Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Dinner

I love summer. I do, it's just that....well summer is hot and balmy here in Paso Robles. It get's well into the triple digits and you're not getting ME into a bathing suit so I just sweat and complain for three whole months. I don't like the heat. It's not for me at all. You know what IS for me though? The foods of summer. BBQ in particular is my very favorite thing to eat during the summer. And ice cream sundaes!

I know there are no rules saying I can't have bbq during the winter months, but it's just less convenient. I mean who's going to fire up that grill when it's 38 degrees outside and hailing? Not I....Not I.

Me, Diana and her daughter Kimberly
So here I am, it's November. It is freezing out, but my stomach doesn't know that. My stomach wants bbq...and an ice cream sundae. We have some friends in town visiting us from SoCal and I wanted to treat them to a nice home cooked meal after a day of site seeing. We got to show them around the down town area all day and then my stomach started growling...oh did it ever...

Hanging downtown, working up our appetites
I am a slave to that stomach. Look at these love handles. These love handles, clearly, are not told NO often. So, instead of firing up a grill I plugged in my slow cooker and came up with this delicious and accidentally frugal meal that has all the flavors of summer, with a few twists to suit the colder months. Instead of my go to pulled pork, I mixed it up a little and used beef. I also added a spicy element, chipotle pepper, to keep us nice and warmed through. The entire bbq beef dinner cost us under $10 for four servings.

The recipe's here are just as easy as it gets. Minimal ingredients and minimal effort. You throw the beef in a slow cooker for 4 hours, you make and refrigerate the coleslaw (optional) and the dessert is so incredibly easy it's dangerous.

Let's talk about dessert for a second...what do you think of when you think of fall? Apples! Yes, and apple pie should come right to mind if you are at all a normal red blooded American (Ah-Murica Hell YAH). I didn't feel up to making a whole apple pie, but I did yearn desperately for that warm apple pie a la mode flavor. I think I found the next best thing. It is faster than making apple pie but just as delicious, possibly...maybe....perhaps even.....better?

You may place your wonderfully tender bbqed beef atop a sesame seed bun as we did, but be prepared it is a messy messy feast. We rounded out the meal with our favorite eh-hem....canned chili beans and cherry coke. I suggest you do the same because I said so and because it is delicious and because I me and my love handles clearly know what we are talking about here!

Slow Cooker BBQ Beef

1 pound stew beef or fajita beef (whatever is on sale)
1 c BBQ Sauce
1/4 c water
1 tbsp chipotle peppers

Mix all the ingredients in your slow cooker, set to high for 1 hour and then to low for about 2 more hours or until the beef flakes easily with a fork.

Quick Cole Slaw

(make ahead)
1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, grated
1/2 cup of mayo (or so, I fake measured it)
2 tbsp agave nectar or 1tbsp sugar
1 tbsp bbq sauce
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar


Mix well in large bowl. Fridge...NOW.

Caramel Apple Pie Syrup (To serve over ice cream)

1 apple, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1tbsp french vanilla/caramel coffee creamer

In a small sauce pan add butter and sugar. Heat over a low flame until they are melted together. Add apples, vanilla, cinnamon and raise heat to medium. The sugar mixture will bubble slightly if it looks like it will boil over, lower the heat. Let it simmer like this for about 1-2 minutes or until the apples are fork tender. Remove from heat and stir in the creamer. Serve over a big scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream -OR- you can do what my husband did and spoon it over some left over pumpkin pie!

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