Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Love in a bowl.

As we all know, I am in the throws of a love affair...with my slow cooker. During Vance's precious and rare "golden weekends" (Saturday and...wait for it...Sunday off!), the last thing I want to do is be in the kitchen cooking all day. An overnight oatmeal and spicy sausage stew were just what we needed to eat well and still enjoy the beautiful Nashville fall weather! On Sunday we ventured out to Percy Warner Park and did about a 4.5 mile hike. 
To start our day, Autumn Oatmeal. Steel cut oatmeal is delicious and healthy. I used McCann's in the past, but upon comparing prices, I purchased Quaker Steel Cut Oats.

  • 1 apple, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1-1/2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 5-6 pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional garnishes: chopped nuts, raisins, additional milk or butter

Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for 7 hours. Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add optional toppings, if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Freezes well.

To reheat single servings: Put 1-cup cooked oatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Add 1/3 cup fat-free milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot.

Dinner, spicy sausage & lentil stew over brown rice inspired by A Year of Slow Cooking.

  • 1 cup lentils (rinsed well, for this slow cooker recipe you do not need to soak overnight)
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 (12-ounce) package sausage - I used a spicy pork, but you could use chicken & apple, turkey...anything!
  • 2 large peel and chopped carrots
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 9 ounces (or so) fresh spinach (to add at the very end)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons thyme
  • 2 small or 1 large bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt

Slice the sausage into small chunks and put into slow cooker. Mix all ingredients together in the slow cooker and set on low for about 5 hours (until sausage is cooked all the way through and lentils are soft). Add the spinach about 15 minutes the dish is done - it will wilt and cook down. I served this dish over brown rice, but in hindsight you don't need rice at all. Perhaps a crusty piece of bread and small salad will do! Enjoy!

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