Crock Pot Cookin’

For the first time ever I used my crock-pot to make dinner. When I left home last weekend my mom had made stew and I didn’t get a chance to bring some home, so I decided to make my own. I bought all the ingredients and had no idea how to start. The entire concept of just throwing food into a pot did not make sense to me. How is that I can cook any recipe/meal without hesitation, but when it came to the crock-pot, which is supposed to be simple cooking, I didn’t know how to start!

Good thing Laura and Adam were over and use the crock pot often so they could calm my nerves! I am so glad I finally learned the amazingness that is the crock-pot. Being able to come home after a long day of work and have dinner waiting for my on the counter, with little clean up was the best thing in the world. I will admit that I don’t know how often I will use it, but I am glad I know how if the need shall arise. I enjoy cooking too much to just throw things into a pot and walk away. It took all of the satisfaction out and it wasn’t an experience. That is why I love to cook, every time is a learning experience and it’s enjoyable and relaxing!

My first crock pot meal!

Rosemarie’s Crock-Pot Stew Recipe

Carrots

Green beans

Small can of corn

Onion

Potato

Stew meat

V8 Juice

Grandpa’s seasoning

Thyme

Beef bouillon

Salt and Pepper

Cut up potatoes, carrots (or use baby carrots), and onion. I chopped the onion finely because I don’t like thick onions in my food, but it’s a personal preference! Add all those ingredients into the pot. Add the green beans (I used a frozen package that was already cut) and add to the pot. Season the meat with Grandpa’s seasoning and cut into small pieces and throw in the pot. Add some beef bouillon, salt and pepper (eyeball it), V8 juice and a little bit of water. Cover and let sit in the fridge over night. In the morning turn on the crock-pot to low and let cook for 9 hours.

After about 8 and half hours, add the corn and more salt and pepper, depending on taste. You can also add some thyme or other seasoning if you would like. I used thyme. Serve and enjoy!

My friends and I added some french bread and wine to make the dinner complete. For a girl on a budget this was a great kitchen adventure! It was cheap, easy, and delicious and  I even had three more meals out of it! It was also a perfect meal to welcome in true Fall weather that has finally arrived. This fall has been rather warm, so it was a great time to make a warm hearty dinner with the cooler weather that has moved in. Nothing is better than a chilly fall day that looks like this!

I took these picture while on a walk around the IUPUI campus in Indy and love how it captures the beauty of Fall!

Until next time! Happy October! Stay tuned for more fall cooking and my all time best Halloween costume ever!

A True Sunday Dinner

I have been heading home the past few weekends for events, weddings, and IU Homecoming, so I thought I would pay tribute to the biggest kitchen adventure of all, Sunday Dinner with the entire family. My Grandparents make dinner, without fail every Sunday for their kids, their 16 Grandchildren, and now 4 great-grandchildren, along with in-laws, great aunts and uncles who stop by and friends who like to drop in every now and again or even every Sunday. My Grandparents motto is “the more the merrier!”

The menu normally consists of pasta, meatballs, sausage, salad and multiple desserts. Lately my Aunt Annette has been baking bread for us to enjoy with some olive oil and cheese as appetizers and she even baked a homemade apple pie two weeks ago! This past Sunday we celebrated multiple birthdays and anniversaries! My Grandparents were married on October 2, my twin cousins turned 26 the same day and my adorable brother Jack turned 19. October 2nd is a pretty eventful day for our family apparently.

Sauce and Meatballs cooking

The homemade Meatballs and Sausage!

My Grandpa usually likes to add in a little surprise dish to the menu. Normally it’s breadsticks because my cousin David refuses to eat most things, but he will eat about 12 breadsticks for dinner…but a few weeks ago he made Italian meatloaf stuffed Cannelloni. At first I wasn’t sure what it was. As I was eating I knew it tasted good…but there was something about it that wasn’t familiar. Later I inquired and my Grandma informed that it was another one of his experiments and that it was meatloaf (well Italian meatloaf…)

The Meatloaf stuffed Cannelloni

My Aunt’s homemade bread

And her Apple pie!

Dinner is usually an eventful time. Everyone lines up at the stove, piles up their plates, and heads to their selected area for eating. Our family has grown so much over the years that we all don’t fit in one room. My Grandparents even had to add-on a porch the entire length of the house just to accommodate all of their grandkids (there are three tables on the porch to choose from)!

Sunday Buffet Line

My Grandpa finishing up dinner!

(Out of order…but you get the point)

The newest addition to the Page clan – baby Lucas!

It’s been so great being able to spend time at home the past few Sunday’s. I love being around my family and seeing all of my friends, but I am very excited to get everything back to normal and settle down here in Chicago again. I have also not been able to keep up with my own Kitchen Adventures, so I am excited to be able to start cooking again! With all the traveling I have been doing the past few months (or this last year, to be honest) I never even have food in my apartment!

I am making my first ever crock pot meal this week and I am looking forward to this effortless cooking (so they say!).

Lucia’s Quick Cheese Sauce

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be a part of my friend Tim’s wedding in South Bend!  He is my first close friend to get married and it was so exciting to be able to celebrate with some old (and great!) friends! After the wedding on Sunday I decided to spend the morning walking around South Bend with my friend Ryan since it was a perfect Fall day and I had some time to kill before I headed back to Chicago to watch the Colts game (which I wish I had not experienced…).

Congratulations Tim and Allison!

What’s a wedding without someone getting “ICED?”


Ryan and “Touchdown Jesus”


A cool picture from Notre Dame (I love my iPhone apps!)

When I got home from the wedding weekend I was exhausted and had no food in my apartment except for the basic staples every little Italian  always has on hand; cheese, pasta, and chicken stock/bouillon. I sat on the couch for hours trying to find a recipe that I wanted to make and that included ingredients I had in my kitchen, which was few and far between considering I had not gone to the grocery store in about a month….I even called my sister to see if she had any good ideas and it turns out she was doing the exact same thing I was. Laying on the couch, watching the Colts game and reading cookbooks. I love when we are creepily alike (if you watch us dance we will more than likely be doing the same moves too).

I decided to wing it and make something up on my own. I did this when I was in Italy on more than one occasion and decided to get back to my creative cooking. A few time in Italy I mad a cheese sauce that was so good, it was to die for. My cousin Michael went home raving about, my friend Lauren begged me to make once we were back in America, and Laura and I enjoyed it frequently. When I got home from Italy and tried to recreate the sauce, I just couldn’t do it. I have no clue what kind of cheese I put in there, how I got it to melt together so perfectly, but I never made it again because it just never turned out the same.

This time, it didn’t turn out the same, but it was delicious! Check out the recipe and photos below!

Lucia’s Cheese Sauce


Ingredients:

3 cups Chicken Stock

3/4 cup skim milk

Fontina Cheese (no clue how much I used…eyeball it!)

1 cup Mozzarella Cheese

2 pieces Skinny Cow Cheese

1 tbsp Cream Cheese

3 tbsp all-purpose flour

Pepper to taste

1 tsp Parsley

1 tsp Basil

In a sauce pan, mix the chicken stock and cheese. Melt cheese and bring to a slow boil. Add in the milk, flour, pepper, basil and parsley. Heat on high until sauce thickens and all the cheese is melted. Once sauce comes to a slow boil, decrease the heat and cook on medium to low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring often.

While the sauce is cooking, cook your pasta. Once sauce is finished, drain pasta and pour into the sauce. Sprinkle with Some Parmesan and enjoy!

Cheese Sauce

Lucia’s Cheesy Pasta!