Rainbow Stew is Versatile and Delicious

I had a delicious dinner at a friend’s house recently, so of course I scammed the recipe from her. We had what she called Rainbow Stew. It’s actually her grandmother’s vegetable soup recipe and it’s very versatile. It also can be cooked on the stovetop or in a slow cooker.

Here’s the basic recipe:

Rainbow Stew

5 potatoes, chunked up

3 onions, chopped

1 can corn

1 can peas

1 can tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

1 spoon Crisco

1/2 can water for each can of vegetables

Combine all in slow cooker and cook all day on low or 4 to 6 hours on high.

Before serving, boil a small package of elbow macaroni separately according to package directions then drain and mix into stew. Allow stew to simmer with macaroni in it for a few minutes before serving.

So easy and simple, right? My friend said she often adds sliced fresh okra or celery when she has it on hand and it’s delicious with these additions.

She also often substitutes a can of diced tomatoes and green chilis for the plain tomatoes. This version is much spicier. The batch we ate, she substituted oregano and basil seasoned diced tomatoes instead of plain tomatoes. It was excellent.

She also noted that her grandmother sometimes adds tomato juice instead of water. This made me wonder whether it would be awesome to add chicken broth in place of the water. I think it would. I also think I would slice up some carrots and add them to the stew for even more color.

See what I mean about versatile? You can add (or delete) vegetables according to your family’s tastes, and even adjust the spices easily. And it’s a delicious meal that cooks itself in the slow cooker while you’re out living your life. Wonderful.

For more hearty, delicious dinner ideas, try Carver’s TomatoesCarver’s Tomatoes includes all of George Washington Carver’s 115 Tomato Recipes updated for today’s cooks. These were originally published in 1918 when Carver ran the Agriculture Department at the Tuskegee Institute under Booker T. Washington. His original pamphlet was a large part of his efforts to increase the popularity of tomatoes.

His recipes remain relevant through their use of common pantry and garden ingredients. Known for his personal frugality, most of these recipes are quite inexpensive to prepare and most are quite flexible, allowing the cook to create dishes to serve any number of people. The recipes are wide-ranging, from basic ketchups to soups and salads to dinner entrees.

Carver’s Tomatoes is available online for only $2.99 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony or Smashwords.

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Slow Cooker Relief for Summer Heat

Slow Cooker Relief for Summer Heat

Summer heat has arrived with a vengeance so I’ve been trying to remember any and all great dinner ideas that won’t heat up my kitchen. Digging around, I found a fun little recipe book full of slow cooker recipes. A lot of the recipes are awfully heavy for summer fare, but some are not.

Slow cookers offer tender, delicious meals without heating up the kitchen. Score!

This booklet is from General Electric and no doubt was included with a slower cooker at purchase. The booklet gives 2 sets of quantities for each recipe. One set for 3 to 4 1/2 quart cookers and one set for 5 to 6 1/2 quart cookers. I am using the quantities for the smaller cookers here, but the quantities GE gives for the big cookers is double that for small. So if you have a large cooker and want to fill it, just double these recipes.

Hawaiian Chicken

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved

16 ounce can pineapple slices, drained

15 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained

1/ cup cornstarch

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

14 teaspoon ground ginger

Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker. Stir well. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or on high for 2 to 3 hours. Makes about 6 to 8 servings.

Tex-Mex Beef Barbecue

3 pounds beef brisket

18 ounce bottle hickory-smoked barbecue sauce

1 package chili seasoning

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup chopped onion

Combine all ingredients, except meat, in the crock. Stir well. Add meat and stir well to coat. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours or high for 5 hours. Remove the meat and shred. Return the meat to the crock. Stir well to combine. Serve on soft rolls. Makes 8 servings.

Orange-Juiced Pork Chops

6 ounce can frozen orange juice, undiluted

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

6 1-inch thick boneless, center-cut pork chops

Combine all ingredients, except the meat, in the crock. Stir well. Add the meat and stir well to coat. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 hours. Makes 6 servings.

Asian Spareribs

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce

10 ounce jar duck sauce or sweet and sour sauce

3 pounds country-style pork spare ribs

Dissolve cornstarch in teriyaki sauce. Add duck sauce and put in crock. Stir well. Add the meat and stir well to coat. Cover and cook on low for8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Makes 4 servings.

Time to get the old crock pot out of the cupboard and dust it off. Quick and easy meals that won’t heat the kitchen are on their way.

Quesadillas are my go-to quick dinner at home, and they are great when I didn’t have a plan for dinner in advance. Slow cooking requires planning. Not my strong suit. Quesadillas don’t require planning. For  lots of great takes on the old quesadilla, check out 25 Quick & Easy Quesadilla Recipes. Only 99 cents for lots of inspiration.