Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

A New Take on a Classic:

There's no doubt that beef stroganoff is a well-loved classic that can be prepared in a multitude of different ways.  This creamy tangy favorite used to be a weekend only option due to the amount of time it can potentially take to prepare.  With the prevalence of slow cookers in kitchens across America, you can now make delicious beef stroganoff any night of the week with your favorite ingredients an put your own twist on a classic beef stroganoff.

Ingredients:

You'll need 2 pounds of beef stew meat cut into one inch cube or smaller, 10 ounces of sliced fresh mushrooms, one can of cream of mushroom soup, one can of golden mushroom soup, 1 8 ounce container of sour cream, 1 cup of shredded Swiss cheese, and 1 8 ounce package of cubed cream cheese, and about half a teaspoon of ground white pepper.  Some people prefer garlic and/or onion in their beef stroganoff.  If you want to add these, use anywhere between 1 and 3 cloves of minced garlic, and ½ to 1 & ½ cups of chopped onion to taste.  You can also elect to use garlic or onion powders instead of the fresh ingredients.  This will yield 8 servings, adjust the quantities as needed for the number of servings you need.

Preparation:

Combine everything except the dairy products into a slow cooker and cover and cook on low heat for 8-10 hours, or until the beef is very tender.  Once this is done, stir in the sour cream, cream cheese, and Swiss cheese.  Mix until the cheeses are melted and everything is well combined into a sauce.  Serve immediately over cooked egg noodles.

Beef Stroganoff

Alternative Preparations:

For the beef, if you prefer, you can use short, thin strips of beef instead of cubes.  A boneless top round steak is a good cut to use, or, you can look for pre-cut beef strips that are ready to be cooked.  You can create a more gourmet stroganoff by substituting 1 & ½ pounds veal cut into 1 inch pieces and instead of a can of golden mushroom soup, use a can of cream of potato soup.  You can also add to the mixture 1 teaspoon of crushed dried thyme leaves if you wish.  If you are preparing the stroganoff with veal, you might want to consider using a more gourmet cheese selection than using basic Swiss cheese, such as Jarlsberg or gruyere.  Feel free to mix cheeses based on your own tastes.

Mixing Mushrooms:

Please don't think that you have to stick with traditional white mushrooms when making stroganoff.  To enhance flavor, mix in a variety of mushrooms, such as portabellas, creminis, shitakes, or even oyster mushrooms.  These will add a wonderful array of texture and rich flavors and aromas to the sauce.

Conclusion:

If you don't already have one, slow cookers can be found on sale at national retailers for a very low price.  Why not pick on up and try this classic dish soon.

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Amazing Pork Tenderloin in the Slow Cooker

Slow cookers are amazing things. All they need is a few ingredients and time, and you’ve got a delicious meal just waiting for you to come home and enjoy. What’s really fantastic about them is that they’re so versatile. You don’t have to just make a stew every night, and you don’t need to suffer through the same flavors, the same ingredients, or even the same meats. It’s easy to try something new in a slow cooker, and it’s even better to find something new to enjoy. So try our amazing pork tenderloin in your slow cooker, and revamp your family dinner night!

Ingredients

2 lbs pork tenderloin
2 cups onion, sliced
½ cup water or meat broth of your choice
¾ cup red wine
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons minced garlic
Black Pepper to taste

Pork Tenderloin

How to Make

Place your tenderloin in the slow cooker so that it sits at the bottom in relative comfort, and pour the water, wine, and soy sauce over it, until it sits in the middle of a little pond. If you’re concerned about the red wine, don’t worry. The alcohol content of it is cooked away, so that this meal can be enjoyed by all ages. Place the onions, garlic, and black pepper along the top of the tenderloin, and cover with a lid. Cook in the slow cooker for 4 hours, or until a meat thermometer reads at least 145F. This will ensure your pork is fully cooked, inside and out. Pull out and serve!

Why a Slow Cooker?

While it might seem like it should be just as easy to stuff the tenderloin in the oven, sometimes we need more time, or less heat. If you are in a warm area, and struggling to remain cool, turning on the oven is probably the last idea on your list. An oven requires less time to cook, but you do have to keep an eye on the tenderloin during that time. With a slow cooker, you turn it on, set a timer, and go about your business, without having to worry. It’s simple and easy, keeps the heat source contained, and can be placed anywhere you need it.

If you really can’t keep your house cool, you can even plug it into a socket in your garage, just to make sure it won’t heat up your house at all! An oven requires a lot more energy, a lot more heat, and doesn’t contain it quite as well. It can also be a hassle to clean, takes time to preheat, and needs all sorts of anti-stick items and aluminum foil and what not. The slow cooker is simple. Just toss in the ingredients and put a lid on.

Try out this recipe whenever you next have the time, and learn why many people are falling in love with slow cookers all over again. It’s simple, it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort on your part, and you get it right every time!

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Curried Lentil -Tomato Soup

Curried Lentil -Tomato SoupAs a kid, tomato soup and fall seemed to go hand and hand. As the weather cools off and ushers in all the festivities of the fall, a warm bowl of tomato soup with fresh cornbread or crackers sounds pretty good. With some easy adds and a little time, you can ramp up your tomato soup to a full on adult version while still appealing to the kids as well. Our recipe for curried lentil-tomato soup will feed a large family or leave you plenty of leftovers for quick brown bag lunches. This soup keeps extremely well in the refrigerator for several days. Make ahead and have a quick go-to soup all week during the cooler weather.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large sweet onions – about two cups chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
  • 1 ½ tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 2 – 15 ounce cans diced or stewed tomatoes
  • 6 – 8 cups chicken broth (you can use vegetable stock if preferred)
  • One cup chopped carrots
  • 2 cups diced russet potatoes
  • ½ cup chopped celery (optional)
  • ¾ cup half and half
  • Sour cream and dried parsley for garnish

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet on medium/high. Add the onions and garlic, and sauté for between three and four minutes.
  2. Heat the chicken broth in a saucepan until simmering.
  3. Add the sautéed mixture to a large slow cooker.
  4. Add the curry, ginger, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Stir.
  5. Add the chopped carrots, potatoes and celery.
  6. Add the tomatoes, and stir the mixture to incorporate all the ingredients.
  7. Add the lentils.
  8. Slowly pour in the chicken broth while stirring the mixture.
  9. Cook on low for six hours.
  10. Stir the curried lentil-tomato soup and add the half and half. Stir and let cook for another 30 minutes.

Serve this yummy curried lentil-tomato soup in shallow bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of dried parsley leaves.

Cornbread is a perfect match for this delicious soup. Here is a quick recipe for cornbread that will match up perfectly with your curried lentil-tomato soup.

  • Mix 1 cup of self-rising buttermilk cornmeal and ¼ cup sugar together in a mixing bowl.
  • Add two beaten eggs and ½ cup of milk to the cornmeal mixture and blend with a fork.
  • Add a small amount of water and blend again. Continue until you have a soupy mush consistency.
  • Pour two tablespoons of olive oil into an oven safe skillet and heat on the top of the stove.
  • Pour in the cornbread batter.
  • Heat on the stove until small bubbles start to appear.
  • Immediately remove from the stove top and place in an oven preheated to 350 degrees.
  • Bake for about forty minutes or until the cornbread is golden brown on top.

Soup and cornbread are a huge hit on chilly fall afternoons! This curried lentil-tomato soup and cornbread will be an immediate hit with friends and family.

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Fried Rice with Sweet Soy Sauce

Fried RiceFried rice is a favorite food of many people. However, few people feel comfortable preparing fried rice on their own. They reserve this delicious dish for when they visit their favorite Chinese restaurant or Japanese Steakhouse. You can make fried rice at home. This is a delicious recipe for fried rice with sweet soy sauce that will compliment both chicken and shrimp or can be served alone with some radishes and water chestnuts on top. The most difficult task is to make the rice. Pay attention to the package directions to prepare your rice. You don’t need salt or chicken broth for the rice as the soy sauce and vegetables will flavor it well. Try our fried rice with sweet soy sauce for a restaurant quality treat that you can easily make at home.

Ingredients for Rice

  • Two or three tablespoons peanut oil
  • Four cups cooked rice (prepare according to package directions)
  • Four eggs (well beaten with a dash of salt and pepper)
  • Three shallots, finely chopped
  • One chili pepper, sliced and deseeded
  • Two garlic cloves, crushed
  • One lemon or lime, halved

Ingredients for Soy Sauce

  • ¼ cup soy sauce (you can use low sodium soy sauce)
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

Directions

  • Heat one tablespoon peanut oil in a large sauté pan or WOK.
  • Pour in the beaten eggs and stir until just set. Remove and set aside.
  • Add the rest of the peanut oil and reheat the pan.
  • Add the shallots, pepper and garlic and sauté for three to five minutes.
  • While the shallots, pepper and garlic are cooking, add the soy sauce, brown sugar and ginger to a small sauce pan and heat on medium, stirring occasionally, until the brown sugar melts.
  • Add the prepared rice. Turn with a non-stick or wooden spoon to incorporate the ingredients and brown the rice. This will take about four minutes on medium/high heat.
  • Add the eggs to the rice and chop the eggs while turning the rice until the mixture is well blended. Tip: Use the flat side of the spoon or a spatula to mash the rice down in a repeating motion after you have the egg mixed it. This will help the rice brown evenly.
  • Add the soy sauce mixture and stir.
  • Squeeze the juice of half a lemon or lime into the rice.

Serve the fried rice with sweet soy sauce with a splash of lemon or lime on top along with a little chopped basil and cilantro. For added scrumptiousness, make an extra portion of the sweet soy sauce to use as a dressing for some pan cooked shrimp or chicken.  Add a tablespoon of peanut oil to a skillet and heat on medium high. Then add some shrimp (peeled and deveined) or chicken breast cut into 1 inch cubes. Cook until done (shrimp will be pink and chicken should be 165 degrees internally) and finish off with the sweet soy sauce. Serve this on top or to the side of the rice.

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Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes

Loaded Twice-Baked PotatoesPotatoes are a great comfort food any way you serve it – baked, fried, roasted, mashed, or boiled. That makes loaded twice-baked potatoes twice as delicious! There are many versions of this type of recipe and you can basically put whatever you like in these and it all tastes yummy.

Twice-Baked Cheese and Bacon Potatoes

Our first one is a very basic recipe that most will have all the ingredients for on hand.

This recipe takes nearly two hours from start to finish, so plan accordingly if you are serving with dinner tonight. Most of the time is in the initial baking so you can use that time to prepare the rest of the meal while are the potatoes are baking.

First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and place 8 washed baking potatoes rubbed with canola oil on a baking sheet, and bake for 1 hour. Make sure the potatoes are completely cooked by testing with a fork or knife in the middle. You do not want uncooked middles. Cut up 2 sticks of salted butter in a mixing bowl and add 1 cup of real bacon bits, and 1 cup of sour cream.

Once the potatoes are done lower the oven temp to 350 degrees and cut each potato in half lengthwise and scoop out the middles and add to mixing bowl. You can use a melon-baller as your scoop, just be careful to leave some on the sides and bottom, and not to tear the skin. Return the shells to your baking pan. Add to your mixing bowl 1 cup Cheddar or Jack cheese, ½ cup of whole milk, 2 teaspoons of seasoned salt, 3 sliced green onions, and freshly ground black pepper to taste, and mix until smooth.

Mound your filling inside each shell, sprinkle with more shredded cheese and cook 15 minutes until warmed through.

This is a basic but classic twice-baked potato.

Skinny Twice-Baked Potatoes

This recipe has some excellent substitutions for some of the full-fat ingredients with skinnier ones to make it more diet friendly. Plus this is crock pot prepared to make it quicker. The potatoes cook while you are at work; you need only finish when you return home in the evening.

Spray 4 small baking potatoes with cooking spray and use a fork to stick a few holes for steam to escape. Rub 1/8 teaspoon of kosher salt evenly on the potatoes and place in the crock pot to cook for 8 hours on low. Remove potatoes and allow to cool slightly; then, using a sharp knife, slice each potato in half lengthwise.

Scoop out the inside of each potato, leaving approximately 1/8 inch all around. In a medium bowl mash potato insides, stir in ¼ cup of fat-free milk, ¼ cup of plain fat-free Greek yogurt, ¼ cup of shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Then microwave for 1 minute on high until heated through.

Fill the potato shells with the mashed potato and sprinkle with ¼ cup of cheese and return to the crock pot. Cover the pot and cook on high for 25 minutes. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of fresh chives and bacon bits and serve.

You can use these two recipes as a jumping off place to create many specialties. Let your imagination create your best potato yet.

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