Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hope's "Caldo Cancun" Soup

In case you missed my explanation on how this soup came to be, I'll catch you up.  There is a restaurant nearby we like to go to called "Mexican Village."  They have a house special there called "Caldo Cancun Soup."  I absolutely LOVE it!  Last time we were there, I decided I had to give it a try.  I looked up what "Caldo' meant and it just means broth.  So, I looked up Cancun Soup and saw a recipe that was somewhat like what I was looking for.  I used it to guide me, but this was totally my "creation."  While my soup is not the same as the soup I had at Mexican Village, it satisfied my craving and gave me somewhat of a similar flavor.

This was my first attempt at adding rice to anything in the Slow Cooker.  Let me tell you, I didn't know rice could absorb quite as much as it everything!  The consistency of this soup was supposed to be thin and it turned out with the consistency of Lemon-Rice Soup!  Ooopps!!!  I changed the recipe below so it won't happen to you!  Regardless of the consistency, it was DELICIOUS!  I was really worried about it being REALLY spicy, but it was perfect.  My two-year-old even ate it!

I made my soup with chicken, but honestly, I may just omit the chicken next time and add lots of extra garbanzo beans.  My daughter is going through a phase and just LOVES beans right now and not so much of the chicken!  So, vegetarian's out there.....this soup is definitely for you!

Here's the good stuff:

Hope's "Caldo Cancun" Soup

6 cups Chicken Broth
6 cups Water
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 onion, chopped
1 Anaheim Pepper, seeded
1 Hungarian Pepper, whole
1 Habanero Pepper, whole
4 basil leaves (I used fresh from my garden)
2 bay leaves (I used dry)
2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
1 1/2 tsp. cilantro (I used dried, but if you use fresh, use more)
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder (you can use fresh, I would use 3-4 cloves)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 19 oz. cans garbanzo beans
2 cups rice

Add all of the ingredients, except the rice and mix together.  (You'll see in the picture I used 2 hananero's (the orange ones), but I got REALLY nervous about the heat level and took them out 2 hours early!)
Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or on HIGH for 4-6 hours.
Add the rice the last 45 minutes OR cook the rice separately and just add some to each bowl when serving.


TIPS:  When seeding any kind of hot pepper, put gloves or ziplock bags on your hands first!!  It will save you from touching your eye later and feeling like it's on fire!!!!!  (Ask my husband!!  LOL)
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Monday, July 26, 2010

Tatefully Simple Artichoke & Caper Chicken

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Jalepeno Ginger Pork Loin

First of all, welcome to our 50th Blogspot follower!  We've been stuck in a rut!  Also, welcome to the 27 new facebook members we gained in the last 3 days!  How amazing!  Keep inviting your friends!  Before we know it, we'll have busy mom's and dad's all over America cooking again!  I'm so thrilled you've all made the leap to join this journey with me!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Now, on to the Jalapeno Ginger Pork Loin!

This was delicious!  I've made a version of this with Chicken before, but never thought about pork....the other white meat!  LOL  I would like to thank my friend Lauren for giving me the chicken recipe 10 years ago when we were roommates in College!  So, how did this recipe pop into my head?!  Well, my parents were coming for dinner and I had pork loin in my refrigerator that needed to be used up (remember, it was on sale at Meijer the week before!).  So, I had no idea what to do with it though!  I wanted to make something new, so I went searching through my pantry.  When I came across the jalapeno jelly, I knew what I wanted to do!  Why not try it on the pork?!  Some of you might be thinking right now, "Jalapeno Jelly?!!!!!  What is that?!"  You can actually get jalapeno jelly in the same isle as all the other jellys.  I've always found it at Meijer, but there were a couple years they didn't carry it.  I think they have it again now.  It's really delicious and it comes in hot (red) or mild (green).  I used the mild for this recipe, but you can certainly do the same with the hot.

I served this Pork Loin with some sides from our local Specialty Grocery store!  Easy peasy!  LOL  (Thanks Mom!)

Here's the recipe for you.....

Jalapeno Ginger Pork Loin

2 -3 lb Pork Loin
1 jar Mild Jalapeno Jelly
1 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. garlic powder
5 Tbsp. melted butter
salt and pepper to taste

Trim the fat from your pork loin as best you can (I didn't and had to end up skimming a ton of grease off the top of the sauce in the Crock yourself the time and energy later....or leave it if you like lots of grease!)

Place the loin in the Crock Pot liner.  

Mix the melted butter, ginger, jelly, soy sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper together and pour over the Pork loin.  It's VERY green!  LOL

Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours.

Slice the Pork Loin and spoon sauce over the top when serving.
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Sunday, July 25, 2010

This week's Plan 7-25-10

It's been a VERY busy week potty training Ella!  She's doing a really great job, but we're not making ANYWHERE on time!  LOL  Oh well, it will be well worth it in the end!

We're having company over again today, so I figured I'd try something new!  Remember I told you Pork Loin was on sale at Meijer, so I bought a big one and split it in half.  Half went in the freezer and half in the Crock Pot today!  I'm making Jalepeno Pork Loin.  It's actually not going to be spicy at all, but it will have the jalapeno flavor that is so wonderful!  I'm excited to see how this turns out!

Sometime this week I'm also going to attempt to make a "Caldo Cancun" soup that I recently had at a nearby Mexican Restaurant.  It's delicious with chicken, rice, garbanzo beans, peppers and then garnished with Monterrey Jack, Avocado slices and tortilla strips!  For my vegetarian friends, you can make it without the chicken and add some white beans instead.

I can't wait to share this week's recipes with you!  I may even add a 3rd, so stay tuned!

Happy Crock-Potting!
Hope Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, July 23, 2010

Easy Baby Back Ribs, Honey Roasted Red Potatoes and Lemon Glazed Carrots

WOWEEEEEEEE!!  What a finger-lickin' good meal!  We had dinner guests over last night and every single one of them were impressed with these ribs.  Best of all, they were SOOOO easy!  They were so juicy and tender and ready to fall off the bone. 

The honey-roasted potatoes is a recipe I got from online.  It's really delicious, but I modify the way I cook them a bit to crisp them up!

The carrots, just as good as last time!  I won't post the recipe again, but you can find it under "Tropical Pork."

We had a wonderful family meal last night and I think just about everyone had second helpings!  I can't wait to make these ribs again!

P.S.  Those of you with a Meijer around you, pork loin and loin back ribs are one sale, so go take advantage while you can!!!!  The sale probably ends this Saturday, July 24, 2010.

Baby Back Ribs, Honey Roasted Red Potatoes and Lemon Glazed Carrots

Baby Back Rib Ingredients:
(I'm going to just use rough estimates here, depending on how many lbs. of ribs you want to cook! )
Pork Loin Back Ribs (I used roughly 9 lbs.)
BBQ Sauce (we used Sweet Baby Rays Regular BBQ Sauce and used almost the full bottle.  Wish I had used a bit more)
BBQ Rub (We used Billy Bones BBQ Rub)
(To make your own, mix sugar, salt, chili pepper, garlic and paprika)

Baby Back Rib Directions:

Depending on how many lbs. of ribs you're working with and the size of your Crock Pot, cut your ribs accordingly.  I cut my racks into fourths.
Rub your ribs on both sides and then back in a 400 degree oven for 15 mins on each side.  This will bake off some of the fat and it seals in the yummy rub!
 Next, brush the side of the ribs facing up and all the edges with BBQ sauce.  Be generous.  
Then, place your ribs into the liner sauced side down.  Brush the other side with sauce.  Continue this process until all your ribs are into the liner.
Doesn't that look delicious?!!  Now, cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.  Enjoy!

Honey Roasted Red Potatoes Ingredients:
1 lb. red potatoes, cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp. diced onion
2 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. honey 
1 tsp. dry mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Grease a baking sheet and spread out your potatoes.  Sprinkle with the diced onion.

Melt the butter, then add 1 Tbsp. honey, dry mustard and salt and pepper and mix.  Keep the other 2 Tbsp of honey aside.

Pour your mixture over the potatoes.  Drizzle remaining honey over the potatoes.

Bake in 325 degree oven for about 35 minutes or until tender.  Once tender, leave the potatoes in the oven under the broiler for 5-10 minutes, or until brown and slightly crispy on top.  Yum!!!  Enjoy!

Here's what our meal looked like on the table last night!

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan

The Eggplant Parmesan tonight was VERY delicious!  I really wasn't expecting it to be good, but it was!  I've been thinking so much about making this, that when it actually came time to make it today, I wasn't in the mood.  As soon as I took a bite, I changed my mind!  My husband was not home to enjoy it tonight, but he'll have leftovers tomorrow for lunch.  My daughter, well, she liked it, until she started breaking out in hives.  Yes, she's apparently allergic to Eggplant!  At least it's not an ingredient that's commonly used!

This was a bit time consuming to put together.  It's just a process, but it's not hard.  You have to peel the eggplant, cut the eggplant, "sweat" the eggplant, dip the eggplant, batter the eggplant, layer the I said, it's a process.  It was well worth it though, I swear!  This recipe has a 4-5 hour LOW cook time, so it's not one to put in in the morning and leave all day, so be aware of that!

Technically, this is more of an Eggplant Parmesan Casserole as it's layered, but I used a piece from the top layer in the picture to save the "beauty" of the picture!  If I wasn't trying to take a nice looking picture, I would have just cut in the layers and served myself a "chunk!"

Most Eggplant Parmesan recipes I looked at made a batter for the eggplant, fried it, then topped it with bread crumbs, so I cut some calories out here for you.  If you want, you can substitute the whole egg for egg whites and make it even healthier!  You could also use reduced fat cheese.

Here's what you came for!

Eggplant Parmesan

2 large eggplants (I used 3 and it was WAY too much!)
3/4-1 cup Mozzerella Cheese
1 jar Marinara Sauce (I used Meijer brand)
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2-2 cups Italian Bread Crumbs
salt, pepper and basil to taste
Pasta to serve under your Eggplant Parmesan
Non-stick spray


Peel each eggplant and then slice into 1/2" thick slices.  Salt each side of each piece of eggplant and set in a casserole dish to "sweat" out the moisture for 30 mins.

After 30 mins. pat each piece of eggplant dry with paper towel.

Spray your slow cooker insert!

Dip 3-4 pieces of eggplant into the eggs and then into the bread crumbs.  Make a layer on the bottom of the slow cooker insert, then spread some of the Marinara on top and then sprinkle some of the Mozzarella.  Sprinkle pepper and basil on top as well.

Create 2-3 more layers this way and end with the Mozzarella, pepper and basil on top.

Cook on LOW for 4-5 hours.  Serve with pasta and extra Marinara Sauce if you would like.


Tips:  If you have a smaller slow cooker, slice your eggplant into rounds.  You can always cut them to the size you need, but don't worry if they overlap.  It's not a huge deal!
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sorry for the delay!

Hi Faithful Crock Pot Followers! 

I am so sorry to not be bringing you a delicious Crock Pot meal today!  I had every intention of making Eggplant Parmesan FINALLY today, but some things keep getting in the way!  Ella has all of a sudden decided she wants to be potty trained, so who am I to get in the way of that!  We've been spending MANY hours on the potty, but hey, we're getting results!  How is this getting in the way of my crock pot cooking you might ask?!  I mean, you put it in in the morning and in the evening, voila!  You have a meal!  Well, you need food to cook with!  LOL  We haven't been able to get to the grocery store and we've been down 1 car for a couple days.  So, GOD-willing, tomorrow, I will have FOOD in the Crock Pot!  We're like lost puppies around here!  We have no idea what to do for food without the Crock Pot!  It's really a sad sight!  So, no shall have new recipes soon!

I CAN GUARANTEE Baby Back Ribs on Thursday since we are having company!  I think I'll make them with the Lemon-Glazed Carrots I made with the Tropical Pork and some Rosemary-Honey Baked Potatoes!  Doesn't that sound delicious?!  I can't WAIT to try ribs in the Crock Pot!  Wish me luck!

Happy Crock-Potting!
Hope Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Chicken Picatta

A MUCH more successful dish than the last time I attempted this!  LOL  My husband LOVED this!  My daughter is going through a picky phase, so she just ate the noodles with butter!

I LOVE lemon, especially in the summer time, so this recipe was just what I needed!  It was delicious, packed with zingy flavor!  It was also super easy, which I love the most!  We served our Chicken Picatta on top of Angel Hair Pasta with a salad on the side.  It was the perfect summertime dinner!

Here's the good stuff folks:

Chicken Picatta

Chicken Picatta Ingredients:
(serves 4)
2 Chicken Breasts, thinned in half (so you should end up with 4 thin pieces of chicken)
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth (I didn't add this, but I think it would tame down the lemon just a bit and make more sauce!)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used 3 lemons)
4 Tbsp. Butter, sliced 
3 Tbsp. Capers
1 cup Italian Seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
pasta of your choice to serve Chicken on

 Lay your bread crumbs on a plate and leave your egg in a cereal sized bowl.  Dip each breast into the egg and then in the bread crumbs.  Place each one on the bottom of the Slow Cooker insert.  Repeat this for all breast pieces.

Place the 4 Tbsp of butter, one on each breast.

Pour in the wine, lemon juice (and chicken broth if you decide to use it) and top with capers.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cook on LOW for 4-5 hours.  

Serve on top of your favorite pasta!

Tips:  This was extra lemony, so if you like less lemon, use less lemon juice or just add the chicken broth like I suggested above.  Feel free to add mushroom or artichoke hearts to this recipe as you prefer!


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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

This Week's Plan 7-14-10

I'm sorry for being terribly disorganized this summer!  Some of you may know from reading previous posts, but I am a teacher and am off for the summer!  We are very laid back during the summer and I like to be free to spontaneously do things whenever I please!  So, my weekly menu planning is kind of off kilter!  I promise to be back on a schedule in the fall!  For now, I'm going to spontaneously cook!

Tomorrow, I will make Chicken Picatta.  I attempted this about a month or so ago and it didn't turn out all that great, so I didn't post the recipe.  I think it will be better this time!  I'm excited to give it another go!

I'm also going to attempt Eggplant Parmesan in the Crock Pot this week.  Why not, right?!  Plus, my girlfriend Tracy challenged me to try Eggplant in the Crock Pot, so this will fulfill my challenge! 

If at anytime you have some sort of request, send it my way and I'll do my best to make it happen in the Crock Pot!

Happy Crock-Potting!
Hope Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, July 12, 2010

BBQ Pulled Beef Brisket and Sweet Potato Chips 2 ways!

Well, I'm still airing the house out after frying up some homemade sweet potato chips, but let me tell you what my house has smelled like all day!!!!  I put my Brisket in this morning at 8 a.m. and when I came home after my morning workout, it smelled like one of those REALLY good BBQ restaurants!  Oh my gosh!  My mouth was watering all day long!  I swear the neighbors could smell it too!

I really enjoyed making this Brisket.  Not sure I've ever had Brisket before, but it's really tasty!  I will say this is on the spicy side, but a lot of that had to do with the BBQ sauce I used.  If you don't want it quite as spicy, eliminate some of the spicy spices below and use a sweeter BBQ sauce.  We used Open Pit Thick and Tangy Brown Sugar and Honey because I am in love with Open Pit BBQ sauce.  I've had a sick obsession with it for a long time now.  In fact, when I went away to college, my mom was walking through the grocery store and when my step-dad turned the corner, there was my mom, sobbing in the aisle in front of an Open Pit BBQ Sauce display!  I'm telling you, I would drink it if I could!  LOL  I got a little overly ambitious with the BBQ sauce as well and used too much.  Stick with what the recipe calls for! 

Most Pulled Beef recipes call for liquid smoke as an ingredient.  I did not use it because I don't make any other recipes that include liquid smoke and I don't want to waste my money on something I won't use very often!  You can use it if you want, but I really don't think this needed it at all!

The brisket was a little hard to find.  My husband did some of the grocery shopping this week and Meijer did not have any.  The butcher said it's usually in the case, but they were out.  I went back about 4 days later and they were still out.  That's when I turned to our local Italian Fruit and Meat market.  They had it and even cut it to the size I wanted.  Just to give you an idea of cost, it was $5.99/lb.

The sweet potato chips were really easy to make and I made them two ways since I couldn't decide what I was in the mood for....sweet or spicy!  Half of the batch I made with brown sugar sprinkled on top and the other half I made with a mixture of pepper, kosher salt and garlic powder sprinkled on top.  Both kinds were delicious, but my husband and daughter preferred the brown sugar sweet potato chips.

Let's get to the good stuff now!  Here are tonight's recipes for you!

BBQ Pulled Beef Brisket with Sweet Potato Chips 2 Ways
 (Brown Sugar Sweet Potato Chips on left and Spicy Sweet Potato Chips on right)

BBQ Pulled Beef Brisket Ingredients:
2-3 lb Beef Brisket, trimmed of fat
1 1/2 onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups BBQ Sauce 
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
Kaiser Rolls

Brisket Rub:
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. red pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Brisket Directions:

The night before, in the insert place the Brisket and then wet the outside with about 1 Tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce.  Sprinkle half of the rub over the top evenly and then press in with your fingers.
Flip the Brisket over and do the same thing to the other side, using the remaining Worcestershire sauce and rub.  

Poor the onions on top and then the BBQ sauce. 

Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.  Shred while still in the insert, but be careful so as not to burn yourself with splashing BBQ sauce.  Serve on Kaiser rolls.  Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Chips 2 Ways Ingredients:
2 Sweet Potatoes, thinly sliced
Vegetable Oil (about half a bottle or less)
Brown sugar to sprinkle on afterward for "Sweet" Chips
Mix 1 tsp. Kosher Salt, 1 tsp. black pepper and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder to sprinkle on for "Spicy" Chips

Sweet Potato Chips Directions:
Heat oil in a frying pan, or if you have a deep fryer, god bless you!!!  LOL
When your oil is hot and steamy, add a small amount of chips.  From here, you'll know how to adjust your temp of the oil.  If they brown up right away, turn the heat down a little.  If they're not browing up at all, turn it up a little.  Every stove will be different.

When your oil is right, fry small batches for 2-4 minutes.  Drain them on paper towel and sprinkle with your seasoning right away.


Happy Slow-Cooking!

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Tropical Pork Wraps (leftover idea!)

I made wraps out of my leftover Tropical Pork last night and they were delicious!  I was so hungry, I forgot to take a picture!  Sorry!  Anyway, all I did was shred some pork, heat it up, put it in a tortilla wrap and topped it with cheese, sour cream, salsa and homemade guacamole!  They were really good!  My recipe for Guacamole is below.

Hope's Guacamole:
2-3 Ripe Avocados, smashed
2-4 Tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. fresh cilanto, minced
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Mix it all together and voila!  You have Guacamole!

Enjoy! Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tropical Pork with Sweet Potatoes and Lemon-Glazed Carrots

Hello to our 251 readers!!!!!  AMAZING!!!

WOW was this good (and super easy too, might I add!)  What simple but delicious dish to make!  This recipe makes PLENTY for a family of 2 1/2!  We will have leftovers for days!  I'm already thinking about shredding this pork and making some delicious wraps with it! The sweet potatoes were so soft and soaked in all the yummy juices!  The Pork was so juicy and tender.  In fact, you'll notice in the picture "chunks" of pork instead of slices because it just fell apart on me!  I tried to keep it together, but no luck!  It's not a bad thing though! 

Let's talk about the carrots for a minute!  O   M   G!!!!  Ok, so I wanted to add some color to the plate.  Here's how I did it.  I steamed the carrots, then cooked them on the stove top with some butter, brown sugar and lemon juice.  At the last minute, I tossed in some minced parsley from my garden.  YUUUUUUMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!  You will LOVE these!!!  I've included this bonus recipe below for your dining pleasure!

Ok, back to the Tropical Pork!  LOL
With the help of my husband last night, it took me less than minutes to get all the ingredients into the Crock Pot.  The bulk of that time consisted of peeling the sweet potatoes!  I put it in the fridge overnight, pulled it out at 9a.m. and had dinner at 5!  Wow do I feel like Suzy Homemaker!!  LOL  I think you'll really enjoy this dish!  I know we did!

I would like to give a "shout out" to my friend Stacey for passing this recipe on to me.  The original recipe is from the Weight Watchers Cookbook.

Here's the good stuff:

Tropical Pork

Pork Loin Ingredients:
2-3 lb. Pork loin
20 oz. can Crushed Pineapple
1/4 cup Honey
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp. Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
salt and pepper (to taste)
4 Yams, cut into chunks
non-stick spray

Pork Loin Directions:
Spray the liner of your Crock Pot with non-stick spray.  Lay the Pork Loin at the bottom of the liner and salt and pepper it on both sides.

In a separate bowl, combine the pineapple, honey, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and soy sauce.  Mix together.

Place the chunks of sweet potatoes over and around the pork loin and then pour the pineapple sauce over the top. 

Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.  Enjoy!

Lemon-Glazed Carrots Ingredients: 
1 bag baby carrots
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. Butter
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. fresh parsley, minced

Lemon-Glazed Carrots Directions:
 Steam the carrots for about 20 minutes, or until the color is nice and brilliant. 

Place the carrots in a frying pan and add the brown sugar, butter and lemon juice.  Cook on med-high heat for about 10 minutes, or until the juices are thickened and the carrots start to caramelize a bit. 

When you're ready to serve, toss the carrots with the parsley!  Enjoy!

TIPS:  I assembled all the Tropical Pork Loin Ingredients the night before in the liner and stuck it in the fridge.  It was super simple!  I added the soy sauce to the recipe to cut the sweetness a bit and it seemed to help.  This recipe had no other salt source either, so it helped with that.  Feel free to add a bit more if you would like.  I also added salt and pepper to my pork as the original recipe didn't call for any seasonings.  I can't live without seasonings!  LOL 

The carrots were just something I decided on at the last minute.  My daughter took an extra long nap today, so I had the time, but really, they didn't take long at all!  I think you'll enjoy them!

Happy Crock-Potting!
Hope Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Black Bean Soup with Chicken and Salsa Update!

Hi All!  WOW!  We are up to 200 facebook members!  That's incredible!  I can't believe 200 people are reading this!  LOL

I just had to tell you how much my little Ella LOVED this soup!  She loved it SOOO much, she happily ate it 3 days in a row (with second helpings!)  Per her little friend Luke's she is, enjoying her soup!

Oooohhhh....I almost forgot!  Here is the Black Bean Soup with Chicken and Salsa WITH the avocado on it!

Stay tuned tomorrow for Tropical Pork!
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Monday, July 5, 2010

This Week's Plan 7-5-10

Welcome to all 142 facebook group members and 48 blogspot members!  How amazing is it that we have 142 members on facebook and I only started the page 4 days ago!  WOWZA!!!  Yay!

I have no idea what this week is going to bring me.  We're kind of free spirits this week, with no real plan.  So, my plan this week is to give you more of a "rough" schedule than normal.  Those of you who are super planners (like I usually am) I'm very sorry!

This week I plan to make the following dishes....sometime......

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches (maybe with coleslaw and sweet potato chips?! Making a combo of Scarlett and Abby's)

Tropical Pork (mmmmmmmmmm....this one comes from my friend Stacey!)

Chicken Picatta (yes, I'm going to attempt this again!  This time it's going to be better!  I'm determined darn it!)

Sound good?!  If so, come on back soon!  I think we'll be eating leftover Black Bean with Chicken and Salsa soup today and then maybe BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches tomorrow.  I just have to get to the grocery store!

Happy Crock-Potting!
Hope Print Friendly and PDF

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Black Bean Soup with Chicken and Salsa

First of all, I would like to shout out a huge "HELLO!" to our 124 facebook "A Busy Mom's Crock Pot Cooking Adventures" Group!  Holla!!  LOL  Welcome to my blog!  To all my trusty and faithful blogspot followers, if you're on facebook, join our group and invite your friends!

Well, we had unexpected dinner guests tonight and my Black Bean Soup with Chicken and Salsa was a HUGE success!!!  My father-in-law is a terrific cook, and he LOVED my soup!  Yay!  My husband is kind of a biased audience, so it was nice to have some dinner guests for a change to taste my fare!

This soup was packed with flavor and is actually really good for you!  Best of all, this soup can really be catered to your likes and dislikes.  If you don't care for any of the ingredients below, you can omit them, or better yet, add something you really prefer in its place.  If you're vegetarian, no need for the chicken.  You can thicken the soup by blending some of the black beans in a blender and then adding it back into the soup.

Darnit all, I forgot to add the avocados I was SOOOO looking forward to adding at the end, but fear not.....tomorrow's leftovers will have avocados on top and I will savor every bite!  I'll also take a picture and post it for you too because I think it will look very pretty!  And, let's face it folks.....we eat with our eyes before our lips!

Here's what you've been waiting for:

Black Bean Soup with Chicken and Salsa

4 cups Chicken Broth (I used 4 cups water and 4 Bouillon cubes because that's what I had!)
1 large or 2 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 cup dried black beans soaked overnight)
1 jar salsa (I used Chi Chi's Mild, but you can use whatever kind and heat you like)
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 jalepeno pepper (whole)
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
salt and pepper to taste

For garnish: shredded cheese, sour cream, cilantro, avocado

In the slow cooker, add all of the soup ingredients and give a quick stir.

Here's what it looks like:  

Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.
Before serving, take the chicken breast(s) out and shred.  Replace shredded chicken in the slow cooker and stir.

Serve in a bowl with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of cilantro with shredded cheese around the outside.  If you don't forget the avocado like me, serve each bowl with a couple slices to the side of the sour cream!


Tips:  I put this together this morning while my little one was busy watching her morning cartoons.  She "helped" add the mushrooms and was so proud!  Feel free to omit or add any ingredients based on your tastes!  This soup didn't taste the least bit "mushroomy' so don't be afraid to add them.  Also, for more heat, chop up the jalepeno.  I have a 2 year old, so I went with mild salsa and the whole jalepeno, just for flavor.
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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tonight's Soup......

Will happen tomorrow night!  Sorry guys and gals!  We had a last minute change in our family plans, so we were not home today.  See you all back here tomorrow night! Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tilapia with tomatoes, basil and garlic with Parsley and Parmesan Risotto

First of all, if you're on facebook (and really, who isn't these days?!) you can now join the "A Busy Mom's Crock Pot Cooking Adventures" Group!  All you have to do is search for it in the search box at the top of the page!  You can feel free to start discussions about the recipes you've tried there, as well as here!  I started the page yesterday (7-1-10) and already have 50 members!  That's 2 more followers than we have on here!  Facebook is pretty amazing!  FEAR NOT!  I am not going to stop blogging here, I'm just going to post my links from here onto that group page.  So, hurry up and join!!!  Spread the word!  Let's see if we can get to 100 by the end of next week!  How amazing would that be?!

Ok, now on to the good stuff.....and I do mean GOOOOOOOOOODDDD STUFFFFFF!!!  I was optimistic on how tonight's dual Slow Cooker dinner would turn out, but I was even more surprised that it was actually really amazingly good, not just good!  The tilapia was cooked perfectly, and although I'm sure the chef's on TV would pick apart my Risotto for being too sticky, it tasted SOOOO good!!!  Wow!

I'm going to get straight to the part you come here for!  Here are my recipes:

Tilapia with Tomatoes, Basil and Garlic
with Parsley and Parmesan Risotto

Tilapia Ingredients:
4 Tilapia Filets 9about 4 oz. each)
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
garlic powder (to taste)
onion powder (to taste)
4 basil leaves, chopped
4 tsp. butter
1 cup white wine
1 large tomato, chopped

Tilapia Directions:

Lay out four decently sized pieces of foil (use you best judgment based on the size of your Tilapia filets).
Sprinkle each filet with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.  
Divide each teaspoon of butter into 2 slices.  Lay 2 on each filet of Tilapia.
Divide you chopped tomatoes evenly over the top of the Tilapia.
Evenly sprinkle the chopped basil over each filet.

Next, close each foil packet like a little boat.  

Place each foil pack into the Slow Cooker like so............

Cook on LOW for 2-3 hours.  Your fish should flake easily with a fork.

Risotto Ingredients:
2 cups Arborio Rice
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
4 cups Chicken Broth
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup Olive Oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Risotto Directions:
In a skillet, heat olive oil.  Add the onions and shallots.  Cook until clear.  Pour all juices, onions and shallots into the Slow Cooker insert.

Add the arborio rice, parsley, chicken broth, white wine, salt and pepper and give it a good mix.

Cook on HIGH for 2 hours or less.  Right before serving, stir in the Parmesan Cheese.

TIPS:  I had a lot of fun making this today, but since the cook times are so short, this wouldn't work if you work full-time (like I do, 3/4 of the year!)  This might be something you make on the weekend when you're home, or a day you know you'll be home early.  I would have the foil packets ready to go and all the Risotto ingredients assembled in the Slow Cooker already if that's the case.  Make your life easier!  

If you wanted to omit the parsley from the Risotto, or don't care for shallots, adapt it however you would like.  I was really excited to use parsley from my garden!  I love shallots, so I bought the biggest one I could find.  They are usually pretty small, so you might just go with a smaller one if you wanted.


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Thursday, July 1, 2010

This Week's Plan 7-1-10

I know the week is almost over, but I still need to get back into my Crock Pot......Plus, I think there might be a revolt if I don't!  LOL

Before I start with this week's plan....the soup I had last night, the Calico Bean Soup....well, Ella loved it, I didn't.  It was one of my first Crock Pot dishes and not terribly successful!  Much too watery, the beans were kind of sour (how does that happen?!) and it tasted "tinny" from the canned tomatoes I used. I'll make it again one day and make the necessary changes!  THEN I'll post it! :) 

Ok, tonight we're going out to celebrate our 4 year anniversary, which was yesterday, but the hubby had to work.  So, no Crock Pot tonight :(  I'm bummed too, I know!

FRIDAY, FRIDAY, FRIDAY!!!  LOL  Friday I will make Tilapia in foil packets in the Crock Pot with a bonus recipe of Crock Pot Risotto!!  Now how does that sound?!!!!!  Mmmmm!  Tasty to me!

Saturday I will make Chicken and Black Bean Soup.  I'm going to try and "summer" it up with some refreshing Avocado Slices!  I think it will help "cool" the soup down a bit and make it more of a summer fare! 

Sunday is the 4th, so who knows what we'll have!  If I make something in the Crock Pot, I'll be sure to post it!

See you all back here tomorrow night!

Happy Crock-Potting!
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