Nothing is better in winter than food cooking releasing wonderful smells into air warmed by the oven. Slow cooking, of course, is a trend now. It refers to taking the time to savor your food, to choose good and healthful ingredients and to cook it without haste or hurry. We’ve always done it that way.
These recipes can be made simply. Slow cooking is not necessarily complicated cooking. But they will add thought and care to your day, more than fast food or takeout like pizza will. They are great for gathering your family in at the end of the day, eating and sharing around the table. In addition, several will accommodate vegetarian diets, and the first one is vegan (made without any animal products).
Here are three recipes to get you started.
Crock Pot Lentil Soup
Lentil soup is a healthful and tasty lentil dish, providing both plant fiber and excellent protein. This one is very easy, as it involves placing the ingredients in a crock pot and leaving it for most of the day. It also is vegetarian and vegan if you have family members dedicated to either diet.
- 2 cups lentils
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 onion, cut in small pieces
- 3 celery stalks, sliced in small pieces (broccoli or broccolini can be substituted)
- 2 chopped carrots
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp oregano
To make this, soak the lentils in the water for a minimum of two hours. Overnight is preferable. Then drain the water.
Place the lentils in the crock pot. Place the vegetable broth, the chopped vegetables and the salt, oregano and pepper over it. Stir together.
Place the crockpot on medium heat and go about your day. The soup will be done and delicious after eight to ten hours.
Amish Beef and Noodles
Amish Beef and Noodles is an excellent comfort food and simple to make. The Amish invented slow cooking, and this recipe is familiar to many people who grew up in the Midwest.
- 2 pounds of beef boneless chuck roast
- 5 minced garlic cloves
- 1 chopped large onion
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves
- Homemade beef broth (grocery store broth can be used)
- Homemade noodles (grocery store eggs noodles can be used
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
To make this, cut the chuck roast into small chunks, the same size as you would eat. Sprinkle salt and pepper on to taste.
Heat olive oil up in a large saucepan. Add the beef and sear it until it is brown on all sides. Remove the beef. Put the oil in the same saucepan, leaving the juice from the beef and the olive oil in it. Fry the onion until it is translucent. Then add the thyme, bay leaves and garlic.
Leave the onion and spices in the pan. Place the seared beef in it. Add four to five cups of the beef broth. Include the drippings, of course.
Bring the broth to a boil. Let it simmer for three hours.
Stir occasionally, and check to see that it is simmering, not boiling!
When the beef is tender to the taste, add the noodles. Make sure that the noodles are entirely cooked in beef broth. Add more if necessary. Cook for 20 minutes, or until the noodles are tender enough to cut with a fork.
If your or a neighbor’s garden yields zucchini, you know that tons of zucchini can be produced at the same time. Zucchini bread is a great and flavorful way to use it up. This can be made with walnuts, as shown, or without. The bread will freeze for use later in the year.
You’ll need the following ingredients.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3 eggs
- 1 vegetable oil
- 2 ¼ white sugar
- 3 tsps. vanilla
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in a bowl.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar.
Gradually add the sifted mixture to the large bowl mixture. Beat everything well. Then, gradually stir in the zucchini and nuts.
Prepare the baking pans by greasing and flouring two 8- by 4-inch pans.
Pour the entire mixture into the two pans, dividing evenly. Cook at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes to an hour. The bread is done when a tester or knife in the center comes out with no dough on it.
Cool the pans for roughly 20 minutes. This bread is excellent eaten warm with butter! It will also make great toast for additional vegetables at breakfast time.
Tis the season
Enjoy these slow-cooked meals with your family and friends. Savor the smell, the taste and the community each embodies. From our house to your house.
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.