Saturday, January 26, 2013

Triple Onion Slow Cooker Shredded Venison Sandwiches

You guys.

The other day I was watching Brayden and he was playing with some toys on the floor beside me, and I did what has become so second nature to me, which is to grab my phone and check into Facebook to see what people were having for lunch, and find out just who had a *terrible* sick headache, and who was just "SOOOOO over it all, DEEEEEE-LETE" and who had posted a really sarcastic yet extremely funny e-card, and who was just so ticked off at this administration, and who was trying to get a million likes so world hunger would magically end, and who felt like they needed to be at the beach instead of at their desk, and who had just liked the Oscar Mayer Weiner page, and lots of other really important stuff.

But in the background I could hear a tiny voice.  I think it was saying "Look, Lolli, look!"  but I was pretty engrossed in the doin's and happenin's of the social scene.  The little voice continued to call out to me.  But the little voice was hard to hear over the noise of my Facebook feed.  That sweet, little voice almost seemed annoying because it kept calling my name while I was feasting on the mundane details of other people's lives.

Fortunately for me, the little voice kept on, because that is what three year old voices usually do, and I eventually looked up and saw a very excited little boy who was proudly spinning a top over and over and trying to get his distracted grandmother to join in on all the top spinning fun.

(And please, no one needs to judge me at this point, because trust me, I judged myself.  Very harshly I might add.  *EPIC GRANDMA FAIL*)

And God suddenly and sharply showed me that if I didn't turn from my bad habit, the most profound memory my grandson would have of his grandmother might be that she was always looking down at her phone and didn't have time for him.

I was convicted.  And I felt sick.

SO, I said all that to say this.  Social media is not wrong.  In fact, it can be quite useful.  It has opened up a world of people to me in a good way and for that I am grateful.  But, and this is a GINORMOUS BUT, if not properly managed, social media is like a black hole that will swallow you and your relationships up.  And that is truth, my friends.
So we had a little teachable moment that day, only I was not the teacher.   I was the student.  And I have a gazillion more things to say about this subject, but I realize this is a food blog, and you're probably not here to hear me wax eloquent on relationships and how to be a good grandmother.

One more thing.  I recently came across this blog post and excellent campaign.  Why don't you think about joining it?  

Okay,  The sandwich.  I loved this sandwich and so did my hubby.  Super easy.  Tasty.  Cheap.  Fast.  And it's done in the slow cooker because who wants to spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking when we can sit on the floor and spin tops with our grandchildren?

Here are my notes:

--Yes, I am lazy/ busy and I sometimes often do not take the extra step to caramelize a piece of meat before putting it in the slow cooker.  But you could if you wanted  to.  But that would mean an extra skillet to wash.  Just sayin'.

--I LOVED the crunchy French's onions on this.  It's like putting potato chips on your sandwich--it just works.

--You could put two onions in.  You could increase the Worcestershire sauce.  It's up to you.

--Now, I did not weigh out my meat but I estimated it to be about 3 pounds.  With one cup of water added, there was not a whole lot of liquid.  In fact, it was perfect and I hardly had to use a slotted spoon to put the meat in the bun.  But it you have a smaller amount of meat, yours might me more liquid-y.

--I used pepper jack slices, but any kind of melting cheese would work.

--These are best eaten immediately for the crunch factor, but I reheated one that I had made the day before and wrapped up and it was still delicious.  Delicious, I say!

--Don't skimp on a low quality bun--go for a good one.  And don't skimp on toasting the buns on a griddle.  It adds a lot to the sandwich, I promise.

Triple Onion Slow Cooker Shredded Venison Sandwiches

2-3 pounds venison roast or ham
1 cup water
1 beef bouillon cube
1 packet dry French onion soup mix
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 large onion, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and coarse ground pepper to taste

To assemble sandwiches:
Good quality rolls or buns
Slices of pepper jack or provolone cheese (or whatever cheese you like)
French Fried onions

Place first 6 ingredients in a slow cooker, then season with salt and pepper.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until meat is very tender and shreds easily, stirring once after it has been cooking a couple of hours.  Remove meat from slow cooker and shred.  Place back in slow cooker and stir.

To assemble sandwiches, split rolls, then spread cut sides with butter.  Place on a hot griddle, butter side down and grill until golden brown and toasted.  Using a slotted spoon, spoon some meat on the bottom half of each bun, then place a slice of cheese on top.  Sprinkle generously with the French fried onions.  Place buns tops on, and eat immediately.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Easy Cheese Sticks

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How's 2013 working for ya so far?

I've been trying to rekindle a romance with my treadmill, but so far I'm receiving the cold shoulder.  I had my husband move it back into my living room from the garage hoping that we would be more inspired to work on our relationship if we had actual face to face contact everyday, but nothing.

I don't know, maybe it's me.

If this continues, we made need to see a counselor. 

It is currently snowing here (!), but not the pretty kind.  It's the yucky, messy kind that makes me glad that I don't live where it snows all the time, although from reading Facebook this morning, you'd think we are getting 12 inches.  Facebook people, let me let you in on a little scientific secret.....snow is ice and ice freezes at 32 degrees and right now it's 36 degrees and climbing with a high of 51 today.  It's not gonna happen.  I'm truly sorry.

But I guess it is fun to live in a delusional winter wonderland every now and then.

So I have a quick and easy kid-approved recipe for you today.  I made these the other day in an attempt to get food down my ever so picky grandson.  It worked.  He loved them and ate all four of them in one sitting which does not happen often.  It's less of a recipe and more of an idea to turn a grilled cheese sandwich into something a little more exciting if you are a kid.
Here are my notes:

--I used a whole grain bread to bump up nutrition a little, but whole wheat or white bread would work too.

--I found that 1 string cheese stick was too long for the bread and it oozed out too much, so I cut off about a third of it, then used my leftover pieces for the fourth one.

-- Some of the cheese oozed out, so I quickly just used a spatula to push it back in.  

Easy Cheese Sticks

4 slices of whole grain or whole wheat bread
3 sticks of mozzarella string cheese
1/2 tablespoon melted butter
Marinara sauce for dipping, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the crusts off the bread and place one slice diagonally on cutting board.  Roll with a rolling pin until very flat.  Cut off about 1/3 of the end of one of the string cheese sticks and reserve; place the other 2/3 portion on the bread in one corner diagonally, and roll up tightly.  Place on a baking sheet, seam side down.  Repeat with remaining ingredients, using the reserved three cut ends for the last cheese stick.  Brush with butter.  Bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes.  If cheese oozes out the end, us a spatula to press it back in while it is still warm.  Serve with marinara sauce, if desired.

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