Jun272012

Crockpot Greek Yogurt, Redux

Crockpot Greek Yogurt

Several months ago I wrote about making my own Greek yogurt in the crockpot. Since then, I’ve made a batch weekly, and have adapted things a bit to work better for me.

I’m reposting with my streamlined method both as a reference for myself (so I can get rid of my ratty notes) and because Mike’s coworkers have demanded to know where he’s getting the yogurt he eats every morning, and he wants to send them here (hi guys!).

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Apr112012

Crockpot Ham and White Beans

Crockpot Ham and White Beans

One thing I really love about big holiday dinners are the leftovers I get to play with for the next several days! I love that I can spend just one day with the main dish, and then use it for several different ones over the course of the next few days (or months if you freeze it!) without having to buy any more.

For Easter this year I made a nice big ham with all the sides, and after dinner was over we spent some time portioning out containers of ham to use for sandwiches and other meals like split pea soup, red beans and rice, and the ham and white bean recipe below.

I like to use this one throughout the year (using a package of diced ham from the store is just fine if you crave it post- or pre-Easter) and the family loves it — even the kid who hates beans asks for seconds!

I get six good servings from this, and you can easily adjust it if you need more.

Crockpot Ham and White Beans

1 lb dried northern beans, sorted and rinsed (do not pre-soak)
1 lb ham (ham bone, diced ham, leftover ham, etc)
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1-2 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
1 tsp black pepper
6 cups chicken broth

Put the rinsed beans, ham, and broth in the crockpot. Add onion powder, Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper and stir gently just to combine. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, until beans are tender. Remove ham bone and pull off meat, put meat back in the crockpot and discard ham bone.

For a thicker soup, remove 1-2 cups of beans and stock and combine in a blender. Add back to the crockpot and stir. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.

Apr92012

Greek Yogurt in the Crockpot

Greek Yogurt in the Crockpot

Last week I made my own Greek yogurt! The process was so easy and inexpensive that I’d like to try and do it on a weekly basis.

Yogurt is one of those things I’ve never really considered being able to make at home. Like cheese, or even soap, it’s something I’ve just always assumed you buy, why on Earth would you try making it yourself? (For the record, I have made my own soap, and it’s definitely more fun than buying it!)

Greek Yogurt in the Crockpot

The original “recipe” (and I put recipe in quotation marks because there’s not much to it!) came from here.

The steps are pretty basic: I used a half gallon of 2% milk and just dumped it into my clean crockpot (I decided not to use a crockpot liner for this one). I set it on low and though the instructions say it’ll reach 180 degrees in about 2.5 hours, mine took closer to 4 (I used a digital thermometer to check).

At this point I combined the info on the blog with one of the comments further down.

When it got up to temperature, I turned off the crockpot and left the lid off for about 2 hours until the temperature got down to 105. Then I added half a cup of Oikos Greek yogurt as a starter directly into the crockpot and combined it with a whisk.

The blog says to wrap the crock up in towels and place it in your oven for the night with the light on. I completely bypassed that step. I wrapped the crock in towels but left it on my counter overnight (actually closer to 12 hours).

When I got up in the morning the yogurt looked beautiful (see first pic above), and I was ecstatic. It smelled right, it felt right and it tasted right!

(I will admit to being a little nervous about leaving a milk product out for so long!)

Greek Yogurt in the Crockpot

Before I did anything else, I scooped out half a cup of the unstrained yogurt to keep in the fridge as the starter for my next batch, as suggested in the comments.

I also did not transfer the crock to the fridge for three hours before straining. I felt this was unnecessary, as the commenter mentioned, so it went directly into a cheesecloth-lined strainer which was placed over a bowl. While it strained I put the whole thing into the fridge for about two hours.

Greek Yogurt in the Crockpot

It turned out perfectly! And you can’t beat $3 for this much Greek yogurt!

[originally posted at pinspired.org]