Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Crock-pot Beef and Broccoli

Like many working mothers, I love my crock-pot. I have been trying to get ahead of the dinner time-crunch and organize my week with the help of freezer bags and an hour or two on Sunday afternoon, during Freddy's nap-time. Suffice it to say my "cook for the week" journey is a lot like the Mexican - American war, some wins, some loses, and some disasters. Thankfully there is Mexican dictator involved, although my husband might disagree. Nonetheless, this recipe I am happy to report is a definite winner, the trick is to leave out the broccoli and put it in frozen or fresh about 20 minutes or so before you eat.  I do it just as I put on the rice to cook. 

What you need

  • 1 pound of all natural grass-fed beef stir-fry 
  • 1 cup of dark beef consume
  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil 
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcester sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar 
  • 3 large garlic cloves minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 16 oz bag of frozen organic broccoli florets (or fresh chopped) 
  • cooked rice
  • chili flake (optional)

What you do

  1. Add all of the ingredients save the broccoli and rice into the crock-pot. Cook on high for 2 and a half hours or 4 hours on low. 
  2. Add the broccoli about 20 minutes before you want to eat. 
  3. Make the rice
  4. Enjoy! 

Make-ahead and freezing instructions

  • You can mix all of the ingredients except for broccoli and rice and store in a Ziploc freezer bag. You can either freeze the bag  as it is, or place in your fridge. The ingredients will keep in your freezer for up to 3 days. 

    • Remember to label the bag with the dish 
    • If you freeze the ingredients, you can either thaw and then cook as instructed or you can put the frozen ingredients directly in the crock-pot. If cooking from frozen increase the time to 3 1/2 hours on high or 6 hours on low. 
    As always, much love, many blessings, and happy cooking!

    Skinny Turkey Lasagna

    Suffice it to say that no lasagna is skinny... I mean clearly, let us operate in the realm of truth. Nonetheless, this is a less calorie intensive rendition of this delicious comfort food. I switch out the normal pork sausage for a low fat turkey turkey sausage. I use part-skim and fat-free cheeses. I bulk up the flavor of marinara with balsamic vinegar and a ton more veggies. This is a great freezer meal or you can make ahead and store in your refrigerator a day in advance. 

    What you need

    • 3 stalks of celery diced
    • 2 medium onions diced
    • 1 cup of shredded carrots
    • 1 pound of raw turkey sausage 
    • 3 cloves of garlic minced or micro-planed 
    • 1 tablespoon of salt free Italian seasoning
    • 3 cups of marinara 
    • 2 eggs
    • 16 oz of fat-free ricotta
    • 2 cups of low fat mozzarella 
    • 1 box of no boil lasagna sheets or fresh pasta sheets
    • 2 tablespoons of Parmesan 
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • red pepper flake (optional)
    • basil leaf for serving

    What you do

    1. Make the sauce: In a large non-stick sauce pan over medium heat cook the celery, onions, and carrots. Cook the vegetables for a minute or two. Add the turkey sausage out of the casing. Cook until no longer pink, stirring. If the turkey sticks to the bottom of the pan add some water. Micro-plane in or add the minced garlic, add the Italian seasoning. Then add the marinara. Turn the heat down to low, and allow to simmer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. 
    2. Make the cheese filling: In a large bowl whisk the eggs and add the ricotta. Stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper.   
    3. Assemble the lasagna: Cover your pan in foil and spray with non-stick spray. Pour a ladle full of sauce into the bottom of 11 X 9 X 3 inch serving dish or lasagna pan. Place the no-boil noodles, one at a time to make a noodle blanket and cover the bottom of the dish. Lots of thin layers is better than 2 thick ones. Layer a few laddles of the sauce. Cover with a layer of raw noodle sheets. Pour about half the cheese mixture, spread into a flat layer, cover with noodles. Repeat with remaining noodles, sauce, and cheese. When at the top, cover the noodle sheets with sauce, then mozzarella and top with Parmesan. You can bake right away or freeze for later. 
    4. Bake: Cook the lasagna covered for 30 minutes at 400 degrees; then uncover the dish for an additional 15 minutes so the cheese can turn bubbly and brown.  
    5. Serve: thinly slice fresh basil leaves. Serve with red pepper flakes and extra Parmesan cheese.

    Make-ahead and freezer directions 

    • The dish will keep in the refrigerator tightly covered for a day. 
    • If you are freezing cover the entire dish in foil. 
    • Write what is in the dish and label with date and cooking instructions. 
    • You can either thaw the lasagna and cook covered for 30 minutes at 400 degrees; or you can put the frozen lasagna in the oven covered in foil for 2 hours at 400 degrees. Either way you want to uncover the dish for an additional 15 minutes so the cheese can turn bubbly and brown.  
    As always, much love, many blessings, and happy cooking!