A Chicken in Every Crockpot!

Karen's Kitchen Adventures

Ground Beef Not Pie! April 14, 2011

Filed under: meat — frappqueen @ 7:40 pm
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This is one of Mike’s favorite recipes, often requested for birthday and anniversary dinners! It’s key delicious factor comes from the “crust” of puff pastry topped with caraway seeds and kosher salt…SO good! It also of course is another Rachel Ray Recipe that I changed a tiny bit. Sometimes I feel like Rachel is all I ever cook, but that’s only true 65% of the time….okay…MAYBE 70%! But, I digress…back to business…

Ground Beef Not Pie

1 sheet puff pastry (9-inch square), thawed but cold
1 egg, beaten with a little water
Coarse salt (I use Kosher)
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 baking potatoes (1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I just use a bunch of whatever is on hand…usually baby yukon golds)
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 pound smoked black-pepper bacon, chopped (Any kind of smokey bacon will do…get it REALLY thick)
2 pounds ground beef sirloin
2 large shallots, chopped (or a red onion of the shallots look crappy)
2 small cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons horseradish
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley


Pre-heat the oven to 425°F. Roll out the pastry into a 12-inch square. Cut the pastry into four equal squares. Place on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and brush with the egg. Sprinkle with coarse salt and the caraway seeds. Bake the squares until golden, about 12 minutes. Let cool.

In a large saucepan, add the potatoes and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, salt the water and cook until tender, 7 minutes. Add the peas and cook for 1 minute; drain.

In a large, deep skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp, about 4 minutes. Drain off half the fat, add the beef to the skillet and cook, breaking up the meat, until browned, 5 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until softened, 3 minutes. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce. Make a well in the center, add the butter to melt, then whisk in the flour. Whisk in the beef broth until thickened, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the horseradish, cream and parsley; cook until thickened, 1 minute. Turn off the heat; fold in the potatoes and peas. To serve, fill bowls with the meat and potatoes mixture and top with the crust. Enjoy!


Italian Beef Sandwiches in the crockpot! March 31, 2011

Filed under: crock pot,meat,one dish — frappqueen @ 8:47 am
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I’m back! Sort of….baby is now almost FIVE months old if you can believe it! We’ve been getting back in to the swing of cooking for awhile, but I kept forgetting to photograph it til recently. I’ve been utilizing the crock pot even more now as it really is helpful with a little one at home. She’s at her best in the mornings, so she plays in her bouncy chair while I assemble dinner in the crock, and it cooks and smells awesome all day and is ready when we are tired and hungry! perfect!

This recipe is an easy one, and I made it even better by making the italian rolls into garlic bread! Try it out!

Italian Beef Sandwiches

3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style
salad dressing mix
1 (5 pound) rump roast

Combine water with salt, ground black pepper, oregano, basil, onion salt, parsley, garlic powder, bay leaf, and salad dressing mix in a saucepan. Stir well, and bring to a boil.

Place roast in slow cooker, and pour salad dressing mixture over the meat.

Cover, and cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours, or on High for 4 to 5 hours. When done, remove bay leaf, and shred meat with a fork.


serve shredded, on a crusty Italian bread roll! To make it even better, make the rolls into garlic bread!

butter both sides of the roll, add some italian seasonings and garlic salt and toast til toasty! So good and so easy!


Swell Beef Wellington September 5, 2010

Filed under: meat — frappqueen @ 5:43 pm

Ha, I just called it that right now, the recipe IS for beef wellington, but its actually called “No Nightmare Beef Wellington”, and my friend Jen found the recipe on Epicurious and made it back when we watched the first episode of “Master Chef” (which is a terrible show and I’m highly disappointed by the way!)

I’ve never had beef wellington before. It did always sound too fancy to make or even eat, but Jen assured me it wasn’t too bad to make at all. It was really quite tasty too! I think traditional beef wellington is baked inside a puff pastry shell, but this one, to make it less stressful I guess, is just plated over a puff pastry shell, which you can buy right out of the freezer, so it’s less work on that front at any rate!

“No Nightmare” Beef Wellington (from Epicurious.com)

1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 pounds sliced button mushrooms
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 cup duck or goose liver pâté
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme plus 6 sprigs for garnish
6 frozen puff pastry shells (one 10-ounce package)
1 tablespoon canola oil
6 4-ounce filet mignon steaks
Coarse kosher salt
2 5-ounce bags fresh baby spinach**

Bring first 3 ingredients to boil in heavy medium saucepan over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to medium-high and boil until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 14 minutes. DO AHEAD: Sauce can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Using on/off turns and working in 2 batches, finely chop mushrooms in processor. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sprinkle with salt. Cook until almost all liquid evaporates, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add pâté and chopped thyme; stir to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place pastry shells on baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart. Bake until puffed and deep golden brown, about 23 minutes. Cool.

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle steaks generously with coarse salt and pepper. Cook steaks until browned and cooked to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to plate; let rest 10 minutes.

**Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add spinach, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss just until spinach wilts, about 3 minutes. (I don’t think we did this part, I don’t recall there being spinach in my portion….we made asparagus on the side instead!)

Rewarm sauce and mushroom mixture. Halve puff pastry shells horizontally. Place 1 pastry shell bottom on each of 6 plates. Top with rounded tablespoon mushroom mixture. Divide spinach among shells, then top with steak. Place thyme sprig atop each steak. Drizzle sauce around and over steak. Prop pastry shell top alongside.

The results? Really good! The steaks were perfectly cooked and tender, the sauce was really delicious, and the puff pastry and mushroom really added flavor. Mike and I were chickens and made Jen make our portions without the pate, so if you are scared of that part, you can leave it out too. Jen loved it with it, but I didn’t feel like anything was missing without it. And trust me, I’m adventurous with food, but duck livers just sceeve me out!


Panzanella and Sausage Salad July 10, 2010

Filed under: eat your vegetables,meat — frappqueen @ 6:43 am
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Here is a great one from my Rachel Ray magazine! I LOVE all forms of Panzanella salad, which is basically italian bread salad. It usually has toasted hunks of bread, a yummy dressing, tomatoes, peppers and other summertime veggies. This one adds sausage to it, making it a really hardy meal but still great to make on a sweltering summer day!

Panzanella and Sausage Salad

Four 3/4-inch-thick slices italian bread
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
5 fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
4 italian sausage links(about 1 pound)

*I added one yellow pepper, chopped up, as I LOVE peppers in my panzanella salad!


Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium. Brush the bread slices with 2 tablespoons olive oil. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion and garlic; season with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Let stand for 15 minutes. Add the vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Meanwhile, arrange the bread on the grill and toast on one side, about 2 minutes. Flip and top with half of the cheese; cover and grill for 2 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut into cubes and add to the tomato mixture. Stir in the basil.

Pierce the sausages with a fork, arrange on the grill, cover and cook, turning once, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Thickly slice the sausages and add to the bread salad. Divide among 4 plates and top with the remaining cheese.


Weight Watchers Lasagna with Meat Sauce July 5, 2010

Filed under: meat,pasta,Uncategorized — frappqueen @ 8:51 am
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This recipe is SO good and apparently only 6 points according to the “Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook”, which is where I got this recipe. It is also pretty easy to make as Mike made this one for us one night a few months ago when I was super queasy and sleepy. Now its a tad too hot to be making lasagna, but hey, its still worth knowing this one exists. File it away to cook when its a nice chilly fall evening!

Lasagna with Meat Sauce

9 lasagna noodles

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp olive oil

1/2 pound lean ground beef (10% or less fat) *you could use ground turkey too, but the flavor is better with beef

1 onion, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 zucchini, chopped

2 (15 oz) containers refrigerated marinara sauce

1 1/2 c. fat free ricotta cheese

1/2 c. shredded part skim mozzarella cheese

1/4 c. grated pecorino romano cheese


Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions. Drain and rinse noodles, set aside (OR: use the super amazing NO COOK noodles, which is what we did!)

In a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, cook the fennel seeds, shaking the pan and stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Watch them carefully, these guys burn fast! Pound the seeds between two clean kitchen towels or in a plastic bag with a mallet until finely crushed. Don’t worry if you suck at this, it still tastes good no matter what condition you get them in!

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil and heat. Add the beef, onion, bell pepper and zucchini. Cook, stirring occasionally until all the juices evaporate and the beef browns, about 10 minutes. Stir in the sauce and fennel, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened and the flavors blend, about 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a 9×13 inch baking dish, spread 1/4 of the meat sauce. Top with 3 of the noodles, 1/2 c. of the ricotta. Repeat the layering twice ending  with the sauce (NOTE: if you use the no bake noodles, they need sauce to cook. So, you must put a layer of sauce on each layer of noodles, THEN add the cheese…it still works out that you have enough sauce so don’t worry. Just put a tad less in the bottom of the dish to start)

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle with the mozzarella and romano. Bake until heated through and the cheese are lightly browned, about 20 more minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. If you can restrain yourself from eating some garlic bread with it,  you’re decently healthy here!!


Taco Salad! May 31, 2010

Filed under: eat your vegetables,meat — frappqueen @ 8:05 am
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Here’s a great one for a warm day! Almost no real cooking involved aside from like 10 minutes of cooking the chopped meat! Also, its really good!

Quick Taco Salad (from Cooking Light)

12  ounces  ground round

2  cups  chopped yellow, red, or green bell pepper
2  cups  bottled salsa
1/4  cup  chopped fresh cilantro
4  cups  coarsely chopped romaine lettuce
2  cups  chopped plum tomato
1  cup  (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1  cup  crumbled baked tortilla chips (about 12 chips)
1/4  cup  chopped green onions


Cook beef and bell pepper in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until beef is browned; stir to crumble. Add salsa; bring to a boil. Stir in cilantro; keep warm.

Place 1 cup lettuce on each of 4 plates; top with 1 cup meat mixture. Sprinkle each serving with 1/2 cup tomato, 1/4 cup cheese, 1/4 cup chips, and 1 tablespoon onions.


Rachel Ray’s Goulash in 30 minutes May 14, 2010

Filed under: meat,one dish,Uncategorized — frappqueen @ 6:01 pm
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Well, I made this recipe a full month ago and I’ve been rather lazy with my posting lately…mainly because I am 13 weeks pregnant! I have not been as full throttle on blog updating, and for awhile, I was not too keen on involved dinners, although my lovely husband still did help with a ton of the cooking. So now I have lots of recipes on backlog! I’ll post them all eventually. This one though, not so much a winner for me!

When I was little, my mom used to make super delicious goulash. We called it “Meat sauce and macaroni” cuz we’re Polish and Irish and that’s what we called it! At any rate, my mos was always a thick, meaty sauce, with a hint of something extra in there. It was the ultimate comfort food. A month ago I was in the throes of constant nausea and so I really wanted foods that remind me of cozy times. I found this recipe hoping it would be similar. And, well, it wasn’t! It is a very thin and watery sauce, and not very saucy at all! I found it to be even a tad dry. Oh well, it was light enough on the stomach that I ate it anyway, but not satisfying enough that it stopped me from doing what I should have done originally: I emailed my mom for the real recipe. I will make that one soon and then you can see what REAL goulash is!

Goulash (kind of gone wrong!)

1 pound macaroni
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 pounds combined ground beef, pork and veal
1 tablespoon paprika
Freshly ground pepper
2 carrots, shredded (about 1 cup)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery from the heart, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cups beef broth
One 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (a generous handful)
3 tablespoons freshly snipped chives, for garnish


Boil the water and make the pasta according to directions.

While the pasta is working, in a large, deep skillet, heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium to medium-high heat. Add the ground meat and paprika; season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned, stirring and crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, onion, celery, bell pepper and bay leaf and cook for 10 minutes. Add the broth and tomato sauce and heat through. Discard the bay leaf. Stir in the sour cream, dill and parsley.

Serve in bowls with some bread on the side if you like. And you might like it, it just disappointed me as I had other goulash in my head when I was reading the directions!

*From Every day with Rachel Ray website!