Friday, February 26, 2010

White Chili

In large pot on the stove:
Boil 4-5 cups dry great northern beans (white) for 5 minutes

Drain, rinse and put into the crockpot with:

8-10 cups chicken broth

Cover, cook on LOW for at least 6 hours, then add:

2 cups shredded/diced chicken
1-2 7oz cans chopped green chilies (I used one)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes - if you like some kick to it

Cook on LOW 1-2 more hours, switch to HIGH if beans are not soft yet. When it's done, switch to warm or turn the pot off and add 1 pint cream (abt 2 cups) just before serving. It's great as is, or you can top it with shredded monterey jack and/or a dollop of sour cream.

If you don't want to cook your beans - use 8 cans, drained and rinsed...your cooking time will be shorter.

*I have been looking for a GREAT white chili recipe and the search is over. This is FABULOUS! It makes a HUGE amount, and is very filling. I'm excited to have leftovers available for lunches over the weekend to feed my hungry clan.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cheesy Pasta and Meatballs

Ready for something SIMPLE?

Dump into the crockpot:

3 cups spaghetti sauce (1 can HUNTS)
16 oz DRY pasta, your choice (I used Rotini spirals)
1/2 to 1 cup of parmesan cheese (I had a few slices of Provolone that I used up too)
1 - 2 dozen 1oz meatballs (You can make these yourself, or do what I did, grab them from the bag of frozen meatballs from Sam's Club. Just be sure to precook/brown if you do homemade)

Last ingredient: 3 cups water

Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours, LOW for 5? Just check it and stir near the end.

If you want: Serve with shredded mozzarella cheese sprinkled over the top of the plate.

*Easy, a crowd pleaser, great with garlic bread. My non-meat eater could easily pick out the meatballs. You could cook this with approximately 1 lb browned hamburger if you don't want to make meatballs. WE LOVED IT!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ginger Oriental Rice

In VitaMix Blender:

1 cup soy sauce
1-2 large peeled carrots (I used one - this Blender method keeps the kids from complaining about the veggies - sneaky!)

OR...chop your carrot OR use frozen veggies (about 1-2 cups)

Dump into the crockpot and add:

8 cups cooked rice (4 cups raw)
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp ground ginger
1 melted stick of butter or 1/2 cup oil
1-2 cups shredded or chopped chicken (I had leftovers from Sunday dinner)
1 cup diced ham or diced, cooked bacon
1 diced yellow onion - don't make me laugh! hahaha (I didn't add this)

Stir all ingredients, cover and cook on LOW 4-5 hours or HIGH 2-3 hours. Stir occasionally to make sure you don't burn it (like once an hour)

Everything is precooked, so you're just warming it all the way through, and drying it out somewhat. It will be kind of a fried rice consistency.

*A childhood favorite for me. My kids LOVED it. I'm sure they will be asking for this one again which makes it a winner in my book. It's a great way to use leftover ham/chicken/turkey, etc. You may wonder why I make this dish in the crockpot when it could be done in the skillet and take less cooking time. Imagine this: I get it all put together and have NO can get all of the dishes done, clean up the kitchen and even get some laundry folded BEFORE we actually eat dinner because it's sitting safely in the at a slower rate while I get things done. Ah, the amazing crockpot.

African Peanut Soup

Blend well in VitaMix Blender:

1 14oz can cut tomatoes with juice
2 red bell peppers - no seeds
4 cups chicken broth

Pour into the crockpot and then add:

1 yellow onion - chopped (um, onion powder for us!)
2 green onions - chopped (again, not for us)
4 cloves minced garlic
4 more cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 - 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1 more 14oz can cut tomatoes with juice (this can be blended at the beginning with the other can if your kids will NOT go for a few tomato chunks in the soup)
2 cups diced or shredded chicken, optional (I had leftovers from Sunday dinner)

Cook on LOW 5-6 hours or HIGH for 4 hours.

20-30 minutes before dinner, add 1 CUP PEANUT BUTTER (I used creamy)

Once it's incorporated into the's time to eat. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a small dash of Tobasco Sauce if you like. (We liked it this way.)

*This was REALLY GOOD! I was nervous all day that the flavors would be too strange, (peppers and peanut butter?!) but we liked it! The rice disappeared and just thickened the soup. It would have been perfect with a grilled cheese sandwich. With the chicken in it, it was a great little meal. The go, he had peanut butter and jelly again. *sigh* He wouldn't even TRY it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hot Fudge Cake

Not to be confused with:
Peanut Butter Hot Fudge Cake

In mixing bowl, combine:

1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup flour
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Then stir in:

2 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Spread the mixture into the bottom of the crockpot.

Back in the empty mixing bowl:

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cup boiling water

Stir until sugar and powder are dissolved and then pour over the mixture in the crockpot. DO NOT STIR!

Cover and cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours, or until a toothpick, inserted into the cake, comes out clean. Like magic, you have cake AND fudge sauce to scoop out and serve warm over vanilla ice cream. It only took 2 hours in my 6 quart pot.

*My kids liked this better than the peanut butter recipe I mentioned at the top of this one, ME? I like the peanut butter one better - but this way, you can decide for YOU! In either case, they hit the spot when your sweet tooth cries out for hot fudge and vanilla ice cream. Also, I think that the next time I make it, I'm going to try to make it with white sugar instead of brown sugar. I'll let you know if it works.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chili - BASIC

On the stove, in a large pan, cover 4 cups of dry, small red beans or pinto beans with water. (I use red)

Boil for 5 minutes. (This breaks the seal and releases the GAS - no beano needed! least that's what my Mom told me.)

Drain the beans and rinse in a colander.

Put the beans into your crockpot (6 quart) and fill to 1 1/2" from the top with hot water.

Cook ALL DAY on HIGH until your beans are tender. This can be started the night before on LOW if you don't like to get up early and make usual method. Just check it the next day to make sure you don't need to add more water, just enough to cover the beans.

Once the beans are tender, at least 2 hours before eating add:

1 lb hamburger. If you're lazy like me, just crumble the raw hamburger into the hot beans and water and stir it in. Your meat will be so tender this way. If that bugs you, brown it on the stove first.

If your family is not as picky as mine, add:

onion, jalapeno, diced bell pepper, diced anaheim pepper, etc. when you add the meat. Obviously, we don't add any of these.

About 1 hour before dinner, after the meat is cooked, add:

1 small can tomato paste
1 tsp oregano
onion powder, cayenne? (how hot do you like it?)
1-2 packages of taco seasoning OR Chili seasoning from Sam's
1 Tbsp salt - taste to see how much you need
1 TBSP of sugar if your taco seasoning doesn't have enough (this cuts the acidity)
2 14oz can cut tomatoes, puree in blender if you need to for picky kids - use tomatoes with chilies if you like some kick. (I've used two 10oz cans and that's been enough.)

We top this with shredded cheese, some of us also top it with diced, fresh tomoatoes and sour cream. We like to make "chili nachos" out of ours by putting tortilla chips in the bottom of the bowl. It's also yummy over a baked potato.

*A great way to use my big buckets of beans in my food storage. This is our traditional meal on Halloween night. We enjoy this chili year round. I know, it's as plain as plain gets...but remember, I have picky kids. This one pleases all but the youngest, he can have plain cheese nachos. It's the perfect meal on a cold, snowy or rainy day.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Condensed Cream Soup Substitute 2

In a skillet on the stovetop, make a roux:

1 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour

Then whisk in the following ingredients:

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

This is equal to ONE can of condensed cream soup.

*Just like the other condensed soup substitute, I haven't made this because opening a can is so much easier. However, it IS nice to have the ability to sub if I'm out. Of course, it IS the healthier option.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sausage Rice

Brown in skillet: 1 lb sausage

Add it to the crockpot with:

2 apples, diced - no need to peel
1 yellow onion, chopped - yah right, I did onion powder
1 carrot, shredded or chopped
6 cups already cooked long-grain rice (3 cups raw)
1/2 cup raisins or Craisins (I used Craisins)
1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes (I was out)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup chicken broth or water (I used water - I put it in the VitaMix Blender to help chop up my carrot)

Stir everything up, cover and cook on LOW 5-6 hours or HIGH 3-4 hours, it will be the consistency of fried rice.

*I KNOW that these ingredients sound so strange together, but this was absolutely YUMMY! I will tell you that it wasn't a hit with everyone in my family, but they will have to learn to love it. I'm going to be making it again...and again! By the way, can you believe that I was out of parsley? I better get it onto my grocery list.

Monday, February 15, 2010

French Toast Casserole

Generously butter sides and bottom of crockpot - abt 1 Tbsp butter

Add slices of dry bread with cream cheese spread onto the bread, placing the cream cheese side down:

I had made a loaf of bread in my breadmaker and left it in the machine for a few days. I used the whole loaf except for the heels. It's a round pan, 5" wide and 6" tall.

Sprinkle over the bread: 1 1/2 cups blueberries (optional) I didn't have any, bummer!

In mixing bowl, combine:

8 eggs, beaten
1 cup cream
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
pinch salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Pour over the bread/berries in the crockpot. Gently press the bread down into the egg mixture, let it sit for ten minutes, pressing down occasionally into the egg mixture. Sprinkle with a little bit more cinnamon and cover.

Cook on LOW for 3 hours. It will be slightly browned on the edges when it's done.

Scoop out and drizzle with maple syrup, your favorite fruit sauce and/or powdered sugar.

*WOW! My 7 year old (the pickiest of us all) gobbled this one up! I'm pretty excited about that. In Michael's words, "This is GOOD french toast!" I'm thinking that it will make the perfect brunch or breakfast for dinner. It was great for lunch today. YUM!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Lemon Chicken - Chinese

Normally, I don't like a recipe where I have to thaw my chicken first, but this one is worth it!

Cut 8-10 raw boneless/skinless chicken breasts into chunks or strips

Dredge in bowl with 1 cup flour and 1 TBSP salt combined

Shake off the excess flour and brown the chicken pieces in a hot skillet with a small amount of Canola or Olive oil. The chicken doesn't need to be cooked all the way, just browned a bit.

Place the browned chicken pieces into the crockpot.

In mixing bowl, stir to combine:

1 tsp balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp ketchup
--1 cup lemon juice
--3/4 cup white sugar
(the lemon juice and white sugar can be replaced with a 6oz can lemonade concentrate - thawed, this makes me think that OJ concentrate will make orange chicken with this same recipe, I'll let you know if I try it)

Pour the mixture over the chicken pieces. Cover the meat and sauce with a piece of foil if it doesn't fill your crockpot to 2/3 full.

Cook on LOW for 4-5 hours, if you need to speed it up: Cook on LOW for 1 hour and then LOW for 2-3 hours.

Do NOT overcook this. If it burns, it will get bitter. During the last hour, keep an eye on it. This is not a meal that can stay in the crockpot on LOW until it's time to eat. When it's done cooking, if you're not ready to eat, put it on WARM if you have that setting.

Serve sauce and chicken over rice.

*So when we say "chinese food" to our kids, they think of lemon chicken. To them, it is the only chinese food that exists, at least it was the first chinese food they were willing to TRY. I was thrilled to find this recipe and even more thrilled that it worked. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Taco Soup

Brown approx 1 lb of hamburger and put into the crockpot, then add:

All undrained, 14oz cans...

2 cans kidney beans
2 cans black beans or pinto beans
2 cans garbanzo beans
2 cans cut tomatoes
1-2 cans corn - I used frozen
1 can chopped olives - we didn't have any
2 packets of taco seasoning (or your favorite homemade taco seasoning)

Cook on LOW for 5-6 hours or on HIGH for 2-4 hours

Top with shredded cheese and tortilla or corn chips.

*I had this when visiting my friend Nikki in Oregon, I had forgotten how good it was. We had this last night, YUM-O! My favorite part is that I made granola yesterday (2 hours) and it still wasn't too late to start this soup for dinner when I looked at the clock and it was 2:00 in the afternoon!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Indonesian Chicken Spaghetti

Put into crockpot:

5-6 chicken breasts (about 30 oz) boneless/skinless
2 LARGE carrots or 4 small carrots - peeled and shredded
2 onions chopped (not us, we did onion powder)

In mixing bowl:

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes (I didn't have any, so I added 1 Tbsp hot chili oil and a few shakes of cayenne pepper)

Stir together well and pour over the chicken and vegetables.

Cook on LOW 6-7 hours of High 4-5 hours

Halfway through the cooking time, remove the chicken and dice it, then return it to the sauce in the crockpot.

When the sauce is done, separately cook 16-22oz of spaghetti noodles based on your preference of noodles to sauce. Drain and then pour noodles into the crockpot. Stir to cover the noodles with the sauce and turn off the crockpot. Serve right away.

If desired sprinkle with sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, fresh cilantro.

*A great twist on spaghetti. I wasn't sure about this one, it didn't look very appetizing after it was done cooking, but it really was good! I don't know if you're supposed to top Indonesian food with cilantro, but I had some on hand and I liked how it tasted.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Mix all the dry ingredients into a LARGE crockpot:

10 cups oats
1 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup brown sugar
1-2 Tbsp cinnamon
1-2 TBSP of wheat germ, rolled wheat or flax seeds (optional - I didn't)

1/2 to 1 cup each of your favorite granola ingredients to equal abt 3 cups:

--unsweetened coconut
--nuts (slivered almonds, chopped peanuts, cashews or pecans, etc.)
--seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, etc.)
--dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, apples, etc.)

In microwave bowl:

2 tsp vanilla
1 cup olive oil OR melted butter
1 cup pure maple syrup OR honey

Warm in the microwave, stir well, then pour over the dry mixture in the crockpot. Stir together, all of the dry ingredients should be wet. Prop a wooden spoon or chopstick in between the lid and the crockpot to create a vent OR just cook this with the lid off.

Cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours. Stir every 30 minutes, perhaps more often during the last hour to keep it from burning and getting bitter. When it's done, you can cool it out on parchment paper or you can be lazy like me and lift the ceramic pot out of the cooker and cool it in that, stirring a few more times while cooling. When cool, store in airtight containers or ziploc bags. Serve as cereal or on your favorite yogurt...or plain! Granola freezes well.

*So cool to get a large batch of granola without much effort! You will obviously want to make this when you will be home for three hours and can stir occasionally. My guess is that it's not as crunchy or clumpy as cooking in the oven, but we're OK with that in my house. It's yummy. For lots of tips, you can click here.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chicken Curry Soup

Place in crockpot:

4-5 chicken breasts, boneless/skinless/frozen (abt 25oz)
8 cups chicken broth
1 large onion, diced (onion powder for my family!)
2 granny smith tart apples, peeled and chopped
4 medium potatos, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
1-2 tsp lime juice
1 cup uncooked rice

Peel 2 large carrots and chop in VitaMix Blender with 2 more cups of chicken broth, then add to the crockpot.

Cook on HIGH 4-5 hours or LOW 6-7 hours

Remove chicken breasts, dice into bite size pieces and then return them to the crockpot. Just before serving add:

1 cup cream, fresh chopped cilantro, serve with lime wedge if you're feelin' fancy.

*I know I said I would only post the ones that the family liked, HALF of us liked this one. Most importantly...I liked this one! I am going to play around with some of the ingredients. I wasn't so sure about the potatoes. If I make any changes, I'll fix it. I think you have to like curry to like this one. If you don't like curry...skip it. (I like curry!)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sweet and Sour Chicken - Cantonese Style

Put into the crockpot:

2 lbs chicken breasts, boneless/skinless - I used frozen of course (about 6)
1 green pepper, seeded and diced
1 red pepper, seeded and diced (I didn't have this, so just did the 1 green pepper)
1/2 med onion, thinly sliced - oh hahahaha, not in my family - I left this out
1 20oz can pineapple chunks or tidbits - save the juice in mixing bowl

In mixing bowl, combine:

the saved pineapple juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt - 1tsp if you use low sodium soy sauce

Pour sauce over the chicken, veggies and pineapple

Cook on LOW 7-8 hours or HIGH 5-6 hours

Before serving, remove chicken breasts and cut into bite size pieces, return them to the sauce and veggies in the crockpot. Serve over cooked rice. (we made 8 cups, 4 cups raw)

*For a thicker sauce, mix 1/4 cup water and 3 TBSP cornstarch and add to the sauce about 30 minutes before serving.*

Optional garnishes: slivered almonds, green onion, chowmein noodles

*I know that this recipe calls for 2 bell peppers, but one was plenty for my picky eaters. I did sprinkle some onion powder over the chicken since I didn't add the onion. Also, the recipe called for 1/4 cup water, but it was too watered down, so I left it out of the recipe. I might add a bit of lemon juice next time. Overall...this was yummy, and we gobbled it up. I didn't have any garnishes, maybe next time.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mock Pot Pie

For Pot Pie filling, add to the crockpot:

3 chicken breasts, boneless/skinless - yes, I usually use frozen CAN use 1-2 cups precooked chicken

2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/4 - 1/2 cup water
1 14oz can chicken broth (2 cups)
4 potatoes, peeled and diced into approx 1/2 inch cubes
2-3 carrots, peeled and diced (or chopped fine in VitaMix Blender for picky eaters)
1-2 cups frozen vegetables: corn, peas...if you use frozen carrots, skip the fresh carrots

Cook on LOW 7-8 hours or HIGH 4-5 hours - until veggies/potatoes are soft.

During the last 30-60 minutes, add 3TBSP of cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup of cold water to the crock pot to thicken the sauce.

Serve the hot filling over biscuits.

*Since I can make biscuits way faster than pie crusts...this is a much more appealing way to have chicken pot pie! You CAN make this with leftover diced/shredded TURKEY or a few cans of drained TUNA if you don't have chicken on hand.