Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Can Santa bring me a second slow cooker??

Lately I have been debating getting a second slow cooker.  Is that ridiculous?  I ran it by the husband yesterday and he even thought it was a great idea.  Since he’s usually the first one to point out when I sound insane, I think I just may start looking for another!  Ultimately, if I could get two slow cooker meals going at once on a Sunday the extra meal would go in my freezer! BONUS!

Balsamic Chicken & Vegetables

The first recipe I got ready on Sunday morning was one of the slow cooker kind!  I had pinned this balsamic slow cooker chicken recipe I found on Pinterest a few months ago, and I was really looking forward to trying it out. 

Here are some handy tips for this recipe:

  • I used 16 chicken thighs which is more than the recipe called for. I did not add any extra liquid, as the vegetables give off enough liquid of their own during the cooking process.
  • It calls for 8 hours on low in the slow cooker.  I would suggest checking it around the 6 hour mark.  Mine were definitely done at that point, so I was glad that I checked or the chicken would have dried out.  No one likes dried out chicken right?

Chicken and Cilantro Taquitos

I was super excited to try out the recipe that I didn’t get to make last week – chicken and cilantro taquitos!

In this house we love a good Mexican inspired dish.  We’ve travelled with the kids to Mexico for the last 5 years, and every time we come back home we miss the sun and their amazing food!

I follow Once a Month Meals on Facebook and caught this recipe on my news feed one day so was excited to give it a whirl.

The taquitos were simple to make, and do not require many ingredients at all.  The recipe serving size is for 8, so I doubled the ingredients and I ended up with 20 taquitos.  I have enough for a dinner this week, and the rest of them went into the freezer!

We had them last night and they were a hit!  I served them with homemade guacamole and sour cream.  From the freezer I pulled out the red pepper, corn and black bean salad (from the double batch cooking post earlier) to go along with it.

Mushroom Soup

Next on the list was a soup.  Leading up to the weekend I still hadn’t decided on what type of soup to make, and was really struggling in finding inspiration.  Thankfully a blogger that I follow on Twitter helped me out and gave me her mushroom soup recipe to try out.  

You can check out her blog over here:  http://www.coulditbeceliac.com/ .

She makes her soup with a mixture of wild mushrooms.  Of course the grocery store didn't have a great selection of mushrooms when I went this weekend, so my soup isn't as "wild" as I would have liked.

I made a few modifications to the recipe so here goes:

5 cups of sliced mushrooms (I used cremini and white button)
1 onion diced
2 garlic cloves minced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup milk (I used lactose free)
1 cup water
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp ground thyme

Heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms, onion and garlic.  Saute until they are soft (approximately 5-7 minutes).  Add in the butter and allow to melt.  Stir in the flour.

Slowly add the chicken broth and the water.  Bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Whisk in the milk.  Remove from heat.  Once cooled, puree in food processor.

This recipe did NOT disappoint.  I took some to work for lunch today and it was amazing!

Ground Beef Chili

I can never resist a sale when it comes to meat, and this week I picked up ground beef at a great price.

Since my mother-in-law came by earlier this week with two shepherd’s pies for my freezer, I decided to make chili.  I’ve been making chili for so many years that I don’t even use a recipe anymore.  Most chili recipes call for multiple tablespoons of chili powder, which is way too spicy for me.  So I’ve always put in the level of spice that I can tolerate.  Which by the way is MUCH less than 4 tbsp!!  Who can handle that?! 

I thought I should actually write down my chili recipe so feel free to try it out.

1 lb lean ground beef
1 onion diced
2 stalks celery sliced
1 large carrot diced
1 large leek sliced
1 red pepper diced
2 garlic cloves minced
3-5 mushrooms sliced
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
8 oz tomato sauce (I used my homemade sauce that you can find the recipe for a couple posts back)
2 cans of kidney beans undrained (I usually use one can red/one can white)
4 tsp chili powder
1.5 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Cook the ground beef and all of the veggies in a large pot over medium high heat.  Stirring occasionally until the meat is browned (approximately 10 minutes).  Drain off the fat.

Return to heat and stir in all of the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a full boil (about 4-7 minutes).  Reduce to simmer and continue cooking for 45 minutes.

You can't go wrong with this recipe!  

One more recipe I'll leave you with...

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash, Leek & Apple

We had company on Saturday night and I made this amazing veggie dish I had pinned a little while ago on Pinterest.

Honestly, this recipe was simple.  The only part about it that I can't stand is cutting butternut squash.  Or any squash for that matter.  Why are they so darn hard to get a knife through!!  Anyways, dig deep and try and get past that and make this dish!

I have a really good friend who despises all things VEGETABLES.  I'm going to make her come over one day soon and try this dish out.  The maple glaze makes it taste like candy.  How could she not like it!

Now go on and get your cook on!

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