Tag Archives: crockpot

Creamy Crockpot Cocoa

‘Tis the season!  This is a fairly popular recipe for the beloved mug of Christmas cheer and my family’s favorite!  So much so that I’ve been known to make a batch for our Christmas Eve party and another within 24 hours for Christmas Day!  Plus, besides the rich and creamy flavor, the large batch (can be doubled even) allows you to enjoy the gathering and NOT the kitchen while making individual cup by cup for your guests.

If serving for a party, make sure to set up a “Hot Cocoa Bar” with marshmallows, sprinkles, candy canes, flavored syrup and perhaps some Baileys or Schnapps’ for the adults!

*This can also be made in a large pot on the stove top in only 30-40 minutes!  You can serve from there or you can quickly make and transfer to a slow-cooker to keep warm!! 🙂

The Starting Lineup

  • 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1.5 cups of heavy cream
  • 2 cups of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 cups milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

So simple!  To your crockpot, add all of the above ingredients, cover and set on low, stirring ever so often till combined, 2-3 hours.  Set on warm and serve with your favorite accompaniments.  Makes about 12 large mugs/24 smaller cups.  Can be doubled if a large party.




*Peppermint Marshmallow Stir Sticks:

  • Chocolate chips (I prefer semi-sweet, but you could even use white!  Milk chocolate is too bland and artificial, to me), melt in a bowl in the microwave.  Stir every 30 seconds until melted.
  • Stir Sticks or skinny candy canes (stick halfway into the large marshmallow)
  • Large marshmallows
  • Crushed peppermints or sprinkles, etc. 
  • Wax paper

    Dip the “marshmallow-on-a-stick” at least halfway into your melted chocolate of choice, drizzle off excess and the roll into the crushed peppermints or sprinkles or leave as is.  Transfer, stick up, bottom of coated marshmallow down onto a sheet of wax paper.  This can also be refrigerated for quicker hardening of the chocolate.


*Borrowed pic, courtesy of @RoseBakes. as I forgot to take one!  Oops!

BBQ Bacon Ranch Meatball Subs

Frozen meatballs are always a staple in my freezer for easy & quick last-minute dinner or appetizer ideas.  However, most of my friends and family get stuck in the rut of only using them for Italian flavored meals, which is great, but let’s change it up just a bit!

Awhile back when trying to think creatively, something struck me when my 6-year-old son asked for BBQ (we do live in Texas and a giant smoker owns our back porch) for dinner.  Well, I hadn’t made my weekly grocery run yet but I did have meatballs in the freezer, a slow-cooker and a few jars of barbecue sauce in the pantry…change my thinking and the standard marinara sopped hoagie was about to receive a southern twist!  After a few ingredients were added and the smells were filtering through my house (did you see there’s bacon too??), I just KNEW I had a winner on my hands!  Boy did I ever!

*You can leave the bacon in strips or chopped.  Ill often do simple crispy strips for my husband and I, but the chopped is easy for lil mouths.

*I also go back and forth with sliced cheese or shredded…sliced is gooey’er but shredded works in a pinch!  I still say cheddar is best here!

*If you’d like this as more of an appetizer you can make them into sliders or just pour onto a serving dish, sprinkle with bacon, cheese and green onions.  Keep toothpicks & cocktail napkins handy!


The Starting Lineup

  • 1 package frozen fully cooked home-style meatballs 
  • 2 jars of your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning packet
  • 1 onion, rough chop
  • 1 package bacon, rough chopped and cooked
  • Sliced or shredded cheese (i.e. Cheddar, Jack, Colby)
  • Sub/hoagie rolls, lightly toasted


Simple, simple, simple!  First, lightly spray your slow cooker with a non-stick spray and then add in the chopped onions.  Next, add in the frozen meatballs, sprinkle on the ranch dressing dry mix and pour the bbq sauce over top.  Toss to coat.  Cover and set on low for 4-6 hours.  Yep, you’re done until it’s time to assemble the subs!

Fast forward to dinner time…….this is how I serve ours:

I preheat my broiler and line a baking sheet with foil.  I first halve the hoagie buns lengthwise and give a light toast under the broiler (watch veryyyyy carefully as it goes quick!).  Then, buns still on baking sheet, I scoop on about 4-5 of the meatballs along with extra bbq sauce onto the toasted rolls from the slow cooker.  Finally, top with the crunchy cooked bacon and then copious amounts of cheese.  Place back under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly…enjoy!!


Slow Cooker Chicken Bahn Mi

Basically, I’m in love with any sort of meal that involves meat between two slices of crusty bread, aka the glorious “sandwich”!  This version is known as a Bahn Mi and is of Vietnamese roots…Now, I do not claim this to be truly authentic, like from those great Viet markets along the gulf coast of Texas.  I do, however, claim that this juicy pull-apart sweet heat sandwich WILL knock your socks off and be a keeper when at a loss for a dinner idea!

*Feel free to tweak the ‘spicy mayo’ to your liking.  I like mine pretty spicy, so I typically add more Sriracha to kick it up!

**I use my mandolin to cut the veggies for the pickled slaw; be careful as these are SHARP!  You can also cut with a knife or in round slices.

***Feel free to use pork or even shrimp (Just don’t put the shrimp in the slow-cooker please ;).  Also, you can make this into a rice bowl, a salad, tacos or even lettuce wraps!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 pckg chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth (or water)
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp each garlic powder, cayenne, smoked paprika, red pepper flake

Pickled Slaw

  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 jalapeno thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Pinch of both salt and sugar

Spicy Mayo

  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp sweet chili sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • squeeze of lime juice


  • Lime wedges
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Crusty French rolls


Slow Cooker:  Spray the slow cooker with non-stick spray and place in the chicken.  Next whisk together all of the remaining ingredients and pour over the chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4 hours.  *When finished, shred with two forks and keep in the pans juices.

In a small pan, bring the 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1/2 cup water and a pinch each of salt and sugar to a boil.  Place the thinly sliced carrots, cucumber and jalapenos into a bowl and pour the hot vinegar/water over top.  Cover and allow to “pickle” for at least 30 minutes.  *This can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator overnight as well.


Spicy Mayo:  Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.  Feel free to tweak the ingredient amount to your liking.

To assemble:  Slice each crusty roll in half lengthwise (I like to give it a light toasting), then slather on a good amount of your spicy mayo on each side.

Lay down some of the sweet-heat, shredded chicken and top with the pickled vegetables.  Finally, garnish with the chopped, fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime and the top of the toasted roll!  Enjoy!


Guinness Irish Beef Stew

After a long summer, which seemed to extend into our Fall..dang it was unusually warm..we finally have that chilly, rainy day.  I’m sure sooner than later I’ll be far over having to get bundled up, but as of now bring on the fireplace, snuggly blankets and movies!

After a long day of said movies on the couch, I apparently get pretty hungry (hard work right?) and crave a big ol bowl of comfort to keep the day going.  Well, this does the trick!

This rich and flavorful stew will thicken as you cook (hence the quick flour step you’ll see below), so please take that extra minute to sear the meat and saute the vegetables for that added creaminess and flavor!  You can of course cook this all in a Dutch oven on your stove top, it will be done a bit quicker if so, but I just love my slowcooker and the ease of walking away ALL day..errr…laying on the couch.

The Starting Lineup 

  • 2lbs stew meat
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • Canola oil
  • 1 bottle Guinness beer
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup flat leaf parsely, chopped
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup frozen peas


  • Real deal mashed potatoes
  • Flat leaf parsely, chopped
  • Lots of Guiness!  

Begin by heating 2 Tbsps of canola oil over medium heat in a large heavy bottomed pan, while spraying your slowcooker with non-stick spray.

The oil will take a few minutes to heat up, so meanwhile cut and chop up those veggies and herbs.  

Also, in a gallon size ziplock bag or large bowl, coat the beef stew meat with the flour and salt and pepper to taste.

Next, add the flour-coated meat to the hot pot and sear all sides.  You will need to do this in about 4 batches as you do not want to overcrowd the pot.  That will steam the meat instead of giving it that nice crusty sear.  *Please KEEP the remaining Tbsp or 2 of seasoned flour thats leftover from the meat/ziplock bag. Once each batch as finished searing, transfer to the slowcooker.  *You will likely need to add another Tbsp of canola oil in between batches.

Now that the meat is done and in the slowcooker, toss the cut carrots and onion into the still hot pan with again, another tbsp of oil if needed.  Saute the vegetables for 5 minutes and then add in the garlic for 1 minute.  NOW, after you’ve swirled that garlic around a bit, pour in the leftover seasoned flour from the ziplock bag that the meat was in.  Toss to coat and pour all of this mixture into the slowcooker with the seared meat.

Along with the vegetables and meat, pour in the Guinness beer, beef broth, tomato paste, thyme, chopped parsely and bay leaf(s).  Stir and cover, set to low for 8 hours.  About 30-60 minutes prior to time, add in the frozen peas.  Recover and allow to cook.

Now that it’s close to dinner time, prepare your yummy mashed potatoes (I was gluttaonous and used a stick of butter, half-in-half and a head of roasted garlic..yummmmm!!).  

Serve a large ladle of the rich stew over your creamy mashed taters, top with a pinch more of fresh parsely, salt and pepper and a nice cold Guinness!  Enjoy!!

Simple Steak & Noodles

Tis the season for hearty fare!   Growing up we ate quite a few crockpot meals and my favorite ones contained the soft egg noodles that still kept a bit of chew to them.  For the most part they’re commonly served with either chicken or tuna recipes, but why leave out my favorite??…beef!  The slowcooker makes the cut up roast so very tender and who doesn’t love not having that extra step of boiling noodles?!

*I garnished ours with a bit of chopped Italian flat leaf parsley for freshness and a spoonful of sour cream for extra creaminess..completely optional though!  However, promise me you won’t forget the bread and butter!!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 1/2 lbs beef roast (chuck, tri-tip, etc)
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp each kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 4 cups (32oz) beef broth
  • 1 packet onion soup mix (I.e. Lipton)
  • 1 package mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • A couple dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 package egg noodles, uncooked (12-16oz)

Begin by simply adding the cubed roast to a gallon size ziplock bag along with the flour and the salt and pepper; shake to coat.  

Heat a pan and the canola oil to medium heat.  Add the coated beef (in batches/do not overcrowd your pan, this will take 3-4 batches) to the heated pan and sear each side.  Once the meat has seared, add to your slowcooker.   

To that slow cooker, simply add in the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the noodles, cover and cook on low for 8 hours.  The last hour you will add in the egg noodles to cook through.

When time is up, garnish with a bit of chopped parsley,a dollop of sour cream and a nice hunk of crusty bread for dipping…if so desired ;). Enjoy!!  

Italian Sausage and Gnocchi Soup (slowcooker)

It’s beginning to (finally) feel a lot more like Fall around these parts!  Goodness, the weather’s been in the 90’s, in November, in Texas!  Though the lone star state definitely has its fair share of warm weather..it usually doesn’t last THIS long.  So when we finally dropped temp and it was a cool 60 degree high, you know I just had to bust out my slowcooker for a warm soup dinner!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 package Italian sausage (if links, remove from casing)
  • 1 package gnocchi
  • 2 cans diced Italian style tomatoes
  • 1 80z block cream cheese, cubed
  • 32oz chicken broth (4 cups)
  • 1 bag spinach leaves
  • 1 zucchini, sliced & quartered
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 

Begin by simply spraying your crockpot with a bit of non-stick spray, followed by the rinsing and chopping of your vegetables and heating a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Once the pan is nice and hot, add in the Italian sausage.  After it is about halfway cooked through you can then add in the chopped red bell pepper, onion and garlic.  Allow the sausage to cook the all of the way through and the peppers and onion to soften.

Now you can either drain the grease from the sausage mixture or just use a slotted spoon (Like I did) and scoop the cooked sausage and vegetables straight into the crockpot.

Pour in the two cans of Italian-style diced tomatoes, chicken broth, the sliced zucchini, spinach leaves and cubed cream cheese.  *The spinach may seem like there’s no way it can fit, trust me…it will wilt pretty darn quick!    Cover and turn on low..you can now step away for 6-7 hours.  Yes!!

The hour before you’re planning on eating, add in the gnocchi.  That last hour will soften and cook it for you.  No need to boil it separately first!  Score!

See how simple all of that was?  It’s done!  Serve this creamy, flavorful, hearty soup alongside a piece of buttered crusty bread and you have yourself a meal!  Finish with a snuggly blanket on the couch ;).

Slowcooker Maple Apple Bacon Pork Tenderloin

It’s a rainy day here in Texas.  A glorious, cool, rolling thunder sort of day, perhaps my very favorite kind of day there is.  Now rainy days (or any day really) make me want to bake, broil and roast in my kitchen for as long as humanly possible…but there’s just something about that slow-cooker on making the home smell of divine aromas!

So that is exactly what I chose to use on this puddle jumping day!  Let me tell you, I chose to walk outside numerous times just so I could return in to that smell of tenderloin, bacon, maple and apples.  I mean really??  What screams comfort and Fall more than that?!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 pckg pork tenderloin (they often come with two loins)
  • 6-8 strips bacon
  • 1 Apple, cored & sliced
  • 1/3 cup real maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 cups carrots 
  • 2 cups red potatoes 

We will begin by spraying your crockpot with a bit of non-stick spray, rinsing and chopping your produce and cooking the bacon.  Once bacon has crisped, remove from pan and rough chop.

In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, balsamic, Dijon, soy sauce and minced garlic. 

Next, place the onions, carrots and potatoes in the crockpot followed by the pork tenderloin(s).

Pour the maple glaze over top and then toss on the apple slices and chopped, cooked bacon. 

Cover and cook on the low setting for 6-8 hours… dinner is ready, enjoy!! xo 

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