Tag Archives: slow cooker

Slow Cooker White Bean & Sausage Soup

Due to the wacky weather of a Texas Spring, it fortunately still affords us the opportunity to enjoy a warm bowl of soup.  Now, I won’t delve into the rich, hearty, creamy versions that I indulge in come Fall and Winter.  I will, however, sit down to a light broth style.

This meal is so stinkin’ easy as you simply cook and sauté your sausage and onions and then it all goes into the pot!…or the slow-cooker so to speak.  *In many, if not all, slow-cooker meals, I advise always sautéing you’re veggies prior.  Your dish will have SO much more flavor!  Same goes with meatloaf, precook your veggies first people, do not add them to your meat blend raw!…I digress…

So back to THIS bowl of light and flavorful soup, my other tips and/or advice is to use the hot Italian sausage, not the mild or the sweet.  If you insist on the others, so be it, but I promise this soup is anything but spicy.  Also, please drain and rinse your beans with a fine mesh sieve or colander.  Removing the extra starch the beans contain in the can will ensure a light broth.

Now, I suggest if you’re in a slump for what to make this week, please try this out!  You can serve it with warm bread and butter, a half sandwich or a light salad… and life will be good.

The Starting Lineup

  • 4 (15oz) cans of white cannellini (or great white northern) beans, drained & rinsed
  • 2 (32oz) cans or boxes of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 (14.5oz) cans of Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups spinach leaves, fresh/bagged
  • 2 lbs of hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil, torn (garnish)
  • Parmesan cheese, grated (garnish)

In a skillet on your stovetop, over medium heat, brown the Italian sausage with the onion, garlic and a hefty pinch of salt and pepper.

Drain and add the cooked meat mixture to your slow cooker along with the beans, chicken broth, tomatoes and spinach leaves.  Set the slow cooker on HIGH for 3-4/LOW for 5-6 hours.

To serve:  Ladle into bowls and top with a bit of the fresh basil and parmesan cheese and serve with warm crusty bread.  Enjoy!

WhiteBeanSausageSoup

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.

CreamyCrockpotCocoa

 

OPTIONAL:

*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.

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*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

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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!!

BBQMeatballSub4

Braised Red Wine Pot Roast with Cheesy Potato Pierogis

Pot roast is notorious for being a family favorite.  It’s a hearty meal that taste like you’ve slaved over the stove all day, yet is easy to prepare while still being affordable for the working man and woman.  So basically, we like to have this meal often, especially as the weather cools down.  I love Fall and Winter.

Now, that being said, growing up and into my 20’s it was such the same, old-fashioned “pot roast”.  I am an advocate for the saying, “don’t fix what isn’t broken”, but I also like to change things up.  So THIS is a roast that has all of the same qualities as mentioned in my opening, BUT is spruced up just enough that it is absolutely wonderful for a holiday get together or dinner party!…plus, you can finish that bottle of red at dinner!  Did you see the potato pierogi’s instead of your typical cut russets??  Yes!!!  Doooo iitttt friends….

*Can be made in your slow-cooker, no problem!  If you would like to take an extra step, you can sear the meat (add to slow cooker), followed by sautéing the vegetables and scraping up the brown bits with the liquids while on a low boil.. Pour into your slow cooker, over the roast, add seasonings and cover on low for 7-8 hours.  High, 5-6.

**It can also be braised in a large covered pot (same directions) on your stove top on medium-low (simmer).

The Starting Lineup

  • 4-5 lb chuck roast, seasoned all over with kosher salt & ground pepper
  • 2 Tablespoon oil (i.e. canola, vegetable, olive)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 cups mushrooms (I prefer whole, but you can slice)
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef or chicken stock (or broth)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups dry red wine (i.e. cabernet)
  • 2 Tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • Fresh thyme & rosemary, bundle/”Bouquet Garni”
  • Parmesan cheese, hand grated, garnish
  • Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped, garnish
  • *To thicken sauce, if needed: 1 Tbsp cornstarch + 2 Tbsp milk (optional) per cup of juice, once removed from the oven.

Quick Pierogis

  • 1 package potato and cheese pierogis, frozen (12-16 count)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

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Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

In an oven-safe Dutch Oven pot, heat to medium-high and add in the oil.  Sear all sides of your roast till browned on the outside (about 12-15 minutes).  Transfer roast to dish and set aside.

To that same pot, add in the onions, carrots, mushrooms and garlic, add a bit more oil if needed, cook down for 4-5 minutes.  Next, add in your tomato paste, broth, wine and water.  Bring to a boil while scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of your pot with a wooden spoon.  Soooo much flavor there!!

Turn off your burner, add back in the seared roast (plus any drippings from the dish it was resting on) along with the bay leaf, thyme & rosemary.  Cover and transfer to the oven for 2 1/2-3 hours.


When your roast has almost finished being fork tender, bring a large stock pot of salted water to a boil.  Add in your pierogis and cook to package directions/drain.

On a large serving platter, lay out the cooked, hot pierogis and top with the cheddar cheese (melts beautifully!).  Place your roast and veggies right in the center along with a couple ladles of the rich, beefy red wine gravy over top.  Sprinkle on the parsley and grate some fresh parmesan cheese over top.  Enjoy!!

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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

Garnish

  • Lime wedges
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Crusty French rolls

BahnMi1

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.

BahnMi2

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!

BahnMi3

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!!  

Loaded Pulled Pork Fries w/ Spicy Pimiento Cheese Sauce

So after eating a few healthy meals, I remembered that you only live once and I wanted to dig into some southern comfort food.  I couldn’t decide what exactly, so I just mashed a few of my favorite recipes together and came up with this delight!  Man…come football season, these are going to be on my game day menu for sure!!

A couple of things that are awesome about this recipe is A.  It’s actually easy!  You basically put all the ingredients into two different vessels and walk away for HOURS!  Assemble once finished and done!  B.  Any leftovers can be used for other meals!!  Pulled pork? Sandwiches, wraps, etc.  Cheese sauce? A fantastic chip, cracker or veggie dip, pour on the sandwiches, quesadillas, etc.  Man the ideas are coming to me now!

So please do your family a favor and try this out ASAP!

*You can also cook the pork in a crockpot as well..if possible, still sear the meat and then place in your slow-cooker.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

The Starting Lineup

Spicy Pimiento Cheese Sauce

  • 8oz block cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 cup evaporated milk, divided
  • 4oz can green chilis, with juice
  • 4oz jar Pimiento’s, drained
  • 1 jalapeño, finely diced (I keep the seeds in)
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • A pinch of kosher salt & ground pepper

Braised Pulled Pork

  • 3 lb pork butt/pork shoulder, excess fat trimmed
  • 16oz beer
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Your favorite bbq sauce (I use Franklin Barbecue ‘Texas Style’) 
  • French fries (homemade or store bought)

Garnish

  • Green onions, sliced
  • Red onion, chopped
  • Jalapenos, slices
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Bbq sauce drizzle 

    Spicy Pimiento Cheese Sauce

    Braised Pulled Pork

Let’s begin! 

In your non-stick sprayed crockpot, simply add in all of the Spicy Pimiento Cheese sauce ingredients: cream cheese, cheddar cheese, 1/2 evap milk, green chilis, pimientos, jalapeño, garlic powder, salt & pepper.  Place the cover on and set to low for 2-3 hours.  Stir a couple times while melting and add the remaining milk half-way through to slightly thin.  Done!  Easy, right?  *This is soooo good, I had at least a couple spoonfuls 😬👍 

   On to the pork!!  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Combine all of the spices together while heating the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot to med-high. *Reserve 1 Tbsp of the spice blend, set aside. 

Evenly coat your pork with this spice blend and sear all sides of the roast to create a nice crust on the outside.  *Typically takes 10-15 minutes. 

    

Follow the searing by tossing in the cut onions and pouring in the beer. *If you’re over 21, take a swig!  

Now simply cover the pork with the lid and place into your preheated oven for about 3 hours. *If you’ll be away longer, you can drop the temp down to 275 and give yourself another couple of hours.

As your house is smelling magnificent, wipe the cheese sauce you’ve been sneaking from your chin, and start to chop and dice your garnishes. 

 Now that everything is ready to go, remove the pork from the oven and begin pulling it, literally.  Shred with two forks (careful, it’s hot!!) and toss in your desired amount of bbq sauce.  *Here is where your oven is now free and you can bake your french fries if not using a deep fryer.

Assembly time!  Once your fries have finished cooking, sprinkle them with a bit of that reserved spice blend and then top with a good amount of the warm pulled pork and a drizzle of bbq sauce.  Now ladle the Spicy Pimiento Cheese Sauce overtop and garnish with all your favorites!  Dig in and enjoy!  *I hope you bought a six-pack of beer, because it goes great with this!! 

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