Crockpot Blueberry Oatmeal

This week, in effort to get out of my house a little more often, I went for a walk.  About 6 blocks from my house I discovered there is a new branch of the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch thrift store.  This excited me to no  end, I love thrift stores because you never know what treasures you are going to find.

I certainly found some treasures.  The first thing I saw when I came in the door was a beautiful McCoy brown drip pitcher. 

I have collected brown drip dinnerware and cookware  for a few years because it is sturdy and beautiful. It was a big thing in the 60’s and 70’s.  You would collect stamps when ever you spent money at a participating merchant and whenever you had enough stamps to fill a little booklet you could redeem it for a piece of dinner or cookware.  I can remember licking those stamps and putting them in the booklet for my mom.

The pitcher wasn’t the biggest treasure I found. The biggest treasure I found was two McCoy brown drip coffee cups.

Brown drip coffee cups are hard to find and when you find them they are often more expensive then I can afford.  I got both of the coffee cups for 6 dollars. It almost felt like I was stealing from the store when I knew how much those coffee cups are worth.

l also found a third coffee cup, a creamer and sugar bowl that are in the style of brown drip.  I think they are replicas not authentic brown drip. That’s okay, they are cute and tie in with a project I am working on so I brought them home any way. 

Today’s recipe is a crockpot recipe.  I don’t  often use my crockpots because I think they do strange things to the texture of food. But after a long talk with a couple of friends who are crockpot fanatics, I have decided to give it ago.  The hard part is finding the perfect cooking time for my adapted recipes.  Since I am cooking smaller amounts of food in my crockpot it’s hard to find the exact time that cooks the food through but doesn’t over cook it but I am working on it.

Blueberry Steel Cut Oatmeal

Adapted from The Family Freezer

1 cup steel cut oats

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

2 TBS brown sugar

3 cups water

Combine all the ingredients in the crockpot and cover.  Cook 2 – 2 1/2 hours on low.  Serve with milk.

Crispy Onion Chicken

This morning I thought of my little brother while I was cooking and how much he would hate this recipe. Why? He hates onions. I never met anyone who hates onion as much as he does. I mean he hates onions the way I hate beets, with a mad passion. Beets are the one food I won’t eat under any circumstances, not even to be polite. He is the same way with onions. The only difference is beets aren’t the flavor foundation of every cuisine ever. Beets are much easier to avoid.

I am not sure I would know how to cook without onions. It would be an interesting experiment but not one I am going to tackle today. Today I am piling on the French’s Fried onions and loving every second of it. The onions don’t really stick to the chicken even after you dunk the chicken in the butter. Don’t worry about it. Just pack the onions on top of the chicken and bake. I used a 2 1/2 oz can of French’s Onions and it covered the top of two chicken breast halves.

Crispy Onion Chicken

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp ground mustard

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

2 8 oz chicken breast halves

1 2 1/2 oz can french fried onions, crushed

In a shallow bowl, combine the butter, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, mustard, , salt and pepper. Dip chicken in the butter mixture and coat with onions. Place chicken in a 1 1/2 quart baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Top with any leftover onions and drizzle with remaining butter.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until juices run clear.

Broccoli Slaw

Last month I did almost no cooking. Aside from a few slow cooker experiments, I lived on sandwiches, salads and take out. I wish I could say it was because I was out saving the world or something noble like that, but the truth is I just didn’t feel like cooking so I didn’t. It happens to me from time to time. I usually just need a break to recharge the mental and creative batteries I come out the other side of the break more creative and ready to cook again.

For the month of May, I am concentrating I using thing I already have in my fridge, freezer, pantry. I am going to start with a simple salad, that was inspired by a broccoli slaw salad I bought at a neighborhood deli. I really liked the salad but didn’t want the mayo based dressing everyday. I wanted a broccoli slaw salad that used a vinegar based dressing to make it a little less heavy.

The pantry ingredients I used in this recipe were the apple cider vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, dried cranberries and almonds.

Broccoli Slaw

Adapted from Hungry, Healthy, Happy

1 bag broccoli slaw

1 celery rib, sliced

2 TBS canola oil

2 TBS Apple cider vinegar

1 TBS honey

pinch salt and pepper

dried cranberries and almond, optional

In a large bowl, combine the broccoli slaw, celery and dried cranberries. In a small jar, combine the canola oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Cover and shake well to combine. Pour the dressing over the broccoli slaw mixture. Combine well. If you are using the almonds, add them to each individual serving so they stay crunchy.

Kimchi Fried Rice

A lot of interesting stuff happened at work today First, I was offered a chance to change my schedule. They need some people to move to earlier shifts so starting soon, I start working 8 am to 4:30 pm instead of 10:30 am to 7 pm.  I was a little reluctant to change schedules.  I don’t drive so once we get back to the office, I would have to be on the bus at 6:30am to get to work on time.  Doable but is it something I want to do everyday?

My team manager then told me something that really made me make up my mind about changing my schedule. It looks like we are going to be working from home through 2021 and into 2022. How far into 2022 they don’t know yet.  Ughh. I am very grateful I am able to work from home but I don’t like it at all.  I have always worked very hard to keep work crap out of my home life and my home crap out of my work life. That’s very hard to do when your work is smack dab in the middle of your home.  I would be the first one at the office door if they said we could come back to the office tomorrow. Well, I am done complaining now. I’ll move on to something more fun. 

The best thing about Kimchi fried rice is you can use fresh made rice instead of leftover rice to make it  and it comes together in about 10 minutes once the rice is cooked so its a great get in and get out of the kitchen quick kind of meal. If you like, fry an egg for over the top for a boost of protien.

Kimchi Fried Rice

Adapted From The Spontaneous Tomato

1 1/2 -2 cups cooked rice

1/2 cup chopped kimchi

2-3 green onion or a small piece of white onion, chopped

1 1/2 tsp – 1 TBS olive oil

1/2 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp soy sauce

In a medium frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the scallion whites or the onion, and cook while stirring for 1-2 minutes. Next add kimchi and cook while stirring for 3-5 minutes until the kimchi starts to get soft.

Add the rice, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Then mix well until the rice is coated with the kimchi. If your rice looks dry, add a teaspoon or two of the Kimchi brine from the jar. Cook until the rice  is heated through.

Instant Pot Week Day 1 — Buttery Toasted Oatmeal

Welcome to Instant Pot week here on A Solitary Feast.  This week is dedicated to everyone who got an Instant Pot for Christmas and aren’t sure what to do with it or, maybe, even a little afraid to use it. My mom was convinced I was going to blow up my apartment when I got mine 5 years ago.  The good news is I have made 100’s of meals in my pot and I have never blown up anything.

This week is going to be all about recipes and resources I love and use when I cook with my instant Pot.  First up, is the hands down, best pressure cooking resource for beginners or experienced people using the pressure cooker. The  blog is called Hip Pressure Cooking. It has reviews for different brands of pressure cookers, lessons on how to cook with pressure cookers,  community forums and tons of recipes.  But the best, most useful thing on the site full of useful things is the detailed cooking time charts for just about every food imaginable.  If you ever wonder how long to cook something, if you should cook on low or high pressure, or what kind of pressure release you should use these charts will give you the answer to those questions and more.  I printed  these charts out and keep them in a binder on my cookbook shelves because they are so useful. 

One of the most common complaints I hear about pressure cooking is that by the time you bring the pot to pressure, actually cook the food  and release the pressure you haven’t really saved anytime and might as well cook it on the stove.  In some cases that is true, the recipe would get done faster on the stove.  In these instances, the way the pressure cooker shines is in its ability to be totally hands off once the food is in the  pot.  I don’t have to watch it at all.  I can go get ready for work, watch tv, do laundry or whatever.  When the food is done cooking it will flip to the keep warm setting and be hot and ready to eat when I am ready to eat. I love tossing my oat meal in the pressure cooker, getting ready of my day and then sitting down to my hot breakfast with no effort on my part.

1 1/2 TBS butter

1/2 cup steel cut oats

1 cup plus 2 TBS water

1/8 tsp salt

Preheat heat the pot on the saute function.  When hot, melt the butter.  Add the oats and stir until toasted, about 3 minutes.  Add the water and salt.  Lock the lid and set the timer for 4 minutes.  When the oats are done cooking, turn off the instant pot and let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.  Quick release any remaining pressure.  Serve with whatever toppings you like.  I personally like milk, brown sugar and 1/2 tsp apple spice.