Tag Archives: Slow Cooker

Slow Cooked Butternut Squash Soup

 

Butternut Squash soup is full of fall flavor.  I’ve made butternut squash soup before and it hasn’t turned out very good at all…either way too thin or just terrible flavor.  This was amazing though!  It was thick, rich and had awesome flavor.  I hope you really enjoy this Butternut Squash Soup as much as I do!

 

Ingredients:
1 Medium-Large Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 Medium Onion, chopped
1 Asian Pear, peeled, cored and chopped
2 Cups Chicken Broth
1 Cup Water
1/2 teaspoon Curry Powder
1 teaspoons Flax Seeds
Salt & Pepper to taste

 

Add squash, onion, Asian pear, broth, water, curry powder and flax seeds to a slow cooker.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours until squash is very tender.

Puree until smooth with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

Yield: Slow Cooker FULL of soup!

Slow Cooker Pork Spareribs

 

The thought of cooking ribs can be daunting, so here is an easy way for a beginner to cook spareribs.  Slow Cooker Pork Spareribs is a great set-it-and-forget-it kind of meal.  You really can’t mess this one up.  I got these pork spareribs during a great buy 1 get 2 free sale that I couldn’t pass up.  The chili sauce, orange marmalade and apple cider vinegar make a great barbeque sauce for the Slow Cooker Pork Spareribs.  Serve these up with some potatoes and a salad and you have a fabulous dinner.  Give ribs a chance and try out these Slow Cooker Pork Spareribs.

 

 

Ingredients:
3-4 lbs Pork Spareribs
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/2 Chili Sauce
1/4 Cup Orange Marmalade
1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 Tablespoon Freshly Grated Ginger
2 Cloves Garlic, minced

 

Prepare the spareribs by removing the skirt on the back side of the ribs.  It looks like  random piece of meat on the back.  Also remove the membranes, which are a white film on the back side of the ribs.  Get under the corner of the membranes with a knife, get a good grip on it and pull straight up.  Cut the spareribs up into individual ribs, season with salt and pepper and place in the slow cooker.

Whisk together chili sauce, orange marmalade, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, cumin, ginger and garlic in a small bowl.  Pour over the ribs in the slow cooker.  Cook on low for 6 hours.

 

Yield: 4-6 Servings


-Recipe by Paula Deen-

Homemade Yogurt

 

 

Making your own yogurt is one of the coolest things you can do in the kitchen.  It takes some time, but it’s well worth it.  Yogurt is so cheap to make.  Lets say you got a great deal on milk and yogurt…88 cents for a half gallon and $1 for a small container of plain yogurt.  You’ve only spent $1.88 and made a half gallon of yogurt.  And what’s even better is that you can make more yogurt from your homemade yogurt!  I know, it’s mind blowing!  You are going to kick yourself for buying store bought yogurt all these years.  There are a million different methods for making yogurt, but it’s all the same basic procedure. I typically use whole milk, but use whatever you like.  Enjoy your delicious yogurt.  Flavor it any way you like.  Chloe’s favorite way to eat yogurt is with a spoonful of strawberry jelly mixed and some colorful sprinkles on top!

 

Ingredients:
Half Gallon Milk (1%, 2% or Whole)
2-3 Tablespoons Plain Yogurt
Supplies Needed:
1 Large Pot
4 Pint Sized Mason Jars with rings and seals (used seals are OK since we aren’t sealing them)
Thermometer (candy and meat thermometers both work)

 

Divide the yogurt between the 4 mason jars.  Leave on the counter so the yogurt can warm to room temperature.

Turn the light on in your oven.  Leave the oven off though.

Pour the half gallon of milk into the large pot.  Heat over medium heat until it reaches 185°F.  Remove from heat and place the pot in a sink full of ice water.  Let it cool until it reaches 110°F.  Remove from the ice water so it doesn’t cool any more.

Carefully ladle the warm milk into the 4 mason jars.  Place the seals on the jars and loosely screw on the lids.

Place in the oven (with the oven light on) and leave in there for 7 hours.  Remove from oven, stir and refrigerate overnight.

 

 

Notes:

  • Don’t use your best pot for heating the milk because it could warp when you put it in ice water.
  • If you are afraid you will scald the milk, heat it in a double boiler.  It works just the same.
  • This can also be made if you don’t have a thermometer…Or if you keep breaking thermometers like I do.  Just heat the milk until it’s really steamy and hot, then cool it until you can keep a finger in it without burning it.  Very official and exact!
  • You can stir the yogurt right into the milk if you want to keep it in the pot you heated it in.  Then put it in other containers after the 7 hour waiting period.  I just like to have it separated out and ready to go.
  • Sterilize to your hearts content.  Sterilize the pot, spoons, ladle, jars, lids, seals, thermometer and anything else that will touch the milk and yogurt.  A great method for sterilizing is to boil for 10 minutes.
  • Make Greek yogurt by straining out some of the whey.  Use cheese cloth or a tea towel to strain it.
  • Make yogurt in your slow cooker or microwave using the same procedure.
  • It takes some time for the milk to heat, but it cools very quickly.
  • Try not to move the milk around too much after you add the yogurt.
  • You get your yogurt all ready to culture in the oven for 7 hours, then realize your dinner needs to be cooked in the oven.  Oh no!!  Don’t worry…just grab another mason jar, fill it with water and heat for a couple minutes in the microwave.  Leave it in the microwave and put your jars of yogurt in the microwave too.  Close the door so the heat doesn’t escape.  I like to attach a note to my microwave door that yogurt is trying to culture inside and not to open it.

 

 

Have you made yogurt before?  What method did you use?  Do you have any tips or questions?

 

Yield: Half Gallon Yogurt

Slow Cooker Peanut Chicken

 

For some reason peanut butter and chicken are a delicious combination.  Chloe really loved this one because her favorite food is peanut butter!

 

Ingredients:
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2/3 Cup Peanut Butter
1 Cup Chicken Broth
1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 Zucchini, shredded
1/3 Cup Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
1 Cup Cilantro, chopped
1 Package Angel Hair Pasta

 

 

 

Stir together the garlic, peanut butter, chicken broth, chicken, zucchini, soy sauce, sugar, and bell pepper in the slow cooker.  Cook on low for 4-5 hours or high for 2-3 hours.

Stir in the lime juice and cilantro 30 minutes before serving.

Serve over cooked angel hair pasta.

 

 

Yield: 4 Servings

-Recipe from 365 Days of Slow Cooking-

Paleo Beef Stew

 

Here is a basic beef stew recipe.  This could even be made in the slow cooker to make it even easier.

 

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Large Onion, thinly sliced
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1 lb Beef Stew Meat
2 Carrots, chopped
1 Cup Beef Stock
2 (14 oz) Cans Diced Tomatoes
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning

 

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and garlic.  Saute until soft.

Add the beef and cook until browned.  Add the carrots, stock, tomatoes and Italian seasoning.  Bring to a bubble, reduce heat and cover pot.  Simmer on low for 1 hour.

 

Yield: 4 Servings

 

-Recipe adapted from Paleo Plan-

 

Freezer Cooking: Round 1

 

I’m doing freezer meals for the month of May.  I’ve been wanting to give this a try for a while, but I just haven’t done it yet.  Now, I’ve done some freezer meals in the past, but never like this.  Usually I will just make a double batch of chili and freeze half.  Or make two casseroles and freeze one.  But this is going to be some serious freezer cooking!

 

I checked my freezer and saw that I already had these meals in there – Eggplant Parmesan, Black Bean Chili, Chicken Pepian and Pizza Dough (pepperonis and cheese too).  Woohoo!  4 meals are already taken care of!

 

Here is my master plan for my first round of freezer cooking:

  • Beef & Black Bean Taco Bake
  • Teriyaki Honey Chicken (making 2 of these)
  • Orange Chicken
  • Marinated Chicken Thighs

 

Ingredients:
1 lb Ground Beef
4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
6 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
1 Can Black Beans
3 Cups Black Bean and Corn Salsa (or regular salsa with 1/2 cup corn)
2 Cups Cheddar Cheese
6-10 Tortillas
1 Cup Honey
1 Cup Soy Sauce
4 teaspoons Minced Ginger
4 teaspoons + 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
1/3 Cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Ketchup
6 oz Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate
4 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/8 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
3 Tablespoons Italian Dressing
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

You will also need a 9×13 inch baking dish, 4 gallon sized freezer bags and 1 smaller quart or sandwich sized bag.

 

 

*Tip: Write baking instructions on the foil/bag so you know how to cook it!*

 

I first assembled the Beef & Black Bean Taco Bake.

1 lb Ground Beef
1 Can Black Beans
3 Cups Black Bean and Corn Salsa (or regular salsa with 1/2 cup corn)
2 Cups Cheddar Cheese
6-10 Tortillas

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the ground beef and cook until browned.

Cut up the tortillas into bite sized pieces and drain the black beans.

Combine the beef, beans, salsa, cheese (save 1/2 cup for the top), and tortillas together in a large bowl.  Pour into a lightly greased 9×13 inch casserole dish.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Cover with foil.

Cooking instructions: Defrost in refrigerator overnight.  Bake at 350°F for 30-45 minutes or until bubbly.

Yield: 4-6 Servings

 

 

Next I prepared the Orange Chicken.  I also made some orange juice with the leftover orange juice concentrate – or you could double the recipe to use the rest of the can.

4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1/3 Cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Ketchup
6 oz Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate
4 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/8 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Cut up the chicken into bite sized pieces and place in a gallon size freezer bag with the flour.  Shake bag to coat chicken.

In a smaller zip top bag, combine the salt, ketchup, OJ concentrate, brown sugar and crushed red pepper flakes.

Place the sauce bag in the bag with the chicken and freeze flat.

Cooking instructions:  Thaw in refrigerator overnight.  Combine the chicken and sauce together in a slow cooker.  Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 2-3 hours.

Serve over rice.

Yield: 4 Servings

 

 

Then I prepared the Teriyaki Honey Chicken.

4 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
1 Cup Honey
1 Cup Soy Sauce
1/2 Cup Water
4 teaspoons Minced Ginger
4 teaspoons Minced Garlic

This is makes 2 meals in 2 separate gallon sized bags.

Put 2 lbs of chicken in each bag.

Combine the all the remaining ingredients together in a bowl.  Pour half the sauce into each bag with the chicken.  Freeze flat.

Cooking instructions: Thaw in refrigerator overnight.  Remove chicken from the marinade.  Grill or bake at 350°F for about 30-40 minutes or until cooked thoroughly.

Serve with rice or veggies.

Yield: 4 Servings per bag

 

 

Then I realized I still had 2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and was going to just throw them in a bag with Italian salad dressing.  I only had about 3 Tablespoons of dressing left, so I threw a couple other ingredients in there as well.

Marinated Chicken Thighs (I will post a picture after I make this)

2 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
3 Tablespoons Italian Dressing
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
Splash of Water

Combine all ingredients together in a gallon sized bag and freeze flat.

Cooking instructions: Thaw in refrigerator overnight.  Remove chicken from the marinade.  Grill or bake at 350°F for about 30-40 minutes or until cooked thoroughly.

Serve with rice or veggies.

Yield: 4 Servings per bag

 

 

It took me 1 1/2 hours to make these 5 meals.  I probably could have done it in just 1 hour if I didn’t have my 2 kids with me.

Later in the day I froze a few more things:

Bell Peppers – Chopped and put in freezer bag
Pepperoncinis- Diced and put in freezer bag
Green Beans – Blanched and put in freezer bag
Bread Crumbs – Rolls and bread ends from freezer.  Grind in food processor and put in freezer bag
Poblano Peppers – Charred, peeled, seeded, chopped and put in freezer bag
Zucchini Muffins  – Froze half a batch in a freezer bag
And I also made Refrigerator Pickles.  (Will post recipe soon)

 

*Tip: Freeze foods flat in freezer bags instead of in plastic containers!*

I had been freezing chicken stock in plastic containers because I ran out of bags.  It took up a ton of room in the freezer.  I transferred them to freezer bags and saves so much space!

 

 

 

-Beef & Black Bean Taco Bake from Eat At Home Cooks-

-Orange Chicken from The Virtuous Wife-

-Teriyaki Honey Chicken from Once A Month Mom-