Monday, March 2, 2015

Crock Pot "No Fail" Macaroni and Cheese

*originally posted on www.WGLR.com on 2-24-15*

With another super duper cold snap upon us, I was craving some comfort food! One recipe in the crock pot that has not been a success for me in the past is mac n cheese. I made a recipe back in season 2 of The Crock of the Week, and it was good, but it wasn’t quite the creamy consistency I was looking for. I tried again last fall and failed miserably. It always curdled on me! I came across the recipe below online a few weeks ago, and the author of the blog had the exact same problems and frustration as me, and THIS is the recipe that worked for her. So I decided to try one more time, but if it didn’t work, I was never going to make mac n cheese in the crock pot ever again! Haha! Well, since I am sharing it with you this week, you can probably guess the outcome. It was AWESOME! The key is NO EGGS! Don’t use a crock pot recipe that calls for eggs in the ingredient list! This recipe uses a can of condensed cheddar soup in the mix, and I think that is what made it work so wonderfully. YUM YUM YUM!!!

Crock Pot “No Fail” Macaroni & Cheese

3 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
5 tablespoons butter
18 oz grated medium cheddar cheese (about 2.5-3 cups)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can condensed cheddar cheese soup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Boil elbow macaroni in a saucepan for about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. Then, melt butter in a saucepan, and slowly stir in the grated cheddar cheese over low-med heat until it is completely melted. It should only take a few minutes, and stir almost constantly to avoid burning.
Transfer melted cheddar to the crock pot, and add in sour cream, milk, soup, dry mustard, and salt & pepper. Stir in partially cooked elbow macaroni. Cook on low for about 2 hours, stirring a few times. Keep an eye on it, as all crock pots cook differently. It was done in about an hour and 45 minutes for me.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Slow Cooker Cheesy Grits with Garlic Butter Shrimp



Ingredients
Grits:
  • 2 cups uncooked stone-ground grits
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
Shrimp:
  • 24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 1/4 sticks butter, sliced into pats
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Directions
  1. Combine grits and water in slow cooker and let grits settle to the bottom. Skim any solids off the top of the water. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or overnight.
  2. Stir and add in cream, cheeses, salt, pepper and butter.
  3. Preheat oven to 350ยบ F.
  4. Toss shrimp in olive oil and minced garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking tray.
  5. Place in oven and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until shrimp is pink, opaque and cooked through.
  6. Add butter directly to baking tray and toss shrimp in it.
  7. Spoon grits into bowls and add shrimp and butter on top.
  8. Serve warm.
Recipe found at 12tomatoes.com

Monday, February 16, 2015

Crock Pot Lemon Spoon Cake

**originally posted on www.WGLR.com on 2-9-15**

I was in Florida for a long weekend last week, and wow, did that make me desire spring and summer even more! I have had this recipe saved in my files to try for a long time, so I decided that I needed a taste of summer RIGHT NOW. Summer and fresh lemons go hand in hand, right? Plus, I LOVE lemon desserts. Lemon cake is a close second to chocolate, in my opinion. So, I tried this and wow! So delicious and moist and bursting with lemon flavor! It takes a bit of elbow grease to zest and juice the lemons (you’ll need about 4 for the whole recipe), but it was soooooooo worth it. It’s called a “spoon cake” because you spoon it out of the crock when it’s still warm and soft. Top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and you will have something to smile about. It is great when it’s warm right out of the crock pot, but I brought the leftovers to work the next morning and they were great, too. Making it in the crock pot, and the glaze over top makes the cake super moist, so you can enjoy it for a few days after you make it if you want. Good luck not eating it all in one sitting though if you love lemon cake like I do! That’s why I had to get the leftovers out of the house so I didn’t eat it all! 
**Disclaimer! The Husband thought it was “too lemony” (is that even possible??) so if you aren’t someone who adores lemon like me, you may want to cut back on the lemon juice a tad, and just add a bit more water to get the right amount of liquid needed. But I thought it was perfect!**
IMG_0051

CROCK POT LEMON SPOON CAKE

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (plus 2 tablespoons for glaze below)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (packed)
GLAZE:
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
(You’ll use about 4 lemons total)
In a mixing bowl, combine dry cake mix, 1/2 cup lemon juice, water, melted butter, and lemon zest. Stir until well combined, but don’t over mix. Spray a 6 quart crock pot with non-stick cooking spray or baking spray (I use Wilton’s cake Bake Easy spray). Pour batter into the crock pot and smooth it down evenly.
Cook on high for 1-2 hours, covered. Cook time will depend on your crock pot. I have a metal one, and it was perfectly done in 1 hour 15 minutes. It was just starting to brown on the edges and pull away, and was firm in the center. Check after an hour to see how yours is looking.
Before serving, mix up the glaze ingredients and put over the cake in the crock pot. Spoon it out to serve warm. Top with vanilla ice cream if desired. Makes about 8 servings.
Once the cake cools down it will be more firm to get out of the crock with a spatula, if you want to pack up leftovers.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Crock Pot Kalua Pork

**Originally posted on www.WGLR.com on 2-2-15***

This week's recipe was probably the easiest thing I have ever made in my crock pot. But that's not all, it was also one of the most delicious! It also took my husband back to our honeymoon in Maui when we ate it. Just 3 ingredients, and you will have many delicious meals from this recipe. It's Crock Pot Kalua Pork! It slow cooks for a loooooooong time (that isn't a typo in the recipe!) and cooking it so long is what makes it so so so tender. We enjoyed it in a lettuce wrap with some rice and barbecue sauce (the Husband used hoison sauce). It seriously tastes like the pulled pork we had in Maui from the pig in the pit that we ate at a luau. And it is so versatile! I used leftovers for pulled pork tacos. You could use it in so many ways, like on a sandwich, nachos, in a casserole, you name it. I used a shoulder blade roast, because that tends to be more lean, but still has enough fat to keep the pork moist and flavorful. I'm sure a loin roast would work, but I would reduce the cooking time so it doesn't dry out too much. But I had plenty of flavorful juices in my roast after cooking for 12 hours (my roast was about 2.5lbs, the recipe calls for 3lbs). No issues with drying out at all! You may be tempted to eat it just when it's "done," but don't! Let it slow cook as long as possible!
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CROCK POT KALUA PORK

  • 3 lb pork shoulder blade roast, lean, remove any large chunks of fat
  • coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon liquid mesquite smoke
Place pork in the crock pot and stab it all over with a knife. Rub sea salt all over the pork. Drizzle the liquid smoke all over the pork. Then, cook on low for 16 hours (yes, that is not a typo). Adjust cooking time if you have a different size roast, or if you know your crock pot cooks hot (some have their own personality!).
When done, remove from crock onto a platter. Remove any fat you may have missed before cooking, and then shred it all up with 2 forks. Remove any liquid from the crock pot (but don't toss it, I used some of it to put over leftovers in the fridge to help keep moist). Return the pork to the crock pot to keep warm for serving.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Crock Pot Bacon Cheeseburger Dip

**originally posted on www.WGLR.com on 1-26-15**

Super Sunday is this weekend! I wish my Packers were still playing, but oh well. Still had a great season! And it's still a good reason for a PARTY! If you are hosting a party for the big game, or need a dish to pass at somebody else's party, I'm helping you out this week. I made this around Christmas and it is really yummy! Lo-cal? No. BUT, it's the biggest game of the year, and gobbling up extra calories is part of the fun, right? It's Crock Pot Bacon Cheeseburger Dip! Nom nom nom! We ate it with tortilla chips, but I think it would go great on some chunks of big crusty bread, too.

cheeseburger dip

CROCK POT BACON CHEESEBURGER DIP

  • 1 lb of lean ground beef or turkey
  • 8 oz package of cream cheese, cubed
  • 2 c shredded cheddar cheese
  • 10 oz can of diced tomatoes with green chiles (like Rotel)
  • 6 oz package of real bacon bits, divided
  • 1 t dried parsley
  • assorted dippers like tortilla chips, bread chunks, etc.
Brown the meat in a skillet and drain. Add to the skillet over low heat: cheeses, the diced tomatoes with it's juices, and all of the bacon bits except for 2 tablespoons (save that for garnish on top when ready to serve). Cook until all cheeses are melted and the mixture is well blended. Transfer to crock pot (a 2 quart one is best unless you are doubling the recipe) and cook on low for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir in parsley and top with bacon bits just before serving.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Crock Pot Honey Mustard Chicken

**originally posted on www.WGLR.com on 1-19-15**

One of the meats I cook with most in my crock pot is chicken. We love chicken in our house, and it’s so versatile with how you can cook it and what you can put it in, like soups. I came across this week’s recipe online as a healthy crock pot recipe. It is only 200 calories per serving, and this recipe makes 4 servings. It’s easy to throw together, and I had most ingredients in my house already actually. Now, I am generally not a fan of mustard, but this is delicious. The honey balances out the mustard nicely, along with the other spices and ingredients. The original recipe says to cut the chicken in strips, but I chose to shred it up and serve it over mashed baby red potatoes, SO GOOD! The sauce from this is pretty tasty, which is why I chose to serve it over potatoes, but you can just serve it on it’s own if you would like with a side of your choice.  I did thicken the sauce up to make it a bit more gravy-like (2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbsp cold water, then added to the crock pot), and it was really delicious.
honey mustard chicken

Crock Pot Honey Mustard Chicken

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large onion, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon country-style (coarse-grain) mustard
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
Place chicken in the crock pot, and add sliced onions on top. In a small bowl, mix together all remaining ingredients, and then pour over the chicken & onions in the crock. Cook on low for about 6 hours.
Serve on it’s own or shred up to serve over potatoes or rice. If you want a thicker sauce, add in 2tsp corn starch dissolved in 1 Tbsp cold water at the end.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Crock Pot Ground Beef Picadillo

**originally posted on www.WGLR.com on 1-12-15**

This week's recipe is probably one you haven't heard of. I follow an awesome blog for healthy DELICIOUS recipes called Skinnytaste, and that is where this recipe came from. I had never heard of the dish, but thought it sounded good and was willing to give it a try. It's called Crock Pot Picadillo (pronounced peek-uh-DEE-yo). Apparently, the term means "chopped" and is used for a few types of dishes. This picadillo is ground beef based, and is popular in Cuba and central american countries. It is typically served over rice (which is what I did with it initially when I made it), but it can also be used as a meat filling for tacos, nachos, or even as a sandwich. I used leftovers to make some hearty nachos with and wow, it was good! Lots of flavors mix together in this dish, and it isn't spicy.  So give it a try, I bet you'll like it.

picadillo

CROCK POT PICADILLO

  • 2 1/2 lbs ground beef ( I used 93% lean)
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1 cup diced red bell peppers
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup alcaparrado (manzanilla olives, pimientos, capers) or green olives
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Brown the meat in a skillet, making sure it is well broken up into small pieces. Generously salt and pepper the meat while cooking. Drain. Add in onions, bell pepper & garlic and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
Transfer meat mixture to your crock pot, and then add tomato, cilantro, tomato sauce, 1 1/4 cups water, alcaparrado (or olives), and then add the spices (you can also add some of the olive brine for some flavor).
Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8. Taste when done and add more salt and spices if desired. Serve over rice (I use brown) and enjoy!