Saturday, April 23, 2011

Slow Cooker Gourmet "Lewis and Clark Lentil & Sausage Stew Mix"

This was VERY easy to put together.  It took me around 5 minutes....maybe a tiny bit longer because I stopped to take pictures along the way! ;)

Flavor wise, there was a lot of it!  I'm honestly not a huge fan of sausage in my cooking, but I do love lentils!  They really do have a meaty quality.  If you're vegetarian, this soup would be great without the sausage.  I personally felt the spinach it calls for doesn't add anything for me.  If I were to make it again, I would leave it out!

If this sounds like something your family would love, you can go here to order this mix, as well as many others!

First, chop 1 cup of carrots and place in the bottom of the Crock Pot insert.

Lay your sausage, quartered and sliced, over the carrots.  I used Chicken Apple Sausage, but the package says smoked turkey.  Use whatever you like.  I also used the entire package instead of just 6 oz. 

Sort and rinse the lentils and then place them over the top of the sausage and carrots.

Add salt and the seasoning packet over the top of that.

Next, add 1 1/2 cups Chicken broth and 4 cups water.  (I used 2 bouillon cubes and 5 1/2 cups water)

Cook on LOW for 3 1/2-4 hours or on HIGH for 2 1/2-3 hours.

15 minutes before serving, add the spinach. (I would personally skip this and I love spinach!)

Remove bay leaf before serving!
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

This Week's Plan 4-17-11

I can't believe it, but for the first time in a LONG time, I actually made everything I said I was going to make this week!  Granted, the yogurt I had to make twice and things were a little "out of order," but I got it done!  Whoo hoo!  Yay me!  LOL  I'm starting to get the hang of this "Mom of 2" thing!

This week I found a couple of things I'd like to tackle in the Crock Pot!  The first is Curried Lentils!  I bought a microwave pouch of them and they were AWESOME, so I'm going to try and make them in the Crock Pot!  Why not?!

I also plan to make a Thai Coconut Shrimp!  For some reason, this just sounds heavenly!  I hope it does to you too!

I'm going to start the week by making another Slow Cooker Gourmet meal!  This time, I'm making the "Lewis and Clark Lentil & Sausage Stew Mix."  I can't wait to tell you all about it!

Here's this week's plan:

Monday: Lewis and Clark Lentil & Sausage Stew Mix

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Curried Lentils

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Thai Coconut Shrimp

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Easter Dinner at the In-Laws

Happy Crock-Potting!
Hope Print Friendly and PDF

Slow Cooker Yogurt

What a super easy way to make yogurt!!!!  If you don't have a screaming baby to distract you, this couldn't be easier! I was so excited and proud when I lifted my Crock Pot Slow Cooker lid this morning and ran my spoon through my very own, home-made yogurt!  Go me!!!!  It has a really great texture.

For me, it needs sweetening, so I added honey and vanilla.  You could puree canned or fresh fruit and make different flavors.  You could also use agave nectar to sweeten this in a healthy way!

I plan to try this again with Vanilla Almond milk and Coconut Milk when this batch of yogurt is gone!

This is not my recipe.  Here's where I got my recipe from!  What a great site if you have food allergies in your household!

UPDATE:  I tried this with Vanilla Soy Milk and vanilla soy yogurt as my starter and it turned out great!

Slow Cooker Yogurt

1//2 Gallon Milk (I used Vitamin D) - pasteurized is ok, but not Ultra-Pasteurized!
1/2 cup yogurt (I bought a single serve which is 6 oz. and just ate the remaining 2oz. - from now on you'll have your own starter!)

Pour the entire 1/2 Gallon of milk into your Slow Cooker.
Set on LOW and cook foe 2 1/2 hours.

Turn off your Slow Cooker and let it sit for 3 hours.

After the 3 hours, remove 2 cups of the warm milk.
Add 1/2 cup yogurt

Add this to your remaining milk in the Slow Cooker and stir.

Cover the Slow Cooker with a heavy towel and let it sit overnight.

The next morning, remove the towel and admire your home-made yogurt!!!!!
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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cinnamon French Toast Casserole

Are you ready for an incredibly EASY meal that your whole family is sure to love?!  Well, here it is folks!  All 3 of us had a large helping of this yummy casserole and cleaned our plates!  A good meal for Friday during lent!  We had ours with whipped cream on top and syrup!

Did I mention how good my house smelled while this was cooking?!!!!!!!!

We made ours with cinnamon swirl bread, but any kind of bread will do!  The texture was a bit "soggy" I felt, but it tasted good!  If you have little ones who are picky about that kiund of  thing, this may not work for you.

I did not create this recipe!  I just decided to use cinnamon swirl bread.  I found the original recipe here :)  You can use any kind of bread you like!

Cinnamon French Toast Casserole

1 loaf cinnamon swirl bread, sliced into 1/4ths and left out overnight to go stale (I  used two 16 oz. loaves that I found at my grocery store.  They looked about half the size of a normal loaf of bread, so I bought 2)
1 dozen eggs
4 cups milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt

Spray the Slow Cooker insert with non-stick spray!!!
Place all the bread in the Slow cooker.

Mix together all of the remaining ingredients.

Pour the egg mixture over the bread.

Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.  Admire the smell while it cooks!
The last 1/2 hour or so, remove the lid to let the moisture absorb some.

Dust with powdered sugar,a dollop of whipped cream and/or drizzle with syrup when serving! Mmmmmmmm!
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Chicken Cacciatore

One of our facebook followers put in a request for something "Italian" and this definitely delivered!  We love the Chicken Cacciatore here!  The more my husband ate, the more he liked it!  As for my 3 year old, she at all the noodles and told us she didn't like my food.  (It was one of those days!  LOL)  Did I mention how wonderful my house smelled as this cooked?!  Mmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!

This was really very simple to make.  I browned my chicken first, but you could skip that step if you're in  a pinch.  Actually, because I put the chicken on the bottom, the skin got soggy anyway :(  If you want crispy skin, place you're chicken on top after you've browned it! :)

Ok, here it is!

Chicken Cacciatore

2-3 lb. bone-in chicken (I used 6 thighs)
8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 red onion, halved and sliced
2 14.5oz. cans petite diced tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
2 Tbsp. capers
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
3 Bay leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste   

I did the chicken and veggies in the opposite order, but I think you should do it this way so the chicken skin doesn't get soggy!

Place the mushrooms, onions and diced tomatoes in the bottom of your slow cooker.

Heat Olive oil in a pan. 
Salt and Pepper the skin side of your chicken and place seasoned side down in your skillet.
While that side is browning, season the other side.

Once both sides are browned, transfer your Crock Pot.
Add the red wine, capers, oregano, garlic and onion powder.

Cook on LOW for 8-9 hours or on HIGH for 5-6 hours.
Add the bay leaves about 1/2 hour before serving.

Serve with your favorite kind of pasta.
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Slow Cooker Gourmet "Texas Panhandle Chuckwagon Chili Mix"

While I was on bedrest, my new and wonderful friend Jolyn sent me a package of 6 of the Slow Cooker Gourmet Mixes by Purely American!  What a LOVELY surprise!  Shortly after I received them, I had Gavin.  So, I'm just getting around to making them!  I will feature one of these mixes the next 6 weeks!

So, let's get on to the good stuff here....and I do mean good stuff!  First, let me start with how easy this was to make.  I even made it a little tougher on myself because I used ground beef (that I had to brown first and dirty a pan :( ) instead of the Stew Meat the box calls for.  I just used what I had in the house and the ground beef needed to get used up!  Other than that, I sliced a few mushrooms, rinsed some beans, dumped in a can of tomatoes, a packet of seasoning and water!  SIMPLE!!!  If you are salt conscious, these are definitely for you!  The spice packet is a salt-free blend, which allows you to control the level of salt you would like to add in the end.

There box gives you a Vegetarian option, in which you can use tofu (however, I don't think this needs it!  PLENTY of beans!) and it also gives serving suggestions.  It kind of makes cooking this dinner a no brainer!

The aroma in my house today while this was cooking was HEAVENLY!  Wow!  It's definitely days like this I wish we had "smell-o-puter!"  LOL!  This Chili was incredibly flavorful.  You'll see in the picture below the incredible spice mix I added, so it's no wonder it had tons of flavor.  I will say this, it was pretty darn spicy.  It was so spicy in fact I made Mac n Cheese for my daughter because I was not going to make her eat spicy Chili at the age of 3!  Even though it was spicy, it was delicious!  I served our bowls up with a nice warm corn muffin (the cheap Jiffy kind!) and it was a complete meal!  My husband and I both couldn't finish the bowls I served us because this Chili was so incredibly hearty!

If this sounds like something you would like to make for your family, you can go here to order them or find more information out about them!

So, here's how I made it!

First, I rinsed the beans from the box and laid them evenly across the bottom of my Crock Pot.
Next, I laid my mushrooms evenly across the top of the beans.
Isn't that a beautiful mixture of beans!  There are Small Red, Kidney, Pinto, Black and Pink Beans!  Wow!
I then placed the ground beef over the top of the mushrooms.  (Remember, I substituted the ground beef for the stew meat.  You can use whatever you wish....or tofu!)
Next, I dumped a can of peeled and sliced tomatoes over the top.  (The box says to crush up some whole tomatoes, but I had a baby in my arms!  No can do! )
Lastly, all you have to do it pour the spice bag over the top and add some water!
Cook on LOW for 8-9 hours or on HIGH for 4-5.

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award!

Well, I received an award!  Maybe not the kind of award most people hope for, but to me, it means a lot!  I would like to personally thank Manda from Manda's Mommy Mahem for awarding this to me and for being a loyal reader of my blog!

This award does come with a few "rules!"
1. Thank and link to the person who awarded you.
2. Share 7 random facts about yourself.
3. Pass the award on to 15 new-found blogging buddies.
4. Contact those buddies, and congratulate them!

S0, THANK YOU MANDA!!!  I really am honored!

Here are 7 random facts about me:
1. I'm lactose intolerant.  Yup, it stinks!
2. I am not a huge chocolate person.  I know, all women are supposed to be right?!
3. I LOVE cake!  Cupcakes are included in this!
4. I am addicted to my DVR.....I think it's because I've been home from work for so long now!  LOL
5. When I put my mind to something, I NEVER give up!  
6. I LOVE reality TV! 
7. I've always wished I could either figure skate or be a gymnast!

Here are 15 fabulous blogs I follow regularly and you should check out!  They are totally in a random order!  Make sure to visit these blogs and let them know I sent you!

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This Week's Plan 4-10-11

I'm slowly trying to get back in the swing of things, so please forgive me!  I am adjusting to life with  2 kiddos, but it's taking a while! On top of that, my husband was on Spring break this week, so we've been out and about!  As my friend Maja pointed out to me today, I'm behind on my blog!  So, I'm sorry!  I will get it together, I swear!!  LOL

Today is a glorious 80 degree day in Michigan!  I cannot believe it! Granted, it will be back in the 50s the rest of the week, but I'll take it!  I hope it's just as lovely in your neck of the woods!

My new, and WONDERFUL friend Jolyn gave me a spectacular gift right before I had Gavin!  They are Crock Pot Seasoning mixes called "Slow Cooker Gourmet" that you just add a few ingredients to!   Each one has a vegetarian option!  How cool is that?!  I'm going to do a review on one a week the next 6 weeks!  I can't wait!  THANK YOU JOLYN!!!!!!

I'm also going to make yogurt in the Crock Pot this week! YUMMY!!!  I'm obsessed with yogurt lately and my daughter is too!  In the near future I will make granola in the crock pot too!  Mmmmmmm!

I had a facebook fan request an Italian Dish, so I'm going to make Chicken Cacciatore!  Ask and you shall receive.....most of the time!  LOL

Lastly, I'm going to make a French Toast Casserole.  Many of you will remember my failed attempt is December.  For those of you who don't, I asked my husband to turn the Crock Pot on before he came to bed....and he turned it to HIGH.  Needless to say it was a burned, unsalvagable mess in the morning! This time, it WILL turn out!!!!

So, with the best of intentions, here it is!

This Week's Plan:

Monday: Leftovers and start Yogurt

Tuesday: Enjoy yogurt!  Chicken Cacciatore

Wednesday: Texas Panhandle Chuckwagon Chili

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: French Toast Casserole (Take 2 for those of you who remember my TOTAL failed attempt at Christmas time!!!!)

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Not sure yet!

Happy Crock-Potting!
Hope Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, April 8, 2011

Salmon Loaf

First and foremost let me say this.....I know this may not sound good at ALL to you!  And that's ok!  My husband was seriously against this as I was putting it together today!  But, he sucked it up and tried it!  He liked and and so did I.  Would I make it over and over again?  No.  Sorry!  Just not really my thing!  Here's why.......Working with canned salmon is seriously disgusting!  Not only does it look gross, it smells nasty as well.  As I fished through the slimy nasty skin and took the bones out, I seriously considered aborting my mission.  BUT, I persevered so that I could bring this recipe to you today.

Update: I hear they have bagged salmon by the tuna fish you don't have to fish through!

With all that being said, if you don't mind working with canned salmon, then this recipe is for you!!!!!!  It did have great flavor and it was moist in the middle and had a nice texture.  It was a good meal for a Friday during lent.

P.S.  We dipped our in Tarter Sauce and it was very tasty!

The original recipe can be found here.  Thank you Christi for sharing this link!

Salmon Loaf

1 14 3/4 oz. can Salmon, drained and skin/bones removed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups Herb Seasoned Stuffing Croutons
1 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 cup Chicken Broth
1/4 Cup French Fried Onions (crushed)
1 tsp. dried mustard
1/4 tsp. pepper

Mix all of the ingredients listed above in a bowl and form into a roundish loaf.

With foil, make about 3 sturdy strips by folding the foil over itself.  (I had a little helper!)

You are then going to make them into like a wheel spoke.

This becomes your "handles" when you go to lift your loaf out of the Slow Cooker.
Place it inside your Slow Cooker and spray with non-stick spray.

Slide your salmon loaf into your Slow Cooker.

Cook on LOW for 4-5 hours or on HIGH for 2-3 hours.
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