Slow Your Roll Recipe: Ranch Pork Chops

If you read my adventures in slow cooking crazy, you’ll know I’m on a serious slow cooker roll. I thought I’d share my recipes so you can slow your roll too!

I was skeptical of this recipe. I pulled it straight from Pinterest and was a little worried I may end up with a total pin fail (like something from Pintester or Pinterest You Are Drunk), but they were actually pretty good. Plus they were so easy, I’d be hard pressed not to put them into my rotation! I may experiment with adding some hearty root veggies into the pot with the pork chops this fall when they are in season–parsnips and carrots would be awfully good with these.

My one recommendation is not to let these cook too long. I put them into the crock pot frozen at about 7:30 and didn’t get home until 7 last night. My crock pot has a swap to warm feature after a time you set, but just being in the for 12 hours really dried these babies out! The first time I made them, they cooked for 6 hours and were perfectly juicy and tasty.

Ranch Pork Chops

  • Pork chops (I recommend nice thick chops)
  • Ranch packet
  • Cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can water

IN THE BAG: Combine all ingredients.

TO COOK: Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours (depending on thickness of the chops) in slow cooker. Serve with a salad and stir-fried or roasted veggies. I had mine with oven roasted butternut squash and stir-fried broccoli and onion.

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Slow Your Roll Recipe: Italian Chicken and Veggies

If you read my adventures in slow cooking crazy, you’ll know I’m on a serious slow cooker roll. I thought I’d share my recipes so you can slow your roll too!

I’ve seen variations of this recipe on the web and in a few cookbooks–probably because it’s kind of a no-brainer. Maybe I lived in NYC for too long, but nothing says comfort food to me like a cheesy Italian dish. Perfect for a chilly fall day.

This one was a big hit with my husband–I only ate one serving and he finished the rest off over the course of a couple of nights. He requested expressly that I make this one again!

Italian Crock-pot Chicken

  • 4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 16 Ounce Bottle of GF Italian Dressing (I used Kraft Tuscan Italian, but I think I may swap for a less sweet Italian dressing next time–it was a little sweet for my taste, although my husband loved it)
  • 1/2 Cup of Parmesan or Mozzarella Cheese (I will often add a dollop of cream cheese to this)
  • GF Italian Seasoning
  • 6 Potatoes cut in  wedges
  • 2 cups of baby carrots
  • Fresh basil to taste, chopped

IN THE BAG: All Ingredients.

TO COOK: Place chicken in pot first. Top with carrots. Top with potatoes. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve over rice pasta or with a salad.

Slow Your Roll Recipe: Mexican Chicken

If you read my adventures in slow cooking crazy, you’ll know I’m on a serious slow cooker roll. I thought I’d share my recipes so you can slow your roll too!

I adapted a slow cooker version of this recipe and it rocks my socks off. Seriously, hands-down one of my favorite slow cooker recipes of all time. I was so hungry and it was so delish, that I forgot to take pictures. Hunger can make any of us do wacky things.

Mexican Chicken

  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon Taco seasoning (I use a blend of cumin, cilantro leaves, salt, pepper, a dash of paprika, and chili powder)
  • Chopped green pepper and sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup Frontera enchilada sauce (you can use any enchilada sauce, but this one is SO good you won’t want to!)
  • 
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 green onions, chopped (optional)
  • Chopped avocados (optional)

IN THE BAG: Sprinkle the bite-sized cubes of chicken with taco seasoning. Add the enchilada sauce and toss to coat the chicken. Add veggies and cheese.

TO COOK: Put contents into slow cooker and cook on low 6-8 hours. Scatter green onions and avocado over the top and serve over corn chips, rice, or on salad.

Slow Your Roll Recipe: Pot Roast

If you read my adventures in slow cooking crazy, you’ll know I’m on a serious slow cooker roll. I thought I’d share my recipes so you can slow your roll too!

I adapted this recipe from domestic genius/superwoman Martha Stewart mixed with how I’d always done pot roast in the slow cooker. It’s not a revelation or anything, but it is a nice, pretty yummy pot roast recipe perfect for fall or winter evenings. I do think that next time I’ll add 1 C. of beef broth and a couple of tablespoons of onion powder just to kick the flavor up a notch.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

  • 8 medium carrots, cut into thirds
  • 2 medium onions, each cut into 8 wedges
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 beef chuck roast (3 pounds), trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

IN THE BAG: Add carrots and onions; season with salt and pepper, and toss. Sprinkle roast with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; place on top of vegetables, and drizzle with Worcestershire, horseradish, and rosemary.

TO COOK: Cook on low 10 hours (or on high for 6 hours). Transfer roast to a cutting board; thinly slice against the grain. Place vegetables in a serving dish. Serve roast with vegetables and pan juices.

Slow Cooking Crazy Update–1 Month In

So I’m one month into my Slow Cooking Crazy experiment. So far so good. Not every recipe has been the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten, but it all has been edible, hot, and ready when I get home from work–which is heaven for a busy girl like me.

I have learned a few things so far and I wanted to share them with you:
1.) I may have overestimated what will fit in my freezer. The door now has a tendency to pop open anytime anyone shuts the fridge door too hard. Luckily, that’s happening less and less often as we’ve eaten some of my stash!
2.) Freezing seems to dilute flavors, so, for my next round, I may increase herbs and spices by about 30%. And, in the meantime, I’m adding a little extra when I defrost and cook.
3.) I’m not great at eating leftovers. Too many times in a row of eating the same thing makes me bored and kinda grossed out. Husband is much better than me in this regard, but I still think I need to reduce the portions in each bag for the next round.
4.) I have got to get better at remembering to make quick runs to the store for fresh veggies. I’ve missed them and some fresh greens at each meal would probably make my leftovers more palatable.

All in all, this whole thing gets a big thumbs up–from me and Husband. He’s thrilled that I’m less stressed and that I’ve been spending much more time hanging out with him and less time in the kitchen. Of course, he’s not really a picky eater–so that helps.

Has anyone else tried this or anything like this? Was it successful for you?

Slow Your Roll Recipe FAIL: Coconut Ginger Chicken and Veggies

If you read my adventures in slow cooking crazy, you’ll know I’m on a serious slow cooker roll. I thought I’d share my recipes so you can slow your roll too!

This recipe comes from Aimee at Simple Bites. It’s one of the more complicated slow cooker recipes I used, but the comments on the blog were so positive, I thought it was probably worth it. I modified it to work with my freezer bag system, but otherwise I didn’t change a thing. However, what came out was kind of bland. It was still edible, but I wasn’t psyched to eat it–which is a shame because it smelled AMAZING. There are a few things I may have done wrong here: I couldn’t find fresh ginger, so I used dried ginger, and my curry wasn’t of the best quality. (I also skipped the cornstarch since I’m corn-free, so my sauce was a little thin but I was expecting that and leaving out cornstarch doesn’t affect flavor). I’m also starting to wonder if freezing my recipes dilutes the flavors. I may add extra herbs and try this one again since it smelled and looked so delicious.

Any suggestions on how to up the flavor factor in this recipe?

The good news is that this recipe makes a LOT of food, so it’s a lot of bang for your buck.   Husband and I each ate 2 servings as is. Then I chopped up the rest (2 additional servings) and turned it into curried fried rice with plenty of Sriracha chili sauce and gf soy sauce for some flavor and kick. That took care of both of us for dinner and I had enough left over for a big lunch the next day.

 

 

 

Slow Cooker Coconut Ginger Chicken and Veggies

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 inch cube of ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1 small sweet onion, peeled, quartered
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts), cut into four
  • 2 cans coconut milk, not shaken
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup peas or frozen vegetables of your choice

For the spice blend

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt

IN THE BAG: Combine ingredients from the spice blend together and set aside. In a mini food processor, combine garlic, ginger and onion and pulse until it forms a paste. In a deep sauté pan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil and melt butter. Add pureed aromatics and stir well. Cook for a few minutes, then add spice blend. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Move aromatics to one side of the pan and add chicken pieces to the pan. Cook chicken slightly on all sides, using a sturdy wooden spoon to move it around the pan. It should get thoroughly coated with the spice mixture. Open the cans of coconut milk and remove the cream from the top using a soup spoon. You should have about 1 cup. Pour the coconut milk over the chicken and with both cans, it should just barely cover the chicken. Let cool and then store in freezer bag. In a smaller bag within the larger bag, store coconut cream whisked thoroughly.

TO COOK: Cook on low for 4 hours. Add coconut cream and stir well. Add frozen peas or other vegetables of your choice. Cook for another half an hour or until you deem the chicken cooked and the vegetables hot.

Slow Your Roll Recipe: Chicken Caesar Sandwiches (or Salads!)

If you read my adventures in slow cooking crazy, you’ll know I’m on a serious slow cooker roll. I thought I’d share my recipes so you can slow your roll too!

This recipe is awesome for football nights–it makes awesome sandwiches that can be eaten on the couch in front of the game. I got this recipe from the lovely Kristy at Sweet Treats & More, who adapted it from Betty Crocker. It’s totally delish and really different than most slow cooker meals–Kristy knows what she’s doing, y’all! It was so good that I forgot to take a picture of it. I think I inhaled it rather than actually chewing…whoops! Anyway, this picture comes from Sweet Treats & More. I’ll post an update with my photo next time I make this. We had plenty of leftovers and the recipe listed below made us 5 gluten-free sandwiches (the Udi’s bread I use is on the smaller side) and 2 salads topped with chicken. That’s a ton of bang for your buck!

Slow Cooker Chicken Caesar Sandwiches

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 bottle of your favorite Caesar Dressing (I used Brianna’s Asiago Caesar)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • Buns or bread

IN THE BAG: Chicken. In a smaller bag within larger bag include parsley, cheese, salt, and pepper.

TO COOK: Place chicken in a slow cooker, cover and cook on low heat for 6-7 hours. Remove chicken from cooker using a slotted spoon.  Place on a cutting board and pull chicken into shreds. Place chicken back in the cooker and pour dressing, Parmesan cheese, parsley, and pepper over the top.  Stir until mixed evenly. Cover and cook on high heat for 30-35 minutes or until mixture is hot. Serve on top of salad or as sandwich filling with potato chips and a side salad.

Slow Your Roll Recipe: Henri’s French Chicken

If you read my adventures in slow cooking crazy, you’ll know I’m on a serious slow cooker roll. I thought I’d share my recipes so you can slow your roll too!

This first recipe has been a standby of mine since college when my friend’s mom, Henri, made this on a visit to her house. It didn’t start out as a slow cooker recipe, but it converted nicely!

 

Henri’s French Chicken

  • Chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Queso Fresco, shredded (If you don’t live in an area that stocks Mexican cheese, you can sub in any soft white cheese. I like to use Boursin)
  • 1 cup White Wine
  • 1 cup Chicken broth
  • Pearl onions
  • Baby Carrots, halved
  • Red Potatoes, quartered
  • Garlic
  • Italian Parsley to taste, chopped
  • Rosemary to taste, chopped

IN THE BAG: Combine all ingredients.

TO COOK: Cook on low 8 hours. Serve with side salad.

Slow Your Roll Tip: Slow Cooker Liner Bags

These slow cooker liner bags are the best thing since sliced gluten-free bread. They make clean-up a breeze–just toss the bag and wash your crock pot (which won’t have any gross stuck-on food in it). I may need to buy stock in this company with all of the action my Slow Cooker is getting these days!

Slow Cooking Crazy

So the past few months have been a little busy (understatement of the year). Between almost non-stop travel for friends’ wedding weekends, a full summer social calendar, and plenty of late nights at the office, my husband and I haven’t been the best at making sure we eat healthy dinners.

I finally hit my limit last week and decided that something had to change. So I came up with a plan to prep a bunch of slow cooker meals, freeze them, and then have them ready to cook all day while I was at work. I figured that a few days worth of prep would pay off big time over the next few months when I would only need to make a side salad or stir fry some veggies each night to go with the pre-prepared main courses. Here’s what I did:

Step 1: Take stock and organize

I spent one of my rare weekend afternoons at home going through my pantry, fridge, and freezer and cataloging every item in each of them. This is my “in stock” list. Then I threw out anything past it’s expiration date and scrubbed all my shelves and bins before organizing what we had. Once I had clean, organized, and cataloged my fridge, freezer, and pantry, I was ready for step 2.

Step 2: Bind it up

I gathered a pretty binder, dividers, and a few pockets for loose stuff to create a meal planning binder. I made a section for my in-stock list, shopping lists, recipes, coupons, and a calendar. Then I printed off all of my go-to slow cooker recipes plus a bunch I’d pinned on my “Slow Your Roll” board. I also printed some pretty blank calendars for the next few months with plenty of writing space for step 3.

Step 3: Write it out

I started with blank calendars and filled in standing meals out (like dinner every Sunday with my parents and date night with my husband every Friday), parties and dinner parties on our social calendar, travel dates, and holidays (thanksgiving, for example, means leftovers for a few days). I was left with about 4 nights a week of dinners I needed to fill in. Then I went through my collected recipes and looked for several that had some overlap in ingredients (carrots, onions, peppers, ect…). I planned to make a double batch of each recipe, so I went through my calendar and filled in my slow cooker meals until I had several months all filled in. (I made sure to make some nights as leftover nights too!) With my calendar filled in and my recipes selected, I made a grocery list of everything I’d need to make double batches of each recipe. Then I cross referenced my shopping list with my “in stock” list to ensure I didn’t buy stuff that I already had on hand. I pulled out any coupons I had for items on the list and was ready for step 4.

Step 4: Shop ’til you drop

I got my husband to help for this part, since I was shopping big. First stop was Costco for big packs of meat, bags of veggies, and plenty of gallon-sized Ziplock freezer bags. Next up, I went to Kroger and Whole Foods for smaller amounts of stuff that I needed and gluten-free specific items. I was making 48 individual meals, which meant a lot of food. But when I did the math, each meal clocked in at $12, or $3 a serving–not too shabby for me! I’m not the best about budgeting 🙂

Step 5: Prep and freeze

After I hauled all the groceries in from the car, it was time to cook. I started by writing out important steps for each recipe on the ziplock bags–like if I needed to add any ingredients before cooking or what to serve with the dish. Then I chopped, diced, sliced, and generally spent 3 evenings cooking like my life depended on it. Although, I guess it would be more accurate to say prepping like my life depended on it. There was actually very little cooking involved–just mixing sauces, and making sure all the ingredients for each meal were prepped and put not the correct bags.

It took a while, but now that I’m done, I have enough meals frozen to last me through Christmas. I’m not going to lie–there were a few challenges to this plan that I hadn’t anticipated. My freezer is now so full that it pops open if you close the fridge too hard and it can be difficult to remember where I put each meal to retrieve it for defrosting and cooking. I’m also pretty sure that my husband thinks I’m crazy–I asked him a question when he was drifting off to sleep and his answer was “What’s wrong with you? The freezer is full. No more food.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement. I asked him about it the next morning and he said seeing all tHat food on the counter, my hours of prep, and the packed freezer was like watching a slow train wreck and has referred to it as my slow-burn crazy ever since. But even he admits it’s a good idea. It just seemed like I had jumped off the deep end until I explained it to him.

I’m still not sure how this will all work or if we’ll even like all of the meals, but I love the idea and I’ve got all my fingers crossed that this is a system that could really help me out. I love the idea of a little planning and prep meaning much less work for months at a time. So if it works, I think I may be adding a deep freeze to my Christmas list. One would look awfully nice in our basement. Anyone else tried this system? Or have another system that they use? Or just a deep freeze that they can recommend? I can’t be the only one with slow burn crazy going on when it comes to my slow cooker, can I?