Some Fall Cooking

I just sort of decided if the weather wasn’t going to be obliging and turn more fall-like, I would just start cooking like it was getting cool and crisp outside. Of course that means my A/C is working overtime but I don’t much care at this point (well, yes, yes I do but I’ve decided to be irrational about it).

I’ve made three tasty recipes via the crock pot over the last two weeks and they have been quite successful if I do say so myself. I also, in branching out on breakfast recipes, made my first smoothie for breakfast and while tasty, I didn’t find it especially filling. I like something I have to chew I think for my first meal of the day but I will share all!

Skinny Banana Split Protein Smoothie was my first foray into breakfast drinking. It’s delicious and easy to make. I did a few modifications to my version but I recommend if you’d like to try a breakfast smoothie (original recipe).

Makes 1 Serving

1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 Tbsp unsalted almonds
1/4 cup strawberries, hulled and halved (I also was pretty liberal in what 1/4 cup looked like)
1/2 banana, peeled and sliced
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
3 ice cubes

1. Put all ingredients in blender EXCEPT ICE and pulse until smooth
2. Add ice and pulse again until smooth. Serve immediately.

Harvest Apple Pot Roast is next on the list and this may be my favorite of the bunch. It was so tasty! I also loved the thin gravy that is created with recipe (well, it probably could have been thicker; I’m not very good at making gravy I discovered) which I covered my baked potato side with as well. The gravy and meat had a slightly sweet taste to it (I imagine because of the apples) which just made it a different meal to put into rotation. This kept OK for a week but I would suggest eating it faster than that as by the last day, the leftovers were quite dry (and no amount of gravy was helping). (original recipe)

Makes 3-4 servings (depends on the size of the roast you use too!)

1 beef roast (I used one that was about 1 lb and on sale)
2 small to medium yellow onions
1/3 cup chunky applesauce
1 can low sodium beef broth
1 packet Italian dressing mix
Flour for gravy (about 3-4 Tbsp)

1. Put the roast in a slow cooker. Mix the applesauce, beef broth and Italian dressing mix together in a small bowl and pour over the roast. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours.
2. Remove the roast and onions from the crockpot. Turn the heat to high. In a container with a tight-fitting lid, put 3-4 Tbsp of flour and enough water to make the consistency of wallpaper paste. Shake the mixture together (a lot!) and gradually whisk it into the broth in the crockpot to create the gravy.

Italian Smothered Steak is sort of mis-named in my opinion. It’s basically an Italian Steak Stew. I think maybe you could get out the steak pieces in one piece but mine just broke into big chunks of meat so the stew aspect was born. This is hardy folks fare folks but quite good and the leftovers have been keeping quite well. I have this with a salad to start. (original recipe)

Makes 4-6 servings (depends on the amount of steak you use)

1-2 lbs beef boneless round steak (I used about 1.3 lbs of what was on sale that week)
1/2 tsp salted salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 jar (24-26 oz.) traditional pasta sauce
1 package (9 oz.) refrigerated cheese tortellini
1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise in half and then cut crosswise into slices

1. Cut beef into 6 serving pieces; sprinkle with seasoned salt and pepper. Layer beef and onion in slow cooker. Pour pasta sauce over top.
2. Cover and cook on Low for 8-9 hours
3. About 30 minutes before serving, stir in tortellini and zucchini. Increase heat setting to High. Cover and cook 20-30 minutes or until tortellini is tender.

Lastly, I am trying to diversify my breakfast menu (mainly because I am sick of cereal) and so I put out a call on facebook for suggestions and oatmeal came up a lot. I have never liked oatmeal – the texture gives me issues but I thought if I dressed it up enough, I could get past it so I took everyone advice to try it with a recipe for Apple Pie Steel Cut Oatmeal. I smells divine and the fact you put in the crock pot before bed and wake up to your apartment smelling like apple pie is a major bonus. Alas, I still don’t much like oatmeal but I’ll eat this all up over the week as it is quite filling which is something else I was looking for in a breakfast meal, one that actually kept me full until lunch. (original recipe)

Makes 5 servings

1 cup Steel-Cut Oats
4 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 medium apples, chopped (I used Gala)
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbsp maple syrup
Splash of lemon juice

1. Add all ingredients to the slow cooker and stir. Put on Low for 8 hours or High for 4 hours.
2. Give a good stir before serving and top with favorite toppings like peanut butter, fresh apple or maple syrup.