My toughest critics

My toughest critics

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!