Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Here’s another super simple crock-pot recipe.¬† ūüôā

I made¬†this soup¬†on a day that¬†I was home from work¬†so that¬†I could¬†watch it carefully. ¬†I was a little afraid that¬†the rice would get¬†overcooked.¬† Well,¬†time got away from me {big surprise!}¬†and after 7 hours on low the rice was a little mushy, but not bad.¬† Maybe my crock-pot runs¬†hot?¬† But next time, I’ll probably only let it go for 5 hours on low. ¬† Also¬†I will say, that I almost skipped the roux/milk step to make the soup creamy.¬† I think it would have been just fine as just a broth-based soup.¬† So I’ll¬†keep that in mind next time – one recipe, two versions.

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Source:  365daysofcrockpot.com

4 cups (one 32 oz carton) low sodium chicken broth

2 cups water

2 large boneless, skinless breasts {I used 4 small boneless, skinless chicken thighs}

1 box of Rice-A-Roni long grain and wile rice

1/2 tsp pepper

1 cup diced or shredded carrots

1 cup diced celery

3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup butter

2 cups half and half {I used skim milk}

Directions:

Combine broth, water, ground black pepper, carrots, celery, chicken, and rice (with seasoning packet) in a large slow cooker.  Cook on low for 5-8 hours or high for 4 hours (or until chicken is cooked through, veggies are tender, and rice is cooked).  Remove the chicken and shred it, then add back into slow cooker.  In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Stir in the flour slowly to form a roux.  Whisk in cream or milk, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth.  Stir milk mixture into slow cooker and let it cook for about 15 more minutes.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper seasoning if needed.

Enjoy!

Harvest Chili

On a cold and lazy weekend I just love to enjoy a big bowl of chili for dinner.¬† So that is exactly what I made last Sunday.¬† You know that I have my go-to family favorite chili recipe, but I decided to mix things up after seeing Milk & Honey’s recent post.¬† I’m glad I tried it because it’s nice to have options.

This chili definitely had some sweet flavor notes from the sweet potatoes but it was spicy too.  That is totally adjustable based on the type and amount of seasonings that you add.

Harvest Chili

inspired by:  Milk and Honey

Ingredients:

2 medium sweet potatoes {about 1.5 pounds total}, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

1 pound lean ground beef

1 large red bell pepper, diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 large onion, diced

2 chipotle peppers, minced – I omitted these completely by accident

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained {I used about 1.5 cups dry pinto beans, that I soaked overnight and then cooked}

1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes

1 (14.5 oz) can hominy, drained  {You can sub corn or butter beans}

1 (46 oz) can tomato juice

1 (6 oz) can tomato paste

1 Tbsp chili powder

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

Saute the peppers, carrots, onion, garlic in a frying pan just until tender.  Add them to your large crock-pot.  Then cook the ground beef until no longer pink, drain it, and add to the crock-pot.

Also to the crock-pot add:  the pinto beans, hominy, chopped sweet potatoes, seasonings, stewed tomatoes, tomato paste and juice.  Stir everything together.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for about 5 hours or just until the potatoes become tender.

Ham and Bean Soup

As soon as temperatures turn chilly in the Fall, soup is the first thing I turn to.¬† And one really great thing about this soup is that it is cooked in the crock-pot so its really easy.¬† ūüôā

Sorry, no picture.

Ham and Bean Soup

Source:  Budget Bytes

1 medium yellow onion

3 stalks celery

4 medium carrots

2-4 cloves of garlic, to taste

2 medium ham hocks

1 pound dry 15 or 16 bean soup mix {discard the seasoning mix that comes with it}

2 bay leaves

1 tsp dried ground thyme

1 tsp dried oregano

1 bouillon cube

ground pepper to taste

6 cups water

Directions:

The night before, pick over the beans for stones and debris, rinse and place in a large bowl and cover with 2x the water.  Let sit overnight.

In the morning, chop all of the veggies and garlic and place in the bottom of a large slow cooker. Lay the ham hocks on top.

Pour soaking liquid off beans, rinse again, and add beans to crock.¬† Add all seasonings and bouillon.¬† Top with water.¬† Lightly stir, but don’t disturb the ham hocks and veggies.

Secure the lid and cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or until beans are soft.

Remove the ham hocks and cut off any meat and add it to the soup {there will be very little meat, but the soup already has great ham flavor}. Discard the rest of the hocks.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Serve with garnishes and toppings of your choice.  We enjoyed it with hot sauce and sour cream on top and crusty bread alongside.

Enjoy!

Peperoncini Beef

This is a crock pot recipe that could not be any easier!¬† It has a very minimal ingredient list, it slow cooks all day, and you have a delicious meal ready when you get home.¬† Although it does call for an entire jar of peppers, don’t be afraid that it will be too spicy.¬† Its really not.¬† Just a little tangy!

Peperoncini Beef

Source – adapted from Crock Pot 365

1 beef roast – any cut that is roughly 2 pounds {I think mine was a rump roast}

1 jar {approximately 16 oz} peperoncini peppers, liquid and peppers {mild to hot is your choice}

1 package of dry ranch dressing mix {can substitute onion soup mix or just seasoned salt and pepper}

Place everything in the crock.  The meat can even be frozen!  Turn it to low and cook for 8 hours.

Shred the meat before serving.  The peppers are edible, just watch out for the stems.

Serve on deli rolls or toasted buns with cheese if you wish.

Coconut Red Curry Lentil Stew

I don’t think I have ever seen a recipe on a blog one day and made it the very next day!¬† So, this was a first.¬† When I saw Cara post this, I immediately knew that it would be the perfect thing to make for our next dinner.¬† I knew with a few adaptations based on what I had on hand, it would suit us perfectly.¬† And it did!¬† It was perfectly delicious on a chilly night.

I didn’t really notice the coconut flavor, which was sort of disappointing but the warm curry flavor made up for it since it was certainly not lacking flavor overall.¬† I’m sure the coconut milk added some creaminess, so it was definitely a necessary ingredient. Surprisingly, the lentils retained some bite even after cooking so long.¬† I was really worried that they would be complete mush.¬† But, I was happy to be wrong!

Coconut Red Curry Stew

Source: adapted from Cara’s Cravings who adapted it from 101 Cookbooks

1 cup yellow split peas {I used green}

1 cup red split lentils {I think I used brown}

7 cups water

2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 stalks of celery, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh peeled and minced ginger {I used about 1 tsp ground ginger}

2 tablespoons red curry powder

2 tablespoons butter

8 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced {I used one small white onion, chopped}

1/3 cup golden raisins

1/3 cup tomato paste

1 14-ounce can coconut milk

1 teaspoon kosher salt

one small handful cilantro, chopped

toasted coconut, for garnish

Optional: 3oz raw shrimp per serving, peeled and deviened, shells removed

Start by rinsing the split peas and lentils. Put them in a bowl, add enough water to cover, and stir around. Drain through a mesh sieve. Repeat until water runs clear.  Place the rinsed lentils in a crockpot with the water.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, toast the curry powder until it is fragrant and has darkened a bit. Transfer to a small dish, add the ground ginger to it and set aside.

Heat the butter in the pan, add the onions, celery, and carrots.  Saute for two minutes, stirring constantly until softened.  Then add the raisins and stir.  Then add the tomato paste and cook for another minute or two.  Off the heat, whisk in the coconut milk and the toasted curry powder & ginger. Pour the coconut milk mixture into the crockpot, and season with salt.

Cover and cook on high for 6 hours. {I cooked it on low for 10 hours.}

If desired, season the shrimp with salt and pepper and cook by desired method until just opaque.

Add the shrimp to the top of each serving of stew.  Enjoy!

Italian Beef

There’s not a lot to say about an Italian Beef sandwich, other than they are delicious! I used my crock pot for this and it was super easy.¬† I even put the roast in partially frozen and it worked out great.¬† The only downfall to putting it in frozen is that I wasn’t able to trim off the fat, which contributed to slightly greasy drippings later.

I was home all day, so I was able to change the crock pot temp after 2 hours.¬† Had it been a work day, I would have started the crock pot on low from the beginning.¬† I have heard that they make programmable crock pots, so if you are going to be away from home you can have the temp change automatically as programmed.¬† I don’t have one of those nifty types of crock pots though.

I served these with oven fries and Asian cabbage salad.  Posts on each coming soon!

 

Italian Beef

{adapted from PW}

Ingredients
  • 1 whole Beef Chuck Roast, 2.5 To 4 Pounds
  • 1 can Beef Consomme Or Beef Broth
  • 3 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ¬ľ cups Water
  • ¬Ĺ jar (16 Oz) Pepperoncini Peppers, With Juice {I used about 1/4 jar because that was all I had}
  • I added 2 small cloves of peeled smashed garlic
  • Buttered, Toasted Deli Rolls {I used hamburger buns because I’m fancy}
Preparation Instructions

Combine all ingredients in large crock pot. Stir lightly to combine seasoning with the liquid.

Cover and turn heat to high for a few hours and then turn to low for about 5-6 hours or until done and fork-tender and falling apart.

With two forks, completely shred all meat, leaving no large chunks behind. Serve immediately, or keep warm.

Serve on buttered, toasted rolls. Top with cheese and melt under the broiler if desired {we skipped the chese for once!}.  Serve with juices from the pot.  {After trying it, I thought the juices were a little to greasy this time, so we ended up not using them.}

May make the day before, then store in the refrigerator. Remove the hardened fat from the top before reheating.

Chicken Enchiladas

I think I have finally mastered chicken enchiladas!  This recipe is just the way I like them.  Other recipes that I have made in the past have turned out so soggy and drowning in sauce.  These on the other hand, are just right.  A little crispy on the outside and creamy inside.  Delicious!

I was winging it and basically cut the recipe shown below in half.  My notes/changes are in italics.

I served the enchiladas with a side of yellow rice.  Enjoy!

Chicken Enchiladas

{adapted from Annie’s Eats}

Ingredients:

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 oz. reduced fat sour cream
8 oz. Ranch salad dressing
flour tortillas (10-15)
1 jar of salsa
4 cups shredded Mexican cheese

Directions:

Cook chicken breasts by preferred cooking method until cooked through. Set aside to cool a bit.  {I cooked 2 chicken breasts in the crock pot with 1/2 jar of salsa until done.  It was about 4-5 hours on high.}

While chicken is cooling, mix up the sauce. In a large mixing bowl, combine half of the sour cream and half of the Ranch dressing. In a small bowl, combine the rest of the sour cream and Ranch dressing. Stir both until well combined. Shred or chop the cooked chicken and add to the large mixing bowl. Mix well with sauce.  {I combined the shredded salsa chicken with 4 oz of sour cream and 4 oz of ranch dressing in a large bowl.}

Preheat the oven to 375¬į. Grease a 9 x 13‚Ä≥ pan (and possibly another, smaller pan if needed and if making the full recipe). Take one tortilla and top with a little less than 1 tbsp of the sauce from the small bowl. Spread over the tortilla in an even layer. Add some of the chicken mixture to the center of the tortilla. Top with salsa to taste. {My filling was already combined, so I just added a few tablespoons to each tortilla, added shredded cheese and rolled it up.} Sprinkle with a little shredded cheese, to taste. Roll up tortilla and place, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Top all the enchiladas with more shredded cheese. ¬† I also added the remaining 1/2 jar of salsa to the topping. Usually makes 10-15 enchiladas {I think I got 8 enchiladas by halving the recipe}.

Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes (30 for a crispier tortilla). Allow to cool a few minutes before serving.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is a delicious crock-pot recipe that is very easy to adapt to your tastes and quantity needed.¬† If you don’t like a lot of heat, omit the cumin and cayenne.¬† If you want a smaller batch, use one chicken breast, one can of tomatoes, one can of broth and less corn.

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Ingredients

1 carton chicken broth

1 can diced tomatoes with chilies, lightly drained

1 can stewed tomatoes with juice

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 packet taco seasoning

1 packet ranch dressing mix

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 frozen chicken breasts

1 can (or 1 cup frozen) whole kernel corn, drained

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

Directions

Place onion, corn, and green pepper in the bottom of a crock pot.  Add seasoning and soup mix.  Add tomatoes, then frozen chicken.  Add broth last.  Stir gently just to submerge chicken.

Cook on low for 8 hours or however long you are gone (mine cooked about 10 hours).  Shred the chicken with 2 forks.  Serve with shredded cheese and tortilla chips on top.

Mom’s Chili

Chili is absolutely one of my favorite winter foods.¬† It is just so warm and¬†comforting.¬† Now,¬†I am¬†NOT a picky eater, at all…except when it comes to chili.¬† I have¬†to¬†have it¬†this exact way.¬† Because of this, I’ll never order chili in a restaurant.¬† It is always too thick, full of beans,¬†and¬†just not good enough.¬† The only place thick chili has a home is on top of a hot dog.

I had to change this recipe a little bit because we like things quite a bit spicier than my parents.  But you can slowly add the seasonings, tasting as you go, until it reaches your desired heat level.

Chili (source: my Mom)

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef or turkey

2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed thru a garlic press

1 medium red or white onion, finely chopped

1/2 of a large green bell pepper

1 (14.5 oz) can Hormel Chili No Beans (I used “with beans” this time, original recipe¬†uses 2 cans)

1 (6 oz) can tomato paste

1 (46 oz) can tomato juice

1 (10 0z) can Ro-tel diced tomatoes and chilies OR stewed tomatoes, lightly drained ( plain diced tomatoes work)

2 heaping tsp cumin

3 heaping tsp chili powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 heaping tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp onion salt

fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Optional Toppings

shredded cheddar cheese, oyster crackers, croutons, sour cream, finely chopped chives, chopped scallions, chopped jalapenos, crushed tortilla chips, etc…

THIS IS ALSO AMAZING ON SPAGHETTI. AMAZING. PERIOD. (Sorry for shouting.)¬† I think they call that Cincinnati style?¬† I think its called Chili Mac at Steak ‘n Shake? Maybe? I don’t know, I haven’t been to Steak ‘n Shake in years,¬†but its good! ¬†I didn’t serve it over spaghetti this time because we had spaghetti the night before.

Directions

Brown the crumbled ground meat in a large skillet for 10 minutes or until no longer pink with garlic, bell pepper, and onion.  Drain.  Return to skillet over medium heat, add tomato paste, chili, diced tomatoes and chilies.  Stir everything together.

Next, slowly add seasonings until you reach the level of spiciness that you like.  But, keep in mind that adding the tomato juice will make the spice less concentrated.  So, either make it slightly more spicy than you normally would like.  Or, to be safe, keep it mild and then taste and adjust seasoning one final time after the tomato juice is added.

Transfer the chili mixture to¬†a large stock pot or dutch oven and slowly pour the tomato juice over.¬† Simmer for at least 20¬†minutes to thicken and allow the flavors to meld.¬† The longer it simmers, the better and thicker it will get.¬†(It is supposed be on the runny side though.)¬† I’ve also noticed it gets spicier the longer it simmers too.¬† I don’t really know why…

CROCK-POT VERSION

In a large skillet, brown meat with¬†onion, bell pepper, and garlic until no longer pink, like before.¬† Drain.¬† Place in large slow cooker.¬† Add all other ingredients and mix together.¬† Cook on low for 1-4 hours, ideally.¬† Leaving it for 8 hours is fine, but the sides tend to burn/blacken.¬† The taste doesn’t seem to be affected though.

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

This is a really simple recipe that is perfect for a busy weeknight.¬† Like most slow cooker recipes, it is pretty much ready when you walk in the door!¬† All you need to do is shred up the chicken and make some rice and you are all set!¬† My favorite part is that you can put the chicken in frozen. Perfect for me because I’m usually gone 10 hours during the day and that allows the slow cooker to thoroughly cook the chicken but not burn.

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

(source)

4 frozen chicken breasts (I used 2 really big chicken breasts)

1 cup salsa

1 can condensed cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup (I used mushroom)

1 packet taco seasoning

1/2 cup sour cream

Directions:

In the morning, place chicken breasts in a 4.5 quart (or 6 quart, or whatever you have) slow cooker.  Sprinkle taco seasoning over chicken.  In a medium bowl mix salsa and soup together and then pour over chicken. Set slow cooker to low and forget about it for at least 6 hours. When ready to serve, stir in sour cream and shred chicken.  Serve over rice or use in a burrito.  Enjoy!

It is fine to use reduced sodium taco seasoning, reduced fat soup, and reduced fat sour cream. You won’t be able to tell a difference in taste!

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