Slow Cooker Beef Ragu

Slow Cooker Beef Ragu

Life around here is getting into a making-it-through-fall-with-1-broken-foot-and-a-pregnant-woman groove. Basically, that means we’re always on the hunt for recipes that are tasty, nutritious, easy, and economical. Now that we’ve become one of “those families” with a variety of food allergies–dairy for Jolene, Anne, and Kailen, soy (for sure) and gluten (perhaps) for Tad–the recipes also need to be adaptable to those restrictions.

This slow cooker beef ragu is tasty, easy, nutritious, economical, dairy-free, soy-free, and with the right noodles, it's gluten-free, too.Today’s recipe for beef ragu was found in a free magazines distributed by Hy-Vee, a regional grocery store chain. Made in a slow cooker, it meets the “easy” requirement. The main ingredients listed were nutritious, inexpensive ones like tomatoes and carrots. I substituted an inexpensive chuck roast for the flank steak to make it even more economical. Four of the five of us thought it was mighty tasty. The Man of Steel warmed up to the flavors once he, as our token adult dairy eater, sprinkled it with parmeseon cheese. The only modification made was preparing gluten-free noodles for Tad.

 

The only fail of the night was when the cook forgot to take a picture before she started eating. But I managed to prepare the entire meal and set the table with no help (other than asking someone else to drain the noodles) despite a broken foot, so I’m feeling good. We all agreed this recipe is a keeper that can be doubled or tripled to make freezer meals. So it’ll hit our table again, and I’ll snap a picture then. In the meantime, here’s the recipe:

Slow-Cooker Beef Ragu

1 1/2 pounds chuck steak
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced Italian-style tomatoes with onion and garlic
1/4 cup water
2 medium carrots, chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3 tablespoons tomato paste
12 oz. wide egg noodles, cooked and drained

Cut chuck roast into chunks and place in slow cooker. Add tomatoes, water, garlic, carrots, bay leaves, and Italian seasoning. Stir well. Cover and set cooker on low for 5-6 hours. Discard bay leaves and stir in tomato paste. Serve over cooked noodles and enjoy!

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Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad

The surprise ingredient in this chicken salad adds a delicious crunch to this lunchtime favorite.Sharing the kitchen with my daughter and her family has many advantages. One of the greatest advantages is that I am in charge of only half the meals. Another is the opportunity to learn new recipes from the cook who’s in charge of the other half of the meals. Here’s her take on chicken salad. I never would have guessed how much cauliflower can add to this simple dish.

Anne’s Chicken Salad

2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped fine
4 large pickle spears, chopped
1 small head cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste

Saute cauliflower in olive oil until some pieces begin to brown. Remove from heat.

Combine chicken, onion, celery, pickles, and cauliflower in a large bowl. Add mayonnaise 1/4 cup at a time until it reaches the consistency you like. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate 2-4 hours before serving with your favorite bread or on a bed of lettuce.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Broth

Slow Cooker Chicken Broth

Making chicken broth in a slow cooker is simple and yields several quarts of delicious, sodium-free broth.I’ve been making chicken broth for years by boiling the chicken carcass in a big stock pot. But my daughter recently showed me how to make very flavorful broth in a slow cooker overnight. What could be simpler? Not much as this recipe shows, which works equally well with turkey.

Slow Cooker Chicken Broth

Place the carcass of a roasted or slow cooked chicken carcass, including skin and bones, in the slow cooker. Add pan juices and brown bits scraped from the bottom of the roasting pan. Fill the slow cooker with water. Throw in an onion (quartered), three stalks of celery cut into 3 inch lengths (include the leaves), and 6 garlic cloves (halved). It will look a little gross.

Making chicken broth in a slow cooker is simple and yields several quarts of delicious, sodium-free broth.Put the lid on the pot, turn it on low and let it cook overnight. In the morning, run the contents of the slow cooker through a strainer into two large bowls. Allow the broth to cool. Pour into pint freezer bags. Seal and lay the bags flat on cookie sheets. Place cookie sheets in freezer until the broth is solid. Remove bags from cookie sheets, stack and keep in freezer until needed. Makes 8–10 pints of broth.

Thai Chicken Soup

Thai Chicken Soup

This easy Thai soup recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, and full of flavor. It also yields some excellent leftovers.Soup season will soon be over. But while it lasts, this recipe is one to try before warm weather hits. Especially if you love Thai food. This recipe is my version of one from the Elana’s Pantry website.

This recipe is easy, dairy-free, gluten-free, and bursting with flavor. It makes a big batch. That’s good because The Man of Steel and I would have quibbled over the leftovers otherwise. Needless to say, this version of Thai soup received the Hiram Coveted Seal of Approval. Next time, I may add some red pepper flakes to add a bit more heat.

Thai Chicken Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 bunch green onion, chopped
  • 8 sprigs cilantro, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 28 ounces coconut
  • ½ pound crimini mushrooms
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 pound chicken breasts skinless-boneless, halved lengthwise, sliced on bias, cut into ⅛ inch thick pieces
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons red curry paste
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • ½ cup cilantro, minced

Cooking Instructions

  1. Warm oil in a large saucepan over medium heat
  2. Add half of the green onions and cilantro, stirring frequently until softened, about 5 minutes
  3. Stir in stock and coconut milk and bring to a simmer
  4. Pour broth through a fine mesh strainer and discard solids (green onions and cilantro)
  5. Return broth to saucepan
  6. Reduce heat to medium, add mushrooms and broccoli and cook until tender, about 5 minutes
  7. Add chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until no longer pink
  8. Combine lime juice, curry paste and fish sauce in a small bowl then stir into soup
  9. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro, chilies and scallions

 

Chicken with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce

Chicken with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce

This easy and delicious recipe is low-sugar, gluten-fee, and dairy free. Plus it will set your taste buds dancing.This post is the culmination of a three part series that began with DIY adobo seasoning, which was an ingredient in the raspberry chipotle sauce used in today’s delicious chicken recipe. I first tasted this dish at a church potluck and made it for my daughter and her family a few weeks later. We all loved it, and I’m looking forward to making it again soon, and the Man of Steel is looking forward to eating it.

Chicken with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce

2 grilled chicken breasts sliced into thin strips
1 batch low sugar raspberry chipotle sauce
1 red, yellow, or orange sweet bell pepper cut into thin strips
1 large onion, sliced into thick strips

Place grilled chicken strips in the bottom of a crock pot. Place peppers and onions on top of the chicken. Pour the raspberry chipotle sauce over all. Put lid on crock pot and cook on low for 4 hours.

Serve in tortillas or over rice. Feeds 4.