Alright, I promise this is the last St. Patrick’s Day post this year! Even though the temperatures are warm in South Texas, it’s still a little chilly in the rest of the country. So, while Irish Stew might be a bit much around here, I think most people still appreciate the gesture! Besides, if it’s warm outside this meal could be seen as a bonus since it doesn’t heat up your whole house!
I love stew. I don’t know what it is about it, but I think that stew is the ultimate comfort food. That being said, if you have tough meat, stew is no comfort at all! The other wonderful thing about this meal, is how quickly it comes together. You don’t have to use the frozen hash brown potatoes, but they make the prep that much quicker!
I can’t wait to hear what you’re all making for Sunday dinner to celebrate the Irish in you!
If you want to try out some other St. Patrick’s Day recipes, here are some ideas:
This is another recipe from my grandmother. Her recipe was actually something always served at potlucks as a sausage appetizer. Her peachy sausages were pretty much always available at group functions. I’ve adapted her recipe for chicken and the slow cooker. I’ve made this quite a few times, and I think I’ve come up with a pretty good main dish version of her dish.
When I use the slow cooker I have started using bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. The boneless, skinless thighs are a little less time consuming, but they’re not nearly as moist. If you cook the chicken long enough, the skin and bone comes right off. This recipe also calls for Chili Sauce, which, in my opinion, is a magical ingredient. It pretty much always makes meat taste better! Don’t forget to spray your slow cooker with some kind of non-stick oil, it makes a huge difference with the clean up!
Sweet and Sour Chicken for the Slow Cooker
6-8 bone in chicken thighs
1 large onion, chopped
1 can sliced peaches in syrup
1 can chopped pineapple, drained
1 bottle chili sauce
1 small tin tomato paste
Place all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours.
Right before serving, remove skin and bones and separate with a fork.
I was sure that I had posted this recipe ages ago, but when I went looking, I couldn’t find it anywhere. I didn’t try red beans and rice until well after I was married. It’s not something we ate in our family, and trust me, you don’t want your new husband comparing your red beans and rice to his mother’s! My husband is kind of funny about his tastes with this dish, for example, he says using canned beans is not authentic, and yet, he loves the version using canned beans made by his mother and his sister-in-law. Perhaps it’s just me and my north-easterly ways! I just don’t “get” southern cooking!
This recipe was my first real success with red beans and rice. The thing that I really love about it is that it does not require soaking the beans in advance. The original recipe is from Southern Living Magazine, but I have tweaked it to make sure that there is enough meat for my growing boys! You put this in the pot in the morning, and it’s ready for dinner, although my husband almost always prefers it the second day.
Red Beans and Rice for the Slow Cooker
1lb. dried red beans
2 lb. smoked sausage, thinly sliced
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 sweet onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. creole seasoning
4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
Cooked rice for serving
Combine first 8 ingredients along with 7 cups of water in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high 7 hours, or until beans are tender.
Add the cooked bacon during the last hour of cooking.
This was the main part of our Father’s Day meal last night. It was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone in the family. My husband was saying that I had a week’s worth of posts last night because every part of dinner was so good! I love my husband and his complimenting ways
I loved how easy this recipe was to put together. The only real chopping was for the onions. I did cook the beans as well – I soaked the black and pinto beans together (about 2 cups of each) and then this morning I rinsed them and cooked them for an hour before starting the soup. I also felt that the soup ended up pretty thick and would go well with rice if you wanted to stretch it further.
Chicken Taco Soup
1 cup diced onions
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans black beans
1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
2 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles
1 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chiles
1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix
Saute onions in about a Tablespoon of olive oil until they begin to wilt, but before they become browned.
Add chicken, beans, corn, tomatoes, chiles, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing packet. Simmer on low for an hour. This can easily go in the slow cooker instead of the stove – on low for about 5 or 6 hours.
Serve with chips, sour cream, cheese and jalapenos.
Recipe inspired by Paula Deen. Original recipe found here.
What week dedicated to slow cookers would be complete without a tribute to the mother of all slow cooker cookbooks?! The Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook has been my go to resource since I first bought my slow cooker as a newlywed back in 2002. (I don’t know what it is with me and the run on sentences today!) This book is a compilation of submitted recipes. If you want a recipe for Pea Soup, there are seven to choose from. This book really gave me a feel for how recipes come together. By being able to look at multiple recipes for the same thing, you can get an appreciation for flavors and differences. This book has helped me come up with a lot of my own slow cooker recipes, because now I know how long everything cooks for, and I know what does and does not work in a slow cooker. If you’re a novice with the slow cooker this is a book that I highly recommend.
Pros: I think the barbecue sandwiches are worth the price of the book! I love all of the helpful hints that are throughout the book. There is amazing variety… if you can make it in a slow cooker, you can find the recipe in this book!
Cons: Once again no pictures (that’s probably not all bad, since a lot of these recipes don’t look appealing when they come out of the pot! Sometimes it’s a bit of an overload. I don’t always want to choose between ten million recipes for brisket!
I was thinking about what to make for dinner last night. Something told me I should be making a Cinco de Mayo dish, but I hadn’t planned ahead and the thought of taking my three little jumping beans to the supermercado ended with me beating my head like a pinata. So, instead, I dug through the pantry and found a couple of sweet potatoes that I had left from something I made last week. And then I saw the coconut milk. And then I was thinking curry. And finally stew because it’s been so cold here lately!
At dinner, my husband asked me where I had gotten the recipe. He liked it – a lot – and had never had anything like it before. I just pulled a bunch of things together and it worked! I hope you like it too.
Sweet Potato Stew:
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 small red onion
28 oz can diced tomatoes in juice
14 oz coconut milk
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups cooked kidney beans
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 carrots, sliced
1/2 cup dried lentils
1 cup vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 t tumeric
1/8 t dry mustard
1 t cumin
1 t coriander
1/2 t salt
1/4 t red pepper flakes
Turn slow cooker on high and toss in olive oil, garlic, and onion. Put the lid on and let those flavors come together while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Open your cans, dice and chop your vegetables and throw everything in the pot! Cook on high for 4-6 hours. It took four hours for me, but I think my crock pot is on the hotter side of things.
Shh… don’t tell anyone, but when I moved to San Antonio from Salt Lake City, one of the things I missed the most was Cafe Rio’s Pulled Pork Burrito, Enchilada Style. I know, I could get deported from Texas for preferring Utah Mexican to Texas Mexican! There’s just something about a gigantic burrito filled with insanely sweet pork. I have written letters trying to convince Cafe Rio to build a restaurant down the street from my house. I have also made kindly asked my husband bring me Cafe Rio when he’s had to go to Utah for business trips. I have scoured the internet looking for just the right recipes. Lots of people write about the salads. I’m sure they’re wonderful, but who needs a salad when you can have a burrito?! The nice thing about San Antonio is that fresh tortillas are available everywhere. If only I could find fresh 12″ tortillas, then I’d be all set. This really couldn’t be any easier. I know it seems like a lot of steps, but none of them are difficult, and they’re all worth it! So, get ready to enjoy your cinco de mayo the Utah way!
1 c. grated Cotija cheese, set aside until the very end
pico de gallo, also for the end
8-10 fresh, large tortillas
2-3 lb. pork (I use boneless rump roast)
2 ltr. Coca Cola Classic (You need the sugar here, so don’t go Diet Coke crazy!)
1 1/4 c. Brown Sugar (I use dark, but I don’t think it matters too much)
1 can (4oz) sliced green chiles (If you want it really mild you can use Rotel diced tomatoes with chiles)
1 large can enchilada sauce (I use mild, but again it’s whatever you prefer)
2 c. Minute Rice
1 tsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 3/4 c. water
1/4 c. pan drippings from the pork
2 tsp. Sugar
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro
1 can black beans, rinsed
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 tsp. Taco Seasoning
1 1/2 c. Tomato Juice (You can also use vegetable juice for an added kick)
2 Cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. fresh Cilantro
The night before you want to serve, marinate the pork in a zip top bag along with 1/4 c. brown sugar and 3 c. of the cola.
The next morning, drain the marinade and put the pork in the slow cooker along with 1 c. cola and the 1/4 c. water. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (If you forget to do this in time, just turn the slow cooker on high for half the time).
After the pork has cooked, remove it from the slow cooker. Reserve 1/4 c. liquid for the rice and discard the rest. Put the meat back in the slow cooker and shred with two forks.
In a blender, combine 1 c. cola, the chiles, 1 c. enchilada sauce and 1 c. brown sugar. Blend until smooth.
Add the sauce to the pork and cook, on low, for another two hours.
About a half an hour before you’re ready to serve, start the rice. Melt the butter in a sauce pan and add garlic and 1 tsp. lime juice.
Bring 1 3/4 c. water and the 1/4 c. drippings to a boil in the same pot. Add rice, cover and remove from heat. Let sit for five minutes.
Add remaining lime juice and 2 Tbsp. cilantro to rice and fluff with a fork.
While the rice is sitting, prepare the black beans. Start by heating up the olive oil, taco seasoning, and garlic in a nonstick skillet.
Add the rinsed beans and tomato juice and stir until heated through. Add the cilantro right before serving.
Putting it all together:
This is where it gets a little tricky for me, because I’m going off my memories of walking down the line. So bear with me, and feel free to let me know if I’m out of order.
Lay a tortilla flat
Add 1/4 c. rice
Place 1/4 c. beans on top of rice
Add 1/4 meat mixture on top of beans
Add a little bit of cheese and enchilada sauce
Fold up burrito style
If I’m doing this for my family, I put all the burritos in a casserole dish. After the dish is full I top the burritos with the remaining enchilada sauce and cotija. I then put it in a 350 degree oven until the cheese melts (about 7 min.). Serve it with a side of pico de gallo, and you might as well be in Utah!
After reading Rhonda’s guest post, Sarah and I decided to dedicate this whole week to the crock pot. I loved the idea of using it on a more regular basis. A crock pot night is like a night off in the kitchen since the recipes usually go together easily, and I can put them together in the morning when I have a little more energy than I tend to have at 5 o’clock!
In the past, I have limited my crock pot use mainly to the colder months since recipes are generally for chili and stews. But I have also found that when I have a new baby, the crock pot allows us to actually eat quality meals. It seemed if I waited until the afternoon I was too tired and the baby would be fussier at that time of day.
Last night was the first time that I made dessert in the crock pot. I hadn’t really thought of putting dessert in the slow cooker, but I was motivated by Rhonda to broaden my crock pot horizons! And I’m glad I did. This recipe will be great for times when I have a lot going on in my oven and would also be great to bring to a potluck. I mean, who doesn’t love warm chocolate cake?
Chocolate Fudge Crock Pot Cake:
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1 cup sugar, divided
1/3 cup cocoa, plus 3 tablespoons cocoa
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups hot water
Coat the inside of a slow cooker or crock pot with cooking spray.
Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water and mix well.
Whisk in the 2/3 cup of sugar, 3 T. of cocoa, vanilla, salt, milk, and egg.
Add the flour mixture and stir until thoroughly mixed.
Pour the batter into the slow cooker and spread it evenly.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/3 cup of white sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, cocoa and hot water until the sugars are dissolved.
Pour the mixture over the batter in the slow cooker.
Cover and cook on high for 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours, depending on size of the crock pot.
You will know it is ready when nearly all of the cake is set and the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pot. There should be a layer of cake on top of a layer of chocolate sauce.
Tastes even better when served with freshly whipped cream or some vanilla ice cream!
Here is a picture of the cake almost done. It needed about 15 more minutes after this picture. You can see where it’s not quite set in the middle – you want the cake to be fully cooked on top – but if you leave it for too long you’ll lose your chocolate sauce on the bottom.
I’m so excited for our first guest post today! I met Rhonda while our paths briefly crossed in Nova Scotia. I had a chance to taste her donuts, which are pretty much the best I’ve ever had, so I thought that we would be great friends. But they moved. And we moved. And now we get to be friends through the blogosphere! She’s uber-talented: a great cook, mom, photographer, scrapbooker, and super-crafty. You can check out her blog here. Thanks, Rhonda! -Christina
When most people think of using a crockpot the first thing they probably think of is Stew. Using it on a cold winter day with something with tomatoes and is soupy. Not me! (nothing against tomatoes or soup, I happen to love both). I use my crockpot at least once a week all year long. The beauty of a crockpot in the summer and spring time is that your house doesn’t have to get all hot while you are cooking dinner!! If you haven’t used your crockpot since the calendar said it was spring time pull it out!!
I have a few favorite recipes including desserts that cook great in the crockpot. But this is one of my favorites.
And it is full of MEAT. No meatless meal here! This recipe doesn’t really have a name to my knowledge. I got it from my mother in law. I call it the fancy chicken since she makes it on Sundays and we eat it the dining room. But you can call it whatever you want!
First up you need bacon, thawed chicken breast and pastrami.
Layer the inside of your crockpot with the pastrami.
Then take your chicken breasts out and cut them up into smaller pieces. I made mine this big. If you want them bigger you can, they’ll just need to cook longer and be cut up more when you serve them to your kids. Hence, I cut them!
Take each chicken breast piece and wrap with bacon and secure with a toothpick. mmmmm bacon!
Then layer them all in the crockpot on top of the pastrami.
Cook that on low for 3 hours. Then add in two cans of mushroom soup undiluted. The meat will be swimming in juices so you don’t need to add anything to the soup but you CAN add sour cream to give it a bit of a thicker sauce. Or if you are all worried about all that fat then scoop some of the juices out and add some sour cream with your soup.
Then put the lid and cook for another hour and the sauce will be wonderful and saucy.
I totally forgot to take a picture of this meal on my plate since it was a bit of a hectic night (hence the beauty of a crockpot and having a great dinner all ready on time)
But when you serve this, serve it with rice to use up the yummy sauce and a vegetable to balance out all the MEAT.
Hope you enjoy it.
And thanks for having me Frank ladies.
I love using the slow cooker in the middle of winter when I’m in the mood for something warm and cozy, but I also love the slow cooker when it starts getting warm out. I can make dinner in the morning while it’s still cool, and I can let it cook all day without heating up the house!
I don’t generally use a lot of recipes that involve a can of condensed soup (not that I have anything against those recipes!), but this one is just too good. I’m not bragging, because the whole thing was my husband’s idea, but it is that good! Another nice thing about this recipe is that the sauce is dark, so if you wanted to hide something healthy, like grated carrot, no one would notice. We also used the Roti Chapati from Costco. It took me a few tries to get it right (which is kind of ridiculous since it only uses a skillet), but once I got the hang of it I was very happy.
If you don’t like too much salt, you might want to try the lower sodium version of the soup. No one in my family minds, but you can taste a difference. Also, I always spray my slow cooker with cooking oil so that it’s easier to clean. You can also top this dish with chopped cashews if you have no allergies in your house.