Thursday, 11 October 2012

Fall = Comfort... Comfort = Yummy Food

As I was laying in bed this weekend, sick as a dog during the Canadian Thanksgiving, I got to thinking about comfort. At that very moment, comfort would have been being able to swallow properly without feeling like my throat was on fire, or being able to breath out of my nose!

Once I got over myself and really started to think about fall (pre and post sickness) I thought about the things I enjoy the most, and the stuff that I really look forward to at this time of year. Once the leaves start turning their beautiful colours, I know its time to bring my best friend out of hiding. The crock pot! This amazing appliance has to be one of the best things ever invented! Not only is it so simple, but it is easy and who doesn't like walking in the house after a long day at work and smelling your dinner already cooked and ready to go?

I wanted to share three of my favourite crock pot recipes with you. Actually only one of these recipes is actually made for the crock pot, the other two I have modified a little so that they will work. I hope you give them a try and let me know how you like them!

The Best Chili EVER

When I first read the title of this recipe I was all,"yeah ok!." I have never been a big fan of chili. I don't like too many chunks in my food, and I hate beans. Weird I know! But who could ignore this claim. It certainly would be the best chili ever if it passed my test. It did with flying colours! I invited my mom over to give this a try and I don't think anyone said anything during the whole meal, and everyone went for second helpings. Could it be true? Was this actually THE BEST CHILI EVER? Well here it is. Give it a try and let me know the verdict!

Kraft Canada Best Chili Ever

1/4 cup Sun-Dried Tomato & Oregano Salad Dressing
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 lb. (225 g) extra-lean ground beef (I used 1lb)
1 tsp. chili powder
1 can (28 fl oz/796 ml) no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14 fl oz/398 ml) no-salt-added kidney beans, rinsed
1/2 cup salsa ( I thought this was weird so I substituted half a jar of our fav tomato sauce)
1/2 cup Shredded Cheese (once served)
1/4 cup light sour cream (once served)
Garlic Naan Bread (for yummy dipping)

I got everything all chopped up and threw it all in the crock pot, set it to low, and let it cook all day. (about 10 hours). When I got home from work, I took the lid off the crock pot, stirred everything up and mixed about 2tbsp of corn starch with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water and added it in to thicken the chili. I let it cook for another half hour and served it with melted cheese on top, sour cream on the side, and some baked garlic naan bread for dipping. A-MAZ-ING! Try it... I guarantee the family will love you for it! Just remember, I don't even like chili... But I could cook this 3 times a week and be happy!
This is one is a recipe that I just adapted to fit my lazy, crock pot loving lifestyle. The real recipe can be found here!

Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce

A favourtie of my husbands and its perfect for those days where you really don't want to be in the kitchen. Get these ingredients together the night before, set it all up in the morning and when you get home all you have to do is boil some pasta. Easy, delicious and super filling. Pair it with some great garlic bread and you will be in carb heaven... ;) 

2 lbs beef (I only had 1lb of beef so I added 1lb of pork to substitute)
1 medium onion chopped
8 cloves of minced garlic
28oz can of chopped tomatoes drained of most of the water
24oz your choice of tomato sauce (I like original Ragu for this recipe)
2 6oz cans of tomato paste
1/3 cup of sugar
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
2 tsp dried majoram
1/2 tsp pepper
and I like to add a few bay leaves (optional)

The recipe calls for the beef to be sauteed in a pan first but who has time for that. I added all the raw ingredients to the slow cooker and set it on low for about 8 - 10 hours. If you find it is a little watery when you get home, do the same as the chili. Add about 2 tbsp of corn starch to a 1/2 cup water, and add to the sauce giving it an extra 30 minutes of cooking time to thicken.

Boil up some noodles, heat up some garlic bread and enjoy!

Last but not least, a personal favourite of mine, and a special family recipe

European Goulash

This recipe will knock your socks right off. Seriously it is sooo good to have on a nice cool day. A fall staple in our house, and I actually just finished a nice big bowl of it tonight. MMMMMMMMM

1 club pack of stew beef from your  local grocery store
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion diced
3-6 cloves of garlic
5-7 large carrots sliced (the more carrots the better in my opinion)
2 tbsp of tomato paste
pinch of chili powder
1 tsp vegeta seasoning
1 tbsp paprika
about 1 - 1 1/2 cups of beef stock give or take. (I usually just try to cover the ingredients with the stock)

After all day cooking!
 Put all the ingredients in the crock pot and cook on love for 8-10 hours. Once again do our little trick with the corn starch to thicken and make sure you taste this one a lot before serving. Sometimes it needs a little extra seasoning or some more stock added. I usually serve this over bowtie pasta. It is not fall without this amazing goulash.

Perfect Fall meal - Dig in!
All the recipes are freezer friendly. They make huge portions so we tend to eat what we can and freeze the rest for another time. The taste even better when they are leftover!  Wow, writing this blog has made me hungry for some hearty food! I hope you give them a try as I would love to hear what you have to say about them. Any adjustments to the recipes are welcome, or share some of your fall favourite!

Happy fall cooking!


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