Tag Archive | crockpot

do-able for any dinner party: Crock-Pot Fruit & Pork

Hey friends and happy Wednesday! Is the week flying by or is it just me? I am losing track of the days, but that’s okay since it means we are that much closer to the weekend : – ) It’s dinnertime here in Australia, which made me realize that I still hadn’t posted the crock-pot recipe I mentioned in a  post last week. This recipe originated from my Mom’s recipe book (I’m not positive where she got it from but it sure is a good one!), and since she knows my love of crock-pot meals, she always shares her recipes with me. This particular recipe was quite a hit when she made it for my grandparents, so she photocopied it for me and I’ve just been waiting for the right time to make it!
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Whenever I am seriously stumped for dinner ideas, I typically turn to crock-pot recipes, which is exactly what I did last week.  I absolutely LOVE entertaining and holding dinner parties, but I certainly don’t love the cost of them. That’s one reason why I love crock-pot meals. You can turn simple, inexpensive ingredients into a special, gourmet-tasting dinner. Honestly I can’t imagine not using my crock-pot. My top five favorite things about crock-pot cooking are:

1) Set it and forget it:
Who has time to stand around waiting for a meal in the oven for hours upon end? I don’t think many of us! I love the flexibility of this machine- just throw your ingredients in the crock-pot in the morning, set it to low, and let it cook all day. Then your dinner is ready when you walk in the door!

2) Easy clean-up: One-pot clean up? Yes please, I’ll do the dishes tonight.

3) Leftovers, leftovers, leftovers: I love having leftovers for lunches all week. Plus, as the meal sits,     the flavors tend to intensify.  Yum!

4) The aroma it creates:  Coming home to the smell of a delicious simmering dinner just makes me smile. Plus, your guests will get even hungrier once they walk through the door!

5) Simple ingredients=sensational meals

While I’m professing my love of crockpots, I’ll confess that I have been dying for a new one, particularly a girly one. Here’s my top 3:
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(Mom if you’re reading, there’s a Christmas present idea!)

Anyway, back to this recipe. I’ve been wanting to share this because it’s super simple to prepare and definitely do-able for any dinner party. Plus, it will feed quite a few people. This fed five active and hungry girls, and I had so much left over it could have easily served at least four more!

Crockpot Pork Tenderloin with Dried Fruit and Butternut Squash
Ingredients:
1 (approx. 3-pound) lean boneless pork tenderloin
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. grated, peeled fresh ginger
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup pitted dried plums (or prunes)
4 cups cubed and peeled butternut squash
1/2 cup water

Directions:
1) Assemble your crock-pot and spray interior with cooking spray. Then turn on high. Chop your butternut squash and set aside. Then, cut the pork roast into chunks, about 1-2 inches thick, and set aside (You could also just cut the pork in half crosswise,  but I liked having it in portion-sized chunks so that I was able to serve it onto dinner plates right out of the crock-pot without having to slice it afterwards!)
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*FYI: Do yourself a favor and buy pork tenderloin. I had to cut all of the fat off of this pork roast and it took me ages!*

2) Combine the brown sugar, ginger, salt, cinnamon, and black pepper in a small mixing bowl, and rub the pork evenly with the mixture.
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3) Place the pork in the crock-pot and arrange the dried apricots, dried prunes(or plums), and butternut squash around the pork. Then add the water.
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4) Cover the crockpot and cook on high for 1 hour. Then reduce the heat to low and cook it for about 6-7 hours, until the pork, fruit, and squash are all tender. Serve and enjoy!
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I served this alongside of roasted vegetables and Naan bread, which was the perfect pair for dipping into the “sauce” that creates in the crockpot around the dish. The girls loved it, I hope you do too! Have a great Wednesday : – )

Do you like to cook with crock-pots? 
What do you think of the pink options? I am in love!

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Crockpot mexican chicken stuffed pepper medley

Well, that recipe name is a mouthful…sheesh. Sorry about that. I really don’t know what to call it, but I promise you this was a delicious (and nutritious) meal . Since Brandon graciously bought me a crock-pot upon my arrival, I’ve been trying to use it once a week for two reasons: 1) because it’s so darn easy, and 2) so that he can’t say I don’t use it! Hahaha just kidding kind-of..not really.

Anyway, I’ve always enjoyed using a crock-pot for no-fuss dinners, but it’s particularly coming in  handy here in Australia due to the god-awful humidity we’re experiencing.  As much as I love cooking and baking, I can’t say I thoroughly enjoy it in 90 degree+ temperatures, so my crock-pot is coming to the rescue!

This week, chicken breasts were on sale (Amen), so I knew I wanted to make something that incorporated this source of protein. After searching Pintrest for inspiration, I stumbled across a “skinny chicken taco” recipe that I just couldn’t pass-up. After making a few tweaks of my own, and deciding that I’d incorporate it into "stuffed peppers” for dinner,  here’s what I assembled. 

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Keep in mind, you can make your own tweaks to this recipe; crock-pots are so versatile, that’s one of my favorite parts about them. If you don’t have kidney beans, use black beans. If you don’t have chicken, use beef, etc. Use what’s in your cupboard! This helps make it a budget-friendly and a waist-friendly meal.

Crockpot Mexican Chicken Stuffed Pepper Medley
Ingredients
-2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped
-1/2 onion, chopped
-1 16 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or your bean of choice)
-1 10 oz can salt-reduced diced tomatoes
-1 jar salsa (I used mild, but spicy would work too!)
-1/2 jar tomato sauce ( you can use the whole jar, but this is all I had)
-1 10 oz. bag frozen corn
-1 packet reduced-salt taco seasoning
-3-4 chicken breasts
-about 1/2 cup reduced-salt chicken broth (use enough to cover the chicken)
-1 TBSP of chile powder (optional—this is if you want it spicy!)
-Peppers for stuffing (optional)-I bought 3 large green and 1 large red
-Brown rice (optional)
-Part-skim shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Directions
1) Spray crock-pot with cooking spray, and turn it on (I forgot to turn mine on for 20 minutes, this is why I’m reminding you!) Chop sweet potato and onion.  Then add these, along with remaining ingredients through the taco seasoning, to the pot. Mix to combine.
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2) Clean your chicken breasts, then add them to the top of the pot (just mesh them in with everything else).  Then, add the chicken broth so that the chicken breasts are mostly covered with liquid.
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3) Cook on high for 5-6 hours, or low for 10 hours, stirring every hour or so, until chicken is cooked and fork-tender. Side-note: our crock-pot is new and ridiculously fast, so mine was done in 4.5 hours. Depending on your crock-pot, you may need 6+ hours, just judge the time based on the chicken.  Once tender, remove chicken and place in a bowl. Shred with two forks, then place back in crock-pot and stir-in. Turn off crockpot, and if you’re ready to eat now, dig in! This would be great as-is topped with low-fat cheese, and stuffed into a wrap, on a salad, or by itself. I wanted to stuff green and red peppers with the medley, so I’ll outline that next.
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4) Turn your oven to 400 degrees (about 204 degrees Celsius). Wash your peppers, then cut tops off and remove cores from inside. Assemble on a foil-lined cookie sheet.
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5) I had brown rice on hand that I needed to use up, so I added a small layer (about 2-3 tablespoons) of that to each pepper as a base. Then I filled each to the top with the crock-pot Mexican chicken medley, and topped each with part-skim shredded cheddar cheese (or your cheese of choice). Bake for 12-15 minutes, until cheese is browned and bubbly.

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6) Let them cool for a few minutes, and then enjoy! We ate ours with a side of steamed cauliflower and a garden salad. Healthy, nutritious, deeeelicious. The best part about this meal is the amount of leftovers you’ll have…perfect for lunch or dinner.  Hope you like it as much as we did!
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Barbeque Crock-Pot Chicken

I have to admit…sometimes I crave pulled chicken. Sounds strange, right? Well I blame it on my 6+ summers of working in a barbeque barn. For six summers straight, I pulled countless chickens–breasts, thighs-you name it, we pulled it— every single Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday of every summer, so of course, we naturally ate it too. The “we” I’m speaking of are my favorite girls—my twin sister, and my beautiful friends Tiffany and Monique. I think we all agreed,  you don’t get barbeque chicken more tasty than chicken straight from a smoker! …or at least, that’s what I thought. Now that I’ve made this crock-pot recipe, I’m having second thoughts.

Not only is this simple to make, but the minimal ingredients make it fairly inexpensive, too. Plus, this will last you the work week and it’s extremely versatile. I ate it all week as a main dish, on top of salads, in sandwiches, and in wraps—your chicken, your choice J It’s just.so.tasty. Make this now!

Barbeque Crock-Pot Chicken

Ingredients
-4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (I used 8 thin chicken tenderloin strips)
-1 can Campbell’s French Onion Soup (10 1/2 oz.)
-1 cup ketchup
-1/4 cup cider vinegar
-3 tbsp light brown sugar
-1 bottle smokey bbq sauce (or bbq sauce of your choice—I used honey barbeque)

Directions:

1) Mix soup, ketchup, cider vinegar, and brown sugar in a mixing bowl.

2) Once your chicken is washed and in the crock-pot, pour the mixture over chicken.
All in!

3) Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours, or high 4-5 hours,  until done.

4) Remove chicken from slow cooker. Cool slightly, then shred using 2 forks.

5) Return chicken to slow cooker & add bbq sauce. Mix and reheat through, about 5-10 minutes. Enjoy!

Dig in!

Someone please tell me they had a difficult time pulling away from this chicken so that I’m not alone…I am addicted! In a month, I made this 3 times…whoops! Hope you like this as much as I did : )

What’s your favorite chicken dish?

Crockpot Chicken Chili

If I’m being completely honest, I have to say that I only enjoy a select few things about fall: pumpkin flavored coffee, perfect running weather, and crockpot dinners are at the top of my list. Go figure, 2 of my top 3 involve food…priorities people!! Anyway, I’m a creature of routine when it comes to preparing meals for my work weeks, but all routines seem to fly out the window in the summertime. I figured now is the perfect time for me to get back on track, so this past weekend, I did just that by dusting off my crockpot.

To me, crockpots are a saving grace. You can basically throw a slew of ingredients in there, add broth, and all of a sudden you have a dinner ready to eat in 6 hours. Whenever I decide to use my crockpot, I typically choose a Sunday. That way, I have a meal that lasts me throughout the work week. I rarely have enough energy to cook an entire meal for myself after a 12-13 hour day at the office, so by preparing a meal on Sunday, I avoid this hurdle, and avoid the urge to order out each night—and extremely hard obstacle to overcome when you live in the city of Boston!

In addition to providing a simple meal solution, I find crockpot meals to be cost effective, too. Cans of chicken broth, beans, corn, and chopped veggies are for the most part inexpensive. It’s the protein that can be pricey. However, if you wait for a sale, you’ll be able to make yourself a simple, inexpensive, delicious dinner. The ingredients for this crockpot dinner cost less than $13 in total, and this meal lasted me 3 lunches and 2 dinners…that is a budget-friendly dinner in my mind!

Crockpot Chicken Chili

Ingredients:

1 can chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed ( I used white, I was out of black)
8 oz frozen corn
3 green onions, sliced (optional, I omitted these)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon chili powder (more or less to taste)
Salt, to taste
2 large chicken breasts, or 4 thinner chicken breasts, thawed

Toppings:

Salsa
Chopped romaine
Shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients from chicken broth to salt in crock pot. Salt chicken breasts, lay on top of mixture and cook on low for 7 hours.

corn n’ beans n’ broth

plus tomatoes

plus chicken

2. Remove chicken breasts and shred with two forks. Return shredded chicken to crock pot, stir to combine, taste and adjust seasonings.

pulllled chicken!

all together now

3. Taste the goodness straight from the pot…then serve over letttuce, cooked rice, or in tortillas. (I used whole-wheat tortillas).

 

tortilla time

This meal came together in less than 25 minutes. I placed all the ingredients in the crockpot at 1:00, and by 7:00, dinner was ready to serve. Plus, all I had to do was place my chicken chili on top of a whole-wheat tortilla, pile on the toppings, and dig in. SO GOOD. During the week, I brought the chili to work in a separate container and heated it up each day to top my salads. Make these this week…I promise, it will save you time in the kitchen and help you ease back into fall.. PROMISE!