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Archive for the ‘slow cooker’ Category

I love coming home to an already cooked dinner. I’ve always used my slow cooker on a regular basis, but I’ve been pretty diligent to use it for two dinners a week these days. I’ve made some mediocre things that sounded good but executed sub-par. I think one of the issues is that I have to leave it cooking for so long since we are away from the house for so many hours in a row on the week days. If I could cook it for only four hours or so and then be ready to sit down to dinner (in other words, work half days!) some of those sub-par dinners would have probably been pretty good- swiss chard lasagna, I’m talking about you ;)

Beans and chilis tend to be fool proof when it comes to slow cooking and I make them both on a regular basis. But, I’m always looking for new things to have in the rotation. This soup that I made earlier this week will be added to said rotation. It’s simple, easy to prep for on a week night, and was enjoyed by the whole family. Truth be told, I could easily enjoy food with a Mexican twist any night of the week- tostadas , nachos , bean bowls, soft tacos , chimichangas, and huevos rancheros, for a few examples! ;)

The amount of ingredients in the recipe below made enough for the three of us for dinner and 2 bowls for leftover lunches.

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Chicken Chili Verde Soup

olive oil
1/4 large onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
2, 4-ounce cans roasted green chilies
pinch of Kosher salt
pinch of red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups chicken broth, divided
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp nutmeg

In a large skillet, heat olive oil, then sauté onions, shallot, green chilies, and a pinch of salt for 5-6 minutes until onions become translucent. Add in red pepper flakes and garlic, and cook for a few more minutes. Put the onion, chili, and garlic mix into a blender with 1 cup of the chicken broth. Puree until smooth. Then, pour into slow cooker. Add remaining broth, beans, and spices to slow cooker and stir to combine. Put the chicken breasts in last. Cook on low heat for 8-9 hours. Before you sit down to eat, shred chicken breasts with a fork and then give the soup a good stir to combine all ingredients.
Top with your favorite Mexican food toppings–avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips, a squeeze of lime, and pepper jack cheese to name a few.

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Well, hello. Did you think I had completely forgotten what I use to do over here on these pages? That I no longer remembered how wonderful it is to share food with all of you? That I forgot how to type out a recipe?

Well, almost. It was back in March of 2013, after all, when I shared my last recipe- rustic blueberry biscuits! What??!!! And, while I’m not quite certain how much it’s actually going to happen, here’s a start to the return of recipe sharing. This one…it’s a good one too. Yummy and simple- the adjectives that I hope you use to describe the food I share here.

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Chicken and Four Bean Chili

Ingredients
4 cups chicken broth
1 can black eyed peas
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can cannellini beans
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1 medium onion
5 garlic cloves
2 chicken breasts (about 1 pound total)

Open all 4 cans of beans, pour into a colander, and rinse under cold water. Dump the beans along with the chicken broth, tomato sauce, spices, onion, and garlic into your slow cooker. Stir to combine.

Place chicken breasts on top of bean mixture. Cook on low heat setting for 8 hours.

When cooking is complete, shred the chicken with a fork and stir into chili.
Top with shredded sharp cheddar cheese and serve over quinoa or brown rice, or alone aside some tortilla chips or a crusty sourdough bread.

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Happy Spring to everyone! Yesterday, on the official first day of spring, our weather started out with heavy rain and gray skies. Then, the wind kicked up and blew the clouds and rain away to reveal beautiful blue skies and sunshine! The pops of color from the spring flowers, amidst the lush green landscape we are so accustomed to in Seattle, is so much more astounding when the sunlight hits it just right.

Oh, spring! We are ready for you…flowers, longer days, warmer weather cocktails (I’m craving a Dark and Stormy badly these days!), grilling, Easter egg hunts, and basketball!!! Who else is excited for the official start of March Madness today??! My loyalty lies with two teams. First and foremost, my alma mater, the Davidson Wildcats who play Marquette this afternoon (Go Cats!!!) and despite being such a small school nearly always score a spot in the Big Dance! And, the Florida Gators who play their first game on Friday evening…Go Gators!!!

Today is quite the perfect day for the slow cooker to cook your meal and to have it ready to be eaten right when you get home from work, when you’re ready to sit for several hours on the sofa watching all the madness of the games and updating your brackets! This chicken is really good! I prepped it the night before, cutting the onions and peppers and rubbing on the spices, then placed all of the ingredients in the slow cooker and popped it right into the refrigerator until the next morning. I started the slow cooker right before I left for work and when I got home the chicken was fragrant and very tender- I shredded it with a fork. And, it makes enough to have this same meal twice or to use the leftover chicken in a salad or on nachos! If you double the batch,you could even freeze half, which I love to do. A freezer full of stacked ziplocs filled with sauces or shredded meats makes my heart happy!

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Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas Tacos
adapted from Eat, Live, Run

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

for spice rub—

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp salt

for serving—

corn tortillas

avocado slices

shredded sharp cheddar cheese

your favorite salsa

limes

Directions:

Mix together all spices in a small bowl. Rub the spices all over the chicken. Then, place the chicken on the bottom of the slow cooker.

Cover the chicken with the chopped onions, pepper, jalapeño pepper, and garlic. If you are prepping ahead, place in the refrigerator until the next morning. When you are ready to start cooking, turn heat on LOW and cook for 8 hours.

After 8 hours, remove meat from crock pot and shred with a fork. It should be incredibly easy to shred.

To serve, heat your corn tortillas in a skillet on the stove or in a toaster oven on 200 degrees. Spoon some carnitas on a tortilla then top with salsa, avocado, cheese, and a squeeze of lime.

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I am always searching for alternative chili recipes. I love the idea of a warming bowl of beans and spices, but truth be told, standard red chili is not my favorite thing to eat. I once blamed my dislike of chili on the chili powder, but I have come to realize that it is the combination of tomato paste and kidney bean that I do not love (and this coming from a lover of beans!).

When I stumbled upon a recipe for chili in Real Simple using sweet potatoes and no tomato paste, I knew I had to try it with a few adaptations of my own. And, boy, am I glad that I did! This chili will warm your chilled body and make your taste buds happy! The notes of cocoa and cinnamon combine so perfectly with the sweet potato, yet the sweetness does not overpower. Instead, the sweetness mellows out the intensity of heat from the fire roasted tomatoes. All the ingredients play on one another to make a perfectly harmonious dish that will greet you comfortably as you come home from work. It pairs nicely with a winter beer like Snow Day from Fat Tire Brewery.

Let me know how you like it, if you give it a try in your kitchen.

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Sweet Potato Chili

INGREDIENTS
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
kosher salt
1 14-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15.5-ounce can black beans, rinsed
1 15.5-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 12 ounces), peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
1/2 cup. beef broth
sour cream, sliced scallions, sliced radishes, shredded sharp cheddar, and tortilla chips, for serving

DIRECTIONS
In a slow cooker, combine the onion, pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, cocoa, cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon salt. Add the tomatoes (and their liquid), beans, sweet potato, beef broth, and 1 cup water.
Cover and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender and the chili has thickened, on low for 7 to 8 hours.
Serve the chili with the sour cream, scallions, radishes, cheese, and tortilla chips.

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I think I’ve been upfront with my love of the slow cooker. I try to use it frequently, especially in the winter, for rich, hearty meals that are warm as soon as you are ready to eat them.

This recipe for tender roast beef beautifully seasoned with a balsamic vinegar gravy will most certainly be added to the slow cooker weekly rotation. I love it when I cook a meal, especially one that is simple to prepare, and my family loves it. This is one of those meals- David went back for seconds (and thirds and maybe even fourths!) and, after some convincing that he would be big and strong like Superman if he ate his protein, Jack even seemed to like it (and he doesn’t usually like meat).

This recipe doesn’t even require you to brown the roast before putting it in the slow cooker. All you do is put the roast and the combined liquid ingredients and garlic into the slow cooker…It really is that simple!

I hope your family enjoys it as much as we did!

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Balsamic Roast Beef
adapted from Add a Pinch

INGREDIENTS
2 pound boneless beef round roast
1 cup beef broth
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 cloves minced garlic

DIRECTIONS
Place roast beef into your slow cooker. In a 2-cup measuring pitcher, mix together all remaining ingredients. Pour over roast beef and then start your slow cooker- cook 7 hours on low heat.

Once roast beef has cooked, remove from slow cooker with tongs onto a serving dish. Shred the meat using two forks and then ladle ¼ – ½ cup of gravy over the roast beef.

Store remaining gravy in an airtight container in the refrigerator for another use. I plan to use it for a dinner of portobello mushrooms stuffed with spinach and mozzarella cheese…mmmmm!

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