Summertime is salad time. What’s easier than grabbing a salad mix bag at the grocerystore? Yet convenience can lead to boredom.
This time of year, fresh produce is abundant. Visit your local market or produce stand and pick up a variety of squashes, cucumber, cabbage (red and green), carrots, celery, and onion. These vegetables are low in calories, high in nutrients, and filling.
This HastyTasty meal is not hasty to prepare. Even with a food processor, you’ll spend close to an hour washing, cutting, slicing, grating, and then assembling a salad that serves 8. But it keeps several days in the refrigerator, available for serving at a moment’s notice. It is a delicious departure from lettuce salad, too.
I take no credit for this saladrecipe. I learned it from attending Kitchen Craft Cookware shows as “demonstration salad.” It’s used to demonstrate the Kitchen Cutter, which I bought 20+ years ago. I adapted the recipe for the food processor. However you prepare the salad, you will appreciate the taste. One serving is less than 20 calories, so you can indulge in a Tablespoon of your favorite salad dressing.
Here is a Link to a demonstration salad video on YouTube.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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
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.
(Photos depict regular turkey breast without the Buffalo rub)