slow cooking expert and mom to three
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A Year of Slow Cooking

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Smoked Sausage and Pinto Beans Dinner

I'd like to preface this post with the following disclaimer: 
I love my family. This is just a story.

Let's just say that your husband coaches soccer for 10 twelve-year-old girls. And let's just say that due to some rather inclement weather, soccer practice has been cancelled and awful lot lately. And let's just say that somehow your house has been offered up to have soccer "practice" -- which really means that 10 hungry twelve-year-olds are going to be in your home between the hours of 4:30 and 6pm.

But you're cool. You're easy-going. Instead of freaking out, you place four empty laundry baskets in the front entry to collect wet backpacks, umbrellas, and shoes.

And you serve the girls beans. And for about 4 1/2 minutes everybody is eating and making quiet mmmmmm noises. Life is good.

And now you've only got 85.5 minutes to fill!!

The Ingredients

1 pound pinto beans, sorted and soaked overnight (or use quick-soak method below)
1 (12-ounce) package smoked turkey or chicken sausage (I used sundried tomato & provolone flavored) 
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes with garlic
1 (15-ounce) can whole corn kernels
5 cups chicken or beef broth

Put your dry beans into a large pot of water, and pick out any beans that float to the top or are oddly shapen or shriveled. Cover, and  bring to a boil. Boil at a rapid pace for 10 minutes, then remove from heat. Keep the lid on, and let the beans soak in the hot water for 1 hour before rinsing and using with your favorite recipe.

The Directions

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Place the soaked and drained beans into your slow cooker insert. Add sliced (or diced; I usually cut each slice in half to make it stretch farther) sausage. Add the entire can of tomatoes and the whole can of corn. Stir in broth. Cover, and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for about 6 hours. Serve when the beans reach desired tenderness. If you live in a high altitude your beans will take longer than they will if you live at sea level.

The Verdict

SO VERY GOOD. Seriously, if I didn't make this up on the fly I would have hunted down the recipe. It seems too easy and too good to be true --- it's just so tasty! I found the smoked sausage at our Safeway on sale for $3.99, which is a pretty good price. The beans and the cans were each about a dollar, and I made the broth using bouillon cubes. This is such an inexpensive way to feed a whole house of hungry people!

I'd like to invite you to participate in a free webinar that I was filmed for on making money from home. I feel very fortunate to be living my version of The American Dream: I get to stay home with my kids while making a (pretty good) living.
I met Summer McStravick through a mutual friend, and I was honored that she asked me to participate. There are 15 women entrepreneurs who will share their business and money-making secrets in this event. It's free, and you can sign up with this link.  (warning, there is auto-sound!) I haven't shared very much about the business side of what I do for work, and this video will share a bit about how and why I got started blogging and how it has turned into the best job I've ever had.

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Friday, March 21, 2014

3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Dump Cake

I've wanted to post a "dump cake" recipe for a while --- but was a little worried about how it would look. I mean, I'm supposed to be a PROFESSIONAL and all --- and don't professionals keep under wraps that they shoo the kids out of the kitchen so they can lick pie filling off the lid of the can with no one watching?

So when I saw Kristen, from Dine and Dish write about her insecurities blogging about dump cake I felt better. Because you know what? Not everything can be perfectly made-from-scratch with nothing-at-all artificial. This is real life, not a magazine!

You'll love this customizeable recipe. If you don't care for canned cherry filling or chocolate cake, use apple pie filling or even canned peach slices in syrup with a yellow cake mix.

The Ingredients
serves 6 to 8

2 (21-ounce) cans pie filling
1 (15-ounce) box cake mix (we are gluten free, so that's what I use, but you certainly don't have to!)
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted (my butter is salted; it really doesn't matter)
1 tablespoon water

The Directions

Use a 4-quart slow cooker sprayed well with cooking spray. If you have a 6-quart and that's it, reduce cooking time by about a 1/3.

Dump out the pie filling into the bottom of your prepared slow cooker. (don't forget to lick the cans! that stuff is GOOD.) In a large mixing bowl, mix together together the cake mix, melted butter, and water. You're going to have a crumbly cake mix, but what you're really trying to do is to "wet" all of the powder.
(go ahead and eat a few spoonfuls of the mix. there's no eggs, and again, that stuff is GOOD.)

Pour this evenly over the top of the canned filling. Cover, and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours, or on low for about 4 to 5 hours. Uncover, and continue to cook on high for another 30 minutes or so to release condensation.  

Your cake is finished when the dough is set, and you can poke at it with your finger and not get a bunch of goop (technical term) on it. The filling will bubble up and be intertwined with the cake mix. Spoon into bowls and eat warm or at room temperature.


The Verdict

Holy crazy mama, this is Uh.Maze.Ing.  it's SUPER DUPER hot when right out of the crock--- be careful! Thank you, Kristen, for the nudge!! :-)

-------) I'm doing some work with the Glad company, and will be tweeting from their @GetGlad handle on Monday, March 24th from 8am-10am pacific using the #gladyouasked tag. I'd love for you to play along!! 
Here's a bit more info.

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