Cookin' up a storm at Cook-A-Rama


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Slow Cooker Pot Roast

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Cooking with a crockpot is most convenient: I love preparing dinner in the morning or the night before and not having to think about it again until it is time to eat. It’s especially nice to come home from church and have a hot meal ready to eat.  However, I know of very few slow cooker recipes that I am willing to make because the vast majority of them have some kind of canned soup, msg-filled seasoning packets, or other unhealthy ingredients which we try not to consume.   I was happy to find this recipe on allrecipes.com It takes less than 20 minutes to prepare and clean up, which is a little longer than those recipes in which you open a can of soup and throw it in the crockpot with your meat, but it tastes much better and it is much healthier.  I added potatoes with the carrots and I didn’t have mushrooms, but I am looking forward to trying it with them (I am pointing that out so that those of you who do not like mushrooms realize you can easily omit them).  In all reality, it is a good guide recipe that could be experimented with to create many different dishes. You might like.

If you know of any other good crockpot recipes with natural ingredients (no canned soups!), then I would love if you could share them.  I would like to have at least 5-6 good slow cooker recipes so that I could use the slow cooker about once a week without getting tired of eating the same thing all the time.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/slow-cooker-beef-pot-roast/detail.aspx


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Pi Day Poem

A special Pi Day poem for today…

Monday was a quiche topped with cheese,
May I have a second serving please?
Tuesday was a shepherd’s pie with beans,
Extra mashed potatoes? Of course, by all means.
Wednesday was a flaky pot pie,
Full of creamy goodness and a veggie supply.
But now that it’s Thursday, the day of the pi,
I’m going for something a little more decadent, I can’t lie.
Apples, berries, chocolate, peanut butter,
So many choices, my taste buds start to flutter.
Lemon meringue, strawberry, pecan, or key lime,
They all sound delightful and ever sublime.
Yes, Thursday’s the day for all pie lovers,
To enjoy a day of pi and all the flavors pie uncovers.

Happy Pi Day to you!

Amanda Piccolo


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Stephen’s Favorite Cookies

Stephen's Favorite Cookies

Stephen’s Favorite Cookies

1/2 c butter
1/2 c white sugar
1/3 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c rolled oats
2/3 c chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)

Preheat oven to 350° F.  In a medium bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth.  Stir in peanut butter, vanilla, and egg until well blended.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the batter, just until moistened.  Mix in the oats and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.  Drop by tablespoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheets.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes* or just until edges start to brown. Cool on cookie sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

*The key to these cookies is not to overcook them.  When you first see any browning on the edges, take them out.  I’ve never cooked a batch more than 10 minutes and often only 8 or 9 minutes.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies


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Argentina Empanadas (Criollas)

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Traditional Argentina Empanadas are delicious.  If you have ever tried empanadas from another country, don’t judge these ones until you’ve tried them because they are quite different and superior to other countries’ empanadas (if you ask me).  Since you have to put them together one by one, it can be a fun family or group activity to make these.   The most enjoyable part, of course, it eating them.   Don’t feel overwhelmed and convince yourself that these are difficult to make: it’s just a meat filling with some seasonings wrapped up in dough, but they taste like something extraordinary. 

Ingredients

  • 2.2 pounds of ground beef
  • 3.3 pounds of diced onions (it seems like a lot, but after they cook down you don’t notice them and they are essential for an authentic flavor)
  • 1/4 T pepper
  • 1 T. salt (coarsely ground is better)
  • 1/2 T smoked paprika (it’s best if it isn’t sweet paprika)
  • 1/2 T ground chili pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 T oregano
  • Two dashes of sugar
  • 6 – 8 hard boiled eggs
  • Green olives, diced (optional, but traditional and yummy)
  • 2 raw eggs, beaten
  • 4 – 5 dozen empanada discos (Purchase at a latino market.  If you are going to bake them, be sure to get “criollas” or “hojaldre” or “para horno.” If you are going to fry them, get “para freir.”  La Salteña is an Argentina brand that is easy to find in Utah, but  other brands are probably good too.  Later on I’ll post a recipe for the dough.)

Instructions 

  1. Hard boil 6 -8 eggs.  Cool, peel, and cube.  The amount is adjustable depending on your tastes.
  2. Dice the onions (can use a food processor).  Heat 3 T of olive oil in a deep frying pan.    Sauté onions, covered, on medium-high temperature until transparent and soft.
  3. When the onions are transparent and soft, add the ground beef and mix together.  Cover.  Occasionally stir the mixture until the meat is cooked through.
  4. Add the seasonings: 1/4 T black pepper, 1/2 T smoked paprika, 1/2 T ground chili powder, 2 T oregano, 1/2 tsp cumin, 2 dashes sugar, and about 1 T salt.  Remember that these measurements are (good) estimates: add some, taste the mixture, and add more if you think it will taste better.
  5. After the seasonings are well mixed into the meat, mix in the cubed, hard-boiled eggs and the chopped green olives (optional).  It is ideal to let the meat cool for a few hours or over night in order to make it easier to put the empanadas together, but not required.
  6. To put the empanadas together, place a heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of a disc, wet your finger in a bowl of water and moisten the edge of the disc, then fold it over as though you are folding it in half with the meat inside and press the edges together.  Don’t put too much filling, or it will be difficult to close well.  Now you can either press the edges together with a fork (there is a more traditional way to do it too, but I can’t figure out how to describe that and the fork method accomplishes the task. . . ).  Make sure the empanada is well closed so that it doesn’t burst open while cooking.
  7. Place the filled empanadas on a greased baking sheet or a baking stone.  Brush beaten egg on top of the empanadas.  Cook in a hot 400°F oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes.   Or, you can deep fry them.


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Pastel de Papas (Potato Pie)

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Pastel de Papas (potato pie) is a typical Argentina dish with mashed potatoes and a meat filling.  The filling is the same as traditional Argentine empanadas, so if you learn how to make one dish, you can easily make the other.  I think this meal would be classified as “comfort food” as it is something that seems perfect to eat on a cold winter day.  This is nearly a one-dish meal with a vegetable on the side, and it goes a long way- perfect for big families.  Give it a try! 

Ingredients

  • 2.2 pounds of ground beef
  • 3.3 pounds of diced onions (it seems like a lot, but after they cook down you don’t notice them and they are essential for an authentic flavor)
  • 1/4 T pepper
  • 1 T. salt (coarsely ground is better)
  • 1/2 T smoked paprika (it’s best if it isn’t sweet paprika)
  • 1/2 T ground chili pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 T oregano
  • Two dashes of sugar
  • 4.5 pounds of potatoes
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • Green olives, diced (optional, but traditional and yummy)
  • 2 raw eggs, beaten

 

Instructions 

  1. Hard boil 4 eggs.  Cool and peel.
  2. Use the potatoes to make normal mashed potatoes to your taste (peel, boil until tender, strain, and mash with milk, butter, and some salt to taste).
  3. Dice the onions (can use a food processor).  Heat 3 T of olive oil in a deep frying pan.    Sauté onions, covered, on medium-high temperature until transparent and soft- stirring occasionally.
  4. When the onions are transparent and soft, add the ground beef and mix together.  Cover.  Occasionally stir the mixture until the meat is cooked through.
  5. Add the seasonings: 1/4 T black pepper, 1/2 T smoked paprika, 1/2 T ground chili powder, 2 T oregano, 1/2 tsp cumin, 2 dashes sugar, and about 1 T salt.  Remember that these measurements are (good) estimates: add some, taste the mixture, and add more if you think it will taste better.
  6. After the seasonings are well mixed into the meat, you can put the pastel together.  Grease two pizza pans or one cookie sheet.  The traditional way is to put a thin layer of mashed potatoes on the pan, but it is also common to use a savory pie dough on the bottom (you can buy the dough at a latino store- it’s called “masa de hojaldre”).
  7. On top of the thin layer of mashed potatoes or the pastry dough, put the meat filling.  Slice the four hard boiled eggs and distribute evenly on top of the meat filling.  Evenly distribute the diced green olives (however many you want) on top of the meat filling.  Cover the filling with mashed potatoes.  You can dip the spoon in a cup of cold water at intervals to help prevent the potatoes from sticking to the spoon as you spread them out.
  8. Use a fork to mark a criss-cross pattern on top of the potatoes.  This will hold the beaten egg and help make the top crispy.
  9. Evenly spread the two raw, beaten eggs on top of the potatoes.
  10. Bake, uncovered, in a hot oven at 400 °F until the top is golden brown, about 15 – 20 minutes.