Friday, January 11, 2013

Slow cooker beef stew in the Ninja 3 in 1 cooking system

It's that time of year when it's cold and all I want to eat is a yummy, hearty stew. So here is a lovely beef stew recipe I came up with the other day. I've made the recipe for beef stew from the ninja cookbook and liked it well enough but wanted to put my own spin on it.

When I started making it I wasn't even sure if I was making a stew, I just knew I wanted to use the grass fed stew meat I bought at Trader Joe's  and the beautiful baby potatoes I found at the 99 cent store.

Anyway that's how this recipe came to be, I hope you enjoy it!

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Hearty beef stew in the Ninja 3 in 1 cooking system

1 1/2 lb beef stew meat (preferably grass fed if you can get it)
2 lbs of baby potatoes (If you can't find baby potatoes you can use red skin potatoes quartered)
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 red onion chopped into big chunks
1 cup of sliced crimini mushrooms
1 10.5 oz container of cherry tomatoes
2 tbspns of fresh thyme (or 1 tbsp of dry)
2 tbspns of fresh rosemary (or 1 tbsp of dry)
3 tbspns of flour
1 tbsp sea salt
2 tbspns olive oil
1 tbsp of freshly ground pepper
2 cups of red wine
2 cups of water

Set your Ninja to the stove top setting on high add the olive oil and let it heat up for 3-5 minutes

In the meantime season the beef with salt and pepper then coat with flour.

Add the beef to the Ninja and let it brown (this will take about 4-6 minutes). When it's nice and browned turn it over and let it brown on the other side.

Add the onion and make a little space in the pot for the garlic. Add the garlic and let it cook for 30 seconds or so until it begins to release it's aroma.

Next add the potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms, wine, water, thyme and rosemary  (If you want the tomatoes to be recognizable you can add them in the last hour of cooking).

Change the Ninja setting to slow cook low 8-9 hours, high 4-5 hours

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Spinach pesto pasta in the Ninja 3 in 1 cooking system. (Recipe #2 in the cook like a Ninja series)

I wasn't expecting to have another recipe for my fellow Ninja chefs so soon but it turns out my family has this annoying habit of eating everyday. I mean really it's gets tiring sometimes and tonight was one of those nights. Regardless I think it ended up being a huge win on my part, this dish was so tasty I even surprised myself. Any who today's recipe Spinach pesto pasta is something I came up with based on what was in my fridge, which was based on what was in the discount section at my local Fresh & Easy Market.

I actually did pretty well considering there was no meat in the discount section since we got to the store after 9pm. Nevertheless I did score some ready made basil pesto for $1 marked down from $4. Also the Fresh & Easy brand organic pasta was only 99 cents a package. I don't eat strictly organic but if the organic pasta is literally one penny more than the regular stuff then why not?

I didn't particularly feel like eating meat tonight and wanted something simple the entire family (especially my sometimes picky 2 year old would enjoy).

He loves pasta almost as much as he loves PB & J sandwiches so that part was a no brainer. In the end the baby got a dinner he enjoyed so much he ate three servings of without even noticing it had spinach in it and I received compliments all night on a meal I pulled off in 30 minutes and costs roughly about $10 to make.

Here's the recipe, this is the Ninja version but of course it could be made on stove top as well.


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Spinach pesto pasta

1 8 oz package of basil pesto (bonus points if you make your own)
2 packages of linguini pasta
1 cup chopped frozen spinach
1/2 cup Feta cheese (I prefer an imported feta made from goats or sheep's milk)
5 cloves garlic minced
1 tbsp kosher or sea salt
1/2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder
3 tbsps salted butter
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1/2 cup half & half
24 oz water
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Set the Ninja to the stove top Hi setting and let it heat up for 2-3 minutes.

Add the olive  oil and butter, once the butter starts melting add the garlic and let cook for about 30 seconds.

Next add the pesto, half & half and wine. Let it warm for a few minutes then start adding your pasta (break it in half then add to the pot).

Now you can add the water, cover, set the Ninja to oven at 375 and let it cook for 20-25 minutes until the pasta is al dente.

Add the spinach, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Give it all a good stir recover and let cook an additional 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes check the pasta to make sure its fully cooked and no longer hard or chewy. Stir in the feta and serve.

I paired this dinner with a Cabernet since it was all I had on hand but it was amazing with the pasta. Hope you enjoy this one and please let me know if you tried it.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Cook like a Ninja! Making Chicken Cacciatore in the Ninja 3 in 1 cooking system

I recently purchased a Ninja 3 in 1 cooking system and so far I am in love with it. I can make anything in it and most of my regular recipes come out tasting better in the Ninja than in the oven or on the stove top. My review of the Ninja is coming soon but in the meantime here is my recipe for yummy chicken cacciatore.

I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine did (we're making it for dinner again two nights in a row) and please let me know if you try the recipe.

Cheers and bon appetit!


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Chicken cacciotore

6 chicken drumsticks or 4 thighs (skin on bone in)*
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 yello onion chopped into 1 inch chunks
2 bell peppers chopped (I used green but one green and one yellow, orange or red would be great too)
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 tbsps Italian seasoning (If you don't have Italian seasoning you can use 1/2 tbsp each of Rosemary, oregano thyme and basil)
4 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 cup of white wine (chardonnay, pinot grigio or even sauvignon blanc)
1 tsp of kosher salt
1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tbsp fresh or dried parsley
4 cups of water
2 cups of rice (brown or white, I personally use a mix of the two so my kids will eat it but still get the health benefits of the brown rice, as an added bonus the brown rice helps fill them up faster than just white rice.)

Turn to stove top setting high add the olive oil to the pan and let heat 2-3 minutes

Sprinkle all chicken pieces with salt, pepper and garlic powder and place in the Ninja skin side down first. Let the chicken cook 5-7 minutes or until the skin has a nice golden brown color and turn over to brown on both sides. Remove the chicken from the pot.

Add the onions and bell pepper to the pot and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook 15-30 seconds until garlic becomes aromatic.

Add the rice, tomatoes, wine, Italian seasoning,water and chicken with the chicken going into the pot last.

Put the lid on and switch to the oven setting and cook at 375 for 30-40 minutes. You'll know its ready when the chicken easily comes off the bone and the rice is soft.

Sprinkle with parsley and you can add more salt to taste and you're done!

*You could also use boneless skinless chicken I'm going to try it next time just remember to reduce the cooking time by 10-15 minutes

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