Crock Pot Cream of Mushroom Soup (#2)

Get ready for fall flavors with this easy to make, robust mushroom soup!

Get ready for fall flavors with this easy to make, robust mushroom soup!

On the cusp of summer turning into fall, I’m already getting excited about the next season of recipes. I’m not a pumpkin spice anything, but I love pulling in the flavors of butternut squash, roasted root vegetables, and hearty seasonings.

Last night, I made a cream of mushroom soup just as a way of using up leftover vegetables that were starting to age in the refrigerator. I figured I would freeze some or share with friends, but it was certainly better than throwing things out. Turns out– this soup was a nice variety to my normal Crock Pot Cream of Mushroom Soup! With just a little change up of flavors and ratios, this soup was a little more hearty and robust.

As I wrote in the first mushroom soup recipe, this doesn’t need to be an exact recipe with precise measurements. Also- using a hand blender does give this soup a lovely smooth consistency. Try it and enjoy this soup as a transition to fall!


Crock Pot Cream of Mushroom Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Serves: 8-10 people

1 lb fresh mushrooms (button, portobello or shiitake or a combination!)

4 stalks celery, cleaned and diced

1 large parsnip, peeled and diced

1/2 c. caramelized onions

3 cloves garlic

4 c. broth (chicken or vegetable)

1/2 teaspoon EACH: celery seed, salt, dried dill weed, black pepper

1 t. dried parsley

2 c. cold milk

2 T. corn starch

Put all ingredients EXCEPT milk and corn starch into crock pot and stir. Cook on high for 5 hours. Puree with hand blender. Dissolve corn starch into cold milk and add to crock pot and stir. Heat 1 additional hour on high and then serve.

Summer Series, Day Three: Crock Pot Low Country Boil

This meal requires no silverware-- or plates!

This meal requires no silverware– or plates!

Dinner tonight was epic. Seriously. I’ve been dreaming about a low country boil for weeks now, but not just the flavors fusing together, but enjoying it with the salty ocean air, the sound of the waves, and the openness of a housetop porch. And indeed–my prophecy has come true!

After another fabulous day at Ooh La La, our amazing beach house for the week, we enjoyed this one pot wonder just as the sun was setting. We started today at the Avon Pier, watching skilled fisherman catch buckets of fish and even some shark! Yes, the North Carolina coast has been ridden with shark incidents in recent weeks, but this was intentional baiting and catching of these dangerous creatures. No joke– it was thrilling and terrifying to see even little ones brought to the surface and hauled up to within feet of us.

We attempted to go out for lunch today since dinner was already going and the pier really made us work up an appetite. Lunch was ok– but not the local fare I was hoping for; I’m not convinced that the “Catch of the Day” didn’t arrive frozen in a box the week before. The kids didn’t want to eat their fish sticks… because they didn’t taste like the ones at home (well, duh!). So while we all enjoyed the air conditioning and endless fountain beverages, I’m not convinced it was worth it to go out to eat.

If the local restaurants aren’t appealing, make sure you stop by the local seafood markets instead– you can get fresh (never frozen) fish and creatures that came directly from the ocean. The Outer Banks is a prime location for tuna, soft-shelled crabs, shrimp, and many other options… including the sharks I mentioned before.

It is totally worth the extra buck at the seafood market and have them peel and devein your shrimp instead! But if you do it yourself, click and buy the tool in the link provided!

It is totally worth the extra buck at the seafood market to have them peel and devein your shrimp instead! But if you do it yourself, click and buy the tool in the link provided!

We then returned “home” for another afternoon of swimming. I peeled and deveined the pound of shrimp I picked up at the seafood market to add as the last step of the low country boil. Mental note to self– it is totally worth the up-charge to have someone else do this process. After removing the tubes of excrement from my crustaceans, I was no longer as excited to devour these treats of the sea. I mean, come on… I can’t unsee or unfeel that. But fresh is always the best option and local is a total perk. You’ll want your own shrimp tool to peel and devein in one swipe if you are getting fresh raw shrimp.

The Crock Pot Low Country Boil requires a few extra steps than you normally see in Dinner Is A Crock recipes, but since we were in and out of the house all day, it was not challenging at all. Again– the point of taking my crock pot to the beach was so that we could eat well without interrupting our adventures.  Dinner tonight was a total success and everyone ate well after our beautiful day in the Outer Banks. If you haven’t checked out the house yet, be sure to CLICK HERE and see about planning your trip to Ooh La La.


Crock Pot Low Country Bowl
Serves 4

3 ears of yellow corn; peeled, cleaned and broken in half
8 baby red potatoes (golf-ball sized or smaller)
1/2 sweet onion, cut into chunks
4 stalks celery, cut into 3-inch sections
1/4 c. Old Bay Seasonings
3 springs fresh dill
1 12 oz. can of beer (I used Yeungling)
2 c. water
1 14 oz. package Hillshire Farms Lit’l Smokies or other cocktail links
1 lb. large fresh raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
Crock Pot Low Country Boil

Put all of the vegetables in the crock pot with the water, seasonings and fresh dill. Add the beer. Cook on low for four hours or until the potatoes are fork tender. Add smokies or cocktail links and add another hour on low. Let the crock pot turn to the “keep warm” setting until you are close to dinner time. When ready, add the shrimp to the pot and set on high for 30 minutes– or just until the shrimp have turned pink. Drain crock pot into a strainer and shake out as much liquid as possible.

Pour the steaming awesomeness directly onto a table (covered in a plastic bag and layers of newspaper) and enjoy with your fingers. No silverware or condiments necessary.

Crock Pot Meatloaf

This family favorite is now even easier to make!

This family favorite is now even easier to make!

This recipe requires no lead up. You know it, you like it, you probably have had it a million times with just as many little variations. Let’s go simple and make a flavorful loaf for dinner that will please the whole family. Meatloaf also reheats and freezes well, so if you happen to have leftovers (yeah right!) go ahead and have a meatloaf sandwich for lunch tomorrow.

One note: You can make this with a mix of meats, if you prefer. Try half beef, half turkey or a mix of beef and bison. The directions stay the same, but the flavor and texture with change slightly. 




Crock Pot Meatloaf

(serves 4-6)

1 pound 90/10 ground beef

1 egg

2 T. minced sweet onion

1/2 c. panko bread crumbs

1 T. brown sugar

1 T. ketchup (one good squirt!)

1/2 t. dried dill

1 t. fresh thyme leaves









Mix all ingredients together and form into a loaf shape. Put in crock pot or on trivet insert if you have one available. Cook on low for 4 hours.

(If you need a trivet for your crock pot, try this one:


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 Cream of Celery and Leek Soup

Crock Pot Celery and Leek Soup

Crock Pot Celery and Leek Soup

Most weeks, I have a game plan for all of our meals and a grocery list to organize my trip. I know which nights will be crockpot meals, which nights will be leftovers, and I even anticipate which nights I’ll probably be too tired to cook!

But I started this week a day too late. I didn’t have my grocery list set and I wasn’t quite sure what was for dinner, so I opened the fridge and played a little Food Network-style game show called, “what the hell can I cook with these three ingredients?”

This is part of the amazement of crockpot cooking. With the right balance of seasonings and time, dinner can be a full meal without a lot of struggle.

Tonight’s cream of celery and leek soup turned out beautifully. Some of my Facebook followers have been asking for easy soups that are low calorie, too. This dish is very low carb and adding the last step really thickens it up to make it hearty. I even used 1% milk and it still tastes rich and creamy.

As long as you keep basic ingredients in your pantry and an open mind for culinary adventure, you can make delicious dishes without needing unusual ingredients. I’ll still be going to the grocery store tomorrow, though!


Crock Pot Cream of Celery and Leek Soup

3 Bunches of celery hearts, sliced (about 8-10 cups)

1 lb frozen sliced leeks (or fresh if you can find them)

32 oz Chicken or vegetable broth

14 oz Can sweet corn, cream style

3 Cloves garlic, whole

1 t. Dried dill

1/4 t. Nutmeg

2 Bay leaves

1 t. Salt

1 t. Black pepper

2 T. Corn starch

2 Cups cold milk

Add everything except the last two ingredients to your crock pot. Cook on high for 3–4 hours or until all vegetables are soft. Remove bay leaves. Use immulsion blender and purée soup. Dissolve the cornstarch in the cold milk and then add to crock pot. Continue cooking one more hour on high so soup can thicken.


Crock Pot Parsnip and Potato Soup

I’m totally enjoying soups this week and I hope you are getting a chance to enjoy some of these recipes too. I love it when I can make an entire meal in ONE pot and feed the whole family. This soup is a variation on my crock pot potato soup recipe (search for it in the recipe index) and adds in the unique sweetness of parsnips and carrots and sweet onions.

Even though it’s almost spring, we still need to survive on the rest of winter’s vegetables. If you can already grow things in your garden or windowsill, try adding fresh herbs like flat parsley, dill or chives to your soup when it is done cooking. I think you’ll find the promise of spring in the soothing warmth of this chowder. Enjoy!

4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

3 medium parsnips, peeled and diced

3 medium carrots, peeled and diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped

3 c. water

1 t. salt

1/2 t. black pepper

1 t. celery seed

1 c. milk

1 T. corn starch

1 can cream-style corn

Put all vegetables and seasonings in crock pot, cover with water. Cook on high for 4 hours. When vegetables are all soft, dissolve corn starch in milk and then add to crock pot. Add cream-style corn and mix ingredients together. Cook on low one more hour. Use an immersion blender and puree the soup until thick and creamy. Serve with fresh parsley, dill or chives on top.

Crock Pot Salmon- Crock for the Cure

This morning I am participating in the Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure. It has been my privilege to support this cause and all the amazing women and men that are fighting cancer every day. We all know someone, have loved someone or have experienced this battle ourselves. We must provide courage and compassion to support each other and on a day like today we add enthusiasm and charisma as well. I am proud of my community for running (no pun intended) such an amazing event every year.

One of the goals of the I AM THE CURE campaign this year is to “start the fight by living right!” It only makes sense that I challenge myself today to make a healthy PINK meal. I think we’ll call it Crock for the Cure. Maybe someday I’ll run my own fundraiser along these lines, but for today, I’d like to provide you with an easy colorful recipe. Enjoy!

(to find a Race for the Cure in your area, visit

4 salmon steaks (about 1-2 lbs of salmon; deboned, skin on)

1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin

1 T. pink peppercorns

1 c. white wine

1 T. olive oil

2 T. fresh dill, chopped

1/2 t. salt

Start by coating crock pot with a non-stick spray. Place salmon steaks side by side in the crock pot. Drizzle with olive oil, peppercorns, salt and fresh dill. Scatter sliced red pepper on top.  Pour wine around edges of fish, but don’t rinse off the seasonings. Poach for 2 hours on high.

To continue the theme, mix 1 T. softened cream cheese into 1/2 c. cocktail sauce and serve with the fish. It will be pink and spicy and will complement the opaque color of the fish.