Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pasta alla Carbonara

Thank you to Michelle, one of our facebook fans, for suggesting I make this!  WOW!  Was this ever TASTY!!!  I've never had Carbonara before, but I did see Rachel Ray make it on her show once and thought, boy would that be good!  AND IT WAS!!!!

Warning:  This is NOT low fat!  LOL  I repeat, this is NOT low fat!  Ok, that is my disclaimer!

So, you know how cooking bacon on the stove makes a HORRIBLE, TERRIBLE, NO-GOOD mess????  Well, cooking bacon in the Slow Cooker is NOT! ;)  YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!  That's the first good reason you should try this in the Slow Cooker!  This also makes your house smell AMAZING!  No burnt bacon smell here folks!  Even my 3 year old kept telling me how good this smelled!

This was really very simple to make.  I was a little unsure when I started this if it would work out, but it actually did!  YAY!!  I'm so happy!  I'm going to get right to the recipe below so you can hurry to the grocery store to get whatever you don't have!

Pasta all Carbonara

1 pkg. thick-cut bacon, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 tsp. (or less) crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp. (or more) garlic powder (or use a few cloves of fresh garlic.  I can't eat it, so we don't use them)
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 lb. rotini pasta (or any other kind of pasta you like), cooked with 1 Tbsp. salt
1/4 cup of pasta water (the water you cooked the pasta in)
1/2 cup (or so) flat leaf parsley, chopped

Place your cut-up bacon in the bottom of your slow cooker.
(Try and separate it as much as you can so the pieces are not all completely stuck together)
Cook on LOW for 7-9 hours.

The last 1/2 hr-45 minutes of cooking, turn your Slow Cooker up to HIGH and add your bouillon cube, garlic powder and crushed red pepper flakes.  Give it a stir.

Boil your water and salt and cook your pasta according to the package instructions.
When your pasta is done, reserve your 1/4 cup of water.
In a bowl, mix together the egg yolks, pepper and Parmesan cheese.
Next, whisk in the 1/4 cup pasta water to temper your egg yolks.
 Now, pour your pasta into the slow cooker, pour the egg/parmesan mixture over the top and toss in the parsley.  
Mix all together and Voila!!!!!
I hope you enjoy this!
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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Using Your Slow Cooker to Make Baby Food

"Work smarter, not harder!"  What a great quote!  I'm all about working smarter!  I've decided the best way to make batches of baby food is to use my slow cooker whenever possible!

This week, I cooked Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash in my Slow Cooker.  Both things would have heated my house up tremendously and seeing how it's summer, I don't really want to do that!  Plus, I could let my Slow Cookers cook the veggies for me while I was out and about doing other things I needed to do!  I was then able to come home, let them cool a bit and then puree them!  SO wonderful!

Making home made baby food is so easy!  After the veggies are cooked, you add a bit of the cooking liquid or water and puree them in a blender or food processor!  Then, you poor or spoon the mixture into ice cube trays.  Freeze your baby food and then put the cubes into freezer bags for later use!  They thaw quickly in the refrigerator (or a short amount of time in the microwave).  This will save you a ton of money and give your baby food in it's purest state!  Organic baby food is extremely pricey in the store!  I think you will find this extremely worth your time!  If you make large batches on the weekend once in a while, you will have plenty stocked up for a while!

Here's a couple of the baby foods I made:

Butternut Squash Baby Food

2 Butternut Sqashes

Cut your butternut squash in half 
and scoop out the seeds and guts.
Place them into your slow cooker.
Cook on LOW for approximately 4 hours.  
You will know it's done when you can easily poke the flesh with a fork.
Next, let them cool for a little bit with the lid off and then take them out.
Pour the liquid that has pooled inside your squash into the blender or food processor and then scoop all the flesh into the blender or food processor.

Add a bit of liquid little by little as you blend until you reach the desired consistency.
Pour into Ice cube trays, cover with plastic wrap and freeze.
When frozen, place cubes into a labeled freezer bag until ready to serve them.

Sweet Potato Baby Food

6 (or so) Sweet Potatoes, washed and dried

Place your sweet potatoes into your slow cooker insert

Cook on LOW for 4-5 hours depending on how many or size of your sweet potatoes.
You will know they are done when you can easily poke your fork into them.

Take the lid off and let them cool a bit.
When they are cool enough to handle, slice them in half and scoop the flesh into a blender or food processor.

As you blend, add water a little at a time until you have your desired consistency.
Pour or spoon into ice cube trays.

Cover with plastic wrap and freeze. 
When frozen, place cubes into a labeled freezer bag until ready to serve them.

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"Baked" Sweet Potatoes

Don't want to heat your house up making baked sweet potatoes in the summer????  Me either!!!  So, I decided to give them a go in the Crock Pot Slow Cooker!  Plus, I'm making baby food for Gavin, so I needed to make quite a few!

It's SUPER DUPER easy!   Ready for this?!

"Baked" Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes, washed and dried

Place as many sweet potatoes in your slow cooker as you would like (or that will fit!)

Cook on LOW for 4-5 hours depending on how many you have in there and how big they are.
You'll know they are done when you can easily poke your fork in them!
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Creamy Velveeta Shells and Cheese

If you are a fan of the Velveeta Shells and Cheese, you should definitely try this!  It was really super duper easy and you'll have TONS of Shells and Cheese to enjoy with your family!  And, it was tasty!

I bought some Velveeta last week when it was on sale and noodles are always super cheap, so this is a very budget friendly meal!

If you can make the kind from the box, you can make this.  LOL  This is a recipe any beginner or seasoned Slow Cooker can handle!  Give it a try!

Oh, and one of our readers requested this during our last giveaway!  I hope she enjoys it!

Creamy Velveeta Shells and Cheese

1 12oz. can Evaporated Milk
3 cups Milk
3/4lb. Pasta shells (I used the minis, but use whatever pasta you want!)
1/2 stick Butter
16oz. Velveeta Cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Spray your slow cooker insert with non-stick spray (I used a Reynolds Slow Cooker liner because they are awesome!)
In your insert, pour the evaporated milk, milk, pasta, butter, salt and pepper and give a little stir.

Cook on LOW for 4 hours stirring occasionally.
Cut your velveeta up into smaller pieces add to your slow cooker.
Stir it in.
Put the lid back on and turn it on HIGH.  Go back about 10 minutes later.  Stir it up.  It should be just about ready to go.  If not, let it cook a few minutes longer.  
Serve and Enjoy!
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This Week's Plan 8-28-11

Well, the kids and I survived a whole week without my husband here!  He works with a competitive marching band during the summer/fall and every summer, he goes away for a week way far away for band camp.  We managed to stay extremely busy (the way I like it!)!  This week starts my first week back to work.  No kids yet, just professional development stuff and I have to get into my classroom and get some things set up.  I'm not gonna lie, it's going to be very difficult to go back after having almost an entire year off! (For those of you who haven't been with me that long, I was on bed rest from 12 1/2 weeks with Gavin and home.  I only worked the first 6 days of the school year last year).  So, back to the grind this week!

I've been spending my last few days making baby food and freezing it into ice cube trays!  I've even managed to use my Slow Cooker to help in the process!  So far, I cooked my sweet potatoes and butternut squash in there!  I will post how I did it.  It's SUPER simple!  One of the things I'm most proud of that I did for Ella (well besides nursing her of course) was making all of her baby food.  She still LOVES veggies and fruits and I really think it's because she ate homemade baby food!  (At least that's what I'm going to believe!)  If you've never tried it, I urge you to give it a go!  You don't have to get fancy or follow any recipes (I don't!), all you have to do is cook some fruit or veggies (or not cook things like avocados or bananas), puree it, then freeze it in ice cube trays.  Gavin will begin eating my tasty treats in about 2 more weeks!

I have LOTS of leftovers from last week, so I won't have to do a lot of cooking this week.  I'm going to use some of that turkey I had leftover and freeze the rest for some soup or something else later.

Here's This Week's Plan:

Monday: Leftover Mac N' Cheese

Tuesday: Turkey and Dumplings

Wednesday: (First day back to work!) Leftover Turkey and Dumplings (because it will be a miracle if I get us all out of the house on time the first day back!!!!)

Thursday: Slow Cooker Carbonara (I'm gonna give this a go!  We shall see if it works!)

Friday: Leftover Carbonara

Saturday: Not sure yet.  We may grab something out of the freezer!

Happy Slow-Cooking!
Hope Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, August 26, 2011

Beer Braised Turkey Breast

I have never cooked a Turkey Breast before, but it was SUPER easy (We're talking 5 simple ingredients)!  And WOW, was it tasty!!!!!!  So juicy, so tender and my house smelled AMAZING!!!!!  Did I mention my house stayed nice and cool because I used my Crock Pot Slow Cooker????!!!!!

Last week, I found out from Jolyn at Bargains to Bounty that Turkey Breasts were on sale, so I picked up 2!  (Yay for my new deep freezer!!!!)  I decided to give it a go in the slow cooker, since that's just what I do! ;)  I'm so glad I did!

Like I said above, this was really easy to make.  I had beer in my garage from a party we had earlier in the summer.  By the way, no one drank a single beer....LOL, so I have plenty to cook with!  I added a little butter and an onion to sweeten the deal!  Then, I seasoned the top with Pampered Chef's Citrus Basil Rub!  (If you don't own this seasoning, you should!  It's AMAZING!)  That's it!  Yes, I'm serious.  5 Ingredients!  Ahhh, what a good life!  Now, some of you might be saying, I don't have Pampered Chef's Citrus Basil Rub!  What can I use instead?!  I will give that suggestion below!  No worries!

I even made gravy with all the drippings and it turned out amazing as well!  All I did was pour the drippings into a sauce pan, then I mixed about 6 Tbsp. flour with some water and poured it into the drippings.  I let it simmer for a while (a lot longer than intended due to 2 children needing me) and stir frequently.  If you don't stir it a lot, it will get lump.....like mine, but whatever! LOL The gravy turned out so good I'm going to make something with it this week!  Stay Tuned...

I would suggest using a 6 Quart or larger Slow Cooker for your Turkey Breast.  I used the Crock-Pot SCVT650-PS 6-1/2-Quart Programmable Touch Screen Slow Cooker, Stainless My Turkey Breast was around 6.5 lbs. and kind of touched the lid.  (It's not supposed to, but I shoved that bad boy in! LOL)

Beer Braised Turkey Breast

5.5-6.5 lb. Turkey Breast (thawed)
1/2 stick butter
12 oz. beer
1 onion, quartered
2 Tbsp. Pampered Chef Citrus Basil Rub (If you don't have this, use some salt, pepper, garlic powder and basil)

Take the giblets out of your turkey breast, rinse it and dry it.
Place the turkey breast side down in your slow cooker insert.
Stuff it with your onion pieces and place some butter under the skin and around the turkey.

Pour the beer over the top and sprinkle your Citrus Basic Rub over the top.

Cover and cook on LOW for 8-9 hours or on HIGH for 4-5 hours.
It will look something like this!

I used two giant spoons to fish it out and it came out whole.
Carve your turkey.
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Sunday, August 21, 2011

3,000 Fan Giveaway!

"Thank you!" to each of you for helping me reach 3,000 Facebook Fans!

Here is our FANTASTIC Giveaway!
A very special thank you to each vendor!

Please be sure to check out each vendor below by clicking on their link and "liking" their page or visiting their site.  Let them know A Busy Mom's Slow Cooker Adventures sent you!

Here are our fantastic prizes!

$25 Gift Certificate
(Winner must be local)

Ruby Loop
$15 Gift Certificate

Thirty-One Gifts, Amy Fleischmann
Thermal Lunch Tote
Winner picks pattern and Personalized Embroidery

 6piece brooch set
Winner can choose there own colors of the picture provided.

Regina Sober, Tupperware Lady
This awesome Quick Shake

Thirty-One Gifts, Kai Lumpkin
$15 Gift Certificate

Margaret Larsen, Independent PartyLite Consultant
$10 PartyLite Gift Certificate and Two Sisters Gourmet Garlic Seasoning

Adrian Jacobs, Arbonne Independent Consultant
$25 Gift Certificate towards a purchase from a new client from the new holiday catalog, which comes out September 1.

Family 4 Pack of Tickets
(Winner must be local)

1 Dozen FREE Gourmet Cupcakes!
(Winner must be local)

Family Ties Scrapbook Design
$10 purchase of $20 or more
Custom Orders are welcome!

Here's how to enter:

Please follow the directions carefully!  I will be checking to make sure the winners have completed all of the requirements!  
You must be a U.S. resident and 18 and older to enter!


(Comments left on Facebook will NOT count!!!!)
For example: Comment #1: Jane Doe, jane@yahoo.com I liked your fan page on Facebook
Comment #2: Jane Doe, jane@yahoo.com I liked Ruby Loop's Fan page on Facebook

*This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

1. "Like" my facebook fan page  (If you're already a fan, just say so) <1 entry>

2. "Like" each of the sponsors' facebook pages and give them some love from me! Leave a separate comment for each vendor liked.  (For the local prizes, you only need to like these if you are local to the Metro Detroit area and are eligible to win the prize) <1 entry for each vendor liked>

3. Subscribe to my blog by entering your email on the right hand side of my page where it says "subscribe"  (If you already subscribe, just say so)  <1 entry>

4. Become a blog follower at the bottom right hand side of this page  (If you're already a blog follower, just say so)<1 entry>

5. Follow me through Networked Blogs at the very bottom of this page (If you already do this, just say so) <1 entry>

6. Follow me on twitter (If you already follow me on twitter, just say so)  <1 entry>

7. Share this Giveaway on facebook and leave a link below *You may do this once a day! <1 entry>

8. Tweet this giveaway and leave a link below *You may do this once a day. <1 entry>

9. Leave a comment below with your FAVORITE Busy Mom Slow Cooker Adventure Recipe! <1 entry>

10. Share this giveaway on your blog and leave a link <1 entry>

11.  Share one of my recipes on your facebook page, twitter, blog, or other form of social media and leave a link.  *You may do this once a day. <1 entry>

12. Put my Logo on your blog by using the "Grab my Button" HTML code on the right side of this page and leave a link to your site! <1 entry>

There you have it!  Many possible ways to enter and some you can do every day!
Go get started!!!!
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This Week's Plan 8-21-11

This is my last FULL week before I go back to work!  Boo!  :(  All good things must come to an end!  I know I've said this before, but I've REALLY enjoyed my stay-at-home mom gig!  It's been a dream!  I'm so blessed to have done all I've done with my beautiful babies the last few months!

I'm not really sure where this week is going to take us, so I'm going to keep my plan this week kind of vague!  This is probably the last week I'll have this luxury!

Thank you to Jolyn at Bargains to Bounty for letting me know that Turkey Breasts were on sale at Kroger this week!  I picked up 2!  I'll make another one around Thanksgiving time!

So, here's this week's plan:

Creamy Mac N' Cheese (Yup!  With Velveeta this time per request! ;))
Turkey Breast (Not sure what I'm doing with this yet, but it was on SALE and I am going to make it!)
Some sort of Turkey Casserole (using leftovers from the turkey breast!) Print Friendly and PDF

Southwestern Shredded Chicken

I LOVE how easy this was to put together!  What's even better, it tasted great too!  Chicken goes on sale ALL the time and so does Philadelphia Cooking Creme!  I think most of you have diced tomatoes in your pantry, so you'll only need a couple other ingredients to make this dish happen!

We served our chicken in soft tortilla shells today, but tomorrow, I'm thinking of having it over nachos!  Some other great ideas would be in taco shells, over rice or noodles.  I think I'm going to have to make some Slow Cooker Black Beans to go with this in the future! (They are my new favorite beans!)  I think that would have completed this meal!

Today was a great excuse to use my Tastefully Simple Simply Southwest Seasoning & Rub!  I'm actually excited to use it on its own since there are directions on the actual bottle to use it in the Slow Cooker!  How awesome is that?!!!!  I can't wait to use this seasoning on the grill and in MANY more dishes to come!

I hope you find this recipe as easy and tasty as we did!  Oh, and you'll have leftovers ;)

Southwestern Shredded Chicken

1.5 lbs. FROZEN Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
1 medium onion, chopped
1 - 14.5oz. Can Diced Tomatoes
1 - 4oz. Can Diced Green Chilies
2 Tbsp. Tastefully Simple Simply Southwest Seasoning & Rub (If you don't have this, use a little Chili Powder, Garlic Powder, Cumin, Onion Powder, Salt and Pepper)
1 Santa Fe Blend Philadelphia Cooking Creme

Lettuce, shredded cheese and salsa for toppings

In your Slow Cooker insert, place the frozen chicken, then top with onion, diced tomatoes, green chilies and Simply Southwest Seasoning & Rub.

Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or on HIGH for 5-6 hours.

Take your chicken out and shred it.

Mix the Santa Fe Blend Philadelphia Cooking Creme in with all the juices, etc. in the Slow Cooker.

Add the shredded chicken back in and mix well.

Serve with your favorite toppings, i.e. shredded lettuce, shredded cheese and salsa.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Shredded Pork Tortilla Soup

I'm so happy one of my readers suggested making Tortilla Soup with Shredded Pork!  Wow, was this delicious!!!!  I'm pretty sure that a Mexican Restaurant would hire me after making this soup!  LOL  You are going to love how fresh and healthy (in a good way!) this tastes!

This soup won't take you long to put together and it can cook ALL day long while you're away!  If you chop up your cilantro and shred your cheese ahead of time, all you have to do when you get home is quickly shred the pork.  It will be SO tender, it will be done in no time at all!  Your family will love you for this soup!

Feel free to garnish this soup any way you wish.  I actually bought an avacado to put garnish with, but I forgot to slice it :(  I also left out the TORTILLA chips!  LOL Well, that's what leftovers are for!  (And there are plenty!!!) To be honest, I think some raw onions on top in addition to the onions cooked in the soup would be awesome!  I think I'll try it with my next bowl!  I also feel maybe some carrots would be great in this soup.

I used Pampered Chef Chili Lime Rub in this recipe.  It was awesome!  I highly suggest ordering it!  It's super cheap and there is so much more you can do with it!  I made it into a dip with equal parts of sour cream and mayo!  YUMMY!!!!  While you're on Dawn's Pampered Chef Website, feel free to look around at all the other awesome products they have!

Shredded Pork Tortilla Soup

1 lb. Pork Loin
3 large tomatoes, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 Jalepeno, seeded and minced
2 tsp. Cumin
2 tsp. Pampered Chef Chili Lime Rub (or just plain Chili Powder)
2 tsp. Onion Powder
2 tsp. Garlic Powder
8 cups Chicken broth OR 8 cups water and 8 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
Fresh Cilantro, Tortilla Chips, Avacado slices and Freshly Grated Mexican Cheese  (I used Oakaca which came in a 10 oz. pkg.)

In your slow cooker insert, add tomatoes, onion and jalapeno.

Place your Pork Loin on top.

Add all your seasonings and pour in water and bouillon cubes (or chicken broth). (I prefer cheap, so I always go with bouillon cubes and water!)

Cook on LOW for 8-10 (or more) hours or on HIGH for 5-6 hours.
Serve with fresh chopped cilantro and freshly grated Mexican cheese....or any other garnishes you would like!

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