Thursday, September 29, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Pasta Salad

Hi guys-Do you follow me on Facebook?  If you do, then you saw that a crazy good food truck here in Reno, Gourmelt, was featuring my Caramelized Onion and Chardonnay spread today on a grilled cheese with prosciutto, spinach and mozzarella.  Gourmelt makes a bazillion different kinds of grilled cheeses.  I chase them down on a daily basis.  If you live in the Reno/Sparks area, you have to find them.  They tweet and Facebook their location every day.  Find them, I’m serious.  If I could live on their truck and live only on their sandwiches, I would be a happy girl.

If you don’t follow me on Facebook….what are you waiting for?  All the cool kids are following me. (Did the peer pressure work?)

Back to me….or did I ever really stop talking about me?;)  I wanted to give another idea of what you can do with my savory spreads.  Of course, there are the obvious, like sandwiches, appetizers, etc., but I wanted to give something unexpected.  I chose a pasta salad that uses my Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic spread as a “dressing”.  This spread is full of roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, vinegar, brown sugar and lots of other yummy things.  It has all the spice and seasoning that you would want in a dressing, right in it!  I made this pasta salad a lot when I was testing recipes for savory spreads.  It is a winner!  I will show you how I made it. 

For this salad, I used one pound of rotini pasta, black olives, cherry tomatoes, red onion, salami, little pearls of mozzarella, salt & pepper, olive oil and Gourmet Rooster Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Spread.  Notice how my veggies are already chopped?  I will let you in on a secret…..I bought them from a salad bar at the grocery store.  Call me lazy, but don’t call me late for dinner.

The little pearls of mozzarella are readily available at pretty much any grocery store.  It is ready to go; it just needs to be drained. 

BTW-that gross looking thing in the corner is salami, still wearing its paper jacket.

Step number one is to boil your noodles.  I followed the instructions on my package, which told me to boil it for about 8 minutes.  Once I drained the pasta, I rinsed it with cool water to cool it off a bit.

I diced the salami into bite sized pieces.  I bought fancy salami because Chris loves him a good salami;)
Do you see how I left my knife facing up?  Take that, safety.

I put the veggies and salami in the bottom of a big bowl.  I salt and peppered the veggies.  Go easy on the salt.  Olives are already salty.

For the dressing, I whisked together about 3/4th of a jar of Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Spread with about 1/4th a cup of olive oil.  The olive oil is just to loosen it up a bit. 

Use the last quarter of a jar on a sandwich.

Once the pasta was drained and cooled, I added that and the mozzarella to my bowl.  I dumped the dressing on the top and mixed, gently.  The spread has a great consistency which will coat the noodles nicely.

Yum.  I topped my salad with some parmesan cheese shards because I am ridiculously fancy.  This salad is such a yummy side dish…or even main dish!  The spread really gives this a sweet and savory taste that is so good with the tomatoes, onion and olives.  I hope you try it!

Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Pasta Salad

1 pound pasta, rotini or penne

1 cup sliced red onion, loosely packed

1 cup sliced black olives

1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 ½ cups salami, chopped into bite sized pieces

1 cup perlini mozzarella, drained

3/4th a jar of Gourmet Rooster Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Spread

¼ cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and rinse with cold water to cool pasta.

While pasta cooks, put olives, salami, tomatoes, and red onion in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.

Whisk together spread and olive oil.  Set aside.

Add cooled pasta and mozzarella to bowl.  Pour dressing over the top.  Mix gently.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Maple Pumpkin Applesauce...in the Slow Cooker

Good evening everybody!  I had to go to Carson City today to deliver some product to The Chocolate Nugget.  I love that place.  If you are ever in the Reno/Carson area, you have to visit one of their two locations.  They have the best fudge.  Ever.  Today they had pumpkin fudge.  There is no chocolate involved in pumpkin fudge.  It has a fudgy texture, but it tastes like pumpkin pie.  I am going to work on my own recipe for it so I can enjoy it any time.  Once I get it figured out, I will post!  I will have to eat a lot of it to figure it out, but for you…..I will make that sacrifice.
Driving through Carson City, I found a Safeway.  I know that doesn’t sound exciting to most of you, but I don’t have a Safeway near me.  First, you have to understand that I love grocery stores.  They are my happy place.  So finding a nice, new Safeway really made my day.  I didn’t even need anything, but I still went in and took a little looksee.  Is it weird that a Safeway could excite me that much?
You know what else excites me?  Maple Pumpkin Applesauce.  Made in the slow cooker.  I love easy recipes like this.  I think you will too.  This applesauce is the best applesauce you will ever have.  I throw that around a lot, I know….but you will love this.  And doesn’t it make you want to wear a sweater and roll around in fall leaves?  No?  Just me?  Huh.
I used 10 smallish apples.  I am not going to tell you how much to use in cups, or pounds.  Telling you how many apples to use is so much easier.  If I told you in cups, you would have no idea how many apples to buy.  If I told you in pounds, you would have to know what the poundage would be after the apples were peeled and chopped.  So 10 apples it is!  I used a mix of red and green.  Use whatever you like.
I peeled my apples with an apple peeler.  I realize that most of you don’t have one of these.  A vegetable peeler works just as well.  I also chopped my apples into bite sized pieces.  The size doesn’t matter all that much because this gets mushed at the end.
Oh yeah, I also put some lemon juice on my apples to keep them from browning.  Just a bit.
I also used white sugar, brown sugar, the lemon juice, maple syrup, canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice.  Ok, you caught me….I used lime juice.  It was what I had.
Above is a picture of the apples in the slow cooker.  Duuuuuh.
I added the sugars and the spice.  And everything nice.
Finally, I stirred in the maple syrup and pumpkin.  I know, it looks kind of gross right now.  Have faith.
Set your slow cooker for about 4 hours.  When I say your house will smell amazing as this cooks, please know that I am not exaggerating.  This will be the best your house has ever smelled.
After about 3 to 4 hours, all it needs is a mush with a potato masher and it is done!  I mush it up pretty well, but the consistency is up to you. 
FYI-this is a great baby food.  It isn’t a first food, but if your baby is ready for new textures and flavors….this is perfect.  Cut back on the sugar a bit if you want, or replace the white sugar with Agave Nectar.  Also, I know this will sound gross to adults, but you can mix this with plain cooked couscous and your baby will love it.  All sorts of new textures and flavors;)
Yum!  Pumpkins and apples go so well together, I think.  And with maple....Come on!  This applesauce was a hit in my house.  I think it would be in your house too!  It is a great change of pace from regular applesauce.  It can also be used in a lot of different ways.  You can add it to muffins, pies, etc.
You can also give it away as gifts!  However, you cannot safely can this in a water bath at home.  You have to tell the recipient to keep it in the fridge.  It will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks, but because of the ph level, it can’t be canned at home.  Not that you were planning on canning it;) 
Wouldn’t you love it if someone gave you a cute little gift of homemade goodness?  I would.  I can provide my address if need be;)
See y’all on Thursday!

Maple Pumpkin Applesauce

10 small apples, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons lemon juice

½ cup maple syrup

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice

1 cup canned pumpkin

Pour lemon juice over peeled apples to prevent browning.

Place chopped apples in slow cooker.  Add white sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup and pumpkin.  Mix gently.

Cover and set slow cooker for 4 hours. 

After 4 hours, apples should be very soft.  With a potato masher, mash to desired consistency. 

Makes about 4 ½ cups.  Keep in refrigerator.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Easiest Chicken You Will Ever Cook!

I am going to change your life today.  Seriously, this post will change your life.  OK, that might not be true, but it will change the way you think about cooking chickens.  Do you think about cooking chickens?  I do.  I mean, not every second of every day, but it does cross my mind.
Do you buy rotisserie chickens from the grocery store?  Everyone does….they are so easy, and so good!  Anytime I need cooked chicken for a recipe, I buy a pre-cooked one.  They always smell so good when I pass their heating contraption thing at the grocery store.  I know some people can make them last for days….we pretty much kill it in a day.
So if you do enjoy a good rotisserie chicken, you will want to try this.  I cook a whole chicken in the slow cooker.  The method I use gives you a moist, perfectly cooked chicken, that is just like a store bought rotisserie chicken.  Why would you do this instead of just buying one you may ask?  It can be cheaper, and you don’t have to leave your house.  If you keep your eyes peeled, grocery stores will have great sales on whole chickens.  When that happens, buy a few and keep them in your freezer.  When you want to cook one, just take it out the day before to defrost…and you will have a great chicken in about 8 hours.  I will show you how I do it.
What you are looking at above, besides the horrible shadow at the bottom, is my slow cooker……lined with balls of foil.  This will serve as a “rack” for your chicken.  It will keep the chicken from sitting on the bottom of the slow cooker and stewing in its own juices.  The heat will circulate all the way around your chicken, and cook it to perfection.

I put a whole chicken, nasty innards removed, on top of the foil balls.  I rubbed the chicken all over with butter, and then I sprinkled it with seasoned salt and pepper.  You could use garlic powder, lemon pepper, Italian seasoning, etc.  Any dry seasoning you want, but no liquid.  You don’t want to add any liquid to the pot.  I stuck to basics.  I set the slow cooker for 8 hours, put its lid on, and walked away.  That’s it.  At the end of the day, I had this:

Its skin won’t get as crispy and dark as a rotisserie chicken, but you shouldn’t be eating the skin anyway.  It’s bad for you;)  Besides that, this chicken tastes just like what you would buy.  You don’t do anything but slap it in the slow cooker in the morning. 
Once you have this beautiful cooked chicken, you can do so many things with it….chicken soup, chicken sandwiches, pulled chicken, chicken tacos, really anything.  I will show you two ideas….
The first is a family favorite around here….quesadillas.  But I fancy them up with Gourmet Rooster Caramelized Onion and Chardonnay Spread.  Let me show you.

On that tortilla is a healthy smear of the onion spread, shredded chicken breast from my perfectly cooked chicken, and fontina cheese.  I threw it in a frying pan and cooked it until browned on both sides.  The onion spread with fontina cheese is pretty much to die for. 
You could use chicken breast, chicken thigh, really any part of the chicken you want.  My drumsticks were immediately confiscated by my kids….thankfully I only have 2 kids so it worked out.

Yummy fancy quesadilla!  I even used a wheat tortilla…..all the flavors on the inside covered up the “wheatiness” of it, and we still got the health benefits;)

I love fontina.
My second idea for the chicken is to throw it in an omelet.  This is a great weeknight meal.  Most people always have eggs in their fridge, and this is a great “use-up” for leftover chicken.

I beat a few eggs with a splash of cream.  You can leave out the cream if you hate things that are good.

Have you ever made an omelet?  They are pretty easy.  I poured the eggs into a well-greased pan.  You move the eggs around gently so that the whole bottom of the pan is covered.  You push the cooked egg towards the center of the pan, and then tilt the pan so the uncooked egg goes to the sides….keeping the perfect circle.
I don’t flip.  I put a lid over the eggs….that will cook the top enough.

I layered on some shredded chicken, more fontina, and Gourmet Rooster Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Spread. 

I definitely won’t be getting a job as an omelet cook any time soon. Mine might not be as pretty as a restaurant omelet, but it tastes better! 
Have you tried my savory spreads yet?  If you haven’t, you are missing out.  Your life will not be complete until you have tried both.  I’m just sayin’……
I hope you try to cook your chicken in the slow cooker.  You will thank me;)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Easy Pumpkin Soup

Hi guys!  Guess what starts tomorrow?  Yep, fall officially starts tomorrow.  Yes, it is still blazing hot here, but that is either here nor there.  It is fall, and I shall celebrate with pumpkins.  Pumpkin soup, actually…..
Since the kids are back at school, they….of course…have stuffy noses/colds.  I thought soup would be a good thing for them.  For me too, actually.  I know I had said it on here before….I was sick for like a month.  I am finally starting to feel better….After 2 rounds of Prednisone, 2 kinds of inhalers, full body hives, a chest x-ray, and a round of antibiotics.  I was pretty close to having Chris take me out back and shoot me.  But the antibiotics worked, and I am feeling better.  Thank God for modern medicine.  Anyhoo, soup should be good for all of us.
This recipe for pumpkin soup is really, really easy.  It has few ingredients, and it comes together quickly.  The only thing that might hold you back is the shortage of canned pumpkin in the stores right now.  If you find it, stock up.  If you can’t find it, substitute the orange “winter squash” that you can find in the freezer section, squash baby food, or toss a can of yams in the food processer.  They all will have the same effect. 
This soup is a yummy blend of shallots, garlic and pumpkin.  Most people think of pumpkin as an ingredient for sweet things…..but it is so good in savory dishes.  Pumpkin itself isn’t particularly sweet, and that is why it works so well in soup.
To make this soup, I used a can of pumpkin, chicken broth, cream, a shallot, some garlic, some fresh sage, olive oil and salt & pepper.  I used plain, canned pumpkin.  Make sure you don’t buy “pumpkin pie mix”.  That is sweetened and ready for pie.  It will not work in this recipe.  You will not realize your mistake…you’ll think I’m an idiot…it will be messy;)
I diced a whole shallot and 2 cloves of garlic.  Don’t worry too much about size….this soup will get pureed at the end.  Pumpkin soup should be smooth, right?  I also chopped up the fresh sage.  I grow it in my yard, but if you don’t….it is readily available at the grocery store.  You should consider growing it though.  It is one of the few things I am able to grow without killing.
I throw the shallot and garlic in a pot with some olive oil.  I let the veggies soften for about 8 minutes.  I didn’t want to brown them….just make them soft and sweaty.  Once they are translucent, I added the sage and cooked that for a minute or two.
Then, I stirred in the can of pumpkin.  Super easy so far, right?  I also poured in the chicken stock at this point too.
I let the soup simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.  It will thicken and all the flavors will blend together.  It will smell amazing!
Once the soup had simmered, I poured it into the food processor and pureed it until smooth.  You can go as smooth or as chunky as you like.  I go smooth…..

I poured the soup back into the pot and added a pretty healthy dash of cream.  By dash, I mean like ½ a cup.  Best. Part. Of. The. Soup.
It’s done!  I serve the soup with a couple of toppers….You need some crunch to add texture.  I will show you how I made the most adorable croutons you ever did see.
I took a few slices of yummy sourdough bread and cut out pumpkin shapes with a cookie cutter.  What’s that?  You don’t own 200+ cookie cutters?  Oh, ok.  You can just use a knife.
In a skillet, I melted butter with olive oil.  I also threw in a crushed clove of garlic.  I let the garlic heat up in the oil, and then I toss it.  It just flavors the oil, but it really doesn’t serve any other purpose.
I browned the croutons in the garlicky oil/butter.  I also sprinkled the croutons with salt and pepper on both sides.  These cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until well browned.  When you take them out, drain them on a paper towel so they aren’t crazy greasy.
Before I added the croutons, I tossed in some dried cranberries.  There sweetness is really good in this soup.  You can leave them out.  I won’t hate you.
I also added a spoonful of sour cream.  Crème Fresh will work too.  Gilding the lily, but oh so worth it.  I don’t really know what that means, but I sure do like to say it.

How cute is that crouton?  Yum!  I love this soup!  I ate it 3 times today;)
This is the perfect fall soup, although it should be eaten all year around.  Try it!  You’ll like it!
Easy Pumpkin Soup
15 ounce can of pumpkin puree
3 cups chicken stock
1 shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup cream
For garnish:
Dried cranberries
Sour cream
Add olive oil to a medium sized soup pot.  Add shallot, garlic and salt & pepper.  Sauté over medium heat until veggies are translucent, about 8 minutes.  Add sage and cook an additional 2 minutes.  Add pumpkin and stir.  Mix in chicken stock and simmer soup for 15 to 20 minutes, or until thickened.  Remove from heat.
Puree soup in food processor or blender.  Pour soup back into pot and add cream.  Heat until soup is hot, over medium heat.  Serve with garnishes.
Serves about 6

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Salad and Cookies.....Because You Can't Just Eat Salad

Hi everyone!  Happy Saturday!  I got all off schedule with my blogging this week.  I went to the Bay Area for an important meeting on Tuesday, and got back late Wednesday.  I wanted to make something Wednesday night to blog about…..but it took me forever to get home on Wednesday.  For some reason, my car’s GPS seemed to think it was in Pennsylvania…..That made it difficult for me to follow any directions.  But Hershey Park is beautiful this time of year;)  I’m kidding.  I didn’t drive all the way to PA, but I might as well have….it took me that long to get home. 
So here I am, blogging on a Saturday.  It is weird to be typing right now.  My kids are at a birthday party, and I should totally be taking a nap right now.  So let’s bang this out so I can get back to what I do best…..napping.
As you probably saw on Facebook….I made a beautiful “fall” salad.  I love fall produce, like apples, pears, butternut squash etc.  I took advantage of seasonal ingredients, and seriously, I don’t think I have ever made something so pretty!  I will show you how I put it together.  It really isn’t a recipe, more of an “assembly”.
Let’s start with what this salad is actually comprised of.  I used “spring mix” lettuce.  No special reason for that except that it is prettier.  It probably has more vitamins.  My mom likes to remind me that iceberg lettuce has virtually no nutritional value.  She tells me this whenever I insist that I eat veggies because I had a salad;)
Left to right, I used dried cranberries, roasted golden beets, gorgonzola cheese, roasted butternut squash, granny smith apples, roasted chicken, and candied walnuts.  I realize that beets are more of a “Spring” thing, but I consider them fall-ish strictly because of their color.  I am all sorts of scientific. 
I chose apples because….I had them.  Pears would be great too.  I chose gorgonzola because I think it is fantastic with beets.  Any kind of stinky cheese would be good.
Beets are a funny looking veggie.  They are also super dirty….as they are grown underground.  I clean mine off, and cut off the greenery.  I also cut off the weird tails.
I put the beets on a baking sheet and coated them with oil, salt and pepper.  I roasted them at 400 degrees for one hour.  Yes, it takes that long to cook them.  God bless whoever first figured out how to cook these.  Beets are so delicious, but I don’t think I would have figured out they were edible if I had been the first one to find them.
When they come out of the oven, and they have cooled a bit….You can easily peel off the skins with a paper towel.  The peels fall right off.  I diced mine up, and they were amazing!
I bought my butternut squash looking just like this.  Have you ever tried to peel and cut your own?  Complete pain in the butt.  Buy them like this.
I spread them on a baking sheet, coated them with oil, salt and pepper, and baked them at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  I popped them in the oven when the beets were half done.
As for the chicken, I sprinkled it with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning.  Poultry seasoning has a ton of sage in it which will immediately make you think of fall goodness.  I slapped my chicken on the George Foreman grill.  You could totally make this with rotisserie chicken too.
For the salad dressing, I made a maple and mustard vinaigrette.  I used some Champagne Honey Mustard, but you can use any fancy mustard you have….Dijon, honey mustard, brown mustard, etc.  I also used olive oil, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, minced dried garlic, and onion powder.  I will post the recipe at the end.  Don’t dress your salad until the last possible second….it is prettier without dressing.
One last picture….isn’t it beeyootiful??  It tasted just as good!  If you have a party to go to, and you have to bring a salad…..bring this.  It will impress the nonsense out of everyone!
I also made some yummy cookies yesterday.  I made Pumpkin Spice Thumbprint cookies.  They were from a mix, therefore super easy.  Basically, I took a packaged mix and dolled them up.  Nobody would ever guess that these were from a mix….so you have to try this.  People will think you are Betty Crocker.
I used the cookie mix, one egg, one stick of softened butter and Gourmet Rooster Ginger Pear Spread.  I mixed the dough according to the package directions. 
Once I scooped the dough onto the baking sheet, I flattened the cookies with my hand…..gently.  Then, I used my finger (thumbprint) to make a little indentation in the middle of each.  I filled that little dent with the fruit spread.  These baked according to the package directions.
I made a quick drizzle for the tops with powdered sugar, milk, pumpkin pie spice and Philly Cooking Crème.  This is basically loose cream cheese.  I used it because it is so much easier to make a liquidy drizzle with this cream cheese.  Regular cream cheese would be too stiff.
I mixed one half of the container with 3 tablespoons of sugar, one teaspoon of spice and about ¼ cup of milk.  It comes together really fast since the cooking crème is almost liquid already.
I drizzled the cream cheese icing over the top.  Just so you know, I did hear from several neighborhood kids that these were the “best cookies they have ever had”.  True, these kids think Chips Ahoy are a gourmet item….but I will take the praise when I can get it.  You should try making these!  They are a perfect fall treat….and they take minutes to make.
See you all early next week!

Mustard Maple Vinaigrette

¼ cup fancy mustard

¼ cup maple syrup

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon pepper

½ to ¾ cup olive oil

Whisk all ingredients together until blended.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

God Bless the Slow Cooker

Hi everyone!  Who’s excited that it is almost fall?  Me, me, me!  We’ve even had some rain and thunder storms to get me in the mood for fall.  Starbucks has their fall drinks, every store is showcasing boots and sweaters, bathing suits are 75% off…..all signs point to fall!  Fall makes me crave warm, comfort food…you too? 
Yesterday, I was feeling particularly fallish, so I busted out my slow cooker.  I think that a slow cooker is the best thing for making yummy comfort food.  You throw a bunch of stuff inthe pot in the morning, and when you come home….your house smells amazing and you are ready to eat!  This is really good when the kids are back in school.  Especially if they have after school activities, you work, etc.  But I am sure you all know the benefits of the slow cooker.  That would be why the “Crock Pot Girls” have over one million fans;)
When I was little, my mom used her slow cooker pretty frequently.  It was the early 80’s after all…..One thing she made a lot was “Swiss Steak”.  Swiss Steak is basically beef cooked in a gravy of tomatoes and peppers.  I never knew what was “Swiss” about it, so I googled it.  According to Wikipedia, it has nothing to do with Switzerland.  There is a process called “Swissing” which basically means that the meat has been run through a tenderizer to break up the tough fibers.  In case you didn’t know, Swiss Steak is made with tough, cheap cuts of beef.  Appetizing, right?;)  Stay with me, it does get better.
Like I said above, Swiss Steak is made with cheaper cuts of beef.  Typically, people use round steak that has been tenderized.  This is sold under the name “cube steak”.  It looks like it is made with ground beef, but it isn’t.  It is also used to make Chicken Fried Steak.  It is easy to find.
Besides the cube steak, this recipe also stars onion, garlic, bell peppers, diced tomatoes, wine and salt and pepper.  I used diced tomatoes with roasted garlic.  Since I also use fresh garlic, you can use plain canned tomatoes if a lot of garlic isn’t your thing.  I happen to LOVE garlic.  Also, typically red wine would be used with beef, but you know what?  I had white already open.  I wasn’t opening another bottle for one cup.  If you have red, use red.  If you have white, use white.  If you have pink….don’t use that.  But know that you are awesome for drinking pink wine.
I really feel that when using beef (or pork) in a slow cooker, you have to brown it on the stove top first.  You really can’t get away with skipping that step.  The beef will be gray and tasteless if you don’t brown it first.
I dredged my cube steaks in seasoned (with salt and pepper) flour.  Just a bit….this will also help thicken the sauce as it cooks in the slow cooker.
I briefly browned each piece of cube steak in a bit of oil.  I’m not trying to cook it through…..I just want to sear each side.  So do this over high heat to get a quick sear.
Then, everyone into the pool!  I had diced the peppers and onions so that they were about the same size as the diced tomatoes.  I nestled the meat all nice and cozy down in the sauce.  Then I bid it adieu for at least 8 hours.  Wouldn’t they say “adieu” in Switzerland?
I serve my Swiss Steak over cheesy grits.  Mashed potatoes or noodles would also work, but I really like the creamy grits with this dish.  And yes, I realize that my above picture is pretty much an advertisement for Wal-Mart…..that is my local grocery store.  I will keep shopping there until I am featured on www.peopleofwalmart.com.
Anyhoo, I used quick grits, Swiss cheese, butter and milk.  The milk is actually up to you.  I only add it if my grits have gotten too thick.  The butter is essential, however.
I followed the directions on the package to make 6 servings of grits.  When they were thickened, I added shredded Swiss cheese and butter.  Yum!
After 8 hours, of me really doing nothing, I got this yummy beef stew that I got to eat with cheesy, buttery grits.  Really, what is better than a slow cooker?  It’s like I have a cheffy assistant!  
When beef is cooked in a slow cooker, even cheap cuts, it ends up so tender.  It falls apart on its own.  You don’t even need a knife!  And cooked with wine, tomatoes, garlic, etc.  So, so good.  I hope you try this recipe!  You know your mom used to make it…..Bring it back!

Swiss Steak
Cube Steak (about 1 ¾ pounds)
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup bell pepper, diced
6 garlic cloves, diced
Two 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes with roasted garlic
1 cup red wine
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 teaspoon pepper, divided
¼ cup vegetable oil
In a shallow bowl, mix flour with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.  Dredge each piece of cube steak in seasoned flour.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.  Sear each piece of cube steak until browned, about 2 minutes each side.
Place remaining ingredients in slow cooker.  Add browned cube steak.  Cook on low for about 8 hours.
Serves 4-6

Swiss Cheesy Grits
4 cups water
1 cup Quick Grits
1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
4 tablespoons butter
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
¼ cup milk, optional
In a pot, bring water to a boil.  Add 1 teaspoon salt and grits.  Cover and cook over medium heat for about 7 minutes.  Grits should thicken.  Turn off heat and add butter, cheese, remaining salt and pepper.  If grits are too thick, add milk.  Serve with Swiss Steak.
Serves 4-6