Do you ever stock up on meat when it’s on sale and freeze it, only to then have to come up with a meal that specifically uses that “great deal” before it gets freezer burnt?! Yeah, that’s what I’m going through today. I thawed out a package of sweet italian ground sausage. I’m sure I bought it with some sort of intention…. but then it got buried in the freezer under half a dozen packages of frozen vegetables. After making winter vegetable soup, I found my meat stash and now had to face the task of figuring out what to make with the ground sausage.
Normally, you can substitute ground sausage in most ground beef or ground turkey recipes. It makes great chili, an incredible lasagna and even is creative in meatloaf. But I wanted to work on a recipe that truly highlighted the spices of the sweet italian sausage. You can use any variety of sausage, just understand that the flavors will ultimately completely change up the overall dish– so if you want hot sausage or you want to un-case a beer bratwurst, that’s totally fine. You can play with the flavors by changing up your meat selection– or using up something you find in the bottom of your freezer!
So tonight, we’re having crock pot dirty rice. I love that this dish uses the word “dirty”, but it’s so true. This is the antithesis of steamed, white rice. It muddles together all the flavors from the spicy meat and the sweet vegetables and somehow the tomato paste marries it all together. Yes, that’s what this is– a “dirty” “marriage” of flavors. Ha! I hope you enjoy this classic spicy one-pot meal and that it warms up your winter night.
1 lb sausage, crumbled and browned
3 cups water
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 large red bell pepper, finely chopped Read more
This afternoon, I went with my family to an apple orchard to pick fresh, local produce to enjoy. It felt organic. Not in the “lacking chemicals and pesticides” way, but in the “feeling connected to the earth and supporting something good”. My kids loved picking the fruit and sampling all the different kinds of apples. I am eager to make my escalloped apples recipe as soon as possible.
But the best part of the day was coming home to dinner already made and a very hungry family to feed!
One of my favorite meals to cook and eat is pot roast– meat, potatoes, carrots, celery, onions… all the basics. It’s so filling and full of great nutrients. One crock pot is a whole meal. But sometimes I like to vary it up a little. I made a very similar recipe today, but instead of beef, I used three turkey legs as our protein.
The meat becomes so tender it falls off the bone. I used whole carrots because they make such a nice presentation and Read more
Filed under: Appetizer, Dinner, Recipes, Side dishes, vegetarian
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.
Filed under: Appetizer, Dinner, Side dishes, vegetarian
This recipe comes from my friend I.H.K. and she is an amazing cook. This soup is thick and chunky and a whole meal in one bowl. She recommends serving it with tortilla chips or corn bread. Using an immersion blender can really change a soup from drab to fab by altering the consistency to be smooth and creamy instead of watery.
Since this recipe takes 8 hours on low, it’s a great one to start before you leave for work in the morning and then come home to a beautiful dinner. Take a chance on this vegetarian chowder and enjoy!
2-3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 1/2 inch)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can whole-kernel corn (15-16 oz.), drained
1 can creamed corn
1 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups broth (I use the vegetarian “chicken” flavor)
2 cups half-and-half or whole milk (depending on how virtuous you want to be)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon smoked sweet or hot paprika (optional)
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
Put first set of ingredients in crock pot and cook for about 8 hours on low or for 4 hours on high. Once the sweet potatoes are tender, stir everything together. Use an immersion blender to break up the ingredients as much as you want–I like my chowder chunky, but breaking up some of the sweet potatoes and corn makes the soup thicker and more luxurious. When only 1 hour of cooking time is left (if the slow cooker has been on high, turn down to low) ADD: half and half or milk, butter, paprika and cheddar cheese.
Did anyone else just do a double take to the title of this recipe? It’s funny to read Pot Pot and not giggle… but this pot pie is indeed made in your CROCK pot. I guess I could just call it crock pot pie, but then it makes me think of ooey gooey apple filling and flaky, buttery crusts and sorry fans… that is not this recipe. I will, however, promise that this recipe is for a new favorite for your whole family. It has meat, dairy, vegetable and carb and if you serve it with a side of fruit (maybe cranberry sauce??), you’ve fulfilled every food group. Except dessert… and I’m ok with that still being it’s own food group.
I will probably repost this recipe around Thanksgiving, because it’s the PERFECT thing to do with leftover turkey. I actually roasted a whole turkey this past weekend and have enjoyed easy meals all week from all the leftover meat. You can also do this dish just as easily with a rotisserie chicken that you pick up at the grocery store though.
Here’s another worthwhile note: I use a pancake mix that is entirely egg-free because my son has allergies… so I just made pancake mix according to the directions on the box for 12-14 pancakes (2 cups mix, 1.5 cups water). I would recommend that you follow the directions on YOUR box, so if it asks for eggs, you should probably include it.
Also- please be cautious when you put the crock pot (removed from the heating unit) into the oven and then taking it out. I scalded my arm nicely on this one because I wasn’t paying attention. Ahhh, the things I’m willing to do for great cooking and blogging… yeah, you’re welcome. Enjoy!
1-1.5 lbs cooked turkey or chicken, skin and bones removed, then meat cut into bite-sized pieces Read more
Ok fans, this one is really easy. It might surprise you to think about doing a roast in your crock pot, but again– anything that can be cooked in the oven, can be cooked in the crock pot. I started this roast while I drank my breakfast coffee and it was done by lunchtime. Dinner tonight is going to be a breeze. (I should note that my crockpot cooks quickly, even on low. You will want to use a meat thermometer to determine when your roast is cooked through. Pork is done when the internal temperature of the meat reached 160 degrees).
I like that the dry rub on this roast is simple and you can vary up the flavor and switch out other seasonings, if you prefer. I think that the brown sugar really complements the flavor of the pork, but if you’d rather cut down on the sweetness or calories, you can use other seasonings and leave out some of the brown sugar.
Enjoy this roast from your crockpot and savor the flavors. Add a couple side dishes and you’ll have a complete meal for dinner tonight or even entertaining. Enjoy!
2 lb. pork loin rib end roast
1 t. thyme
1 t. parsley
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. black pepper
1/2 t. salt
3 T. brown sugar
1/2 c. water
Rinse roast and pat dry, then place in crock pot on metal trivet (this lets the juices run without letting the meat sit in the juice). Mix all seasonings and brown sugar in a separate bowl and place mix on the meat, patting down with your fingers until mixture is evenly distributed. Add 1/2 c. water to crock pot, but do not pour it on top of meat. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Our county schools have been out of school for three days and the grocery has been out of milk for two. Oh, the fun of a southern winter! I have decided not to venture out until the roads are better so I’m getting creative with foods from the pantry and freezer.
Since we’ve already had crock pot soup and grilled cheese sandwiches and also crock pot Cincinnati chili, I thought it would be fun to do a crock pot breakfast for dinner. I like finding new ways to remake some of our favorites, using the crock pot to my advantage. So this is my rendition of our breakfast favorites.
1 c. quick grits
4 c. water
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
6 turkey sausage precooked breakfast links, thawed and sliced thin
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
Put all ingredients in crock pot and stir. Cook on high for 3 hours. Consistency should be thick and almost creamy– all grit particles should be softened and cheese melted throughout. When serving, top with your choice of salsa, peppered gravy, shredded cheese, butter, salt and/or pepper.
The morning is half over and my whole family is still wearing pajamas. Yay for snow days! But since it’s dreadful and cold outside, I need something hot and satisfying to fill our bellies. I decided that we should head south of the border tonight and enjoy some Mexican fare, so today I am sharing my recipe for chicken tortilla soup. This recipe is simple and easy (and note– it freezes well, too!) and you can definitely vary the spiciness of the dish, depending how much heat your mouth can withstand.
I am sharing my basic recipe for this soup, but feel free to add any of the following to the pot for additional spice. I would recommend only picking one or two of these things as each one packs a punch:
1/2 t. cayenne pepper OR
1 chopped jalapeno pepper OR
1 t. Tabasco sauce
You can also decorate your chicken tortilla soup in a variety of ways. Try sprinkling some fresh, chopped cilantro on top, or a few slices of avocado. If the spice is more than you anticipated, cut it with Read more
Here’s your history lesson for today, folks… let’s learn about barley. If you are a “meat and potatoes” kind of person, barley is a great item to add to your grocery list. Barley rations go all the way back to biblical times, I think, it’s healthy, hearty and inexpensive; is one of the world’s top harvested grains; and here’s a fun one– one of its main purposes is for producing beer and malted beverages.
Now that you’ve done your studies, let’s prepare your eats! This stew is meaty and thick and satisfies the hungriest belly. It is a meal in itself, but I prefer a small bowl of it with a side salad— and a beer, so I can be consuming barley in multiple forms. This is a nice variation to the common beef stew.
On a nice fall day like today, your house will be filled with the warm smell of meat, vegetables and an easy dinner. Enjoy!
1 lb. beef stew meat chunks
1 c. baby carrots
4 stalks of celery, cut into chunks Read more
Filed under: Appetizer, Dinner, Side dishes, vegetarian
I am fortunate to have a husband that loves my cooking and loves to eat. He tries everything I make and is very agreeable about most of it. But today, I had the privilege of watching my husband cook his first crock pot meal. And it turned out great!
Today’s soup includes a lot of produce, but unlike my normal vegetarian vegetable soup which has small bits of lots of vegetables, my hubby’s recipe includes chunkier cuts of vegetables and not as much variety. The real kicker of this soup is the topping– add a few jalapeno peppers and you’ve got a treat to eat without any meat!
I definitely encourage you to Read more