I was Costco shopping with a friend today, and we got to discussing food, of course. What else do you discuss at a LARGE food store? Well, we talked about all sorts of stuff, but basically food. We're both law students, in our last semester (finally!), and we both miss cooking. She was saying she wants to cook more, but doesn't have a lot of good recipes. She also got a crock pot for Christmas, and wanted something to do with that, too. So, of course, being a former full-time mom/ cook/ bottle washer, I started rattling off some favorite recipes. It kind of freaks people out when I do that - I have so many of them memorized - but then I explain that I've been cooking since I was 13, which explains the memorization. I'm almost 50. That's a lot of cooking. Anyway, I thought it would be nice to share some of the favorites I gave my friend. I've already posted the family's mac & cheese recipe - here - and my summer veggies recipe - here - and my favorite Greek Chicken - here - so I'm going to add some different ones: Spaghetti Sauce and Crockpot Beef Stew.
Crockpot Beef Stew:
2 lb. (ish) beef chuck roast, cut into approx. 1" cubes
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 can (Campbell's soup size) beef consomme' or beef stock
1 onion, sliced long ways
1 to 2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 to 3 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 2" pieces (can be cooked separately and added toward the end)
Put onions on bottom of crock pot, then add beef. Mix soup mix with consomme' and pour over the top. Add garlic. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours; low for 8 hours. If adding potatoes, put them on top of the beef.
Optional: add 1/2 cup barley and add a soup can of water. If you want veggies, hard ones work best - like carrots - add them in the last 1/2 hour of cooking.
1 - 28 oz. can Italian whole peeled tomatoes, or diced tomatoes. Try to get the ones without basil
1 - 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste (small one)
2-ish Tbsp. oregano
1 onion, diced
1 to 2 cloves garlic, chopped
Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, cook until soft; add garlic and cook about a minute more. Add tomatoes, sauce, paste, and oregano - I cover the top of a 12" frying pan with oregano. Cover and cook on low (just bubbling) about 20 minutes. Serve over pasta, use with baked fusilli, whatever.
Baked ziti: Use 1 to 1 1/2 cup sauce (eyeball it - if it's too dry, add more), 1 lb. pasta, cooked half the time on the box, add 1/2 to 1 cup shredded parmesan to the sauce, bake at 350F for 30 minutes.
Sausage and Peppers: cook whole sausages in fry pan; remove and cool; cook onion and 1 diced green pepper; add garlic, add tomato sauce makings and sausage, cut into 1" slices. Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes. Serve over chunky pasta - rotini, fusilli, something like that.