Slow Cooker White Bean, Turkey, and Pumpkin Chili

Saturday night, I returned to Nashville from a week-long visit to see family and friends in Oregon. It was a wonderful time filled with laughter, tears, good food, good coffee (Tennessee should take notes!), friends, family, tattoos, kitties, snow-capped mountains, hugs, and all the things my heart needed. There was also . . . um . . . gluten. I was doing great–until my uncle made a batch of Parkerhouse rolls. I ate a warm roll fresh from the oven that night, slathered in butter and requiring a great deal of finger licking and savoring, and then I promptly stayed awake all night long. It was worth it though. It also signaled the beginning of what I referred to as Thanksgiving: the Glutening. All bets were off. I ate gravy, pumpkin pie, and more. I felt, uh, not awesome. And I knew that the gluten festival needed to come to an end once I got back to Nashville. I wanted to make something hearty and comforting and different and also wanted to use my new slow cooker. I finally landed on this seemingly strange combo of pumpkin, turkey, and beans.

This recipe was my jumping-off point, but I made quite a few changes, primarily to the seasoning and spices, which were way too light-handed for my taste (and any recipe that doesn’t include a mention of salt as part of the actual cooking process is inherently flawed as far as I’m concerned). Without the additional spices and salt and pepper, it would have been very bland. I’m also not shooting for any skinny-fy-ing and prefer to cook only with coconut oil or butter and full-fat, unmodified cheese, etc., so I made tweaks there as well. The base recipe was an AWESOME place to start though.

Wouldn’t it be neat if I had taken pictures? Yeah, that. I forgot. But you can look at the pics from the inspiration link above if you’re can’t imagine what pumpkin chili would look like.

A few notes:

  • I used a 3.5-quart slow cooker, and it was very full. Like I was a little nervous about a Mt. Vesuvius situation around 5:30pm.
  • Total prep time to brown meat, dice and sauté onion, etc., was only 15 minutes. You could easily do this in the morning before heading to work (a requirement if there is any hope for me on a work morning). You could also do prep the night before, refrigerate the meat and onions, and add everything to the slow cooker in the morning. You’d probably want to increase your cook time a little in that case.
  • I cooked on high because I didn’t get my rear in gear earlier in the day. I’m assuming lower and slower would only add to the flavor.
  • Tropical Traditions expeller-pressed coconut oil is THE BEST coconut oil I’ve come across. I initially bought it from my naturopath and haven’t found anything that comes close in quality or price. It has a neutral flavor that doesn’t interfere with savory dishes (it doesn’t taste or smell like coconut at all!). I buy it by the gallon.
  • I prefer to brown the meat and sauté the onion in a stainless pan so I can get some good browned bits for deglazing. You just can’t replicate that in a nonstick pan.
  • (Could I micromanage your cooking process any further? Holy bossy boots.)

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 T coconut oil (or more!)
  • 2 lb ground turkey (I used ground turkey with dark meat–it’s cheaper, more flavorful, and will help put some meat on my bones. You’re welcome to use 99% lean white meat only if you prefer OR leftover Thanksgiving turkey.)
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 t cumin
  • 2-3 t chili powder, to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1/4 t cayenne (more or less, depending on whether you’d like it spicy)
  • 2 15-oz cans white northern, navy, or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 4.5-oz can chopped green chiles
  • 2 c chicken stock (homemade is best! low-sodium if you’re purchasing off the shelf)
  • cheddar cheese, shredded, for topping (optional)
  • sour cream for topping (optional)
  • cilantro and/or scallions, chopped, for topping (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat a large, heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat, and add first tablespoon of coconut oil (feel free to add more than 1 tablespoon. I probably used 4 tablespoons total because I want to get as much coconut oil in my meals as possible). Add ground turkey and salt and pepper, and cook until done, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon. Add to slow cooker.
  2. Add second tablespoon of coconut oil to pan, then onions. Sauté  3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cumin, and sauté another minute. Pour a small amount of chicken stock in pan to deglaze the pan, and pour contents into slow cooker.
  3. Add beans, pumpkin puree, green chiles, stock, chili powder, oregano, and bay leaves. Stir to combine ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
  4. Remove bay leaves and adjust seasoning to taste before serving.
  5. Top with optional cheese, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), and cilantro/scallions.

You could serve this with all sorts of sides–GF tortilla chips or corn tortillas, rice, quinoa, a baked potato. I ate a big bowl of it all on its own last night, with a little sour cream and cilantro, and it was fantastic. I froze half of the leftovers and put half in the fridge. For one little ol’ me, this recipe will translate into six or seven meals.

Enjoy!

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.

The Grim, Hypoallergenic Soup, and an Allergy Attack!

For those of you out there with severe allergies, there is no worse feeling in the world then that moment your throat begins to close and you realize you’ve eaten or been exposed to something on your severe allergy list. It happened to me yesterday.

A sweet and every well-meaning co-worker had made gluten-free, corn-free chocolate chip cookies. They were delicious. But I’d eaten almost the whole cookie when I heard her tell another co-worker that she’d used applesauce in place of sugar. I immediately threw away the rest of the cookie, but the damage had been done. I’m very allergic to apples, so I popped a half of a Benadryl®. But twenty minutes later, my throat and tongue started to swell and I could feel my face getting bigger. Another half a Benadryl® and another twenty minutes later, and I had to go home and take another (I don’t drive if I have to take more than one, so I went home before I took #2). As I turned down my street (which faces a large park) I saw a huge black dog all alone in the park under some trees. At that point, I had enough medicine actively working in me that, combined with the fact that I had just re-read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban over the weekend, my first thought was, “OMG! It’s a Grim! I’m going to die.” Yes, I know: nerd alert!

Luckily, my mom was able to meet me there to make sure I didn’t need to go to the hospital. And clearly, the black shaggy dog did not mean my demise was imminent since I’m writing this to you now. The second full Benadryl® did the trick, but I was essentially passed out until this morning, when I groggily got up and made my way out to vote and go to work. But I know I’ll be taking a half a Benadryl® morning and night for the next week to three weeks as the hives continue and my body slowly, but surely recovers. Bummer, huh?

But the whole thing got me thinking about what would have happened if I didn’t find out about the apples right away and had gotten really sick at work. The “Grim” I saw may have been a little more terrifying then! So I thought I should share my reaction plan with y’all and see if you have any other tips or tricks for dealing with a bad reaction.

Molly’s Allergy Attack Plan:

  1. As soon as I start feeling a reaction, I tell someone–preferably more than just one person. I also show them my EpiPen® and explain how it works if they don’t already know. (Multiple family members, friends, and co-workers have had this demonstration and know the drill already). If I’m alone, I call everyone I can think of within driving distance until someone agrees to come over and watch me.
  2. I take a half a Benadryl® and give it 20 minutes to kick in. If I’m still feeling it after 20 minutes, I take another half. If, after 40 minutes and a whole pill, I’m still feeling it, I get myself to somewhere I can sleep and take another pill.
  3. If within 20 minutes of taking the second Benadryl®, I am still feeling reactive (and not just sleepy from the medicine), I immediately go to the ER and get treatment.
  4. Once I have the most immediate symptoms of the reaction under control, I generally sleep for the next 12-15 hours. I do ask that my husband wake me to make sure I get lots of fluids and eat something super-safe. I’ve found that drinking plenty of water helps reduce symptoms and helps my body recover more quickly.
  5. I stick to very safe foods (like the recipe below) for the next few weeks, knowing my body will be more reactive than usual until it recovers from the bad attack. This means no eating out and making sure I prepare everything I eat myself if at all possible. I usually have hives for several weeks after an attack, so I pop a half a Benadryl® morning and evening to help control the uncomfortable itching. I also try to get extra sleep and rest.

What about you? Do you do anything differently after an attack? I’d love any tips for a speedier recovery!

This time around, my awesome mom made me potato soup while she was keeping an eye on me to make sure the Benadryl® was working and I didn’t need further treatment. This is a go-to food for me when I’m reactive as I know nothing in it bothers me and it’s hydrating since it’s soup! Here’s the recipe:

Hypo-Allergenic Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 Cups chopped potatoes
  • 3 Cups broth (I use Pacific Vegetable or Chicken Broth)
  • 1 Cup chopped onion
  • 1 Cup chopped celery
  • 1 Cup chopped, cooked chicken (I generally just pan-fry in a little olive oil)
  • Seasoning to taste–I like salt, pepper, cilantro leaves, organic poultry blend, thyme, or rosemary
  • Grated cheese (optional for serving)

Directions:

  1. Sauté onion and celery in olive oil until slightly translucent.
  2. Add chicken, potatoes, broth, and seasoning. Bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer soup for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Serve with grated cheese

Voila! Easy, delicious, and safe. Perfect for recuperating with a good book, like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, just don’t let your imagination run away with you like mine did!

Slow Your Roll Recipe: Breakfast Casserole

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!

Sometimes breakfast for dinner can be fun. Other times, you just want breakfast for breakfast, am I right? Well this recipe works either way. You can toss it in the slow cooker in the morning for dinner or at night and it will be ready when you wake up. And who doesn’t love waking up to a nice, hot breakfast? It’s great for long weekends or holidays. The recipe geniuses at Better Homes & Gardens really know how to get me! Try it–I promise you won’t regret it! I added a layer of frozen shredded hash browns and it was awesome–but it’s delicious without those too!

Breakfast Casserole

  • 8 uncooked eggs
  • 1/2 pound GF breakfast sausage
  • 1 small can green chilies
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 
1 green pepper, chopped
  • 
1 cup grated Pepper Jack cheese
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • frozen GF hash browns

 IN THE BAG: Store eggs (scrambled with whisk and seasoned with salt and pepper), veggies, cheese, and meat in separate quart bags.

TO COOK: Grease or spray the crockpot with the butter. Layer meat, veggies and cheese, repeating until you’ve used all the ingredients—your last layer should be cheese. Beat the eggs and pour over the mixture. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Serve over hash browns.

 

Slow Your Roll Recipe: Teriyaki 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 quick and easy recipe comes from Penny at Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. The sauce is a little sweet for me, so I cut down the sugar. You could also sub a GF pre-made Teriyaki sauce for the sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic, pepper.

This recipe is perfect paired with rice and stir-fried veggies for a quick Asian-inspired meal. I stir-fryed up some broccoli, cauliflower, and onions and served mine with rice! It was really good! (And yes, I was eating this in my living room in front of the TV–just keeping it classy!)

 

Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken

  • 12 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Hot cooked long grain rice

IN THE BAG: In a large bowl, combine the sugar, soy sauce, cider vinegar, ginger, garlic and pepper.  Pour over chicken.

TO COOK: Cook on low for 7-8 hours or until chicken is tender.  Remove chicken to a serving platter; keep warm.  Skim fat from cooking liquid.  Serve chicken and sauce over rice with stir-fried veggies.

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.

Patsy’s Chicken and Rice Soup

“I really can’t stay, baby it’s cold outside….”

It’s not Christmas or snowing, but the temperature here in Nashville has plummeted over the last few days. And that means that any of our Northern readers are really feeling the chill. This recipe is perfect for chilly fall days. It’s not a slow cooker recipe, but I’m sure it could be adapted….and it comes to me from my husband’s grandmother Patsy. It’s everything chicken and rice soup should be–tasty, warm, and filling. Hope y’all enjoy it as much as we do. Stay warm!

Patsy’s Chicken and Rice Soup

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Saute onions and celery in olive oil until tender.
  2. Add shredded chicken, chicken broth, cream of chicken soup, rice, thyme, sea salt, and hot sauce.
  3. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
  4. Add shredded carrots and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  5. If the soup seems too thick, you can add more broth or water during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
  6. Serve warm!

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 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.