Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tangy Tomato Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Is there anything better than coming home to a hot meal, ready and waiting for you?  My husband gets to enjoy that quite often.  I, however, have to think ahead if I want to experience that luxury (love you anyway Mikey!).  

As such, I've been experimenting a lot with my slow cooker lately, and this pot roast recipe will be on repeat for us this winter.  Pot roast is the perfect cut of meat for the slow cooker because it's a larger size and doesn't dry out even when it's cooked all day.  I love a classic pot roast cooked in beef broth, but this tangy version, with a sweet and savory sauce of crushed tomatoes and apple cider vinegar,  is the perfect twist.  

* 1 (2.5 lb.) pot roast
* 1 tbsp. olive oil
* 1 tbsp. butter
* 6 large carrots (I wash them but don't peel them)
* 3 celery stalks
* 2 onions, chopped
* 1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
* 1 (14 oz.) can beef broth
*2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
*1 tbsp. brown sugar
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 bunch of thyme (5-6 sprigs)
* 2 garlic cloves, crushed
* salt, pepper

Heat a saute pan to medium high heat.  While the pan is heating, pat the meat dry and season it generously with salt and pepper.  Add butter and olive oil to the pan and swirl to coat.  Add the meat to the pan and brown it on all sides (about 1 minute per side).  

In the slow cooker, layer celery and carrots on the bottom of the pan.  Place the beef on top, then scatter onions through out.  In a bowl, whisk together crushed tomatoes, beef broth, cider vinegar and brown sugar.  Pour this mixture in the crock pot.  Add garlic cloves, bay leaf, and thyme to the pot.  Cook on low for 8 hours, or until the meat is fork tender.  Enjoy! 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Frozen Hot Chocolate

I feel like i'm experiencing some seasonal confusion.  For the last week, the weather has been so gray and overcast, and when I look outside my window it just feels like it's got to be cold out there. 

I've been layering my  scarves and cardigans in anticipation and then… I step outside.  Reality check! October 1 is upon us, halloween decor is making it's way out of the attic, we're surrounded by pumpkin everything, but it still feels like summer here in Wilmington.  

This frozen hot chocolate is the perfect prescription for your seasonal confusion.  Cool and refreshing, but with the wintry taste we all love. 

Ingredients (serves 2):
* 1 c. whole milk
*.5 oz instant hot chocolate mix (I used a k-cup)
* 3 c. ice**
* whipped cream, chocolate shavings, for serving

Combine milk, hot chocolate mix, and ice in a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Divide among two glasses and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.  Enjoy! 

**If your refrigerator has an ice crusher, help your blender out and start with the crushed ice rather than large cubes. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Crispy Sweet Potato Strings & Thoughts on my Spiralizer

So I finally bit the bullet and purchased this spiralizer I've been eyeing for months.  Before I buy any more kitchen tools that take up a considerable amount of space, I try to think long and hard about how often I would use said tool.  

While I was teetering on the edge of my decision, my best friend's mom made it for me.  Mama Jill (as I like to call her) is doing a lot of free advertising for Williams-Sonoma.  I was standing in her kitchen and before I could ask how she liked it, she produced a zucchini and had it reduced to spaghetti like strands in about 10 seconds flat!  I was officially sold. 

The spiralizer is just so much fun, and it's surprisingly easy to use.  I didn't really expect it to be as easy as it was, especially when it came to spiraling a potato.  In actuality, it took almost no effort, and the thin potato strands make absolutely perfect oven fries. 

I was so excited about my new toy that I pretty  much made an entirely spiralized dinner.  I'm loving the zucchini and squash noodles - although, don't be fooled into thinking they will taste like a noodle!  These would be great mixed in a pad thai or other noodle dish so that you can use less pasta and bulk up the serving with veggies. 

For the zucchini and squash, I just used olive oil to sauté them for a few minutes over medium high heat and they were fork tender with a bit of a bite in under 5 minutes. 

Crispy Sweet Potato Strings:
* 2 sweet potatoes
* 1.5 tbsp. olive oil
* kosher salt, pepper

Preheat the oven to 425.  Slice the ends off the sweet potato so you have a flat surface and use the spiralizer with the larger size hole.  Toss the spiraled potatoes in olive oil, salt, and pepper and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes, stirring twice, then increase the heat to 450.  Continue to bake until the strings are crispy (5-10 minutes longer).  Enjoy! 

Target Giveaway!

I'm teaming up with some great bloggers today for a $175 Target gift card giveaway!  I've rounded up some of my favorite go-to kitchen tools below, all of which are available at Target.  These are all products that I use regularly and love!

Kallie /// Kala /// Kippy
Erin /// Kelly /// Sarah

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Cheesy Jalapeño Corn Dip

When it comes to party foods and potlucks, i'm a sucker for a good dip.  A hot, bubbly dip is always irresistible and this cheesy corn dip is no exception.  The sweet corn with the savory cheeses and flavorful pickled jalapeños are a winning combo.  Even better, it's easily prepared in advance and just needs to be baked before serving. 

* 1 (15 oz) can corn, drained
* 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
* 1/2 c. sour cream
* 4 oz. cheddar cheese, grated
* 1 green onion, chopped
* pickled jalapeños, to taste

Preheat oven to 350.  Stir together corn, cream cheese, sour cream, green onion, and half of the cheddar cheese.  Place in a small baking dish and top with jalapeños and remaining cheddar cheese.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese has melted and edges are brown.  Serve with blue corn chips.  Enjoy!