Crockpot Chicken and Vegetables

This isn’t an exciting meal, but it’s simple and easy. Sometimes you just need simple and easy. Served with a side salad, it’s perfect for a lazy Sunday dinner.

Crockpot Chicken and Vegetables

1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 pound small new potatoes, halved
1/2 pound baby carrots
1/2 pound fresh green beans
2 – 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Layer the onions, new potatoes, carrots, green beans into the crockpot. Top with the chicken breasts. Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken and veggies. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine the chicken broth, cornstarch, and soy sauce. Pour over the chicken and veggies.

Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours, or until the chicken is cooked through and the veggies (especially the potatoes) are tender. Stir this dish occasionally while it’s cooking.  If the sauce is getting too thick, add a little more chicken broth.


Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This is a great recipe when you are looking for something easy. It is comfort food.

I typically make enchilada sauce from scratch, but will grab a can of enchilada sauce from Aldi to make this recipe even easier. I was pleasantly surprised with the Pueblo Lindo Red Enchilada Sauce from Aldi. It’s pretty good for canned sauce. No shame.

Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Casserole

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
28 ounce can red enchilada sauce (or about 3 1/2 cups of homemade enchilada sauce)
1 teaspoon each:  garlic powder, ground cumin, and chili powder
1 tablespoon corn starch and enough water to make a slurry
1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, Monterrey jack, or a Mexican cheese blend are great)
10 corn tortillas

Place the chicken breasts in the crockpot. Add the spices to the canned enchilada sauce and then pour over the chicken breasts. Cook on low for 6 – 8 hours or on high for 3 – 4 hours. Remove the chicken breasts from the sauce and let cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, shred the chicken with two forks.

Stack the 10 corn tortillas. Cut into 4 strips and then turn a quarter turn and cut the strips into fourths to make bite-size pieces.

Stir the cornstarch slurry into the enchilada sauce. Add the cheese, shredded chicken, and corn tortilla pieces to the sauce. Mix well to combine and cook 30 minutes more or until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through.


Crockpot Tomatillo Chicken

I stopped at a Hispanic market Friday night and bought a bag of minature tomatillos (Tomatillo Milpero) and some beautiful serranos. The Tomatillo Milpero were so cute. There was no noticeable taste difference compared to regular tomatillos.

I do like to cook in the crockpot in the summer to avoid heating up the kitchen. I based this recipe on my favorite Salsa Verde recipe. It’s great served with Cilantro Lime Rice and black beans.

I made enchiladas with the leftover chicken and sauce. They were fantastic too. To make the enchiladas: Spread a little of the leftover tomatillos sauce in the both of a baking dish. Shred the chicken and mix it with shredded cheese and a little of the tomatillo sauce. Divide the mixture between 8 warmed corn tortillas and place them in the baking dish. Cover the enchiladas with the remaining tomatillo sauce and bake in a 350º oven for 15 – 20 minutes, or until bubbly and hot. You can sprinkle some shredded cheese on top the last 5 minutes or so of baking, if you would like.

You can complain about getting two different meals out of one.

Crockpot Tomatillo Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2.5 pounds)
2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed, cut in half (also remove the stem if still attached)
1 onion, roughly chopped
2  cloves garlic, chopped
2 – 4 whole serranos, stems removed
1 tablespoon white vinegar
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Place the tomatillos, onion, garlic, and serranos in the crockpot. Season with the vinegar, salt, and pepper. Place the chicken breasts on top of the tomatillo mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the olive oil over the top of the chicken breasts.

Cook on low for 6 – 8 hours or on high for 3 – 4 hours until the chicken is tender. Before serving, remove the chicken from the crockpot. Using a hand blender, puree the tomatillo mixture in the crockpot. Serve the tomatillo sauce over the chicken breasts.


Baked Chicken Taquitos

baked-chicken-taquitos

This is a recipe I posted on my other blog last night. I’m on a low iodine diet for 2 1/2 weeks to prepare my body for a tracer dose of radioactive iodine and a nuclear whole body scan to check for possible recurrence of thyroid cancer. I’m looking forward to a clear scan.

The thyroid is gland that absorbs iodine from one’s diet and uses it to make hormones that are used by the rest of the body. Certain types of thyroid cancers mimic healthy thyroid tissue and also absorb iodine. Because of that characteristic, certain thyroid cancers can be treated successfully with radioactive iodine. By eating a low iodine diet, the thyroid and  certain thyroid cancers are starved of iodine. When the radioactive iodine is ingested, the thyroid/thyroid cancer tissues gobble up the iodine with radiation attached. In a large, therapeutic dose the thyroid/thyroid cancer tissue is killed. In lower, tracer doses it allows for a scan that shows where the radioactive iodine was taken up. They are able to see if there is a recurrence of thyroid cancer (or regrowth of healthy thyroid tissue).

On the low iodine diet (LID), you can not eat iodized salt, sea salt, dairy, egg yolks, soy (soy oil and soy lecithin are fine), seafood, sea products (seaweed, carrageenan), certain dough conditioners, and red dye #3 or any foods that contain these ingredients. You can only have 5 – 6 ounces of meat per day. This diet is a challenge, but each time I have to do it, it gets easier. Only 12 more days to go.

When I am on LID, I eat these Baked Chicken Taquitos with LID-safe salsa and avocado “cream” (avocado blended with lime juice and kosher salt until smooth).

If you are not on LID, you can add cheese to the chicken mixture. You can also add other ingredients such as roasted chile peppers, kale, spinach, etc…

These taquitos freeze really well, but they have to be reheated in the oven (or toaster oven) to maintain crispiness. They get soft and chewy when reheated in the microwave.

Baked Chicken Taquitos

1 whole chicken
kosher salt
black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup salsa
corn tortillas
cooking spray

Season the chicken with kosher salt and black pepper. Place in the crockpot and cook on low for 6 – 8 hours or on high for 3 -4 hour until the meat is tender and falling off the bones. Remove the chicken from the crockpot and let cool. Remove the chicken meat from the bones, discarding the skin and bones (unless you plan to make chicken stock.…in that case, reserve). Shred the chicken. You should have about 6 cups of shredded chicken meat.

Preheat the oven to 400º F.

Add the ground cumin, garlic powder, and salsa to the shredded chicken. Season with more kosher salt and black pepper, if needed. Mix to combine.

Place 4 corn tortillas on a large microwave safe plate. Microwave on high for about 30 seconds to soften tortillas. Place about 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture on  bottom third of the warmed corn tortilla. Roll up and secure with a toothpick. Don’t roll too tight. Place the taquito on a baking sheet. Repeat until all of the chicken mixture is used. You will have approximately 18 taquitos. Use two baking sheets if you need to. Spray the taquitos with cooking spray and place in the oven. Cook for 20 minutes, turning after the 10 minutes, until crispy and golden brown. Remove the toothpick before serving.


Crockpot Chicken and White Bean Chili

chicken-and-white-bean-chili2

This is a nice change from a heavier, spicier beef chili. I like this dish a little more on the soupy side. If you like a thicker chili, add less chicken broth and definitely add the masa harina to help thicken. Serve the Crockpot Chicken and White Bean Chili with cornbread or fresh tortillas.

I think this could easily be made into a crockpot freezer meal. Add all of the ingredients except for the canned beans and masa harina to a gallon-sized freezer bag. Freeze flat. You could make several at one time and have them on hand for easy crockpot meals. The day before cooking, place the frozen bag in the refrigerator to defrost. Place the defrosted contents of the bag in the crockpot with the drained canned white beans and cook 6 – 8 hours on low or 3 – 4 hours on high. Stir in the masa harina/water slurry 30 minutes before serving.

chicken-and-white-bean-chili

Crockpot Chicken and White Bean Chili

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 large breasts)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne (or to taste)
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, stems and seeds removed and finely chopped
1 4 ounce can roasted chopped green chiles, drained (or the equivalent of chiles you roasted yourself)
2 15.5 ounce cans white beans (Great Northern, Cannellini, Navy), drained
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons Masa Harina mixed with enough water to make a slurry

Possible toppings:
fresh cilantro, chopped
cheese, shredded (Monterrey jack, pepper jack are great options)
avocado, sliced
lime wedges
serranos, sliced

Place chicken breasts in the bottom of the crockpot. Sprinkle the cumin, coriander, paprika, Mexican oregano, cayenne, and salt over the chicken. Add the onions, bell pepper, garlic, jalapenos, roasted chiles, white beans, corn, and chicken broth. Cook on low for 6 – 8 hours or on high 3 -4 hours.

30 minutes before serving, remove the chicken breasts and shred with a fork. Return the shredded chicken to the crockpot. Stir in the masa harina/water slurry and continue to cook 30 minutes until the chili is thickened.

Serve and let each person customize their toppings.


Crockpot Pineapple Pulled Pork

Crockpot Pineapple Pulled Pork

It’s hard to believe I never used a crockpot until a few years ago. I was totally missing out. There are some things that are just so much easier to cook in the crockpot, meat being the first thing that comes to mind. It’s my go-to method when I need shredded chicken, beef, or pork.

I have been experimenting with different ways of preparing pork roast in the crockpot. This one turned out well. The pineapple juice made the meat even more tender and the sweetness complimented the flavor of the pork (I think pork need a little sweeness).

I pulled the pork and made sandwiches with it on Rosemary Focaccia and topped with Pickled Collards for crunch and acid and a drizzle of BBQ sauce. So good. It would have been better if I hadn’t totally mucked up the focaccia (I ran out of flour and subbed whole spelt flour….turned out very dense), but even good cooks mess up sometimes. It’s OK. Learn and move on.

Crockpot Pineapple Pulled Pork on Rosemary Foccacia with Pickled Collards

Crockpot Pineapple Pulled Pork

1 4 – 5 pound Boston butt pork roast
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple with juices
Favorite dry rub (or use recipe below), about 1 tablespoon per pound of meat

Rub the pork roast with the dry rub. Layer the sliced onions on the bottom of the crockpot. Place the seasoned pork roast on top of the onions. Dump the pineapple and juices over the pork roast. Place the lid on the crockpot and cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 5 hours. The meat should be very, very tender.

Remove the cooked pork from the crockpot, leaving much of the pineapple and onion. Remove any fat. Shred the pork with two forks.

Crockpot Pineapple Pulled Pork Spice Rub

Dry Rub

2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients. This makes a perfect amount for a 4 – 5 pound roast.


Ribs in the Crockpot

Ribs in the Crockpot

This is an incredibly easy way to prepare tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs. This recipe works well with many different types of ribs. I have prepared baby back, spare, country-style, and rib tips in the crockpot with great success.

I’m from Texas, and I like my ribs wet, sopping with tomato based BBQ sauce. If you like dry ribs, you don’t have to add the BBQ sauce.

Ribs in the Crockpot

package/slab of ribs (baby back, spareribs, or country-style)
favorite dry rub (see a recipe for one I’ve used below)
favorite BBQ sauce

Cut the ribs into 3 – 4 rib sections (if need be).

ribs raw

Rub the seasoning all over the ribs and place them in the crockpot. Spraying the crockpot with cooking spray before adding the ribs makes clean-up easier.

Seasoned Ribs

 

Crockpot Ribs

Cook the ribs on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. Add BBQ sauce to coat the ribs about an hour before done cooking, if you wish. Once done, let the ribs rest 10 minutes before serving.

Rib Rub

2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all the ingredients. Store in an air-tight container.


Roasted Pork Loin in the Crockpot (With a Vietnamese-Inspired Variation)

Crockpot Roast Pork

Happy New Year! I wish each and every one of you peace, happiness, love, and good health in 2015.

I am extremely happy to see 2014 go. It was the worst year. Ever. My oldest son said I say that about every year, but 2014 was truly a shit year. Good riddance! I am looking forward to better days in 2015.

What are your New Year’s Day food traditions? I have eaten black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for as long as I can remember. Greens (either spinach, collards, or cabbage) have become a tradition as well. Hey, I need all the luck and prosperity I can get. Pork is a commonly eaten food on New Year’s Day. I’m not a huge fan of pork, so I don’t typically include it in our New Year’s food tradition. Pork loin was on sale at Publix for $1.99 a pound this week, so we are having roasted pork loin today.

The crockpot is the easiest way to cook large chunks of meat and ensure they come out tender, like fall apart tender.  I almost never cook meats in the oven anymore. Plus, the crockpot is so easy. Did I already mention that? : )

Crockpot Roast Pork (640x480)

Roasted Pork Loin in the Crockpot

Pork loin
salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water

Season the pork with salt and pepper. Place in the crockpot. Add the garlic, balsamic vinegar and water. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. Remove the pork from the crockpot and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting.

Meanwhile, you can make a gravy with the juices in crockpot. Whisk in a slurry of cornstarch and water (about 1 to 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and enough water to make it pourable) into the leftover liquid in the crockpot. Let cook and thicken while the pork is resting. It won’t get very thick. Alternatively, you can make a gravy on the stovetop using the liquid from the crockpot.

Variation: Roasted Pork Loin in the Crockpot with Vietnamese-Inspired Flavors

Roasted Pork Loin in the Crockpot with Vietnamese-Inspired Flavors (640x507)

One of my very favorite Vietnamese dishes is Bún thịt nướng. Bún thịt nướng consists of rice noodles topped with grilled pork and served with a fish sauce and a variety of veggies, peppers, herbs, etc… When I make Bún thịt nướng at home, I marinate the pork in brown sugar, garlic, and fish sauce. The marinade not only makes it taste good, but helps the pork to caramelize when it’s cooked. It’s delicious! Bún thịt nướng was my inspiration for this wonderful way to prepare pork loin in the crockpot.

I don’t usually make a gravy for the pork when I do this version. I strain the leftover liquid from the crockpot and serve it alongside the pork.

Crockpot Roasted Pork Loin with Vietnamese-Inspired Flavors (640x444)

Roasted Pork Loin in the Crockpot with Vietnamese-Inspired Flavors

Pork loin
salt and pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons Vietnamese fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup water

Season the pork loin with salt and pepper. Place in the crockpot and cover in brown sugar. Add the garlic, fish sauce and pepper flakes. Pour the water around the pork loin. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.


Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup (640x465)

I’ve been making this soup a lot lately. It’s so easy and tastes so good. A one cup serving comes in at about 90 calories. I’m a big fan of adding toppings to my bowl of soup right before I eat it. Shredded cheddar cheese, diced avocado, more fresh cilantro, and/or crumbled tortilla chips are nice additions to this soup.

Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup

2 chicken breasts or 4 chicken tenderloins (about 1 pound)
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 cup frozen corn
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes and juices
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Add all the ingredients to the crockpot. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.


Crockpot Butter Chicken and Potatoes

Crockpot Butter Chicken and Potatoes (640x480)

The past two months have been crazy-busy. Both of my sons are now in school. Their schools are in opposite parts of the city. I’m spending 4 to 6 hours a day in the car shuttling them around to school and appointments. Throw in there an emergency surgery for my cat, a dead air conditioner that required a complete system replacement, a ruptured eardrum, a variety of back-to-school colds, car problems, soccer practice and games, art workshops, and PTO meetings (I volunteered to be the Secretary for my oldest son’s school’s PTSO). Life has been hectic!

In hectic times, the crockpot comes in so handy. Butter Chicken is a popular Indian dish not usually done in a crockpot. The crockpot is a perfect cooking implement for this dish because the chicken turns out so tender. The addition of potatoes is not necessarily traditional, but it is delicious and gives more substance to the dish. This recipe makes enough for leftovers, which taste even better since the spices have had time to meld.

This recipe uses a lot of spices. I mix my own garam masala and curry powder. I have included the recipes for my spice mixes. You can buy already prepared Indian spice mixtures at some grocery stores or online at http://www.penzeys.com.

Butter Chicken and Potatoes (640x480)

 

Crockpot Butter Chicken and Potatoes

1 small onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 breasts), cut into bite-sized chunks
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste (I used Thai Kitchen brand)
1 tablespoon curry powder (see recipe below)
1 tablespoon garam masala (see recipe below)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
1/2 cup heavy cream (or half and half)
4 tablespoons butter
fresh cilantro, chopped

Cooked Basmati rice

Layer the onions, chicken, and potatoes in the crockpot. In a bowl, whisk together the garlic, ginger, Thai curry paste, spices, tomato paste, coconut milk, and cream. Pour the sauce over the chicken and potatoes. Add the butter to the crockpot. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with Basmati rice. Naan bread would be wonderful with this too.

Recipe adapted from the one found here.

Curry Powder

2 T. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. ground cayenne
1 tsp. ground ginger

Mix spices together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Garam Masala

2 tsp. ground cumin
4 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Combine spices. Store in glass jar.