Last Christmas, my sister in law Pam, gave me a copy of a church recipe book – Seasoned With Love that her church had created for a fundraiser. It’s a fun family recipe book, the recipes were donated by the congregation. When I was out east taking care of mom, my mother in law stayed with my son. He’s 19 and old enough to live alone, but we knew that boys with girlfriends who live nearby probably should be supervised. That, and he doesn’t always eat enough to sustain himself. So we asked mom to come.
Mom made my college son this soup (contributed by Kellie Loudin) and since there were enough leftovers, my husband and I had a bowl when we arrived home. The soup was delicious but the best part was my son. He told us his grandmother made this soup that was easy – just cook up the ground beef, dump it and the vegetables into a pot and let it cook. (more…)Diana
I put out a request for quick dinner ideas -something that wouldn’t take that much work, but would be healthy and delicious and maybe my son could do it. Crockpot suggestions came in, but I knew my son couldn’t be trusted to stop and think that far in advance. Crockpot was out for him, but on my day to cook, it’s always a welcome suggestion. Jenn Fowler suggested Salsa Chicken – and knowing the way my family feels about salsa, I was ready to try it out.
Unfortunately, the cupboards were not fully stocked, so a few substitutions were made. The dish came out a little less mexican, and a little more health nutty, but it was delicious. Instead of black beans, garbanzos aka-chick peas were used. Then instead of rice, some wheat berries were made in the rice cooker (brown rice setting) and gave the dish a nuttier flavor. The wheat berries and salsa chicken was served on top of some butter lettuce and arugula. A little white cheddar (from a local farm market) was grated over top and then avocado slices as a finishing touch.
Jenn has a lot of different variations and serving suggestions, so take a look at her Salsa Chicken. She also has a lot of other cool crockpot meals to try out.
Here’s my variation of her salsa chicken:
- 2 large chicken breasts
- 2 jars home made salsa.
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 can garbanzo beans
- 2 cups wheat berries
- shredded white cheddar
- avocado slices
- Layer first four ingredients in crockpot and cook on low 6 - 8 hours.
- Use rice cooker to make wheat berries adding water according to the directions.
- Shred chicken and put back in with the rest of the crockpot ingredients.
- Plate up - layer lettuce, wheat berries, salsa chicken, cheese and avocado slices.
As you know, I am a big fan of keeping it simple. You can ruin a dinner by fussing too much. My dad was a perfectionist and though his meals were technically perfect, sometimes there were other factors. Ask my mom how her friends loved dinner with my dad when his perfect meal didn’t show up until 9:00. Ask how much we loved running out to the store at the last minute to pick up the perfect ingredient, that he couldn’t do without because the recipe called for it, and he didn’t do substitutions. Some of my favorite meals take just a few ingredients and a little bit of time. Spending a couple of hours preparing an appetizer that disappears within a couple of seconds can be such a let down and who wants to come home to start a really in-depth dinner, when you just want to relax? This stew is super easy, fast and delicious. I start meals like this before I go to work. The first one home adds the carrots and cooks up some noodles. Put it all together and dinner is done.
- 1 lb cut up stew meat (from Bluescreek of course)
- Beef Broth
- Onion sliced
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 bay leaves
In a hot pan with two tbs olive oil, quickly saute the beef and onions. Place into crock pot along with the rest of the ingredients. The wine and beef broth should cover the beef evenly. Place the crock pot on medium. When you come home from work, peel and slice carrots and add to the crock pot. Cook up noodles. Eat when the carrots are tender. Serve the beef stew over noodles. Yum.Diana
Chipotle Baked Beans and Kolbasz (originally Kielbasa) comes from Slow Cooker Winners – 300 Easy and Satisfying Recipes by Donna-Marie Pye. My husband and I were invited to my brother in law’s to watch a Steeler’s game. We had a bit of running around to do beforehand, but I wanted to bring something to eat. So I went to the crockpot for my contribution. I didn’t tell anyone I was bringing a pot of beans and kolbasz, but it was a good decision. My sister in law’s chicken was bad when she defrosted it, so we would have been sending out for pizza. I’m so glad I decided to bring something along, it’s always a good choice to contribute something. This recipe turned out really well. We also brought along some whole grain rolls, and butter, along with a little cheese to sprinkle over top if you wanted. It was a nice hearty, smokey, slightly spicy bean and kolbasz dish. Notice Kolbasz, not kielbasa. I used nice Hungarian Kolbasz instead of kielbasa because I wanted to – hey I’m Hungarian, my grandmother would love that I put kolbasz in it.
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 2 cups coooked or canned great Northern pinto or white pea beans – drained and rinsed
- 2 cups cooked or canned black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 1/4 cups tangy barbecue sauce
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tbsp dry mustard
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp chipotle or chile powder
- 1 lb fully cooked turkey kielbasa sausage
- In slow cooker stoneware, combine onion, great Northern beans, black beans, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and chipotle powder. Place sausage on top.
- Cover and cook on Low for 5 to 6 hours or on High for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until bubbling.
- Transfer sausage to a cutting board and slice diagonally. Serve with Beans.
Yep, that’s it, I cooked a dinner that my son gave me a huge thumbs up on. I used the Crockpot to thoroughly cook the chicken in a sauce, then pulled out the bones, gristle and other desirable parts, shredded the chicken left and let it simmer for a little bit. This would make a great Superbowl or family gathering crockpot dish. I peeled all the skin off the chicken and cut off any fat I found. It’s not a heavy barbecue sauce. I used a rub on the chicken (Denny Mike’s Pixie Dust) and then made my own sauce. My assistant peeled potatoes, sprinkled on some olive oil and herbs and baked it in the oven. I also diced up some peeled hubbard squash threw on a pat of butter and sprinkled on dried sage and microwaved it.
When you prepare the chicken in advance (like the night before?), the rest of the meal will come together in a half hour or so without too much work. The squash can also be prepped in advance. I peel and cut apart my squash, then dice it up and put it into vacuum seal bags (vacuum sealed of course) so that I can use it as I need it. If Whole Foods can sell squash that way, then why not do it myself? It can be frozen after you vacuum seal to save for another meal if needed (hubbard squash are huge).
- 1/4 cup catsup
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 onion diced
- 1 tbs white wine vinegar
- 2 tbs honey
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- juice of one lemon
- 1 tsp paprika
Put all of the ingredients into a bowl and whisk together.
Crockpot Chicken Directions
Peel skin off of the chicken and remove any visible fat. Sprinkle with rub. Layer the chicken in the crockpot. I used about 14 chicken drums, but you can mix up legs and breasts or even use a whole chicken. Pour the sauce over the top and turn the crockpot on medium for about 6 –7 hours. Remove bones, gristle and undesirable stuff from the crockpot. Break up the chicken or pull apart. Stir back into the sauce and turn on high for a half hour to an hour.
Peel, Slice and layer potatoes on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil, pepper, and rosemary. Place in the oven at about 375 until done.
Sage Winter Squash
Place peeled and diced squash into microwave bowl with a pat or two of butter, sprinkle with sage (mine came from my garden but you can use the stuff in the can) and microwave 4 –8 minutes until starting to feel soft.