Crock Pot Chicken Marsala

crock pot chicken marsalaI feel like I should just start this post the same way as my last… “I recently riddled my fans on Facebook about whether they would want a crock pot chicken marsala or crock pot chana masala recipe… and of course, you guys asked for both! So as promised, I have created both recipes and I’m sharing them with you this week.” 

I thought it was fascinating to hear how many of you liked chicken marsala, but that it took too much work to make. That sounded like a great challenge! Nothing delicious needs to be over-complicated.  But crock pot chicken can have varying results– consider that my warning– especially with breast meat. I know my crock pots well enough that we have a relationship, I know how much time it takes to get up to temperature, and when they are just too hot to mess with.

I opted to use thin-sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this dish and to cook for a shorter amount of time in order to retain the moisture in the meat. Chicken must be cooked through, so if you are not already aware of how moody your crock can be, you might want to be home when you cook this dish for the first time to ensure that it doesn’t dry out. Like any relationship, it takes a while to figure out. But it’s worth it.

mushroomAlso, I recommend using a slicer LIKE THIS to save time with the prep work. Yes, a simple knife could take care of slicing the mushrooms, but I really like how this device makes everything a consistent size. You can also use it for eggs (duh!), strawberries, kiwis, and soft cheese.

Crock Pot Chicken Marsala

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4-6 hours

1.5 lbs thin-sliced boneless, skinless chicken breast

4 T. salted butter, cubed

8 oz. baby portabella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz. marsala cooking wine

1/2 c. cold water

3 T. corn starch

Place chicken breasts in the crock pot and dot with chunks of the cold butter. Put mushrooms in next and spread across the chicken. Sprinkle with the garlic.  Slowly pour in the cooking wine on top of everything, but not so fast as too wash all the mushrooms and garlic off of the chicken. Cook on low for 4-6 hours then remove the chicken from the pot using a slotted spoon. In a separate bowl, dissolve the corn starch in the water and then add it to the liquid in the pot and stir. Add the chicken back to the pot and cook an additional hour.  Serve over wide egg noodles.

Crock Pot Mississippi Pot Roast

Soft, tender, and full of flavor-- this Mississippi pot roast may become your family's new favorite dinner!

Soft, tender, and full of flavor– this Mississippi pot roast may become your family’s new favorite dinner!

Let me begin with a disclaimer: this is not my recipe. I don’t even know who created this recipe. I found about a gazillion posts about Missisippi Pot Roast and they all call for the same stuff in the same way.

So why am I posting it here? Because I like you. And I think you like me. And if you trust my opinion on all things crock-pottery, then I wanted to try this internet sensation for myself and share it with you.

img_7123The prep work for this dinner is non-existent. Not kidding. It took longer to pose my cute little pepperoncinis for this picture, than it took to get everything in the post. (Did anyone else just think dirty thoughts when I said “cute little pepperoncinis”? No? Oh, ok. Yeah, me neither.)

So after two minutes of work, dinner is ready for tonight. The raving reviews are ALL true, this dish might just be the newest family favorite– to cook and eat.

Not only is it easy, but for those of you that work ALL DAY, this is a great tender meat dish that goes low and slow for 8 hours. If your crock pot switches to warm, then that’s even better for you commuters. You got this. A real dinner that won’t be overcooked or dry when you get home. I know… promises, promises. But it’s true!

Just a few simple ingredients will turn this meat from bland to WOW!

Just a few simple ingredients will turn this meat from bland to WOW!

My family ate well, enjoyed the soft, tender pot roast, and didn’t even ask for ketchup. Come on, people! You know that means it had crazy delicious flavor if my seven year old didn’t cover it in red goo! Enjoy. 🙂

(Note: You can opt to only use half of the packet of au jus gravy mix if you want to cut down on salt. It will still taste great!)




Crock Pot Mississippi Pot Roast

Serves 6-8

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

2-3 lb pot roast

1 packet Ranch Dip (1 oz dried mix)

1 packet Au Jus Gravy Mix (0.6 oz dried mix)

1 stick butter

6 whole pepperoncini peppers, no added juice

Put the pot roast in the bottom of the crock pot. Shake dried mixes out on top of meat. Place stick of butter in middle of roast, then surround with pepperoncini. DO NOT ADD WATER. Cook on low for 8 hours. Shred or slice to serve, as sandwiches or with pasta, rice, or potatoes.

Crock Pot Peach and Cherry Cobbler

This dessert tastes like summer feels.

This dessert tastes like summer feels.

Summer produce is like nature’s candy. I don’t mean that in some hippy dippy way or that candy is in any way a bad food group, I just mean that fruits and veggies right now are so delicious when the sun and the rain and the dirt are all working together to create pure awesomeness. Ok, so I’m a little hippy dippy about it.

I bought a couple pounds of peaches and a bag full of sweet cherries on my last grocery trip. Usually we just eat these things straight out of the refrigerator. My kids love having cherries for dessert so I bought this cherry pitter and they eat them as fast as I can pop them through! It’s a necessary tool for this season; you won’t regret buying one for yourself (although you may wonder why no one ever told you about this before! Sorry.)

But, since we were having company over for dinner this weekend, I decided that I would fancy it up and crock pot us a cobbler to enjoy. And as leverage for the delicious vanilla caramel swirl ice cream I had bought as well.

Most cobbler recipes include oatmeal in the topping. Makes sense– it stands up well in the crock pot, gets soft, but not mushy, and you usually have it in the pantry. Except this time, I didn’t. And I didn’t want to go on a grocery store run just for oats.

So, I opened the pantry and just started creating. While you could do this in an oval crock pot, I really liked doing it in my casserole crock pot because it made perfect squares for serving, plus it wasn’t too deep or too crispy on the sides. Literally, the casserole crock pot was the perfect choice.

Turns out– corn flakes make a great cobbler topping, too! I will totally make this recipe again. It’s just the start of blueberry season here locally and I’m thinking about going to do some local picking and then making cobbler again. Mmmmm can you picture the dark purple color as those berries begin to burst in the cobbler and the sweet smell of the caramelizing flavor?! Yeah, me too. Go get some local produce and make a batch for yourself today!

Crock Pot Peach and Cherry Cobbler

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Serves: 8-10 people

2 lbs cherries, pitted

6 peaches, about 2 lbs

1/4 c. corn starch

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. flour

1/2 t. salt

2 c. corn flakes, crushed

1 stick butter (cold or frozen)

Here's a step by step look at how to make Crock Pot Peach and Cherry Cobbler.

Here’s a step by step look at how to make Crock Pot Peach and Cherry Cobbler.


Put cherries and peaches in crock pot, add corn starch and stir until fruit is coated. In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the dry ingredients and then sprinkle it over the fruit. Slice the stick of butter horizontally (long thin slices) as thin as possible. It’s easiest to cut the butter when it is cold. Place butter over crumbled topping and cover as much surface area as possible.

Cook on high for two hours and then low for two hours. This helps the fruit– especially the cherries– cook all the way through. Serve with a huge scoop of your favorite ice cream or greek yogurt.

Crock Pot Mushroom-Spinach Soup with Middle Eastern Spices

Crock Pot Mushroom-Spinach Soup with Middle Eastern SpicesSo it’s Saturday and I’ve got a date with this really fungi… haha, get it?! I’m making a mushroom soup!

This version is an adaption of a recipe from the New York Times, it is not my original creation. But I saw the recipe online and thought… this looks delicious, but has WAY TOO MANY steps. Let’s make it easy and throw it all in the crock pot instead. And guess what. Yup. It works just perfectly without the extra hassle and dirty dishes.

There are so many wonderful varieties of mushrooms, you can change up the the recipe a million different times for different texture and flavor results. Play around with it. I have increased the quantity of seasonings after reading reviews saying that it needed a little more umphh. I don’t think that’s a technical culinary term, but neither is WOW or YUM and those are the things I’m going for here! I’ve added links for you to my favorite brand of seasonings, just in case you don’t already have these items on hand.

Try this soup with a dollop of plain greek yogurt and some naan or pita bread. Enjoy!


Crock Pot Mushroom-Spinach Soup with Middle Eastern Spices

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 7 hours

Serves: 8 people

~1-1.5 lbs fresh mushrooms- cleaned and diced=about 5-6 cups

(try button, cremini, portobello, Baby Bella, etc)

1/4 lb shallot (one) finely diced

2 T. tomato paste

3 T. salted butter

2 t. dried thyme

1 1/2 t. coriander

2 t. cinnamon

2 t. cumin

1 t. salt

1/2 t. freshly cracked black pepper

5 cups water

5 ounces fresh baby spinach

1 lime

plain greek yogurt (optional)

Dice mushrooms and shallots and stir together in crock pot. Add seasonings, tomato paste, and butter. Pour water in, but do not stir. Cook on low for 6 hours- you may lift the lid and give it a stir after the butter appears to be completely melted.

After 6 hours, add the spinach and squeeze about 2 T. of fresh lime juice into the crock pot, give it all a stir, and heat on low for up to one more hour… or until spinach is wilted. Serve with a dollop of plain greek yogurt.


Crock Pot Winter Vegetable Soup

Crock Pot Winter Vegetable Soup is the comfort of home served in a cup.

Crock Pot Winter Vegetable Soup is the comfort of home served in a cup.

You’ll often hear me say that food isn’t just about sustenance, but also satisfaction. Entertainment. Emotion. Nutritionists focus on the content of food.  Dietician focus on the balance of food.  But when I sit down to eat– or more importantly– serve a meal to family and friends, it’s about the experience and the memories we create around the table. Your food will be through your system in less than 24 hours, but the feeling you had when eating it will last a lifetime.

That’s how I feel about this soup. It’s based on a recipe my mom used to make when I was a kid. We ate dinner as a family, almost every night. It’s just what we did. And we didn’t do it in front of a television or on the run, but it was quick and easy meals and meant to create an atmosphere for conversation.

Mom’s meals were much like this one– a basic recipe with few ingredients that when combined received minimal complaints! We called it winter vegetable soup because nothing really is fresh during an Ohio winter. She could keep all of these items on hand and whip this meal up in about half an hour. I prefer to cook it low and slow, of course, and add a few more seasonings. But overall, it’s the comfort of home in a cup.

Crock Pot Winter Vegetable Soup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 hours

Serves: 8

2 12 oz. packages frozen vegetables- broccoli, cauliflower and carrot combination

1 32 oz. box of vegetable broth

3 T. butter

1 t. minced garlic

1/2 cup crock pot caramelized onions (or substitute 1/2 sweet onion, diced)

1/2 t. each: dill weed, celery seed, basil, parsley, salt, black pepper (ALL DRIED SEASONINGS)

1/4 c. corn starch

3 cups cold milk (2% or whole is preferred)

Pour frozen vegetables into crock pot, followed by broth, butter, garlic, onions and seasonings. DO NOT ADD CORN STARCH OR MILK YET. Cook on high for four hours. In a separate bowl, dissolve corn starch into COLD milk and then add to crock pot. Cook on high for another hour. Soup will have thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste preference.


Summer Series, Day Four: Crock Pot Peach Crumble

Local peaches from the Farmers Market produced this delicious and tender dessert for tonight!

Local peaches from the Farmers Market produced this delicious and tender dessert for tonight!

Another beautiful day here at Ooh La La, our beach house for the week in the Outer Banks, NC. I woke up early and decided to get out for a run since there are miles of sidewalks down the main road. It was damn hot out even at 8 am, but I managed my attempt to burn off some of last night’s dinner. Remember that Crock Pot Low Country Boil? It was delicious but I was so full after all that food!

The weekly Farmer’s Market here in Avon was more like a farm stand with a couple artists, but it was refreshing to see locals and travelers stopping by the support the event. Even in the heat, the produce looked fresh.

I brought back some interesting varieties of squash and Farmers Market OBXeggplant that I’ll cook up later this week, but I also bought half a dozen glorious juicy peaches that were begging me to buy them. I couldn’t avoid eye contact. Such flirty little fruit. So I carefully selected my drupes and decided that dessert would be the next  crock pot dish to make.

You can make this recipe with lots of different fruits– peach, plums, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries… anything that is juicy and a good texture that will cook down. I wouldn’t recommend trying it with melons or apples since they consistency would be too soft or too hard.  It was interesting coming up with this recipe today since I didn’t have my normal pantry to pick from, but this was a great way of using what I already brought and still making it work out. At home, I might have used flour and corn starch, but my boxed pancake mix worked just fine.

You can eat this crumble straight up while it’s still warm. But those peaches are begging for some sweet company, so I would suggest serving it with ice cream or vanilla greek yogurt. If you want a little kick added to it, try pouring a drizzle of Rumchata on top of it for a really awesome finish.

Looks like I might need another run tomorrow morning after I annihilate this dessert tonight!  Good thing Ooh La La has a pool… an evening swim might just do the trick instead so I can sleep in. It’s a good thing we also brought our bicycles– I might try to take my kids out for a ride tomorrow. I thought it was going to be tough to haul all four bicycles, but my new bike rack actually worked out really well for the long trip.

I talked to the owner today and she mentioned that the house is still available in September and October when it’s still hot here, but the tourist season slows down. It sounds like pure bliss to spend an autumn week down by the ocean with the hot days, but cooler nights. CLICK HERE and reserve your vacation before I beat you to it!

Crock Pot Peach Crumble

Serves 6

6 ripe peaches, sliced and pitted

2 T. maple syrup

1/2 c. pancake mix

1/3 c. steel cut oatmeal

1 stick salted butter, cold and cubed

Crock Pot Peach Crumble- PeachesPut peaches in the crock pot and add maple syrup and pancake mix. Stir together until moist but not gooey.








Crock Pot Peach Crumble- ToppingSprinkle oats on top of mixture and then place cubes of butter across top. Cook on low for four hours. Serve with ice cream or greek yogurt.

Crock Pot Pattypan Squash Salad

While this vegetable might look like a flying saucer, pattypan squash is a wonderful seasonal favorite!

While this vegetable might look like a flying saucer, pattypan squash is a wonderful seasonal favorite!

Summer is almost here which means it is officially BBQ season! I love starting side dishes in my crock pot and then finishing them with fresh veggies and herbs. So for this past weekend’s festivities, I picked up some pattypan squash at my local farmer’s market. I think they are so cute and fun to eat! I also like them better than regular yellow squash because in a pattypan, the seeds are much smaller. The shape of the vegetable sort of resembles a flying saucer or a spin-top toy.

If you get really small pattypan squash, you can just cook them whole, which is a beautiful presentation. But I bought bigger ones, so I went ahead and cut them up into bite-sized cubes. The prep for this dish was so minimal, I had it done in about a minute.

You can use this vegetable in a number of different ways. It holds its texture well when steamed or stir-fried.  I cooked it in the crock pot while I ran some errands and then let it cool completely before mixing it into my salad.

Happy summer BBQs!


Try this side dish at your next summer BBQ!

Try this side dish at your next summer BBQ!

Crock Pot Pattypan Squash Salad

Serves 10-12 sides dishes


8 Pattypan squash, three-inches in diameter each

2 T. butter

2 green onions, diced

1/3 c. banana pepper rings (hot or mild)

1 8 oz. jar of marinated artichoke hearts (DO NOT DRAIN!)

1 c. sliced carrots

1/2 c. shredded guyere cheese

Cut squash into bite size pieces and put in crock pot, add 2 T. butter distributed across vegetables and cook on low for two hours. Let cool, then mix with remaining ingredients and chill for 2-4 hours. The marinade from the artichoke hearts serves as your dressing.


Crock Pot Asian Mushrooms

With a change of sauce and topping, these mushrooms went from the ground to being great!

With a change of sauce and topping, these mushrooms went from the ground to being great!

Well fans, I told you I made variations to two of my recipes and I finally have a minute to share. The first variation was for crock pot asian meatballs and this was the side dish I made to go with it! I’ve been trying to do some Asian-inspired dinners that don’t involve me picking up the phone and ordering fried, fried, sauced and steamed. I also wanted this dish to still be kid-friendly for picky eaters. So I took my favorite crock pot sassy meatballs and changed it’s regional origin and then took my crock pot garlic mushrooms and added a different sauce and topping!  

I learned from a Korean friend of mine that I can make a very basic sauce out of three ingredients, put it on almost anything, and it will taste awesome. And indeed, she was right!  I’m also convinced that mushrooms can taste good covered in just about anything.

So I pretty much made these mushrooms according to the original recipe but without all of the seasonings. Add the sauce and sprinkles and be good to go!

Crock Pot Asian Mushrooms

serves 8 as sides

2 lbs white mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed, and quartered

1/4 lb. butter (one stick)

2 T. minced garlic

1 t. onion powder

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. black pepper


1 T. sesame oil

1 T. soy sauce

1 clove minced garlic


1 T. roasted sesame seeds

Put mushrooms in crock pot first, then all of the seasonings and garlic. Put the stick of butter on top as the last step and then put the lid on. No mixing is necessary. Do not add sauce yet. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Combine the three sauce ingredients in a separate bowl. Remove the mushrooms using a slotted spoon and then toss in the sauce just before serving. If you wish, you can decorate the mushrooms with the roasted sesame seeds just before serving.


Crock Pot Garlic Mushrooms

It's quite possible that these little fungi will become your new favorite side dish. Consider yourself warned.

It’s quite possible that these little fungi will become your new favorite side dish. Consider yourself warned.

Snow Day #7. I’ve been using my crock pot for breakfast, for lunch, and for dinner.  Somehow the invasion of snow has worked up some serious appetites after playing outside. To feed my little monsters, I planned on making pasta last night (no, not in a crock pot… just the normal boil water and add pasta) but I wanted a nice side dish to go with it.  I bought a huge container of mushrooms last week, but then forgot what I was going to make, so I decided that they would make the perfect side dish for our pasta dinner.

Mushrooms are one of my favorite vegetables. They are all fine and good raw, dipped in ranch, or marinated. And they come in so many different varieties! Don’t believe me? Take a trip to your favorite international grocer and see if you can even identify all of those little fungi. I like enoki in miso soup or baby portabellos in beef stroganoff, but I used regular, white mushrooms in today’s recipe. They are a pretty standard item for me to buy, since they are sturdy, take a long time to spoil, and can be added in so many different ways.

This dish is really easy to make, but be warned– you can fill the crock pot with mushrooms and six hours later, you will have about a quarter of a pot of food left! So plan for more than you think you want. They also work well added to spaghetti sauce or used as a layer in vegetable lasagna.  Enjoy!


Crock Pot Garlic Mushrooms (serves 8 as sides)

2 lbs white mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed, and quartered

1/4 butter (one stick)

2 T. minced garlic

1 T. dried dill

1 t. onion powder

1/2 t. paprika

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. black pepper

2 sprigs fresh thyme, just the leaves

parmesan cheese

Put mushrooms in crock pot first, then all of the seasonings and garlic. Put the stick of butter on top as the last step and then put the lid on. No mixing is necessary. Do not add parmesan cheese yet. Just don’t. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Remove the mushrooms using a slotted spoon and then decorate with grated or shredded parmesan cheese just before serving. If you wish, you can save the liquid in the crock pot for mushroom gravy.


Crock Pot Spaghetti Squash

crock pot spaghetti squashI was walking through the produce aisle this week and excited to see all of the fall produce slowly emerging as the weather starts the cool and the crock pot starts to heat. With squash of every size and variety piled up like presents under a tree, I started loading my cart with butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash. But the tipping tower of treasures presents a second issue– how do you prepare and cook these ridiculous looking vegetables?  As with most foods that I don’t want to fret about, I make them in my crock pot!

If you haven’t ever experienced spaghetti squash, you are about to be delighted. I’m pretty sure it’s the best diet food ever since it’s low in calorie, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo-friendly, vegan, vegetarian, nut-free, guilt-free, and packed with nutrients and flavor. But what intrigues me most about this cavern of goodness is the bizarre pasta like consistency of the meaty threads.

Here’s the prep: waaaaaash the squaaaaaash. I love that you just sounded that out. Seriously though, this thing it going to sit in it’s entirety in your crock pot all day, let’s not harbor fugitives like bugs or germs.  Then take a sharp knife and stab the squash 5-6 times so that the heat and moisture can seep in and out to cook the flesh. Yes, it’s a vegetable, but I think you can use words like meaty and flesh to describe never-living creatures, too.

Put the 4 lb squash and 2 cups of water  in your crock pot for 6 hours on low. When it’s done, the squash will deflate a bit and be awkward to lift out. Watch out– it’s HOT and full of juices. Let it cool a bit before you handle it. You will need to cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds inside (Throw the seeds away. This is not a pumpkin.)

Use a fork to shred the cooked pasta-like fresh from inside the squash. Once you have scraped it out, throw out the skins. Much like pasta, this is now a wonderful blank slate to begin preparing a delicious dish!  Here are a couple ideas to choose from as far as fun flavors to add into your spaghetti squash:

  • Add 1 tablespoon butter, 1 teaspoon minced garlic and 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese.
  • Add 1 cup alfredo sauce, 1 lb. browned ground beef and a can of stewed mushrooms.  Oh look- beef stroganoff!
  • Top it with crock pot chicken cacciatore for a low-fat, low-carb hearty dinner.  (Yes, this requires two crock pots.)
  • Add a scoop of crock pot caramelized onions and some cubed mozzarella cheese. French onion spaghetti squash!

Trying a new vegetable dish  is no longer a challenge or a disappointing dinner. Enjoy your local seasonal vegetables in these new and exciting ways.