Summer nights are coming to an end. Get ready for cooler temperatures with this hearty slow cooker minestrone soup.
While I like to use my slow cooker year round, now is the time of year when slow cookers typically are used most. Not only has school started for those of you who are students or have kids but the temperatures are starting to decline. As such, the demand for easy weeknight dinners has increased and warm soups/strews are becoming more appealing. I may no longer be a student and do not have kids, but I can still appreciate a comforting soup on a cool night (whenever those decide to get here in TN).
Red Gold was nice enough to send me some of their tomatoes to play around with in my slow cooker. I figured since we are on the verge of summer and fall why not make a soup that takes advantage of the remaining summer produce? This minestrone is almost like the kitchen sink of soups, made with cannellini beans, onion, carrot, celery, zucchini, spinach, rosemary, pesto, and a can of Red Gold’s petite diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil. Just wait until those aromas smack you in the face upon arriving home after it cooked all day, you’ll want to dive right in there.
I also happen to have a Red Gold Apron to giveaway to one reader. To enter use the Rafflecopter at the end of this post and answer the prompt in the comments section. But wait, there’s more!
Red Gold is hosting a “Red Gold 2-a-day Crock-Pot Give-a-way” running from today September 17 through October 8 on their Facebook page. As the promotion title suggests, they will be giving away two Red Gold branded Crock-Pots every day during for three weeks. Click over to their Facebook page to enter: https://www.facebook.com/RedGold.
One year ago: Pumpkin Spice Pizzas
Summer cooking is made easy with your slow cooker – it’s not just for cold weather. This chicken and broccoli sauce is great on top of your favorite pasta.
Yesterday I was sucked into the gloriousness that is McKay’s used books. Not only do they have an expansive selection of books to rival any of the larger chain bookstores, but there was an entire aisle of cookbooks. Unfortunately I was only there for a short stop before heading off to the movies and didn’t have enough time to fully commit to the search but you better believe I will be going back sometime this week to take over that aisle. There are all kinds from the latest cookbooks to those gems with contributed recipes which were made for bake sales, fundraisers, etc. I cannot wait to see what I find!
In truth however, I bookmark so many recipes daily from my fellow food bloggers that I really should not be thinking about buying cookbooks, used or not. There are simply not enough meals in the day for how many recipes I want to try. I expressed this problem to Joanne (Eats Well With Others) and decided that somehow we all need to get together, cook two recipes we’ve been dying to try, and then have a fat-kid field day. What I would give to live closer to make that happen. Guess I could always venture back up to the NYC area again. Or maybe Kita (Pass the Sushi) and I could convince everyone to venture to Seattle with us to visit Peabody (Culinary Concoctions by Peabody) and all the root beer deliciousness that awaits.
But back to all the food I want to cook. This is one such recipe that I have been wanting to make and the best part is that it doesn’t take any time at all to prepare because your slow cooker does all the work and doesn’t heat up your house. Well okay you have to steam the broccoli and cook the pasta but the hard parts are taken care of, giving you more time to focus on whatever else. Like daydreaming about foodie-travels.
One year ago: Cherry Vanilla Almond Overnight Oatmeal
Everyone loves some good BBQ but most don’t have the time to cook it. With the help of a slow cooker you can have shredded BBQ beef brisket for dinner anytime!
Before I get into this delicious recipe for the Secret Recipe Club, let me first say how incredibly exciting yesterday’s soccer/futbol game between the USA and Portugal was to watch. I was beyond elated when the clock was winding down with a 2-1 USA lead, and then crushed with disbelief when Portugal tied it up at the last minute. Ahhh!! At least I had a fantastic meal in my belly to ease the pain – beef BBQ with coleslaw, baked beans and my dad’s potato salad.
For the Secret Recipe Club this month I perused the recipes on Shockingly Delicious by Dorothy. I came so close to cooking her Spicy Smoky Chicken Kale Stew but when I was planning dinner for the USA-Portugal game I wanted to make something more American. When I saw the recipe for slow cooker BBQ brisket it was the clear winner. I may be living in the heart of pork BBQ for the past 7 years but I still have a sweet spot for beef.
Her recipe did not include the pop (or soda depending on where you are from) but in my experience with slow cookers it is beneficial to have some liquid in which to be cooked. There may have been enough juice from the meat and the onions but either way the beef came out perfectly. I have made slow cooker pulled pork in the past but this was the first time an onion was thrown in the mix and it added such great flavor to the meat. My parents enjoyed it so much that they plan on including it in their normal dinner rotation!
As for the final group matches of USA-Germany and Portugal-Ghana (to determine the fate of the USA in the World Cup), unfortunately I will not be able to watch either of the two games live so I will be disconnecting myself from social media as much as possible until I get home in order to watch the DVR. Go Team USA!
Two years ago: Pesto Chicken Burger
Slow cookers are great for the spring and summer too. Add your favorite cut of beef and transform it into tender, shredded beef for tacos.
Over the weekend I took a trip into the Smoky Mountains with some friends in an attempt to see the synchronous lightning bugs (aka lightning bug mating season). Although the cabin in which we stayed had a great view of the mountains and a hot tub, sadly there were no more lightning bugs to be seen than anywhere else in east TN. We may have been too high up or not near a big enough clearing but either way we still had a great time. I hope to return to the supposed best location for the viewing of this display later this week with my parents. I’ll try to snag a good photo or video to share, although I am certain there are plenty already on the internet if you search on Google.
As for these tacos, throw some seasoned beef into your slow cooker and then take a hike. Seriously, go walk around in nature (or at least down around your neighborhood) for a few hours and then come home to some awesome tacos served with your favorite toppings. At least that’s what I did and I certainly enjoyed myself. As an added benefit, cooking in the slow cooker does not heat up your house as much as your oven does therefore reducing your bill for central air.
One year ago: S’mores Jar Cake for One
Let your slow cooker do the hard work. Throw the ingredients for this creamy chicken tortilla soup into your slow cooker and you’ll have a hearty and flavorful soup. Don’t forget the toppings!
Yesterday afternoon I saw an e-mail that made my tear ducts come to life. Not out of sadness, but instead from pure happiness. The day has finally come – you can now PubMed me! AaaahAAaaAhahAhhhhh!! Here’s to hoping that having this publication under my belt will help me out in the job search.
Click here to read a lot of jargon—> My glorious research paper
If I remember correctly, I first submitted this paper around mid-September 2013. Six months for two revisions with countless figure modifications for new data per reviewers’ requests. I will tell you what though, the biggest pain in the butt was figuring out how to reformat the pictures for my figures to be the correct resolution, size, file type, and lacking alpha channels (wherever the heck those things came from or even what they are). But hey, now I know how to do it for my second paper pending publication. Mastering Adobe Photoshop one scientific figure at a time. And popping open a bottle of wine to celebrate!
When that many pieces of a puzzle finally come together to create something amazing, it’s quite satisfying. Which is why you should not be scared by the lengthy list of ingredients for the recipe for this Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup. Almost all of the ingredients are thrown into the slow cooker together and the remaining few are added at the end or sprinkled on top just before serving. And to prove it, there are only three steps. Let the slow cooker do the rest.
One year ago: Cake Batter Cinnamon Rolls
Corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day is like turkey for Thanksgiving – you just gotta have it! My favorite slow cooker corned beef recipe gets a new twist with rutabaga in place of the potatoes.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Every year I say I am going to make something different, such as an Irish beef stew, shepherd’s pie, or some kind of sausage dish, but always end up resorting to my tried and true slow cooker corned beef. I do change it up with a different glaze or an alternative cabbage preparation but this year had just a small new twist with rutabaga in place of the potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts instead of cabbage.
Stick around tomorrow and Thursday for recipes that use up any leftovers you may have after today’s feast!
One year ago: Hidden Pot o’ Gold Cupcakes
Two years ago: Split-Pea Soup
Normally for Single Serving Sunday I try to share recipes that only make one serving, but with the upcoming Thanksgiving feast I decided to do something special – a Thanksgiving meal that serves two. Many recipes for Thanksgiving produce a magnitude of servings, but what about the people out there only cooking for two, or four? This menu I have prepared easily serves 2 with leftovers. Because who doesn’t want leftovers from Thanksgiving? That being said, the turkey could serve four but if you have hearty eaters you may want to double the sides.
This dinner consists of a slow cooker turkey tenderloin with gravy, Greek yogurt-rosemary rolls, bagel-bacon stuffing, roasted brussels, twice baked sweet potatoes, cranberry-pomegranate sauce, and pumpkin crème brulee for dessert. Take a moment to be jealous.
My turkey tenderloin came out so juicy and flavorful that it will be hard to convince me to cook a whole turkey in the future. It literally fell apart when I lifted it out of the pot. By using a slow cooker I was also able to do whatever the heck I wanted in the oven, which is a huge perk for those of us with only one oven (one day I hope to be spoiled with a double oven). Even the gravy was amazing after cooking in all those delicious juices.
As you are aware, I have a habit of adding Greek yogurt to anything I possibly can so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it shows up here in dinner rolls. The rosemary really sold me on these rolls. If you don’t like rosemary, please substitute for another herb because they will rock your world with their subtle herby-ness. You can also prep these the day beforehand and refrigerate before the last rise. The next day, take them out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you want to bake them.
Then there’s the stuffing. I’ve seen stuffing made with all types of bread but this was the first recipe I had seen using bagels. I originally set aside two corn muffins for stuffing, but those were thrown into the freezer once I discovered I could use a bagel instead. I freaking love bagels! And I was not disappointed by the trade-off, especially since there was bacon involved.
For a green side I chose brussels sprouts. Only a couple Thanksgivings ago I discovered that I no longer hated them and actually became obsessed. As a result, they are nostalgic to me at this time of year. Just a simple roasting and a drizzle of balsamic is all they needed.
Growing up we usually had both regular mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes but knew I would burst if I tried to add both onto this already long lineup. I went with a twice baked sweet potato that is topped with pecans and coconut. Although it is less sweet than a marshmallow topping, it has a crunchier topping that will make you forget about those puffy white things (no offense marshmallows, I still love you).
No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without some cranberry sauce. This version uses pomegranate juice for a more complex flavor. This can be made the day beforehand or even a few days before to minimize the amount of work you have to do on the big day. But if you do have to whip it up the same day, rest assured that it will only take 20 minutes.
Of course, once you’ve stuffed your face you’ll still find room for dessert, right? Especially for pumpkin crème brulee. I know you may initially think it’s a crime to not have pumpkin pie but it’s basically pumpkin pie and crème brulee all in one. Are you really going to be upset by having both?
Now for some tips on how I timed everything in order to be hot and ready all at the same time. An hour before turkey is done cooking (mine only took 4 hours), take rolls out of fridge (if prepared the night before), toast the bagel for stuffing, and prep the brussels sprouts. Bake the stuffing and brussels at the same time and with 20 minutes of cook time remaining, add the sweet potatoes and rolls to the oven. At that time, remove the turkey from the slow cooker and prepare the gravy. Slice up the turkey and serve! Then once your belly has digested a little to make room for dessert, torch the creme brulee just before you’re ready to dig in.
One year ago: Buckeye Cupcakes
Two years ago: Apple Blackberry Pie
No you are not going crazy, nor do you need your eyes checked. I did in fact say “ice cream oatmeal”. While trying to determine what to make with all the ice cream Graeter’s sent me I somehow got the bright idea to use some ice cream in place of the liquid needed to make oatmeal. I felt like a genius, although I did worry it would be too sweet for the first meal of the day. But guess what? It wasn’t too sweet at all, in fact it wasn’t any sweeter than other oatmeals I’ve made in the past.
The best thing about this recipe is that you can use any flavor ice cream you want, assuming it is a flavor you would care to enjoy for breakfast. I chose Graeter’s Black Cherry Chocolate Chip and with the addition of chopped almonds it was everything I had dreamed of – a creamy oatmeal with a hint of cherry and chocolate flavors and the crunch of almonds. I threw more almonds and dark chocolate chips on top because I couldn’t get enough.
One year ago: Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Even though it was warm here yesterday, it rained most of the day (poor trick-or-treaters) and rain definitely puts me in a soup mood. Specifically tomato soup with grilled cheese to dip into it. And even better when it’s a slow cooker recipe, filling your home with wonderful aromas to come home to at the end of the day. Granted you cannot eat it immediately as it requires an additional step at the end, but you won’t hear me complaining.
Despite the 70-degree weather, I made this soup earlier this week and have been enjoying it ever since. However I do wish I would start to feel like fall for more than 2 days. I was so excited to finally bust out my jackets and boots last weekend but they have been put on hold once again. It’s difficult for me to get into the holiday spirit when I am still wearing short sleeves and flats! Alas, I just have to continue preparing meals as if it were a brisk fall day outside.
P.S. Stayed tuned for Monday’s post to hear about the fat-kid-friendly grilled cheese I served with this soup!
One year ago: Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Roasted Broccoli
After drooling over Devon’s guest post on Wednesday, I decided to dig out her balsamic chicken recipe I made and the pictures that I’ve been sitting on since July. Hectic times result is forgotten recipes evidently. Luckily these forgotten gems come in handy now that I have less time and motivation to cook. I barely even have time to work out most days, which combined with my constant urge to survive on boxed mac and cheese is a terrible thing for my health. Especially since I would eat the entire box in one sitting. Thankfully, I still mange to fight that urge most days but I fear my self control won’t be able to hold out for the remaining 2.5 weeks. I will have to remind myself that recipes such as this one are just as easy to prepare!
One year ago: Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats