Jan 23, 2006

Guest Blogger #6 - Cookin' With Cyndi

I am happy to introduce Cyndi from Cyndi Cookin' With Cyndi as my Monday Guest Blogger. I absolutly love Cyndi's blog, she and I think quite alike when it comes to recipes and she has so many I can't help but stop by every day to see what's new. Stop by and take a look, I'm sure you'll find something you will enjoy. :)



I am honored that Michele asked me to be one of her Monday guest bloggers. Michele has a second blog that’s all crockpot recipes, so I was inspired to wax nostalgic about the crockpot.

I bought my first crockpot in 1979, just before I graduated from college. A boyfriend named Corky (Corky? Yup; that was his name!) had one and used it all the time in his little garage apartment. He gave me my first crockpot recipe, Lime Chicken, and I use it often since it’s so simple.

That crockpot, an orange Rival, lasted until 1982, but was destroyed by the movers when we returned to the United States from Germany. My husband took pity on my grief, and immediately bought me a new one. Also Rival, also orange. It served me well for the next 23 years until it died last month. I was trying out a Chocolate Pudding Cake recipe from Fix It and Forget It, and for the first hour or so we were tortured by the aroma of chocolate coming from the kitchen. I soon noticed that I didn’t smell chocolate any more, but failed to check the pot. After dinner, I pulled out the serving bowls and the ice cream, stuck the spoon into what
appeared to be perfectly cooked pudding cake, and discovered that it was cold, uncooked, and absolutely disgusting underneath a thin layer of cooked cake. Gross. And so disappointing. (And I haven’t had the courage to try that recipe again!)

I knew I couldn’t give up crockpots, and I knew I had to have a new one immediately. The next morning I drove down to Redlands to Kohl’s. I found just what I was looking for. It’s not orange, but it’s still a Rival. It’s a silver and black 5-quart oval one, with a warmer switch in addition to the low and high switches. That’s a great feature, but the one I like best is the removable crock. I can take the ceramic crock out of the metal case! It’s so much easier to clean up than the old one. I’ve got a long list of recipes to try, and will be sure to post them all as I make them.

This is my favorite:

Hearty Italian Sandwiches

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 1/2 lbs. bulk Italian sausage
2 lg. onions, sliced
2 lg. green peppers, sliced
2 lg. sweet red peppers, sliced
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
8 sandwich rolls (crusty or soft)
shredded Mozzarella cheese

In a skillet, brown beef and sausage; drain. Place a third of the onions and peppers in crockpot; top with half of the meat mixture and half of the tomatoes. Repeat layers of vegetables and meat, then top with remaining vegetables and tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and pepper flakes. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until vegetables are tender. With a slotted spoon, serve about 1 cup of meat and vegetables on each roll. Top with cheese, if desired. Use pan juices for dipping, if desired.

Here’s the lime chicken, my very first crockpot recipe:

Lime Chicken

1 whole chicken, cut up (or a combo pack of pieces)
1/3 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

Put the chicken in the pot. Add lime juice. Sprinkle with black pepper. Cook 6-7
hours on low.

I’ve also used my crockpot for an old standby, pinto beans. My dad told me that when he was growing up during the Depression, his mother kept a pot of pinto beans on the stove all the time. They’re simply made; flavored only with some salt pork or bacon, and once in a while I add onions.

Pinto beans are high on the list of Antioxidant Rich Foods , too!

Pinto Beans

1 lb. dry pinto beans
4-6 oz. salt pork or bacon
1/2 c diced onion (if desired)
salt and pepper

In a large bowl or in the crockpot, cover beans with water, making sure you still have several inches of water on top of them (they expand). Soak overnight; drain and rinse. Cover with water again, leaving an inch or two on top. Dice salt pork or bacon, add to beans. Add onion, if desired. Turn crockpot on LOW and cook all day (8-10 hours). Season with salt and pepper.

Dad always ate his with cornbread, and I continue that tradition. This is an inexpensive meal with plenty of leftovers that can be used with Mexican food either left whole or mashed to make refried beans.

Last week I posted about the wonderful Beef Fajitas crockpot recipe that I had adapted from Kalyn’s chicken fajita recipe on Kalyn’s Kitchen. Try both. Either is fantastic! The pinto beans would make a good side dish, especially if you added some jalapeƱos to them.



Felicia said...

Thanks for introducing Cyndi. I visited her site and found out about some neat blogging events from different links she has posted.

I can't wait to try your lime chicken crockpot recipe. I've actually never used a crockpot and don't even own one, though I've been thinking about buying one for a few months now. Maybe your recipe will spur me on to buy it now.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Cyndi's blog, too, and all the recipes that she comes up with!


Michele said...

I'm so glad you both enjoyed Cyndi's post. I love her blog too!