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.