Tuesday, January 15, 2013

MY DINNER IS SO GOOD! Lamb and Barley Stew in Rice Cooker.

I love lamb!  I love my rice cooker!  And, I am on a mission to vary the whole grains that I eat.  So, here is today's dinner.

1 cup pearl barley

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups sliced crimini mushrooms

1 onion, sliced thinly
 1 teaspoon ground thyme
3 garlic cloves minced

1 pound baby carrots 

4 shoulder blade lamb chops about 8 ounces each.

1 17 ounce box of beef broth or stock

Measure 1 cup of pearl barley into the bottom of a rice cooker pan.

In a saute pan at medium high heat, add olive oil and mushrooms.  Let sit without moving for at least 2-3 minutes.  Toss around the pan with tongs and again let sit for 2-3 minutes.  Your mushrooms should brown and break down a bit.  Add the onion and stir around and again let sit for 2-3 minutes.   Add thyme and minced garlic.  Stir around a bit and then pour on top of the barley into the rice cooker.  Place carrots on top of barley.

In the same saute pan, brown the lamb chops on both sides until nicely caramelized.    Place on top of the carrots. 

Pour the box of beef broth over the entire mixture and close rice cooker.  My rice cooker has a "mixture" setting, but I think white rice setting would do.  If you have cooked barley in your rice cooker before you will know the setting.

When it switches to keep warm, it is done.  IT IS AWESOME!

Veggie Cooking Cheat Sheet

Veggie cooking guide

I read many food blogs and check out food websites regularly.  I can't get enough recipes.  Even if I ate and cooked 24 hours a day I couldn't come close to 1% of the recipes I have stored "to try soon."

One website I really like is Kidspot.  It is a fun place for all sorts of parenting.  The health and food sections are my favorite.  Recently, they posted a Veggie Cooking Cheat Sheet that is superb!   Check them out!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Effie's Stew in the Rice Cooker

I have been cooking for my dogs for many years.  I supplement with quality dry food and an occasional quality wet food. 

Today, I am using my beloved rice cooker to start a weekly chore of making what I call Effie's Stew.    (I have seen recipes for something called Puppy Stew and don't want to infringe on their name.)

Ingredients and Directions:

8-9 Chicken Thighs (or chicken pieces with skin and bone included)
1 15 ounce can pumpkin
8 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 16 ounce bag frozen green beans
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup barley
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
 4 cups water.
 1 cup frozen peas

Put all ingredients except peas in the rice cooker.  Cook until it turns off.  Remove chicken and de-bone and tear or cut into smaller pieces and return to the rice cooker, including the skin..  Use an immersion blender to make it as mixed and mushed up as your dog prefers it.  I leave quite a few chewable chunks.  Then add the frozen peas and stir to combine.  They will defrost and cook almost instantly.  For my dog this is less that $.25 per serving.  This is compared to at least .$80 per serving of prepared canned wet food and my recipe is far healthier as well.

Cool and store in quart size storage bags or 8 ounce containers.  It can be frozen.  Daily, Effie gets one cup mixed with kibble.  For a larger dog you would need more or less depending on how much kibble you also feed.

Using this recipe as a guide for amounts, substitutes could be made to include different vegetables and different grains and proteins.  For example, instead of chicken you could use turkey, beef or even a ground meat; instead of barley and oatmeal you could use brown rice and quinoa.  In the summer when zucchini and yellow squash are in abundance I often use them fresh instead of frozen beans.  I have also added apples to the mix in the fall.

Experimenting Today

Today, I am experimenting.  It will be edible for sure, but not sure how good. This is what I did.

I put two cups of  dried black eyed peas in my extra large slow cooker.  I had a ham bone in the freezer from a spiral sliced ham.  It was full of meat.  I defrosted it and put it on top of the dried beans.  I also poured in the packet of glaze that came with it originally.  (I hadn't used it because the sliced  ham was used for cold sandwiches.)  I then sauteed a medium onion, 5 cloves of garlic and a large jalapeno in bacon fat along with a teaspoon of each cumin and black mustard seeds.  I just wilted the onion and waited for the mustard seeds to start popping.  I poured the entire thing into the slow cooker on top of the ham.  I then added 4 cups of water and set the slow cooker to high.  I chose 7 hours, but will check on it and add or subtract time as I notice how the ham/beans are faring. 

It was actually done in 5 hours and it was AWESOME!!!!  My husband said "DO IT AGAIN," and most of the time he says NOTHING.