Friday, January 09, 2009

No drugs this time, just food and no, I don't have the munchies.....

Poor John, the first thing I make in my new crockpot was soup. It was darn good soup though!

Tomato Basil Soup



2 cans (28oz) peeled whole tomatoes, drained and liquid reserved
2 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cups liquid reserved from canned whole tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp allspice
5 oz evaporated milk
1/4 shredded fresh basil leaves (about 10)
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450. Line baking sheet with foil; spray with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange whole tomatoes on foil in a single layer. Sprinkle with brown sugar and top with onion. Bake 25-30 minutes or until tomatoes look dry and brown. Let tomatoes cool slightly; finely chop.

2. Place tomato mixture, 3 cups reserved tomato liquid, chicken broth, tomato paste and allspice in the slow cooker. Mix well. Cover; cook on Low 8 hours or on High 4 hours.

3. Add evaporated milk and basil; season with salt and pepper. Cook on High 30 minutes or until hot.

I made up for the soup a few days later and made him some ribs, sorry no pictures.

BBQ Spare Ribs

Take however many lbs of pork spare ribs you want, I think I did about 3. Rub with some brown sugar, cut the rack into half or thirds depending on the size of your crockpot. Then slather on BBQ sauce of your choice, I used Stubbs. Cook on low (they're ribs, cook them on LOW) for 6-8 hours. To finish them I line a cookie sheet with foil, slather on some more BBQ and broil them in the oven until they look crispy and then flip and make the other side crispy. John was in Heaven! I also made PW's green beans (for me) and John got some potato salad. Finally, since we're still recovering from Christmas spending and just trying to cut back in general, I've been trying to find new things to make using what I've got in the pantry, fridge and freezer. Yes, I make a list, yes I use coupons, but I'm also one of those people that can't just buy a few things at the store. What should be $30 easily turns into $60 so I'm trying to avoid the store until we're out of dairy and produce. So I discovered Tiffany's Temptations from her comment on one of my posts and I stole her idea of making Swedish Meatballs. I think I made this once when John and I had first moved in together, but made a packet of cream gravy and served it over mashed potatoes like my mom used to do (except her gravy was homemade). John loved this!
Here's my variation using what I had:

Swedish Meatballs and Egg Noodles



Meatballs

1 pound lean ground beef

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 egg, beaten

Dried onion flakes, I just threw in what looked good.

About a 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper


Sauce

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/4 cup beef broth

Salt and pepper

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup sour cream


1 bag egg noodles


Cook egg noodles according to package directions. While waiting for the water to boil, make the meatballs and sauce.


To cook meatballs on the stovetop: preheat a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Mix ingredients for meatballs in a medium-size bowl. Form bite-size balls and add directly to the pan as you roll them. Cook meatballs 10 to 12 minutes, turning them occasionally. Remove meatballs to a paper towel-lined plate, wipe out pan, and return to heat to make the sauce.


(You can also make them in the oven this way: preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix ingredients for meatballs in a medium-size bowl. Form bite-size balls and place on nonstick baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes)

To make the sauce: melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle in flour and continuously whisk until a smooth paste is formed. Add broth in a slow stream and continue to whisk until sauce thickens enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon. Turn off heat and whisk in salt, pepper, Dijon mustard and sour cream.


Drain cooked noodles, add meatballs to the sauce, stir to coat, and serve over the noodles.

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