dinner

Slow Cooker Beef Burgundy

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A slow cooker is a wonderful thing. Anyone who has one knows the incredible feeling of coming home at the end of a long day to a place filled with intensely rich food smells, and a hot meal bubbling away in the kitchen already. I’ve been known to descend on the crock pot immediately, without removing pumps or tights first. It’s that irresistible.

Slow cookers have been around forever and as a result, there is a glut of recipes out there especially for them. I feel like this next statement should be in caps… not all slow cookers recipes are created equally. I have had some truly awful food that was cooked to death all day inside the crock pot (sometimes created by mine own hand, I’m ashamed to admit).

The trick is recipe selection. Tough cuts of meat are the best; they’re super cheap and stand up really well to the low and slow method. Also, they become mouth-wateringly buttery soft after getting the low and slow treatment. The other thing to think about is vegetable mixture. You will need to use a recipe that calls for vegetables that don’t fall apart or turn into mush when cooked all day. To use this beef burgundy recipe as an example, carrots can handle the long cook time, and strangely enough, so can mushrooms; they become melty and smooth and imbue the rest of the pot with their delicious meaty flavor.

Finally, everyone embarking on a delicious foray into the world of cooking with a slow cooker should know the cardinal rule. Don’t open the lid until the very end of the cooking time! The heat is so low, it takes forever for the pot to build up the heat lost from opening the lid.

Enjoy!

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Weeknight Pierogies

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(Beer makes an awesome pairing with this meal. And really every other meal, let’s be honest.)

Good pre-made pierogies paired with fresh made dipping sauces make this a quick and delicious weeknight dinner. You eat it with your hands (enabling you to shovel food in at the fastest possible rate after undoubtably being hungry for the last few hours of the work day and for the entire commute home). It’s served family style in a big golden doughy pile in the middle of the table, so you can make enough for two or for ten using the same steps. There’s something homey and nice about everyone reaching over each other to plunge hot, potato-filled pockets in warm melted butter and refreshing sour cream with just-clipped chives.

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(Start with a package of good quality pierogies. I found these made by Severino at Whole Foods.)

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(Throw these in a pan with a pat of butter and cook until browned. Make sure to turn at least once.)

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(Chop up fresh chives. They’re crazy easy to grow so I keep a live plant in the house for cooking purposes. It literally just looks like a planter of grass.)

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(Add the handful of chopped chives to a generous dollop of sour cream in a small bowl.)

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(Put about 2 tablespoons of salted butter in a bowl and microwave for 15 seconds until melted.)

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(Watch the butter like a hawk when it’s in the microwave to avoid boil over.)

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(Plate the pierogies and arrange everything on the table.)

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(The boyfriend could not wait until I was done taking pictures to eat one. I captured the crime taking place.)