Wednesday, November 2, 2011

If I can't cook it in a crockpot I ain't interested

Up until recently my crockpot resided at the Verge where I only blew Nate's sawdust off it long enough to fill it with mulled wine at movie night. For reasons I can't quite explain I've become like a woman possessed in recent days cranking out two dinners and yogurt in my pot. Maybe I'm returning to my Nodak roots....

Where has it been all this time? Seriously. Dinner today took me 10 whole minutes to throw together. I may never cook any other way.

For starters here's that yogurt I mentioned. Easy peasy.

Next up lasagna....

Pardon the photo, I was too anxious to get eatin' to do any better. I've been training for the run to feed the hungry which has created a frenzy these days come dinner time.

Crockpot lasagna according to me -

1 15oz can tomato sauce
1 28oz can plum tomatoes
1 T oregano
1 T thyme
1 T olive oil
5 cloves of garlic
1 lb of baby spinach
4 bell peppers chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 container of ricotta
1 handful flat leaf parsley chopped
1 box lasagna noodles uncooked (doesn't have to be the quick kind)
1 bag of Italian shredded cheese blend
2 t salt

Make the sauce by combining the oil, tomatoes, thyme, oregano, 1 teaspoon of salt, and garlic. Once assembled in a bowl hit it with an immersion blender or throw in a food processor.

For the cheese filling combine the ricotta with the rest of the salt and the parsley.

Begin layering in your crockpot starting with a layer of sauce, then noodles (break 'em up to fit), then a layer of the ricotta mixture, an assortment of veggies, shredded cheese, then more sauce, and so on until you reach the top. Once you place the last layer of noodles on this masterpiece add one last layer of sauce and cheese pour about a 1/4 cup of water around the perimeter of the pot (I used the sauce can for this to wipe out the last bits of tomato business) put the lid on and turn it to low.

7 hours later you got a perfect lasagna! It's like magic and totally defied my expectations. Juicy but not soggy, rich in flavor, perfect lasagna in my book. I found some other crockpot lasagna recipes online which this is a modification of, mostly because the others included jars of premade sauce, etc which, while I know is part of the whole convenient crockpot ethos is a bridge too far for me. Jarred pasta sauce is the ick IMHO.

Moving right along this evening I made tamale pie in 10 minutes flat. I feel giddy typing this. It's like I have a new lease on life. Delicious dinner AND chill time. Win. Win.

Tamale pie:

1 jalapeno diced
1 red onion
3/4 c cheddar cheese
1 can corn drained
1 can pinto beans drained
1 T Mexican oregano
1 t chili powder
1 1/2 t cumin
4 tomatoes chopped or two 14 oz cans of fire roasted tomatoes
1 batch cornbread mix (I like Arrowhead Mills as a solid health food quality cornbread mix which is pretty dense)

Fresh salsa, sour cream, and green onions to garnish

Put the tomatoes, corn, beans, soyrizo (you can use actual chorizo instead or ground turkey or beef with taco seasoning but this would require pre-browning which would negate the 10 minute scenario I'm so pleased with), oregano, cumin, chili powder, onion, and 1/2 cup of the cheese in the crockpot.

Mix up the cornbread according to package directions and add the jalapeno. Stir to combine and pour in an even layer over the filling. Top with the 1/4 cup of remaining cheese and set on low for 6 hours.

Unbelievably the cornbread rose as though cooked in the oven but far moister as a result of the steam trapped in the pot.

I had it with a Barsao Garnacha and was feeling no pain.

Now to comtemplate what's gonna go in the pot next.....

No comments: