Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

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I guess it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. I’ve been cooking, but I guess usually nothing new. My church still has the general routine of playing sports (indoors at the university gym right now because it’s winter) and then having dinner. I think these days the average number of people is around 20-25, but it’s slowly been growing.

Last week there was a new high of 36 people. I reused this recipe but in taco form. 10 lbs of chuck roast, 5 lbs of chicken (as a side note, this recipe totally works for chicken too), and then when we realized there were going to be over 30 people, we went out and bought 3 lbs of ground turkey for regular tacos (seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic power and chili powder). We also easily demolished 10 avocados worth of guacamole.

One thing we learned was that slowcooker recipes prepped the night before are really good for these dinners. Keep in mind the part about prepping the night before is key. But I’ll get back to that later.

This week I was traveling for work. I went to RPI and Williams for recruiting. I was really scared that I was going to get stuck in Albany because of the blizzard, but I was very fortunate to get out in time. I don’t think I’ve ever been that happy to be home and in my own bed before.

On Saturday my brother and sister-in-law came to visit. My bf and I had brunch with them and another friend at Bassett Street Brunch Club. I really like their food, but I’m starting to think it’s not worth the 1 hour+ wait. I really should remember to go at night sometime since brunch is served all day. We also went to Babcock Hall to get cheese and ice cream, and later that night we cooked a great steak dinner.

So basically my Saturday night was really busy. Which means I didn’t have time to prep a slowcooker meal. I decided to do one anyway and use the “high” setting for the first time (supposedly halves the cooking time). This was a mistake.

I tried out this recipe for chicken tikka masala. Except that I multiplied everything by approximately 3 1/3 to provide for the large crowds. This was the fatal flaw. I generally overfill the slowcookers, but when I prep the night before I cook on low overnight (12+ hours when the recipe usually calls for 8-10). We were really rushed on time tonight, so we started the slowcookers at 5pm. I checked on it at 8pm and had a mini heart attack when I realized the meat was still mostly raw. We quickly moved it to 3 pots on the stove and boiled/simmered for 15-20 more minutes which seemed to do the trick.

Overall the recipe was really good – it was a little hot (cayenne pepper), creamy (greek yogurt + heavy cream), and all the different spices (paprika, cumin, garam masala, cinnamon) worked really well together.

Some changes I made:
1) I used chicken thighs instead of breasts because thighs don’t get as dried out.
2) I used ground ginger instead of minced fresh ginger because I really hate biting into chunks of ginger.

Otherwise I tried to follow the recipe fairly closely, but it was hard because I had to multiple everything by approximately 3 1/3, and everything was split unevenly between two slowcookers (one is much bigger than the other).

I would definitely recommend this recipe and I would definitely make it again.

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A Different Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

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Almost a half a year later and I’m finally posting something new! It’s not that I haven’t been cooking, I just haven’t been documenting things.

Not really sure what to say… a lot has happened in the last six months, but nothing particularly that I feel the need to share in this blog.

I’ve been to many weddings lately. I went to my cousin’s wedding in California in April, a friend from Madison’s wedding in Milwaukee in June, a different friend from Madison’s wedding in Whitewater in July, and a friend from college and family friend’s wedding (to each other) this past weekend. Additionally, I have two other college friends’ wedding (to each other) in Bozeman (MT) in a few weeks and a high school friend’s wedding in Massachusetts in September. But I’m not certain I’m going to either of those two yet. Sooooo many weddings. They’ve all been really fun so far though.

This past week I took some time off from work and went home for about a week. It was nice to be home and see the family and catch up with old friends and eat really good Chinese food (xiaolongbao, dim sum, etc – stuff that doesn’t really exist in Madison!). I also went shopping with my mom and ended up with a leather jacket, a new dress, and a sweet pair of Converse. I also inherited my parents’ iPad (apparently they weren’t really utilizing it), that I am currently using to write this post.

Basically since moving to Wisconsin, my Sunday routine has become church, lunch, sports, then cooking dinner for most of the people at sports. The weather has been really nice lately. Normally I “play” basketball, frisbee, or tennis. And by “play” I mean I practice my shot (I finally learned how to shoot a basketball properly!), I toss a frisbee around, or I just hit a tennis ball around with people. I’ve decided that I hate competition, so I don’t really like to play games.

In terms of cooking, there are usually anywhere from 11-25 people who come by to eat. That means we usually end up making pasta because it’s the easiest thing to cook in bulk. Some of the other things we’ve done are lasagna (technically also pasta, but different because it’s harder to make), quesadillas, and kimchi fried rice. I’ve also gotten really into zucchini and asparagus. I never liked those vegetables as a kid, but recently I’ve found that I really like them. I did find out that my mom actually hates zucchini, which is probably why I never really gave it a chance either.

This week I finally decided that I should try a new recipe and actually take a picture so I could finally update this blog. This barely counts though because I didn’t actually do any of the food prep. Some friends got all the ingredients, chopped all the vegetables, and dumped it all in the slow cooker. I just watched and told them to add the coconut milk (my friend was not going to add it because he knows I don’t really like coconut milk. It’s true, but I find it tastes ok in curries). So I helped, right? Right.

I thought it came out quite well. A couple comments I would make:
1) We ended up leaving out the cayenne pepper and the peas. I would add those both back in. We left out the cayenne pepper because a fair number of our friends can’t eat spicy food and we left out the peas because there wasn’t room in the slow cooker. I think the curry would have been quite good with those ingredients added in.

2) We were rushed on time so we cooked it on high for a little less than 4 hours. This caused the sweet potatoes to be a little hard. If I try this recipe again I will make sure to leave enough time so that I can cook it on low for 8-10 hours.

I’m feeling too lazy to re-type the ingredients/steps, so I’m just going to put a link to The Lemon Bowl. We ended up tripling the recipe I think.

Hopefully I’ll be better about updating in the future, but I make no promises.

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

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I love soups and stews. Back when I was a kid my parents had a fun little theory that the reason I liked soup so much was that I was too lazy to chew. I think it’s actually a combination of two things: I’m generally cold, and my jaw comes out its socket kind of easily so yawning or eating hard/chewy things cause it to click and hurt a little bit. So I guess my parents were not completely wrong.

And I suppose they’re not all wrong about me being lazy either. Today I attempted to make Golden Curry even easier than it already is. For those who aren’t familiar with Golden Curry, it’s one of the easiest dishes to make. All you have to do is cook meat and vegetables, then add the block(s) of curry and water, mix, and you’re done! Easy, right?

But tonight I attempted (and succeeded) in making Golden Curry even easier. And it was all made possible by my trusty … wait for it… SLOW COOKER! I’ve probably said it a thousand times, but I’ll say it again: I LOVE my slow cooker. I can just do all my prep the night before, dump everything in the slow cooker before work, and hot, delicious food is ready when I get home!

This curry was sooo good. Of course the fact that I was fasting today may have played a part in that. Haha. My church has a retreat coming up this weekend and a bunch of us were fasting today in preparation. Personally I think I need to prepare myself for playing drums for the praise band. I love playing the drums, but I have a hard time not being super self conscious about how I sound. I know I shouldn’t be thinking about that and that I need to ask God to give me the right attitude and the right heart. I also think I need to spend more alone time with God… which is hard when trying to balance work, volunteering, church stuff and socializing. Hm…

At any rate, I’ll be playing this weekend and I don’t think I’ll have adequate time to practice. Gotta have faith that God can work despite that.

Agh, so much for going to bed early today. Ok. The recipe. It was really good. It needed something green (for the picture… maybe peppers or peas). Can probably feed approximately 3-4 people, but I would suggest adding another chicken breast.

Ingredients
1 chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
3 carrots, chopped into 1″ pieces
1/2 onion, sliced coarsely
1 large potato, cut into chunks (not too small)
2 cups water
1/2 8.4oz box Golden Curry mix

Put all ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Serve hot on white rice.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

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Weekends always go by way too fast. I can’t believe it’s Saturday night already. I’m lying in bed listening to the wind outside… and I’m very grateful that I’m inside right now.

Today we had “ladies night” which consisted of a bunch of the women from my church getting together to have dinner and play some games. I know I said in my last post that I hate games, and that’s still for the most part true, but the games we played were not particularly competitive and didn’t require a ton of brain power.

One of the games we played was called Imaginiff which involved answering questions about the other players like “imaginiff was a joke. What kind of joke would he/she be?” One of the questions that come up for me was “Imaginiff I was a character from Winnie the Pooh. Which one would I be?” Top two answers were Eeyore and Tigger. Does that make me somewhat manic depressive? Either sad and depressed or bouncy and happy? Hm, fascinating.

Anyhow, the menu for the night included slow cooker shredded chicken tacos, chips with homemade guacamole, and “chipwiches”. I’m not going to post a recipe for the chipwiches because all they were were chocolate chip cookies (using the recipe from the back of the bag) with vanilla ice cream in the middle.

The tacos involved an incredibly easy mexican rice recipe and an even easier slow cooker chicken recipe (only three ingredients. Three!). Put ’em in a tortilla with some lettuce, cheese, salsa, and guacamole and you’re good to go!

Rice recipe from Allrecipes.com
Chicken recipe from Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients
For the rice:
2 cups uncooked long grain rice
1/2 onion, diced
28 oz diced tomatoes with liquid
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
oil

For the chicken:
6 chicken breasts
1 jar (11 oz) salsa
1 packet of taco seasoning

In a frying pan, heat oil and saute onions with cumin. In the bowl of a rice cooker mix all the ingredients. When the rice cooker goes from cook to keep warm, uncover and mix to allow the rice to dry out a little bit.

In the bowl of a slow cooker, pour half the jar of salsa. Place the chicken on top of that. Sprinkle with taco seasoning. Top with the rest of the salsa. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 2-4 hours.

And that’s it. So super easy!

Slow Cooker Carnitas

I can’t believe it’s November. Time goes by so fast.

Things coming up:
Crosstraining! An AAIV retreat in Green Lake, WI. I’m leading a small group on Daniel 3 and Daniel 6. Praying that God will really work this weekend. And that I won’t totally suck at leading this small group.

Work trip next week. Leaving Madison on Wednesday, coming back Monday.

Thanksgiving is coming up! Sadly I am not going home… breaking a long tradition of having Thanksgiving dinner with some family friends and playing this ridiculous game called Masterpiece.

Thinking about going to Urbana ’12. Not sure yet though. I suppose I really need to make up my mind so I can buy plane tickets and stuff.

Anyway, last night we packed boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Shopping for toys is so fun. We also had a potluck and I tried out a couple new recipes. Here’s one.

This recipe for carnitas was soooo good. I made a few changes based on the comments, but all in all, so very delicious in tacos with some homemade guacamole, sour cream, salsa, lettuce, and cheese. I’ve said it many times, but I’ll say it again: I love my slow cooker.

Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients
7 lbs bone-in pork shoulder
4 tsp salt
4 tsp garlic powder
4 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp ground coriander
3 1/2 cups chicken broth

The night before, lay out the pork on a baking sheet. Rub half the spices on top. Turn over and run the other half on the other side. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, place pork in the slow cooker. Add chicken broth, being careful not to wash off the spice rub. Cook on low for 10 hours.

Remove from slow cooker and shred with two forks.

Slow Cooker Shredded Korean Beef Burritos

I love the idea of fusion food. It goes along with my whole theory that everything that tastes good paired with carbs (rice/noodles/bread/etc) would taste good wrapped in a wonton and deep-fried. So far this theory has not been proven wrong yet, but I have yet to try some of my crazier ideas.

This time I decided to go the other way. Asian food in a tortilla. Not totally original though. I think there’s some ridiculously popular food truck in LA or something that makes Korean/Mexican fusion. I’ve never had it, but I think the truck has a pretty substantial Twitter following or something.

Anyway, this time I got approval from not one, but TWO Korean friends, so I’m going to say this recipe is a winner! Also, I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I loooove my slow cooker. Slow cookers are amaaazing. You put meat and marinade in and surprise! 8-12 hours later you have delicious, tender, flavorful meat! I either put stuff in before I got to bed or before I leave for work… I wonder if the people on my floor ever wonder why the hallway smells like beef at 5am in the morning.

The parts of this creation came from various places. I took some tips on how to assemble the burrito from New Asian Cuisine, adapted the beef from Stephanie O’Dea’s A Year of Slow Cooking, the kimchi fried rice from Serious Eats, the sauce from my Korean lawyer (well, law student) friend who would probably sue me if I didn’t cite her here, and I served the burritos with some baked wonton chips from Sweetnicks. Phew! I think that’s it.

Ingredients
4.2 lb chuck roast
3/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup soy sauce
10-11 whole cloves of garlic
1 sweet onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
kimchi fried rice
romaine lettuce (~8 large leaves), cut in half
1 cucumber, sliced thinly
gochujang
sesame oil
garlic powder
8 large flour tortillas
1/2 package wonton skins, cut in half into triangles
olive oil
salt
salsa or guacamole to serve with the chips

To make the burritos
Put the first 7 ingredients (up to “2 tablespoons sesame oil”) in the slow cooker and cook on low for 8-12 hours. Shred with a fork.

Make kimchi fried rice and set aside.

Mix gochujang, sesame oil, and garlic powder. I used about 3 parts gochujang, 2 parts sesame oil and a liberal sprinkling of garlic powder. It’s really just a matter of mixing the three things together, tasting and adjusting until desired taste is achieved.

To assemble, put rice, lettuce, cucumber, beef and gochujang sauce on the tortilla and roll. I’m really not an expert at rolling burritos, but these step by step instructions are pretty good.

To make the chips
Spray a cooking sheet with olive oil. Place wonton skins on, making sure they don’t touch. Spray tops with more olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Bake at 375 degrees (F) for 5-7 minutes or until brown. Serve with salsa and/or guacamole.

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! 😉

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 allrecipes.com 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 allrecipes.com

Ingredients
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
salt
pepper
paprika
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).

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