Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Slow-Cooker White Bean and Ham Stew

This Real Simple recipe was adapted to use up a leftover Easter ham bone rather than the kielbasa it called for. While it was delicious, it was also very salty.


  • 1  pound  dried white beans (such as great Northern or navy)
  • 14  ounces  kielbasa, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/2 inch thick or a ham bone
  • 4  cups  low-sodium chicken broth
  • 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • large onion, chopped
  • cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1  teaspoon  dried rosemary
  • 5  ounces  baby spinach (6 cups)
  • country bread, for serving


  1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the beans, kielbasa, broth, tomatoes (and their juices), onion, garlic, rosemary, and 1 cup water.
  2. Cover and cook until the beans are tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 5 to 6 hours (this will shorten total recipe time).
  3. Just before serving, stir in the spinach. Serve with the bread.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

This Real Simple recipe tastes better than anything I've had in an Indian restaurant.


  • 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • medium onion, chopped
  • cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2  tablespoons  tomato paste
  • 2  teaspoons  garam masala (Indian spice blend)
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2  pounds  boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8)
  • 1/2  English cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4  cup  fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1  tablespoon  fresh lemon juice
  • 1  cup  basmati or some other long-grain white rice
  • 1/2  cup  heavy cream


  1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, tomato paste, garam masala, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables, cover, and cook until the chicken is tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours (this will shorten total recipe time).
  2. In a small bowl, toss the cucumber and cilantro with the lemon juice and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
  3. Twenty minutes before serving, cook the rice according to the package directions.
  4. Just before serving, stir the cream into the chicken tikka masala. Serve over the rice with the cucumber relish. We also added naan bread.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Scalloped Potato Casserole

A version of this recipe was sampled at my local grocery store right before Easter. It looked easy enough to make and I needed a side to go with the ham.


3-4 cups milk or heavy cream
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
generous pinch of nutmeg
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
4 ounces fried onion crisps
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Combine milk and herbs in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add nutmeg and potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes.
2. Carefully transfer half the potatoes and cream to a buttered 3-quart dish (remove bay leaf and thyme). Reserve 1/2 crispy onions and spread remaining onions over casserole. Top with remaining potatoes and cream.
3. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. After 15 minutes, gently press vegetables into cream with a spatula or spoon.
4. After 30 minutes, remove casserole from oven and top with cheese. Return to oven and bake 10-15 minutes or until brown and bubbling. Remove from oven and let sit at least 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 8-10