We've had two pretty amazing meals in the last week, and I want to share the recipes. The first is from a cookbook called "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook".
Basic Savory Beans
1 lb. dried beans (I used pinto beans)
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped or left whole (I chopped it)
1/2 bay leaf
1 t. dried oregano, marjoram, or savory (I used oregano)
pinch of cumin
pinch of coriander (I left this out because I didn't have any)
3-4 cups water, as needed
3-4 cups chicken broth, as needed
salt and pepper to taste
Put the beans in a colander and rinse under cold running water; pick over for damaged beans or small stones. Transfer to the slow cooker and cover by 3 inches with coldwater. Soak for 6 to 12 hours and drain.
Add the onion, garlic, herbs, and spices to the beans in the cooker and enough of the water and broth to cover them by 3 inches. Cover and cook on HIGH (the pintos took about 4 or 5 hours). The beans need to be covered with liquid at all times to cook properly. They will transform the water and broth into a liquid, called bean, liquor, similar in color to whatever bean you are cooking. When done, they will be tender and hold their shape, rather than fall apart. Season with salt and pepper. Leave whole or gently mash a portion of the beans in the pot. Serve immediately.
I served it with homemade bread, homemade "creamed" corn (with milk instead of cream) and watermelon. It was definitely a hit! And it makes a full crock pot of yumminess for about $1.50 or so. We've been eating leftovers for days now and still have quite a bit.
The second recipe is a knock off from Black Angus Restaurant, and oh my goodness, people, it worked. It turned out just exactly like the very expensive appetizer that we had on our anniversary. I am a happy, happy girl. :) Because of the more expensive ingredients (steak, blue cheese) this meal ended up costing about $8. But if you compare that to the $6 appetizer plus tip in a restaurant, I think it works out to being a good deal on occasion.
Cheesy Steak and Onion Flatbread.
4 slices whole wheat pita bread
2 onions, sliced
small amount of good steak (I used 0.4 lb of sirloin) cut into bite sized pieces
more olive oil
garlic or garlic powder
chopped green onions
Caramelize the onions in olive oil. (Basically, this means to cook them on high for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, and then cook on low for another 20-30 until they turn a lovely shade of light brown and smell sweet.)
Lay out 4 pitas on cookie sheets and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Get blue cheese, cheddar, and green onions ready.
When onions are done, in another pan, heat more olive oil with garlic, salt, and peppercorns (to taste). Cook steak until just barely done. You do not want to overcook it!
Layer onions, steak, cheeses, and green onions on pita. Heat in oven until cheese is just melted and pita is warm.
I served these with a big green salad. Even though it is an appetizer at Black Angus, it is a very satisfying meal on its own.