Quiche in the Slow Cooker

Ingredients:

  • 1 dozen eggs (this freezes wonderfully so I make a full dozen!)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup Bisquick
  • 16 0z. spinach
  • Optional: Baker’s Joy or equivalent cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Whisk eggs until thoroughly beaten.
  2. While still whisking slowly add milk then Bisquick until completely incorporated.
  3. Add spinach (if it’s still frozen, break apart before adding).
  4. -Optional- This recipe tends to stick to the cooker so a release agent here is helpful.  If you use one, apply it to your cooker now.
  5. Pour entire mixture into slow cooker.
  6. Set your cooker to high for 3 hours.
  7. Your quiche is done when it starts to pull away from the sides of the cooker and/or a toothpick inserted in the middle comes back dry.
  8. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkled with garlic powder.

This was the most moist quiche I’ve ever had and I plan on expanding on this recipe in the future.

Let them eat Crockpot Cake!

Okay, so maybe Marie Antoinette didn’t say it exactly like that but if she had a Crockpot, I bet she would have!  I’ve heard rumors that you can back a cake in the crockpot but you know me, I have to find out for myself.  Now let me say that I wasn’t going to go crazy with a super-duper-completely-from-scratch recipe only to discover that you can’t actually bake a cake in a crockpot.  So I used a boxed cake.  Devil’s Food to be exact.  And I have to say… it came out tasty, moist and just like a regular over-baked cake.  OK, not exactly like an oven-baked cake because it was the shape of my semi oval crockpot and didn’t look very pretty (but I wasn’t going for aesthetics this time).  It was an experiment and now that I know, I can expand upon this.  Here’s my notes on baking a cake in the slow cooker:

Needs:

  • Boxed cake mix – including any requirements from the back of the box such as eggs, oil and water
  • Parchment paper OR Baker’s Joy (I do NOT use Baker’s Joy personally but have heard that it is the best product for this type of baking)
  • NOTE: You can use cupcake foils if they are stiff enough to stand on their own with the batter in them.
  • Crockpot/slow cooker

Directions:

  1. Mix batter as instructed on the back of the cake mix box.
  2. Line crockpot with parchment paper (I measure out the bottom of the pan and make neat folds for more aesthetically pleasing cake) or use Baker’s Joy.
  3. Pour batter into crockpot.
  4. Cover the top of the crockpot with paper towels (to absorb the moisture and allow the cake to actually bake).
  5. Put lid over the paper towels, pulling the towels taunt across so they don’t droop into the rising cake.
  6. Set your cooker on high for an hour.
  7. Check your cake after an hour with a toothpick.  Poke the cake in the center with the toothpick as far down as it will go and pull it back.  If it has batter on it, the cake is not done; cover with paper towels & lid and continue to bake for another half hour.  If it comes back clean, it’s done.
  8. Once done, immediately remove the cake by lifting the parchment paper and placing it on a cooling rack.  If you didn’t use a liner, allow the cake to cool enough to be able to handle it and remove from crockpot.
  9. Allow cake to completely cool before frosting/icing.

Let me know how yours comes out or feel free to post any questions/comments below!  Thanks!

Honey Wheat Bread from the Slow Cooker (with vegan options)

I’ve been asked about baking bread in the slow cooker from start to finish and after seeing how wonderfully it rises in it, I knew a bit of research would give me the information I needed.  Now here’s the AWESOME part: it works with my favorite bread recipe!  *Does the kitchen happy dance!*

So here’s the recipe now made entirely in the slow cooker with vegan options of course:

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 tsp granulated yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp and 1 tsp vital wheat gluten (rising agent)
  • 1/4 honey (or sweetener of your choice)
  • 2.5 Tbsp peanut oil
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm almond milk
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm warn
  • 3 & 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
  • Parchment paper
  • Bowl with water to dip your hands in
  • loaf pan smaller than your slow cooker; OR something to shape your loaf with; OR nothing of the sort if you don’t mid a dome of bread

Directions:

  1. Set the slow cooker on high with enough water to barely cover the bottom.  Cover and set aside.
  2. Fold your parchment paper into a rectangle that will fit snugly in your cooker. Set aside.
  3. Fill a bowl with some water (for dipping your hands) and set aside.
  4. If your milk and water are cold, combine them (equals 1.5 cups total) and microwave for 30 seconds.
  5. Mix all ingredients EXCEPT flour in a large bowl.
  6. Whisk briskly to incorporate the ingredients as much as possible.  This takes a bit as the vital wheat gluten likes to clump.  Doing this makes for a more evenly rising loaf so don’t skim on the whisking.
  7. With a large wooden spoon, slowly mix in the flour.
  8. Once you have a mixture too difficult to stir (roughly the second cup of flour), dip your hands in the bowl of water and begin kneading.  Continue to knead until all the flour is added and thoroughly mixed.  Keep dipping your hands as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to your hands and the bowl too much.
  9. Then transfer the dough to the parchment paper and shape into a loaf.
  10. Remove the lid from the slow cooker, place the dough in the parchment within (you can use ceramic plates, shallow bowls or anything similar to help shape the dough if you don’t want it round and your loaf pan doesn’t fit in the cooker; just make sure it’s not metal or plastic.  See image below).
  11. Cover the cooker and set it for high for three hours.
  12. Go watch two movies, take a stroll around the neighborhood, pick the kids up from school, knit a sock, play online, whatever.
  13. Come back in three hours and confirm bread is done (should be fully risen and pulling away from the sides of the parchment).  If you want a loaf with a crisper exterior, you can pop it into the broiler or on the top shelf in the oven at 350 degrees till sufficiently browned/crisped.

I wedge two ceramic plates on either side of the dough to create a more oblong shaped loaf.

Deven’s Broken Lasagna

Disclaimer: As the image shows, if you are someone that judges their lasagna success with perfectly square stacks of layered pasta and cheese, DON’T try this recipe.  Why? Because it is what the name implies… broken.

With that out of the way… let me introduce you to one of my favorite dishes now converted to the slow cooker!  Having spent so much of my adult life in New York, where Italian food is on every corner, making lasagna is second nature to me.  And if you’ve ever made lasagna before, you’ve already got a good idea of how it should work.  All you’ll really need is a few pointers for converting your recipe to the slow cooker.

Ingredients (6 quart slow cooker):

  • 3 packages of 9 oz. “No boil” lasagna noodles
  • 32 oz. red sauce
  • 1 lb. shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 32 oz. Ricotta cheese
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 16 oz. frozen spinach
Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, mix everything but the pasta.  Yes, you read that right, everything.  Even the sauce.  Go head, I promise it still tastes amazing.  Cream then together until fully incorporated.
  2. In a large plastic bag, break up your pasta.  This is to keep it from flying across the kitchen.
  3. Combine the cheese mixture and your broken pasta pieces in the cooker until well mixed.
  4. Set your cooker to low.
  5. Set your timer for 3 hours.
  6. At the end of the 3 hours, check your noodles to ensure they are the right consistency for your tastes (if you like al dente, check the noodles after two hours and continue to cook to perfection).
  7. Serve as is!

I know it doesn’t exactly look like lasagna but I can assure you, it is VERY tasty and a great way to make a family favorite without slaving away and babysitting your stove!  And it freezes VERY well!

Not So Spicy Tandoori Chicken

This recipe was quite the challenge for me.  Not because it’s difficult, but because my wife doesn’t like spicy (hot) foods and because I didn’t have many of the spices that would normally go into Tandoori chicken.  Also, Tandoori chicken is quite dry tasting normally and I REALLY wanted to see if I could make it a bit more moist.  The results were fantastic!  It was juicy, tasty and just the perfect amount of spicy.  Also, I realized that the gravy this recipe makes is perfect to use as the water when making quinoa (seen in the image and instructions below) which is an excellent and healthy alternative to pasta or rice.  I also made an amazing creamed spinach (seen in the image) that I will post the recipe for tomorrow.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts, thighs and legs (see notes)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fennel (see notes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (see notes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (see notes)
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Partially thaw your chicken pieces (or see step three for thawed chicken)  You want them a little bit frozen but not solid.  This allows the moisture from the chicken to keep it from drying out in the cooker.  Plus the mix of white and dark meat really adds to this recipe.
  2. Cut/dice your chicken and drop in the slow cooker.
  3. Pour lemon juice into cooker over chicken (you can also marinade your chicken in the lemon juice for an hour or two as the acid helps tenderize the chicken).
  4. In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and yogurt until fully incorporated.
  5. Add yogurt mixture to the slow cooker and thoroughly mix with chicken and lemon juice.
  6. Smother the other parts of the chicken and place on top of the chicken breasts.
  7. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
Quinoa:
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • gravy from above recipe
  • 1 cup water
I simply added 1 cup of quinoa to the drained gravy plus one cup water.  I heated the mixture on high until it boiled and then continued to cook it until the liquid thickened.  I then reduced the heat to medium and continued cooking until the mixture thickened greatly and the quinoa was cooked.

Notes:

  • Most recipes state to use a whole chicken, I find that pieces work better and are less likely to dry out.  I also normally use 4 thigh pieces and no drumsticks as we like boneless meat.
  • You can use coriander as a substitute for fennel.
  • You can use Cayenne pepper as a substitute for red pepper.
  • You can use cumin as a substitute for paprika and perhaps double this measurement for spiciness.
  • Regarding red food coloring: Most people know that Tandoori chicken is red.  To get this effect, many add red food coloring.  I do not add any coloring because I think it is an unnecessary ingredient.  Naturally it’s entirely your decision.
  • If this is still a bit too spicy, or even too lemony, you can add a 1/4 cup sour cream to the finished chicken and sauce.

What’s happening in our kitchen?

I’m sorry!  Okay!  I said it!  I’m sorry I dropped this blog like a hot potato but there is so much going on in our lives that honestly, there are days we barely had time to eat much less me attempting new science experiments.  I am hoping that’s changing.  Because I really, REALLY miss cooking.  And blogging about it.  I really wanted to create more posts on our delicious Winter Solstice meal but it simply never happened.  We’re still enjoying some amazing minced meat pies (because the filling freezes so wonderfully) and even our amazing ham was just… well… amazing!  I made it in a slow cooker and it was just perfect.

But since December, we’ve been a bit busy and life is, as always, taking on new direction.  Our busy schedules leave us with very little time to cook properly and that got me to thinking, I need to spend more time with my crockpot/slow cooker.  So I’m working on a few recipes that I’m interested in trying out and will post them here as I create them.

I still haven’t given up my pursuit of creating yogurt with almond/coconut milk but am convinced I might try regular milk first.  Mostly because our detox is coming up shortly and we consume a lot of yogurt during that time, but also because I think that if I can master it with regular milk, it will provide me with help with using almond milk.

I haven’t been making bread lately but that will change again too.  After detox we need to make sure we keep eating healthy because I’m on a new diet… er… eating regiment (I hate the word “diet”).  I’ve recently purchased a bicycle and we have it on a trainer (so I can stay in one spot and peddle) as a no-impact form of exercise for me.  You’d think we would have thought of this ages ago being Bre is a professional cyclist but we didn’t.  She fitted me to the bike and so far, it’s been a lot less painful than I’ve previously experienced.  It’s amazing how much of a difference a proper bike fit can make in riding.

To give you an idea of why this is so important to me, I have a spinal injury in my tailbone that has prohibited me from enjoying much in the way of physical activity for nearly ten years.  There have been days when I cannot even walk and the pain was unbearable.  So when we realized soy was causing the inflammation, I had a flicker of hope that I might close the chapter of pain in my life.  But… despite removing the soy, the inflammation going down, the pain easing, etc.  I could not seem to lose any weight (nor gain any for that matter).  Because my injuries make it so I cannot be left unattended during walks, even that has been nearly impossible to squeeze into Bre’s schedule (as she’s the one working the most hours while I’m trying to breath life into Rue Apothecary).  But the other day we realized a solution would be purchasing a bicycle and making it stationary (eventually we plan on taking it off the trainer) and did so.

Now here’s the kicker… this whole time I’ve been waiting for my metabolism to accept the soy is gone and do SOMETHING!  ANYTHING!  Even if my weight went UP would be an improvement because at least if it can go up it can go down (as a child, teen and even young adult, I had a very hard time gaining weight).  So we got the bike thinking its what we needed.  I stepped on the scale so I could monitor any change in weight.  I nearly  fell over with the number I saw!  I had somehow gained well over ten pounds without even so much as noticing!  Although normally one might be upset over the gain, I was ecstatic (because of the point I just made, what goes up must come down!).  So we’re excited to know there is more than just a “chance” of things changing and thus my renewed interest in this blog.

So that all said, our first line up of entries will be about cooking in crockpots/slow cookers and for those who don’t have the time to cook!  Stay tuned!