Phheww. My job called yesterday to tell me to come in late today because I was going to have to work late.
They were not kidding. I was there until 8:30. At my old job this would be completely unsurprising but I'm deeply spoiled at this place and rarely have to stay after 4:30. I tried to be really productive this morning but all that I got accomplished was a run. Oh, and I ate breakfast at the table instead of in the car. Big news.
The temperatures are definitely cooling down here. Therefore, I can start pulling out the good old crock pot on a regular basis. It is one of my most favorite kitchen appliances ever. So easy.
Now I'm done typing because nothing is making sense anymore when I'm typing. Long hours are a killer when you're really not used to them.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 small cans of green chilis
- 1 can enchilada sauce
- 1 large can diced tomatoes
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 cups of corn
- 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 diced green bell pepper
- 1 diced yellow onion
Throw everything into the crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours (or for however long you're at work). After 8 hours, take out the chicken breasts and shred with a fork (they should be super tender). Mix chicken back in and serve. We always top it with avocado and shredded cheese and eat it with a side of corn chips but top it with whatever you'd usually use on tacos. We always buy the same general ingredients and we always have avocado and shredded cheese on hand so that works. *This turns out to more stew-ish, if you like more soup-ish add more chicken broth. Oh and if we have brown rice left over from something we throw that in too.
Um.. if everyone who knows me knew about this trick before now and didn't tell me we're officially not friends. OR you can just not tell me you knew and we'll still be friends. It's up to you. I won't even call you on the lie of omission.
Anyways, did you know that you can wrap a potato in tin foil.. put in the crock pot.. leave it on low for 8 hours.. and you have a perfectly baked potato.
YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE TO PRICK THEM!!
Cale and I are now going to have baked potatoes twice a week for dinner. They fit in the grocery budget like old pros. And now that we don't have to wait for next to forever after work for them to bake in the oven, we are set. For life. Praise Jesus. Amen.
Last night we had them topped with shredded chicken, cheese, and bbq sauce. It was divine.
In other news, it was my turn to bring snacks to small group. I made 'Better Than Sex' cake. After the decision was made and the ingredients were bought, Cale asked me what I was going to call it when people asked me what it was.
Like 'Better Than Sex' is inappropriate for bible study or something.
I thought my wit would carry me through. Until they asked me. And I froze. And said something like, "Oh, chocolate cake with some caramel and stuff." And then someone gave me the eye. They knew. I avoided eye contact. Everyone loved it.
From now on this is called 'Not appropriate for Bible Study' cake.
P.S. Someone just asked me if I tried to use correct punctuation. I do not. Sorry if this bothers you. I type the way I think. Apparently very fragmented.
Make this tomorrow. Seriously deliciousness in a crock-pot.
The only downside is that it takes slightly more time to make than throwing everything in the pot the morning of. I almost didn't make it but then it would have been another week of slow cooker taco something. Because that is what I love.
P.S. Last week I made Santa Fe chicken in the crock pot
. Because the word Santa Fe is in it and I have a gazillion happy memories from that place and basically eat any food that says Santa Fe. Also punchfork.com gave it a super high rating. Go to this website. It hasn't failed me yet. Also because it used chicken breasts instead of thighs. Thighs kind of gross me out. I mean just the name is gross. Anyways, it reminded me of Chipotle. I love that place. And I love Santa Fe chicken. In fact it was so good I forgot to photograph it and then it was gone.
Anyways, last time I made bolognese sauce was stove style. And I used the wrong kind of tomatoes. And the sauce was runny. And my in-laws were here. How embarrassing.
This time I used the right kind of tomatoes. Win! I browned the pancetta, vegetables, ground beef and added the wine and let this whole mixture simmer last night. I also added 3 cloves of garlic. Italian food needs garlic. Basically everything needs garlic in this house.
This smelled amazing. I wanted to eat it straight out of the pan.
This morning my fabulous husband threw in the ground beef, 2 cans of stewed tomatoes, and the bay leaves. He added 5. 3 would probably do. Let it cook for 8-10 hours on low (or however long you're at work for.. the recipe only calls for 6 hrs in the slow cooker. I'm still looking for that 6 hour a day job.)
Side note: I knew this was probably going to be money because bolognese sauce regular style is cooked forever on the stove top. Crock pot/ forever on the stove top. Basically the same thing to me!
Make some pasta and you have pure deliciousness. Thank you skinnytaste.com. My husband was extra happy when he came home to this tonight. You are apparently my favorite food blogger and I didn't even realize it until my last 2 slow cooker meals came from you and you apparently make me a better wife.
Amazing Bolognese sauce from skinnytaste.com. Go here
to see the original recipe (what I used is modified below) and see some awesome pictures!
- 4 oz pancetta, chopped (or center cut bacon)
- 1 tbsp butter (or olive oil)
- 1 large white onion, minced
- 2 celery stalks (about 3/4 cup), minced
- 2 carrots (about 3/4 cup), minced
- 2 lb 95% lean ground beef
- 1/4 cup white wine (Um.. I used Marsala.. cooking wine (I think you're not supposed to this but we're not huge wine drinkers and it was the only thing in the house. Novice taste buds couldn't tell.)
- 2 - 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
- 3 bay leaves
- salt and fresh pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (Didn't add this.... oops)
- 1/2 cup half & half cream (Didn't add this either.. you know, cutting out dairy)
- Added this! 3 cloves minced garlic
In a large deep saute pan, sauté pancetta on low heat until the fat melts, about 4-5 minutes. Add butter, onions, celery and carrots (and garlic!)
and cook on medium-low heat until soft, about 5 minutes.
Increase flame to medium-high; add meat, season with salt and pepper and sautéuntil browned. Drain
the fat then add wine; cook until it reduces down, about 3-4 minutes. Side note: I put everything above in the fridge overnight.Add
to crock pot. Add tomatoes, bay leaves, salt and pepper; cover
and set slow cooker to LOW
6 hours. (Or you know.. 8-10 hours.)
I'm not going to lie. I'm not as jazzed about this slow cooker recipe as others. This could be one of a gazillion things. Such as, I didn't actually follow the recipe because it seemed a little too time consuming for me. As in, it involved more than throwing everything it a pot and saying, "Adios!" until 10 hrs later.
Naturally, I ignored instructions and said adios until 10 hrs later. Also, I don't really like flour tortillas and this was kind of necessary. Therefore the recipe already had a strike against it. And finally, all day I was imagining it with corn, black beans, avacado, salsa and cheese (think Chipotle). But by the time I actually sat down to eat I had 5 minutes before Bible study so salsa, meat, lettuce, and cheese were all that made it on. I think I'll eventually try something like this again but follow the instructions a little bit better because it would make a fabulous easy dinner if you were having people over for a party or to watch football or something like that.
I'm not going to link it to the recipe until I try it again (and actually follow the recipe) but I threw in a piece of beef (whatever kind of roast was on sale, about 2 lbs) chopped up half an onion, poured in a can of beef stock, and then topped everything with chili powder, cumin and paprika. I then topped the beef with some tomato paste and let it sit all day long cooking on low. (No, I also did not measure anything. Whoops.) Came home shredded the beef and called it good. Cale thought it was awesome. Probably because for once we did not have chicken. I'll take it. :)
We take terrible food pictures. But this was really awesome!
I think this may have been the first thing I ever made is a slow cooker and it went something like this.
I was newlyish married and wanted to make the husband some pork. Because he's from Nebraska. That probably has nothing to do with the story but I thought it should be included.
Anyways, I found lots of recipes that went something like, put the pork in the slow cooker and pour a bottle of barbecue sauce over.
Um.. my brother can do better than that (no offense Jason... that's actually a compliment).
So I searched some more until I stumbled upon this recipe
It turns out every single time. So delicious.
To make my morning a little bit easier I cut up the pork shoulder the night before and try to trim as much fat off as possible. This takes me a little bit of time but I think that fatty part is gross. I've heard it adds better flavor. You should probably leave it on.
Otherwise I follow the recipe. I can usually find pork shoulder on sale for $1.29 which makes this a really cheap dinner. This recipe also freezes really well which is nice when you have surprise company. Or if your husband forgets to tell you people are coming.
So here's the recipe. Directly from Good Housekeeping. So good.
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup(s) ketchup
- 1/3 cup(s) cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup(s) packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup(s) tomato paste
- 2 tablespoon(s) sweet paprika
- 2 tablespoon(s) Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoon(s) yellow mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground black pepper
- 4 pound(s) boneless pork shoulder blade roast (fresh pork butt), cut into 4 pieces
- 12 soft sandwich buns or ciabatta rolls, warmed
- In 4 1/2- to 6-quart slow-cooker pot, stir onion, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, paprika, Worcestershire, mustard, salt, and pepper until combined. Add pork to sauce mixture and turn to coat well with sauce.
- Cover slow cooker with lid and cook pork mixture on low setting as manufacturer directs, 8 to 10 hours or until pork is very tender.
- With tongs, transfer pork to large bowl. Turn setting on slow cooker to high; cover and heat sauce to boiling to thicken and reduce slightly.
- While sauce boils, with 2 forks, pull pork into shreds. Return shredded pork to slow cooker and toss with sauce to combine. Cover slow cooker and heat through on high setting if necessary.
I was going to do step-by-step. But really, there's only 1 step. Throw everything in at once. The end.
Remember when I said I was going to make a crock pot meal every week?
Still doing it. It saves me so much time on nights when we have things going on. Well, mainly just when I have things going on because Cale is busy 24/7.
Anyways, for the next 6 weeks I'm planning on making something in the slow cooker every Wednesday because we have a 2 hr small group bible study that night.. which I love.. but if I also have to cook dinner that night then I don't have time to get anything else done.
Like sit on Pinterest for 2 hrs and other exciting things.
So week 1 Cale picked up a chuck roast (does that imply beef because if it doesn't, it was beef). I really wasn't planning anything well that week but decided to go with it anyways. The night before I cut up 1 onion, 5 red potatoes and about 5 carrots and put them in a tupperware container overnight. When I woke up the next morning I threw them in the slow cooker along with the beef. I added a large can of whole tomatoes on top (that's all I had in the pantry), and 2 bay leaves (that just seemed like the right thing to do). I set it on low for max time (10 hrs) and came home to a fresh (kind of) cooked meal.
That my friends, is what got me hooked on Wednesday night slow cooker. Plus it makes meal planning that much easier. And there's usually leftovers. And because it's usually a cheaper cut of meat it fits in the grocery budget wonderfully. And it's not chicken so it makes me feel like a better cook.. and wife.
The end. (Next week, bbq pulled pork. My fave.)