Beef Pho Noodle Soup in the Slow Cooker

Do not make this if you are pressed for time in the beginning and want to dump everything in the slow cooker — roast the onion and ginger and toast the spices the night before and refrigerate them, but do not skip that step or you will miss the point.  Also, if you slice the top round thinly and keep the broth warm enough, the meat will cook from the heat of the broth. Partially freezing the top round helps with this, and using a very sharp knife.  If you can’t find the cardamom and star anise at your store, try shopping online. I buy from penzeys.com and am never disappointed.  There are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, but if you’ve ever eaten pho in a good noodle shop, you understand why it’s worth the effort.

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Beef Pho Noodle Soup in the Slow Cooker

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Ingredients
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2" piece of fresh ginger, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 1 - 1.5 lbs beef brisket, trimmed of most fat
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce (more if needed)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 6 c beef broth
  • 3 c water
  • salt
  • 14 oz rice vermicelli noodles
  • 8 oz lean top round steak UNCOOKED, and very thinly sliced
  • fresh Thai basil (for serving)
  • fresh cilantro (for serving)
  • fresh mint (for serving)
  • fresh mung bean sprouts (for serving)
  • thinly sliced jalapenos (for serving)
  • lime wedges (for serving)
  • Sriracha (for serving)
Method
  1. Heat the oven to 425
  2. On a baking sheet, arrange onion and ginger and roast until lightly charred, about 10 minutes
  3. In a small dry skillet over medium, roast cardamom, anise, and cinnamon for 3-4 minutes.
  4. In the slow cooker, combine roasted onion and ginger with the toasted spices. Add the brisket, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, beef broth, and water.
  5. Cover, cook on low 8-9 hours.
  6. Skim any solids or fat from the surface. Strain through a sieve or fine mesh strainer into a stockpot on the stove and keep warm on medium-low.
  7. Remove brisket and slice thinly, but discard everything else from sieve.
  8. Season the broth with additional fish sauce and/or salt if desired.
  9. Cook the rice noodles according to package directions; drain. Divide among bowls. Top with brisket and raw top round. Por hot broth over.
  10. Serve with basil, mint, bean sprouts, cilantro, lime wedges and Sriracha.

Tejano Chili Lime Roasted Chicken

I usually make this with boneless breasts.  I tend to make this in quantity (more than three pounds will comfortably fit in a jumbo bag) and use it as a meal base for snacky summer bowls (with roasted veggies, rice/quinoa and dressed with salsa and/or ranch).  When I say “Mexican beer” I usually use Dos Equis but you can use whatever your fave is.  Domestic brews work, too, but there’s a mystique at play here.  Also, beer salt is probably available wherever you can buy the Mexican beer.  The idea is, you get the lime flavor without the liquid from the juice or the hassle of zesting the limes.

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Tejano Chili Lime Roasted Chicken

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Ingredients
  • 2 c. water
  • 1/4 c. kosher salt
  • 1/4 c. dark brown sugar
  • 2 bottles Mexican beer
  • 1 chicken cut up, or 2-3 lbs chicken pieces, bone in or boneless
  • 1 Tbsp EVOO
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • lime beer salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • lime wedges for serving
Method
  1. Place jumbo zipper bag in large bowl.
  2. Combine water, salt, and brown sugar.
  3. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve. Add beer.
  4. Add chicken. Seal bag and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  6. Remove chicken from brine and rinse under cold water.
  7. Pat dry with paper towels.
  8. Place chicken on sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and turn to coat. Rub with chili powder, beer salt, and pepper.
  9. Roast chicken until cooked through, at least 170 on a thermometer.  Time varies from about 15 minutes for boneless thighs to about an hour for bone-in leg quarters.
  10. Serve with lime wedges.

Balsamic Pot Roast with Tomatoes

This is a tasty way to have a pot roast. I don’t know how authentically Italian it is but it has garlic and tomatoes.  I like it over spiralized zucchini for the colors.

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Balsamic Pot Roast with Tomatoes

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Ingredients
  • 2 28-oz cans whole tomatoes
  • 1 bulb garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into eighths
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 3-3.5 lb beef roast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
Method
  1. Spray 3- to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Mix tomatoes with their juice, garlic cloves, onion and vinegar in slow cooker.
  2. Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper; place on top of vegetables in slow cooker.
  3. Cover and cook on high setting for about 6 to 7 hours (or on low for about 10 hours).
  4. Remove beef to a warm platter; cover to keep warm.
  5. Skim excess fat from the top of the remaining vegetables and liquid.
  6. Serve over rice or pasta or spiralized zucchini.

Yule Salad

Pomegranates are a symbol of fertility (and prosperity).  Their poms are also a brilliant red color that contrasts nicely with green for a holiday “salad” that my family makes every year. I’m not sure where we got the recipe, though I believe it may have been from Aunt Carol.  It’s very tangy with the lime and pomegranate and most youngsters don’t care for it.  The “children’s” version is Yule Pudding which is pistachio pudding with poms in it.  For an added festive touch, you can make it in a ring mold.

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Yule Salad

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Ingredients
  • 1 box 8-serving size sugar-free lime gelatin (or 2 small boxes)
  • poms of one pomegranate
Method
  1. Make gelatin according to package directions, using 1/4 cup less water than called for.
  2. When it’s partially thickened, stir in poms.
  3. Let set.

Mexican Rice

Mexican Rice is basically rice with sazon seasoning added.

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Mexican Rice

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Ingredients
  • rice
  • water
  • sazon seasoning mix (found in the Mexican section of your store)
Method

Prepare rice according to package directions or according to the manufacturer’s instructions for your rice cooker.  Add one packet of sazon seasoning to the water for every 2 cups of long grain or brown rice or 4 cups of instant rice.

Ranch Coleslaw

Because cabbage dressed with ranch dressing tastes pretty good.  You can optionally add crumbled, cooked bacon.

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Ranch Coleslaw

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Ingredients
  • 1 package coleslaw mix
  • 1/2 - 1 c ranch salad dressing
Method
  1. Combine ingredients.
  2. Enjoy.

Roasted Asparagus

Roasting vegetables is a good way to bring out their flavor.  If you have something else in the oven at a different temperature, adjust the roasting time up or down.  Also, you can adjust the quantity of asparagus for the number of people you’re feeding.  You can fit up to about two full bunches on a regular rimmed baking sheet (my family will devour this if given the chance).  The more you have on the pan, though, the longer it will take.

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Roasted Asparagus

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Ingredients
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • EVOO
  • Kosher salt
Method
  1. Heat oven to 375
  2. Snap tough ends off asparagus and chop into 1″ lengths.
  3. Place on rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Toss with about 1-2 tablespoons of EVOO.
  5. Sprinkle with salt
  6. Roast 8-10 minutes, until tender.

Corned Beef & Cabbage Soup

This is a guest recipe from skinnytaste.com.  Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup is an incredibly tasty and lighter version of the traditional corned beef and cabbage that folks have to celebrate Irish holidays.

I sub an onion for the bell pepper (yeah, I know there are leeks).  My daughter hates bell peppers. As this takes several hours, it’s a good time to make up some Quick Beer Bread or other baked goodies.  I like to serve this with the beer bread, though.  For me, I like to make this on Sundays because I can also do my Mason Jar Salads while it’s cooking.