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North African Crock Pot Lamb Stew

We blog about this recipe here.

North African Crock Pot Lamb Stew

The spice list may seem lengthy but it gives the stew its special flavor.  Besides, those are all spices you can use over and over.

  • 2 lbs lamb stew meat (shoulder is best) cut into about 2″ pieces
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red chile flakes
  • 2 tsp Diamond kosher salt
  • 1 c water
  • 1 c chicken broth
  • 1 15.5 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • about 1/2 bag (4-5 oz) frozen spinach (either chopped or whole) – or use it all
  • rice and pita bread for serving

Mix together all of the spices and then coat the lamb pieces with the spice mix.

Put the spiced lamb in the crock pot along with the water and chicken broth.  Cook on high for about 4 hours – or until the lamb is just fork tender.  Don’t cook it so long that the lamb becomes mushy.

Add the white beans and spinach and continue cooking for another 20 minutes or so.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

2020 – It’s Music to My Ears

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Carole King’s rendition of Chicken Soup with Rice is a favorite.  Slipping is not a favorite.

As we begin a new decade with new joys and challenges, I find that this little ditty by the Australian artist/cartoonist Michael Leunig speaks to me.  In fact, it inspired me to put together a “2020” playlist!

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We give thanks for singers.
All types of singers.
Popular, concert singers and
tuneless singers in the bath.
Whistlers, hummers and those
who sing while they work.
Singers of lullabies; singers of nonsense
and small scraps of melody.
Singers on branches and rooftops.
Morning yodellers and evening warblers.
Singers in seedy nightclubs, singers in the street;

Singers in cathedrals, school halls, grandstands,
back yards, paddocks, bedrooms, corridors,
stairwells and places of echo and resonance.

We give praise to all those who give some small voice
To the everyday joy of the soul.

Amen

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Andy and I agreed that we’d each make a playlist of 20 songs that we’d enjoy while cooking – or cleaning up after cooking….songs that have something about food in the title or lyrics.  Get it? 20 and 20 for 2020!

You would think this would be a non-confrontational task! 🙂  I started my playlist with my ode to Andy: Sweet Home Cookin’ Man  (listen and watch it here).  I thought “Lord how my baby cooks” was tender and loving, but Andy took exception to the “ain’t got personality” and “ain’t got such good looks” lines.

Well he ain’t got personality
He ain’t got such good looks
When I come home hungry
Lord how my baby cooks
He’s a chef of fine distinction
Always cooks and it’s just right
Whether I come home in the morning baby
Or somewhere late in the night.

That was nothing compared to when I read over Andy’s blog and his playlist and noticed one of his top choices:  My Wife Can’t Cook  from Bill Wyman of Rolling Stones fame (listen and watch it here).

If it wasn’t for the beans that come out the can
A lot of the peas or the beets, the rice and the Spam
The milk and bread at the grocery store
I tell you, I couldn’t eat no more

‘Cause let me tell you, my wife, she can’t cook
If I thought she could read, I would buy her a book
But she knows how to do with the fuss and bother
She don’t even know how to boil hot water

But in the healing spirit of the New Year, we moved on 🙂  Isn’t that what a relationship is all about?

My 20 songs for the 2020 playlist are below.  You can listen to bits of each song right here – or go to Spotify to get the whole thing.  Dance around to it while you’re makin’ that Crawfish Etouffee, sippin’ on a Sazerac, and dreamin’ of going to Mardi Gras!

And just to make a point, I would like to remind you of some undeniably great recipes that I’ve fixed for Andy – with canned beans!

*Not Your Mother’s Chili
*MountainWestBob’s Easy Crockpot Chili
*North African Crockpot Lamb Stew
*Quick White Bean Soup
*One Dish Pasta and Beans

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I’m very selective about the brand of beans I buy!

In fact, we celebrated New Year’s Eve with friends, serving them this d-lish Black Bean Chili (which also happens to be vegetarian).  After everyone left, Andy turned up the speakers, clicked on his Jazz for Kitchen Cleanup playlist and welcomed in the New Year.  See today’s Andy’s Corner.

Continue reading

SOUPS AND STEWS

SOUPS
Avocado and Tomato Gazpacho
Almost-Japanese Lotus Root and Pork Rib Curry Soup
Carrot Ginger Soup
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Chicken Pozole Verde
Chile Verde
Curried Lentil, Tomato, and Coconut Soup
Joyce’s Clam Chowder 
Lamb and White Bean Chili
Lentil Soup with Bacon

MountainWestBob’s Easy Crockpot Chili
Not Your Mother’s Chili
Pho-ish Chicken
Potato Soup That Happens to Have Broccoli In It
Quick White Bean Soup
Sopa de Lima
Super Simple Red Lentil Soup
Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
Watercress, Spinach, and Chickpea Soup
Wisconsin Beer and Cheese Soup

STEWS

Basic Red Beans and Rice
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Colorado-ish Potato and Green Chile Stew
Korean Crock Pot Pork Stew
Moquera Biana – Brazilian Fish Stew
North African Crock Pot Lamb Stew
Seafood Stew with Tomatoes & Coconut Milk 
Vietnamese Tomato-y Beef Stew: Bo Kho

Men in Aprons

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Our friend Alan rocking it in their Boulder kitchen

Isn’t that a fabulous photo?  When our friend Jina posted this Instagram shot of her husband, Alan, stir-frying Pad See Ew for their fam, I knew it had to be the “lede” on this blog.  Jina wants you to know that she too cooks, but that they divvy up the time in the kitchen.

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Moss, our younger grandson, wearing aprons and cooking at a very early age

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Our son Travis, focussing on his Belgian heritage as he fixes his famous Brussels Sprouts

How times change….and often for the better.  My dad learned to fix a few meals when he was 81.  His specialty was microwaved eggs and freshly squeezed orange juice.  Other than that, I believe he subsisted on Arby’s roast beef sandwiches.  My brother, at about that same age, is finding the George Foreman Grill a helpful resource in his entry into cooking and the kitchen.  Microwaved frozen vegetables are another healthy addition to his repertoire.

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Andy, on the other hand, is from a slightly-younger generation…a War Baby (alas…he’s too old to be a Baby Boomer).  He’s been in the kitchen since Day 1 of our marriage.  If you believe that, I’ll tell you another funny story.

Really, though, through most of our 52 years together Andy has not only been the faithful clean-up person but he has mastered breakfast – witness our many recipes stemming from his early morning cooking skills.  And then check out today’s Andy’s Corner to see how making Swedish Pancakes can be an Extreme Sport!  But Andy’s cooking has not been put to a serious test until this last month (see our last blog).

Now that I think about it, maybe this blog should be titled: Cooking for Ann.  

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Andy cooking for Ann

For those of you who aren’t cookbook aficionados, that would be a twist on Ina Garten’s 2016 Cookbook, Cooking for Jeffrey.  Mind you, I love Ina Garten and almost always love her recipes, but how can a woman in this day and age write about cooking for “her man!?”  Consequently, I am delighted to be blogging about how Andy has been cooking for “his woman” the last month or so….all the while believing in my heart of hearts that there should never be one mate who is always in the kitchen!

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My criteria for recipes to help Andy adjust to his new super-simple evening meal cooking included the following:

  • no sautéing
  • no dicing
  • no prep time longer than 15-20 minutes
  • a recipe good to freeze or re-warm
  • healthy (ish)

Sandy and Stacey, our neighbors, joined us for Andy’s first foray into cooking for others:  Roasted Chicken Thighs with New Potatoes (for this Mini-Dining In, they brought a scrumptious salad to share).  When we warmed up the leftovers from this sheet-pan dinner a few days later, we both declared it (again) a keeper!  Delicious, easy, fast to prepare, re-heats well.

Chinese Jook Chicken is a no-brainer, fulfilling my criteria with ease.  Chicken Pozole Verde can be streamlined to come together quickly and easily.

When all else fails, we revert to Andy’s standby – grilling.  Nothing could be simpler than a grilled steak or pork chop – and a simple salad (the Broccoli Edamame Salad fits our criteria and is healthy and delicious) .  And we often add a Japanese baked sweet potato.  After all, this is Cooking for Ann – and baked, mashed sweet potatoes with butter could totally be my Last Dinner.

We’re not Crock Pot people generally speaking, since we’re usually around and can just as easily simmer on the stove-top or slow roast in the oven.  But the Crock Pot sounded worth a try for simplicity’s sake – and a bit of a new adventure for Andy in the kitchen.  These two recipes are easy, yummy – and even a little exotic. Continue reading

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