Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What's Cooking

Kitchen and bathroom renovation are in full swing! That means we have set up a temporary kitchen in our dining room. Combined with a busy schedule, cooking has been interesting. There has been a lot of toasting, microwave eggs, frozen soup from our freezer, and cereal. We have done really well with not ordering takeout during the week. By the time we get home we just want to eat, not wait for takeout to arrive. Weekends we tend to go out for breakfast and dinner - but that is usually because we are out running errands related to the renovations or starting to prepare for our other new addition.

So far we've put the toaster and microwave to the most use. Not wanting to leave out any appliances - this week I put the waffle iron and slow cooker to work for us.

First up, turkey and cheddar melts! This is where the waffle iron came in handy. I assembled some roasted turkey from the grocery store and a thick slice of cheddar on whole wheat bread. After the waffle iron heated up I added in the sandwich, closed the lid and waited for the 'ready' alarm.

After 2 flips and cooking cycles the sandwiches were toasty and ready to go!

I am already thinking up more delicious sandwiches - pressed PB & Banana (with Dark Chocolate Dreams PB),  goat cheese and fig spread - the possibilities are endless!

Next up in our remote cooking adventures is a slow cooked brisket. I modified an recipe I've used in the past. Using what I had on hand, I modified the recipe and technique. I turned the slow-cooker to high and as I sliced onions I added them in to the pot. That allowed them to heat & sweat a little before I added the rest of the ingredients. My idea was to brown the onions and maybe sear the brisket, but the slow-cooker wasn't quite hot enough for that. Even without browning, the brisket came out fall-apart tender and the vegetables were cooked perfectly. Thankfully the 3.5 pound brisket will feed us most of the week!

Slow-Cooker Brisket
3.5 pound brisket, fat trimmed
Dry mustard powder - about 2 tablespoons
Celery salt - about 1 tablespoon
Ground black pepper - about 1 teaspoon
1 medium vidalia onion, cut into 1/4 inch rings
1/2 pound baby carrots
6 small red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds
Soy sauce - 3-4 tablespoons
Worcestershire sauce - 2 tablespoons
Beef broth

Heat 6-quart slow cooker on high heat
Add sliced onions and allow to cook
While onions are cooking, rub brisket with mustard power, celery salt, and ground pepper
Allow brisket to rest while you peel and slice potatoes
Remove onions from the slow cooker and set aside
Line the bottom of the slow cooker with potato slices
Add brisket on top of the potatoes
Next, layer on the onions then carrots
Add soy sauce, Worcestershire, and enough beef broth to fill the slow cooker about halfway (too much & it will boil over)
Squeeze ketchup on top of carrots
Place the lid on and cook on high for 6 hours
When finished cooking, put brisket and vegetables in one container and the sauce into a separate container
Refrigerate overnight
Before serving, scrape any accumulated fat off the juice

Next up for the slow cooker - spicy turkey and kidney bean chili. And then a cinnamon applesauce made with local Massachusetts honey crisp apples.

Do you have a favorite microwave or slow-cooker recipe that doesn't require a lot of prep work? We've got a few more weeks of creative cooking and could use some ideas!

I'll leave you with a look at the kitchen in progress. Today the electrician came to start wiring for all of our new outlets, switches, and appliances. No more cords across the kitchen!

And here's a look from the kitchen into the bathroom. Next up this week, putting in the tub and the bathroom walls. Next week - tiling the bathroom floor and shower/tub area.

We still have a few more things to pick out - kitchen faucet, cabinet hardware, light fixtures, and outlet covers. There are so many choices!!!


  1. FunandFearlessinBeantownOctober 12, 2011 at 9:10 AM

    I remember a great interview with Ted Allen in an old Food Network magazine where he talked about the creative dishes he made while his kitchen was being re-done.  I think he used a boiler plate and a microwave in his laundry room!  Glad to hear that things are going well with the home renovations!

  2. Nothing like necessity to get creative! Glad to hear you're managing and good luck with the reno!

  3. I'm in the process of a kitchen renovation too - but unlike you I've been getting take-out for dinner every night, unless I have leftovers my mom made for us! Very clever of you to use your waffle iron to make a sandwich - is it a big pain to wash the dishes though? 
    Congrats on your baby too!!

  4. Good luck on your kitchen and bathroom renovation, I hope you'd share it after it's done. Thanks.


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