Beef Stew

It’s been a busy week so I haven’t had much time to sit down and write, but I wanted to quickly share this yummy Beef Stew recipe with you all! This is another recipe from Damn Delicious, with some slight tweaks. A really awesome recipe, and lots of leftovers which will be great for us since this is a busy week!

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Slow Cooker Basic Chili

I adore chili. There are so many different variations of it and so many things you can do with it to either spice it up or just make a bit more unique and add some different ingredients to. And if you have leftovers, there are so many more possibilities! You can get some nacho chips and use it as dip, or spread some on top of a hot dog, you can put some on top of a burrito or even your spaghetti! What’s not to love?

The only problem I ran across when looking for a good recipe to try out was that my boyfriend and I couldn’t really settle on one that we’d both really like. He enjoys very hot & spicy food, whereas I can’t stand anything too hot or spicy. So trying to get a chili that we’d both enjoy was a bit of an experiment. He wanted me to ask our friend for her recipe, which to be honest, is a pretty amazing chili recipe. But we eat over there a lot, and end up having that chili at least a few times a year. So I wanted to come up with something that was a bit more unique to us at home and not something we can just go eat elsewhere.

SC - Basic Chili


SLOW COOKER BASIC CHILI

 
 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 tbsp onion, minced
  • 28 oz (1 can) diced tomatoes
  • 15 oz (1 can) tomato sauce
  • 30 oz (2 cans) kidney beans
  • 10 oz (1 can) sliced mushrooms

SEASONING

  • 4 tbsp chili powder
  • 4 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp oregano
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 – 2 tsp cayenne powder (to taste)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix all seasonings together & store in a container to re-use extras later.
  2. In a skillet, cook ground beef & drain.
  3. Add onion and 3 tbsp of your pre-mixed seasoning mix.
  4. In a 6 qt crock pot, add tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, mushrooms and 2 tbsp more of your seasoning mix and meat & stir.
  5. Cook on low for 6-8 hrs or on high for 3-4 hrs.

Now, this recipe is a bit of an experiment. We took about 3 recipes that we thought sounded good and did a bit of altering to suit our tastes. Normally we would add in some corn, but decided to skip that for now. The extra seasoning mix is also useful to add to other dishes to spice them up a bit, or for those who like their chili a bit hotter. We put outs in a little shaker container so we can easily add some extra to our own chili, or to other dishes that we make. It really comes in handy in a household if someone likes to spice up their food, or if you have a picky eater and have to cook to their tastes & add extras to your own later.
Basic Chili
It turns out that my boyfriend is in fact crazy, and actually added extra hot sauce to his chili, but it still turned out amazing in my opinion! I personally wouldn’t change much about this recipe, it tasted very much like the chili that my parents used to make, so eating this totally took me back in time a bit! Definitely will be a recipe that I will be using many times in the future.

 

Honey Garlic Chicken & Veggies

The other day after tossing all of the old (and flavourless) spices I found in the depths of the  neglected pantry, I went and replaced the majority of them, and got a few things to try two slow cooker meals for my  boyfriend and I this weekend. I’m really excited to see how they both turn out, and if we’ll both like them enough to want to have them again in the future! I’m also excited to start keeping track of how much money we’ll be saving by cooking at home and eating less take-out and fast food!

Here is the recipe I am trying today, which can also be found over at Damn Delicious. I decided to try this one first, as I’ve had it before at my sister’s house last year and absolutely fell in love with it. Also, I love chicken. If something has chicken in it, chances are that I will promptly become obsessed with it (unless it’s really spicy, then I just cry and feel sick). And from what I remember, everything had so much amazing flavour packed into it that it was really hard to resist wanting to eat the whole pot full (I’m not even exaggerating, it really is that good!)!

SC-Honey Garlic Chicken and Veggies


SLOW COOKER HONEY GARLIC CHICKEN AND VEGGIES

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 16 ounces baby red potatoes, halved
  • 16 ounces baby carrots
  • 16 ounces green beans, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large bowl, combine soy sauce, honey, ketchup, garlic, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and pepper.
  2. Place chicken thighs, potatoes, carrots and soy sauce mixture into a 6-qt slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours, basting every hour. Add green beans during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
  3. OPTIONAL: Preheat oven to broil. Place chicken thighs onto a baking sheet, skin side up, and broil until crisp, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Serve chicken immediately with potatoes, carrots and green beans, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Aaaaand, that’s it! Yep. Really! Four quick & easy steps, and the end result is yummy chicken, potatoes, carrots and green beans (except I got distracted and didn’t remember to put the greens beans in on time, oops!)!
I think next time we’ll double up on the garlic, as I really would have liked for that flavour to stand out a little bit more than it did. But I was so impressed with how good it all turned out, and how much flavour the chicken and carrots had absorbed! Normally I am just a regular fan of carrots, but these carrots were really yummy and I wish I’d added in a bit extra because they were just that good. But all in all it turned out really well and we had leftovers for lunch the next day!
My next slow cooker meal is probably going to be chili, once I nail down a recipe that I think the both of us will like! Here’s hoping it turns out great!

Today is THE Day!

Maybe.

I always get into little phases where I am all into something, and a few days later I am sooooo done with it all. I blame a bit of this on my personality disorder, because I can go from absolutely loving something to (seemingly – sometimes I really just burn myself out on things because I go so hardcore) absolutely hating it within minutes.

Anyhow, my phase this week? Well, I guess it’s 2. Or 3? It’s a few!

First: Cooking & Meal Planning! We have been spending far too much on our Grocery budget (which, to be honest, is actually more of a Take-Out and Eat-Out budget). So, I’ve never been too great of a cook so I decided I am going to start out with slow cooker recipes, and once I feel more comfortable with those I will actually dive into some stuff that takes a bit more prep time and a bit less cooking time…and a bit more skill besides tossing things in a pot and waiting.

spices

Suuuuper old spices that lost their flavour years ago!

That brings me to my Second phase: De-Cluttering (AKA Get Rid of The Shit!). We live in a small house, and it’s old…and storage space is pretty much nonexistent. Along with that are shelves that haven’t been dusted in ages, drawers that almost fall onto your feet if you open them too far, and just a lot of junk stashed everywhere. It’s a mess and it drives me nuts! So I am going to dedicate a bit of time each day to removing some clutter and tidying up. I figure if I do this in small increments it will be much easier to do and won’t overwhelm me (much). Also I won’t feel so crazy trying to keep the kitchen clean & organized once I can get rid of some useless clutter, which will make me want to cook more, woot!

Third: NaNoWriMo! I’ve been wanting to do this for a few years now, but I either forget or I run into the problem where my story seems cool for like, 4 days, then I absolutely hate it. It suddenly feels childish and stupid, it makes no sense and I can’t seem to make anything out of it. So I give up. BUT NOT THIS YEAR. This year I am going to be a bit of prep work (though I should have started a few weeks ago so as not to overwhelm myself, but oh well … I forgot!) and I am just going to push through the crappy parts and write it anyways. I know the first draft isn’t going to be amazing, but maybe actually having a bit of a plan down on paper will help more than just random thoughts I’ve held in my head for a while. And I decided that I’m going to write about BPD this year, which makes it even more exciting to me!

And last, but not least…and not exactly a phase, is just getting all my thoughts and emotions back out again by writing. Whether anyone ever see’s it or not, no big deal. I have realized lately that I do need some sort of outlet instead of reaching out to negative places or people just so that I feel heard. It also really helps to stabilize my emotions so I don’t feel like crying and throwing a temper tantrum over the few tiny (and usually silly) moments in my day where things don’t go quite as planned.