• Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese

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    For the next 10 weeks, our daughter’s swim lesson is Thursday evenings, which kind of puts a crimp on dinner preparations. So I decided that every Thursday I’m going to try a new crock pot recipe so that dinner is hot, ready, and waiting for us to return home and eat. This week’s recipe is macaroni and cheese from Best-Loved Slow Cooker Recipes. I followed the recipe exactly and it was awful! So bad that we didn’t eat it and we ended up having scrambled eggs for dinner. The cheese and evaporated milk curdled, so it was like eating pasta with cottage cheese. The texture was just wrong and gross!

    Our oldest kept saying “this dinner is ucky. This dinner doesn’t taste good.” Needless to say we will NEVER have this again.
    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. elbow macaroni, cooked
    • 2 TBSP butter, melted
    • 4 c. evaporated milk
    • 6 c. cheddar cheese, shredded (I used Tillamook Sharp Cheddar)
    • 2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
    • Cooking spray

    Directions:

    1. In a large mixing bowl, toss pasta with butter. Stir in evaporated milk, cheese, salt and pepper.
    2. Spray crock pot with cooking spray, and place pasta mixture in the crock pot.
    3. Cook on HIGH for 2 hours.

    Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese:

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  • Turkey Breast Cutlets with Sweet Potatoes

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    This recipe comes from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Two. It had so much potential and I was really looking forward to tonights dinner. Boy what a flop. The sweet potatoes were too soft, the green beans were over done, and the turkey was dry. I think our 3 year old summed it up very well: “Mommy this is not good. You need to make a good dinner.” Oh well.  -s says this recipe is “smashed” and I agree.
    Ingredients:

    • 1 1.2 oz package of turkey gravy mix
    • 1/2 c. water
    • 1/3 c. dry white wine (I used chicken stock)
    • 3/4 c. whole berry cranberry sauce
    • 2 TBSP heavy cream
    • 1/4 c. dried cranberries
    • 2 medium size sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/3 inch thick slices
    • 4 oz. green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
    • 1 large shallot, sliced
    • 1 pound turkey breast cutlets

    Directions:

    1. In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the gravy mix, water, wine, and cranberry sauce, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and whisk until thickened and the cranberry sauce has melted. Stir in the cream and dried cranberries. Set aside.
    2. Spray the inside of the crock with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange sweet potato slices in the bottom of the crock. Then add the green beans and the shallot. Roll up each cutlet and place in a layer on top of the veggies.
    3. Pour the warm cranberry gravy over the cutlets and veggies. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 7 hours, until the turkey and the potatoes are tender.

    Turkey Breast Cutlets with Sweet Potatoes:

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  • Smashed: Something Called Mole

    As part of my food writing duties I have been given “Cooking With the Seasons” by Lesa Heebner to review. Though the review will ultimately be pretty short, I’m still doing some test cooking from the book to see if it’s something worthwhile. Unfortunately, my first experience was not a good one.

    I made the Puebla-style Mole Sauce with Chicken Strips recipe from page 118. Or more accurately, made the mole sauce and took the family out for Indian food.

    Mole is generally a very complex chile sauce, usually with 20-30 ingredients. Some people focus on the chocolate in many versions of the sauce, but I’ve never had a version where I’ve said “wow, chocolate sauce.” In a good mole, the flavors will be balanced so no one flavor dominates and the heat level can vary from mild to very hot.

    Heebner’s mole is scaled down ingredient wise, though it hits most of the categorical high points — chiles, spices, and chocolate. One thing the recipe lacks is a starch for thickening, usually represented by a slice of bread or a day old corn tortilla. Another noticeable difference from other mole recipes is that none of the spices are toasted.

    And in the end, these differences matter. The sauce tasted like a cinnamon sauce (my biggest pet peeve with moles!) with a faint background of chicken stock. It had a gritty texture to go along with the taste to start, so I strained it to see if that helped. Nope, can’t say that it did. It just made it a watery cinnamon sauce with a faint background of chicken stock.

    We haven’t tested any other recipes yet, but I am fearful.

    The upside is that we learned that our 2-yr old likes dal.

    Amazon sells Heebner’s cookbook. Check it out here if you dare.

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