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A super-easy crockpot recipe
Before you begin…
Find and play Rhythm Nation by Janet. (Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty.)
Crank it loud and dance your ass off while you work.
I’m finding this practice to be an essential part of every cooking session. I pick a song for the day’s recipes, play it on Amazon Music (it’ll do that free if you have Prime) and then it’ll play more songs it thinks are similar. I get the most amazing cooking playlists this way.
BONUS: Dancing is as good as running. It’ll get your heart rate up, and if you keep it up there for a little while, your blood pressure will get lower and lower without medication.
Here’s Janet on Youtube, just in case.
Back to the recipe.
1 russet potato, peeled & diced
2 large carrots, scraped & diced
5 cloves of garlic, peeled & crushed
1 onion, peeled & diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
5 medium mushrooms, diced
1/2 bag frozen peas.
1 small eggplant, peeled & diced (just because it needed to be used.)
5-6 large, ripe tomatoes, diced (or 2 cans diced tomatoes—juice and all.)
1/2 cup pearl barley
1 whole-grain pasta such as elbows, spirals,
1 cup low sodium veggie broth
3/4 cup lentils
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
3 fresh bay leaves
Pour a cup of low sodium veggie broth into the bottom of the crock pot. (Skip the broth if you’re using canned diced tomatoes.) Add all the diced veggies, barley and lentils. Stir with a big spoon to get it all mixed well. Cook on high for a good hour before you look at it again. At that point, if it’s still not wet enough, add another can of diced tomatoes, even if you started with fresh ones. You need the juice. Drop the fresh bay leaves on top, put on the lid, set it on high and cook for 4-5 hours.
Add the macaroni and nutritional yeast after the first two hours of cooking.
In my case, I had leftover elbows already cooked with some veggies from another meal (which is why you see a stray pinto bean in the photo) so my method was to add about a cup of those cooked elbows (and a few stray beans) toward the very end of the cooking, when the veggies were all fork-tender. I stirred in the noochie at the same time and that worked really well.
Fish out the bay leaves when the cooking is finished.
Serve piping hot. We used a crusty, oil-free French bread to sop up the juice. Yum!
Notes on ingredients
I was out of celery as I began chopping veggies for my Old Fashioned No-Chicken Stew, (gravy based) and had used all my celery seed too, so couldn’t even substitute that! I already had some of the veggies peeled when I made this discovery, so I had to get creative, hang a wide left turn, and see what I could do, because I just couldn’t imagine my savory stew without celery.
I remembered my mom used to make a tomato-based stew. So I decided to shift from an earthy, gravy-like stew, to a spicier, tomato-based stew.
I had already peeled the potatoes and carrots, so I kept going with whatever looked good. I had an eggplant in the fridge that needed using, so I even threw that in. The tomatoes, peppers, and bay leaves came fresh from my backyard garden.
It came out great. It was also great before I added the nutritional yeast, so taste it both ways. (Although the noochie brings you a nice boost of B12.)
(Would’ve been better with celery.)
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