slow cooker recipes

Two Delicious Southern Slow Cooker Recipes

There is nothing more comforting then some authentic southern cooking. Slow cookers are a great way to make a delicious southern meal and having it waiting for you when you return from work or Sunday outings. We’ve got two slow cooker recipes that will have your mouth watering. First a great fried chicken recipe that can be made right in the slow cooker, and second, a delicious sausage and bean stew that can be a side to your chicken or a meal in itself.

Slow Cooked Fried Chicken

You will need:

  • a large slow cooker
  • as many chicken drumsticks that will comfortably fit in one snug layer in the slow cooker (approximately 12)
  • ¼ C butter
  • ¼ C flour
  • 2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1 TBSP Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp pepper

Method:
Combine all spices and flour in a deep baking dish or gallon size plastic bag, drop chicken in a couple pieces at a time and coat well, place into slow cooker until full, pour ¼ C butter over chicken, cover, cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8 – 10 hours.

When chicken is done the juices should run clear. Serve with traditional biscuits and gravy and some mashed potatoes, or try alongside the sausage and bean stew!

Sausage and Bean Stew

You will need:

  • large slow cooker
  • small blender
  • 1 lb smoked sausage
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 48 oz chicken broth
  • 3 C dried northern beans
  • 2 C chopped onion
  • ¾ C chopped carrot
  • ½ C chopped celery
  • 10 cloves of sliced garlic
  • 1 TBSP fresh sage
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 Parmesan cheese rind
  • 1 fresh rosemary spring
  • 3 C water

 

Method:
Saute diced sausage in olive oil until brown and put in the slow cooker, add 1 C broth to a pan and scrape all sausage bits from the pan boiling for 1 minute. Combine the remainder of the broth and all beans and seasonings (except rosemary) plus 3 cups of water and cheese rind in slow cooker, cook on high for 7 hours. Remove cheese rind and discard, stir spring of rosemary into the stew for 1 minute, remove and discard. Scoop out 1 cup of beans and puree in a blender, add back to stew for thickness – puree more beans as needed to thicken the stew.

Once done, serve immediately with a side of cornbread for a delicious lunch. Serve alongside the slow cooked fried chicken for a hearty meal.

Both of these fabulous southern slow cooker recipes are delicious and easy to prepare – a treat for your entire family at the end of a long day, or on a relaxing weekend afternoon!

BBQ Technology

Technology to Make you a BBQ Expert

People pride themselves on their grill skills and love to impress when they have a barbecue. Anyone can take meat and throw it over the coals, but if you really want to “wow” at your next gathering, you need to go a step beyond and display your grilling gadgets. Below we have comprised a list of the latest BBQ technology that will make you a BBQ expert and the envy of the whole neighborhood!

 

  1. SolSource Cooker

 

For those who want to show off how energy conscious they are, consider the SolSource for your next BBQ. This shiny, round disc uses heat from the sun to boil water, cooking anything you would put on an ordinary grill. The metallic surface of the disc gets pointed at the sun, then the heat is reflected back to the grilling surface, making it hot enough to cook. Fry, bake and boil in the same amount of time it would take on a propane or charcoal grill!

 

  1. iGrill Mini

 

The most challenging part of grilling is knowing precisely when a piece of meat is ready. You can check for the temperature, but sometimes it’s a few minutes late and your meat is ruined. Don’t let your guests give you a bad review and use the iGrill Mini instead. This device uses a wired probe that measures the temperature of meat while it cooks. You can mingle around and make sure your guests are comfortable because iGrill Mini connects to an app via iOS devices, and it alerts you to when the meat is at the correct temperature from up to 150 feet away!

 

  1. Man-Law LED BBQ Grill Light

 

Entertain after dark with the Man-Law LED BBQ Light. This grill light is illuminated with 12 LED super-bright bulbs so you can see the whole cooking area. So that you can keep your hands on the tongs, the Man-Law Light will mount to most surfaces via a built-in screw clamp or strong magnets on the base. The 23-inch flexible arm moves easily if you need to relocate the light. Its aluminum construction makes it durable and able to withstand tough weather conditions.

 

  1. Grillbot

 

Once you’re done serving up your BBQ masterpieces you must not forget to clean the grill. The Grillbot is not only functional but it is entertaining, especially if you and your guests have indulged in a few brews! This little “robot” fits on your grill and scrubs away the grease with the single touch of a button. Choose a deep or light clean, with a built-in alarm and LCD screen that tells you when the scrubbing is complete. Conveniently store Grillbot in its hanging storage case.

 

Be the master of your back yard with these amazing high-tech BBQ gadgets!

high tech kitchen gadgets

High-Tech Kitchen Gadgets for Your Favorite Chef

When you’re looking for a gift for the cook who has everything, it can be hard to find something that will impress them. Fortunately, technology is evolving in all aspects of our life, including the kitchen. Whether they are an IT geek or a seasoned culinary master, we’ve got a list of gizmos that will revolutionize the way your favorite chef whips up a meal. Here are a few of our favorite high-tech kitchen gadgets:

  1. Egg Minder

With the Egg Minder you will never have to wonder if you’re eggs are still good or not. This device keeps track of how old your eggs are, and will monitor how many you have left. Egg Minder syncs up with a free app that sends you push notifications when its time to buy more eggs.

  1. Digital Nutrition Kitchen Scale

For the cook who does a little too much sampling while preparing, a digital nutrition scale is perfect. The scale will report all the important nutritional data about the food you place on it. By typing in a designated code for the food, the item’s weight is calculated to report nutritional values that have been approved by the USDA. Health-conscious people will love being able to measure solids and liquids and find out their carbohydrate, cholesterol, calorie, fat, fiber and sodium information.

  1. simplehuman Sensor Can

When you’re cooking a meal, it’s not too sanitary to touch a garbage can right in the middle of your prep. simplehuman has a trash can that opens with a wave of your hand, so you don’t have to come into contact with extra germs. Not only is it functional, the simplehuman trash can smells good and is nice to look at.

  1. Digital Measuring Cup and Scale

Any chef will tell you, extra utensils can clutter up a kitchen and need to be disposed of. With a digital measuring cup and scale, it combines two pieces of equipment into one, to increase your storage space and efficiency. The cup and scale will convert five pre-set ingredients—oil, water, flour, milk and sugar—from weight to volume and digitally display the conversion on the handle. This item is ideal for the perfectionist baker.

  1. The Smoking Gun

How many of us love smoked food, but don’t eat it very often because of the lengthy and process it requires? The Smoking Gun, as seen on Top Chef All-Stars, is a handheld smoker that infuses your food with the flavor of applewood or hickory. It is much safer and less time consuming than igniting an outdoor smoker and waiting around for hours for the flavor to work through. The extra bonus with The Smoking Gun is that flavor can be added to any food you want, even desserts or a pickle!

Any of these gadgets are sure to bring a smile to your favorite chef’s face. If not, buy them as a treat for yourself!

recipe apps

5 Best Recipe Apps to Organize Your Kitchen

If you are looking for a way to organize your kitchen’s recipe collection, going digital is the way to go. Handwriting out recipes and owning stacks of cookbooks is a thing of the past. Depending on your particular needs there are numerous options to choose from when looking for recipe apps to organize your kitchen.

5 of the Top Recipe Apps to Consider

1. Big Oven

Big Oven has both a free and paid version app. The free version allows you to search and save recipes. You can then create grocery lists right from the recipes you choose. The paid version offers additional benefits including unlimited recipe storage, a place to add notes to each recipe and an option to scan in your own recipes and store them. The paid version is $1.99 per month or $19.99 for the year. Big Oven is available for the iPhone, iPad, on Android devices and the Kindle Fire.

2. Paprika

Paprika costs $4.99 and is a recipe organizer and meal planner. The app allows you to organize your recipes, meal plan and create grocery lists that are automatically organized by category like dairy or produce. The app synchs between all your devices so you can take it with you on your phone and then use your tablet for easier reading in the kitchen. Paprika is available for the iPhone, iPad, Android devices, the Kindle Fire and the Nook Color.

3. Basil

Find, organize and get cooking tools for your iPad with the Basil app. Basil allows you to quickly and easily save recipes from all over the web and you can also upload your own. This recipe app automatically categorizes recipes for you and there is a note taking section next to each entry. Tools like a unit conversion calculator and an auto timer are helpful in the kitchen. The cost for the Basil app is $2.99.

4. Pepper Plate

Pepper plate is a free app that allows you to upload and store recipes. With one click you can also save recipes from anywhere on the web. Shopping lists are created automatically and you can easily unclick items that you already have on hand. Other features include a cook mode so your screen won’t turn off in the middle of cooking, multiple cooking timers and a scaling tool that will alter your recipe for more or less servings. You can also share recipes with your friends. Pepper Plate is available for all your devices including iPhone, iPad, Nooks and Kindles.

5. Eat Your Books

Eat Your Books is a great solution if you have stacks of cook books laying around that you would like to have access to digitally. Eat Your Books allows you to find and add your cook books to your account. You can then upload your own recipes as well and tag your favorites. You can create shopping lists from your recipes, add personal notes and swap cooking tips and advice with other Eat Your Books Members. The basic version is free but offers limited storage. The paid version is available for $3.00 per month or $30.00 per year. Eat Your Books is currently only available in website form.

Fire up the grill!

How To Cook the Perfect Steak

With summer coming it’s time to dust off the old barbecue that has been sitting in the garage and get down to some serious grilling. One of the biggest favorites is of course steak, but a lot of people have trouble getting it just right and end up with a steak that’s good, but could be better. Let’s take a look at how to cook the perfect steak.

 

Preparing a good steak starts way before you even set eyes on the barbecue: in the store. You have several options to choose from depending on what you like and what you’re willing to spend. Those with a bigger budget can opt for a cut of prime meat, while others can choose to have skirt and hanger steaks; as long as you cook it well, you’ll be hard-pressed to tell the difference.

 

Once you’ve bought the steak you want and have taken it home, make sure your grill is good and clean: a dirty grill will make even the best piece of meat taste like ash, a real waste. Clean the grill, then set a hot fire on it: don’t let the steak anywhere near the grill until it’s as hot as it can be. This will char the meat instantly, sealing in the flavor and making it taste all the better when it comes off.

 

Meanwhile, as the grill heats up, take the meat out of the fridge and let it warm up for a while: a cold steak right out of the fridge won’t cook as evenly as a room-temperature one will. A good chef controls whatever he is cooking by both checking the temperature of the meat as well as that of the grill or pan. This way, you won’t get any nasty surprises in the form of under- or over-cooked meat.

 

With the grill hot and the steak at room temperature, you’re ready to start the actual cooking. Do not use oil on a grill: it causes flare-ups, which can burn the meat or cook it unevenly; in either case the flavor is not as good as it could be. A good steak will have enough fat that it won’t stick to a hot grill, which is why you’re making it so hot.

 

As the steak cooks, make sure to not only turn it, but rotate it as well: grills aren’t the same temperature everywhere so make sure your steak cooks evenly by moving it around a little. The object is to ensure that the meat cooks evenly and that it’s the same flavor no matter what part you eat.

 

Last but not least, and this really is the hardest part, when you’re done, when the steak is cooked to perfection and you’re ready to tear into it, let it rest for a few minutes. It’s painful, but letting it rest seals in the flavor, making for a better experience overall. Patience is rewarded – bon appetit!

kitchen technology

The Future of Kitchen Technology

Move over Rosie the maid, the future of the house chef is nothing like we saw on the Jetsons. Amazing new kitchen technology already exists, and with many more innovations on the horizon. Take a look at what we have in store for us to make our culinary lives easier, more efficient, healthier, and visually dazzling. Science and art are intermingling with the brightest minds, resulting in culinary quarters like nothing you’ve ever imagined.

Nutrima by Electrolux

This gadget is still in the developmental stages, but it will change the way you eat and what you choose to put in your mouth, forever. The idea is a scale that charges by bending it. It’s constructed of the latest material in flexible technologies, combined with piezoelectricity. Nutrima will be able to analyze the food’s quality including: weight, freshness level, amount of toxins it carries, and it’s nutritional value and makeup.

3D in the Kitchen

Miele has a concept in the works, which is a range that will scan your hand to gather personal data. Next, 3D technology lets the scanner calculate our nutritional needs by easily putting a palm down on the range. Once the information is collected, which includes real-time analytics, we will know what our body requires at the time for calories and nutrients. Even better, it provides the user with recipes on a display screen that are appropriate to meet their dietary needs. Miele assures us that as far fetched as this idea sounds, it will be a common fixture on day.

Pantelligent Smart Frying Pan

This handy appliance is currently available and will make sure you never overcook anything again. Synced with an iPhone app, Pantelligent oversees the cooking of your chicken, fish, steak, or whatever you’re frying up. The app allows you to check the temperature at any time, without having to prod it with a fork, and it lets you know when its ready.

Seafood Walls

It has been predicted that in the future, you won’t have to go to the market to get your shrimp. This is because sea plant life and edible fish will be grown right in your kitchen. The wall will be stocked with a tank, much like an aquarium. Instead of keeping this marine life as a pet, you’ll be growing it and harvesting it for consumption.

Solar Powered Kitchens

Another concept for future kitchens is one that runs on total solar power. The idea is that solar bricks that are glass-like will make up the roof and external walls of the kitchen. Renewable solar energy will be harnessed to power the appliances, grow plants, and make your kitchen self-sufficient.

work lunches

5 Healthy Lunch Ideas for Work

Opting for a greasy fast food for lunch will leave you sluggish, and negatively affect your productivity in the workplace. Not to mention it gets costly to eat out all the time. Our own Charlene at Just Call the IT Guy loves to explore the latest kitchen gadgets to compliment her passion for cooking. This passion has helped us compile a list of healthy lunch ideas for work that won’t break the bank, and taste good too. The trick is to keep your meal balanced with low-fat protein and carbohydrates that will keep you going for the remainder of your day.

 Let’s Get Cookin’ With Char

Here are 5 delicious and healthy lunch ideas for work:

  1. Hummus Wrap: Use a whole-wheat tortilla, instead of flour. Inside it, include your favorite hummus flavor, sliced tomatoes, romaine lettuce, black olives and feta cheese. This way you get a good balance that includes healthy fats with your protein and carbs.

 

  1. Mediterranean Shrimp and Pasta: Those who follow a Mediterranean diet tend to live longer. Prepare this pasta dish ahead of time and you can get a few meals out of it. Cook 16 oz angel hair pasta, and add to it 1 cup kalamata olives, ½ cup capers, and 4 oz feta cheese for the Mediterranean flavor. Put in 1 lb peeled and cooked shrimp, and 1 cup of chopped tomatoes for antioxidants and lean protein. For immunity during the flu season, add garlic to your liking.

 

  1. Black Bean and Barley Salad: For added fiber in your diet, this salad is perfect. Start with a cup of uncooked pearl barley, and prepare according to directions. Combine with a 15-oz can of black beans, pint of halved cherry tomatoes, ½ cup of green pepper, 2 oz of Monterrey jack cheese chopped in ¼ inch cubes, 1/3 cup lemon juice, 2 T olive oil, 1 t of salt.

 

  1. Salmon Salad Sandwich: You don’t have to give up your sandwiches to stay healthy. This recipe gives you plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, and it will fill you up. Drain two 6- to 7-oz cans of skinless, boneless wild Alaskan salmon. Combine it with 2 T of lemon juice, ¼ cup minced red onion, and 1 T olive oil. Take 4 slices of reduced calories bread, preferably pumpernickel, and spread 1 T of low-fat cream cheese over each slice. Spread the salmon mixture and top with a piece of lettuce and tomato slices. Make into two sandwiches to be enjoyed by you and a family member, or even for a quick dinner later.

 

  1. Goat Cheese, Red Pepper and Fresh Mint Wraps: The office will be curious and envious of this creation. Goat cheese is lower fat than most cheeses and with a nice bite to it, and the peppers provide beta carotene for cardiovascular health. Use a wheat or spinach wrap for added fiber. To make, take 4oz of goat cheese and combine with 4 T of fresh mint in a bowl. Spread the mixture evenly over 4 tortillas, then divide ½ cup of chopped roasted red bell peppers evenly over the tortillas. Roll up and chill for an hour before cutting each wrap into 4 pieces. You will have enough to share with your family or favorite co workers.