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Recipe Review: Smothered Pork Chops

7 Jul
I found this recipe at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe and immediately knew that I was going to be giving it a try very soon.  I even added it to my Must Try Tuesday post.  There is nothing better in the world than walking into your house after church knowing that you have a crock pot full of yummy goodness.  As soon as you open your door the smell is so wonderful that you immediately know that this is going to be one tasty dinner.  We had a house full of company and not only was this dish so delightful, it was also easy to prepare.  We served it with mashed potatoes and spooned some of the gravy over the them.  Everyone enjoyed this recipe and it is definitely a keeper in our house and will be made for many Sunday dinners to come.
Enjoy!
Smothered Pork Chops
(original recipe by Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)
Ingredients
5 slices bacon, chopped
6 bone-in pork loin chops, about 3/4-inch thick
Salt and Pepper
2 yellow onions, peeled, halved and sliced into 1/2-inch thick half moons
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Directions
In a large skillet over medium heat, fry bacon until lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels, leaving the drippings in the pan. If you have more than 2 tablespoons drippings, drain the excess. If you don’t have quite that much, supplement with canola oil. When the bacon is cool, transfer to a small bag or tupperware and refrigerate until later.
Heat the skillet with the drippings over medium or medium-high heat until rippling and hot. Meanwhile, pat pork chops dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook pork chops until they are golden brown on each side, about 2 minutes per side, cooking them in batches in the skillet if your skillet isn’t big enough to hold all six at a time in a single layer. When golden on each side, transfer the chops to the slow cooker and repeat with remaining pork.
Pour off all but 1 teaspoon of fat from the skillet; add onions, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup water to empty skillet. Using a wooden spoon, scrape browned bits from bottom of the pan and cook over medium-high heat until onions are soft, about 4-6 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour onion mixture over chops in the slow cooker. Add broth, soy sauce and remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar to skillet, bring to a boil and add bay leaves. Pour mixture over onions in slow cooker.
Cover slow cooker and cook on low until pork is tender, about 8 hours (or cook on high for 4 hours).
When ready to serve, carefully transfer chops to serving platter with a large spoon and tent with foil. Discard bay leaves and pour liquid through a mesh strainer into a saucepan, reserving the solids. Transfer solids to a food processor or blender with 1 cup liquid and blend until smooth. Stir the blended mixture back into remaining liquid in the saucepan. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and remaining 2 tablespoons water together in a small bowl and stir into sauce. Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar, season with salt and pepper, pour over chops and sprinkle with reserved bacon and parsley. Serve.

Recipe Review: Crock Pot Chicken Parmesan

9 Mar

When I came across Monster Mama’s post for Crock Pot Chicken Parmesan, I knew that I would be making it in the very near future.  In fact, I featured it on a Must Try Tuesday post.  I love when I can use my crock pot…it just makes getting dinner on the table on those hectic days, so much easier.  It also sounded like the perfect Sunday dinner.  After all, who doesn’t love the smell of a cooked meal after getting home from church? 

What makes this recipe unique, in my opinion, is that you don’t have to pan fry the chicken in the breading before adding it to the crock pot.  You simply dredge your uncooked breast in egg and bread crumbs and add it to the crock pot.  So super simple!

I made just a few changes to the recipe.  Instead of using a jar sauce, I used my roasted Roma tomatoes which made this dish out of the world good!  I also did not have mozzarella slices on hand so I used shredded.  I wish there was smell-a-vision!  My kids came in and out of the kitchen several times asking if dinner was ready because it smelled so good and they wanted the yummy goodness…lol!

I highly recommend this recipe to any and all…especially if you are looking for a hearty delicious meal that doesn’t require a lot of time!

Crock Pot Chicken Parmesan
(adapted from recipe at Monster Mama)
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Ingredients
3-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 c Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 egg beaten
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 batch roasted Roma tomatoes (makes 6 cups, use more or less to your liking)

Directions
Drizzle olive oil all over bottom of the crock pot. In a medium bowl or shallow plate, beat egg. In another bowl or shallow plate, mix bread crumbs, spices and grated cheese together and set aside. Dip each chicken breast into egg and then dredge in your breadcrumb mixture, making sure to evenly coat all sides. Place coated chicken on the bottom of crock pot. Sprinkle mozzarella on top of the chicken and pour the roasted Roma tomatoes and sauce over the chicken breasts. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-7 hours.

Serve with over a bed of pasta.

Linked To:
 * Mandy’s Recipe Box:  Totally Tasty Tuesday
 * At the Well:  Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
 * It’s A Blog Party:  Delicious Dishes
 * All the Small Stuff:  Tuesdays at the Table
 * From Mess Hall to Bistro:  Made from Scratch Tuesday
 * Fudge Ripple:  Tuesday Night Supper Club
 * From My Tiny Kitchen:  Gold Star Wednesday
 * Life as Mom:  Ultimate Recipe Swap
 * Dining with Debbie:  What’s On the Menu Wednesday
 * It’s A Keeper:  It’s A Keeper Thursday
 * Prairie Story:  Recipe Swap Thursday
 * Miz Helen’s Country Cottage:  Full Plate Thursday
 * Mommy’s Kitchen:  Potluck Sunday
 * Six Sister’s Stuff: Strut Your Stuff Saturday

Recipe Review: Crock Pot Baked Oatmeal

23 Sep

In my quest to find more interesting and healthy breakfast items, I came across this recipe on A Year of Slow Cooking.  I so heart oatmeal…it is one of my favorite comfort meals.  When I don’t feel good, my mom still makes me oatmeal and it always seems to make me feel better.  That just goes to show you that no matter how old you get, you still need your mommy.  (If you are reading this Mom….love you!)

My oldest daughter helped me put this together because it is so easy and quick.  I have to say it smelled divine while it was cooking.  I have not had baked oatmeal before and I was very surprised.  It was very good and had the texture of a cake or brownie.  I did not add dried fruit so it was not very sweet.  Next time I make this I will add some fruit.  My daughter loved it as well and I put one in her lunch box.

Enjoy!

Baked Oatmeal
(from One Year of Slow Cooking)

3 cups rolled (not instant) oats

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup dried fruit

Add all dry ingredients into the crock pot.  Stir well.  Add melted butter, eggs and milk stirring to incorporate.

Cover and cook on low for 3-5 hours, checking every so often. This is done when the edges are brown and are beginning to crust, and the center is set. An inserted knife should come out clean.

Allow it to cool in the crock pot for at least an hour before cutting. The longer you let it sit, the more set and brownie-like the pieces will be.

Recipe: Crock Pot Grits

21 Sep

First, let me apologize for my horrible pictures.  At 5:30 in the morning my brain and camera are not yet working.  Add to that three little girls who don’t care about my need to document, they just want their cheesy grits.  So, again, sorry for the un-fab pics.

My girls LOVE grits.  I know, crazy right?  They also love eating blue cheese and feta out of the container, but that is another post.  I grew up eating grits and my mother continued the tradition with my girls.  I make them on occasion when I have time.  I don’t make instant grits…they are just horrible.  But, I don’t always have time in the mornings to make them  before I send them off to school.  And, unfortunately, I am not as dedicated as my mother.  She will get up earlier than us to make them.  I know, she is perfect…right?  Anyway, I decided to give them a try in the crock pot so we could wake up to a hot and mighty tasty breakfast and I could almost be as perfect as my mother. 

There is a different texture between the crock pot grits and stove top grits.  The grits that I made in the crock pot have a more creamy texture.  Stove top grits have a grainier texture.  Either way is good in my opinion.  We put cheese in ours to make them even better.  I also like them with lots of butter and salt. 

The crock pot grits cooked for about 6 hours and was just about the right consistency.

I will be adding this to our breakfast rotation as this beats cold cereal any day!  Enjoy!

Crock Pot Grits

1 cup grits
5 cups water
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 tsp salt

Spray crock pot with nonstick cooking spray.  Add all ingredients.  Stir until combined.  About an hour into the cooking process, give the grits a stir to incorporate the butter throughout.  Once they are done, give them another big stir and serve.

Leftover Redo: Chicken with Four Pepper Sauce = Southwest Chicken and Rice Soup

18 Sep

Don’t you just love a good meal?  And doesn’t it taste so much better when you have stretched one meal into two and saved money?  LOVE it!

I had some leftover white rice and Chicken with Four Pepper Sauce that I made the other day.  I could have froze the meal and pulled it out for another day, but I decided I wanted to use it instead.  My oldest daughter is a HUGE soup lover so I thought it would be a nice treat for her, so I made my leftovers into a soup.  It is still in the upper 90’s here in Central Texas…not exactly soup weather, but I love my baby.

I am not sure how much chicken and sauce I had leftover, so my recipe isn’t exact.  You could use it as guideline and make yours to your family’s liking and with ingredients you already have.  You could easily add corn or black beans…whatever you have.  Or instead of the diced tomatoes maybe some salsa instead.  This is one of those recipes that you really can’t mess up.  Enjoy!

Southwest Chicken and Rice Soup

Leftover Chicken with Four Pepper Sauce
Leftover white rice
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup water (add as much or as little as you like for your liking)
2 tsp chicken base
1 tbsp taco seasoning
1 tsp cayenne pepper

Add all ingredients back into the crock pot.  Cook on low for 2 – 4.  Serve with a dallop of sour cream and some shredded cheddar cheese.

Recipe: Chicken with Four Pepper Sauce

15 Sep

It has been ages since I last posted, but now that we are back to school and our routine is worked out, I have more time to blog.  I am also looking for quick meals now that our evenings are crazy with homework and activities. 

This chicken dish was an experiment that actually came out pretty tasty, best of all it is a slow cooker meal!    I served this over rice but I am sure it would be awesome with some buttered egg noodles.  I also served refried beans and tortillas and some of us made burritos.  It is not very spicy but it has a nice warm flavor.  The pepper and onion blend that I used contained red, green and yellow bell peppers.  I also used mild green chiles.

I think I will do more playing with it because I can totally see it as the base of a soup as well.  My daugthers loved it and asked for seconds.  I had leftovers in a warmed tortilla the next day and it was dee-lightful!

Enjoy!

Chicken with Four Pepper Sauce

3 to 4 chicken breasts (mine were frozen)
1 12 oz bag of 3 Pepper & Onion Blend (mine was frozen)
1 4 oz can diced green chiles
1/2 cup sour cream

Spray a crock pot liner with cooking spray.  Add chicken.  Pour pepper and onion blend over chicken.  Add can of diced green chiles.  Cover and cook on low 4 to 6 hours or until the chicken is tender.  Remove chicken from pot.  Use an *immersion blender to blend the peppers and onions until smooth.  Add sour cream and stir until blended.  Cube chicken and put back in the crock pot.  Cook another 30 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.  Serve over rice or noodles.

*You could also use a standard blender.

See my leftover redo post to find out how I made soup from the leftovers!

Linked to:
 * And Baby Makes Five – Colleen’s Kitchen Recipe Swap
 * Designs by Gollum – Foody Friday
 * Mommy’s Kitchen – Potluck Sunday
 * Mom’s Crazy Cooking – This Week’s Cravings