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Posts Tagged ‘crock pot’

Yes, I am writing about another crock pot meal. What can I say, I need easy. And this fit the bill. And it is versatile. I got two great meals out of this and you could probably come up with a few more.

Start with 2 to 4 half chicken breasts, boneless and skinless. I figure about 2 to 3 pounds. My chicken was not quite defrosted but I went ahead and put it into the crock pot knowing it had a little longer to cook.

Dump an average size jar of salsa in with the chicken. Pick your favorite kind. Go mild, go spicy. Doesn’t matter. Add a can of black beans drained. Add a bag of frozen corn. Add about a third of a cup of chopped jalapeños from a jar. These are completely optional. You could skip them, add more, use fresh. You get the idea. Toss in about 4 tablespoons of taco seasoning. You could use a full packet if you like. I buy the big jar because I like it so much. I don’t use the full jar, I just use what I need. You get my point….I hope.

Salsa Chicken Mixed

It took me about 5 minutes to prep this in the morning.  Since I was a little nervous about the chicken that was still frozen, I turned the crock pot on high for about a half hour while I got ready for work then turned it down to low as I was leaving and set it for 8 hours.

When I got home the chicken was perfect. It shredded easily with a fork. The salsa was completely absorbed by the chicken which made it so tasty. I sliced some onion and added it to the chicken. The crock pot was set on “warm” at this point and it softened the onions to perfection. I also added a little bit of red pepper flakes to taste.  You could also add these ingredients earlier if you want. 

salsa chicken cooked

The first night, we just had the chicken over rice.

Salsa Chicken over Rice

A few nights later, we used the leftovers to make tacos.

chicken salsa tacos
Don’t you just love easy?

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: Approx 8 hours

Ingredients:

Approximately 3 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 jar of salsa
1 bag of frozen corn
1 can of black beans
¼ cup Jalepenos from a jar, chopped
Cumin to taste
¼ medium onion, chopped
Red pepper flakes, to taste

Add the first 6 ingredients to the crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours. Add remaining ingredients while dish is still warm and let sit for 30 minutes. Serve over rice or in tacos.

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For our game night on Saturday, I made beef dip sandwiches. They are casual but still really good.  And the night was a little cool so the warm sandwich was perfect.  The ones I made have a bit of a kick. And they are so delicious that way! When you make these, you can kick the heat up as much as you want, or bring it back down if you don’t like spicy. Since we were having guests and I wasn’t sure what they liked so I kept it a little mild.

Oh, and this is a crock pot meal, super easy. So go ahead and put the meat in the crock pot. I used chuck roast. Chuck roast will fall apart when cooked and that is what you want. I had just over 5 lbs.

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Pour about 16 ounces of this stuff on top.

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Now for the seasoning and flavor. You can add dry herbs and spices, I prefer fresh when I can get it. I had rosemary, thyme, and cilantro on hand so I used them. I just eyeballed it, several sprigs/leaves of each.

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I also added ground pepper and salt to taste.

Next I chopped a quarter of a large onion and added it. I also added sliced jalapeno peppers and spicy banana peppers from the jar. Here is where you will want to add as many or as little as you want. If you want even more heat, add some fresh hot peppers.

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Now the last thing I did to add flavor was pour a little bit of the juice from the jalepeno jar into the crock pot – about ¼ cup.

Turn on low and cook for 6 hours or so.

Serve on toasted bread. We had toasted cheese bread from the bakery. I put horseradish mustard on my bread and added some provolone cheese. You can even melt the cheese under the broiler for a nice melted gooey sandwich. YUM. And for the dip part, take the juices right out of the crock pot and put in a little bowl to dip your sandwich in.

I apologize for the picture, I was more excited about eating than taking a picture – this is my sandwich half way eaten!

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Ropa Vieja

I have always been a little skeptical of this meal based on its name. I decided to go ahead and give it a try though. I have been looking for more crock pot meals and this kept coming up in my searches. Oh, for those of you who don’t know, Ropa Vieja means Old Clothes.  Ew.

I started by putting 4lbs of chuck roast into the crock pot.  You can use steak or stew meat but chuck roast cooks so well and shreds best after being cooked. 

I poured 2 cups of beef broth, 8 oz of tomato sauce from a can and fire roasted tomatoes (14.5 oz can) over the beef. 

The fresh ingredients came next…1 large onion chopped, 2 green bell peppers chopped or sliced, and 4 garlic cloves chopped.  These get added to the mix.  You can do all of your chopping the night before if you want to save time in the morning. 

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Add a small can of tomato paste along with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and white vinegar.  Flavor the mixture with dried cumin and fresh chopped cilantro.  In my super scientific measuring methods, I would estimate about a palm full of cumin and about the same amount of cilantro. 

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Give it all a stir and let it cook on low all day.  You can also cook it on high for 4-5 hours.  Serve over rice and enjoy!  Very Yummy.  I want to try it again with fresh tomatoes and home-made sauce next time but over all, I loved it. 

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Ingredients:
4 lbs of chuck roast
2 cups beef broth
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped or sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
ground cumin to tast (palm full)
fresh cilanto chopped (about a palm full)
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs white vinegar

Directions:
Combine all ingredients.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.  Serve over rice.

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You get all sorts of results when experimenting in the kitchen. Some are better than others. This week I experienced the whole range.

The Good:

Mmmm. 15 Bean Soup. I call it “Anything Goes 15 Bean Soup”. Because basically anything can go into it. My mom was big into soups and stews, and chowders and such in the colder months growing up. 15 bean soup is one that I never fully appreciated until I got older.

I start with this: Hurst’s 15 Bean Soup Mix. It is found where ever you find dried beans in your grocery store.

Mom prefers the original mix that isn’t as spicy. I like to heat it up with the Cajun mix and hot sausage. Either one of them is good. Generally I follow the cooking directions on the bag except I add every vegetable in the house – onion, peppers, carrots, celery, potatoes, spinach, etc. Go to town. I even added the left over rice from my veggie casserole this time. You might want to add a little extra water if you are adding lots of extras. The tougher veggies, like carrots, go in early and then you add the other stuff later. An easy and hearty meal. It does take a little planning though. This one is not ready in 30 minutes.

Yesterday I tried it in the crock pot for the first time. I chopped the veggies and cooked the sausage the night before. I also put the beans in water to soak overnight. In the morning I threw everything into the crock pot. I set it on low for 10 hours. I did not bring beans to a boil first since they were going to be cooking much longer than normal. It was great coming home with dinner ready to be served!

The Bad:

I love bruschetta. There isn’t anything about it I don’t like. So when I found about 15 bazillion recipes online for a chicken bruschetta bake I thought I had hit the jackpot. There were so many variations of this recipe with high ratings I assumed this had to be a no-brainer. Well, this must be like the hardboiled egg for me. I’ve tried it a couple of times and my husband and I are always just a tad disappointed. Not really bad – just meh. I have a couple of ideas of how to make it better for us but I am not sure I want to put in the time to figure it out. Go out and try it though. The rest of the world seems to think it is good, so it might just be the cook!

bruschetta

Doesn’t look so bad right? I’ll admit, the topping was pretty good it was just the casserole over all that didn’t meet expectations.

The Ugly:

Flax Seed Crackers. I have been DYING to try these. Highly suggested to me a couple of years ago but was told I needed a food dehydrator. Well, since I wasn’t running out to get one of those, I saw that there were a very small amount of recipes online for how to make them in the oven. I thought I would give them a try. Eeeeew. Ok – maybe blame the cook again. I needed to make them flatter for one thing – so they were more like crackers. They were a little soft, which really wasn’t a big deal but the taste was AWFUL. Remember the old stereotype about healthy food tasting like cardboard? Well yep, I made healthy food that tasted like cardboard. I am sure someone out there has a good recipe. I think I need to just up about everything flavor-wise (garlic, pepper, parmesan cheese, red pepper, etc) and flatten them to see if that helps. This might get a second chance but not any time soon!

flax crackers

The dogs liked them but since flax is high in fiber and I didn’t want to be woken up in the middle of the night for a potty run, they only got the smallest of nibbles.

So – there you have it. The ups and downs in my kitchen recently!

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