Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stuffed Pork Chops

These Pork Chops were fall-off-the-bone DELICIOUS!!!!!  They were so moist and tender, and the stuffing just melted in my mouth!  My step-dad was over for dinner last night and he kept telling me throughout dinner how good they were.....and then continued afterward on our way to get Ice Cream!  My two year old had second helpings of pork chop, and she barely touches meat these days!  I was so impressed!

This dish was inspired by a Taste of Home recipe I found.  It had a very nice stuffing recipe I could have made, but I saved myself some time and money by using good ole' Stovetop Stuffing (which I LOVE!!!)  Wait till you see how easy these are!  They will surely impress any guests you might have.....and your family too!  I simply served my Stuffed Pork Chops with a side salad with Craisins, Sliced Strawberries and a Light Raspberry Vinaigrette.  The sweetness of the fruit added such a nice balance with the Pork Chop!

Stuffed Pork Chops

3-4 Large Pork Loin Chops (You want them to be thick.  I picked out 3 from the Meat Counter)
1 box Stovetop Pork Stuffing
3/4 cup White Wine or Chicken Stock (I used Peasporter we have in the refrigerator)
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the Stovetop Pork Stuffing according to the package.  
While the stuffing is cooking/resting, slice each pork chop to create a pocket, from the fat side all the way to the bone.

Salt and pepper the top of each Chop.

Heat your Olive oil in a skillet.  While it's heating, stuff each pork chop with a good amount of stuffing.

Place each chop into the skillet seasoned side down.  Salt and Pepper the other side.

When the first side is browned, flip it carefully with tongs and let that side brown.

Place browned Pork Chops into the Crock Pot liner and pour your white wine or chicken broth over the top.

Cook on LOW for 8-9 hours.

TIPS:  I was able to fit my 3 LARGE chops into a 4 Quart Crock Pot.  If I had one more, I would have needed a bigger Crock Pot.  Your tongs will be your best friend in this endeavor!  Pick them up and move them from the bone side and it will be easier to handle! 
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Taco Soup

Yummy, Yummy, Yummy!!!!!!!!  I had the pleasure of smelling this cook all day, and to finally reap the benefits by eating it this evening, was divine!!!!  This soup tasted as good as it sounds!  It was just the right amount of spicy, hearty and delicious!!!!  My daughter, per her usual, picked out all the beans and ate pretty much those only!  At least she got some protein!  She did tell me how yummy it was!  Made me happy!  My husband also  really liked it!  When I told him I didn't miss this beef in this he said "It's not beaf?!"  I then told him it was ground turkey.  LOL  He didn't even notice the difference! (good sign, right?!)

Best of all, I have plenty of leftovers....probably for another day or two!  I think I know what I'm having for lunch tomorrow!

On a side note: Be careful when you clean your Slow Cooker.  My 7 Quart insert cracked all the way around last week :(  I was so sad!  Of course, I went and bought another one, but make sure you cool it completely before washing.  Just a word to the wise! :)

Let's get to the good stuff!  I can't wait for you to try this one!

Taco Soup

1 pound ground turkey (or lean ground beef)
1 large onion chopped
1 pkg hidden valley ranch mix
1 pkt taco seasoning
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup pinto beans
1 can chili beans (I used Mild)
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
2 cans diced tomatoes (chili flavor)
4 cups water
4 beef bullion cubes
salt and pepper to taste

Brown meat and onion with salt and pepper.   

Add all ingredients to the slow cooker.  Stir.  Cook on LOW 8 hours.

Serve with sour cream, cheese and tortilla chips.
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

This week's Plan 9-26-10

I hope this finds you all well, this beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon.  I don't know about your neck of the woods, but it's definitely fall here today!  After 89 degree temps earlier this week, it's a bit of a shock to the system!  LOL

I'm really excited about this week's recipes!  I'm feeling chilled today, so this week's menu reflects that!  I shutter to think how I'll feel when temps drop into the teens and single digits!  (Let's not think about that for now!!!!!!) 

Seeing as how I'm pregnant and have a SUPER temperamental appetite, soup really sounds good these days.  So, this week, I bring you two different soups.  One is inspired by my good friend Pauline, who happens to be the cook at the school I teach at (when I'm not bed resting!!!) and the other I found on the Taste of Home website.  I'll change them both just a bit to make them "mine."  The third was also inspired by a Taste of Home recipe I found.  I think my version will be a bit easier and several less steps! (I thought you'd like that!)

This week's Plan:

Monday - Taco Soup

Tuesday - Chicken and Gnocci Stew

Wednesday - Stuffed Pork Chops

Thursday - Leftovers

Friday - Leftovers

Stay Warm this week!

Happy Crock-Potting!
Hope Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cheese Tortellini with Italian Sausage Pasta Sauce

This was REALLY good!  My husband and daughter both had seconds!  Yay!!!  I love when that happens!  I rarely make any kind of pasta sauce with sausage, so the flavor of the Italian Sausage was a nice change!  The tortellini ended up perfectly cooked and you could tell the sauce had been simmering all day because the flavor was intense, smooth and sweet!  We served our Tortellini with Cheesy Garlic Bread and salad.  It was a very tasty dinner last night!

This was super easy to make....even for a bed ridden momma!  So, no have to try it!

Cheese Tortellini with Italian Sausage Pasta Sauce

1 jar Pasta Sauce (I used Newman's Tomato and Basil)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 lb. Italian Sausage (not links....the ground kind)
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Onion Powder
salt and pepper to taste
20 oz. Cheese Tortellini (I used Buitoni refrigerated 3 Cheese Tortellini)

Brown Italian Sausage with the onions and salt and pepper.
In Slow Cooker insert, add Pasta Sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian Seasoning, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, salt and pepper.  Add browned Italian Sausage and onions.  Stir

Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours.

Add Tortellini, stir and cook for another 30-40 minutes, or until pasta is tender.

Serve and Enjoy!!!!
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hope's Pot Roast

I haven't eaten this good since I found out I was pregnant!  Wow, was this roast TASTY!!!  So tender, so juicy, just falling apart with my fork!  The carrots were sweet and soft, the cabbage was cooked perfectly and the potatoes and onions were delicious!  This was my kind of meal!

I also had my in-laws over for dinner tonight and they thought the Pot Roast was delicious as well.  I was glad to have something to serve them when they got here!  They will be helping with Ella when my husband has evening commitments so I don't overdo it again!

Well, I know you came for the recipe and pictures, so here they are!

Hope's Pot Roast

1   3-4 lb.  Chuck Roast (or any other type of boneless roast)
4-5 Potatoes, peeled, rinsed and quartered
3/4 a bag of baby carrots (or just use as many carrots as your family likes!)
1-2 onions, peeled and quartered
1 head cabbage, chopped into wedges (be sure not to use the core....too bitter)
1 pkg. Onion Soup Mix
1 1/2 cups water

Place Roast in bottom of Slow Cooker insert and sprinkle with half the Onion Soup package.

Place all vegetables on top of the roast and sprinkle with remaining Onion Soup mix then add the water.  

Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.  Enjoy!
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Cranberry Pork Loin

Let me start by saying my husband AND daughter both had second helpings of this!  It was delicious!  Me, with my weird pregnant food aversions, I had half a piece.  While good, I am not much of a meat eater these days!  My husband couldn't stop talking about how good this tasted.  It smelled DIVINE cooking all day yesterday!  We were all really anxious to try it! 

This would be a great dinner for the fall/winter, especially if you're having company over.  They would be VERY impressed with your cooking skills!  The best part of this recipe is how incredibly easy it is!  I can't wait for you to try it!!!  I served mine with Stovetop Pork Stuffing and Frozen Mixed Vegetables.

I found the original recipe on I think.  I tweaked it a bit and here's what I have for you!

Cranberry Pork Loin

3 lb. Boneless Pork loin (trimmed of fat....which I forgot to tell my husband to do....and it left our "gravy" very greasy)
2 cans Whole Cranberry Sauce
1/2 cup Catalina Dressing
1 Onion, sliced
salt and pepper to taste

Place Pork Loin in your Crock Pot liner.  
Mix the Whole Cranberry Sauce, Catalina dressing and salt and pepper together, then pour over the pork loin.

Place your sliced onions on top.

Cook on LOW for 8 hours.

Serve with any sides of your choosing!  Enjoy!

TIPS:  As I mentioned above, trim your pork loin of all or most of it's fat.  It will keep your "gravy" from getting greasy.  You can also thicken the gravy by adding some Corn Starch after you've removed the Pork Loin from the Crock Pot.
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Sunday, September 19, 2010

This week's Plan 9-19-10

Well, this has been kind of a crazy week at our house.  My surgery was Wednesday and it's taking time for my whole family to adjust to some huge changes.  I can no longer pick up my little girl and do all the things I love to do with her.  She's doing a pretty good job taking it all in, but it's still a lot to understand for a 2 year old!  My husband is taking over all duties pretty much!  My in-laws have become our house cleaners (Yay!!!) and my friends and neighbors are WONDERFUL!  I definitely don't have lack of support or help.

I'm going to give another shout-out to my nurses at Beaumont who have joined the blog this week!  Glad to have you!!!  I hope this blog helps make your life a little bit easier!  

So, here's my plan for the week, but I'm relying on my husband to put the recipes together for me as I'm restricted to what I can do right now.  We'll do our best!

This week's plan:

Sunday - Cranberry Pork Loin with Veggies and Stove-top Stuffing

Monday - leftovers

Tuesday - Pot Roast with potatoes, carrots and cabbage

Wednesday - leftovers

Thursday - Cheese Tortellini with Sausage Tomato Sauce

Friday - leftovers

Happy Crock-Potting!
Hope Print Friendly and PDF

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Berry Oatmeal

This was supposed to happen 2 weeks ago, but alas, here it is!!!!  The inspiration for this recipe came from an Alton Brown recipe on  My good friend Helen told me about it when I told her nothing but breakfast foods sounded good! (Thanks Helen!)  I added some tweaks and am happy to bring it to you!  It was BERRY delicious!  Hahaha!!!  My daughter was THRILLED to try the "Purple Oatmeal!!!!"

Berry Oatmeal

1 cup Steel Oats (found in the same place as regular oatmeal)
1 cup Craisins
1 cup dried blueberries
4 cups water
1/2 cup milk (I used 2% lactose-free)
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon

Place all ingredients in the Slow Cooker insert and stir.  
Cook on LOW for 8-9 hours or HIGH for 5-6.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

An Update from Hope

Hello Everyone!

I wanted to update everyone on my surgery.  It went really well and I am at home resting.  I would like thank my wonderful doctors at Beaumont as well as the FABULOUS nurses that took care of me yesterday!  I was such terrific and capable hands!  A big shout out to nurses Kristin, Beth and Ann who were my saving grace yesterday as I sat in phase 1 of recovery for 3+ hours waiting for the spinal to ware off!  I can't wait for you girls to try out some recipes at home and for all your potlucks!  :)

I'll be back Crock-Potting very soon.  I'm not allowed to lift the Crock Pot, so I just have to wait for my husband to do that part for me! 

Take Care everyone!

Happy Crock-Potting!
Hope Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pasta Fagioli

Wow was this good soup!!!!!  I am so impressed with myself right now!  Not only did I throw together a soup that tasted like it came out of a restaurant, but it also tasted SOOOO good, I didn't want to stop eating it!  I haven't had something that tasty for dinner in 10 weeks (since my good aversions started!!  LOL)  If you like Olive Garden's Pasta Fagioli, you'll love this one!  If you're vegetarian, leave the ground beef out....I wouldn't have missed it in this soup at all!

This recipe makes A LOT of delicious soup, so you'll have plenty to freeze and have again later.  If you have a Slow Cooker that's smaller than 7 Quarts, you will need to cut down all of the ingredients or you will have MAJOR overflowage!!!  Mine is 7 Quarts and it was filled to the brim!

On to the good stuff:

Pasta Fagioli

1 lb. ground beef, seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked.
4 cups beef broth (I used 4 beef bouillon cubes and 4 cups water instead)
3 (14.5 oz.) cans Garlic and Onion diced tomatos
2 cups water
1 (29 oz) can tomato sauce
3/4 cups dry red kidney beans, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
3/4 cups dry Northern beans, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups chopped zucchini, peeled too
1 red onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups pasta (I used shells)
Parmesan cheese for garnish

If you're low on time like me, the night before, add all ingredients to the Slow Cooker insert except for the beans (which are soaking) and pasta and stir.  Place it in the fridge.
The next morning, add the beans, stir and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.  If you have extra time in the mornings, assemble all the ingredients then.....just make sure your beans soaked overnight!

About 45 minutes before serving, add the pasta.  (I ran out of time after errands, boiled the pasta on the stove and added it.  It didn't soak up the flavor, so they just tasted like noodles.  But, in a pinch, it will work!)

Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan Cheese!

TIPS:  As mentioned above, this makes a TON of soup.  If you're using a smaller Slow Cooker, cut everything in half.  If you're vegetarian, don't add the meat.  I've been using the bouillon cubes in the Slow Cooker a lot and they're MUCH cheaper than buying beef or chicken broth!  Great money saving tip!

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

This week's Plan 9-13-10

This is going to be quite and eventful week for me, so as of now, I have one dish planned.  As most of you know, I will be having surgery this Wednesday to help me keep this baby in as long as possible.  I'll be on bed rest for 2 weeks after that, if not permanently.  We still haven't found a sub to take my position at work , so it's just a stressful time.  I'm trying to get my house in order, work in order and all my other ducks in a row before Wednesday!!  Please say some prayers that all goes well and I'm back Crock-Potting before I know it!

Tomorrow I will be making a Pasta Fagioli soup.  I'm kind of putting a few recipes together to create something spectacular, but we'll see!  It should be reminiscent of Olive Gardens if all works well!

I'll see you back here tomorrow with the recipe, results and picture!

Happy Crock-Potting!
Hope Print Friendly and PDF

Apple Breakfast Risotto

First of all, let me apologize profusely for taking so long to post this recipe.......and for not cooking the 2 other recipes I promised last week.  It was the first week of school and I'm pretty sure I fell asleep on the couch ASAP after Ella was asleep each night.  My pregnant body is having a hard time adjusting to teaching all day!

This recipe was really good!  I was a little skeptical, but it was tasty and refreshing with the Granny Smith Apples I chose to use.  I adapted this recipe from one I found online because I thought it would be too sweet if I used all it said to use!

Here it is....

Apple Breakfast Risotto

4 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and sliced
2 Cups Apple Juice
2 Cups Water
2 1/2 cups Arborio Rice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla (I forgot it!!!)
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup butter, sliced

Add all ingredients EXCEPT the rice the night before to the liner and stir.  In the morning, add the rice and stir.

Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.  Enjoy!

TIPS:  When I made this, I made it with only 1 1/2 cups Arborio Rice and it was way too thin.  I ended up adding 2 packets of instant oatmeal to thicken it up quickly so I could eat it before having to head back to work for Open House night.  If you prefer to do the same, it was actually pretty good!  I forgot to add the vanilla, but I think it would have given it that extra special touch, so don't forget it!

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Monday, September 6, 2010

Already a revision!

Well, I had every intention of getting to the grocery store yesterday, but my husband saw how tired I was and insisted he would go today, which he did.  So, he made spaghetti tonight and the Pasta Fagioli will come later this week. 

Here's my "rough" revised schedule, because it may change!

Tuesday: leftover Spaghetti

Wednesday: Apple Risotto

Thursday: Crock Pot Oatmeal with Fruit

Friday: Leftovers Print Friendly and PDF

Sunday, September 5, 2010

This week's Plan 9-5-10

First of all, I would like to apologize for being away for so long.  I still don't have much of an appetite for dinner (almost past the first trimester!!!!) and as you're about to see, breakfast food is about all that sounds good to me right now.  BUT, I NEED to get back to my Crock Pot because we go back to school Tuesday and it's going to be a busy year!  (And my poor child needs some good, healthy food!)

I hope this post finds you all well.  We've gained some new followers since I've last posted and I'd like to personally welcome each and everyone of you.  I've had a couple requests to organize the food into categories (instead of by date), and if I can figure out how, I will do it! 

I am gearing up for the school year.  I've been back in my classroom getting everything ready for the year.  I have surgery scheduled for September 15 and then will be off work for at least 2 weeks after that.  I'll have to take a small hiatus from the Crock Pot again at least for the first part of that 2 weeks as I'll be on bed rest.  Once the doctor gives me the OK to get up and move around, I'll be back to the Crock Pot and HOPEFULLY back to work! 

Alright, for the first time in a LONG time.........Here is this week's plan:

Monday: Beef Pasta Fagioli (or vegetarian friends....don't add the beef!)

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday: Apple Risotto

Thursday: Crock Pot Oatmeal with fruit

Friday: Leftovers or out to eat

I can't wait to get cooking.....and to the grocery store!  LOL  See you all this week with more recipes and more pictures!

Happy Crock-Potting!
Hope Print Friendly and PDF