Saturday, January 17, 2009

New Lunch Menu

Since we got married 10 months ago, we have been cooking lots and lots of pasta for CJ's lunch. His co-workers tease him, saying 'Pasta again?!', 'Are you Italian?', and I have been feeling guilty for it for a while. Finally, after 10 months, decided to come up with something new for his lunch, and started realizing how useful a slowcooker can be.

Here are three slowcooker recipes we use for lunch, which are very inexpensive yet healthful.

I. Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Soup with French Bread

I love Panera Bread's broccoli cheddar cheese soup, and found this recipe online.

1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 medium chopped
1/4 cup melted

1/4 cup flour
2 cups
half-and-half cream
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 lb
fresh broccoli
1 cup
carrot, julienned
1/4 teaspoon
8 ounces grated
sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

1. Sauté onion in butter. Set aside.
2. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and add the half & half.
3. Add the chicken stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat 20-25 minutes.
5. Add salt and pepper. Can be puréed in a blender but I don't. Return to heat and add cheese. Stir in nutmeg.

II. Chicken Soup with Noodle or Dumplings

It all started from one rotisserie chicken we picked from CostCo oneday. Simply, we couldn't finish it all, and decided to use the leftover to make a warm, hearty chicken soup.

Chicken - roasted or boiled chicken, any part but skin and bone
Organic chicken broth
Vegetable - celery, carrot, potato, onion (feel free to use whatevery you have)
Salt and pepper
Noodle - any kind or dumplings

1. Chop vegetable
2. Sautee onion and garlic
3. Add everything in the slowcooker and boil on high for 2 hours
4. Add salt and pepper to taste
5. Just before you serve, add noodle or dumplings to cook
(For CJ's lunch, we replaced noodle or dumplings with french bread)

III. Chili with Oyster Cracker

Our church friend Julie introduced me to this heavenly chili recipe. Thank you, Julie!

Makes approximately 6 servings

2 lb. lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 C celery, sliced
½ C green pepper, chopped
½ C red bell pepper, chopped
1 – 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 – 28oz. can whole tomatoes, undrained & cut up
2 – 15.5 oz. can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
4 garlic cloves, minced
1t cumin
2t chili powder
1t ground red pepper (such as cayenne)
1t salt
½t pepper

1. In a large skillet, cook ground beef and onion. Drain.
2. Combine beef, onion and remaining ingredients. Mix well.Cover and cook in slow cooker on HIGH for 3-4 hours.