valentine’s day chicken with rice

Maybe you woke up on valentine’s day with a slight hangover and a vague memory of winking at the bartenders … AGAIN.

Fine, here is how you create a valentine’s day dish to serve your roommate’s hungry family.

First, start cooking the cupcakes so the apartment smells like warm vanilla when they arrive.  You can find your own cupcake recipe.  Here’s the crock pot part:

Take a pound or so of boneless skinless chicken pieces and season them with salt, pepper, and ground chile pepperBrown the pieces in a pan with a little bit of vegetable oil. As the pieces are browning, you can chop an onion, a red pepper, and three cloves of garlic.  Stir them into a can of crushed tomatoes.  Sprinkle some dried rosemary in there.  Once the chicken is browned on all sides, put it in the crock pot.  Cover with the tomatoes and et cetera, and cook on high for 4 hours.  An hour or so before your dish is scheduled to be finished, throw in some rinsed frozen peas.

Serve over yellow rice.

After you’ve cleaned the dishes, take the pineapple your roommate’s family brought, cut it in half, sprinkle with butter (don’t tell), brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Bake at 350 for a half hour or until you think it’s ready to share.  It’s valentine’s day after all.


Chile Verde w/ Pork

Guys, I didn’t make this and it came out very soupy, so I’m just copying an email pretty much, about how to make this in a crock pot.  It was pretty delicious, soupy or otherwise:

First, saute one onion and one green pepper, coarsely chopped, with three or four cloves of garlic, minced, in olive oil.  Put into the crock-pot.  Also put in a small can of diced green chilis and sliced jalapenos to taste. (1 – 3). Add 7 or 8 coarsely chopped fresh tomatillos, or a medium size can.  Cube 2 pounds of LEAN pork, and brown in a frying pan before adding to the crock-pot.  Season with oregano, dried red chile, sage, cumin and black pepper.  Salt, I guess.  “I will probably add a dash of beer (about 1/2 cup) for obscure reasons.” [WHAT?  what is an obscure reason to add some beer? Please advise.]

Probably put it on high for 4 hours.  You can serve it in bowls with salsa, guacamole, rice and tortillas.

Alternately, you can take the meat out, crisp under a broiler and cook some of the liquid off to make it thicker and more appropriate for eating burrito style.


This morning we decided it was time to use the crock pot again, so i trudged through grey slush to the Pathmark at 2nd and 12th and bought up their entire stock of beans.  Now, both of my parents were fantastic cooks, so I always think I can just go mix whatever I want in a bowl and it will turn out okay.  Who knows if this will turn out okay, but here is the recipe I used for:

Blandwich’s Crock Pot Chili

Put some olive oil in the skillet.  You know-the one that the ceramic is peeling off in certain parts and showing the cast iron beneath.  Hope for the best.  Take the one pound of ground beef that your roommate has been thawing and put it in the skillet to brown. At this point, open up 2 cans of kidney beans, 1 can of pinto beans and 1 can of red beans (normal sized cans), and dump them into a collander.  Now open up 2 28-ounce cans of italian crushed tomatoes and 2 tiny cans of tomato paste and dump them into the waiting crock pot.  Rinse off the beans and let sit.  Check the beef.  Stir it around a little. Dump about half of one of those cardboard containers of beef stock into the crock pot.  Grab some dried spices: cumin, oregano, chili powder, red pepper, salt & pepper and shake them around on the crock pot.

Sing “Boys of Summer” to your cats.  The ground beef should be brown now, so drain it and then dump it in the crock pot.  Add the drained beans and stir it all around a bit.  Shake some hot sauce on top of it.  Chop up one jalapeno pepper, one green pepper and one really big red pepper and add to the crock pot.  Then decide to use one of those tiny food processors to mince 5 cloves of garlic, vow to never mince garlic by hand. Decide to put a bit more beef stock in the pot, just because.

Turn the crock pot to high, cook four hours, stir occasionally.  Do homework – your roommate is in charge of the cornbread.  Listen to “Hello” by Lionel Richie.  Total cost of the meal, including cornbread, probably around $20.  But will make dinner and at least 6 lunches throughout the week.  Depression be gone!

tater tot hotdish

One day in a weird little mountain school in Honduras, we were going around in a circle discussing the foods we MISSED so much. People missed “good” chocolate, vegetables (there are plenty of vegetables in Honduras, but no one was cooking them for us), sushi, and so on. And then my friends Crystal and Simon said they “even” missed “hotdish.” And then there was silence.

And then I said, “what’s hotdish?” And they said, “You know, like tater tot hotdish.” And I said, “No I don’t know.” And then after a few rounds back and forth of “You mean casserole?” and “No, we mean HOTDISH,” I accepted that there was a magical thing in Minnesota/Wisconsin called tater tot hotdish and one day I would own it. Now, I’m not cooking this in my crock pot and I know that’s not the point, but it’s a two-dish budget meal that can feed a lot of people and make you feel like you’re back at your Aunt Sally’s house in 1986.

(proportions are approximate)

  • one pound of ground beef
  • two cans of cream of YOUR CHOICE soup*
  • one can of veg-all mixed vegetables (product placement!)
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • one bag of frozen tater tots (i used mini tots)

brown the ground beef, seasoned as you want – i just used salt and pepper and a tiny bit of poultry seasoning because i don’t know poultry seasoning, why not?  drain the fat out of the pan and stir in the cans of soup, a drained can of veg-all and some cheddar cheese.  set aside.

in casserole/hotdish throw some tator tots on the bottom, sprinkle with cheddar cheese.  spread ground beef mixture on top, press down.  coat liberally with cheddar cheese.  arrange remaining tater tots on top of the mixture and cover with more cheese.

bake until golden brown at 375F. about 40 minutes.

let rest and then eat it up!

* i hate cream of mushroom soup – this would be the standard soup to use.  i used cream of broccoli.  you could even mix this step up – a can of cream of chicken and a can of cheddar cheese soup, for example – if you wanted.

i don’t understand you, apple dumplings

I was looking online for a nice breakfast crock-pot recipe; preferably something in between normal oatmeal and tater tot hotdish, and came across this recipe for: CRAZE-E APPLE DUMPLINGS!

Now look, I’m not going to make these because they sound ridiculous and the recipe involves too many ingredients, but this seems like a good starting point for some crock-pot apple cobbler or something.

I also want to point on that if you like CRAZE-E APPLE DUMPLINGS, you are likely to like CREAMY FRENCH DRESSING, OLD FASHIONED GREEN BEANS, and FRIED EGG AND CHEESE SANDWICH. Those recipes are available to you once you look up crockpot craze-e apple dumplings.

My plan to make a chili was delayed, but I will be back soon with a recipe for something, I promise.

recipes not using a crock-pot

Now, I know you can make everything in a crock-pot.

But there are some things, like strawberry jello pretzel salad that just will not work.  Future plans for this here blog include: cocktail wienies, ikea meatballs, frozen potato breakfast casserole, beverages and cakes.

However, would it be useful to you if this blog explored all forms of middle american bulk cooking?

pork shoulder

Today I took my crock-pot on its first journey.  Here is the recipe.


  • 2 apples, cut in eighths
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 3 lb pork shoulder
  • 1 cup demerara sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • salt
  • pepper

Place the apples in the bottom of the crock-pot.  In bowl mix sugar, vinegar and mustard until it’s all pasty. Take out the piece of pork, rub the garlic cloves on it, and then toss the garlic in the crock-pot, because who knows why you just rubbed the pork like that, really.  Season the pork with salt and pepper, and rub the sugar paste all over the meat.  Put the meat in the crock-pot and turn crock-pot on low.

now it is ready to cook

Wash your dishes, feed the cats, do your laundry, etc.  Come back in 6 hours, drain off extra liquid, put more brown sugar and a touch of cinnamon on top of the meat.  Cook for one more hour or until people are ready to eat it.

This was a very well-received pork-shoulder – 8 tasters agreed.

Total cost of the ingredients – about $24, but you probably don’t have to pay $8/lb for pork shoulder, even in the city.