Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fire Up Those Slow Cookers!

Fall is the time to fire up the slow cooker! The house gets filled with the delicious scents simmering away all day! I think it is my second favorite small appliance! My favorite is my immersion blender! Just stick that into a pot of soup and whirrrrrrr away!

Last year, a TV station out of Salt Lake City, ran an investigative report regarding the lead in kitchenware. During that series, they covered the lead found in crockpots. It's in the glaze. My crockpot was so old that I just knew it probably had that glaze. So, after investigating, I got an All-Clad Slow Cooker. I love it! It does have some issues that I wish I had considered prior to purchase. It gets hot on the handles, lid, and stainless exterior. For that much money, they should have had the wisdom to use something that was heat resistant. There is no lead, though! If ever you want a slow cooker that is supposedly lead free and an economical buy, check out the Hamilton Beach line with white liners. The white ceramic is supposed to be the safest regardless of who the manufacturer is. I like the All Clad because the removable liner can be used on the stovetop to brown the meats, saute the veggies, etc.

Here is a cooking hint for you when using your slow cooker - You know how all that condensation drips and drips into what you are cooking? Sometimes, that is a good thing, and sometimes, it can create too much moisture. Well, if it is creating too much moisture, just put a clean dish towel over the uncovered slow cooker and then place the lid on top of that. The lid will hold the towel in place, and the towel will absorb the additional condensation!

Here's a recipe for your file:

Slow-Cooker Cheeseburger Soup
Be sure to brown the ground beef before adding it to the slow cooker. Browning helps keep the meat from clumping and adds extra flavor.

Makes: 6 servings (8 cups)

Total time: 3–4 hours (low heat)

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 lb. ground beef sirloin
1 cup diced onion
3⁄4 cup diced celery
1⁄2 cup diced carrot
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. dried basil
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1⁄2 cups milk
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups peeled and diced russet potatoes
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Prepared yellow mustard
Chopped dill pickles

Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add sirloin; cook until meat begins to brown. Stir in onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and basil; cook 5 minutes.

Add flour, stirring to coat meat; cook 1 minute. Stir in milk until mixture is smooth. Bring mixture to a boil; cook 2 minutes. Transfer soup to a 3- to 4-qt. slow cooker.

Stir in broth and potatoes. Cover soup; cook until potatoes are tender, on low-heat setting for 3–4 hours.

Add Cheddar just before serving, stirring until cheese melts. Season soup with salt and pepper; garnish each serving with ketchup, mustard, and pickles.

Steps to Success

1. Brown the ground beef in butter, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, then add vegetables.

2. Stir in the flour; cook 1 minute to remove the raw taste and to coat the meat and vegetables.

3. Add cheese at the end of cooking time so it doesn’t curdle. Mild Cheddar and American work, too.

Now for scrapping. Here are two LOs that I recently did. Nothing amazing, but nice for the memories.

The first one is of DH on his 60th birthday! He's still as gorgeous as the day we met 34 years ago! His favorite meal in the world is Beef Wellington - a GOOD Beef Wellington! I asked the chef/owner of our favorite restaurant, The Garden House, if he would make it for DH. He did, and it was the best! There is a photo of it on the LO, too. Look how pretty it is to look at! There are skewered shrimp, tomato roses, asparagus, a squash medley, and sculpted potatoes! The artistry and symmetry! There is even a little heart at the top of the puff pastry crust! If humans could purr, DH would have done so (and I'm pretty sure I heard him purring anyway)!

The LO is based on a sketch we were given during a crop last week. I stamped the bird, used older papers, did lots of pleating and clustering. I really liked the sketch. I can't recall whose it was, though. It wasn't Becky Fleck's. I found the utensil brad and thought it was just too cute and perfect for this LO. The things I have in my stash, LOL!


A Birthday Beef Wellington

The next LO probably doesn't look that thrilling to you because of the photo. The original photo was almost black! It took me about an hour and a half of Photoshop to pull what you see in the LO. It's a photo of my holding DS just hours after he was born.


So Fresh

This is the photo before I was able to rescue it. I honestly thought there was no hope.


The next LO was done for a challenge. We had to use a photo bigger than 5 x 7. I made mine 11 1/2 x 9 3/4. I asked DH if he had a photo of Yosemite and this is what he gave me to use. I loved the photo because of the view, the waterfalls, and the valley floor. I used BG Marrakech.



Well, I've covered slow cookers, a recipe, and some layouts! Hopefully, something there had to be interesting!

Blessings to you,



DS said...

What beautiful layouts! I remember dad enjoying that birthday particularly.

Carolyn said...

Hi, I loved your layouts. I'm going to try your soup this week.