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


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}


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.


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


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


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


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.


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}

  • 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.

Potato Leek Soup

So, this recipe was my first experience with leeks and I’m really happy I went for it!¬† Ever since reading the book and seeing the movie Julie & Julia a few months ago, I have wanted to make a potato leek soup.¬† I can’t remember if it is at the beginning of the book or movie, or both – that Julie makes a simple potato & leek soup and her husband thought it was the most delicious thing ever.¬† ¬†Anyway, my memory of that scene is foggy.¬†¬†But¬†the soup¬†has been on my mind since then!

It was really easy to prepare too.¬† I had fears that the leeks¬†would be difficult to clean, but they weren’t at all – just a quick rinse did the trick. ¬†Now, there is¬†a lot¬†of chopping involved, but¬†I don’t mind chopping at all.¬† I’m pretty quick with a knife and I¬†find chopping to be a stress reliever. ūüôā¬† I’ll definitely be looking for more recipes that call for leeks now that I’m comfortable with them.

Overall, we thought this soup was fantastic.¬† However, Tim did ask if that’s all we were having for dinner.¬† ūüė¶¬†¬†So, next time I’ll definitely pair it with a side dish, maybe even just crusty bread would have been good.¬† Also, he is not a huge fan of meatless meals, so I may add some chopped ham next time.¬† Or, I’ll just use the recipe as¬†it is for a starter course.

soup is hard to photograph!

soup is hard to photograph!

Potato Leek Soup {loosely adapted from A Year of Slow Cooking I didn’t slow cook it.} yields¬†4 small servings


1 or 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

2 large leeks {white parts only}, rinsed and thinly sliced

1 medium onion, chopped

2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced

5 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1″ pieces

4 cups low sodium chicken broth {veggie broth would work too}

dash of dried ground thyme

salt and pepper

1/2 cup milk – optional


Wash and chop all veggies.  Discard the dark green parts of the leeks.  the light green parts are fine.

Then, heat a stock pot with the oil or butter and add the leeks, onions and garlic.  Saute for a few minutes or until tender.  Add the ground thyme, salt and pepper.

Then dump in the potatoes and pour in the broth.  Bring to a boil, cover, and cook until potatoes are tender.

Turn off the heat and blend with an immersion blender to make creamy {or use a blender or food processor}.  If the soup is too thick for your liking, add 1/2 to 1 cup of milk or cream. {I added 1/2 cup skim milk.  Additional broth would work too}.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, and chopped chives or parsley {which I didn’t have}.

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