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.


Crockpot Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)

Crockpot Tom Kha Gai

This is one of my favorite soups. It’s so flavorful. Traditionally, it is not done in the crockpot, but there is no reason why it can’t be. Cooking it in the crockpot is not only easy, but it allows for the flavors to meld as it cooks over several hours. It turns out fantastic! To make it a little more substantial, sometimes we will eat this soup over some cooked rice vermicelli noodles.

This recipe contains several ingredients that may not be easy to find in a regular grocery store. Use this recipe as an excuse to visit an Asian market. I cook so much Thai food that I tend to keep these ingredients on hand.

Galangal: I have rarely been able to find fresh galangal, but I have been able to find it frozen or dried at Asian markets. If you use dried galangal, don’t mince it, instead throw a handful of slices into the soup. Remove the galangal slices (as you would a bay leaf) before serving. If you are unable to get galangal, you may substitute ginger instead.

Galangal

Lemongrass: I am able to find lemongrass at my local Asian market. I will buy a bunch and clean it up and freeze it to use later. I have also seen a lemongrass paste in the produce section of my Publix. I would think 1 tablespoon of the paste could be used instead of minced lemongrass. If you can’t find lemongrass, you can leave it out.

Kaffir Lime Leaves:  These are actually kind of hard to find in any store. This may seem strange, but I buy them on ebay, usually from someone in California that has a kaffir lime tree growing in their yard. They go out and pick the leaves and mail them. The leaves ship well and don’t need to be refrigerated right after picking. Once I get my kaffir lime leaves, I freeze them. They keep forever in the freezer. Lime zest can be substituted for kaffir lime leaves. The flavor isn’t exactly the same, but it is similar.

Sambal Olek:  They actually sell this at Target in the ethnic food section. It is usually right next to the sriracha.

Crockpot Tom Kha Gai

Crockpot Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 ounces mushrooms, washed and thickly sliced
5 cups chicken broth
1 13.5 (approximately) ounce can coconut milk
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1-inch piece galangal, minced (substitute ginger if you can’t find galangal)
1/2 stalk lemongrass, finely minced
3 kaffir lime leaves, rib removed and julienned (substitute zest of 1 lime)
1 teaspoon sambal olek (or sriracha)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon Thai basil, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Combine all the ingredients except the Thai basil and fresh cilantro in the crockpot. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. Right before serving, remove the chicken and shred with two forks. Return the shredded chicken to the crockpot along with the Thai basil and fresh cilantro. Serve with additional chopped fresh cilantro.


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 Vegetarian Bean Chili with Peppers and Corn

Crockpot Vegetarian Bean Chili with Peppers and Corn (640x480)

It has been so hot and humid in South Carolina lately. Who wants to cook on days like this? Crockpot cooking is perfect for hot days. It doesn’t heat up the house and leaves you plenty of time for summer fun.

We have been eating more vegetarian meals lately. Grocery prices have gone up so much that there’s not much room for meat in the budget. Grocery prices are ridiculous! The price of cheese alone has gone up 20% in just the past two weeks. What is going on? Everything is going up but the paycheck, so budget meals are a necessity. This meal is budget-friendly. Beans are cheap. I am able to get cans of beans at Aldi for 59 cents each. Dried beans are cheaper, but canned beans are so convenient. Paired with chiles from the farmers’ market and my garden, this chili is relatively inexpensive as well as nutritious.

This chili is even better the next day. Do you know what I did with the leftover chili? I made Frito pie (Fritos topped with chili and cheese) with it. So good.

Crockpot Vegetarian Bean Chili with Peppers and Corn

1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cubanelle pepper, seeded and chopped
1 – 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained
1 15.5 ounce can cannellini  beans, drained
1/2 cup frozen corn
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (to taste)
1/2 – 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Combine all the ingredients except the cilantro in the crockpot and cook on low 6 to 8 hours (or on high for 3 to 4 hours). Right before serving, stir in the cilantro.