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!


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!


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!


Beef Tenderloin a La Larsen February 14, 2010

Filed under: eat your vegetables,meat,side dishes,Uncategorized — frappqueen @ 8:12 pm
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Happy Valentine’s Day! Now, don’t get upset here, I personally have  hated and always will hate this stupid holiday. Just another way stores want to sell you stuff and force you to be nice to people or make you feel terrible if you are valentine-less. I think that just isn’t right. If you love someone you should be telling them every day! However, I suppose that 4 (almost!) years of marriage has softened me in my old age and in the past few years I have slowly allowed Mike to celebrate the day just a little bit. This year he got me really pretty flowers, awesome Pjs, and best of all: He cleaned the house! Hooray! In return, I got him two video games and made delicious dinner! This is a super fancy but super easy recipe from our friend Jen. She has made it for lots of fancy holidays, and generally does it with a whole giant beef tenderloin, which is apparently the part of the cow that  filet minion comes from. When I asked my butcher (I dont really have a butcher personally, but I ventured into a meat store the other day so I guess he’s mine now!) he gave me three individual filets, so I guess it depends on who slices your meat. Either way, it just involves a bit of prep work and an instant read thermometer to get it right.

how romantic!

As you can see, I did make surf and turf for myself! Mike hates fish of any kind, but I figured it was a good chance to treat myself tonight, so I got a super score sale on lobster tail at the grocery store: 5 bucks!! Considering the fish store wanted 23 bucks for a frozen one, this made me quite pleased with my thriftiness. The total menu was this: Rosemary beef tenderloin, lobster tail with chive butter sauce, roasted asparagus and roasted oniony potatoes! The entire meal pretty much just roasts in the oven for 20 minutes, it can’t be simpler!

Anyway, on to the recipes!! Get a pen, you’re gonna want notes on these guys!

Garlic and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin

1/2 c. soy sauce

1/2 c. olive oil

1/4 v. balsamic OR red wine vinegar (I used balsamic, I think Jen usually does the red wine)

8 garlic cloves, minced

4 tspns dried rosemary

1 5 lb beef tenderloin, trimmed (or enough for who you’re feeding…for the two of us I got three steaks, it was too much food!)

1 tbsp  pepper


Combine the first five ingredients in a heavy duty zip top bag. Add beef. Seal and chill at least 8 hours, turning occasionally.

Remove beef from marinade, discarding bag and extra marinade. Place in a roasting pan or shallow dish. Sprinkle evenly with pepper and let stand 30 minutes.

Bake at 500 degrees for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned (I did mine for 10 as I had less meat). Lower temperature to 375. Bake 20 minutes or to desired degree of doneness. Use a thermometer to check temperature, 160 is perfect for  medium meat. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing. YUM.

Buttery Chive Lobster Tail

4 tbs butter

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tbsp chives

lobster tail, butterflied (cut the shell vertically and scoop the meat out so it sort of rests on top)


Melt all ingredients in a small pot. Reserve 1/4 of the mixture for dipping. Preheat a grill pan and spray with cooking spray. Pour the remaining butter mixture over the tail meat. Place tail meat side down into the hot pan. Cover with a lid and let cook, about 6 minutes. Flip lobster over and cook, covered, for another 5 minutes or so, until the tail is bright red and the meat is no longer translucent. Remove from heat and enjoy, dipping into the remaining butter sauce. SO GOOD!

Roasted Potatoes

1/2 lb baby red potatoes, cleaned and quartered with skins on

1-2 tsp olive oil

1 packet Lipton onion soup mix

Preheat oven to 450 (If you are making it with the tenderloin, you can put it in at 500 with the meat and just make sure you stir it up when you lower the oven to 375)

mix ingredients together and pour into a shallow baking dish. Roast for about 20 minutes to a half hour, until the potatoes are crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside.

Roasted Asparagus

At the same temperature as above, place asparagus, trimmed of the ends in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and top with salt and pepper. Give the pan a shake to coat the asparagus evenly. Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes, depending how hot the oven is. Give a shake when you check on the asparagus to keep it cooking evenly. When the veggies are toasty looking and bright green, they are ready to eat! Remove and cover with foil til the remaining foods catch up with the cooking!

I over roasted mine (whoops!) but really, they still taste awesome, they just look a tad shrivelly.

Once you’re done eating, top it off with a McDonald’s hot fudge sundae and some Buffy watching in your Pjs. Perfect date all around!!


Crockpot Balsamic Shortribs February 10, 2010

Filed under: meat — frappqueen @ 12:09 pm
Tags: ,

Holy Guacamole! These short ribs do take a bit of effort at the beginning but man oh man are they ever delicious! I have made these twice now and love them a little more each time I cook them. I like to buy the shortribs whenever they are on sale and then store them in the freezer til I’m ready to cook em. I got both packs for a total of 8 bucks, that’s a deal and a half! Anyway, I got this recipe from Cooking Light and it is rather lengthy, so I’ll just post it as is and add my comments. I did transfer this to the crockpot because I love my crock, so I will add that into the directions as well. You can totally cook it just as they tell you, but the crockpot is lower stress, you don’t have to worry about it burning in the oven if you drink too much wine and forget!

short ribs, whoot whoot!

Balsamic-Braised Short  Ribs with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

Cooking spray
4  pounds  beef short ribs, trimmed
1  teaspoon  kosher salt, divided
1  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper, divided
2  cups  finely chopped red onion
1/4  cup  minced garlic (about 12 cloves)
2  cups  low-salt beef broth
1  cup  dry red wine
3/4  cup  balsamic vinegar
1/3  cup  packed brown sugar
2  cups  chopped plum tomato

2 1/2  pounds  baking potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
3/4  cup  warm 1% low-fat milk
2  tablespoons  fat-free sour cream
1 1/2  tablespoons  prepared horseradish
1  teaspoon  kosher salt
1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 300°. (or don’t if you are crock potting it)

To prepare ribs, heat a large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Sprinkle ribs with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add half of ribs to pan; cook 8 minutes or until browned, turning occasionally. Remove from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining ribs; remove from pan.

Add onion to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Return ribs to pan. Add broth, wine, vinegar, sugar, and tomato; bring to a simmer.

———————–At this point I transferred everything to the crock pot, set it on high for 6 hours and left it!————————–

Cover and bake at 300° for 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Cool slightly. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Skim fat from surface of broth mixture; discard fat. Cook over medium heat 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

To prepare mashed potatoes, place potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 20 minutes or until very tender. Drain. Combine potatoes, milk, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Mash potato mixture with a potato masher. Serve with ribs and cooking liquid.

End result: juicy fall-off the bones meat. Also the potatoes have a nice little kick that goes great with the balsamic sauce, yummy!


Weight Watchers Beef Stroganoff February 6, 2010

Filed under: meat,one dish — frappqueen @ 4:42 pm
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I made this early last week and it can’t be easier. It tastes really good and its very simple to make. Not to mention, its only  7*  points a serving!! That’s fancy! I got it from one of my favorite cookbooks, “Weight Watchers: Ultimate Flex and Core Cookbook”, which has seriously helped Mike lose a lot of weight! All the recipes in it are simple and delicious, and good for you too!

beef: it's what's for dinner!

Dijon Beef Stroganoff

3/4 pound beef tenderloin, trimmed of visible fat, and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks (I used sirloin because there wasn’t any tenderloin, it works fine!)

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

3 tsp. olive oil

1 8 oz package of fresh sliced mushrooms (I get baby bellas since Mike doesn’t love mushrooms and I dice them finely so he doesn’t notice them as much)

1 large shallot, minced (you can use a small regular onion if there are no shallots to be found)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 c. reduced sodium beef broth (I get a can and use the extra 1/2 c. to dissolve the cornstarch)

1/3 c. fat free sour cream

1 tbs dijon mustard

2 tbs cornstarch (ww doesn’t have this listed but I have found that without the cornstarch, the sauce is very watery and unappetizing)

Sprinkle the beef with the salt and pepper. Heat up 2 tbs of the oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Brown the meat on both sides until it is cooked through, about four minutes. Transfer to a dish to rest.

Add the last tbs of oil to the pan. Throw in the mushrooms and some more salt and pepper and cook until the ‘shrooms start to release liquid, about 1 minute. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for another 3 minutes or so, til they are tender and browned.  Stir in the broth and bring it to a boil. Cook until the mixture is reduced by about one-half, about six minutes.

Stir in the beef and cook until heated through, about one minute. Add the cornstarch to the remaining broth and stir; then add to the skillet, stirring rapidly. Let everything cook another minute or two, until the liquid reduces further and gets a bit thicker. If it is not thick enough, add another tbs of cornstarch in a little water.

Remove skillet from heat; stir in the dijon and the sour cream. Serve over delicious egg noodles! Yay!

*points are estimated: the book says it is 4 points for the meat alone, 7 if you add whole wheat pasta, however egg noodles are fat free and low in other bad stuff so I think the end points result is similar.


Hamburger Buddy! January 12, 2010

Filed under: eat your vegetables,meat,one dish — frappqueen @ 9:27 pm
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This was what we ate last night, but I was still too sleepy from my harrowing audition, plust a full day of school and crazy painting children til 4:30 to update!

This dinner is one of our favorites. It isn’t too hard to make and its fairly good for you too! Also, its really a cozy dish, which is nice when you’re sleepy on a Monday.

I found this recipe about a year ago on EatingWell.com, and we’ve been making it ever since!

hamburger buddy!

Hamburger Buddy

3 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
2 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
10 ounces white mushrooms, large ones cut in half
1 large onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 pound 90%-lean ground beef
2 teaspoons dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 cups water
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium beef broth, divided
8 ounces whole-wheat elbow noodles, (2 cups) (I use Smart Pasta in the purple box, I hate whole wheat pasta!)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, or chives for garnish


In a food processor, mince up the garlic, carrots and mushrooms. Turn it off, add onion, and pulse until roughly chopped. I must confess, this never works for me, we always end up with a substance that looks like mush, but hey, its still veggies and it still tastes good, and that might come in handy if you  have picky eaters and need to sneak some veggies!
Cook the  beef in a large straight-sided Dutch oven over medium-high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped vegetables, thyme, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables start to soften and the mushrooms release their juices, 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir in water, 1 1/2 cups broth, noodles and Worcestershire sauce; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
Whisk flour with the remaining 1/4 cup broth in a small bowl until smooth (if you forgot to save the broth like I often do, just whisk it with a little water!); stir into the hamburger mixture. Stir in the sour cream. Simmer, stirring often, until the sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Serve sprinkled with parsley (or chives), if desired.

Scoop into bowls and be amazed! It’s like Hamburger Helper, but healthier and tastier!

close up!