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Author: Mike

Slow-Cooker Salsa Chicken

1 (16-oz.) can or 1 1/2 cups soaked & cooked garbanzo beans
1 (16-oz.) can or 1 1/2 cups soaked & cooked black beans
1 (16-oz.) can or 1 1/2 cups soaked & cooked red kidney beans
1 1/2 cups corn kernels
1 cup tomato salsa
1/2 cup salsa verde
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
4 garlic cloves, minced
salt & pepper to taste (about a half teaspoon each)
2 bay leaves
1 lb. chicken, large pieces
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Place all ingredients in a 6-quart slow cooker. Turn on low, cook for 4-6 hours. Serve over a bed of rice, or with a side of cornbread or warm tortillas.

Note: For dried beans, place 1/2 cup of each bean type in slow cooker with enough water (about 8 cups) and desired spices, like bay, cumin, paprika, garlic, and granulated onion (NO SALT WHILE COOKING!). Start the beans on Low about 4 hours before the salsa chicken start time (8-10 hours ahead, total). After 4 hours, reserve 1 cup of liquid and drain. Add the beans and reserve liquid to the recipe like canned beans.

Slow Cooker Cassoulet

** 1/2 pound dried cannelini/northern beans
2 bacon slices
1.5 pounds lean boneless pork chops, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 pound reduced-fat or turkey smoked sausage, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups chopped onion
—– 1c carrot (optional)
—– 1c celery (optional)
—– 1c red bell pepper (optional)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 cup dry white wine
** 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, drained $
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 teaspoons finely shredded fresh Parmesan cheese (optional)
8 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)

** If using canned, instead of dry beans, use 2 15-ounce cans of beans (drained and rinsed) and omit chicken broth.

Soak beans overnight.

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Add onion, (optional carrot), (optional celery), thyme, rosemary, and garlic to drippings in pan; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add wine, let simmer 1 minute. Stir in crumbled bacon, salt, pepper, (optional red bell pepper), and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Remove from heat.

Combine beans, pork, and sausage; stir well. Place half of bean mixture in a 3 1/2-quart electric slow cooker; top with half of tomato mixture. Repeat layers. Cover and cook on LOW for 5-6 hours. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley.

Goulash

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 pounds top loin, chuck roast, or boneless beef short ribs, cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large onion, chopped
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
4 carrots, cut into 1 to 2-inch lengths
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sweet paprika
1 tablespoon ground caraway
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 teaspoon oregano
4 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
Sour cream, parsley, and buttered noodles, for serving

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Thoroughly dry beef with paper towels then season liberally with salt and pepper. Brown half of the beef in the skillet over moderately high heat, about 12 minutes. Transfer them to a slow cooker with a slotted spoon. Repeat with the remaining beef.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the skillet. Add the onion, garlic and carrots and cook over low heat, stirring, until the onion is barely softened, about 5 minutes. Optionally, you can do a quick deglaze here with 1/4 of dry vermouth or other dry white wine. Sprinkle in the flour; stirring until oil is absorbed and flour begins to cook (3-5 minutes). Stir in the tomato paste. Add the paprika, caraway and coriander and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with about half of the chicken stock, being sure to scrape up the browned bits. Transfer the mixture into the slow cooker.

Add the remaining stock, oregano, thyme and bay leaves, cover and bring to a boil on high. Cook for 4 hours on high, until the meat is very tender. Discard the bay leaves and thyme and spoon off as much fat from the sauce as possible. Serve the goulash in deep bowls with a dollop of sour cream and buttered noodles, sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Mike’s Chili, version 2

1.5 lbs ground beef
1 medium onion, minced (about 1 cup)
1 Tbsp jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 15-oz can peeled diced tomatoes
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar, optional
1 dried ancho chile, ground
1 dried guadijillo chile, ground
1 dried chipotle chile, ground
4 Tbsp chili powder (2+2)
4 Tbsp cumin (2+2)
4 garlic cloves minced + 1 tsp garlic powder
1 bay leaf
2 tsp oregano (1+1)
3 tsp paprika (2+1)
1 16-oz can kidney beans, drained

*Note: Ingredients listed with (x+y) indicate to add “x” amount initially, and the remaining “y” amount at the end.

Brown ground beef in a dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. Remove beef from pot and drain fat.

Add onion, jalapeno, and garlic to the pot; saute for about five minutes.

Return the beef to the pot and add remaining ingredients (reserving indicated portion of spices for final spice dump). Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add remaining reserved spices (chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and oregano). in the last 5 minutes. Serve with shredded cheddar and green onion garnish.

Sauteed Cabbage

1 head cabbage (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons UNSALTED butter (reduce kosher salt if using regular butter)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cut the cabbage in half and, with the cut-side down, slice it as thinly as possible around the core, as though you were making coleslaw. Discard the core.

Melt the butter in a large saute pan or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, cabbage, salt, and pepper and saute for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender and begins to brown. Season, to taste, and serve warm

Mojo de Ajo

4 large heads garlic
    or 10 ounces (about 1 3/4 cups) peeled garlic cloves
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh lime juice

Heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Break the heads of garlic apart, then mash each clove (a fist against the side of a knife is what I do) to release the clove from its papery skin; if using already-peeled garlic, scoop the cloves into a heavy plastic bag and use a rolling pin to mash them slightly.

Stir together the garlic, oil and salt in an 8×8-inch baking pan (make sure all the garlic is submerged), slide it into the oven and bake until the garlic is soft and lightly brown, about 45 to 55 minutes.

Add the lime juice and return to the oven for 20 minutes for the garlic to absorb the lime and turn golden brown.

Using a potato masher or large fork, mash the garlic into a coarse puree.  Pour the mixture into a wide-mouth storage container and refrigerate it until you’re ready to enjoy some deliciousness. The mojo will last for up to three months as long as the garlic stays submerged under the oil.

Black Bean Salsa

2 (16 oz.) cans black beans, rinsed & drained (Goya Premium brand is best)
2 cups frozen yellow corn
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 green onions, chopped, including the green tops
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded & minced
2 Tablespoons minced fresh cilantro (may substitute 1 tablespoon of dried)
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 large lime, juiced
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

In a non-reactive bowl, place black beans, corn, red and green bell peppers, green onions, jalapeño pepper, cilantro, and tomatoes. Pour juice of lime over ingredients and mix gently.

In a small glass bowl, add red wine vinegar, cumin, crushed red pepper flakes, salt & black pepper. Whisk in olive oil to emulsify dressing. Pour dressing over black bean and corn mixture and mix gently until dressing is well distributed. Cover and chill at least one hour.
Serve with corn chips or Tostitos.

Note: add tomatoes right before serving if the salad is marinated more than a couple of hours.

Mongolian Hot Pot, version 2

2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces flank steak, cut into 1 1/2-inch wide strips and thinly sliced

6 cups stock (4 beef and 2 chicken is optimal)
2 cups water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2-4 whole cloves  (about 1/4 teaspoon ground clove)
3 star anise  (or 1 teaspoon fennel seed)
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick, broken (about 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 (3-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, halved
3 garlic cloves

1 Tbsp peanut or canola oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
6 cups thinly sliced bok choy (about 1 pound)
1 cup (about 2 ounces) shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup carrot, sliced
1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
4 ounces uncooked soba (buckwheat) noodles
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 1/2 tsp dark sesame oil, divided

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag, and seal. Marinate in refrigerator 2 1/2 hours, turning bag occasionally.

Combine the next 9 ingredients in a large stockpot over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes covered. Strain broth through a sieve into a large bowl; discard solids. Return broth to pan; keep warm.

Heat oil in a small Dutch oven over high heat until it begins to smoke. Add beef mixture to pan; stir-fry 1 minute or until browned. Remove beef mixture from pan; set aside.

Add sliced yellow onion to the pan and cook until tender and starting to color. Add bok choy, mushrooms, carrot, and green onions to pan; stir-fry 2 minutes or until bok choy begins to wilt. Add prepared broth mixture and hoisin sauce. Stir in noodles. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes or until noodles are done. Stir in beef mixture and vinegar. Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 6 bowls; drizzle each serving with 1/4 tsp sesame oil.

Pumpkin Spice Cake

4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
15oz can pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 pan and dust with flour.

Beat together eggs, sugar, brown sugar, oil, pumpkin, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, sat, and pumpkin pie spice. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Add batter to greased pan and bake 30-35 minutes, or until middle is cooked.

Lentil and Sausage Soup

1 lb. hot Italian or garlic turkey sausage
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, rough chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
2 cups dry lentils
1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 cups kale, rinsed and torn into small pieces
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
black pepper
salt, to taste

In a large soup pot, cook sausage over medium-high heat, breaking it into chunks, until browned (about 6-8 minutes). Remove sausage with a slotted spoon.

Add olive oil to pot and reduce heat to medium. Add onions, carrots, and celery, cook and stir until tender (about 5 minutes) being sure to scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Stir in garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, bay leaf, cumin, and coriander; cook for 2 minutes.

Stir in lentils, broth/water, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender (varies, but usually 30-40 minutes). Add kale in the last 10 minutes of cooking (optionally, spinach can be added in the final minute). Check seasoning and add vinegar.