I have another post from Fantastical Food Fight - a monthly blog challenge who's theme this month was Slow Cooker Soups. Yum - so perfect for cold weather! I knew immediately that I wanted to do this Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup that I had made before, but didn't post about. It is so insanely easy and delicious.
All you do is add diced onion, carrots, and celery to a slow cooker, along with wild rice and raw chicken (you don't even have to cut it up).
Add chicken broth and poultry seasoning. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
The Secret Recipe Club is coming to an end, you guys. This is both very sad and a huge relief to me, as I have had so much fun exploring other blogs, but also felt a lot of pressure to meet the timeline. There will be one more seasonal post at the end of this month, and one more regular post in November. I was assigned Cheese Curd in Paradise this month, written by Ashley.
I actually couldn't find a bio page on this blog, sorry Ashley! But I could discern that Ashley lives in Wisconsin, has a son, and loves comfort food! I found a ton of yummy looking stuff while scrolling through the archives.
And pasta recipes, like Homemade Beef-a-Roni, Bacon Cheeseburger Gnocchi Skillet, Creamy Chicken Pesto Gnocchi Skillet, BLT Tortellini Skillet, and Ham and Cheese Gnocchi Skillet (loving these skillet meals).
And some special occasion recipes, like Maple and Shallot Spaghetti Squash, Roast Duck with Wild Rice and Sausage Stuffing, Rack of Lamb with Caramelized Shallot and Thyme Crust, and Seared Scallops with Prosecco Herb Beurre Blanc.
I didn't even get to the desserts, y'all!
In the end, I was torn between this Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole and this Chicken Bacon Ranch Tater Tot Casserole. So I decided to combine them! By which I mean, use ranch seasoning instead of the seasoning mix in the slow cooker casserole.
It is hard to take good photos of casseroles, y'all, especially in the slow cooker. But the slow cooker was what I loved about this. Throw frozen tater tots, raw chicken, cooked bacon, onions, cheese, ranch seasoning, and milk into the insert and forget about it until dinner time. Perfect. I did feel like it was missing a bit of a creamy element, but I don't know how sour cream would do in the slow cooker.
For ease an comfort, this just can't be beat! Enjoy!
May has five Mondays this year, which means - themed Secret Recipe Club post! Falling on Memorial Day, the theme for this reveal is Picnic/BBQ and my assigned blog was A Day in the Life on the Farm. Wendy and her husband are former police officers who moved out to the country and became farmers. They treat their animals humanely, are part of an organic CSA, trade with other farmers, and live sustainably as much as possible - I am so jealous! I dream of being a radical homemaker, but don't have the commitment. I was on a specific mission this month, but I look forward to perusing the blog more thoroughly.
I actually made three recipes from Wendy's blog this weekend, in order to have a full meal for the holiday. She had tons of recipes that are appropriate for the challenge, and I chose BBQ Beef Sandwiches, BLT Pasta Salad, and Black Forest Trifle. Each of these was easy to make with the help of store-bought ingredients, so that I didn't have to spend a full day in the kitchen. And each of them was a big hit!
I have been really digging the slow cooker lately, I think it's the long dreariness of the middle of winter. This soup is sure to brighten even the dreariest day, warm you up, and make you smile. Plus it is easy and mostly hands off.
Tomatoes, onion, celery, and carrots soften for hours with chicken broth, oregano, basil, and bay. Then you make, essentially, a bechamel and stir it in along with Parmesan to make it thick and creamy an luscious. This simple but lovely soup was met with rave reviews from the friends I served it to. I hope you enjoy!
Slow Cooker Parmesan Tomato Soup
adapted from Today's Mama
2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onions
4 cups chicken broth (use vegetable broth to make it vegetarian)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup flour (use sweet rice flour to make it gluten free)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, onions, chicken broth, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to a large slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.
About 30 minutes before serving, melt butter over low heat in a saucepan and add flour. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes until the floury smell is gone. Slowly stir in the milk, a little at a time, until the mixture is smooth.
Add to the vegetables along with the Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Taste for seasoning and add additional basil and oregano, if needed.
Cover and cook on low for another 30 minutes or so until ready to serve.
One Year Ago - Apple Galette with Salted Bourbon Caramel
Two Years Ago - Daube Provencal (French beef stew with red wine)
Three Years Ago - Spiced Carrot Soup with Crispy Chickpeas and Tahini
Four Years Ago - Roast Beef Sandwiches
Five Years Ago - Aji de Gallina; Kheer
Jessie is a wife and mother of 3, she started her blog as an encouragement to write regularly. She also hoped to support women who feel imperfect, writing that she is an awful housekeeper and lazy. I love that, because I am also those things and I don't even have the excuse of being busy with kids. She is really down to earth and I like that about her writing.
I felt like there weren't a ton of recipes for me to choose from, but the ones that I liked, I REALLY liked. My top picks were Oxtail Stew, Sweet Potato and Sausage Hash, Honey Parmesan Pork, and Boozy Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies.
I've been really digging the slow cooker lately, so I decided to go with the Honey Parmesan Pork.
Start by browning a boneless pork roast on all sides (I made a half recipe, so this roast is only 2 lbs).
If you are starting to panic because Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate) is closing in and you don't have a dinner plan yet, fear not - I have you covered! I have a round-up of all of my holiday recipes, from protein to sides to dessert, and even breakfast! So please enjoy and Happy Holidays!
Well, Folks - it's been a great year! I look forward to keep sharing delicious and (sometimes) healthy recipes with you in the years to come. Until then - here are my most pinned recipes of 2013!
#1 - This healthy version of Shepard's Pie with Sweet Potato and Turkey. I find this funny because the photos from this post are so bad!
#2 - Homemade Meat Ravioli - yum!
#3 - Homemade Spinach Ravioli. The raviolis are popular!
I am trying to avoid carbohydrates and starches as much as possible for health reasons (and not being very successful). For this reason, I like it when I happen upon a tasty looking Paleo recipe. I do not follow the Paleo diet by any means, but I do agree with some of their basic assumptions - like grains and processed vegetable oils are bad, and animal fat is good.
I liked this recipe even more when I saw that it was for the slow cooker. Loaded up with carrots, cauliflower, onion, garlic, and chicken stock - a pot of goodness!
Now, I usually don't like chicken thighs, especially skin-on and bone-in, but I get that breasts dry out and fall apart so I followed the recipe on this one. Picking around the bone was still pretty irritating to me, but that skin that I crisped up (twice) in bacon fat? Yum city. I also threw a little fresh thyme in here because I grow it and why not?
The flavor is rich and satisfying, really great as comfort food. I will say that the proportions of this recipe as written are off. There is so little meat on these thighs that it would take 3-4 to fill someone up, especially if you don't make some other kind of side (greens would have been so good!). And there was a huge amount of puree - I had enough leftover after serving to turn into a soup! So next time, I would double the amount of chicken and will reflect that in the recipe below.
Here's a simple one - 6 ingredients, 1 crockpot, 4 hours, 1 amazing and addictive soup. So easy, so delicious and creamy, and pretty healthy if you use low-fat cream cheese and turkey sausage. Try to get bulk sausage from your butcher, if you can. The big name/pre-packaged stuff (Jimmy Dean, I'm looking at you) has high fructose corn syrup - yuck! Jasper is not a big fan of soups, unfortunately - which means that I got to eat this every day for lunch for a week and never got sick of it. In fact, I was still craving it after it was gone!
Creamy Tortellini Soup
You can thank Pinterest for this one. You need frozen tortellini to stand up to the long cooking time. If you can't find it, reduce the cooking time by half for dried and even more for refrigerated. Also, if you are not using "Italian Style" tomatoes, you will need to add some spices.
adapted from Little Fellows
1 lb ground sausage, preferably turkey
1 (8 oz) block cream cheese or neufchatel (less fat), I use cream cheese made from Greek yogurt which is as low fat as neufchatel but has more protein
1 (19oz) bag frozen cheese tortellini
1 bag fresh spinach (5 oz is common, but use as much as you want)
2 (14.5 oz) cans Italian style diced tomatoes
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
Brown the sausage and put into the crockpot with the cream cheese. Stir around a bit to break up the cream cheese and get it to start melting (this will help prevent lumps). Add in the rest of the ingredients. Set temp to low and cook for 3-4 hours (check pasta texture at 3 hours).
I wanted to do a big Christmas dinner, but I didn't want to be in the kitchen all Christmas Day. I also wanted to try something different than the usual rib roast and Yorkshire pudding. So I decided to do dinner on Christmas Eve and to do some easy, low-prep dishes for Brunch on Christmas Day.
I ordered a half fresh ham through Whole Foods to try cooking a Christmas ham for the first time, but I made a few mistakes. I wanted to cook it in the slow cooker with brown sugar and cider to make a glaze, but I didn't realize that "fresh ham" is not really what we consider ham - without the curing or smoke, it is more like a pork roast - so I didn't really get the flavor that I wanted. I also couldn't get the whole thing to fit in my (very large) slow cooker insert, so I had to chop a chunk off - which actually ended up being a good thing because I roasted that piece and it came out better.