Tag Archives: Kitchen Craft Cookware

Perfect Carrots

Carrots are a root vegetable. Carrots are nutritious, delicious, and inexpensive (even the organic ones). They typically are colored orange and contain carotenes (B, A, Z), lutein, and zeaxanthin. Carrots are rich in fiber, too.

If you think carrots are tasteless, perhaps you’ve been served carrots boiled to death in water. My mother-in-law says my carrots are the best, better than any restaurant. What’s earned me such high praise? Want to know my secret? 

Two rules: One, buy good carrots. Pass up those baby cut carrots and buy whole organic carrots. (Bunny Love is available where I shop, and they are organic) Second, don’t let your carrots touch water while cooking

Three methods I use to cook carrots, depending on time restraints: One, I steam over low heat in my waterless cookware (KitchenCraft, 360 Cookware by Americraft, or similar brands). No water. Just gentle, slow cooking. Takes about twenty minutes. Two, pressure cook for four minutes under pressure in a basket above the water. Do not submerge carrots in water! Water leaches out flavor and nutrients. Occasionally, I stir-fry carrots with other vegetables in very little oil in a hot skillet.

Preparing carrots takes only a little time. Peel or scrub, depending on your preference. I let appearance be my guide. If the peels look fairly clean, I scrub them with a vegetable brush and leave them on. If not, I peel. 

Slice in similar size pieces for even cooking. I like cutting diagonally but any slice style works. The smaller the size, the shorter the cooking time. 

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BBQ Beef & Beans

Here’s an easy, nutritious way to stretch a buck: BBQ Beef and Beans. I modified the recipe I got from my friend Chef Gary. If you take a little help from the grocery store (canned beans, rinsed and drained, and jarred barbecue sauce of your choice), you need only ten minutes to get this into the slow cooker. This is one of my favorites to take to a potluck dinner.

RECIPE

HASTY TASTY BBQ BEEF AND BEANS

I use the stainless steel Gourmet Slo-cooker by Americraft so everything is done in one pot. If you use a crockery slow cooker, you will need a skillet to brown your meat and onions.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chuck, cubed
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 4 cans beans (your choice of type. I like variety so I mix 4 kinds of beans)
  • 12 ounces prepared barbecue sauce (avoid varieties containing high fructose corn syrup)
  • nonstick cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Spray skillet or pan with nonstick cooking spray. Salt and pepper the cubed chuck, add it to the skillet, cover, and brown over low heat.
  2. Open canned beans and drain, rinsing with cold water. Set aside.
  3. Add chopped onion to the browned chuck. Adjust heat to medium. Do not cover. Cook until all liquid has evaporated (about two minutes).
  4. In slow cooker pan or Crock-pot, add meat and onions. Slowly stir in the rinsed beans.
  5. Add barbecue sauce. Stir to combine. Cover and cook over low heat for at least four hours. Use lowest possible setting because all the food is cooked. Your only concern is infusing flavor.
  6. Serve warm.

Yield: 5 pints

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Enjoy either as a side or main dish. Remember, beans are a great source of fiber and nutrition yet without the saturated fat of meat.

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Filed under beans, condiments, cooking, Healthful Eating, Recipes

Thanksgiving in August

My husband’s favorite holiday is Thanksgiving because his favorite food is turkey. He is a turkey junkie of the highest order. He’d eat turkey every week if he could. But we live in Florida, and I’m not overworking our A/C while a turkey roasts for hours in the oven. It’s a cool-weather thing, or at least it was until I figured out a way to give him his bird and heat it, too. 😉

The answer is in slow-cooking a turkey breast. While I have successfully prepared a turkey breast in the pressure cooker, I prefer the slow-cooker method. I can, as author Phyllis Good says, “Fix it and Forget It.” I’ve collected all her Fix-it-and-forget-it titles and now own three different sizes slow-cookers. I’m a convert. If you haven’t any of her cookbooks, start with her latest, Fix It and Forget It Slow Cooker Magic: 550 Amazing Everyday Recipes.

The bonus in slow-cooking a turkey breast is the homemade stock. One 6 pound turkey breast produces about a quart of rich stock (I don’t add any liquid to the pot). I strain and skim fat from the juices. Then I use it for sauces, gravies, soups, or seasoning vegetables. Stock freezes well, too.

This recipe is my usual except I’ve added a butter/hot sauce rub. (My husband loves spicy cuisine. If you don’t, simply skip the rub step and season as usual.) With this recipe I paired the flavors of Buffalo wings with roasted turkey to serve both his flavorites in one meal. Regardless of how you season your turkey breast, the slow-cooking method is the same.

RECIPE

Slow Cooker Turkey Dinner With a Kick

Serves 4 + leftover turkey for future meals

Equipment: For the full meal recipe, you will need a six-quart slow-cooker. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 6 lb. turkey breast, thawed
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 cup hot sauce, your choice
  • 1/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 carrots, whole
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and halved

Directions:

  • Spray the inside of the slow cooker pot with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In the bottom of the pot, arrange the potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic.
  • In a measuring cup, combine the softened butter with the hot sauce. Add salt and dried thyme.
  • Rub the turkey breast thoroughly with the butter/hot sauce mixture, carefully lifting the skin and getting the mixture beneath it.
  • Position the turkey breast over the vegetables so that the slow-cooker lid will fit. Cover.
  • Cook on the highest setting for two hours.
  • Reduce the temperature to medium or medium/low (depending on the controls of your model slow-cooker) and continue cooking for at least five more hours. If you lift the lid to view the turkey breast, you may need additional cooking time.*
  • After a total of six hours of cooking, check the turkey for doneness using a poultry thermometer (or meat thermometer with a poultry setting). Remove turkey from the slow cooker when it’s done and allow it to rest on a carving board. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.
  • Carefully remove the potatoes and carrots to the serving platter. Strain and reserve the broth from the pot for gravy or flavoring stuffing mix. Broth also freezes for future use.
  • Slice the turkey breast meat into serving pieces, arrange on the platter with the carrots and potatoes, and serve with other side dishes of your choice.

*I put my turkey breast in the slow cooker at night, switching to low after two hours and allow it to cook overnight.

Now if we want a turkey dinner in August, we have it. And I don’t turn on the oven. 

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(Photos depict regular turkey breast without the Buffalo rub)

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Filed under poultry, stock, Turkey Recipes

Slow Cooked Chicken Makes a Hasty Tasty Meal

My friend recently asked why I bought the new 6-quart slow cooker when I already had the 4-quart model and typically cook for just two people. Here’s my answer.

One of my Hasty Tasty Meals strategies is cooking ahead, and slow cooking allows you to maximize your cooking with little fuss. A larger pot is roomy enough to hold several different foods.

My favorite cook-ahead meal is a chicken. If my pan is large enough, I can start with enough potatoes to make two days’ worth of potatoes. I can cook carrots with the potatoes, giving me two side dishes for two meals. Finally, the chicken flavors and moistens the root vegetables. How efficient. The six-quart size produces a minimum of eight servings of each food.

First, I peel 4 potatoes (Peeling is optional–these russets had tough peels, but I scrub and leave the peels when possible) and cut into uniform pieces, approximately 1″. These go on the pan’s bottom. I top with sliced carrots or, because they were on sale this week, baby-cut carrots. Next, I form a rack for the chicken from two celery ribs and a large onion, quartered.

Season the chicken thoroughly. I use a rub made with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. Kosher salt, ½ tsp. freshly ground pepper, 1 tsp. dried thyme, ½ tsp. dried sage, and 1 Tbsp. paprika. Place the chicken so it rests on the vegetables.

Celery and onions form a roasting rack.

Celery and onions form a roasting rack.

Cover and cook on High for 4 – 5 hours. That’s it. Just ten minutes of prep and you’re free to run errands or do other chores. If it makes you nervous to use a dry pot, add a cup of water or broth. I don’t. The chicken and vegetables produce enough liquid to make a pan gravy before serving if you desire. (Remove the chicken and vegetables from the pan. Then whisk in 1 Tbsp. corn starch dissolved in ½ cup cooled broth or water. Boil to thicken and season to taste.)

The six-quart Gourmet Cooker by Kitchen Craft Cookware

The six-quart Gourmet Cooker by Kitchen Craft Cookware

If serving the same meal twice in one week doesn’t appeal to you, switch it up with other vegetables. For instance, I added a side of broccoli one day and green beans the other. I served biscuits once and dinner rolls once. I whipped half the potatoes, and stirred half in with the green beans. Finally, I didn’t serve the chicken meals consecutive days, although we aren’t averse to chicken two days in a row.

Don’t limit your slow-cooking to beef roasts or stews. Try cooking ahead a mix of foods. You won’t feel like you’re eating leftovers, and you’ll spend less time in the kitchen. Enjoy the food and extra time.

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Filed under chicken, cooking