Crockpot Wednesday – Oxtail Over Thai Noodles

On Monday’s food challenge, Joe gave me a choice between ribs and oxtail. I chose to make ribs and cabbage slaw. I decided to save the oxtail for Crockpot Wednesday. I’ve never cooked with oxtail before, so I did a little research and I learned two things. First, they aren’t even oxtails! Second, they need to cook for a long time to get tender, so saving them for the crockpot was a great decision.

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This is a very simple recipe. I added a bag of frozen mirepoix (onions, celery, carrots). Otherwise known as the “holy trinity” of cooking. I heard that in a cooking class I took, but now I can’t remember which one it was. I chopped a fresh shallot, green pepper, and minced two cloves of garlic.

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Finally, I covered the mixture with water and added a splash of red wine (about 1/4 a cup).

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I cooked it on low for 10 hours. I served it over thai rice noodles (Joe helped with the noodles). The tail was surprisingly tender and tasty.

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There are many other recipes I’d like to try with oxtail:

African Oxtail Stew

Jamaican Stew

Country Oxtail

Curry Oxtail

Oxtail Dumplings

Which one would you like me to try next?

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Crockpot Wednesday – Creamy Cayenne Mushroom Soup

As I worked on last night’s food challenge to make Orange Tilapia foil packets, I was digging around the refrigerator looking for veggies to serve with the fish. I noticed that I had not one, but two, types of mushrooms hidden away behind other packages. Oops. I already had last night’s dinner figured out, but knew that I would need something for crockpot Wednesday (make sure you check out my other posts about Crockpot Wednesday; for example Curry Chicken, Cabbage, and Peppers). I decided that I would take a stab at a mushroom soup to warm me up after our recent dip in temperatures (from 70 to 40 degrees overnight!)

I had your regular white button mushrooms and I had portabello mushrooms left from my Italian inspired salad. While waiting on the fish to bake, I chopped all of the mushrooms to save myself some time in the morning. I added a coarsely chopped half of a white onion and minced 3 cloves of garlic. I put a lid on it and put it in the refrigerator overnight.

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This morning, I put all of this into the crockpot with 3 cups of chicken broth. I don’t know what you think, but mushrooms are always a little bland to me. I decided to put a tablespoon of black pepper, a tabelspoon of cayenne pepper, 4 tablespoons of butter, and about 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese into it. I turned it on low and let it cook until I got home later that day.

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I blended it (it looks gross but I’m not done yet).

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Last, I added a can of evaporated milk and heated it through.

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After taste testing, I ended up stiring in a little more cayenne pepper just to make it nice and spicy. You can adjust the spices to your own taste, of course. I finished it off with a basil leaf and cayenne (unstirred) for a touch of color. Enjoy!

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We’ve Still Gotta Eat Between Challenges

I don’t want to “slack off” on my blog in between my cooking challenges AND we still have to eat wheter it is a cooking challenge or not. So, I’ll post about other recipes, food, and meals, even if I didn’t create them myself.

Wednesdays are my “busy” days. Well, every day is a a busy day, but Wednesdays just seem to be busier than the rest. A typical Wednesday gets me to the office by 7 am and I don’t normally leave campus until close to 9 pm. Let’s be real (a phrase I borrowed from Kerry Byrnes)… I don’t feel like cooking after a day like that. In my house, we’ve dubbed these days as “Crockpot Wednesdays.” Makes for an easy and yummy dinner and there are almost always leftovers for lunch on Thursday. Hmmmm….maybe I’ll dub Thursdays as “Leftover Thursdays.” That is something to think about.

Joe and I are both huge fans of Indian food, and his particular favorite is Lamb Vindaloo. I found a recipe on Stephanie O’Dea’s blog for Crockpot Lamb Vindaloo. Sounds great, right?

Lamb is EXPENSIVE. I looked for the 3 lb leg as directed by the recipe and it was $32! Beef (and the price that goes with beef) sounded much better.

I tweaked the recipe in four ways:

1) substituted beef for lamb

2) doubled the onion

3) added fresh tomatoes instead of canned

4) replaced the potatoes with carrots (potatoes are not paleo; small substitutions matter!)

The result was great! This is definitely a keeper recipe. The combination of spices was an interesting mix of sweet, spicy, and tangy. The tomatoes and onions cooked down to make a nice chunky sauce. I’m looking forward to “Leftover Thursday” now!

What are your favorite meals that work well as leftovers?