I hate when this happens. I just hate it when the first thing I think of when I wake up at 5:45 a.m. is that I am going to be on the move and not at home until at least 8:00 p.m. How am I going to coordinate dinner? How is Kate going to get all her homework done? How am I going to watch Dancing with the Stars: The Results?
Today is going to be one of those days. Because I hate doing errands, I tend to put them off until I have no choice but to do them. This usually leads to hours in and out of the car and a lot of schlepping of bags into the house. So that takes care of at least this morning. Then I really have to clear out the guest room because Charlie and his quiz bowl team (don't ask) are coming to Pittsburgh this weekend for nationals and they're all staying with us. Okay, so it's only four of them, including Charlie, but I still need to clear things up on the third floor. Last week I took everything out of the coat closet on the first floor so I could have it demolished to make way for the new pantry. Instead of putting everything away in a new place, I just dumped it all on the bed in the guest room. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I also have to clear out my ongoing recipe project from the third floor den so some of the kids can sleep in there too.
The after school hours look no better. Of course, Kate has tennis until 6. Then just to make things interesting, she has a school thing at 7. I am really hoping that her induction into the Latin Honor Society takes no more than an hour. It's not that I'm not proud. It's just that we're on a tight schedule around here.
All that brings us back to dinner. Yes, I could get takeout but I really would rather not. Clearly the answer is to break out the slow cooker.
I believe that the slow cooker is the world's greatest invention. It allows you to look as though you have slaved over a stove when in reality all you've done is thrown in a bunch of ingredients and pushed a button. Gourmet with minimal effort.
So, this morning at 7:15 I literally threw together this Slow Cooked Cuban Beef dish. It took me more time to slice the red bell peppers than it did to do everything else combined. When I get home from the Latin Hall of Fame, dinner will be waiting. All I have to do to is shred the beef and make some rice and a salad. They should have a kitchen appliance hall of fame. I'd nominate my slow cooker.
Recipe: Slow Cooker Cuban Braised Beef and Peppers
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
2 red bell peppers, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 pounds flank steak, cut crosswise into thirds
1 cup long-grain white rice
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
In a 5 to 6 quart slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper. Nestle the steak among the vegetables. Cook, covered, until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily, on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours.
About 25 minutes before serving, cook the rice according to package instructions.
Using two forks, shred the beef and mix it into the cooking liquid. Serve with the rice and top with sliced avocado and cilantro.