After 6 years of grad school you would think I would be completely dependent upon my slow cooker to provide sustenance. Somehow I’ve only started utilizing it frequently over the past year (and also maintained my blog without depending on it to do the cooking for me) and have discovered a whole new world of slow cooking that I never knew existed. I used to think slow cookers were only for stew-type meals, and a few years ago would’ve never dreamed of being able to cook oatmeal, dessert, or Asian cuisine in it. Most recently I enjoyed slow cooked chicken for tacos, which then lead me to try the same process for nachos.
Although my slow cooker is a bit temperamental and had to cook this on low for only 3 hours instead of the directed 6, at least I know my slow cooker well enough to do so. Since I do not have a slow cooker with a timer on it – just on, warm, low and high – I now use a plug timer. Before I used this method I could only use my slow cooker on the weekends, and that kind of defeats the purpose. Now I set it up right before I leave in the morning with the plug timer turning on a few hours after I leave so that it just finishes cooking when I get home. And what a great meal to come home to! Once it was all prepared with the toppings it was actually hard to believe it came from something as simple as a slow cooker.
One year ago: Cheesy Potato Casserole
SLOW COOKER CHICKEN NACHOS
2 chicken breasts
1 jarred whole roasted red pepper
1/2 cup salsa
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large pinch salt and pepper
1 (14.5 oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 bag favorite tortilla chips
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup sour cream (I used 0% plain Chobani instead)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 scallion, finely sliced
1 avocado, diced
1 lime, for the juice
- In a slow cooker, place the chicken, roasted red pepper, salsa, cumin, chili powder, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook on high for three hours (or low for six)*.
- Once the chicken is cooked, take two forks and shred the chicken and pepper right in the cooker. Add the pinto beans, toss to combine and cook an additional 30 minutes.
- Arrange the chips on a large platter. Spoon the chicken and bean mixture over the chips. Sprinkle the cheese over the chicken. Pop the platter under the broiler for a couple of minutes to the get the cheese all browned and bubbly.
- Remove the platter from the oven and top with Greek yogurt, chopped cilantro, scallions and diced avocado. Squeeze of lime juice over the whole thing and enjoy!
*Cooking times may vary. My slow cooker cooks hot so it only took about 3 hours on low.
Source: Adapted slightly from Bev Cooks.
After having highs in the 70s over the weekend, the weather here in Memphis has drastically changed. Two days in a row we have had wintry mix with highs of 32. The warmth we recently had means everything hitting the ground melts and then later turns into ice. Since I grew up in upstate NY none of the wintry weather here phases me, however I do have to drive more cautiously due to the drivers around me and the inefficient systems set up to handle this sort of weather (since it’s not a common occurrence). The university closed at noon yesterday and even though I make jokes about it, I am really pulling for it to be closed at least until 1 pm today so I can get out of doing a journal club presentation. Although I have to go in to do lab work regardless. Priorities.
In other news, I think my slow cooker is incapable of actually cooking things slowly when it is not filled to maximum capacity. When I make corned beef and cabbage, for example, it is nearly overflowing and cooks perfectly on low for extended hours. But whenever I cook a small amount of chicken, fully covered in liquid but only filling the bowl 1//3 of the way, it cooks in about 2.5 hours on low instead of 5-7. I’m starting to think I need to invest in a smaller crock pot for such recipes because the whole point of the crock pot is to SLOW cook.
Nonetheless, the chicken for these tacos came out wonderful since I made them over the weekend and was able to check on the doneness. Unfortunately, it was done much too soon for dinner but just turned it to the warm function. I added more taco seasoning than the original recipe called because my sister-in-law made them and told me she would’ve preferred more seasoning – a wise move.
One year ago: Carrot Cake Oatmeal
SLOW COOKER CHICKEN TACOS
1-1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken (breasts or thighs, whichever you prefer)
10 oz. can enchilada sauce
3 Tbsp taco seasoning
A few dashes of tabasco sauce
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 oz. cream cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Whole wheat soft taco shells
Green pepper, diced
Red onion, diced
Guacamole (or avocado)
Sour cream (I used Greek yogurt)
- Toss chicken in slow cooker with enchilada sauce, taco seasoning, tabasco sauce, and pepper. Cook on low for 5-7 hours (cooking times may vary), until chicken is easily shredded with two forks. After shredding, stir in cream cheese and cheddar until melted.
- Serve with soft shell tacos and desired toppings.
Source: Adapted slightly from Pass the Sushi.
I know I left you hanging on Friday by saying I specifically whipped up homemade eggnog to use in a recipe, so today I am telling you why I went through all that trouble. I used it in slow cook oatmeal! Why? Because there’s nothing better than breakfast ready and waiting for you in the morning. And when you live by yourself that notion is pretty much impossible (without a slow cooker).
The eggnog added the perfect amount of sweetness to the oatmeal, which is why you don’t see any sugar in the ingredient list. So yes, homemade eggnog was worth the extra time in order to make this oatmeal. Eggnog may actually become a year round thing so I can continue to have a supply of this oatmeal. All to myself.
Also, I would like to point out that you can cook this oatmeal two different ways in your slow cooker. The first method cooks on low continuously, and leaves you with crispy edges along the walls of the slow cooker. But if you would prefer not to have those edges, cook it on high for a short time and then it stays in the slow cooker while it cools overnight. It’s as if you blast it with heat and then let it gradually go down to low and then off, which means you will have to heat up the finished oatmeal in the morning. The latter method is the one I used. As you can see in my picture, I still had a little bit of the crispy edge phenomenon but I thought it added great texture.
Two years ago: Stuffed Green Peppers
OVERNIGHT, SLOW COOKER EGGNOG CRANBERRY STEEL-CUT OATMEAL
2 cups eggnog
2 cups water
1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
1/2 cup dried cranberries (craisins)
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp chia seeds or ground flax seeds
Optional toppings: chopped nuts, additional dried cranberries, additional eggnog, sprinkled with nutmeg or cinnamon
- Method #1 for crispy edges: Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger*) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for approximately 5 hours, or until oats are cooked & softened, and edges have browned. (Slow cooker times may vary.) Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add optional toppings, if desired.
- Method #2 without crispy edges: Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger*) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover and set on high for 1.5 hours. Stir, cover and turn off heat. Let them sit in crock pot for 8 hours with it turned off. The heat will continue to cook them as the crock pot cools down. In the morning the oats will be cooked. Warm up and serve with additional toppings, if desired
- Store leftovers in refrigerator. Freezes well.
*I used a 6 quart slow cooker since that’s all I have.
The Holiday Recipe club is a fun way to play with holiday-themed ingredients or recipes, but until now they have all been associated with American holidays. A little while ago, there was discussion within the group whether people would be interested in exploring other holidays outside of the US and as you can see from today’s post, the motion was passed! For today’s first international HRC post we are celebrating Buddha’s Birthday by using either gram masala, tofu, or sesame.
Sesame grabbed my attention and I first thought of making Sesame Chicken, but I was convinced I had already posted a recipe for that – wrong. Even if I had, it would’ve still totally been worth trying out this recipe because it’s done in a slow cooker, making it so easy to prepare. And healthier too because it’s not fried! Granted that means you lose the crispy action, but I didn’t miss it that much knowing it was better for me.
Want to join us in celebrating more National and International holidays? Check out the HRS’s contact page. Also be sure to check out the end of this post for the rest of the HRC line up.
One year ago: Fried Mac and Cheese
SLOW COOKER HONEY SESAME CHICKEN
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (1.25 lbs)
1/2 cup honey
2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1/2 onion, diced
2-1/2 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp sesame seed oil or extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced, pressed or grated
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 cup dry brown rice
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb broccoli florets
- Put chicken into crock pot.
- In a small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic and pepper flakes. Pour over chicken.
- Cook on low for 3-4 hours or on high 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours, or just until chicken is cooked through.
- Cook rice according to package directions.
- Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a skillet until hot. Add broccoli and saute 5-6 minutes or until cooked but tender.
- Remove chicken from crock pot, leave sauce. Whisk cornstarch into liquid in the crock pot. Replace lid and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes or until slightly thickened.
- Shred chicken or cut into bite size pieces, then return to pot and toss with sauce. Serve chicken over rice with broccoli, garnish with sesame seeds.
Source: Adapted from Prevention RD.
Last year I made a marmalade glaze for the corned beef and it rocked my world to the point where when planning the menu for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day feast I didn’t want to try a different version. Especially when contemplating a blackberry glaze. Berries on beef? But I took a chance and was glad I did!
Although I do have to admit that the marmalade glaze still is #1 for my corned beef, the blackberry glaze was still very delicious. Who knew I could like berries with my meat? This corned beef was served with carrots, roasted cabbage (recipe shared tomorrow) and herbed potatoes.
Maggie also brought over Guinness bread complete with glorious honey butter, and Sarah made a reuben dip for the appetizer while waited for the rest of the food to be ready. I nearly spoiled my appetite with that dip – amazing!
A quick mom update – she is still enjoying her cake pops (that woman has serious restraint which I did not inherit) and recovering from surgery. Says she still feels weak and bumps into things while walking but her headache pain has lessened. Hopefully things will look good at her next check-up!
CORNED BEEF WITH BLACKBERRY MUSTARD GLAZE
1 (4-5 lb.) corned beef
1 onion, peeled and quartered
8 whole cloves
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
6 carrots, peeled, and chopped into 4-inch pieces
1/2 cup blackberry preserves, or favorite flavor of preserves
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
- Use a sharp knife to carefully trim off the excess fat on the corned beef.
- Place the onion and carrots in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Add cloves, garlic, thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns. Place corned beef on top and add water to cover.
- Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender.
- In a small saucepan, whisk the glaze ingredients together until combined, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil until the mixture has slightly reduced and thickened, about 7-10 minutes.
- Remove the beef and carrots, and set the carrots aside. Place the beef on an aluminum-foil covered baking sheet. Brush with glaze, then place under the broiler for 5-7 minutes, until the glaze begins to caramelize.
- Remove from oven, and let the corned beef sit for at least 10-15 minutes before carving. Brush with additional glaze if desired. Serve with roasted cabbage, herbed potatoes and carrots if desired.
Source: Adapted from Gimme Some Oven.
Yellow fruit is currently my obsession. And the yellow fruits I am referring to are ones that you normally wouldn’t think of as being yellow – cherries, plums, and raspberries. They might look under-ripe and unappetizing to you, but I have to buy extra whenever I plan to make something with them. I inevitably eat
some a lot of it on my 5 minute drive home from the grocery and/or before I even cook them. I cannot help it. To me fresh fruit is almost as good as a soft just-out-of-the-oven cookie. The cherries and raspberries were the only ones the survived long enough to make it into this oatmeal. I maybe should have added the raspberries in the morning, after it had cooked because they pretty much disintegrated (note their invisibility in the picture). But the flavor definitely did not disappear and the texture is great. If you are one of those people that like to come up with excuses for not eating Breakfast, throw them out the window and make this oatmeal. That is if you can even come up with any to deny such a thing as this.
ALMOND BERRY OVERNIGHT SLOW COOKER OATMEAL
2 cups Rainier cherries, pitted and cut in half
1 cup raspberries
1-1/2 cups almond milk milk
1-1/2 cups water 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp butter, cut into 5-6 pieces
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground flax seed
1/4 tsp salt
Sliced almonds, for garnish
- Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients from cherries to salt to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for 7 hours.
- Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add sliced almonds, if desired.
- Refrigerate or freeze leftovers. To reheat single servings: Put 1-cup cooked oatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Add 1/3 cup fat-free milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot. Recipe can be doubled in 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Increase cooking time 1 hour.
Source: Adapted slightly from Pass the Sushi
I had been craving a French dip sandwich for a very, very long time. And when I found this recipe using a slow cooker I knew it was the one for me. Except for the fact that after working in the lab all day and then going to the gym immediately after, 6-7 hours of cooking time has long been passed. So how do I solve this problem? Boyfriend to the rescue!
Before he started his new job he was at home most days of the week, so I put him to work! I think I was pretty easy on him for this one. Throw a bunch of stuff in a pot at noon, turn it on and we will have something tasty for dinner! But then I had to do the dishes because that’s the rule. S/He who cooks dinner is exempt from dishes. Not a problem though because my craving was finally fulfilled by this delicious sandwich.
1 medium yellow onion
3/4 cup beef broth/stock
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp creole mustard
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
~3lb chuck roast
Salt & pepepr
6-8 sandwich rolls, split
6-8 slices of Swiss cheese
- Slice the onion into ~1/4-inch rounds. Keeping the rounds intact, place them in the bottom of the crockpot.
- Add beef broth, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and garlic to the crockpot.
- Salt and pepper both sides of the roast and place on top of the onions.
- Cook on low 6-7 hours until beef is fall-apart tender.
- Transfer the roast to a cutting board and thinly slice.
- Remove the onions and set aside. I strain the juice into a large “defatter” measuring cup and get rid of the oil that collects on top.
- Return the roast, juice, and onions to the crockpot for up to an hour before serving (I usually switch it to “Keep Warm” so it doesn’t continue cooking).
- Heat the broiler. Place the split sandwich rolls on a lined baking sheet and toast for 1 minute or just until the bread begins to brown.
- Remove the tops from the pan. Lay the beef on the bottom of the rolls and top with cheese.
- Return to the oven just until cheese is melted. Top with sandwich halves and serve with small bowls of jus.
Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride
I love root beer. It is my #1 most favorite drink of all time. Want proof? I’ve been collecting all different kinds that I can find, and adding them to my Wall of Root Beer since the 6th grade!
Is that impressive or weird? I got the idea from my Dad, who collects sand wherever he goes. It’s really amazing how different sand can look from different places of the world. The same goes for root beer. People are always asking me whether there is any difference between the 60 (only 59 pictured) different types I have so far. First let me ask you this – do you prefer Pepsi or Coke? If you think there is a difference between those two colas then trust me, the range of flavor for root beer is far greater. So yes, I have had some that are amazing and wish I had a secret life-time stash of, whereas others (although few) I almost poured straight down the drain.
Despite my ridiculous love for root beer, I rarely cook or bake with it. (I also don’t like root beer candy.) But when I saw a recipe for BBQ pulled pork that used root beer, I knew I had to try it. Although I could not really taste the root beer in the finished product, I know it had something to do with how moist, juicy and flavorful the pork turned out. And it was so easy! Thanks for the great recipe Chritsy at Girl Who Ate Everything!
Served with roasted potato salad (post tomorrow).
2lb. pork tenderloin (pork shoulder or butt can also be used)
12 oz. can of root beer
18 oz. bottle of barbecue sauce
8 hamburger buns
- Place the pork tenderloin in a slow cooker and pour the can of root beer over the meat. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until pork shreds easily with a fork.
- After pork has cooked, drain and discard the root beer. Shred the pork and place it back in the slow cooker. Pour the barbecue sauce over the pork and stir to combine. Serve immediately or keep warm in slow cooker until ready to serve. Serve on hamburger buns.
Source: The Girl Who Ate Everything
I cooked this in the crock pot like I do every year, but added a glaze to the final product. It was awesome!! Loved how the edges got all crispy. I highly recommend this for you St. Patrick’s Day menu, or for anytime of the year!
Usually I also cook the cabbage in the crock pot, but I tried something different with that as well…Roasted Cabbage with Lemon.
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
6 medium red potatoes, quartered
1 pound carrots, cut into 1/2-inch wide sticks
3-4 cups water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp pepper
1-3 lb corned beef brisket with spice packet, cut in half
1/3 cup marmalade
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp grainy mustard
- Place the onion, potatoes and carrots in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Combine water, garlic, bay leaf, sugar, vinegar, pepper and contents of spice packet; pour over vegetables. Add more water if necessary to cover vegetables. Top with brisket.
- Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaf and meat.
- Combine the marmalade, honey, brown sugar, Dijion, and grainy mustard. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a broiler pan with foil, then place the corned beef on top. Spread it with the glaze (reserving excess for serving) and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. Serve topped with extra glaze.