Cooking Challenge Day 5 recipes: Oatmeal, Greek-ish salad, and finally some meat!

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three ingredient slow cooker mealHere are the final recipes of my week-long “actually cooking food for myself” challenge. We got an excuse to use more of the oats we didn’t use to make the granola, and the goat cheese left over from the frittata. We have a “Greek-ish” salad that has lots of ingredients, but not a lot of work. And finally… here comes the meat! Our one non-vegetarian meal will be my first slow cooker recipe. Offbeat Homie Laura submitted this to us, and she swears it’s easy and delicious.

So get your slow cookers reader, and let’s do this…

Breakfast: Blueberry and goat cheese oatmeal

  • Β½ cup oats
  • ΒΌ tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • ΒΌ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 3 tbs goat cheese
  • handful of blueberries
  1. Bring oats salt and milk to a boil in a pot and stir occasionally
  2. When thick, add the vanilla and the honey
  3. Once desired thickness is reach, crumble in half of the goat cheese
  4. Stir util it melts
  5. Transfer to a bowl
  6. Top with the remaining cheese, blueberries, and a little bit of brown sugar to taste

Lunch: Greek-ish salad

summer salad ingredients
Ingredients:

  • Trader Joe’s “California crunch mix” (shredded kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green cabbage, and red cabbage) — any combo of
  • grape tomatoes (halved)summer salad
  • Persian cucumbers (sliced and quartered)
  • diced black olives (in a can at Trader Joe’s)
  • crumbled feta
  • jarred artichoke heart

dressing:

  • lemon
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • juice from the jar of artichoke
  • salt and pepper
  • sugar

Instructions:

  1. Combine ingredients in a medium bowl
  2. In a jar with a lid, juice of half a lemon, one tablespoon of artichoke juice, and one tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, tsp of sugar. shake until combined.
  3. Mix everything together

Dinner: Laura’s three ingredient slow cooker beef and cranberry

Three ingredients + one slow cooker = deliciousness. Are you ready? Hold on to your hats, or maybe not, cause you need your hands free to grab this stuff:

three ingredient slow cooker meal

  • Slow cooker
  • Beef (I used some sort of roast, grab whatever’s on sale). The internet says 2-3 pounds. I have a larger sized slow cooker so I tend to err on the side of doing bigger.
  • One can cranberry sauce — I’ve used both the jelly kind and the whole berry kind. I prefer whole berry but either one works.
  • As many sweet potatoes as you want and will fit in the slow cooker. I do one per person.
  • Aluminum foil
  • Can opener for the sauce

three ingredient slow cooker meal 2

  1. Put the meat in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Cover the meat with cranberry sauce. I scoop it out right from the can. I have found that the jelly kind requires a little more encouragement. Some of it will slide off the meat, and that’s okay.
  3. Wrap the sweet potatoes in foil and set them on top of everything else. The foil is to keep them separated from the cranberry sauce because otherwise at the end of the day everything will taste the same. Maybe if you really, really, REALLY like cranberry that will float your boat but it’s a bit much for me.
  4. Turn on low for 6-8 hours. My slow cooker kicks over to “Keep Warm” after that automagically, but if yours stays on low until you change it yourself after nine hours, that’s okay.
  5. Go do stuff for 6-8 hours while your house becomes awesome smelling.
  6. Remove the sweet potatoes and set to the side (be careful, they’ll have some liquid in the bottom of the foil). Take a couple forks and shred up the meat and mix it in with the cranberry deliciousness. If your meat is a bit dry, let it absorb some of the liquid that has collected at the bottom of your slow cooker for a few minutes.
  7. Chow down.

Ideas for sides: Rolls (from a tube of course), stuffing, microwaved vegetables. If you have other ideas for sides, please let me know!

BONUS MEAL: If you have leftover beef and cranberry goodness, you can put it over lettuce/spinach/greens and make a salad with it.

Comments on Cooking Challenge Day 5 recipes: Oatmeal, Greek-ish salad, and finally some meat!

  1. Not trying to go above the whole no-drama comment policy but I am legitimately wondering if this site has turned into someones personal blog about cooking?

    • Just for this week, and I’m pretty sure most of the regular readers have been looking forward to it since the last cooking challenge- I know I was!

    • Hey Julie! Don’t worry, it’s not just “someones personal blog” now. I’m Megan, the Managing Editor of Offbeat Home & Life. The Challenge was brought back by popular demand, and we posted a lot of details about it’s impending re-instatement. So while I’m busy this week with the Cooking Challenge, I don’t have time to edit the site as normal at the same time. πŸ™

      So just hang in there, if this isn’t your thing. Next week, I go back to being a lazy, crap-eating, slob who rarely leaves her couch and beloved laptop, and all the posts you love so much will be back to normal! πŸ˜‰

  2. Oh yummmm, that beef slow cooker recipe… Im probably going to have to try that one… it looks delicious! Does anyone know if you can substitute regular potatoes for the sweet potatoes (we have picky kids in our house) and if so, what kind works best?

    As for another easy slow cooker recipe…
    – boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    – 1 jar of salsa

    Put chicken and salsa in slow cooker on medium for about 4-6 hours, take out and eat – chicken will be super tender and falling apart… we love to use it for taco meat or over rice… delish!

    Good luck Megan with all your cooking – Im definitely enjoying and being inspired by your cooking! I may have a little girl crush…

    • “Can you substitute regular potatoes for the sweet potatoes?” Ooh, good question. That guy I married might actually eat this one, if I use regular ‘tatos. I’d like to know the answer too.

      Also, “I may have a little girl crush” was fucking AWESOME to read after I just accidentally butchered this morning’s breakfast. Thank you for the pick-me-up. πŸ˜‰ (<– sexy winky face to fan the fires of the crush)

      • I’m gunna guess that since regular potatoes have thinner skin and very little flavour to impart, there’s a lot more chance of cranberry taste contamination. If the tin foil is placed right to keep the sauce from actually touching the potatoes, I’m thinking the effect won’t be too off-putting, so give it a go!
        Cooking-wise? Just choose medium-to-large ‘taters and it’ll be just fine! And so long as you wrap them separately, feel free to try some of each!

      • Yep! I have made a similar style slow cooker recipe that has regular potatoes like that. I like waxy potatoes (like Yukon gold or red potatoes) better in slow cooker recipes because they seem to do better with the really long cooking times.

        • I’ve done similar things using my trusty russets. But I happen to like my potatos mushy (my husband would say overcooked) and use russets in everything (including certain soups), so if you prefer your potatos to have more substancy shape, waxy potatos would be the way to go.

    • Submitter here – yes you can use regular potatoes. I just use sweet potatoes because I use regular potatoes way too much on a regular basis and this is an easy way to change things up. Wrap them in tinfoil just like the sweet potatoes or else they’ll just taste like lots and lots of cranberry like Dootsie Bug said. Which isn’t really *bad* but it’s a lot of cranberry to take all at once y’know?

  3. Goat cheese on oatmeal?! Oh my god. My afternoon snacks are gonna get a whole lot more expensive. Om nom nom nom!

  4. This might have been mentioned in an earlier post that I missed but what’s up with the multiple trips to the grocery store? Why not take your ingredients list and do one shop at the beginning of the week? Would save you a lot of time and stress!

    • Ugh, meant to post on today’s results post and not here but it’s valid speaking about the challenge in general and also am too lazy to delete and repost it. πŸ™‚

    • OH! Because I did that on the last challenge and it was a fucking gawdamned nightfuckingmare. It was only slightly less nightmarish because I had a buddy to hold my hand and to take a page and a half of the three page-long grocery list. It also took two hours.

      So instead of taking FOUR hours shopping for that much stuff on my lonesome (seriously, I’m REEEEALLY BAD at grocery shopping), I thought I’d just tackle two or three recipes at a time. Although, if you watch the first video from this year’s challenge, you’ll see that I had to make TWO grocery store runs because I thought I had things that I did not have.

      And then today, I had to go to two different stores because one didn’t have ALL THE THINGS.

      Le sigh.

      • Le sigh indeed! I wish I could help you shop, I am the grocery shopping master and it is by far my favorite household task.

      • I used to be bad at grocery shopping. Then I went and married a guy who is super-organized, and I learned the tricks. Basically, know your store and make the list twice.

        Learn the order of the aisles at your usual store. Take photos of the aisle numbers and descriptions if you have to.

        Then, I make two shopping lists. The first is in random order, written as I look at each recipe. Then I re-write it in aisle order. Draw lines under each section. For me, this means produce comes first, then stuff from the organic section, then seafood, dry goods, meat, frozen, bread, and dairy. It makes shopping SO MUCH EASIER if your list is in aisle order. It takes more time at home, but at least I can blast music and do it in my PJs. At the shop, cross stuff off the list as you go, and circle anything you can’t find to remind you to ask at the service desk.

        I tried to do my weekly shopping at another shop last month, because it was next door to my doctor’s, and it was hell. I couldn’t find anything, it took twice as long, and I was nearly in tears by the time I gave up, went home, and dragged my husband to our usual shop so we could get the other half of our list. I totally get how much it can suck. When I’m prepared, though, we do our whole week’s shopping in half an hour.

        • Whoa, you just blew my mind with your list mastery. My lazy version is grouping like things together because that’s how my store has them (so some knowledge of the store beyond the frozen pizza aisle helps). So, fruits and fresh vegetables together, frozen vegetables and other frozen stuff together, eggs and yogurt and tube rolls together, meats together, cheese and lunch meat together.

          Also, I don’t know if you remember the standardized test trick of filling out all the ones you know first then going back for the hard ones? I totally do the same thing for grocery shopping – get all the easy to find stuff first then start hunting for the random stuff. Oh AND because I get tired of reading my list 39024832 times, I make a small tear on the paper right next to the thing that I have found (my version of crossing it out but without a pen cause I would totally end up writing on myself) and if I’ve found everything on the top section, I fold all those away so the new top-most thing is something I haven’t found yet.

          • I love making lists, so that helps! I also have a list on the inside of the pantry of what’s on each shelf, and a whiteboard in the kitchen for an ongoing shopping list. As soon as something is running low or used up, it gets written down so we remember to buy it on the next shopping trip.

            It sounds like we have pretty similar systems, really. I have like things grouped together, too. Super effective! (Although my supermarket just rearranged the produce section and I haven’t learned where things are yet and it’s messing with my head.)

            I’ve also seen brochures near the customer service area of a few supermarkets that have a huge list of foods and which aisle to find them in. That would help with list-making if you don’t know your store well yet.

        • I kind of do this with my grocery list app. I add things throughout the week whenever things run out, and when I get to the grocery store, I rearrange them (you just drag it on the app) in the order of the aisles. Less back tracking!

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