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Crock-Pot Shredded BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

6 May

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Once again, the crock-pot comes to the rescue to help me through a busy week!  I found a new recipe that the family really enjoyed.  It is a great recipe and can be adjusted to feed a small family or a large one like mine.  We all loved it!  The chicken is marinated overnight in a brine mixture (very simple) and placed in the slow cooker the next morning to simmer.  The chicken is very tender and shreds into lovely little bits!  It is served on dinner rolls or slider buns to make a wonderful, satisfying meal.

Ingredients:

Brine –

6 cups water

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 Tablespoons salt (don’t worry about this amount, it will be discarded in the brine)

1 Tablespoon liquid smoke

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Other Ingredients-

2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/3 cup liquid smoke

1 1/2 cups hickory smoke flavored barbecue sauce

16 dinner rolls or slider buns, split

Directions:

The night before, prepare the brine and marinate the chicken.

For the brine, place 6 cups of water in a large Ziploc bag (for easy clean up).  Add the brown sugar, salt, liquid smoke, minced garlic, and thyme.

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Stir with a spoon to dissolve brown sugar.

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Remove 1 cup of brine, and refrigerate to add to the crock pot the next morning.

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Place the chicken in the bag with the brine.

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Seal the bag, getting out as much of the air as possible.  Lay in a plastic container or bowl, and refrigerate for 18-24 hours.

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The next morning, pour off the brine and discard.

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Transfer the chicken to a 3 qt. crock-pot.  Add the reserved 1 cup of brine you saved from yesterday.

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Add 1/3 cup liquid smoke, cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.

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When chicken is tender, remove chicken and discard cooking juices.

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Shred chicken with two forks, then return to crock-pot.

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Stir in 1 1/2 cups hickory smoke-flavored BBQ sauce.  Stir to combine and heat if necessary.

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Serve on split dinner rolls or buns with additional sauce.  Delicious!

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Crock-pot Corn Chowder

2 Mar

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I’ve been making a lot of soups this winter.  It’s just so satisfying to have a nice piping hot bowl of soup on a cold winter evening.  This is one I really like, because it’s super easy to stir together, it simmers in a crock-pot all day, and when you get home from work, it’s ready to eat!  Pair this hearty soup with a tossed salad and a crusty roll and you will have a real family pleaser.

Ingredients:

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (I cooked mine the night before to save time)

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cups peeled and diced potatoes (I prefer to use red potatoes because they will hold their shape when cooked)

2 10-oz. pkg. frozen whole kernel sweet corn

1 16-oz. can cream-style corn

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup water

Directions:

Cook the bacon until crisp, set aside.  To save time, I did this the night before.  I usually cook my bacon in the oven on a foil lined sheet pan.  It’s quicker and less messy.  Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes or so.  Turn it over halfway through, and watch closely so it doesn’t burn.  Drain on paper towels.

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Place one or two Tablespoons of the bacon drippings into a skillet and add the diced potatoes and onions.

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Saute for 5 minutes over high heat until the potatoes begin to have some color.  It’s not necessary to cook them until they are completely tender, they’ll finish cooking in the soup.

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Place the corn and seasonings into the crock pot, then add the partially cooked potatoes and onions.

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Add the crumbled bacon, the seasonings, and the cup of water and stir to combine.IMG_1908

Cover and set on low.  Allow to cook for 6-7 hours.  Enjoy!
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Crock-pot Taco Soup

23 Feb

IMG_2060_1This is a new crock-pot recipe I tried this week.  Or to state it more accurately, this is a crock-pot recipe I cooked this week.  I had to stay after school for an evening program and when I got home, there was not a drop of this soup left!  (Thankfully, I’d left my camera at home).  It makes a lot of soup so I was quite surprised to see that it was all gone, but the family loved it!  So I’m recommending this soup based on the opinions of the food critics that live at my house (and there’s a gang of them).  It must be good, because they have very discerning palates!

It’s very simple to assemble since you just dump everything into the crock-pot together.  You don’t even drain the vegetables. To speed it up even more, you could brown the ground beef with the pepper and onion the night before, then add the other ingredients right before you walk out the door in the morning.    I’ve had a request to make it again, and I will since I’d like to taste it myself as well!

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef or turkey (I used lean ground beef)

1/2 large (or 1 small) green pepper, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 – 15 oz. can black beans, undrained

2 – 15 oz. cans pinto beans, undrained

1 – 15 oz. can yellow corn, undrained

1 – 15 oz. can white hominy, undrained

2 – 15 oz. cans petite diced tomatoes, undrained

1 – 4 oz. can green chilies, undrained

1 pkg. dry taco seasoning mix

1 pkg. Hidden Valley salad dressing mix

Directions:

In a heavy skillet, brown the ground beef with the chopped peppers and onions.

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When done, drain off fat if needed.  If you use lean ground beef as I did, you won’t even have to drain it.

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Place meat mixture into the crock-pot and add the vegetables on top.  Remember, just pour them in, juice and all.  No need to drain.

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Sprinkle on the taco seasoning mix and the Hidden Valley dressing mix, then stir to combine.

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Set crock-pot to low and cook all day (at least 6 hours, but more is okay too).

To serve, it can be ladled over corn chips in a soup bowl and topped with sliced green onions, sour cream, shredded cheddar, black olives, etc.

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Crock-pot Pork Chops and Mushrooms

12 Feb

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What busy mom does not like a good crock-pot recipe?  I am always on the lookout for good recipes that I can put on in the morning before I leave for work.  I love to come home to the smell of something cooking for dinner.  This is a super easy recipe, and once you get home from work, you can pop a vegetable into the microwave, make a quick salad and you’ll have a well rounded meal.

Ingredients:

boneless, center cut pork chops 1/2-inch thick or thicker

2 medium onions, sliced

1 package sliced fresh mushrooms (or a 4 oz. jar of sliced mushrooms, drained)

1 envelope dry onion soup mix

1/4 cup water

1 can golden cream of mushroom soup (or regular cream of mushroom soup)

Directions:

Spray inside of the crock-pot with cooking spray.  Place the pork chops in the bottom, overlapping if needed.

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Sprinkle the sliced onions and sliced mushrooms over the top.

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Mix the onion soup mix, mushroom soup, and 1/4 cup water.

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Pour over the top of the pork chops, mushrooms, and onions.

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Spread out a little to distribute as evenly as possible.

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Set on low and cook for 6-8 hours.  When you get home, dinner will be ready!  Enjoy!

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Crock-pot Chalupas

28 Dec


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I love a good crock-pot recipe!  It’s a great feeling to have dinner already prepared when you walk in the door from work!  This one is so simple, and it is delicious!  The first time I made this for the family, I wasn’t going to be home for dinner, but I heard from them how good it was.  So I made it again not long after that so I could try it too.  It really is good!  The meat turns out extremely tender and it’s a satisfying, filling meal.  It’s real quick to put together as you are headed out the door in the morning. Take the time to cover the beans with water the night before allowing them to soak overnight.  It’s a recipe you’ll return to again and again.

Ingredients:

1 ( 2-3 lb.)  boneless pork loin roast (mine was 2 pounds, which was enough for 8 people)

1 lb. dry pinto beans

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon cumin

1 Tablespoon oregano

2 Tablespoons chili powder

1 Tablespoon salt

1 (4 oz. can) chopped green chilies

water

enough corn tortillas for your family

topping such as shredded Monterrey Jack cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato, sour cream etc.

Directions:

The night before, place the beans in a bowl and cover with water.  There should be at least 3 inches of water over the beans.  Soak overnight.

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In the morning, pour off the water.  Place the beans and the pork loin roast into the crock-pot.

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Mince or grate the garlic into the pot and add enough water to cover and come almost to the top of the crock pot.

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Sprinkle in the spices.

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Cover and cook on high for one to two hours, then turn to low and let it cook for an additional 6 hours.  If you are going to leave and be gone all day, it works just fine to start it early in the morning and leave it on low to cook all day.  It’ll take about 10 hours this way.

When done, remove meat from crock-pot

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and shred into bite size pieces with a knife.

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To assemble the chalupas, heat the corn tortillas in the microwave or oven until warm.  Place shredded meat, then beans down center of tortilla.

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Top with desired toppings.  We used shredded Monterrey jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and sour cream.

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Crock Pot Chicken and Dressing

10 Mar

This is a really good crock pot recipe!  My family especially likes this one.  Though it’s not quite as speedy as some crock pot recipes, it’s still worth the extra prep.  I cooked the cornbread and the chicken while I was cooking dinner the night before, then assembled the rest the next morning.  It only has to cook about 4 hours, but it can go longer if it needs to. 

Ingredients:

boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced (I used two large breasts for this recipe)  I cooked the chicken the night before then refrigerated it overnight.

1 –  8 inch square pan of cornbread (this is one recipe off the back of the bag of cornmeal mix.  This is not Jiffy mix cornbread, it is self-rising cornmeal mix which can be purchased on the aisle with the flour)

8 slices white bread

1 medium onion, chopped

1 teaspoon pepper

2 – 14 oz. cans chicken broth

2 – 10 oz. cans cream of chicken soup

2 teaspoons or more of fresh sage (or dried if fresh is unavailable)

4 eggs

salt to tast (I didn’t add any and it was fine)

The night before, or early in the day, cook the chicken breasts in water until fully cooked and tender, then chop.  Bake an 8-inch pan of cornbread, by following the directions for cornbread on the back of a bag of self rising cornmeal mix (this is not Jiffy mix and it’s not cornmeal, it’s cornmeal mix)

  Crumble the cooked cornbread into a big bowl.  Add 8 slices of white bread and crumble.  This can sit out at room temperature all night if assembling the next day.

 

The next morning, or early in the day, add the other ingredients to the bowl of crumbled cornbread.  Stir in broth and cream of chicken soup, then diced onion, sage, diced chicken and 4 eggs.

 Mix all together to combine and place in a crock pot.  Cook on low for 4 hours or more.  May cook on high for about 2 hours.

Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce

8 Feb

Another good crockpot recipe!  Most of the time, I use crockpot recipes on those days when I’m going to be away from home all day.  But on a recent Saturday, I assembled this recipe for a big spaghetti dinner that night.  All the kids were home for Superbowl weekend and this meal has always been a family favorite.  This recipe can be assembled and placed in the crockpot on low all day, or you can start it around lunch time (if you are home) and cook it on high until it comes to a boil then set it back to low.  Either way, I think it’s a recipe you’ll enjoy.

Ingredients:

1 lb. mild Italian Sausage (I use turkey sausage)

1 diced onion

29 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained (I prefer the petite diced variety if I can find it)

8 oz. can tomato sauce

6 oz. can tomato paste

1 bay leaf

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

4 cloves garlic, diced

2 teaspoons dried basil

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon thyme

I added an additional can of tomato sauce and an additional 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes because I was cooking for 8 people.  The ingredients can easily be adjusted up or down for the amount of servings you need. 

Directions:

Dice the onion and slice the Italian sausage into chunks. 

If you prefer, you can remove the casings from the Italian sausage and crumble it up like you would for ground beef, making a meat sauce instead of a sauce with chunks of sausage.  My family prefers the chunks.

Saute the onions and sausage chunks in a skillet until the onions are soft and the sausage is mostly done (it’ll finish cooking in the sauce).

Add the minced garlic at the end and cook for an additional minute or two just until tender.  Garlic burns easily so it’ll only take a couple of minutes.

Pour off any remaining fat (there’ll be very little if any when using turkey sausage).

You can even brown the onions and sausage the night before and refrigerate for a quicker assembly the next morning.  If you choose to do the browning the night before, you would want to cook the sausage fully, not partially since it will sit overnight in the fridge before cooking.

While the sausage and onions are cooking, put the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste in the crockpot and stir to combine.  Add the spices and the bay leaf.

Add the drained sausage, onions, and garlic to the sauce in the crockpot.

Stir to combine.

 

Cover with lid and set on low and simmer all day, or set on high around lunch time and cook until it comes to a boil, then turn to low to finish.  Serve over hot cooked pasta and top with fresh parmesan cheese.