Slow Cooker Meatballs

I don’t know about you, but the memories of summer holiday fun are quickly fading as the term gets back underway. 

The struggle is real for some in our house, as lazy slow mornings have given way to the school morning scramble.

On any given day I find myself at the breakfast bench whispering to myself ‘breathe, don’t yell, stay calm’ as we negotiate getting a sleepy teen moving and talk through the logistics of the day ahead with the family. 

Sigh. I was never a yelling type….until I became a mother that is. And this year, 2018, is the year where I.WILL.YELL.LESS. 

So. Here’s to less yelling in the mornings, making the school bus on time, getting to work not too frazzled and for another year, feeding our families and gathering together at the end of each day, however that looks.  

There are some solutions and shortcuts for this busy season, like prepping lunches and dinner in advance, enter these yummy easy Meatballs!  We can also outsource some house jobs, call in the family and friends cavalry from time to time to help out, but at the end of the day, there is no shortcut to raising our kids. 

It happens one busy, crazy, noisy, messy day at a time. Some of those days we can High 5 ourselves on our patience, wisdom and general awesome-ness. On many many others, we just have to know it’s enough to keep showing up and be thankful for the mercies that come afresh every time the sun rises again. 

Mums, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that we’re not going to get it right every time. I am staring down this new year already knowing it will be filled with imperfect parenting, disappointments and struggles for us and our kids. 

But I stare it down knowing that God doesn’t make mistakes and in Him, I trust and rest in full confidence knowing that I am the best mum for my kids, this season of their life is in His hands, He knows the future and it’s not my job to worry endlessly about all that I can’t control. He loves our kids even more than we do, doesn’t that just blow you away?

So bring on 2018 – less yelling, more breathing, less worry, more trust, less of me and more of the one who holds the world and our kids in his hands. 

E x

Slow Cooker Meatballs
Serves 6
Simple moist meatballs cooked in a rich tomato and herb sauce.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
4 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
4 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 kilogram pork and veal mince (if using beef mince, use a full fat variety otherwise they dry out)
  2. 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  3. 1 tablespoon dried italian herbs
  4. 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  5. 700ml jar of passata (italian tomato cooking sauce)
  6. 1 cup of tomato puree
  7. 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (optional)
  8. a generous splash of balsamic vinegar
  9. salt and pepper to taste
  10. To serve, parmesan cheese, parsley, pasta and steamed greens
Instructions
  1. Combine mince, breadcrumbs, herbs and garlic in a bowl.
  2. Using hands, roll into small, evenly sized balls.
  3. Place remaining ingredients in the slow cooker.
  4. Add the meatballs and fit them in as snug as you can.
  5. It's okay if they are not all submerged, just give them a careful stir 1/2 way through cooking if that's the case.
  6. Place the lid on and cook for 2-3 hours on high or 5-6 on low. Take the lid off with 1/2 hour to go to let the sauce reduce a little.
  7. Serve sprinkled with parmesan and parsley, pasta and steamed greens.
Notes
  1. Look for a passata or pasta sauce that has herbs added in to give the sauce extra flavour.
  2. If you use a plain one, add more dried or fresh herbs like oregano and thyme.
  3. This is the perfect make ahead meal as it's flavour develops in the fridge over a day.
  4. It also freezes well.
cook fast eat slow http://www.cookfasteatslow.com/

Slow Cooker Beef Ragu

I get so much joy out of sharing stories and recipes from my kitchen with you and yet, nights like tonight remind me why I am so very thankful you’re not actually here at dinner time with us. 

When I started this blog, I wrote a post called ‘Meal Time Madness’  and although that was nearly 3 years ago now, meal times are still just as mad. 

Here is a list of the most common things I would say on any given night at dinner time:

Your chair has 4 legs for a reason, please put them all on the floor.

Stop touching your brother. 

We don’t say that word in this house. 

Please don’t laugh when your brother says that word, it only encourages him. 

Don’t point a knife at your brother. 

Get out from under the table. 

Get back to the table.

Leave the table if you can’t behave. 

I don’t care if they say it at school, we don’t say it here.

Stop touching your brother. 

It’s someone else’s turn to speak, please listen.

We had your favourite last night. 

Yes, you have to eat all of it. 

There is no dessert.

What assignment is due tomorrow? How long have you known about it?

I don’t think that’s a nice name to call your teacher. 

Stop touching your brother. 

I said don’t swing on your chair. 

You are going to choke, please stop talking. 

Quick, put his hands above his head, someone get him some water! 

Please use your cutlery.

STOP TOUCHING YOUR BROTHER!

It’s a hands off policy at dinner, just like school. 

Don’t wave your knife around, you could stab somebody. 

Shhh, we are listening to how Dads day was.

Can you please help clear the table.

I know you did it last week, but it’s your turn again. 

You are about to spill your drink, please move your cup.

Can someone get the paper towel. 

I asked you to change so you wouldn’t get sauce on your school shirt. 

Please take off your shirt and put it in the laundry. 

One more piece of cauliflower and then you can leave the table. 

Any of those ring a bell with you? 

I truly believe that one of the most important things you need in parenting is PERSEVERANCE.

I love that word, but it conjures up images of sweat, tears, time, repetition, stress and tiredness. 

On any one of these discouraging yet normal nights, I picture going out to dinner with my grown sons in many years to come, enjoying their company, the food and wine and thinking ‘all those nights of the hard stuff was worth it after all.’

Let’s keep persevering friend xx

Slow Cooker Beef Ragu
Serves 6
A slow cooked tomato based sauce with tender beef, rosemary and garlic.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 hr
Total Time
5 hr 10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 hr
Total Time
5 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 kilogram chuck steak, fat trimmed, cut into chunky pieces
  2. 4 carrots, chopped into small rounds
  3. 1 leek, white part only, washed and chopped
  4. 1/2 cup red wine
  5. 1/4 cup tomato paste
  6. 400 gram tin of diced tomatoes
  7. 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  8. 2 bay leaves (fresh or dried)
  9. a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary
  10. 3 garlic cloves, peeled, left whole
  11. To serve
  12. 500 gram packet of dried large shell pasta
  13. Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in the slow cooker, put the lid on and cook for 5-6 hours. (If your slow cooker has settings, LOW - 8 hours, HIGH - 4 hours).
  2. In the last 30 minutes, remove the lid and using 2 forks, shred the beef. If it is not falling apart, put the lid back on and cook a little longer.
  3. Cook the pasta according to packet directions, drain and toss into the slow cooker.
  4. Give everything a big stir and serve in bowls with fresh parmesan cheese and a side of steamed veggies or salad.
Notes
  1. Don't forget to remove the bay leaves and rosemary stalks before serving.
  2. The sauce can be frozen, without the pasta in it.
cook fast eat slow http://www.cookfasteatslow.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

I have been wanting to create a good slow cooker version of this favourite Indian dish for so long. I am pleased to say I have finally got around to it and it was a hit with the whole family. 

The ingredient list may look long, but don’t let that put you off. Depending on how well-stocked your pantry is, you may need to pick up a few extra spices. All of these can be found in your local supermarket.

Once you have coated your chicken in the yogurt and spice mixture, it’s just a matter of throwing everything else in the slow cooker and letting time and the spices do their thing. 

Serve it with steamed basmati rice, Naan bread and a big pile of vegetables. 

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken
Serves 6
A mild slow cooker version of one of India's favourite chicken dishes.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
4 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
4 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 kilo chicken thigh fillets
  2. 1/2 cup plain greek or natural yoghurt
  3. 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  4. 2 teaspoons garam masala
  5. 1/2 teaspoon ground chilli powder
  6. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  7. 1 teaspoon ground cardamon
  8. 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  9. 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  10. 100 grams unsalted cashews
  11. 1 brown onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  12. 400 ml can tomato puree
  13. 400 ml can coconut cream
Instructions
  1. Place the whole thigh fillets (they stay more moist if you don't chop them) in a plastic bag.
  2. Add the yoghurt and all of the spices and ginger.
  3. Give the bag a big shake, coating the chicken well in the mixture.
  4. Place the contents of the bag into the slow cooker.
  5. Using a food processor, grind the cashews until finely ground, before they become a paste.
  6. Add the cashews, onion, puree and coconut cream to the slow cooker.
  7. Place the lid on and cook for 4 hours, 6 hours if using a low setting.
  8. Remove the lid for the last 30 minutes to slightly thicken the sauce.
  9. The chicken fillets will have fallen apart slightly.
  10. Ladle chicken and sauce into bowls with basmati rice, Naan bread and vegetables.
Notes
  1. For vegetarians, try using eggplant, cauliflower or other vegetables instead of chicken.
cook fast eat slow http://www.cookfasteatslow.com/

Slow Cooker Massaman Beef

If there is a dish my husband almost always orders when we indulge in Thai takeaway, it is Massaman Beef Curry. 

So that we didn’t only enjoy it on the odd occasion we had takeaway, I gave myself the challenge of finding a good recipe we could make ourselves at home, and ideally, one the boys would eat too.

I have played around with a recipe I found on TASTE.com

IMG_8162

What I was looking for was a recipe that wasn’t too spicy for the kids, that didn’t have a whole lot of palm or brown sugar (most Thai restaurant dishes do), a sauce that wasn’t too runny and a dish that had more veggies than the one you normally get in a Thai Restaurant. Also, a one pot, slow cooker version was essential too!

IMG_8169

Happy to report, this is the winner right here.

Enjoy x

 

 

Slow Cooker Massaman Beef
Serves 6
A mild beef curry, slow cooked, with carrots, potato and cauliflower
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 hr 30 min
Total Time
5 hr 45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 hr 30 min
Total Time
5 hr 45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1kg gravy beef, fat trimmed, kept in large pieces (the meat stays more moist like this)
  2. 1 brown onion, peeled, thinly sliced
  3. 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  4. 1 cinnamon stick
  5. 6 cardamon pods, (bruised with the back of a knife to open up)
  6. 1/4 cup massaman curry paste
  7. 2 kaffir lime leaves
  8. 400ml can coconut cream
  9. 1/4 cup fish sauce
  10. 2 large carrots, roughly chopped
  11. 1/2 head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
  12. 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped (this will go all mushy, thickening and flavouring the sauce)
  13. 3 medium potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  14. juice of 1 lime
  15. fresh coriander and chopped cashews or peanuts to serve
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients, except lime juice, in the slow cooker.
  2. Cook for 5 hours. If using a low setting, cook for about 7.
  3. Remove the lid and cook for another 30 minutes. This will thicken and reduce the sauce.
  4. Remove the cinnamon stick and cardamon pods.
  5. Stir through the lime juice.
  6. Using a fork, roughly shred the beef into smaller pieces if you wish.
  7. Serve with Basmati rice, coriander and nuts.
Notes
  1. This dish freezes really well. Just leave the coriander and nuts out before you freeze.
  2. This is a very mild, kid friendly, version of a traditional Massaman curry. Add more curry paste if you would like it more spicy.
Adapted from TASTE.com
Adapted from TASTE.com
cook fast eat slow http://www.cookfasteatslow.com/

Slow Cooker Honey Soy Chicken

I think I have said before how much I love any recipe that uses a whole chicken. They are inexpensive to buy and there is often more than one meal’s worth of meat, depending on the size of your family of course.

I almost always have a whole chicken in the freezer, and with a recipe like this, using staples found in most pantries, you have an easy and tasty family meal.

This is currently one of our¬†favourite meals. ¬†As the boys walk in the door from school they will smell it cooking and say ‘YES, we are having Honey Soy Chicken!’ It’s always a bonus when they look forward to dinner.

Ingredients

1 whole chicken (remove some skin if you wish, rinse the inside cavity with water, drain and pat the outside dry)

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup honey

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

juice of 1/2 lemon

Basmati rice and green vegetables to serve (I use bok choy, broccolini, snow peas and beans)

Method

Place the chicken in the slow cooker.

Pour over all the other ingredients.

Cook for 3 hours on high or 6 on low.

Remove the chicken and pull apart into pieces.

Place on a platter and cover with sauce.

Serve with steamed basmati rice and asian greens.