Slow Down with Slow Cooking

This School Year: Breakfast is for Champions

This School Year: Breakfast is for Champions

No one needs to be told the pace of living is just too fast. From the time the alarm clock (or the baby) starts the day, until bedtime, parents have a daunting number of things to attend to—rushing from jobs to games, lessons, and practices, then back home and ‘what-the-heck’s-for-supper’?

If you don’t already own a slow-cooker, think about investing in one. You won’t believe how many uses you will find for this inexpensive and indispensible kitchen appliance. If you have one, start using it more. The Internet has hundreds of free recipes. Since we are focusing on breakfast we chose three recipes that cook overnight while you sleep.

This won’t completely remedy your busy life but it can help slow things down a little, and put a nutritious breakfast on the table that will give your champions a flying start to their school day. If you are really short on time, use a crock pot disposable liner to spare yourself the clean up.

Deluxe Crockpot Oatmeal

  • 2 C. cow’s milk, almond milk or coconut milk
  • ¼ C. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. melted butter
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ to 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 C. oats (old-fashioned is best)
  • 1 C. finely chopped apple
  • ½ C. raisins, dates, dried cherries, or craisins
  • ½ C. walnuts or almonds

Grease the inside of crockpot. Put ingredients inside crockpot and mix well. Cover and turn on low heat. Cook overnight or 8-9 hours. Stir before serving. Makes 4 Cups, or 6-8 servings.

slow-cooking2Breakfast Cobbler

  • 4 medium apples peeled and sliced
  • ¼ Cup honey
  • 2 Tbls. melted butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 C. granola cereal

Spray inside of Crock-Pot with nonstick spray. Place apples in slow cooker add in remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low 7-9 hours, or overnight. Serve with milk or a dollop of Greek yogurt. Real maple syrup can be substituted for the honey.

 

slow-cooking3Overnight Egg Bake

  • 32 oz. bag of frozen hash brown potatoes
  • 1 lb. cooked ham, cubed
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 ½ Cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ tsp. salt and pepper

eggs, milk and seasonings until well mixed. Pour over the ingredients in the slow cooker, cover and turn on low. Cook for 8-10 hours, until casserole is set and eggs are thoroughly cooked. Check the temperature of the eggs to be sure it’s done.
If you have a new, hotter cooking crockpot, you’ll need to check this after 6 hours and it will probably be done after 7 hours. Eggs should reach a temperature of 160° to 165°.

Savory Meatball Stew

The days might be longer now, but there is still enough of winter’s chill in February and March to make this recipe especially welcome on a cold, windy evening. Why meatballs? Economy for one and for another, kids who are fussy about eating chicken or beef will nearly always eat meatballs. Hurrah for healthy hemoglobin! This particular recipe was chosen because it seems to be very versatile. You can make this stew from scratch as listed or substitute store-bought ingredients, like frozen vegetables and ready-made meatballs, or how about vegetarian ‘meatballs?’ Add spices for an ethnic twang then cook on the stove or in a slow cooker. Serves 6

Ingredients For meatballs

  • 1 lb. any lean ground meat
  • 1 onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1⁄2 cup cooked rice, cooked quinoa or bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dried, crumbled oregano
  • 2 Tbls oil of your choice

Mix above in food processor (chop onion first if you make the meatballs by hand). Shape into 18-24 uniform meatballs and brown in the oil in frying pan or Dutch oven.

  • 2 cups any broth
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 medium carrots cut into 1” pieces
  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 28 oz. can tomatoes, juice and all
  • 1-3 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper or for additional flavor add garlic and some basil

Drain most of fat from Dutch oven and sauté second onion. Then add all remaining ingredients including meatballs. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to maintain simmer until vegetables are tender. (Frozen Veggies usually cook up much faster than fresh). 30-60 minutes.

Or allow meatballs and sautéed onion to cool then add all ingredients to slow cooker. Cook on low for 3-4 hours.

Melon Ambrosia

Try this for a light and refreshing dessert.

1 cup watermelon balls or cubes
1 cup cantaloupe balls or cubes
1 cup honeydew balls or cubes
1/3 cup lime juice
2 Tbls. sugar
2 Tbls. Honey Fresh mint
1⁄4 cup flaked coconut (toasted or not)

Put melons in a bowl; combine other ingredients and pour over melon, toss to coat. Sprinkle with coconut and garnish with sprigs of fresh mint.

Turkey Wild Rice Salad

This recipe is a classic and if you have never tried it you should. It can be made with either turkey or chicken, red grapes or green and there is almost nothing you can do to make this recipe fail— guaranteed every time.

3 cups cooked wild rice (rinsed and drained)
3 cups cooked, cubed turkey/chicken
1⁄2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1⁄2 cup chopped celery
1-8 oz can sliced water chestnuts (rinsed and drained)
Halved, seedless grapes, green or red
2/3 cup cashews (optional)

Mix together and pour over salad 2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbls. lemon juice
1⁄4 tsp. dried, crumbled tarragon

Cool Suppers for Hot Weather

After battling through traffic to get home on a hot summer afternoon, it’s a pure joy to reach into the refrigerator and pull out a delicious cool salad that is table-ready. Obviously you have to pay it forward and make the salad ahead of time, but most salads keep nicely in the refrigerator for two or three days and provide you with some ‘ice-tea’ time after work, in addition to an extra meal or two.

Here are some recipes that have been tested by staff members for ease of preparation, good taste and overall nutrition.

Couscous Chicken Salad 4-6 servings

This salad really does go together in under 20 minutes. It has wonderful Middle Eastern flavors with a light citrus/spice dressing. PYAM staff members gave this one a big thumbs-up.

Dressing

1⁄4 cup vegetable oil (olive or canola)
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried coriander
1⁄2 tsp. turmeric 1⁄2 tsp. salt
1⁄4 tsp. cinnamon 1⁄4 tsp. pepper

Salad

2 chicken cooked chicken breasts, cubed
1 2/2 cups uncooked plain couscous
2/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 1⁄2 cups boiling water (or chicken broth)
11 oz can mandarin oranges
1 cup garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup slivered almonds chopped

In a small bowl whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing and set aside.

In a medium bowl combine couscous and apricots; add boiling water and cover. Let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with fork.

Add chicken, oranges, almonds and dressing and toss gently to coat. Cover and chill. Serve with slices of cucumber and cantaloupe.

Mother’s Day Rhubarb Custard Tart

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 and 1/4 pounds rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch slices (4 cups) or 1(16 ounce) package frozen rhubarb, thawed, drained
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Directions

Place baking sheet on bottom oven rack. Preheat oven to 350 F. In large mixer bowl, beat first 3 ingredients until thoroughly combined. Pat into bottom and 1 1/2 inches up side of 10-inch spring-form pan. In large mixer bowl, stir sugar, cornstarch and salt to combine. Add whipping cream, egg yolks and vanilla, mixing thoroughly; stir in rhubarb. Pour filling into crust; place on preheated baking sheet on bottom oven rack. Bake until filling is set and golden brown (65-75 minutes). Cool on wire rack 30 minutes. Remove side of pan. Sift powdered sugar over top.

Amount: 8 servings

Tips: Tart may be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to serve. Sift powdered sugar over tart just before serving.

Savory Meatball Stew

The days might be longer now, but there is still enough of winter’s chill in February and March to make this recipe especially welcome on a cold, windy evening. Why meatballs? Economy for one and for another, kids who are fussy about eating chicken or beef will nearly always eat meatballs. Hurrah for healthy hemoglobin! This particular recipe was chosen because it seems to be very versatile. You can make this stew from scratch as listed or substitute store-bought ingredients, like frozen vegetables and ready-made meatballs, or how about vegetarian ‘meatballs?’ Add spices for an ethnic twang then cook on the stove or in a slow cooker. Serves 6

Ingredients For meatballs

  • 1 lb. any lean ground meat
  • 1 onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1⁄2 cup cooked rice, cooked quinoa or bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dried, crumbled oregano
  • 2 Tbls oil of your choice

Mix above in food processor (chop onion first if you make the meatballs by hand). Shape into 18-24 uniform meatballs and brown in the oil in frying pan or Dutch oven.

  • 2 cups any broth
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 medium carrots cut into 1” pieces
  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 28 oz. can tomatoes, juice and all
  • 1-3 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper or for additional flavor add garlic and some basil

Drain most of fat from Dutch oven and sauté second onion. Then add all remaining ingredients including meatballs. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to maintain simmer until vegetables are tender. (Frozen Veggies usually cook up much faster than fresh). 30-60 minutes.

Or allow meatballs and sautéed onion to cool then add all ingredients to slow cooker. Cook on low for 3-4 hours.

Cream of Broccoli Soup with Aged Cheddar Cheese

(This recipe has been kid-tested and approved!)

1 1⁄2 lb. broccoli trimmed and tough stems peeled
2 Tbls. unsalted butter
1 yellow onion chopped fine
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock, heated
1⁄2 tsp. dried thyme
1 Tbls. lemon juice
2 cups milk
1⁄2 lb. aged sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and white pepper

Reserve 1⁄2 cup small florets from the broccoli. Coarsely chop the remaining broccoli and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until it begins to brown, 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and sauté, stirring, for about 1 minute more. Whisking continuously, slowly pour in the stock. Add the chopped broccoli, thyme and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the broccoli is very tender, about 20 minutes.

About 5 minutes before the broccoli is done, bring a small saucepan filled with water to a boil and lightly salt the water. Add the reserved florets and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and keep warm.

In small batches, purée the soup in a food mill, a food processor fitted with the metal blade or in a blender, taking care to avoid splattering. Return the purée to the pan, stir in the milk and bring to a simmer over low heat.

Reserve a small handful of cheese and sprinkle the rest into the soup; stir over low heat until the cheese melts and blends in. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Ladle into warmed bowls and garnish with the cooked broccoli florets and reserved cheese, or sprinkle with popcorn and watch your kids get their veggies as they fish for their popcorn.