Crock Pot

Week 4: Coq au Vin & Bean and Sausage Stew

It was a week of cooking success! Both of these recipes were total winners that get better the next day as leftovers. 

Coq au Vin

Adapted from Make It Fast, Cook It Slow, by Stephanie O’Dea

  • 6 slices cooked and crumbled bacon
  • 6-8 chicken thighs (I used boneless and skinless and put them in frozen)
  • 8oz. sliced mushrooms 
  • 3 carrots, chopped 
  • 1 onion, chopped 
  • 1 parsnip, chopped 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1t salt 
  • 1/2t black pepper 
  • 1/2C chicken broth 
  • 1.5C red wine (I used Cabernet and my husband drank the rest. Choose wine you want to drink.)
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs

Put bacon in crockpot. Place chicken and veggies on top. Add rest of ingredients. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve with rice, pasta, or mashed potatoes. 

Bean and Sausage Stew

Adapted from mycupisfull.com

Note: I chopped the vegetables and sausage the night before and stowed it in the fridge. This cut down on day-of prep time considerably. 

  • 15oz. kidney beans, drained
  • 15oz. black beans, drained
  • 29oz. petite diced tomatoes
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 russet potato, diced 
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 parsnip, diced
  • 4 sausages, sliced (I used chorizo)
  • 1C water
  • 1t Worcestershire sauce

Put all this in the crockpot. 

  • 1T black pepper
  • 2t salt
  • 2t chili powder
  • 1t garlic powder
  • ½t cayenne 

Mix all this together and sprinkle into crockpot. Mix. Cook on low 8-10 hours. This is awesome with cheese on top. 

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Week 3: Chicken Burrito Bowls and Laziness

I cooked on Tuesday last week and it lasted us… well, I’m having it for lunch tomorrow. Some recipes are like that. This is one of them. It’s a recipe I posted last summer, but I tweaked it a little and now it’s even better.  

Chicken Burrito Bowls

Adapted from myself

For chicken filling

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I put mine in the crockpot frozen)
  • 1 15oz. can black beans
  • 1 15oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1T olive oil 
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced 
  • 2 Anaheim chiles, seeded and diced (wear gloves!)
  • 1T taco seasoning (I use this recipe)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1C frozen corn

For burrito bowl

  • Hot cooked rice
  • Shredded Mexican cheese 
  • Chopped avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Hot sauce

Place the chicken breast in the crockpot. Dump in the black beans (with liquid) and tomatoes. Heat olive oil in a small nonstick pan over medium heat. Sauté red pepper until slightly soft and add to crockpot. Add Anaheim chiles to pan and cook until they have a bit of color. Add to crockpot. 

Sprinkle taco seasoning, salt, and pepper over everything in crockpot and kind of poke it with a spoon so it gets mixed into the peppers, tomatoes, and beans. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Thirty minutes before serving, add frozen corn and cover again. 

Shred chicken with two forks and serve over rice with burrito fixings. 

Week 1: Mediterranean Chicken & Sloppy Joes

2016 is off to a delicious start. I’ve made some tasty things and have many more meals already planned. I have six cookbooks out of the library right now. I have a problem. 

For my first week of new recipes, I decided to make two crockpot creations, both from Stephanie O’Dea’s book, Make It Fast, Cook It Slow

Mediterranean Chicken

Adapted from Make It Fast, Cook It Slow

  • 4 frozen chicken breasts
  • 16oz. frozen artichoke hearts (that was a bag and a third for me)
  • 1C green olives, sliced in half
  • 1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes 
  • Crumbled feta

Place chicken breasts in crockpot. Plop artichoke hearts, olives, and tomatoes over them. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve with rice and sprinkle with feta. 

Verdict: I added the feta when we had leftovers and it was perfect. This is delicious. 

Sloppy Joes

From Make It Fast, Cook It Slow

  • 1lb. lean ground beef 
  • 1 recipe Sloppy Joe Mix
  • 1 (6oz.) can tomato paste 
  • 1C warm water

Sloppy Joe Mix

  • 1T dried onion flakes
  • 1T paprika
  • 2T brown sugar 
  • 1t cumin
  • 1t salt
  • 1t cornstarch
  • 1/2t garlic powder
  • 1/4t dry mustard
  • 1/4t celery seed 
  • 1/4t black pepper 

Combine all ingredients in crockpot and stir well. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Serve on buns. 

Verdict: I cooked this a little too long (closer to 7.5 hours) but it was still great. Next time I plan to double the recipe. 

Zippers (and Santa Fe Chicken)

Yes, yes, yes, I know that March’s project is supposed to be aprons. I’ve made two, and I bought a pattern for another, but you know what I learned how to do the other day?

ZIPPERS.

I was terrified of zippers because they seemed so complicated. There are two pieces, and they have to line up and they are a functional closure. I thought so much could go wrong, and then I took a step back and said, “It’s a goddamn zipper, life will go on, just do this.” So I made this pouch. Well, to clarify, I’ve made five such pouches. Three of them turned out great, and two of them are sort of wonky. But three of them turned out great! Yay for me!

When I attempt to use a paper pattern for the first time, I will definitely provide a step-by-step illustrated guide to my confusion.

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Our awesome friends from the Midwest visited last weekend and shared this great recipe with me. It’s based on a recipe from Pinterest, but I just sort of threw it together, recipes be damned. (To be honest, when a recipe is mostly, “Open cans and dump contents out,” you don’t really need a tutorial.) Plop the chicken on top of the corn pudding, top with cheese and cilantro, and eat until you burst.

Santa Fe Chicken

  • 1 can Hatch chiles (the little can)
  • 1 can spicy corn (the little can)
  • 1 can hominy
  • 1 can black-eyed peas
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans
  • cumin, to taste
  • chili powder, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 C chicken stock or broth

Dump all the cans into the crockpot. Add spices and stir. Push the chicken down into the mixture, and pour stock over all. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, until chicken is falling apart. Shred, and serve over corn pudding.

Corn Pudding

  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 can cream-style corn, not drained
  • 1 stick butter (I KNOW, IT’S DELICIOUS)
  • 1 C sour cream
  • 1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix

Melt butter in a casserole dish (I used an 8×8 dish). Add remaining ingredients and mix. Bake 45 minutes at 350F.

Neighborly Fun (and Crock Pot Pasta Sauce)

The past few days have been full of neighborly fun. Someone made an anonymous call to Animal Control about our puppy’s crate; they said she was being “kept” in there “all day” and that it was too small for her to comfortably stand up and turn around. In order for someone to have seen her crate, they would have had to press their face against our bedroom window, and in order to get to the window, they would have had to climb through a bush. I’m pretty angry about the entire situation. An animal welfare officer had to come to our house yesterday and make sure the crate was adequate (it was; she actually loves being her crate, she just hates being alone for the 6 hours a week I’m out of the house). The officer was very nice and resolved the claim as “unfounded.”

Here’s the thing. I already didn’t like this apartment complex, and I already didn’t feel super secure here. And now we have a Peeping Tom willing to call Animal Control at the drop of a hat. What happened to knocking on your neighbor’s door and asking them what’s going on? Now we’re going to have an animal welfare investigation on our records, and while it’s resolved, it doesn’t make me feel like sunshine and lollipops. It means we have a neighbor (or someone who works at the complex) who is looking in our windows and making snap judgments about how we treat our dog. Someone out there thinks we’re bad dog owners and, therefore, bad people. I hate that. I hate it so much. I think I might know who called it in, and I’m going to do some poking around to find out for sure–this person is going to get a piece of my mind. They might have thought they were helping, but there are quite a few things they should have done before they made an anonymous call to Animal Control.

GAH.

Anyway, I made this pasta sauce a few weeks ago and it was phenomenal. I got the recipe from Iowa Girl Eats and tweaked it a little; I added red wine, and used a combination of beef (in the form of leftover meatloaf) and hot Italian sausage. You can even use leftover burgers or any sort of meaty leftovers you might have.

Crock Pot Pasta Sauce

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

  • 1/2 lb. ground beef (or leftover meatloaf or burgers or whatever)
  • 1/2 lb. hot Italian sausage (either links, split open and squished out, or ground)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (I used the food processor)
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
  • 1T brown sugar
  • 1/4-1/2C red wine
  • 1 bay leaf (or 2 small)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2t dried oregano
  • 2t dried basil
  • 3/4t salt
  • 1/2t dried thyme
  • 1/4t red chili pepper flakes
  • 2T butter

Brown beef and sausage with onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain; add to a large crock pot. Add all the ingredients except for the butter, stir to combine, then cook on low for 5-6 hours. Remove bay leaves, stir in butter, then serve over cooked pasta.

This is even better the next day!

Feeling Useless (and a delicious recipe!)

I’ve been down with a cold for the past five days, and let me tell you: I think I felt crappier mentally than I did physically. My job is to take care of my house, husband, and animals, and I couldn’t really do any of it because I felt so gross. I felt useless. Mr. Something told me, “You’re not supposed to do anything when you’re sick; you’re just supposed to rest and get better.” This, while making perfect sense, is not easy for me. I’m terrible at doing nothing. Even when I watch TV, I have a second activity going on, whether it’s knitting, or doing dishes, or poking around the Internet. I had to accept that doing nothing was the best thing I could do. Yesterday I made sure I lazed around, and today I’m feeling so much better. Uselessness has a use sometimes.

Since I haven’t cooked for almost a week (which is extremely weird for me), but I’m still not 100%, I’m making a crock pot standby for dinner tonight. It’s one of my favorites because it’s super easy, really delicious, and it lasts for at least two dinners for two people and maybe a lunch or two.

Crock Pot Coconut Chicken Curry

Place in crock pot:

3 chicken breasts (cubed or whole; if whole, shred about 30 minutes before serving)

Place in blender and blend til smooth:

1 whole onion

1 whole red pepper

1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste

1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk

1.5t salt

1T curry powder

1T garam masala

1 jalapeño, seeded

Cook on low for 6 hours. Serve over rice, and sprinkle some cilantro and lime juice on top. I always add some sriracha, too, but I like my food to kind of hurt.