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.

 

Slow Cooked Beef Stroganoff

When our third son was born almost 9 weeks premature, our life turned upside down for a short period.

My husband had just taken over the ownership of a business a few months prior to my forced bed rest and we already had 2 gorgeous and busy boys at home.

Seeing life through the lens of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was indeed life changing for us. Tiny, precious sick babies. So much silence, except for life saving machines beeping and the sound of the nurses (otherwise known as angels) hushed tones. Catching the eyes of the other parents huddled around their babies’ plastic incubators, not needing to speak but understanding in one glance.

This was a humbling time.

And chaotic. How to be a mum at home with 2 boys, and yet be by the side of this one who I didn’t want to leave, even for a second.

What’s this got to do with food I hear you say?

We were literally ‘carried’ through the weeks and months that followed, by family and friends who picked up our life, our pieces, our kids, our laundry.

And they fed us.

Meals, turned up, every night for at least 6 weeks. You cannot underestimate the power in giving a meal. For my husband juggling home and work, this was life saving. For me, who was living between hospital and home, this home cooked goodness was more than nourishing for my body.

As each meal arrived, accompanied usually by a warm hug, we knew we were not alone.

Over the years, I have been blessed to be on the receiving end of so many meals. I will never forget the day my beautiful friend who works full time, turned up on my door step with a hug, a BBQ chook, a yummy salad and a tub of ice cream. Sadly, the first thing she said was “sorry it’s not homemade.”

What she didn’t realise is that on that day, in that situation, that offering meant the world to us. In her limited time and capacity, she  gave to us.

One of the ways I love to love on people is through food. Surprise.

To give a meal, fancy or simple, bought or homemade, is so much more than feeding them.

It says ” We see you. Your situation matters. I wish I could fix it. I wish I could heal your pain, sickness, grief.”

Often we can’t do any of that.

But we can take a meal.

And these days, none of us need to look too far to find someone suffering, sick, struggling, alone, on the edge.

This Beef Stroganoff is a great one to do in a large quantity in a slow cooker. To make 2 portions, one for your family and one for another family is not that hard. It is one I have often given away. You may be reading this and have actually eaten it!

If you are planning on giving this one a go, I hope you get the chance to give some of it away and in doing so, BLESS someone richly in the process.

I found this recipe years ago, trawling the internet for good slow cooker recipes. I have no idea where, but as I have played with it a lot to make it my own…I’ll take credit for it now 🙂

The quantity below is usually enough for us (2 adults 3 kids) and another family of a similar size.

Ingredients

1.2kg of gravy beef, chuck steak or shin beef  (I used to get the butcher to cut this into strips for me, but it dries the meat out too much that way. I now keep it in really large chunks of meat and at the end of the cooking time, shred the meat up with a fork. It stays nice and moist this way.)

1/3 cup plain flour

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 brown onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

400gm can diced tomatoes

1/4 cup of tomato sauce

1 heaped teaspoon of vegemite (you might think this strange, but once when I had no beef stock, I used this instead and loved the result!)

2-3 tablespoons of dry sherry

500gm of button mushrooms, washed and sliced

1 cup sour cream (for those who can’t have dairy, you don’t need to add this, it’s just as yummy without it. But it is the secret to making it very creamy!)

Pappardelle Pasta or Steamed greens to serve

Method

Place beef, flour and paprika in a plastic bag and give it a big shake to coat the meat.

Put the meat in the slow cooker and add all the other ingredients, except the sour cream.

Cook for 5- 6 hours (an hour or so less if using HIGH, an hour more if using LOW)

Check it a few times if you can and give it a stir.

With 30 minutes or so to go, stir in the sour cream and leave the lid off.

TIP  – if you are planning on freezing this for someone else, freeze it before adding the sour cream. You can just give them sour cream to add themselves when it’s reheated.

Serve with pappardelle pasta, or on it’s own with vegies on the side.