One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year was a new programmable crock pot. No more overcooking dinner when it cooks all day! I’ve been trying all kinds of different recipes while I’ve been off work, just to see how it performs. (So far, so good.) I was looking for something to do with all those oranges in this week’s box, and thought an orange chicken dish would be good. This Food.com recipe for Orange Stir Fry Sauce sounded really good. I added a little ginger to spice it up a bit.
Several months ago, I found this article from Artisan Bread in Five on Pinterest for making bread in a crock pot. I’ve been playing around with different bread recipes ever since. I love this recipe from theKitchn for whole wheat bread, and it works really well in the crock pot. The recipe makes 2 loaves of bread. After kneeding the bread, I divide the dough in half and put one part in the freezer for another day. For this loaf, I added green chile and cheddar cheese for a slightly spicy loaf to serve with potato soup.
Pour water into mixer bowl. Sprinkle with yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes, until yeast dissolves. Add milk, honey, and oil, stir to combine.
Add 2 cups of flour, stir to combine. Add remaining flour and salt, continue to stir until dough forms. Let stand 20 minutes.
Kneed dough by machine or hand until dough is smooth and springs back when poked. Divide dough in half. (I put the extra half in the freezer and thaw for later use.) Add chile and cheese to remaining half of the dough, continue to kneed briefly, until combined.
Tear a sheet of parchment paper slightly bigger than crock pot. Form dough into a round loaf. Place on parchment paper. Set paper into crock pot and cover. Turn crock pot onto high. Cook bread for about an hour, until bread springs back when touched. (Note that it will not be browned.) Watch bread closely, as every crock pot will heat a little differently. The loaf will be brown on the bottom when it is done.
When bread is "baked," place under broiler on low for a minute or 2 to brown the top. Let cool thoroughly before slicing.
I haven’t used by crock pot in a while, so I wanted to use it to make a work night main dish with the beets this week. Stew seemed the obvious choice. It was a great opportunity to clean out my refrigerator before our next box comes!
4 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves, removed from stems and chopped
1 pound beef stew meat cubes
4 medium beets, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
½ large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups beef broth
handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 cups cooked brown rice.
Heat oil in skillet. Combine flour and rosemary. Add beef cubes and toss to combine. Shake excess flour off the cubes, reserve. Brown beef in oil.
Place beef, reserved flour mixture, beets, carrots, onion, garlic, broth, and basil in crock pot. Cook on low for at least 8 hours. (I cooked it for 12 hours and it was not overcooked. Serve over brown rice.
I had originally planned to add some of the beet greens, but waited too long to get to this and the greens had wilted too much. If you are more organized than I am, give it a try, and let me know how it turns out.
I’m finishing up my last week of taking night and weekend call for my new job. Most of my calls seem to have come at dinner time, so we have eaten pretty late several nights. I didn’t think I would ever have time to get this recipe going, because I always do my crock pot prep work the night before. This recipe definitely requires pre-planning, because the dried beans require an overnight soaking before cooking. (Or, you could substitute canned beans.) It was so nice to come home after making an unexpected early evening visit to have soup ready to eat!
I am trying to use the crock pot a lot this week, since I have been working lots of hours at my new job. When I Googled “crock pot snow peas,” I came across this recipe from Suddenly Frugal for a crock pot stir fry. OK, so it isn’t fried. My version turned out good, but we did end up adding some extra soy sauce (so I am adding that to the recipe).