Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Slow cookers are amazing. I love that I can dump a bunch of ingredients into it in the morning and when I get home from work, I have food waiting for me! The only thing that is I’m new at this, so I still worry that if I leave it on all day while I’m at work I’m going to burn the apartment down or something. Didn’t set anything on fire this time, whew! πŸ˜‰

I don’t really have a whole lot else to say… after all I did just post a recipe two days ago. Not a whole lot has changed in the last two days. So I guess I’ll just comment on the recipe. I was skeptical at first because the recipe called for a packet of dry onion soup mix. Seemed like a weird thing to put in a pot roast. But 4.5 stars on with over 1,000 reviews is pretty darn impressive, so I just had to give it a try. (Incidentally that reminded me of this xkcd comic. Haha, it’s definitely true!)

I made some modifications based off of a couple different reviews and it turned out really well! I unexpectedly had 6 people (including me) for dinner, so I wish I had gotten the 4 lb roast like the recipe called for… but I was really impressed by the tenderness of the meat. It literally just fell apart when I poked at it with a fork! I am happy to at least have enough leftovers for another day or two.

A couple other notes: next time I would put more carrots and use a bigger piece of beef. Also, it’s hard to make pot roast look pretty…

Anyway, it’s getting late and I’m getting old so I’m absurdly tired. Onward to the recipe then off to bed!

Recipe adapted from

2.7 lb chuck roast
1 packet dry onion soup mix
3 large carrots, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
1 sweet onion, chopped into 8 evenly sized wedges
6 large white mushrooms, sliced
4 medium red potatoes, diced
6 cloves of garlic
garlic powder
1 can beef broth
2 cups water
olive oil

Coarsely chop 2 cloves of garlic. Place in a bowl and cover with olive oil. Microwave in increments of 10-15 seconds until fragrant. Let cool. Rub the roast with the olive oil/garlic, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder. Let marinate for 15-30 minutes.

Brown on high heat, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Cut 4 slits (2 on the top, 2 on the bottom) of the roast and insert the remaining cloves of garlic.

Place the roast in the slow cooker. Sprinkle the onion soup mix on, add the vegetables, then pour in the broth and water. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Serve over rice (or I hear mashed potatoes are good too).

Kid’s Meal All Grown Up

I love the movie Despicable Me. It’s not artsy or sophisticated in any way, but it makes me laugh. A lot. So whenever I find out that one of my friends hasn’t seen it, I make them watch it. And somehow I never get tired of it. I mean, it’s just cuteness overload.

I guess the movie brings out the little kid in me. When I found out that a couple friends hadn’t seen it yet, naturally I had to make them watch it. So I was planning a menu for the night and I started thinking about kid food. When I think “kid’s meal” the first thing I think about is chicken nuggets, fries, and corn. It was a reoccurring meal throughout elementary, middle and high school (until I started going off campus for lunch). And then in college one of the dining halls had kid’s night once a week, which consisted of all those foods too.

And then I had an idea. (Or as Gru would say, lightbuuulb!) I decided to recreate this classic kid’s meal, but with a twist of sophistication. Homemade chicken nuggets instead of the typical frozen ones, sweet potato fries instead of boring, normal french fries, and avocado, corn and black bean salad instead of plain old canned corn.

It took a long time, but everything turned out really well! I’m hesitant to post recipes because I didn’t really measure anything. When seasoning things I just freehand everything. So I’m just going to put ingredients and preparation steps. Sorry for those of you who need measurements.

Sweet potato fry recipe adapted from The Food Network
Salad recipe adapted from Center Cut Cook

Ingredients for chicken nuggets
Boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-1.5 inch pieces
Garlic powder
Chili powder

Season chicken with oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and chili powder.

In a bowl, beat a couple eggs. On a plate, mix flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. On a separate plate, pour out the panko.

For each piece of chicken, dredge in the flour mixture, dip in the egg, and then roll in the panko.

At this point you can choose to be “healthy” and bake the chicken at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Note: if you use this method, the nuggets might be a little pale.

Or, you can choose to be carefree and deliciously unhealthy and fry those suckers. That’s always my preference! πŸ™‚

For the sweet potato fries, I used all the same ingredients from Paula Deen’s recipe, but I didn’t measure them. I’m sure if you follow the measurements from the link, they’ll turn out great.

For the salad, I more than doubled the avocado (I LOVE avocado). I used five avocados, two packs of tomatoes, two cans of corn, and one can of beans. I skipped the cilantro (I’m not a huge fan of cilantro), and only used one lime. Instead of red wine vinegar I used apple cider vinegar (that’s all we had), and I didn’t measure how much vinegar, olive oil, salt or pepper I used. But it’s really simple. I just mixed everything together in a big bowl and chilled it in the fridge until everything else was ready.

It was a really great Sunday night, although sadly it caused me to fail to get to bed at a decent hour in order to start my Monday off well. Oops. In other news, I’m super duper excited to go home in five days! Ok, that’s all I have for now.

Garlic Chicken Katsu – an adventure in deep frying

These days the only time I cook anything new is for church things. My last post was when it was my turn to make snacks for my family group (church small group). Yesterday I made dinner for my family group and tried out a recipe for garlic chicken katsu, and I suspect my next post will come sometime this weekend after my church’s young adult potluck.

It’s dinnertime right now and guess what I’m having? Canned tomato basil bisque from Costco and white cheddar Cheez-its. It’s not that I don’t want to try new things… it’s just that I’m usually too tired/hungry to try anything time consuming and most of these recipes can’t be scaled down for one person.

So last night was the first time I’ve deep-fried anything… it was an experience. I started with a pan of oil, but wasn’t sure how to tell if the oil was hot enough. I don’t know what I was thinking because I know that hot oil and water are a horrible combination, but I sprinkled a drop of water in the pan. BIG MISTAKE. Hot oil flying. Everywhere. Apologies to the hostess of our family group for getting oil all over the floor. Lesson learned… again.

So we moved the oil from the pan to a deeper pot and this time I dropped a panko crumb in to test the oil. Much better idea. So I fried the chicken until “golden brown and crispy” like the recipe said to, but I guess the chicken thighs were too thick so they weren’t cooked all the way through. But we stuck ’em in the oven for a bit and it all turned out ok in the end! πŸ™‚

The mashed potatoes were loosely based off this recipe, but I pretty much free-handed it… and added a ton of garlic powder. Fun fact: I used a potato masher for the first time! It made the mashing part go soooo much faster (I usually do it with a fork)!!

Well the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the actual recipe! (As opposed to reading my endless rambling)…

Recipe adapted from Chef Jenn

8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut in half
3-4 eggs, beaten
1 8oz package of Panko
black pepper
garlic powder
canola oil for frying

Prepare three large bowls/plates: one with the beaten eggs, one with flour, and one with the panko. Season the panko liberally with salt and pepper.

Coat each half chicken thigh first with flour, then egg, then panko.

Fill a pan/pot with about 1″ of oil. Add a panko crumb to test the oil. When it starts sizzling, add as many chicken thighs that will fit. Fry until golden brown and crispy, then turn and fry the other side.

Remove from oil with metal tongs and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Cut a piece open to see if the meat is cooked through. If it is, you’re done! If not, transfer to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Dressed Up Tomato Soup

Since I’m in a hotel for another week, I decided to think about simple stuff I could make. I got a can of Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup, but I thought plain ol’ tomato soup was too boring, so I thought of ways to make it more interesting.

I decided to add a bit of “Mexican”. I put “Mexican” in quotation marks and didn’t tag this as “Mexican” because I don’t really think it’s Mexican food… but it did come out kind of salsa-like. Kind of. It’s a lot chunkier than the picture would suggest, but all the solid stuff sinks to the bottom.

It was really tasty though. I had 2 bowls for lunch today, then another one later as a mid-afternoon snack… and I still have a reeeaaaally big bowl left over in my fridge. I’ll probably have that for dinner tomorrow.

1 can Campbell’s condensed tomato soup
1 10oz can diced tomatoes and green chili peppers
1/2 15oz can black beans, drained
1/2 15.5oz can corn, drained
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
garlic powder

Dump soup, tomatoes/chili peppers, black beans and corn into a pot and heat until boiling.

Add salt and garlic powder to taste, then melt in cheddar cheese.

Serve topped with some more cheddar cheese (also optional).

“Asian” Vegetable Pasta

So I officially finished my first week of work! I don’t do any real work yet though because I’m still in orientation and training. Actually, it’s a lot like being a freshman again. This past week reminded me strongly of First Days. Lots of new people (some of whom know each other already– i.e., similar to summer science/summer humanities people), lots of new information, getting lost on campus, etc.

I haven’t moved into my apartment yet (move in date: August 14th), so I’m currently living in a residence hotel. There’s a kitchen– it’s small, but it has a refrigerator and a stove, so I’ve been doing a little cooking! Mostly really simple things… often involving Ramen.

But I thought I’d share this because it’s really easy to make and turned out pretty well. I put “Asian” in quotation marks because it certainly isn’t real Asian food. It has Asian elements (vegetables/flavoring) but authentic Asian food does not have rotini or (Western) broccoli in it.

1 broccoli crown, cut into florets
1 carrot, sliced
3 stalks of 油菜 (Mandarin: youcai, Cantonese: yauchoy), chopped into (approx) 1″ pieces
1/2 lb of pasta (I used rotini)
Lee Kum Kee Black Bean Garlic Sauce (first mentioned in this post)
vegetable oil
garlic powder

Boil water and cook pasta until al dente.

In a non-stick frying pan, heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil. When oil is hot, add carrots. Cook for a few minutes, then add broccoli. Sprinkle with salt and garlic powder, and add some water (about 1/4 cup). Cook until tender.

Add 油菜 to the pan and continue to cook. Add pasta and stir until well-mixed. Add 2 spoonfuls of the black bean garlic sauce and stir until the sauce is evenly spread.

Cook on low heat for a few more minutes to let the pasta/vegetables absorb the flavor of the sauce.

Beef with Green Peppers

First day back. Let the battle against jetlag begin. It’s 1:30, so I’m ok so far, but the trouble zone is from like 2-6pm. To keep myself busy, I’m doing laundry and uploading photos from Singapore and Hong Kong.

Alright, on to the recipe. The discovery of black bean garlic sauce was wonderful.

Seriously, Asian sauces make cooking so much easier. That and marinating. Alright I don’t have much else to say about this recipe. It’s good and really simple.

1 large green pepper, cut into pieces
1/2 lb flank steak, sliced thinly
Lee Kum Kee Black Bean Garlic Sauce
vegetable oil
soy sauce
garlic powder and/or onion powder

Preparation Marinate beef with vegetable oil, soy sauce, garlic powder (and/or onion powder), salt and cornstarch.

Pour oil into a frying pan. When oil heats up, add pepper. Sprinkle with salt and a few spoonfuls of water and cook until tender.

Add a spoonful of black bean garlic sauce. Stir to coat all the pieces with sauce. Remove from pan and set aside.

Pour more oil into the frying pan and when the oil is hot, add beef in a single layer and cook on one side until the side facing upward begins to change color. Flip and cook the other side then add a spoonful of black bean garlic sauce. Add peppers back in and toss together.

Pad See Ew

I’m currently stuck at San Francisco airport. I left Singapore at 8am yesterday, took a 7 hour flight to Tokyo, then took a 9 hour flight to SF. My flight was supposed to be at 2pm (PST)… but it got delayed. It’s currently 3:20pm and my flight’s scheduled to take off at 4:20. But it’s been delayed at least twice now, so I’m not sure how optimistic to be. Anyway, the hope is to be back in Boston at about 1am.

I guess since I’m stuck here and I have wifi, might as well post the next recipe on the list. In W-town there are only a handful of restaurants. One of the favorites among students and professors is a Thai/Japanese place called Sushi Thai (original right?). And (almost) every time I go I order the same thing: Pad See Ew. So delicious.

When I graduated it was kind of weird to think that I wouldn’t be able to get it anymore. Then my friend (the one who writes Dorset Kitchen) posted a recipe for it and I gave it a look. I adapted it a bit (like, say, adding meat) and sort of combined the recipes from Dorsey Kitchen and Rachel Cooks Thai, and ended up with an ok approximation.

The major problem was I couldn’t find flat wide rice noodles anywhere. The flavor was good, but the texture of the noodles was just wrong. I think it would work much better with the right noodles.

PS– if this post is mildly incoherent I apologize… I haven’t slept in a while.

1 crown broccoli, cut into florets
2 carrots, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tsp sugar
2 tsp vinegar
1/2 chicken breast, sliced thinly
JES Yakitori sauce
garlic and/or onion powder
soy sauce
vegetable oil
8 oz dried, flat rice noodles

Preparation Marinate chicken with vegetabe oil, soy sauce, garlic (and/or onion powder), and salt. (See this post for *slightly* better instructions).

Cook noodles as directed on package. Toss with a little bit of oil so they won’t stick together and set aside.

Mix soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and vinegar together and set aside.

Crack eggs in a bowl, add a pinch of salt and soy sauce, beat and set aside.

Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan and saute garlic. Add broccoli and carrots, sprinkle with salt and add (approx) 1/4 cup of water. Cook until broccoli and carrots reach your desired tenderness.

Add noodles and sauce and fry on high heat, allowing the noodles to char a little. Make a space in the pan and add the eggs. Scramble them and mix in with the noodles.

Remove the noodles from heat and place in a serving dish. Add more oil to the frying pan, add chicken in a single layer in the pan and allow to brown until the side faving upward begins to change color. Turn and cook the other side, then add enough Yakitori sauce to cover the chicken and stir. Remove from heat and top noodles with chicken.

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