After years of friends telling me their crock pot was a life saver i gave in and bought one. With two small children I was looking for an easy way to get dinner going and generally make dinner less painful for the beasts also known as my children.
I took it out of the box and stared at it for a couple days. I finally got up enough courage and washed it. Then came the experimenting, and I will be honest: it took a while. I had gotten some bad advice. I added to much liquid, not enough filler. It took time to figure out the temperature. How long do I really need to cook things, and then by chance I came across a cookbook called Art of the Slow Cooker that saved my life and taught me the ins, the outs and not to be afraid. I let go and cooked the way I cook.
I have to admit, I don’t use my crock pot as often as I should. I forget how easy it makes things. How 20 minutes in the morning can save my whole evening, forget it, it saves my week.
When I was introduced to Marcella Hazan’s famous sauce recipe I stopped what i was doing…can this work in the crock pot? Can I get it down? Will the onion be to much? Can I stop buying jars of sauce for that easy last minute dinner and have this sitting in my fridge all week?
It worked. I played with the recipe a little, I threw together some ideas, and now, in the words of Emeril, “BAM” I got sauce.
This recipe is so easy it comes together in less then 5 minutes. Yes, 5 minutes. And the best part is, it can cook all day on a low setting with the top ajar and your house smells amazing. Amazing like you’ve been cooking Sunday gravy on he stove top all day.
Looking for other easy and delicious recipes for your crockpot? Here’s a few of my favorites:
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1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
handful of basil
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 Tbsp of sugar
¼ cup butter (1/2 stick)
Salt and pepper
Get your crock pot out and set it to low.
Empty canned tomatoes into pot and then fill 1/4 of the can with water, add to crock pot. Peel onion and garlic, and add to crock pot whole.
Add butter, handful of basil, sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook on low for 5-6 hours with the lid a touch ajar.
When ready to serve, remove onion and garlic. You can also remove basil if desired.
The aisles are already full of matzah. Kosher for Passover noodles are all the rage, but still, I find myself walking right by them in search of something different.
I come home home and look around, think about planning my seder menu. And think about what i can do differently this year.
And then it happens…almost instantaneously. A soup for the perfect brunch, the perfect dinner or just a perfect starter to your Seder. And even if you’re not kosher for Passover, well, it’s still the perfect soup to warm you up, make you feel good, and fill up your belly.
Hi–I’m Meredith and I write the blog, the food yenta. I’m a mom to two wonderful children who recently rediscovered my love and passion for food. I rant about great recipes, cooking shows, and my love of gardening and farmers markets. I like taking complicated recipes and simplifying them for my modern family.
1 pound of carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups veg stock
2 cups water
1 cup half and half or non-dairy creamer
salt and pepper to taste.
1 jalapeño pepper
Roast jalapeno pepper by placing pepper under broiler or over a gas burner to till blackened.
Chop onions, carrots and garlic. Sauté in canola oil for 10 minutes or until onion is translucent and carrot starts to soften.
Add stock and water, bring to a boil and cook for 40 minutes or until carrots are soft and easy to mash.
With an immersion blender, blend soup till you have reached your desired consistency. Add half and half or non-dairy creamer, mix and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Garnish soup with roasted jalapenos.
Growing up Rosh Hashanah always meant a trip to grandma’s house. Ten kids running around, 8 adults, games, music, naps on the living room floor after temple and of course a whole lot of food.
Grandma always had a spread. Matzo ball soup, brisket, chicken, kasha, roasted vegetables, salads, potatoes. Every year grandma out did herself. Her meals evolved and as the ten of us got older, there seemed to be more and more food (and no leftovers the following day).
As we all got older, got married, moved, had lots of kids, joined different temples, our traditions changed. Grandma now comes to our houses. For a change, we finally get to feed her and she gets to sit back and enjoy as we did when we were children.
Figuring out how grandma made her brisket was always a challenge. If you have ever seen the show “Everyone Loves Raymond” you kind of get the idea of where this is going. She might have given you the recipe but it never tastes the same. I tried for years. Maybe it was the love she put into it, maybe she left out an ingredient, I will never know, but now it was up to me to figure it out.
One of my favorite things about cooking now for the holidays is I get to take all these traditional foods that grandma once made and put a nice modern twist on it. Her chicken liver that made all the kids cringe, now we make it vegetarian and it’s gone within seconds, the potatoes that were smothered in mushrooms and onions, now are plain and simple. The brisket that she made, you know the one that sat in the oven all day, now is made in a crock pot. I still cook with the love, but with a modern twist, easy, simple, throw together in the morning and come home from temple and serve.
3 pounds of brisket
2 large onions
6 carrots cut into matchsticks
5 stalks of celery chopped (plus leaves if you have some)
6 cloves garlic chopped
1/4 cup of dried cranberries
6 Tbsp of cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
3/4 cup stock (I used chicken)
3/4 cup red wine
A handful of fresh cut herbs (I used parsley and tarragon)
Heat up a large skillet and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Spinkle all sides of your brisket with a couple pinches of salt and pepper. Add brisket to the sauté pan and brown on both sides (about 5 minutes per side). When brisket is browned, add to crock pot.
In same skillet, add a touch more oil and sauté onions, celery, carrots and garlic for about 5-10 minutes, cooking the vegetables just a touch.
Meanwhile in measuring cup add wine, stock, brown sugar, ketchup and vinegar. Whisk and set aside.
When vegetables are done add cranberries and cook for another minute. Pour in the wine mixture and add herbs, bring to a boil.
Carefully pour vegetables and sauce over brisket, cook high 4-6 hours or on low 8-10 hours.
When done, take out meat, let cool for 5 minutes or until easy to handle, cut, plate and spoon some vegetables over with a touch of gravy.
I like to serve the brisket on a large plate with a little gravy and all the vegetables surrounding the cut up brisket. I put the rest of the gravy in a serving bowl or serving container so my guests can enjoy some extra gravy on the side.
note on brisket: this dish can also be frozen if you wanted to prepare ahead. I would recommend using one of those throw away tins (which makes for easy clean up). Place meat into tin, pour over sauce and when cool freeze. The morning of your dinner, take out to thaw and heat up in the oven till warm.