Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Broccoli and Sausage Casserole (Crock Pot recipe)

This is another keeper from the 365 Slow Cooker Suppers cookbook.
I'm not sure I would categorize it as a casserole, but it's not exactly a quiche either. Whatever you'd like to call it -- it's so yummy!!
I used Polish kielbasa in place of the smoked sausage -- just a personal family preference.
NOTE: I just read the recipe again and I realized it calls for TWO (16 oz) packages of frozen broccoli. I made it with only one packet and it was plenty. I really loved the broccoli in this, but unless you are a broccoli fanatic, you can probably get away with only one package :)
Broccoli and Sausage Casserole
2 (16 oz) packages frozen broccoli, thawed and drained
1 pound smoked sausage, thinly sliced
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
4 large eggs
1/3 cup baking mix (I used gluten-free Bisquick)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Lightly grease a 4-qt slow cooker. Place the broccoli and sausage in the insert and mix together. In a large bowl, mix together the cheese, milk, eggs, baking mix, salt, and pepper. Pour the mixture evenly over the broccoli and sausage.
Cover, and cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or until the casserole has browned on top and is pulling away from the sides.
Uncover, and continue to cook on HIGH for an additional 20 minutes to release condensation.

Brown Sugar Pork Loin with Mustard (Crock Pot recipe)

This is SO good! And it only has 5 ingredients!
I've been working my way through my 365 Slow Cooker Suppers cookbook and this was dinner tonight. (Let me just say, if you haven't purchased this cookbook yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?! It is hands down the best cookbook I own. It doesn't even get put away with my other cookbooks...I keep it on the counter because I use it so much! Every recipe has been a hit with my family!!)
This pork loin was delicious! My husband couldn't stop eating it...even after we were finished with dinner!
I served this with mashed sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli. Delicious!
{Note: I'm sure this would turn out just as well if you used thick, bone-less pork chops instead of pork tenderloin.}

Brown Sugar Pork Loin with Mustard
1 (2-3 pound) pork tenderloin
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
1 tsp sea or kosher salt
1/3 cup lemon-lime soda
Place tenderloin in a 4-qt slow cooker. Top with mustard, brown sugar, and salt. Flip the meat until all sides are evenly coated. Pour soda over the meat.
Cover, and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
Slice and serve.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Slow Cooker Italian Wedding Soup

I typically do not gravitate toward "broth-y" soups. I like my soups creamy and hearty.
Our little family of four has been under the weather for over a week with colds, and yesterday was dreary and cool. I grabbed my new 365 Slow Cooker Suppers cookbook and found this recipe.
This soup is amazing! My husband said it is his favorite soup ever. That is saying a LOT coming from my picky-soup-eating husband :)
This soup had SO much more flavor than I was expecting.
I used gluten-free fusilli pasta and it turned out perfect. We had this with homemade gluten-free bread. This is the perfect comfort food!
Slow Cooker Italian Wedding Soup (recipe source)
1 lb. Italian-style frozen meatballs
1 onion, diced
1 cup chopped baby carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups chicken broth
1 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
1/2 cup elbow pasta (I used gluten-free fusilli)
2 cups fresh spinach
freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
In a 6-qt slow cooker, place meatballs, carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. Add chicken broth and stir in Italian seasoning. Cook on LOW 7 to 8 hours.
Stir in uncooked pasta and spinach. Recover and cook on HIGH for 30 minutes.
Serve with parmesan cheese.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

"Skinny" Applesauce

I made a batch of this applesauce today.
Oh My Word. I am at a loss as to describe how amazing it really is!!
It is like Fall, Christmas, and wonderfulness all rolled into one.
I called it "skinny" because it is sugar-free (unless you add a tiny bit of brown sugar), but I also left the skins on my apples. They cooked down so well in the slow cooker and then I pureed it quickly in the food processor.

"Skinny" Applesauce (source)
5 lbs. apples - cored and thinly sliced (I used mainly gala apples and 2 granny smith apples)
1 1/2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
brown sugar (optional) - to taste
Layer apples in the slow cooker. Top apples with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and brown sugar (if desired).
Cook on LOW 6-7 hours, until apples have cooked down and are soft. Whisk vigorously for a chunky-style applesauce. For a smooth applesauce, use an immersion blender or food processor to puree in small amounts. (Note: If using a food processor, only process a small amount and do not completely seal of the lid. Leave opening for steam to escape.)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Cookbook Review: 365 Slow Cooker Suppers

I think it's pretty clear from most of the recipes on this blog that I really, really love using slow-cookers to make meals. My pinterest boards have more crock pot recipes than any of my other boards.
I'm always on the hunt for new slow-cooker recipes.
I found Stephanie O'Dea's slow-cooker website when she started her journey of cooking 365 slow-cooker recipes in one year. She published her first book in 2009 and has since published three more.
Her most recent cookbook, 365 Slow Cooker Suppers, came out in September.
Stephanie graciously sent me a copy to review.
I was so excited when this little beauty arrived. I looked through the book and found so many enticing recipes!
My favorite part of this cook book is that it is ALL dinner recipes. While I love appetizers, desserts, side dishes, etc., that are made in the slow-cooker, what I needed was dinner ideas!
My husband went gluten-free in February and it has been a struggle for me to find new recipes that work in the slow-cooker.
Stephanie has a child that is gluten-free, so all of the recipes in this book incorporate gluten-free items. Of course, if you are not gluten-free then you don't need the gluten-free version of pasta, bread crumbs, etc.
I sat down one afternoon with my new cookbook and wrote out every recipe I'd like to try. I came up with 90 new recipes! I have already made 7 slow-cooker dinners from this cook book and every one has been fabulous!!
Here are a few of what I've made so far: Apple Pork Chops, Mongolian Beef Takeout Fake Out, 2-Packet Chicken, Chili Con Carne (no bean chili), Au Gratin Potatoes and Ham.
Every recipe has "The Verdict" where Stephanie wrote her opinions and suggestions for that recipe.
There are fabulous color pictures through out the cookbook.
The different categories make it easy for my to meal plan each week: Meatless, Seafood, Soup, Beans, Sandwiches, Poultry, Beef, and Pork.
365 slow cooker meals in one book. Amazing!
The two recipes I'm looking forward to the most are Crab and Tomato Chowder and Cajun Shrimp Chowder.
In just the few short weeks I've had this cookbook it has become my go-to in meal planning!
*Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher to review.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Balsamic Green Beans

This is a simple, tasty side dish.
Try to use French style green beans for best results, but any fresh green bean should work.
Balsamic Green Beans (recipe source
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 lb fresh green beans
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese (I grated my own)
Preheat oven to 450F.
Wash mushrooms and let drain (or spin dry in salad spinner). Trim ends off beans and cut beans in half so you have bite-sized pieces.

Put cut beans and mushrooms into a Ziploc bag or plastic bowl. Whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar and pour over, then squeeze bag or stir so all the beans and mushrooms are lightly coated with the mixture. Arrange on large cookie sheet, spreading them out well so beans and mushrooms are not crowded. Roast 20-30 minutes, starting to check for doneness after 20 minutes. Cook until beans are tender-crisp, mushrooms are cooked, and all liquid on the pan from mushrooms has evaporated. Season beans to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper, then sprinkle with finely grated Parmesan. Serve hot.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Cilantro Lime Shrimp

I have a slight addiction to shrimp. I love it! I think it's one of those foods that I could truly eat every single day and never get tired of it.
This recipe is full of flavor and takes less than 10 minutes to prepare. My family loved it! Even my fried-shrimp-loving husband :) My two year old and one year old both gobbled it up.
Cilantro Lime Shrimp
2 lbs. shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 tsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime
salt and pepper
Heat a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Add oil to the pan, when hot add shrimp. Season with salt and pepper.
When shrimp is cooked on one side (about 2 minutes), turn shrimp over and add garlic. Saute another minute or two until shrimp is cooked, be careful not to overcook. Remove from heat.
Squeeze lime all over shrimp and toss with cilantro. Serve hot.
(recipe source)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Enchilada Sauce

I found this recipe when I was planning on making enchiladas and didn't have time to run to the store for the sauce. This was so simple and uses common pantry ingredients.
This recipe makes enough for a 9x13 pan of enchiladas.
I found this recipe online, but I can't find the original source. Please let me know if you know who deserves credit.
Homemade Enchilada Sauce
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons flour
1 15 ounce cans of tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups lower sodium chicken broth
3/4 teaspoons garlic powder
3/4 teaspoons onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons cumin
In a large sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add chili powder and flour whisking constantly to combine. Mixture will be a thick paste (roux).
Slowly add in a small amount of tomato sauce whisking until the roux has dissolved. If you don't whisk, it will end up a lumpy mess! Once the roux is combined, add the rest of the tomato sauce and chicken broth. Whisk to combine.
Add in the rest of the spices, stir to combine.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and use in your enchilada recipe, or cool and divide into containers for storage.
Can be refrigerated for up to a week, or frozen for 3 months.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

This simple (but very yummy) biscuit recipe was one I found on pinterest.
It makes a dozen biscuits. I should have halfed the recipe because now the leftovers are tempting us! :)
Cheddar Bay Biscuits (recipe source)
2 1/2 cups Bisquick
4 Tbsp cold butter
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
3/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Butter Glaze:
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp dried parsley flakes
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease or line one cookie sheet with parchment; set aside.
Combine Bisquick with cold butter in a medium bowl using a pastry cutter (or use 2 forks). Don’t worry about mixing too thoroughly; there will be small chunks of butter in the mix about the size of peas. Add cheddar cheese, milk, and garlic powder. Mix by hand until combined, but don’t over mix.
Drop 1/4 cup portions of the dough onto the lightly greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes in preheated oven or until the tops of the biscuits begin to turn light brown.
While the biscuits are baking, melt butter is a small bowl in the microwave. Stir in garlic powder and dried parsley flakes. Use a brush to spread the garlic butter over the tops of all the biscuits.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Creamy Spinach & Sausage Pasta

I found this recipe on a food blog the other day. Once I saw it, I knew it would be on our menu soon!
Due to icy weather, Hubby and I had to cancel our date night out this evening. This was the perfect meal if we couldn't go out.
This is a simple, one-pot main dish that is FULL of flavor! While it is called "creamy", I didn't think it was exactly creamy. It doesn't have a heavy sauce, in fact it is semi-light for a pasta dish.
I made a few changes:
:: I used Polish Kielbasa instead of smoked sausage. It's just a personal preference for us.
:: I used the entire package (13 oz) of sausage.
:: I did not add the green onions
:: I used sliced mozzerella because it is what I had on hand. While it was still creamy, I can see how Monterey Jack would be the cheese of choice.
Creamy Spinach and Sausage Pasta (recipe source)
6 oz. smoked sausage, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 (14.5 oz) can Rotel (diced tomatoes with chiles)
2 cups chicken broth
8 oz. dry pasta
3 cups fresh spinach
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1 whole green onion, chopped
Add sausage to a large skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Saute the sausage over medium heat until it is nicely browned (about 5-7 minutes). Drain off the excess fat.
 Add onion to the skillet. Continue to saute until the onion has softened (about 5 minutes). Add the can of diced tomatoes with chiles and the chicken broth. Stir to combine and dissolve any browned bits off of the bottom of the skillet.
Add the uncooked pasta to the skillet and make sure it is all submerged under the liquid. Place a lid on the skillet and allow the mixture to come up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for about ten minutes, or until the pasta is tender. Stir once or twice while the pasta cooks to keep it from sticking.
Stir in the fresh spinach, one cup at a time, until wilted. If you add it all at once, the skillet will be too full to stir. Keep the heat on while adding the spinach, so the liquid will continue to simmer and thicken.
Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top, replace the lid, and let it sit for a few minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Slice the green onions and sprinkle them over top.