Posts tagged ‘slow cooker’
Slow cooker meals are a lifesaver after a long day of work. I get home, I’m hungry and I’d prefer not to spend a couple hours in the kitchen. I’d rather heat up or whip up something quick to eat and be able to enjoy “free time” outside of work in the evenings. While cooking is certainly a passion, it can seem more like a chore at the end of a busy day.
When I find a recipe that can be used as a base for multiple meals, it’s a definite winner. This slow cooker pulled chicken is just that. I served this dish as a filling snack over a half of an avocado, over a bowl of cooked grains and lentils with green onions, as an add-in to a smoky veggie soup and as the main dish with some cabbage slaw and pickled onions. You can also serve this in a wrap, over a salad, in a panini, as a pizza topping or as a topping to a baked potato or yam. Can you say endless possibilities?
Let’s not forget the BBQ sauce — Apple cider vinegar is such a versatile ingredient and I love love LOVE the taste! It’s bold and tangy, and adds a lovely zip to dishes from soups and salad dressings to marinades and main dishes. While lemon and lime juice have their places, apple cider vinegar has a place in my heart all it’s own. Naturally, when I came across Lauren’s recipe for a Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken and Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ sauce, I knew I had to make it.
This month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment was Lauren’s delicious and crafty blog Sew You Think You Can Cook. I knew Lauren was a great match when I came across fun flavor combos such as her Hummus Waffles with Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Sweet Potato and Chorizo Hand Pies, Coconut Shrimp with Bloody Mary Dip and Parsnip and Blueberry Baked Oatmeal. While I chose her Pulled Chicken and Apple Cider BBQ Sauce, with my newfound love for parsnips, you can be sure Lauren’s baked oatmeal will be made in the next week or so!
I made a few changes to Lauren’s recipe based on what I had on hand. I had a combo or chicken breasts and boneless, skinless chicken thighs and I really loved the flavor that the richer thigh meat lent to this dish. I swapped out the sweetener for maple sugar and used smoked salt instead of regular sea salt. I made a special grocery store run to buy gluten-free beer…I didn’t want to swap that out so I could stay true to the recipe, though now I have several bottles of beer to experiment in other recipes :) Thanks Lauren for this recipe, I’ll be making this again!
Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken (recipe adapted from Sew You Think You Can Cook)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo-friendly, Soy-free, Refined Sugar-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or a combo (I used 2 chicken breasts, 4 chicken thighs)
1 1/2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp granulated sweetener (maple sugar, sucanat, coconut sugar)
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard powder
1 tsp cayenne (can reduce if you are sensitive to spicy food)
1 bottle or can (12 oz) gluten-free beer
sea salt and pepper to taste (I used smoked salt)
1. Season chicken with salt and pepper generously. Place in the bottom of a slow cooker.
2. In a small bowl combine paprika, garlic powder, sweetener, mustard powder, and cayenne. Sprinkle over the chicken.
3. Pour beer into the slow cooker. Cook on LOW 5-7 hours until the chicken shreds easily.
4. Serve as a sandwich, wrap, over grains, over avocado, as a pizza topping, on top of a salad and drizzle withe apple cider vinegar BBQ sauce (recipe below).
Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ Sauce (recipe adapted from Sew You Think You Can Cook)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo-friendly, Soy-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free
1 1/2 C apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 Fresno chili pepper, deseeded and halved
2 tbsp sweetener (coconut sugar, maple sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat then reduce to a simmer. Cook 20 – 30 minutes, or until a desired consistency is achieved. Remove the garlic and chili pepper, if used.
I don’t eat much red meat. While I love a good steak on occasion, I typically opt for a seafood, veggie or poultry dish when cooking at home. Boy, that might change after making this fuss-free recipe!
I adapted this dish from The Spiffy Cookie’s recipe for a slow cooker French dip sandwich. I was assigned Erin’s delicious blog this month for the Secret Recipe Club and could not choose what I wanted to make! I was salivating just looking through her recipes with many calling my name like her Reese’s Oatmeal breakfast cookie and Guiltless Avocado Alfredo with Spicy Chicken.
I’ve already started a list of must-makes from her archives but in the end, I selected a dish that forced me to dust off my crockpot that I hadn’t used in ages and get outside my comfort zone with my protein choice– the French dip.
I adapted the recipe slightly by using London broil in place of chuck roast, rubbed the meat with onion powder and a pinch of dried rosemary and then seared the meat prior to adding to the slow cooker to add a little color. I also used a combo of coconut aminos and gluten free tamari in place of the soy sauce and omitted the Worcestershire sauce as I didn’t have any on hand. Since I love mushrooms and will find any excuse to include them in a recipe, I sauteed a few for an added bonus to my sandwich.
Not only did I break out my crockpot, I made my own homemade grain-free rolls to serve with this oh-so-tender meat (recipe to come)! Topped with melted cheese, sautéed mushrooms and onions, this French dip sandwich was one tasty, flavorful bite! Plus, the leftovers are yummy in a beef and veggie soup or on top of salad greens :)
French Dip Sandwich with Au Jus (Slow Cooker) (adapted from The Spiffy Cookie)
3 tsp oil, Earth Balance or butter, divided (use oil or Earth Balance for dairy free)
1 medium yellow onion
1 cup low sodium beef broth/stock
1/4 cup gluten free soy sauce, tamari, Braggs or coconut aminos (I used 3 Tbsp coconut aminos and 1 Tbsp tamari)
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp onion powder
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp creole mustard
~3lb London Broil (or chuck roast)
pinch of dried rosemary, optional
sea salt & pepper
2-3 cups sliced mushrooms
6-8 gluten free sandwich rolls, split
6-8 slices of provolone or swiss cheese (can use a dairy free cheese or omit if needed)
- Slice the onion into ~1/4-inch rounds. Keeping the rounds intact, place them in the bottom of the crockpot.
- Sprinkled the meat with salt, pepper and onion powder. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add 2 tsp oil/butter. Sear the meat on all sides until golden brown to seal in the juices and give the meat a little color.
- Add beef broth, soy sauce/tamari/ aminos, mustard, rosemary and garlic to the crockpot.
- Place meat on top of the onions.
- Cook on low 6-7 hours until beef is fall-apart tender.
- Shred meat with a fork or transfer the roast to a cutting board and thinly slice.
- Remove the onions and set aside. I strain the juice into a large “defatter” measuring cup and get rid of the oil that collects on top (I .
- Return the roast, juice, and onions to the crockpot for up to an hour before serving (I usually switch it to “Keep Warm” so it doesn’t continue cooking).
- While meat is on “warm”, heat a medium saute pan with remaining 1 tsp of oil/butter. Add mushrooms and cook until golden brown, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper is desired.
- Heat the broiler. Place the split sandwich rolls on a lined baking sheet and toast for 1 minute or just until the bread begins to brown.
- Remove the tops from the pan. Lay the beef on the bottom of the rolls and top with mushrooms and cheese.
- Return to the oven just until cheese is melted. Top with onions and sandwich halves and serve with small bowls of au jus, Enjoy!
I have been in quite the soup mood lately. I’m blaming it on the rainy, cold and windy weather.
All I want is to be bundled up on the couch with a blanket and a giant bowl of soup — with this chipotle chicken tortilla soup to be exact. It’s delicious, warms you to the core and fills you up!
Mmmmm comfort in a bowl :)
This soup can be made on the stove top or on in the Crockpot for an easy meal that will be ready when you get home after a long day. I opted for the quicker stovetop version made with a store-bought rotisserie chicken for an easy weeknight meal that made for scrumptious leftovers for lunch too!
I even made my own tortilla strips for an extra special touch! If you want a quicker route, you can easily substitute tortilla chips.
Chipotle Chicken Tortilla Soup (adapted from Food.com)
1/2 Tbsp olive oil, ghee, butter, or canola oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 small onion, diced
4 tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp minced cilantro
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
6 cups homemade chicken stock or low sodium chicken broth (one 48 oz carton)
8 oz gluten free red chile enchilada sauce (I used All-Natural Frontera Red Chile*)
1 (15 oz) can no-salt added diced tomatoes
4 cups cooked and shredded chicken
1 can diced fire-roasted green chiles (or regular)
1 15-oz can no salt added black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup yellow corn kernels, frozen (or no salted added canned, rinsed and drained)
Shredded monterrey jack and cheddar cheese (omit for dairy free)
1 avocado, diced
Lime wedges (this brightens the flavors! I wouldn’t leave this out)
6 corn tortillas, cut into 1/4 inch strips OR gluten free tortilla chips, crushed
Coconut oil or olive oil for sauteeing and sea salt (omit if buying chips)
1. In a large soup pot, add oil/butter over medium heat. Add garlic, jalapeno, and onion and saute for 2 minutes stirring frequently.
2. Add spices and saute for 30 seconds until fragrant and pepper and onion are fully coated.
3. Add remaining ingredients (stock/broth through corn) and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes then reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld (60 minutes is recommended).
4. Meanwhile, (if you are making homemade tortilla strips) heat 1/2 tsp of oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add a handful of strips at a time and cook stirring frequently until crisp like a chip, about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with salt remove from pan. Repeat with remaining strips.
5. Serve soup in bowls and garnish with avocado, cheese (if desired), a squeeze of lime, tortilla strips and a sprinkle of cilantro. Enjoy!
*If you don’t have enchilada sauce, you can always substitute tomato sauce but the flavor will be altered
Recipes Notes: If you (or the kiddos in your family) don’t like texture or certain vegetables in your soup, puree the tomatoes, green chiles and onions with a bit of the stock/broth for a smoother base :)
For a crock-pot preparation, throw all of the ingredients except for the garnishes into the slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 5-6 hours.
I adore my crockpot. Attendees at my bridal shower several years ago would be able to tell you exactly how much I love this appliance. I actually squealed with joy when I opened up the gift, and the rest of the ladies laughed at my excitement. You see, I had been following Stephanie O’Dea at A Year of Slow Cooking and her resolution to use her crockpot every day in 2008…and I couldn’t wait to try out her creative recipes. However, I didn’t own a slow cooker at the time and I was specifically told NOT to purchase one since I had hand-selected one for our wedding registry. To my delight, I did receive my own crockpot a month or so later and set off to start (slow) cookin’!
Here’s a crockpot recipe you can throw together before work so dinner will be ready to serve when you get home, not to mention your house will smell divine with a scent of cumin and sweet spices. The only additional item you’ll need to prepare is either rice (could use quick brown rice), fast-cooking GF couscous or quinoa for serving. Or, if you’re like me, you can defrost extra rice you have lying around in the freezer to speed up the process.
Are you tired of the same old slow cooker recipes? Instead of your usual beef roast with potatoes, give this recipe a try. I can almost guarantee it won’t be the last time you’ll serve this dish!
Slow-Cooker Moroccan Chicken Stew (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)
6 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 1/2 lbs chicken pieces, skinned (I’ve used chicken breast halves only before and it worked fine, but could use a combo of drumsticks, thighs and breast halves)
1/2 tsp sea salt
2/3 cup raisins
2/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 14-oz can low sodium chicken broth
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 Tbsp tapioca starch/flour (could sub 2 Tbsp rice flour or all-purpose flour if not gluten free)
Juice from 1/2 lemon
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
dash of cayenne pepper or hot sauce, optional
Hot cooked white or brown rice, quinoa, or couscous (GF brown rice couscous is available at grocery stores too!)
Slivered blanched almonds, lightly toasted
1. In a 5-quart or 6-quart slow cooker, add onions and carrots. Place chicken on top of vegetables and sprinkle with sea salt.
2. Sprinkle raisins and chopped apricots on top of chicken.
3. In a small mixing bowl, add the remaining ingredients (broth through pepper) and whisk to combine. Pour over chicken.
4. Cover and cook on low for 6 1/2 to 7 hours or 3 1/2 to 4 hours on high.
5. Add rice/quinoa/couscous to bowl and spoon chicken mixture on top. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes: If you are using boneless chicken pieces, you always shred the chicken in the cooker, then stir to combine and serve over rice, if preferred to chunky pieces.