Feelin randy? Nah, me neither. It’s the weather. It’s also the realization that I have had the same three dishes in rotation the last few weeks, including Chinese takeout. BAD GIRL. I know. So I went looking for inspiration on good old Uncle Google, and found some fabulous recipes which passed muster and could all be made in a slow-cooker (or as everyone I know calls it, a crock-pot). To make the cut, dishes must:
1. Be healthy
2. Be inexpensive (by my standards…we are not talking tuna tartare or filet here…)
3. Be easy to make in a crock-pot, and perhaps have simple ways to jazz it up IF I have time
Also, let me introduce you to the hardware: I have an itty bitty crock-pot (not the minuscule one for dip or whatever, something more like this. Only in red. 😀 I also have a BAMF of a rice cooker, which is one appliance I use and use and use.
Without further introduction, my three recent picks, which all just happen to be vegetarian. Cool! Maybe after one of these you’ll feel a little heat, eh?
1. Indian Red Lentils with Jasmine Rice
Note: I have a rice cooker and you should too. This is NOT one of those worthless appliances. Get the kind with a brown rice setting and a steam tray for veggies. Amazing. Use the rice cooker to make the jasmine rice (ratio of 1:1 water to rice, in case you needed a refresher) and then grate a carrot into it. Dash of salt, dash of pepper, dash of ground ginger. Rice = Done. Moving on.
Actual Recipe: http://bit.ly/1hKk2pV
Note: I didn’t have the coriander and the dish still tasted lovely. The lemon and cilantro however, were reaallly good, so I advise you to just go with it and try them if you can. I also substituted sriracha for the cayenne, and of course went a bit heavy on it. ZPB was quite pleased with this choice.
3. Southwest Black Beans and Cheddar Couscous
Ok, so this could be a little healthier…couscous is after all, just pasta in a tiny round shape. But whatever, it cooks by simply absorbing boiling liquid in five minutes or under. That has to count double for cool-points.
This is my recipe, so I’ll give you the deets:
4 cans black beans, rinsed
1 Tbs. chili seasoning
1 tsp. smoked paprika (if you can find some, this shiz will change your damn life)
2 tsps. Kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 onion, diced
1 tsp. diced jalepeno (I get the kind in the jar and just use it as I need it, though you could totally use cayenne and call it a day here)
1/2 cup chicken broth
Dump all ingredients into slow cooker.
Turn onto the ‘low’ setting and let it hang out 4-6 hours.
Make 2-3 cups couscous. I am not telling you how to do this. If you don’t know, read the damn box. It’s crazy-easy. Grate 1 cup of cheddar cheese and stir/fluff in with a fork once the liquid has been absorbed by the couscous. Add 1 tsp. each salt, garlic powder and pepper.
Serve beans over couscous. I like to be naughty and serve with eggs over medium on top of the beans…and then get super-filthy and slice up half an avocado (and squirt lemon or lime on top) for each person on the side. I serve with salsa or pico de gallo. This dish feels right with a light beer. We are Narragansett drinkers in this house…so yeah. That’s the good stuff.
3. Spicy Chickpea-Coconut Faux Curry with Brown Rice
I say this is a faux curry, because I made it up, and feel certain that, as a white girl with no classes or cultural teaching around this dish, I don’t know how to make curry. HOWEVER. This does taste delicious and reminds me of actual curry that I have eaten in places where people know what the ish they are doing. So there is that.
3 cans chickpeas, rinsed
1 can light coconut milk, shaken like a Polaroid picture
2 heaping tablespoons curry paste (red or green really do it for me here, I save the masala for other applications)
1 chopped onion
1 chopped sliced red pepper (I do half strips) or cauliflower florets
2 carrots sliced on the bias
1 cup salted cashews. MMMMMMMmmmmMMMMMmmmm
1-2 cups chicken broth whisked with 1 Tbs. arrowroot/cornstarch (eyeball it, this will create a faux roux to thicken this bad boy with)
Dump everything into the slow-cooker but the broth faux roux. Make the BFR, and dump into slow-cooker.
Serve over brown or jasmine rice. I serve with sriracha on the side and it is so darn good.
Also… does anyone have anything like this amazing-looking product?? I feel I have been misled if this indeed does what it says it does. We should discuss.