Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cheesy Potato Soup

Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!!!!!!!  I have to admit, this is probably in my top 3 soups I've made thus far in the Slow Cooker!!  It is loaded with good for you things and just packed with flavor!  It's so simple, and I've got a short cut for you to in the tips below!  You just have to try this one.....really, you won't be sorry!  I would tell you I had seconds, but the first bowl was SO filling, I didn't need seconds!  Did I already mention, you have to try this?!  LOL

This recipe used up some of the carrots and celery I've been using in my recipes the last week or so.  The cheese will also be used in the Egg Strata I'll be making and so will the green onions!  I just LOVE when you can use ingredients in more than one recipe instead of them rotting in the fridge!

Cheesy Potato Soup

6-7 Potatoes, peeled and diced into bite size pieces
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 cups water
4 chicken bullion cubes
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. Bacon Bits (or more if you like, but I just wanted a touch of bacon flavor)
8 oz. Sharp Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
2 1/2 cups Milk, warmed up (I did 2 minutes in the microwave)
4 Tbsp. flour
2 green onions, thinly sliced for garnish.

Add the first 11 ingredients to the Slow Cooker, stir and cook on LOW for 6-7 hours.

Add the Worcestershire sauce, bacon bits and cheese and stir.  

Warm up the milk and stir in the flour until smooth.  Add it to the Slow Cooker and stir.

Cook on HIGH and additional 30-45 minutes.

Serve with a sprinkle of green onions.  Enjoy!

TIPS:  If you're not into shredding a block of cheese, (which honestly, I wouldn't be if I wasn't at home all day with nothing else to do!) buy shredded finely shredded cheese and add about 2 cups.
If you don't like sharp cheddar, use whatever cheese you like!  Lots of recipes called for Velveeta or American cheese slices, but I didn't want to go the processed route.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Black Bean Soup

I'm not gonna lie, it wasn't my favorite.  For some reason, the beans were still a bit crunchy and I ended up having to add salt, sour cream and cheese to mine.  Now, here's my disclaimer:  I am pregnant and I have WHACKY tastebuds!!!!  LOL  So, although it wasn't my favorite soup, it could very well be yours! It's worth a try.  I would say, use canned black beans unless you know some sort of trick to get your black beans to not be crunchy even after you've soaked them ALL night and cooked them for 9 hours!  ;)

I would like to thank my friend Krysta for passing this recipe on to me.  I added a couple things, but remained pretty true to it!

Black Bean Soup

1 1/2 cups dry black beans (soaked overnight) OR 2 cans black beans.
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can Rotel tomatoes with diced green chilies (I used the mild)
8 oz. diced green chilies
1 can Fiesta Corn
2 cups water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
4-5 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tsp. Chili Powder
1 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Add all ingredients to the Slow Cooker and stir!

Cook on LOW 8-10 hours.


TIPS:  Besides accidentally buying whole green chilies and having to chop those (oops!), this was SO easy!  Open can, can, can, poor!  LOL  It's really easy!  Anyone can make this soup!  I added salt to the list of ingredients as it REALLY needed it!  You may still want to serve this soup with sour cream and cheese like I did.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

This week's plan 10-25-10

It's going to be another crazy week in our household.  My husband has 2 crazy busy weeks ahead as Marching band season FINALLY comes to a close and his fall concerts occur.  We'll have lots of house guests over the next 2 weeks, which makes it difficult to menu plan as we may be eating out some meals.  So, here is my VERY rough plan for the week!

This week's Plan:

Black Bean Soup (which I was supposed to make last week)
Potato Soup
Cheese Strata

I hope you all have a VERY happy Halloween!  Don't forget, you can make a nice mulled cider in your Crock Pot for all your chilly guests!

Happy Crock-Potting!
Hope Print Friendly and PDF

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Meme's Meatball Stew

Sorry it took me a few days to post this, but I had a sick baby Thursday night and then 2 BUSY days after that.  I was too exhausted to type!  LOL

Now, let's get to the main attraction here!  This stew was as good, if not better than I remember it to be when my Meme (grandma) made it for me!!  There was something so comforting and wholesome about this stew.  The ingredients and spices are so simple, but it is PACKED with flavor!  You're really going to love this soup!

So, let's get right to the good stuff today!

Meme's Meatball Soup

Ingredients: (You will need a 6 quart or larger slow cooker for this)

2 lb. lean ground beef
1 pkg. onion soup mix
1 cup Italian Bread crumbs
2 eggs
Olive oil to brown them in

Browned meatballs
10 cups water
1 can Tomato Soup
4 carrots, chopped
3 potatoes, chopped
2-3 big handfulls of fresh green beans, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1-2 tsp. pepper
1-2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. garlic powder


To make the meatballs:
In a bowl, mix all meatball ingredients.  Roll into "golf ball" size meatballs (or smaller or larger if you'd like!)  Heat the oil in your pan(s)....I used two so it would go faster!  Brown all sides of your meatballs.

To make the stew:
Mix together the can of Tomato Soup and water in the slow cooker insert.  

Add all other ingredients, including the meatballs.  It will look so pretty!

Cook on LOW for 7-9 hours.


TIPS:  If you're in a REAL pinch, use frozen meatballs.  Or, better time you have some extra time, make meatballs and freeze them.  Then, you have meatballs ready whenever you need them for soups, stews or spaghetti sauce!  BRILLIANT!

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Meme's Stuffed Cabbage

This is my Meme's (Grandma's) recipe she has been making for YEARS!!!!!  It's a lot of work to make Stuffed Cabbage, so she's since stopped making them!  In turn, it has motivated ME to make these! ; )  I'm SOOOOO glad I decided to try these in the Slow Cooker!  What a success!  These turned out perfectly!

I had my mom and Step-Dad over for dinner last night and my step dad had seconds.....maybe even thirds!  My mom really enjoyed them.  I hope they reminded her of her mom's! :)  My daughter.....well, she tried them.....and that's about as far as it went!  LOL  At least she tried!

What I love most about this recipe is how the lemon brings out the flavors of the fresh tomatoes inside each cabbage roll and the cabbage takes on a "sweetness!"  They are so yummy!

Now, just a word of caution.  This is a recipe to make when you have a bit of time (and patience.)  It takes time to make cabbage rolls.   I promise it's well worth it, but it's not worth the frustration if you don't have the time.  Don't do that to yourself!  :)

Here is the amazing recipe WITH Step-by-Step instructions and pictures for you!

Meme's Stuffed Cabbage

1 head of Green Cabbage
1 lb. ground beef
1 cup Uncooked rice (I used brown because I had just enough to use up!)
1 large onion, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. garlic powder


First, brown the ground beef with the onions.  Once it is cooked, combine all the remaining "filling" ingredients in a big bowl.  It will be beautiful and colorful like this!
Next, peel off the outer layers of the head of cabbage that are dirty.  Cut the stem off as best you can.
Either parboil or steam your head of cabbage.  I chose to steam it in a steamer.
As the head steams or parboils, peel off the outer layer of leaves very carefully as they become soft enough.  Usually you can get 2-3 off at a time.  Just place the head back into the pot and let it steam or parboil a little longer each time until the leaves become too small to stuff.

Once all you have all your leaves, you will need to thin the vein in each leaf.  Turn the leaf with the "bumpy side" up on your cutting board.  
Next, starting at the thin part of the vein, run the tip of your knife very carefully toward the thickest part, thinning the vein so it makes the leaf more pliable.
Once all the leaves' veins are thinned, it's time to stuff them.  Place the leaf so that the leaf curves upward, like a cup.  Place about 3-4 Tbsp. of filling into the leaf (depending on the size of the leaf, use your judgement.  It may hold more of less!)  
Next, fold the horizontal (left and right) ends in first.  
Then, fold the top over toward the bottom.
Lastly, fold the bottom up toward the top to complete your beautiful little cabbage package!
You're going to make layers in the bottom of your slow cooker of TIGHTLY packed cabbage rolls.  
Layer 1
Layer 2
Layer 3
The very last thing you need to do is cover these with water.  I poured in about 2 1/2 cups in my 3 Quart Slow Cooker.  It worked perfectly!  You don't want your Cabbage Rolls "floating" so don't overfill with water!

Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.

And VOILA!!!  After all of that, you have a WELL-DESERVED, DELICIOUS meal!!!!  Enjoy!
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Monday, October 18, 2010

This week's Plan 10-18-10

This week, I'm making two of my Meme's (grandma's) recipes!  I'm so excited to bring them to you and I know that they will make her proud.  I don't think she's made either one of them in the Crock Pot before, but I know they will both work wonderfully in the Crock pot!

Growing up, one of my most favorite meals was my Meme's Cabbage Rolls.  I know they were a lot of work for my Meme to make, but I know it gave her such joy to see us all enjoying them so much!  I was a strange child.  I LOVED cabbage!  As my Meme got older, she started making Cabbage Casserole because it was a lot easier for her than standing over the counter, rolling the rolls.  One day, I'll share that recipe with you as well!

My other very favorite meal of my Meme's was her Meatball stew.  There is something so homey and comforting about it!  I'm really excited to share it with you too!  It's packed with homemade meatballs and fresh vegetables!  Nothing better than that!

The third recipe I'm bringing you this week is a Black Bean Soup.  A former Sorority sister of mine posted on facebook a couple weeks ago that she was making this soup and I politely asked her for the recipe!  (Thanks Krysta!!!!)  I can't wait to try it!  It sounds so yummy!!!!

Here's my plan:

Monday: Leftover Carnitas in the form of Nachos

Tuesday: Cabbage Rolls

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Meatball Stew

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Black Bean Soup

Sunday: Leftovers

The order or days might change as the week progresses and my husband's schedule changes! :) Print Friendly and PDF

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I think this could quite possibly be one of the simplest meals!  LOL  There is a rub, some broth and a pork roast.  Easy peasy!

I had my in-laws over yesterday and they have never had Carnitas.  Carnitas are really just pork tacos. They really enjoyed them.  Instead of the traditional lettuce, tomato, sour cream and salsa we put on most tacos, these are little bit lighter.  I served mine with a layer of Pork, a squeeze of fresh lime, a light sprinkle of cheese, a slice of fresh avocado and topped them with a Mango Peach salsa I bought from Costco.  They were refreshing and delicious!!!!

So, here's what you've been waiting for!


2-3 lb. Boneless Pork Shoulder Roast
2 cups water
2 chicken bullion cubes
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. garlic powder
3 tsp. onion powder
3 tsp. Cumin
1 1/2 tsp. Chili powder
1 tsp. Cinnamon

Suggested Garnishes:
Shredded Cheese
Fresh lime slices
Fruit Salsa
Freshly sliced Avocado

Mix all the rub ingredients together.  Rub all over the pork shoulder.

Place pork shoulder in the Crock Pot with 2 cups water poured around the roast (not on top) and the bullion cubes and bay leaves.

Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.

Shred the pork and add it back into the juice.  (I skimmed the fat off of the juice before I shredded the pork!)  Serve with your choice of garnishes.


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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Shepherd's Pie

Well, I had really high hopes for this Shepherd's Pie to turn out GREAT, but it only turned out halfway ok!  LOL  The flavor was GREAT, but the consistency was NOT so great!  It was pretty soupy!  I should have known when I put the mashed potatoes on top and they mostly sank!  LOL  Oh well, I tried!!!!!!  I'm adjusting the recipe below so that hopefully the liquid will be the right ratio when you attempt this.  It really did taste good, I swear!

P.S.  I do NOT recommend Walmart's "ground beef."  I have no idea what it really is, but it is definitely NOT like any other ground beef I've ever had.  It was seriously disgusting and a crazy consistency!!

Shepherd's Pie

1 lb. Ground Lean Ground Beef
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups mixed frozen veggies (or whatever kind you like!)
1 can Campbells' tomato soup
1/4 cup Beef Broth
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp. Onion Powder
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
Paprika, salt and pepper to taste
4-6 cups instant mashed potatoes, depending on how much you like!

Brown ground beef with the onions, salt and pepper.  Drain grease.

Next, in the same pan, add the veggies, tomato soup, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, and garlic powder.  Stir.

Spray the Slow Cooker insert.  Put the meat mixture in the bottom.  Put the mashed potatoes on top and sprinkle with paprika.

Cook on LOW 7-8 hours.


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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Coq Au Vin

This is one of our family favorite Slow Cooker meals!  It's equally as delicious every time I make it!  When you tell people you are making Coq Au Vin for dinner, you automatically sound extremely fancy!  LOL  So, go with it!  LOL  You are an honorary French Chef when you make this meal for your family!

Best of all, this recipe has very few ingredients and isn't difficult at all to put together!  You're going to feel like such a rock star when you make this for your family or for company!

Here it is!

Coq Au Vin

6 Chicken thighs
1 onion, sliced into rings
8 oz. Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
1 cup red wine
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste 
Rice or Noodles to accompany

Heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Salt and pepper one side of your chicken thighs and place them seasoned-side down in the skillet.

While that side is cooking, season the second side.  Once the first side is browned, flip it and brown the other side.  Once both sides are browned, arrange them in bottom of your Slow Cooker.
In the same skillet you browned the chicken, add the wine, onions and mushrooms.  Cook until just softened, about 5 minutes.
Pour this mixture over the top of the chicken in the Slow Cooker and sprinkle with the Italian Seasoning.
Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
Serve over rice or noodles.

TIPS:  All of this can be done the night before, stuck in the liner and put in the fridge.  Buy pre-sliced mushrooms to help cut down on prep time! :)
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This week's Plan 10-12-10

So sorry for the delay this week!  We had a busy weekend and I actually got out of the house yesterday which is very exciting for a bed-resting pregnant lady!  Plus, the weather had been SOOOO beautiful here in Michigan, I've been outside watching my little girl run around and play!

I'm going to plan another loose schedule this week because my husband's schedule keeps changing, so our food schedule does as well! 

Here's what I plan to cook this week:

Carnitas (which I was supposed to make last week)
Shepherd's Pie
Coq Au Vin (sounds so fancy and tastes SOOOOOO delicious!!!)

I hope you and your family had a fantastic week!

Happy Crock-Potting!
Hope Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Four Bean and Barley Soup

This is probably one of the most delicious soups I have made to date!  Bean and Barley all by itself doesn't sound all that delicious, but I'm here to tell was SOOOOOOOOOOOOO Flavorful and Delicious!  I had 1 1/2 bowls tonight!  I haven't had second helpings of anything since I found out I was pregnant!

I've never had Bean and Barley soup before.  I've had Beef Barley soup, so when I saw this recipe, I decided I'd give it a go!  Of course, as always, I made some changes....the biggest being adding beef bouillon cubes when all it called for was water.  What a difference this makes!  It tasted like Beef Barley Soup to me and it didn't have an ounce of meat in it!  This soup is LOADED with things that are good for you!  Everyone in your house is sure to love it!  I can't wait for you to try it!  I'll be making this one again soon for company!  This soup is beautiful and colorful and you'll be proud to serve it!

Before I post the recipe, one more thing......I will not be making Carnitas this week.  They'll come next week.  We've had a crazy week with the hubby being sick and didn't have huge appetites, so we have plenty to eat around here.  HOWEVER, I am having company over on Saturday and I'll be making my very yummy Sloppy Joes again (this was at my step-dad's request!)  I will re-post the recipe for you Saturday night or Sunday!

Now, here's what you came for!

Bean and Barley Soup

1/4 cup Great Northern Beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
1/4 cup Navy Beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
1/4 cup Pinto Beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
1/4 cup Kidney Beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
1/2 cup  Pearl Barley
2 stalks Celery, choppd
2 carrots, chopped (I used 12 baby carrots!)
3/4-1 onion, chopped
1 pkg. baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
2 oz. fresh spinach (I used part of a 5 oz. pack and took 2 handfuls out)
8 cups water
5 Beef Bouillon cubes
2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper


Place all ingredients EXCEPT SPINACH in the Slow Cooker, stir and cook on LOW for 7-9 hours.

5 minutes before you're ready to eat, add the spinach and stir.

Serve and enjoy!!!!!

You do not have to use four different types of beans.  The original recipe called for just Northern Beans, but I have to tell you, it was really nice to have the variety of beans in this soup!  I had all these beans in my cupboard, so I just went for it!  It was a good choice, but not totally necessary.  

If you're busy in the morning, put everything except for the beans you're soaking in the Slow Cooker insert the night before.  In the morning, drain and rinse the beans, add them and stir!  You're good to go!
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Macaroni and Cheese

First of all, this is not a dish you can put in the Slow Cooker in the morning and just leave all day.  It would be a big hot mess!  This dish needs constant attention.  I left for an hour and came home to what looked like an omelet on top of my Mac and Cheese!  Therefore, I then had Mac and Cheese with scrambled eggs!  LOL  While it still tasted really good, it didn't look all that appetizing.  My daughter was picking the scrambled eggs off her Mac and Cheese!  LOL  Oh boy!  I'm so determined to make this again and change a few things to make it happen.  The flavor was awesome!  I just need to work on a few things, so you will see me post Mac and Cheese again in the near future!

If you're brave and you would like to try this, here is the recipe I went by.  If it were me, next time I would leave out 1 egg, warm my milk before putting it in the Slow Cooker and stir every 20 minutes and make sure I cook it on low.  I had it on low thinking I had plenty of time for it to cook and after an hour and a half, I panicked it wouldn't be ready for dinner in time and cranked it to high.  I think that's how I ended up with scrambled eggs!  LOL

So, again, here's the recipe I used last night.......come back again and I'll attempt this one again soon!

Macaroni and Cheese

1/2 lb. Elbow Noodles
16 oz. Block Sharp Cheddar cheese (shredded)
4 cups milk
2 eggs, whipped
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. dried mustard

Put everything in the Slow Cooker, stir and set on LOW for 3-4 hours.
Stir every 20 minutes or so.  I do not recommend trying to cook this on HIGH!

Good luck!  If you try this and make changes, please post and let me know!  I'm telling you, beyond the "look" of this Mac and Cheese, it tasted AWESOME!

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

This week's Plan 10-03-10

Happy October Everyone!

Our site has really taken off the last two weeks and it's all thanks to you!   Many of you have been spreading the word and I really, truly appreciate it!  We can make people's lives easier, one household at a time!  We're bringing Crock-Pots back!

Please keep the comments and suggestions coming!  I love to read all the feedback.  If you change something in the recipe, please be sure to post so others can read your suggestions.  

This week, I'm going to write my plan out a little differently.  I usually specify which day I'm making what, but since last week was all changed about, I'm just going to let you know what I'm cooking and surprise you each day with which one I'm making!  LOL  Now that we have company at least 2 days a week to help with my munchkin, I really have to get my act together! 

Many of you ask about which Crock Pots I use and I've now figured out how to add links to my page!  Whoo hoo!  So, here is the newest Crock Pot Member of my house.  I have it in black because that's what Walmart had, but I love it in Stainless Steel!

I have a smaller Crock Pot as well, which I've owned and used for approximately 10 years now!  It still works great!

I always suggest the manual Crock Pots because everyone I know who owns a digital one says they cook too fast......and we're supposed to be SLOW cooking here!!!

Ok, on to this week's plan:

This week, I plan to make the following no particular order!  LOL

Macaroni and Cheese
Carnitas (Pork tacos)
Bean and Barley Soup

Hopefully my selections will help keep us warm!!!

Happy Crock-Potting!
Hope Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, October 1, 2010

Chicken and Gnocci Stew

First of all, some of you may have noticed the new design of our blogspot!  I'm not sold on it, but I thought I'd give it a try for a few days or so and see how it grows on me!  I hope you like it!

What a colorful and flavorful stew!  As I was putting this together yesterday, I was pretty sure there was a vegetable of every color going in!  LOL  If you have kids, this is a great meal to get your kids to eat their vegetables.  When they've been cooking this long and are packed with this much flavor, they don't even "taste" like vegetables anymore!  They're just really good!

If you're in a hurry in the morning, this is definitely a stew you'll want to prep for the night before.  Chop all your veggies and have them ready in the Slow Cooker insert the night before.  The morning of, top with the chicken, add your seasonings and water and voila!  You'll be ready to go for the day!

Here's the fabulous recipe:

Chicken and Gnocci Stew

4 Chicken Thighs or 2 Chicken Breasts  - bone in.  (You can use skinless if you want, but the bone-in adds LOTS of flavor)
8 cups Water
5 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
4-6 Parsnips, peeled and chopped into bite size chunks
2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped into bite size chunks
1 Large Sweet Potato
4 Green Onions, chopped
2 Celery Stalks, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. Rosemary
1 tsp. Thyme
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Onion Powder
1 pkg. frozen Gnocci


Place all chopped vegetables into the bottom of the Slow Cooker insert.  Top with your chicken and add all seasonings, including bouillon cubes.
Pour the water over the top and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours.

Take the chicken out, and add the Gnocci.  Turn the Crock Pot to HIGH.

While the Gnocci is cooking, skin and de-bone the chicken.  Chop chicken into bite size pieces, or shred it and place back in the Slow Cooker.

Cook another 10 minutes or so, or until the Gnocci is hot.  

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