaf, any left over lemon juice, 3 gloves of crushed garlic, salt (about 2 tsps) and pepper (about 1/2 tsp) to the bones, skin and meat. Then I let it simmer on high until I go to bed, then I turn it down to low and let it cook overnight (some people don’t like doing this, but I’ve done it for years). By morning, remove the crock from the crockpot and let it cool a bit. Then separate the bones from the broth. Freeze or use fresh…it’s perfect, and the perfect starter to this awesome Barley Soup!
8 Cups of Broth (I usually get about 7 from my crockpot and added one cup of regular water)
1 cup pearled barley
1 cup carrots (chopped)
1 cup celery (chopped)
1 cup onion (chopped)
1 cup parsnips (chopped)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh dill (chopped)
1/4 cup fresh chives (chopped)
1. Bring stock to a boil, add barley, carrots, onion and parsnips.
2. Turn heat down to simmer and cover partially.
3. Simmer until barley is soft, add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Stir in dill and chives.
Please let me know if you try this recipe. Do you have another way you prepare broth?
When pork loin is on sale, I buy enough for two crockpot dinners. I usually start with the crockpot pulled pork, then I use the next serving for this super easy, recipe that packs lots of taste. It is a perfect combination of sweet, savory and tender apple and pork goodness.
Apple Glazed Pork Roast
4lbs pork loin roast
6 large apples
1/4 cup apple juice
3 tbl brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
Trim excess fat from loin, set aside. Core and quarter apples. Place apple quarters in bottom of crockpot. Place roast on top of apples. Combine apple juice, brown sugar, and ginger. Spoon over top surface of loin, moistening well. Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours or until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees (medium well) in the middle.
Serve with apples on top.
I am bummed to not have better pictures on this experience. I had some awesome pictures taken for each stage of this process. My computer had different ideas on what to do with the images. I have had some major computer problems and lost most of my pictures from this experiment. I am bummed because they were great pictures. Oh well, tis the risks when being a slave to technology.
One of my knitting goals for 2011 was to try Kool Aid Yarn Dyeing. I was really anxious to try this after seeing a great tutorial over on Tiny Twist Creative. I had some stash yarn, for it was something I wanted to try last year but wasn’t on my “goal” list.
At my LYS, I got the “Dye for Me” merino, cashmere, silk blend by Plymouth Yarns. It is a specialty yarn made for dyeing projects. It is a very soft lace weight yarn. We used 4 packages of kool aid, pink lemonade, black cherry, grape and fruit punch.
We added water and vinegar to the crockpot. I didn’t have measurements, but an almost full crockpot with a half cup of vinegar if I had to guess. After letting the yarn soak for 15 mins in the water and vinegar mix, it was simple. We just added kool aid.
This is where I lost all my pictures. I had great shots of all the colors in the pot, rinsing and it drying, but alas, they are gone. So, to explain, we dumped one packet on each corner of the crockpot and pushed it down a bit with a spoon. The color soaked up very quickly. I left it a bit longer because I wanted a more uniform looking yarn. Once the color is gone from the water, we rinsed it until the water ran clear. That didn’t take long at all. The color really attaches fast. Then we hung it to dry. This is the result…
It was so simple and fun. We will definitely try it again. Next time I think I will try to use more kool aid and possibly get a darker richer color. But what a fantastic project for the kids and another goal to check off the list!
This is one of the easiest and tastiest crockpot recipes I do. It’s super simple. Place a boneless pork roast (1-2 pounds) in your crockpot. Add two cloves of chopped garlic, one small onion and 3/4 of a bottle of your favorite bbq sauce. We use Bulls Eye, Memphis Style. Place the crockpot on low for 8-10 hours. The best part of this recipe is the longer it cooks, the better it gets. About an hour before serving, take two forks and pull apart the pork roast. Mix well. Add more bbq sauce if desired.
Stir well and let sit for another half hour or so. We always serve it on top of cornbread. Such a yummy and easy dish!
I have found whole chicken to be very affordable lately. This is the easiest way I have found to prepare that chicken. I worked a full day last Wednesday. The night before I took my whole chicken (that cost $3.00) out of the freezer and placed it in the fridge to thaw out. Wednesday morning before work, I took it out, pulled the giblets out, and cleaned out the body cavity. My Mom has also gotten me into the habit of pulling out the kidneys. They are located about a hands length into the cavity, and just pop out. Removing these will make the taste of your chicken much cleaner and light.
I ran out to the garden and cut three large sprigs of rosemary. I put the chicken in the crockpot, put the rosemary on top, then sprinkled with minced onion and garlic powder. Yep, this pic has a lot of garlic powder! LOL! I also added some salt and pepper and put it on low and cooked it all day (8 hours). That’s it. It takes about 5 mins to assemble. The best part of this chicken is the smell that fills your home awaiting your return. To prepare sides, I cheat and use a package of chicken gravy, but use the stock that has been perfectly created from the bottom of the crock pot. Serve it over the chicken with some quick potatoes and you have a perfect dinner!
Bare Cupboard Sweet and Sour Kielbasa
This is an easy and YUMMY recipe. I whipped it up last week with nothing in the house. It was too rainy to go to the store or I was too lazy, one or the other. I used this recipe from allrecipes.com as inspiration, but to be honest, the recipe was completely wrong. You cannot cook this for 30 mins in a slow cooker. That’s ok- use this recipe and you won’t be sorry. My pictures are of the recipe in the slow cooker. I had to pour all the ingredients into my Dutch oven to get it to cook in time for dinner.
1 package low fat kielbasa
11/2 cups of ketchup
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
3 tbs butter
½ cup chopped onions
4 tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut up kielbasa add it and the rest of the ingredients to a Dutch oven. Bring all ingredients to a boil. Turn down to simmer for 30 mins or longer. Prior to this recipe, I had only had sweet and sour kielbasa with grape jelly and chili sauce. This is much better with a great fresh tasting blend of sweet and tart. The longer it cooks the tastier it becomes. We served over fresh made egg noodles sold at my local specialty store. You can also put in a slow cooker for a party with toothpicks, but I recommend giving it 6-8 hours to cook.
This is one of my favorite recipes in the Crockpot. My Mom use to make it all the time. It is SO easy and so yummy. It smells up the whole house and makes me look forward to it all day.
Take one pot roast (it was on sale this week!) Place it in the crockpot with one package of onion soup and a can of cream of mushroom soup. If this is all you have- it is perfect with just these two ingredients. But to make it a little bit more fresh, I always add one fresh chopped onion, a fresh package of mushrooms and 5 or 6 cloves of garlic. Set the crockpot to low and let cook for 6-8 hours.
Once the roast is finished, pull it out to set. Add 1 tbsp of flour with a whisk to the gravy left in the pot. This makes the perfect gravy. We usually serve with mashed potatoes and something green.