No mess slow cooker overnight oatmeal

5 May

I don’t know if my slow cooker temperatures just run really high, but I have been hard-pressed to find an overnight crock pot oatmeal recipe, using the low setting, that doesn’t end up with a thick, burned, hard crust of oatmeal around the edges.

Being the coward I am, I was always nervous to try using the ‘keep warm’ setting for fear my oats would end up watery and undercooked.  I owe many thanks to the Bob’s Red Mill blog for their trial and error that lead to this ingenious solution: boil the liquid before adding it to the crock. Liquid to oats ratio remains 4:1 and the preparation is still so simple. I use a large, glass measuring bowl to microwave my milk/water combo then dump in. Presto, voilà, finito. 

Also, make sure you use steel cut oats. Any other oats turn to a disgusting pile of mush (solely my opinion) when slow cooked to death. 

This recipe is totally customizable with your choice of liquid and stir-ins. At time of preparation, add raisins or other dried fruit, chopped nuts, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla.  NOTE: If adding dried fruit, do so toward end of cooking time (ie. when you’re returning to bed around 4 a.m. after changing the sheets and clothes of your bed wetter).  Top your individual servings with brown sugar, fresh fruit, peanut butter, flax seeds or chia seeds, and don’t forget more milk. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 4 cups any combination of water and/or milk (cow’s milk, almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, etc.)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt (optional)
  • Coconut oil or cooking spray
  • Any add-ins of your choosing

Coat crockpot with cooking spray or coconut oil.  Place oats and salt in the crockpot. Boil the water and pour over the oats. If using milk of any kind, do not bring it to a full boil, but heat until almost boiling and add to the crock. Set crockpot to ‘keep warm’ and heat overnight for 7 to 8 hours, or more. 

Harvest Vegetable Quinoa Soup

19 Mar

Harvest quinoa soup-001Harvest soup in March?  March is known for madness, so why not?  Add cooked cubed chicken–or not.  Quinoa is a complete protein so makes this tasty dish a complete meal without meat.  And it’s gluten free. This soup fits the bill for just about everyone!

Ingredients

  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ribs celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup diced baby carrots
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups torn kale
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ cubes
  • 2/3 cup quinoa
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, cubed (optional)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus extra for topping

Preparation

  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy pot or dutch oven over medium heat.  Add celery, carrots, and onion and season with salt and pepper.  Cook for ten minutes, or until tender.  Add the kale and garlic plus more salt and pepper and saute for three minutes.
  2. Add 7 cups of broth, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf and bring to a boil.  Add potatoes and quinoa.  Lower heat and simmer, covered for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and quinoa is cooked.
  3. Add in chicken, if desired, and heat through.  Turn off heat and stir in parmesan.  If necessary, add more salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe inspired by Iowa Girl Eats.

Photo by me, mylittlefoodspot.

Velveeta Macaroni and Cheese

10 Oct

Charity’s sensory issues have led me to cut artificial food dyes out of her diet.  Among the bajillion culprits lies Kraft’s Macaroni and Cheese, which uses yellow dye.  This has placed me on the hunt for a good homemade macaroni and cheese recipe.  In general I don’t like Velveeta recipes because they seem to turn out so thick and sticky.  And homemade versions using real cheddar, flour, and milk always seem a bit chalky and pasty to me.  This version of Velveeta macaroni and cheese, utilizing butter, flour and LOTS of milk creates a much creamier pasta than the recipe on the Velveeta box.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. uncooked macaroni
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 14 oz. Velveeta, cut into chunks
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs tossed with 3 T melted butter (optional)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare macaroni almost according to package directions.  Undercook by a minute or two and drain while still al dente.  You want a firmer pasta, so it doesn’t turn to mush as it bakes for 20 minutes.  Pour into a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.

Melt margarine in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in flour and cook for a few minutes, until color begins to darken without burning.  Whisk in milk and cook, stirring constantly until mixture bubbles and thickens.  Add chunks of Velveeta and stir to melt.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Pour sauce over macaroni. If desired, top with buttered panko.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Recipe inspired by food.com

Baked Spaghetti Squash with Garlic Sage Cream

10 Oct

Baked Spaghetti Squash with Garlic Sage Cream b

This was a great pairing.  I plan to prepare and serve this garlic sage cream with other roasted vegetables.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 3/4 cup half and half or heavy cream
  • 1 T flour
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Halve spaghetti squash and place cut side down on buttered baking sheet.  Bake for 40 minutes or until tender.  Cool to the point of being able to handle, remove and discard seeds then shred pulp gently with a fork so that strands resemble spaghetti noodles.  Place in a warmed serving bowl.

Mix flour into cold cream until smooth and, while squash is baking, heat with garlic and sage over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.  Pour sauce over squash, salt and pepper to taste, and toss lightly.  Top with Parmesan and serve immediately.

Baked Spaghetti Squash with Garlic Sage Cream

Recipe inspired by food.com, photo by me, MyLittleFoodSpot.com

 

 

Baked Spaghetti Squash Casserole with Sweet Sausage, Peppers and Onion

10 Oct

Baked Spaghetti Squash Casserole with Sweet Sausage, Peppers and Onion-001

This was fantastic!  I love using bratwurst in my pasta dishes in place of ground beef.  It bursts with flavor and adds sweetness.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 4 to 5 bratwurst, casings removed
  • 2 bell peppers, your choice of colors, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp each salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Halve spaghetti squash and place cut side down on buttered baking sheet.  Bake for 40 minutes or until tender.  Cool to the point of being able to handle, remove and discard seeds then shred pulp gently with a fork so that strands resemble spaghetti noodles.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

While squash bakes, cook and crumble bratwurst in a skillet over medium heat.  Add peppers, onion and garlic and continue cooking until vegetables are crisp tender.

Add squash, tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt and pepper to skillet and heat through.  Remove from heat and drain excess liquid.  Mix in 3/4 cup Parmesan and transfer to a greased 9×13 or oval 2 quart casserole dish.  Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, topping with remaining Parmesan for the last five minutes of baking time.

Baked Spaghetti Squash Casserole with Sweet Sausage, Peppers and Onion b

Recipe and photo by me MyLittleFoodSpot.com

Creamy Mushroom Basil Spaghetti Squash Casserole

10 Oct

Creamy mushroom basil spaghetti squashWe have been receiving quite a few spaghetti squash from Derek’s Aunt Verna and Uncle Glen.  I am always looking for new recipes and have found a few winners this fall.  I like the creamy, toasty crunch that this one packs.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small to medium spaghetti squash
  • olive oil for sauteeing
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 8 oz. fresh, sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup seasoned panko bread crumbs
  • 3 T butter, melted

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Halve spaghetti squash and place cut side down on buttered baking sheet.  Bake for 40 minutes or until tender.  Cool to the point of being able to handle, remove and discard seeds, then shred pulp gently with a fork so that strands resemble spaghetti noodles.  Place strands in a greased casserole dish, discarding shell.  Do not turn off oven.

While squash is baking, heat oil over medium heat and saute onion, mushroom, and basil until vegetables are just tender.  Stir sour cream and onion mixture into squash.  Gently mix in the parmesan cheese.  Combine the panko and melted butter and top casserole evenly with buttered crumbs.

Bake uncovered for 15 minutes.  Serve hot, creamy, and toasty!

Recipe inspired by allrecipes.com.

Photo by me, MyLittleFoodSpot.com

Quick Waffles

28 Jun

This recipe is for our Black & Decker wafflemaker.  It’s the only recipe we use from the Use and Care book so I’m putting it on this site because I just wanted to get the book out of my cupboard.  It’s not really anything special but it makes decent waffles.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preparation

Lightly brush waffle grids with oil.  Close unit and preheat at waffle setting.

In medium bowl, beat eggs until thick.  Add milk, vegetable oil and all dry ingredients.  Beat until smooth.

Pour 1 cup batter evenly on preheated grid.  Close unit; bake until light goes out (about five minutes).

BBQ Comfort Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes

15 Apr

BBQ Comfort Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes

This has become a weeknight favorite.  In a rush?  Pull out some ready-to-cook meatballs, whip up a quick sauce, add some instant mashed potatoes and a frozen veggie to the equation and you’ve got a meal fit for a busy and somewhat picky family.

Ingredients

  • 20-30 packaged, frozen Italian style meatballs

FOR SAUCE

  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 4 Tablespoons (to 6 Tablespoons) Onion
  • 1 dash Tabasco

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place frozen Italian style meatballs in a single layer on a cookie sheet.

Combine all sauce ingredients. Pour over meatballs and bake at 425 degrees for 22-23 minutes. Serve with egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or crusty French bread.

 

Recipe inspired by Pioneer Woman

Photo by me, mylittlefoodspot

Maple Dijon Glazed Chicken

15 Apr
Maple dijon glazed chicken
This dish is so easy to throw together and then immediately bake or freeze for another day.  It’s one of the eight meals from Six Sisters Stuff that I prepared in a two hour sitting frantic rush, just a few nights before our youngest was born.  The six sisters claim you can do it in one hour, but I was still pleased to completely prepare eight meals in such a short time.  They make it really easy for you, too, by providing a combined shopping list for all eight meals.  You can’t go wrong with that!  And while the slow cooker is an easy way to go, I prefer my food baked.  So bake it as described below, or slow cook it on low for 8 hours (on high for 4 hours).
Ingredients:
  • 1 (1.5 lb) pkg. chicken breasts or thighs (boneless, skinless)
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tbl. rice wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper for taste
  • Fresh or dried rosemary

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.  Mix together Dijon mustard, maple syrup and rice wine vinegar.  Put the whole package of chicken thighs into an oven-proof baking dish (I lined mine with aluminum foil for easy clean up).  Salt and pepper the thighs.  Pour your maple mustard mixture over them, turning the thighs in the mixture so they are fully coated.  Put the chicken thighs in the oven, and let them bake for 40 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F.  Baste the tops of the chicken with more sauce halfway through.  Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.  Sprinkle with fresh rosemary.
Photo by me, mylittlefoodspot

Grilled Meatloaf

15 Apr

Grilled meatloaf

As one of my favorite uses for the very versatile Dorothy Lynch dressing, this makes an incredibly moist, sweet, flavorful meatloaf.  The glaze is so easy and even Trevor likes it.  I prefer it to a baked meatloaf for a few reasons: it doesn’t end up floating in grease, I can easily grill my accompaniments, and, the biggie!, zero clean up.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. hamburger
  • 3/4 cup oatmeal
  • 2 T minced onion
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Dorothy Lynch Home Style Dressing‚ (separated 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup)
  • 1 T Dijon mustard

Preparation

In a large bowl, combine the oatmeal, onion, parsley, Worcestershire, eggs and 3/4 cup Dorothy Lynch.  Crumble beef over mixture and mix well with hands.  Shape into two loaves on a sheet of heavy-duty foil (do not seal foil).  Combine reserved dressing and mustard and spread over loaves.

Prepare grill for indirect heat; grill meat, covered, over indirect medium heat for 50 minutes or until meat is no longer pink and a meat thermometer reads 160°. Brush tops with additional sauce/dressing if desired. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

Grilled meatloaf b

Recipe inspired by Dorothy Lynch Home Style Dressing

Photos by me, mylittlefoodspot