Here is another “near” magic pot recipe that we tried tonight. It is a vegetarian dish that also earned 4 smiley faces from our family of four. It is intended to be prepared in a smaller slow cooker ( 3 1/2 quart) but it worked fine in my big slow cooker. If I have more than four mouths at my table it would be easy to double this one. I made this exactly like the recipe out of the Southern Living Ultimate Quick and Easy Cookbook except that I used a 15 oz can of corn rather than an 11 oz can of mexi-corn. I just hate to pay more for that!
Stir together in your slow cooker:
- 2 Tablespoons chopped green chiles
- 3/4 cup chunky salsa (I used Pace’s mild version)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can yellow corn
- 1 10 oz can of enchilada sauce (I used Old El Paso’s Green Enchilada sauce)
Cover and cook on Low for 4 hours
Stir together in a bowl:
- 1 Tablespoon green chiles
- 1 package corn muffin mix (8.5 oz box version)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 Tablespoons chopped roasted red bell peppers
Spoon the batter evenly over the bean mixture in the slow cooker (well, mine was more like glop it on top of the enchilada mix)
Cover and cook on Low for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until cornbread is done.
Sprinkle over the cornbread:
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or mexican blend as I did….hmmmm….maybe I didn’t follow the recipe exactly)
Cover and allow the cheese to melt
Serve with sour cream if desired.
Obviously the spicier your salsa the spicier the dish. I was cooking for mild-mouths so we made it more tame. I served it with Ranch Style Beans, a green salad and apple slices.
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Magic Pot Alert! Yep, this one is a dump and go kind of recipe….my kind of slow cooker meal. It gets four smiley faces from my family of four. The only thing you have to plan for is to be home for the first hour of cooking as you cook on high for one hour and then reduce it to low for the next 5 hours. * I found the base for this recipe in a Southern Living Ultimate Quick and Easy Cookbook that I checked out from a local library.
Chicken Lasagna Florentine
Combine in a large bowl and stir well:
- 2 cans of cream of chicken soup
- 10 ounces of frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry (I used frozen from Trader Joe’s and didn’t need to drain and squeeze)
- 2-3 cups of diced, cooked chicken (I used some shredded chicken that I had in the freezer, you could also use the Tyson’s diced cooked chicken)
- 8 ounces of sour cream
- 1 cup of milk
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 1 Tablespoon of Penzey’s Mural of Flavor (a mix of spices, dried shallots, onion, garlic, lemon peel, citric acid, chives, orange peel) If you don’t have this, one variation I found online has 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg.
- salt and pepper to taste
Place in a larger slow cooker, coated with cooking spray (or maybe one of those liners would be good)
- 3 uncooked lasagna noodles, breaking the noodles in half, to fit in the slow cooker. (will need 9 noodles in all for the layers)
Spread one third of the spinach mixture over the noodles.
Sprinkle over the mixture
- 2/3 cup mozzarella cheese
- 3 more noodles (breaking as needed)
- half of the remaining spinach mixture
- 2/3 cup mozzarella cheese
Top with the remaining noodles, mixture, and cheese.
Cover and cook on High for 1 hour
Reduce to Low and cook for 5 hours or until the pasta is done (mine was fine after 5 hours)
* Note: I did search around before posting this and see that someone did this same base recipe on Low for 8 hours and said it was fine—that way you don’t have to worry about the High/Low switch.
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This was so easy to throw together late in the morning on Saturday and then dinner was ready just before we sat down to watch some College football. I love recipes like this. It is not quite a “magic pot” recipe as you do have to cook the Italian sausage prior to putting it in the slow cooker, but other than that —easy!
I found this recipe via some link to myrecipes.com back in August. Everyone was happy with it and I think my girls tried some vegetables that they normally would never try (I didn’t reveal the contents until everyone had eaten!). This made just enough to feed four….but it was our only thing besides some bread. So you could stretch it if you had not only bread but also a big salad. I think when we have some holiday company I may try to have this again but I will put in twice as much sausage and a tad more vegetables.
Mamma Mia Italian Stew
Brown in a non-stick pan:
- 1 pound Italian sausage (I used sweet as my girls don’t go for the hot version. Also I browned it in the links and then chopped it into bite-sized pieces after it was cooked through)
Combine in a large slow cooker:
- the cooked sausage- sliced
- 1 eggplant, peeled and cubed
- 1 1/2 cups sliced green beans (I used frozen Trader Joe’s green beans)
- 2 green peppers, sliced
- 1 potato, peeled and cubed
- 1 zucchini, cubed
- 1 yellow squash, cubed (next time I will peel the squash or at least take off some of the peel…it wasn’t very good)
- 1 cup onion, thinly sliced
- 15 oz can Italian-style tomato sauce (yes they actually do have this…I had never purchased any prior to this but basically it is tomato sauce with Italian seasonings all in it. So you could use plain tomato sauce and add seasonings yourself if you needed to)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
That is what the recipe says then I added, all to my taste:
- dried oregano
- dried basil
- dried thyme
- white pepper
Stir everything well.
Cover and cook on low setting for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
It was so easy. Definitely one you could prep the night before and then dump into the slow cooker just before you walk out the door for work or a busy day running errands.
I also made a Slab Apple Pie for dessert.
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I am terrible about the side dishes for meals. I am trying to do better by at least using frozen vegetables rather than canned but I want to do even more. It is a bit frustrating though to spend time working on a side dish and have only 50% of the people at the table eat it. I think this is why a plate of raw carrot sticks and a bowl of fruit have become my side dish go-to choices. In the spirit of continuous improvement, I have been looking for easy and tasty side items.
I found this one on the Crockin’ Girls website.
Today my girls had off from school and I decided that we would have a family dinner together for our noontime meal since Brad will be at work this evening. I had some frozen chicken cordon bleu packs in the freezer and thought I would prep the squash casserole the night before and then plug it in while I left for my Moms4Moms meeting up at our church. This would let me come home, get the chicken in the oven and other items going and we could eat a little after noon.
Well, at 7:30 this morning I bolt out of bed realizing that last night I had not made the cornbread or prepped anything for our lunch. Family meals are very important to me and while it isn’t what you eat but that you make an effort to eat all together and visit with each other….I like to eat more than just sandwiches and wanted a nice meal. So I quickly ran to the kitchen to get things going. Since no one else had to be anywhere it was amazing how much I could get done since I didn’t have to check up on the progress of others!
The casserole was prepped and I was ready to walk out the door by 8:30.
So this recipe is very easy to throw together and yummy to eat too! I did use the crockpot but you could just as easily throw it in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes until it is warmed through.
Prepare cornbread (I used one box of Jiffy Cornbread because I needed to make it in a jiffy!!!)
While cornbread is baking combine in a mixing bowl:
- 2 cups of chopped yellow squash
- 1 1/2 cups of diced onion
- 1/3 of a stick of butter
- 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
- 10.4 oz of vegetable broth (you can also use 1 can of cream of chicken but I was out so I made vegetable broth from bullion cubes. I used two cubes)
- sugar (this was my addition and I just shook a bit in…it was probably about 1 tsp)
When cornbread is finished baking, crumble
Add crumbled cornbread to the mixing bowl and mix well.
Spray the crock with non stick cooking spray
Pour the mix into the slow cooker, cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours. (or you can throw it in a casserole dish and cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes at 350 until warmed through)
This got 3 smiley faces at our table today so I’m keeping it around. Next time I might throw some shredded chicken in with it and then it could be a main dish! (but then I’m back to needing more side dish recipes…it never ends)
I also whipped up some gingerbread for dessert. It was a great family meal—glad we were able to do it.
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I’m always up for a “magic pot” recipe….you know what I mean, throw it all in, turn it on and come back later ready to eat. This is one that I found on imom.com in a recipe file on their site. It says that they are for tacos, which we did indeed eat them as with hard shells and also some flour tortillas. I thought they were great on the tortillas, not so great in the hard shells. BUT I think this is actually wonderful as a soup. We crumbled up tortilla chips in it and really liked it that way.
So here is the recipe and then after that I will tell you how you could make your own tortilla strips if you don’t have any chips on hand.
Chicken Enchilada Tacos
Combine into the slow cooker:
- 1 lb diced or shredded cooked chicken (I had 4 cups frozen in the freezer and just defrosted that—made this recipe even easier!)
- 1 (15 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (15 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce (we used green sauce)
- 1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles
- 1 (10 oz) package frozen Mexican corn blend (well, I couldn’t find this and wasn’t running to Trader Joes to get some so I used a can of corn that I drained of the juice)
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
Turn on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 4.
Garnish with your favorite garnish: sour cream, Monterey jack cheese, cilantro, avocado, crisp lettuce…
You could also serve this over white rice.
Make your own tortilla strips:
Cut tortillas into 1/2 inch wide strips.
Cut those then in half crosswise.
Place on an ungreased baking sheet
Bake at 350 for 10-13 minutes or until crisp and slightly browned.
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I made this today and it was a great meal to come home to after church. It didn’t taste like a “crock pot” meal either! I was able to prep most of it last night and then got up this morning and threw it in the slow cooker. Below is how I prepared it in stages. We ended up cooking the shrimp and rice before adding it into the rest of the dish (which is different from how the recipe originally said to do it…but I just don’t trust a slow cooker to get my shrimp cooked fully in a short amount of time).
Easy Slow-Cooker Jambalaya
The night before:
Chop and place into a tupperware-type container
- 1 large onion
- 1 large green bell pepper (seeded of course!)
- 3 stalks of celery
In a prep bowl combine:
- 1 Tablespoon Creole seasoning (or Cajun)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
Make sure your meats are defrosted:
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 pound smoked sausage
- 2-3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (next time I will cut these in half so they are easier to serve)
- 1 -28 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 cups of canned chicken broth OR make your broth and place in the refrigerator until ready to mix things up
- Rice to prepare (cook 1 3/4 cup rice)
Morning of making the dish:
- Cut sausage into 1 1/2 -2 inch slices
- Chop your garlic cloves
- Layer in the slow cooker:
- 1/3 of the Vegetables
- 1/2 of the Chicken
- 1/2 of the Sausage
- 1/2 of the seasoning mix
- 1/2 of the garlic
- 1/2 of the Broth
- 1/2 of the tomatoes
- Repeat layers
- Top with vegetables
Set the slow cooker on low and cook for 5 hours.
Before I left for church I got the rice going (1 3/4 cup rice). After putting the rice into the boiling water, I turned the burner off and left the pot on the burner. The rice was ready when we got home.
We boiled water and cooked the shrimp right after we got home.
Then we put the rice and the shrimp in the slow cooker and kicked it up to high while we got everything else ready. (About 30 minutes) If you don’t think it is warm enough for you, throw it in a large pot on the stove and warm it until the rice is heated up.
We served it with bread, salad, and apple slices.
It makes a ton so you can easily serve 8 people.
We will be having this one again and inviting people over after church—I love a good Sunday afternoon dinner.
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So here is another one that I’ve posted before, Crock Pot Navy Bean Soup, that we ate this week. This time though I tried a bag of dried beans rather than the 4 cans of navy beans.
I simply bought a bag of beans and soaked them overnight. Then used them in the soup with 4 Ro-Tel cans of water (rather than the bean cans as the recipe calls for). I think it worked just fine and I’m sure we ate fewer chemicals because of it!
I toasted up some leftover Amoroso rolls, served some raw carrots, and meant to also have orange slices….I’m just realizing that I forgot to do the oranges! (If you are wondering…my girls pick out the ham and sausage in this dish to fill up on but hey- at least they might get a stray bean one of these days and realize it isn’t so bad.)
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It has been C-O-L-D this weekend. So what is better on a cold weekend than warm soup???!!! I was actually out of Ro-Tel and we had to make a quick stop by the store on the way home from church for it (I had two recipes and each needed Ro-Tel…it really is staple in our cooking at the Smith house!). Some of my friends in PA haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Ro-Tel….well let me introduce you:
Ro-Tel: A Smith Family Staple
You can find Ro-Tel at every grocery store now but the best prices are at Target and Wal-Mart. I cringe to pay over $1 for it, but today I had to as the grocery store was a lot closer than Target/Wal-Mart.
Once I had my can of Ro-Tel, I was able to throw this soup together in no time. I had the other ingredients on hand because I had planned to make this on Tuesday. But I like to have a warm, family meal on Sunday and since we threw sandwiches together for lunch…I had to come up with something for dinner.
Enter Santa Fe Chicken Soup….
I shared this recipe about the same time last year! It was in the crockpot and ready to go in no time thanks to some previously cooked, shredded and frozen chicken I had.
We served the soup with tortilla chips and Fritos along with apple slices of course (that is always my…I know if the girls don’t really eat enough soup they can fill up on Apple slices strategy)
So if you need something quick to throw together and ready to eat in about 3 or 4 hours….this is one for you.
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This is a soup that we have made for years. I’ve seen it in several cookbooks with tweaks on the ingredients here and there. A few weeks ago I used this recipe as the vegetarian selection when I made dinner for the University of Pennsylvania orchestra. The conductor, who also happens to be my handsome fella, wanted to provide dinner but didn’t want to just order pizza. Somehow it went from me offering to bake dessert to me doing the entire meal….I’m not sure how that happened but it was a fun experience. Since it was to be an unusually chilly day, it worked well to do soups, salad, bread and desserts for our menu.
So if you want to just feed a family of four you can make one recipe of this. If you want to feed eight to ten, double the recipe. If you need to feed more than that get some slow cookers and some helpers!
In a stockpot heat over medium-high heat
Add to the pot and cook until tender:
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
Add to the pot and bring to a boil:
- 3 cans of broth–Vegetable if you are going vegetarian or Chicken if you aren’t. (I actually made my broth from boiling water and dissolving bouillon cubes 2 cubes for every 1 3/4 cup of water which is one can)
Add to the pot:
- 1- 8oz package of dried, cheese filled tortellini
Cook the tortellini according to the package directions in the broth until tender. Do NOT drain when tortellini are tender.
Add to the pot:
- 1- 14.5 oz diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1- 10oz package of frozen, chopped spinach that has been thawed and most of the water pressed out of the spinach
Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired.
Now, here is how I tweaked it for the masses:
I was going to have to transport my dinner from our house to the University on a Sunday afternoon. (Read here…Sunday mornings are busy days at our house as Brad and I both have roles to fill at our church he is there from 8 until 12 and I am there from 9 until 12:30ish) So we had to get things done in advance.
Saturday we doubled the soup as written above EXCEPT I cooked the tortellini in boiling water for just half of the time directed on the package. So the rest of the soup was put together, simmered, and then placed into containers in the refrigerator. This made one larger crockpot of soup—I had two slow cookers of this soup and two others of Taco Soup. On Sunday we transported the soup to UPenn and then I added the tortellini to the soup and placed the slow cookers on high. In 2 1/2 hours the soups were ready to serve. We served it with a green salad and bread along with brownies and gingerbread for dessert.
I was pleased with how the doubling and use of the slow cooker worked out for this recipe and plan to use it to invite people over for Sunday lunch sometime in the winter!
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged chicken, slow cooker on August 30, 2011 |
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It is that time of the year when things get busy, busy, busy and thus I rely more on the crock-pot to get dinner on the table. Just this last week a friend of mine from Texas posted on facebook something about Crock Pot Girls. The group had so many “likes” that they started a website this week. I found this recipe on their site and tried it tonight with my family. It was very easy to make. I used three huge chicken breasts and then boiled the others in the package to shred and freeze for meals later in the month.
Bacon Ranch Chicken
Place in the bottom of your slow cooker:
- 4 boneless chicken breasts
In a bowl combine:
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 can of cream of chicken soup
- 2 Tablespoons of real bacon bits
- 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
- 1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
Mix well and pour over the chicken.
Cook on High for 3 to 4 hours.
Just before finished cooking prepare on the stove:
Meanwhile shred the chicken breasts and return to slow cooker.
Mix cooked egg noodles in with the chicken.
Salt and pepper to taste.
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