Slow Cooker Saturday – Crockpot Honey Pork and Apples

Ahhh, the slow cooker. A New England staple! I love it because it means my husband get’s a break from cooking all night (though he does love cooking — I am blessed!), plus everything is always cooked to perfection!

With snowy weather, it’s a bonus – dinner can cook while you are sledding, shoveling, or just enjoying the peaceful tranquility that comes with snowfall (I LOVE the peacefulness!)

I love a nice pork loin, and I LOVE apples, so this pairing gets a huge thumbs up from me! YUM!

crockpot-honey-pork-and-apples

 

Slow Cooker Saturday – Chicken Minestrone Soup

Recipe source: http://www.thekitchn.com

Slow Cooker Hearty Chicken Minestrone

Serves 6 to 8

For the broth:

1 ½ pounds bone-in chicken thighs
1 medium leek, sliced into ½-inch rounds and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch rounds
2 celery stalks, cut into ¼-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
Pepper
1 quart (4 cups) low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water

To finish:
1 cup whole-wheat pasta shells
1 bunch red Swiss chard
½ head green cabbage or 4 cups of shredded cabbage
1 medium zucchini
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

For the broth:
Place the chicken, leek, tomatoes and their juices, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon salt in the insert of a large slow cooker (at least 4 quarts). Season with pepper and add the broth and water. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours. Meanwhile, prep the other vegetables and cook the pasta.

To finish:
Cook the pasta shells according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water, then store in the refrigerator.

Remove the stems from the chard. Cut the leaves crosswise into 1-inch-wide pieces. Place in a large bowl. Core the cabbage, thinly slice, and add to the bowl of chard. Halve the zucchini lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces and add to the bowl. Refrigerate until the broth is ready. (The pasta can be cooked and the vegetables prepared up to a day in advance.)

When the broth is ready, remove the chicken and bay leaf to a plate and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, add the bowl of vegetables to the broth and stir to combine. Cover the slow cooker, turn the heat to high if not already on high, and cook until the greens are tender but not mushy, 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken meat from the bones and discard the skin, bones, and bay leaf. Shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. Stir the garbanzos, chicken, and cooked pasta into the soup. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

I LOVE minestrone soup, and I am always looking for ways to add protein – my demanding workouts basically demand it! How does this sound to you?

Slow Cooker Saturday – Beef Stew with Orzo

Oh man, I love my slow cooker. Yes, I am ever so slightly leery about leaving something plugged into my house while I am not there, but I try to get over it, because slow cookers absolutely ROCK, and every meal is always tender and flavorful!

http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a45271/slow-cooker-beef-stew-orzo-recipe/

I actually love Orzo… my mom got me hooked on it! Does this sound like a hearty meal you would try?

Do you have a favorite crockpot recipe you could share? I am ALWAYS looking to add new ones to my collection!

Slow Cooker Saturday – Bacon, Smoked Cheddar and Egg Casserole

Yum! I love eggs, and I love breakfast, AND I love my slow cooker! I should note that I consider this more of a “splurge” breakfast – nothing I would eat every day, but sometimes you gotta live and let live on the weekends!

eggs whats for breakfast

This tasty recipe comes courtesy of Betty Crocker!

Ingredients:

  • 10 cups cubed French or ciabatta bread (about 12 oz)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 package (8 oz) sliced fresh mushrooms (about 3 cups)
  • 9 eggs
  • 2 cups (1 pint) half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups shredded smoked Cheddar cheese (8 oz)
  • 1 lb thick-sliced bacon, cooked, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 300°F. On large cookie sheet, spread bread cubes. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until dry.
  2. Line sides of 4- to 5-quart slow cooker with foil that has been folded into thirds; spray with cooking spray.
  3. In 10-inch skillet, melt butter. Add mushrooms; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, just until tender.
  4. In large bowl, beat eggs, half-and-half and pepper flakes with whisk. Reserve 3/4 cup cheese; set aside. Stir in remaining cheese, the bacon, bell pepper and 2 tablespoons of the parsley. Fold in bread cubes; stir to coat. Spoon mixture into slow cooker.
  5. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 4 to 5 hours or on High heat setting 2 to 3 hours or until temperature reaches 160°F in center and egg mixture is set.
  6. Sprinkle reserved cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons parsley over top. Cover; cook about 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Remove foil before serving by loosening edges with table knife.

Great to prep everything ahead either Friday night or Saturday night and cook in the morning for a leisurely weekend breakfast!

Slow Cooker Saturday – Red Bean Vegetable Soup

It’s Fall. In New England.

It’s the most amazing time of year. Now, while I am a huge fan of my slow cooker all year round, I use it way more in the cooler months. I of course prefer to grill in the warmer months. But we are entering, in my opinion, prime time for slow cookers. And soups, stews… warmer meals, but we don’t want to get bogged down too much.

I love this recipe because I adore kidney beans, and a nice veggie soup is always nice. The beans (and flavor!) are plentiful, which is the way I like it. And it’s no secret how I feel about bell peppers!Red Bean Vegetable Soup

Do you use your slow cooker a lot? Do you have a favorite recipe?

Slow Cooker Saturday – Buffalo Chicken Chili

I am a lover of anything buffalo chicken, really. It’s just a flavor I adore.

A couple of years ago, my mom introduced me to this new concoction – Buffalo Chicken Chili. Lets just say, I was sold from the name alone! My fiancé goes absolutely bonkers for this stuff, too.

chili pic
Buffalo chicken chili ingredients!

 

Here’s the recipe!

  • 1 lb Chicken – cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 Cup chopped onion
  • 1 Cup chopped celery
  • 1 Cup chopped carrots
  • 1 Can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 Can beans – rinsed (I sometimes use two cans.. I love my chili with lots of beans)
  • 16 ounces chicken broth
  • 2t chili powder
  • 1/2 cup Buffalo Wing Sauce (I usually use 1 cup because I like it a little hot)
  • 4 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1t Cumin
  • 1t Paprika
  • 1t Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper

Spray 5-6 quart slow cooker. Cover, cook on low 8-10 hours. I stir in some shredded cheddar cheese in my serving, and it’s also delicious with tortilla chips! It’s also nice with some blue cheese to offset the heat (depending on how much hot sauce you use!)

Just a note: this might cause you or your significant other to whine that you don’t make this often enough! 🙂