My toughest critics

My toughest critics

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mac and Cheese...PLEASE!

Hands down a kid favorite and easy. The kids liked it so much they did not even notice that it was not the neon orange color of their beloved Kraft. This was easy and tasted so real and delish. It really is how mac and cheese should taste.

How the flavor turns out depends on your cheese. I used shredded cheddar (sharp) and some Asiago. You can use any variety but the strong flavors really make this dish.

1 pound macaroni noodles (uncooked)
4 cups of milk
2 eggs
5 cups of shredded cheese (mix and match whatever you like)
1t salt
1t pepper
1t dried mustard

spray the inside of the crock with cooking spray....spray it good.
wisk eggs and milk and spices together. Add cheese and noodles. Mix thoroughly. Add to crock. Cook on low for 1.5-2.5 hours until noodles are done. It will look a little soupish....let sit for 10 minutes until firm serve and SMILE.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hot Buttered Rum


We had a Christmas party at our house last night and I served these with dessert. They seemed to be a hit. I had two mugs full and really enjoyed them! This recipe makes A LOT! If serving after dinner when people are pretty full, I may cut it in half.

Great for Holiday gatherings! My house smelled fantastic all afternoon.

Captain absolutely LOVED these!
Hot BUTTERD RUMMOS!
3 cups brown sugar
2/3 cups of butter
1 pinch of salt
3 quarts HOT water
5 cinnamon sticks
8 whole cloves
3 cups Rum
whip cream
nutmeg

Combine the butter, sugar, cloves, cinnamon, salt and butter together in crock. Make sure water is hot before adding. Stir until butter completely melted. Cook on low for 5 hours stiring once in a while. Add Rum, cook on low aprox.15 minutes more. Ladle from crock into mugs and serve with whip cream and nutmeg.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

One Pot Chicken and Rice Casserole


Is anyone else slightly grossed out by cream of whatever soup? Don't get me wrong, I use it and I love the flavor but I happened to read the back of the can last week and was a bit frightened. I found a great recipe where I could make my own cream....not butter or chemicals and very little fat. It was delicious and an entire meal in one crock. Makes this working mom really really happy!

Chicken and Rice Casserole

3-4 chicken breasts (bone in) you could use any chicken pieces you have.
1.5 cups of rice (any type, I had a basmanti long grain blend)
1.5 cups chicken broth
1.5 cups of milk (low fat is best)
3/4 cup flour
1 package of mushrooms
1 small yellow onion diced
1/2 tsp onion powder ( I would use 1 tsp)
1/2 tsp red pepper blend (or 1/4 black pepper and 1/4 cheyenne pepper)

In a sauce pan stir 1/2 cup of milk and all of the chicken broth. Stir until starting to boil. In a separate bowl whisk together remaining milk and flower until totally blended. Add slowly flour mixture to chicken broth mixture. Stir until it starts to boil again. Remove from heat and let cool. This will get very creamy much like cream of whatever soup. Spray the inside of the crock. Add rice (uncooked) and spices and mushrooms and onions. Mix cream mixture with the rice mixture in the crock. Add chicken pieces on top. IMPORTANT-season chicken pieces with salt and pepper or Lawrys or whatever you fancy. Cook on loy for 6-7 hours. Remove chicken, stir rice...if standing liquid remains let cook on low without top for 15 minutes. Place chicken back on top and serve.
PROTEIN-CHECK
VEGGIE-CHECK
STARCH-CHECK
SMILES!!!!!! DOUBLE CHECK
Only thing I will do differently next time is use a harder rice like wild rice or brown rice. Basmanti was a bit mushy but still awesome.

Recipe from 365 Days of Slow Cooking

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"Wing it" meat loaf

I was running late for work, the Internet at my house was down and all I had was some defrosted ground beef. I had cut out an amazing recipe for crock cheesie meatloaf that I wanted to make but never made it to the grocery store. Hmmmmmm, what is a working mom to do? I did something I have always wanted to do....I cooked out of my pantry with only what I had and it turned out great. I may like this recipe the best out of all the meatloaf recipes I have.

2 lbs ground beef
3TBS Worcester sauce
1TBS salt
1TBS pepper
a little Italian seasoning (probably a teaspoon or two)
1/2 cup cut up cooked broccoli(I had this leftover from the night before...I cut it very small so it would not be recognized by Princess or Little Man)
1/2 cup cubed or shredded cheese any kind (I had a little cheddar in a block and some shredded Parmesan)
1 cup bread crumbs
1 beaten egg
smash all of the above together and mix thoroughly. Form into a loaf. Line the bottom of your crock with foil. Place loaf on top. Cook on low for 6 hours. After 4 squirt ketchup on top and cook for the remaining two hours. This was so good....really it was.
Of course my camera was not charged, it was seriously one of those days, so the pic below is the best I could do for meatloaf. :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Beef Stew

No picture tonight but this is an easy amazing recipe. We LOVED it.
Beef Stew
2 lbs stew meat
1 package beef stew seasoning (I actually used the one from Walmart)
1 cup of wine (I used Merlot)
1 onion
carrots
potatoes
any other veggies you want to use.
Put the pieces of beef in a large ziploc with 1/4 cup of flour. Shake around until stew pieces are covered.
mix seasoning package with three cups of boiling water.
pour water mix and wine into the crock. Mix in veggies and beef. Stir thoroughly.
Cook on low for 8-9 hours.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Creamy Cheese Corn



Happy Thanksgiving!
I am always excited to try new side dishes. I often make ham or turkey during the holidays and my family LOVES my corn bake. I thought why not try something new this year. It was wonderful. Creamy and delicious. Captain, Princess and Little Man all love corn and adding cheese and cream cheese only makes it that much better. My family will eat ANYTHING covered in cheese!

3 packages (16 ounces each) frozen corn
2 packages (one 8 ounces, one 3 ounces) cream cheese, cubed
1/4 cup butter, cubed
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons sugar
6 slices process American cheese, cut into small pieces (I used American cheese from the deli not the Kraft stuff. I also threw in some cubes of swiss)
Directions
In a 3-qt. slow cooker, combine all the ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or until heated through and the cheese is melted. Stir well before serving. This makes a massive amount!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Orange Chicken

I make the recipe all the time in the oven. I thought why not try it in the crock??? It was amazing. A family favorite. So easy and it looks like it was a lot more work when it is done. I serve this when I have friends over or just for my family. It can be eaten over rice or egg noodles and served warm or it even tastes great cold as leftovers.

Captain, Princess and Little Man always ask for orange chicken and eat every bite!

This is ALL you need:
Boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used three) cut up into aprox. 4 pieces per breast.
1/2 jar of jam. I use orange marmalade but have used apricot preserves before too.
1 package of onion soup mix
1/2 bottle of Russian salad dressing

place a little dressing on the bottom of the crock. Add chicken pieces. Put a spoon full of jam on each piece of chicken. Sprinkle onion soup mix on top. Pour the remaining dressing over the top. Cook on low aprox. 3 hours. Pull chicken into little pieces if desired. Serve gravy and chicken mix over egg noodles. YUMMY IN THE TUMMY!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mega Crockolate Chip Cookie


Yes, it is THIS GOOD!

I made this after Princess and the Little man went to bed. Captain is on his second helping as we speak. My Word this is yummy.


5 T butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1/2 cup flour --1 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 t baking powder (omit if using Pamela's)
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
***This is important. I used 1 cup chocolate chips because I did not have any white chocolate ones....this was not the best idea. As tempting as it is do not put in too many chips. They will burn on the edges. Even with this mistake the middle was soo amazing.

spray the inside of your crock stoneware with cooking spray.
mix all ingredients in a bowl, dump into crock
prop open the lid of the crockpot with something to let out the steam. I used a bottle cap.

cook on high for 90 minutes to 3 hours.



the cookie is done when the edges start to turn darker, but the center is still light in color. Test with a knife in the center.
365 Days of Slow Cooking

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Honey Sauced Chicken


Soooo Honey (aka the Captain) LOVED this. My dad LOVED this. Princess and Little Man ate it without complaining (love is solely reserved for mac and cheese and pigs in the blanket). My mom liked it a lot and claimed it was a keeper. I did not like it. There was something about the sauce, I can't put my finger on it but since EVERYONE else liked it, it is a keeper!

Honey Sauced Chicken
The picture above is a double recipe

1 lb chicken (any type you would like, I used drumsticks and boneless skinless breasts because that is what I had)
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (I had a black and red pepper combo so I used that)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup chopped onion
1/8 cup ketchup
1TBS veggie oil
Season both sides of chicken with peppers and garlic salt. Place in bottom of crock. Combine the rest of the ingredients and pour over chicken. Low for 3 hours. (this time will vary depending on what type of chicken you use). Cut up chicken into bite size pieces (I did this for the breasts but left the drumsticks alone) and mix back into sauce. Serve over rice or noodles. I used Jasmine rice. I served with carrots, asparagus and a salad.

*REMEMBER I DOUBLED THIS. 3/4 POUND OF CHICKEN IS NOT A LOT.
Enjoy!
From mmmcafe.blogspot.com (tweeked)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin Seeds (not in the crock)


my roasted pumpkin seeds recipe:
Worchester sauce 3tbs, 3 tbs melted butter, salt pepper, garlic salt (a pinch)...put in a ziploc bag and mix around so seeds are coated. put on the baking pan...shake so evenly spread out. 275 for one hour...stir half way through....sooo good.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Thai Peanut Chicken


That would be a CLEAN plate and her second one at that!

I love love Love love Thai food. I was so excited to see this recipe in my new cookbook and it did not disappoint. I was a little scared when I read that I was to mix peanut butter and salsa together but it was the perfect sauce so peanut-ey and yummy.

Thai Chicken
2.5 pounds chicken pieces (I used boneless skinless breasts, cage free)
1 cup hot salsa (I used medium and it was plenty strong)
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
hot cooked rice ( I used Jasmine)
1/2 cup chopped peanuts (seriously makes the dish)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Place chicken in crock. Mix salsa, peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, ginger together and pour on top of chicken. Cook on low 6-7 hours ***IF BONELESS CHICKEN NEED ONLY 4 HOURS****
Serve chicken and sauce over rice. Sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Baked Potato Soup...make that Chowder


I have failed so many times at Potato soup....I could never get the right consistency...always to soup-ey and not chowder-ey enough. I did it I did it! Yeah! This recipe is by far my favorite and I can't wait to tweek it even more in the future. It is wonderful.
I cut the recipe in half which was more than enough for my family of four.
Princess had seconds and wanted thirds!

5 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
2 quarts chicken broth (this is 64 ounces)
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese(I used fat free)
crumbled bacon and green onion or chives as garnish

Peel and dice the potatoes, and put them into the stoneware. Add onion and garlic. Sprinkle in the seasonings, and pour in the broth. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4. The potatoes should be fork-tender. Use a Potato masher to mash the potatoes into a chowder consistency...I left it slightly chunky. Add in cream cheese and mash again until thoroughly mixed. Serve with bacon and onion or chive on top

I love love love this...super yummy.
In the future I want to try adding different herbs instead of garlic (don't get me wrong the garlic is awesome) I am thinking dill or Rosemary. I would also like to add more veggies....maybe test out broccoli or corn. The possibilities are endless but this is my new Chowder for sure!

****ADDDED BONUS*** Since I used fat free cream cheese and low sodium broth. The fat and salt in this recipe is pretty low. I am not saying it is a healthy dish but it is healthier. :)

From Susan O'Dea "A Year of Slow Cooking" tweeked.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Latte


Yes, it was as good as it looks!

This is enough to serve four moms for a two hour gab session.


Starbucks aint got nothing on this Pumpkin Spice Latte in the crock.
Captain was not invited to this afternoon girls only gathering but he was able to sneak a sip of mine (more like 5 big gulps) and he really liked it.

All four of us girls really enjoyed this. We determined if you are going to do it...do it all the way and have the whip cream and Cinnamon sugar too!


6 cups milk (I used organic skim)
6 T canned pumpkin
6 T white sugar
4 T vanilla
1 1/2tsp pumpkin pie spice
4 cups strong brewed coffee (I actually used pumpkin spice coffee I found at the grocery store)

Whipped cream-optional...but not really :) I also sprinkled cinnamon/sugar mix on the top.


Add the coffee and milk to the crockpot. Whisk in the pumpkin, spices, sugar, and vanilla.

Cover and cook on high for 2 hours if everything is cold. Whisk again.

From Stephanie O'Dea "A Year of Slow Cooking" tweeked.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Straight to your hip dip!



My sweet friend Erin gave me an awesome cookbook for my birthday (see picture) and I opened it up last night and Captain immediately was interested in the appetizer section. I told him I would make whatever he wanted...just pick something. Of course he picked something with cheese and bacon...what else is new!/???? Normally I would never EVER make something that has 11 ingredients but since he is so dang cute and I had almost all of the ingredients already, I made it. He is in heaven and has been snacking on it all day. Reminds me of the Christmas Story movie with the turkey.
Princess and Little Man eat this with a spoon (not that I let them...no no not me)

Bacon and Cheese Dip
2 packages (8 ounce each) cream cheese. I used 1.5 packages of light.
4 cups of shredded cheddar. (I only used about 3 cups and threw in some slices of mozzarella I had in the fridge)
1 cup evaporated skim milk
2 TB mustard (the yellow in the bottle in your fridge kind)
1 TB chopped onion (I used about 4)
2 ts Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp hot sauce
1 pound bacon cooked and crumbled (I used 1/2 bag pre made bacon pieces...found in salad dressing aisle)
assorted veggies (I used Broccoli)
french bread

Heat everything but the broccoli, bacon and bread in the crock on low for 1-1.5 hours...stir every 20 minutes or so. Stir in bacon. Cook for aprox 20 more minutes. Serve with bread, veggies or crackers. Yummy. Great leftover for baked potato or pasta.

from "Crock-Pot Best-Loved Slow Cooker Recipes"

On the docket for this week:
pumpkin spice latte in the crock
Loaded potato chowder
Thai peanut chicken

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Leftovers



I have heard several of my friends mention that their husbands will not eat leftovers....the SHOCK...the HORROR! Captain LOVES them. At times I feel he prefers them to the actual meal. Anyway, now that I have been doing a lot of crock pot cooking I have a lot of leftovers. Here are some of the ideas and things I have used my leftovers for.

Chili
-Chili tostado salad (see picture)
-Chili on baked potato with cheese
-Chili dogs
-Chili mac (mix the chili with macaroni noodles and cheese on top...Princess and little man love this
-Chili quesadillas
-Chili omelet with sour cream on top (my favorite)

Pulled Pork
- BBQ Pork Baked Potato
-BBQ Pork Hash-Dice up some cooked potatoes, add sauteed onion, the pork and top with a fried egg
-Pulled Pork Pizza (use any type of crust, spread bbq pulled pork, add some onion, top with cheddar and bake)

The possibilities for baked chicken are countless. That will have to be entirely different post. :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pork Chops with Gravy


I love Crock Pot Girls. They have a FB page and have some really good easy recipes. I tried their super easy pork chops and they were delish.

‎4 bone in/thick cut pork chops
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 envelope dry pork gravy mix
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups chicken broth

Place the pork chops on the bottom of the crock. Mix together all other ingredients and poor over the top. Cook between 6-8 hours depending on how tender you like your meat. Serve with egg noodles or rice.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Crock Apple Sauce


My number one helpers!




APPLES-it's a family affair around here!

We LOVE apples. Every year we go to the local orchard and pick apples and I love trying all different types of apple recipes. I have a lot of memories from when I was a kid of my Nanny and her applesauce. She used to make it every year and I loved it so I took a shot at it this year. Huge VICTORY.

Chunky Crock Pot Applesauce
10-15 apples peeled and cored and sliced
1 cup apple cider
3 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup Cinnamon sugar mix
aprox. 10 red hots (yes, I am serious...the little spicy candies)

put all in the crock and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3. Mash apples...they will just fall apart. Will keep in fridge for one week.
.

Meatloaf in the crock!



Captain LOVED this and the kids thought it was hamburger and ate it accordingly. I really enjoyed the seasoning and texture. I love all the sides because we all know you can't serve meatloaf without Mashed potatoes and carrots. Yum! Enjoy!

2-3lbs ground beef (I used 1.5 lbs ground beef and .5 pounds Italian sausage)
1 yellow onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped
2 eggs beaten
3/4 cup of milk
3/4 cup bread crumbs ( I used panko crumbs)
1 envelope Lipton Onion soup mix

Line crock pot with foil....do not forget to do this or you will have a grease loaf
Mix together eggs, milk, crumbs and soup mix. Add in meat, onions and pepper. Mix it all thoroughly. Shape into a loaf (this is the fun part) place in crock cook on low for 6-8 hours. 2 hours before finished put ketchup on the top if you would like and allow to cook for the remaining two hours.

Crock Pot Girls...tweeked.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chicken and dumplings


I have two simple goals with my crock pot cooking:
1. make healthy home cooked meals that my kids and hubby love
2. become a cabinet cooker. What does this mean? I have always longed to be able to go into my cabinets and freezer/fridge and throw a meal together with what I have...not really following a recipe. A big goal, I know, but I am getting there. I love tweeking recipes and making them my own.

Chicken and dumplings
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used thin cut organic...they were on sale and in my freezer)

2 cans "cream of something" soup (I used cream of chicken cause I had it but mushroom, celery would work too...low sodium if possible)

2 cups chicken broth or 2 cups water with chicken flavored granules or bullion cubes

salt and pepper to taste

veggies (frozen or not really whatever you have. I used one cup of frozen corn, 1 cup of chopped carrots, 2 cut up salary sticks)

1 yellow onion chopped

5 dinner biscuits (I used frozen dinner rolls, you could use Pillsbury refrigerator rolls or any thing like that) Make sure they are room temp.

Place the chicken breasts (thawed) in the bottom of the crock. add salt and pepper. Pour cream soup and broth on top. Add veggies and stir all the items together in the crock. cook on low for 6 hours. pull apart chicken with a fork...the meat should just spread apart. Quarter each biscuit and drop the biscuit pieces on the top and mix lightly with the chicken mixture. Cook for 1.5 more hours until the biscuits are cooked all the way through. Enjoy!

ideas of things to add (broccoli, peas, cooked bacon pieces, potato)
Crock Pot Girls...tweeked.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Butternut Squash in the crock



Make sure you layer them in your crock.

I went to an organic farm in Wisconsin last week to purchase our beef and they had a bunch of different types of squash. I bought a butternut squash thinking I would make my butternut squash mac and cheese but changed my mind and tried something new. Loved it. The flavor was amazing.
I did not attempt to feed to anyone in my family...I am the lone squash lover...fine by me...taking it to work every day for lunch this week!
1 butternut squash
1 cup apple juice (I used cider and loved it)
4 tbs butter melted
3 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbs packed brown sugar (I used light brown)

cut the top off the squash and cut into three pieces (see pic above)
scoop out the seeds. Mix melted butter and cinnamon together. Pour the apple juice/cider in the crock. Layer squash as pictured above. Put one tbs of brown sugar in each opening of the squash (where you scooped the seeds from) drizzle butter mixture on top. cook on low 4-6 or high 2-3 until squash is soft.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bacon Ranch Chicken aka...your pickiest eater will eat this!



RAVE REVIEWS BY ALL.
Little Man-literally cleaned his plate...it is usually a struggle to get him to eat protein...not the case with this dish. I didn't even have to pull the whole "if you eat three bites of chicken you can have______"
Princess-"Mommy this is my favorite chicken"
Captain-I have NO leftovers...I almost always have leftovers.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 tbsp real bacon bits ( I used 5...if you can't tell we love our bacon)

1tsp minced garlic

1pkg ranch dressing mix

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 cup sour cream (1.5 cups here)

egg noodles



Combine bacon, garlic, ranch dressing mix, soup, and sour cream; mix well. Pour over chicken in the crock pot. Cook on high 3-4 hours. I then shred the chicken and put back in the pot and add the egg noodles; mix together

Amazing. By far a new favorite. I served with broccoli...perfect.
From Crock Pot Girls

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Chili anyone?


My brother requested that I bring a batch of my chili when I come to his house on Tuesday. I made a huge batch so I could stick some in his freezer for his recovery period (he is having a procedure Wednesday). My brother and the captain both agree that "if it has beans...it is not chili" so my chili is bean free.

This is per pound of meat so be sure to increase it if you are making a bigger batch (I used 5 lbs in the picture)

1 lb of ground beef
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1.5 cans of minced green chilies
2 big cans (24 ounce) crushed tomato
1/2 big can of tomato sauce
1 package of McCormick's taco seasoning (or cumin, chili powder, garlic and Cheyenne if you want to mix up your own)
1 package shredded cheddar
1 package oyster crackers
1 container sour cream

Ground beef and sprinkle 1/2 taco seasoning on while cooking. Drain fat. Add beef, celery, tomato products, onion, chilies and rest of seasoning to crock. Cook on low for four hours.

Serve with sour cream, cheese and crackers. Yummo I always make a ton and use the leftovers for:
chili mac
chili dogs
chili baked potatoes
It is the gift that keeps giving!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Spicey Meatballs



I thought I would try a meatball recipe. I ran home during lunch (I love working 2 minutes from my house) threw the stuff together and when I got home from work I put it in low for about an hour and it was done! Captain loved it....he is a huge meatball fan!

aprox. 2 lbs of meatballs (I bought frozen ones from my local grocery store, you could make your own if you are super woman or any type of meatball would do)
3/4 cup of chili sauce (I used garlic chili sauce...found it in the Asian food section of the store)
1 1/2 tbs lemon juice
1 1/2 tbs brown sugar
1 can jellied cranberry (like the kind you use at Thanksgiving)
Dump all in crock, turn on low and cook for one hour or until completely cooked through.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Whole Roasted Chicken and Veggies


So I wanted to do another whole chicken in the crockpot. I kinda threw this together and it was Ahhh-mazing. The juices from the chicken cooked the veggies perfectly. The chicken fell off the bone.

The Princess and Little Man were members of the clean plate club tonight!

1 whole chicken (giblets removed)
1/2 bottle maranade or salad dressing (I used Parmesian Garlic dressing)
1 bunch of fresh herbs (I used Dill but Rosemary or Basil would be amazing too)
2 tbs butter
veggies (I used potatoes, carrots, onions and red peppers)

Marinate the chicken over night. Snip some of the herbs you are going to use in the Ziploc with the chicken and dressing/maranade.

cut up the veggies thin thin thin....put butter on top and the rest of your herbs. Wrap in foil and make sure they are as flat as possible. Place in the bottom of the crockpot....make it flat flat flat. Place the chicken up side down on top of the foil pack. If you are home flip the chicken right side up half way through...if not just leave it upside down. Cook for 6 hours (or so depending on the size of chicken) on low. If you want to do a lot of veggies you can make additional small foil packs and stuff them on the sides of the crock where you can find room.

Everyone loved this and there is so much room to mix things up with different veggies, different herbs etc.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

STUFFED Peppers


DISCLAIMER: I do not pretend to be a food photographer and this picture does not do justice to how pretty they actually looked and they smelled divine.


This is how Captain's plate looked when he was done! This should be taken with a grain of salt as my husband eats a total of two veggies and peppers do not make the cut.


Stuffed Peppers
4 large green peppers
1 pound ground meat (I used 1/2 spicey Italian Sausage and 1/2 ground beef)
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I used brown rice but a pilaf or long grain would be fabu)
1 small yellow onion chopped
1 tbs minced garlic
1 tbs Italian seasoning (you can use any type of seasoning you enjoy)
1 jar pasta sauce

Cut open the tops of the peppers. Remove insides. Make a large enough hole in the top to be able to properly stuff. Partially brown meat and add garlic and seasoning Drain grease. In a seperate bowl mix onion, beef mixture and cooked rice. Stuff peppers and place in crock. Pour jar of sauce over the top. cook on low for 4-5 hours or until peppers are tender.

I put this together the night before and threw it in the fridge which was not an issue at all.

I loved this, it was warm and filling and had great flavor. Make sure you put plenty of flavor in the seasoning of the meat and pick a flavorful rice or pasta sauce. The kids did not clamor for this but the adults in the house thought it rocked. The best part is I had everything in the house but the peppers so it was super economical.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Touchdown Cheesie Chili Dip


I thought I would be using the crockpot once or twice a week for dinners but since it is football season and the Captain loves to watch the games...I am doing a few game time goodies for good measure...and major brownie points for me....to be redeemed during future shopping adventures!

This dip is super easy and hardy and is a staple. I have made many variations of it over the years but this one seems to be the crowd pleaser!

I also use 2 tbs of cream cheese....not pictured.

1 lb Mexican Velveeta (I am not a huge Velveeta fan but you can't beat it for a cheese dip)

1 1b ground beef (I used grass fed ground sirloin 90/10)

1 l can beef chilli (No beans) Normally I would use trader Joe's turkey Chilli but the captain loves plain old Hormel.

2 tbs cream cheese

cube all the cheese, place in crock pot. Add chilli on top. Brown meat, drain fat and add to crock pot. 1-1.5 hours on low. Make sure you stir every few hours. Serve with tortilla chips. If you happen to have leftovers (this is usually not the case in this house)...it is amazing over baked potatoes.

Coming attractions:
stuffed peppers
bacon ranch chicken with egg noodles

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bacon Wrapped BBQ Apple Chicken


After my fail with the paste stew (see below), I had to pinch hit. I was able to find a recipe that I had all the ingredients for. It smelled wonderful, was easy and delish!
Little Man-not a fan of the bacon but ate all the chicken and rice
Princess-ate everything but picked the pilaf out of the rice
The Captain-his type of Chicken "anything tastes awesome wrapped in bacon"
The Cook-I am more of a well done bacon person (read...practically burned) and I loved the chicken but the bacon was a little too bacon-ey for me...I picked it off and nuked it and it was perfect.

3-4 chicken breasts

1/2 cup BBQ sauce

1-2 apples, peeled and grated

1 lemon, juiced

6-8 slices bacon

Serve with rice ( I also served with caprese salad and pretzel bread)

Directions:

1. In small bowl, combine BBQ sauce with grated apple and lemon juice.

2. Place chicken breasts in base of crock pot, pour BBQ/apple mixture over the chicken. Wrap 2 pieces of bacon around each chicken breast. Set to low and cook for 8 hours. If using thinner chicken breasts (like cutlets) probably 5 hours on low is enough

Epic Fail...Just EPIC


I had seen on a crock blog that you could put together your crockpot meal a few days in advance (when you have time...a precious thing around here) and stick it in a ziploc in the freezer. This sounded awesome to me because on a day when I have three depositions (like Tuesday) I could just pull it out of the freezer and stick it in the crock...no prep time even! I was really excited to try the Autumn Sausage Stew which the author of my cook book claimed tasted like "heaven" and "Fall in a bowl". Mine tasted like paste in a bowl...it was terrible...by terrible I mean I would not even serve this to Nancy Grace!

I can't tell if it was the rice I used (Basmanti) or the fact that I froze it but it was terrible. At least the house smelled good...just like fall and cinnamon.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Roasted Chicken...Easy Peasy


NOTICE THE CHICKEN IS COOKED UPSIDE DOWN

This is the seasoning I had in my cabinet
Okay, I am really feeling like a CROCKSTAR today. I was a little nervous about cooking a whole chicken in the crockpot but I thought I would give it a whirl. I made up my own recipe and it was amazing...A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! So easy too.
Little Man-asked for more...this never happens...he must not have realized he was eating protein.
Princess-said "Mommie this is really good...seriously"
The Captain-after this afternoon's cheese dip (see below) and this chicken I believe he mumbled something about him not being worthy!

1 whole frying chicken (I used an organic one from Whole Foods)
3 apples (can be older or bruised)
1 seasoning package (see pic above)

Cut the apples in half and place the flat part on the bottom of the crockpot. Essentially you are building a base so the chicken does not sit in its own grease as it cooks.

Place the chicken on top (breasts on the bottom)

make seasoning according to directions and brush on. (You could also use Italian dressing)

Put in the crockpot on low for 3-4 hours or until the juices run clear.

Amazing fall off the bone chicken!

I served with baked potato, peas and homemeade carmel apple cobbler...YUMMO!

Game Time Cheese Dip



They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach....let's just say I got Captain's heart today! I threw together this game dip in no time and he is in heaven. Captain gives it two thumbs and a tongue up!




1 cup of bacon (you can cook your own drain and chop or be lazy like me and get the bacon crumbles in the salad dressing aisle)
1 cup half and half
16 oz. cream cheese
4 cups shredded cheddar
1 tsp. minced onion
2 tsp. worcestershire
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
dash of hot sauce
french bread and apples or anything else you like to dip

put all of the above BUT the bacon and bread/apples into the crock. cook on low for 1-1.5 hours....must stir every twenty minutes or so. Add bacon and slow cook on low for about ten more minutes. Makes a ton...could easily 1/2 the recipe unless having company. ENJOY...GO BEARS!
recipe from Family Crock Pot Recipes

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Breakfast Casserole....the best part of waking up




THE PRINCESS AND LITTLE MAN GIVE THIS A THUMBS UP. THEY LOVED IT. CAPTAIN GAVE IT A 9 OUT OF 10!

I made this last night at about 10pm. It was very easy to prepare and the house smelled amazing this morning which made getting up at 6am on a Saturday a little less painful. This makes a massive amount...perfect for when guests are in town or holiday gatherings. Probably serves about 10 regular people or 8 of my husband/teenage boys.

1 dozen eggs
1 cup of milk (tweek use 1.5 cups...will make it more moist)
32 ounces of frozen hashbrowns
1 lb bacon (I used the ready made crumbles in the salad dressing aisle...not bacos but the real stuff...super easy)
1 lb breakfast sausage (I used Jimmy Dean, some of the flavored sausages would be awesome like Rosemary)
1/2 cup green onion (chopped)
1 green pepper chopped (I did not use this)
4 cups shredded cheddar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (I used a whole teaspoon)

Brown the sausage most of the way, it is okay if there is a little pink...drain fat
In a large crockpot layer frozen hashbrowns, onion, green pepper, bacon, sausage and 1 cup cheddar. Make two layers of this.

beat eggs, milk, dry mustard..add a pinch of salt and pepper.

Pour mixture over items in the crock pot

sprinkle remaining two cups of cheese on top.

Cook on low 8-10 hours I DID 7 HOURS AND IT WAS TOO LONG...the middle was perfect but the edges were a little burnt...it depends on how hot the low setting on your crackpot is. I would say 6 hours...make it on a night when you are staying up late or if your crockpot has a timer, like mine, it will just keep it warm after the allotted time.

future things to try (I will make this again)
grilling the onions first
Rosemary flavored sausage

recipe from momswhothink.com (tweeked)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Old Faithful



The Captain absolutely loves this recipe. My whole crew does. Super easy and the taste can very each time depending on which beer and BBQ sauce you use. This is a 10 out of 10! We often use leftovers over baked potato with cheddar...Yummo.

1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer
1 (18 ounce) bottle your favorite barbecue sauce
8 hamburger buns, split and lightly toasted
Directions
1.Place the pork tenderloin in a slow cooker; pour the beer over the meat. Fill beer can up half way with water, pour that in slow cooker. Add 1 bottle of bbq sauce (thick style like Sweet Baby Rays). Cover and cook on low until well cooked and the pork shreds easily with a fork, 6 to 7 hours. Serve over hamburger buns.

NOTE: there will be extra liquid....I usually take a slotted spoon and place the pulled pork on the buns and drizzle some of the liquid over it.

SECOND OPTION-cook the pork in just the beer and water. shred pork and mix with bbq sauce. discard beer water. This makes a thicker bbq pork with a more bbq taste...a little less beer taste.

Recipe from allrecipes.com...tweeked.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

BBQ Chicken Cornbread Crock



This has the potential to be excellent. It needs to be tweeked.

The Critics:
Little Man-would not eat this...at all
Grammie-too mushy. Perhaps browning the chicken first and cooking the dish for a shorter period of time.
Bahbum to sweet. This depends on the BBQ sauce you use. I used a sweet one
Princess-loved it
Captain-cornbread too dry....loved it otherwise (he is a bbq sauce lover) I will use a Jiffy cornbread mix on top next time instead of making my own.

This dish smelled amazing and I enjoyed the taste as well. I would give it a 7 out of 10 with the potential of being a 8 out of 10 with tweeks.

Ingredients
• 1 pound boneless skinless chicken
• 1 medium Sweet Potato
• 1 cup Frozen Corn
• 1 cup Red Onion
• 18 oz Barbeque Sauce
• 4 oz Water (fill up the empty bbq sauce bottle and swish around )
• 3/4 cup Yellow Cornmeal
• 1 1/4 cups flour
• 1 cup Milk
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 lg Egg
• 1 tsp Baking Powder
Directions
Spray slow cooker (4Q or 6Q) with cooking spray. Layer ingredients (chick, sweet potato, corn, onion, barbecue sauce, water) in order. Mix remainder of ingredients (cornmeal, flour, milk, sugar, eggs, baking powder) to make cornbread and spread evenly over top. Cook on low 6-8 hours until cornbread is brown and separates from side of crock pot.

recipe from Make it Fast...Cook it Slow

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Crock Pot Lasagna



Ratings:
Little Man-cleaned his plate...wow
Princess-liked it especially the cheese
Captain-excited there will be leftovers

Brown together:

1 1/2 lbs hamburger (I used 2 pounds)

1 med onion, chopped

1 t. minced garlic

Drain and put back into skillet.

Add: 5 cans tomato sauce (Italian and Herb)

1 can tomato paste

1 can of water (I did not add water...the sauce did not need it)

1 t. dried oregano

Heat thoroughly. In crock pot or slow cooker, layer sauce, lasagna noodles (quick ones...the no boil kind), mixture of monterrey jack and parmesian cheese (I used lowfat). (You will need 1 package of each) 1 small carton cottage cheese (I used low fat) spoon in between layers

Keep layering, ending with sauce. Let cook for 4 to 5 hours on low. Top with remaining cheese on top, if desired. Eat and enjoy!

Recipe from Crock Pot Girls