November 22, 2016

My Family’s FAVORITE Thanksgiving recipes

Favorite-Thanksgiving-Recipes

I love Thanksgiving recipes – good ole home cooking. . .so I thought I’d share my favorite Thanksgiving recipes that I’ve posted in the past.

How-To-Brine-A-Turkey-Alton-Brown

If you’re going to brine a turkey, here is my post on how to brine a turkey.

Slow-Cooker-Crockpot-spiral-ham

And if you prefer ham (or have both!), this recipe for a Crockpot Spiral Ham could not get any easier!

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October 31, 2016

Crockpot Slow Cooker Spiral Ham with pineapple

Slow Cooker Crockpot Ham. This is an easy way to make ham - especially spiral ham!Pin it

Slow Cooker Crockpot Spiral Ham

You can’t really screw up a ham. And when you toss it into a crockpot, it really feels like cheating. I’ve been wanting to try cooking a Crockpot Spiral Ham for awhile and I’m glad I gave it a try. This Crockpot ham recipe calls for pineapple and brown sugar so it definitely comes out tasting sweet – perhaps like a Honey Baked ham? I’m only guessing since I’ve never had one.

INGREDIENTS

Spiral Ham with glaze packet
You would ideally want it to fit in your slow cooker. Mine was about 10 pounds in a 6 quart crockpot.

Pineapple bits in can, with juice, 20 oz

2 Cups brown sugar

1 Cup Ginger Ale

Crock pot Slow Cooker Ham

How to prepare

1.) Line the bottom of the crockpot with two cups of brown sugar. Some recipes call for three, that seems like an awful lot.

2.) Place ham, slices down (flush with the flat bottom of the crock)

3.) Sprinkle the ham glaze powder (comes with most spiral hams) over the ham

4.) Pour full can of pineapple bits into crockpot with juice. Pouring over the ham and glaze powder.

5.) Pour a cup of Ginger Ale over the ham

6.) Place lid on top of ham and cook on low for 4-6 hours until it’s heated through
If the ham is too big to fit in the crockpot, you can cover it with aluminum foil – for a makeshift lid. Or you can cut off the top part of the ham and shove it into the side of the crockpot. Whatever works – as long as it can be covered.

7.) Serve with some of the juice from the crockpot and it’ll be great!

Crockpot Spiral Ham Slow Cooker recipe

If you overcook this it will be dry. Basically you want to give it enough time to soak up some of the juice and heat up! Don’t even think about putting it on anything higher than low. And don’t go playing with it – the more you move it around the more it’s likely to shred and break apart.

Crockpot Spiral Ham recipe, with pineapple

I hope you like it! 

amazon-black-friday-fire-tv-stick

It’s Amazon Black Friday! The All-New Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote | Streaming Media Player is on sale for $29.99 (reg. $39.99)

black-friday-kindle-sale-2016-4

And the Fire Tablet, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black is on sale for $33.33 (reg. $49.99). The BEST price it’s been!

October 17, 2016

Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili Recipe

This Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili is easy, filling and delicious. It's a great gluten-free recipe and you can leave out the chicken if you want it to be vegetarian!Pin it here

I’m not sure whether I’d call this Quinoa Chicken Chili or Quinoa Taco Soup – either way, I’d call it  scrumptious. I’ve never made quinoa in a savory way – so I was excited to give it a try and it didn’t disappoint. Quinoa is very high in protein, so it goes great in this chicken chili to help give it some heft and substance.

I love that it was cooked in the Crock Pot – which means it only took me about 15 minutes to toss together this morning and the slow cooker did all the work.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup of quinoa, rinsed

One (1) 28 oz can of diced tomatoes (you could use crushed)

One (1) 14 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies (Rotel)

Two (2) 16 oz cans of black beans, rinsed, drained

One (1) 15 oz can of corn, drained

3 Cups chicken stock

2 large chicken breasts, frozen or thawed (cook longer if frozen)

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp crushed red pepper

2 tsp chili powder

This has a nice little kick to it, but I didn’t think it was too spicy. If you’re nervous about spice, reduce the red pepper and the chili powder by half.

Quinoa-in-crockpot-slow-cooker

HOW TO PREPARE

1.) Toss everything into slow cooker and cook for 6-8 hours on low or 4-7 hours on high. I added frozen chicken breasts to mine and cooked on high for about six hours. As long as the chicken is cooked – it’s done!

2.) Remove chicken and shred it with two forks. Return to slow cooker.

3.) Top with cheese, sour cream, avocados – whatever sounds good to you! I’m thinking the next day it would probably thicken up enough to eat in a whole wheat tortilla.

Crockpot-Quinoa-Chili

Have you made a quinoa dish in the slow cooker? I’d love to hear about it!

Did you know you can also cook quinoa in the rice cooker?  Here are some other Quinoa recipes:

This recipe was inspired by this recipe from Sweet Treats More.

October 10, 2016

Slow Cooker Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese (with Tillamook cheese!)

This slow cooker macaroni and cheese recipe is so easy!  It’s not fancy but it is flavorful. And I love that you know exactly what’s in it – as opposed to the boxed stuff. And I used my absolute favorite cheese, Tillamook!

This recipe is from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook (Amazon) – a cookbook I bought in preparation for this Crock-tober series and I have really enjoyed the book!

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2  cups skim or low-fat milk

One 15-ounce can evaporated skim milk

1 large egg, beaten

1/4 teaspoon salt

Large pinch of black pepper

1 1/2 cups shredded medium or sharp cheddar cheese (I used my favorite, Tillamook cheese!)

8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni (about 2 cups) – this is HALF the box

2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese 

HOW TO PREPARE

1.) Coat your slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. In a separate bowl combine low-fat and evaporated milks, egg, salt and papper in the cooker and whisk until smooth. Add the cheese and uncooked macaroni – stir it in softly.

2.) Pour mixture into slow cooker and cook on low for 3.5 to 4 hours. Mine was done in only about 2.5 hours! Watch it, you don’t want it to overcook. If you overcook it the sides will burn and dry out.

3.) Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook – $11.41

Here are other Slow Cooker Crockpot recipes we’ve recently posted:

See Amazon’s best selling slow cookers and Crockpots here

October 7, 2016

Pumpkin Pie Spice French Toast recipe

Pumpkin-spice-french-toast-recipe

Pumpkin Spice French Toast

I’ve seen a lot of pumpkin flavored french toast recipes. Most call for pumpkin puree. But this recipe. . . it trumps them all because you get the pumpkin flavor without the extra hassle of canned puree.

International-Delight-Creamer-Pumpkin-Spice

This Pumpkin Spice French Toast recipe uses International Delight Pumpkin Pie Spice Creamer in place of the milk or cream. The creamer gives it the perfect pumpkin pie flavor (not over-the-top) and it could not get easier to make. And I love the way the creamer creates a caramelized effect on the bread – it really is perfect for this.

And for those of you who are lactose-intolerant using International Delight creamers for recipes in replace of the milk is a great option!

INGREDIENTS

Bread, thick cut

1 Cup International Delight Pumpkin Pie Spice Creamer (also available in sugar free)

3 large eggs

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Whisk-Pumpkin-Pie-Spice-French-Toast

HOW TO PREPARE

1.) In a large bowl whisk together your eggs, creamer, nutmeg and ground cinnamon

2.) Pre-heat a griddle or skillet and add non-stick spray or butter.

Soaking-french-toast-pumpkin-flavor

3.) Pour batter into a low edged bowl, big enough for a slice of bread. Soak bread in egg mixture. Flip to soak from the other side.

4.) Place slice of bread into pre-heated skillet and cook on both sides until golden brown.

5.) Serve hot with maple syrup, fresh fruit, powdered sugar or whatever you prefer. I think it tastes good enough to eat plain!

Pumpkin-Spice-French-Toast-Recipe-international-delight

International-Delight-Pumpkin-Spice-French-Toast

international-delight-creamer-recipe

Pumpkin-Spiced-latte-french-toast-recipe

Other International Delight recipes we’ve featured:

October 6, 2016

Crockpot Slow Cooker Pot Roast (Mississippi roast recipe)

pot-roast-crockpot-slow-cooker

Crockpot Pot Roast

This isn’t the first crockpot pot roast recipe that I’ve made, but it is now my favorite. The way this browned up and seasoned was amazing for being in a slow cooker. It was incredibly easy and my entire family loved it.

This recipe was sent in my Karri as part of our Crock-tober series. She said she found the crockpot pot roast recipe on Pinterest so I did some digging and discovered this is also called Mississippi pot roast and apparently it’s a very popular crockpot pot roast recipe! I could not find an original source but did find that it is on many, many blogs. It’s now on my list of favorite beef pot roast recipes!

Pot-roast-crockpot-slow-cooker-pepperonchinis

INGREDIENTS

Beef roast 3-4 pounds
I used a bottom round roast that was 2.5 pounds

Butter, a whole stick

Package of Ranch dressing powder

Package of Au Jus mix 

5-7 pepperoncinis

Crockpot-Slow-cooker-pot-roast-mississippi-roast

HOW TO PREPARE

1.) Put pot roast in bottom of crockpot

2.) Sprinkle with ranch dressing powder and Au Jus mix.

3.) Put the butter on top of the roast. I quartered mine. But I don’t think it matters. Add pepperonicinis.

4.) Cook on low in slow cooker for 5-7 hours

5.) Serve with mashed potatoes, on a sandwich, or just plain (like we did!)

Crockpot-pot-roast-slow-cooker-recipe

Crockpot-pot-roast-slow-cooker

I didn’t touch the pot roast the entire time it was cooking. I didn’t flip it or move it and I left the lid on the slow cooker the whole time. The top caramelized similar to how I’ve seen on prime ribs and it smelled like my mom’s prime rib. Nom nom.  You can probably serve with the juice to keep it moist or I bet you whip up a pretty good gravy with it!

I couldn’t find the original source of this recipe, but Food.com is one of many, many places I found it online.

October 1, 2016

Hot and Sour Soup Recipe

Hot-Sour-Soup-RecipePin it here

Hot & Sour Soup Recipe

I’ve been on a soup kick lately and this Hot & Sour Soup recipe is one of my favorites. I like it because – it’s inexpensive, it’s easy-to-make, the flavors are intense and it keeps well for leftovers. Its also easily changed – you can add chicken, leave out mushrooms, add scallions or water chestnuts, omit eggs – there are many options depending on what you prefer.

This is a great soup when you’re fighting a head cold. The slight spicy and vinegar seem to do wonders for congestion!

INGREDIENTS
Makes about 8 Cups of soup

Chicken broth – 8 Cups

Rice Vinegar – 1/4 Cup

Soy Sauce – 2 Tablespoons

Sriracha – 1 Tablespoon
Add more if you like it extra hot. But be careful, it’s supposed to be Hot AND Sour. 🙂 

Mushrooms, I prefer Crimini – 3-4 Cups
I love mushrooms and they always cook down. But if you’re not a huge fan you can omit or reduce the amount of mushrooms

Tofu, firm – 9 ounces, diced

Cornstarch – 1 Tablespoon, mixed with Tablespoon of water

2 fresh eggs, whisked until scrambled

Optional: water chestnuts, chives, chicken, bamboo shoots, peas or other vegetables, salt and pepper to taste

HOW TO PREPARE

1.) In a large pot, add chicken broth, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sriracha and simmer on medium

2.) In a small, separate container mix cornstarch with water until it’s dissolved. Add to the pot of broth.

3.) Add mushrooms and tofu, bring soup to a simmer so mushrooms can cook down.

4.) When mushrooms are cooked to your liking, and broth is simmering with a light boil, add whisked eggs to the broth and stir until eggs are cooked and mixed into broth.

Makes about eight heaping one (1) Cup servings. If you’re looking for a more substantial meal, serve with white rice or stir fry.

This is an adaption from a Weight Watchers Hot & Sour recipe from years ago. If you want a lower calorie soup, you can leave out the eggs and use low fat broth.  I’d love to hear what you think of this!

Like soup? Check out these soup recipes that I’ve posted in the past: 

October 1, 2016

Roast two chickens at once – save time, energy, dishes

I love saving time and energy – both seem to be in short supply these days. When I figured out that I could roast two chickens at once – doubling the output (and meals) with minimal extra work it was a serious “aha” moment!

The follow-up meals that can be built from the extra chicken are endless – sandwiches, salads, tacos, soups, casseroles, etc. It’s like killing two birds with one  . . .you get the point. The thing that pleases me most is the whole “production” only has to happen once – but you can use it for many other meals.

I realize if you have a large family (or teenagers) you might already roast two chickens at a time. Forgive me for just realizing this was a possibility!

Here is my recipe as we’ve always used for roasting chicken – I just modified it for two birds.

INGREDIENTS

2 whole chickens (4-5 pounds each) – as close to the same size as possible so they cook at same rate

5-7 medium potatoes, quartered – whatever kind you like, I had Yukon Gold leftover from our Clam Chowder

6-8 carrots, peeled

6-8 celery stalks, quartered

4-5 medium onions, quartered

4-5 garlic cloves

1-2 lemons

Olive oil

Thyme

Rosemary

Sweet basil

Sage

Kosher salt and pepper

TOOLS NEEDED

Large roasting pan – At least 12 x 16 inches. Advice from the peanut gallery (take it for what it’s worth) – Invest in a good roasting pan. I had one for under $20 that started chipping and flaking within a year. Not good for your food and super frustrating. I ended up buying a Pampered Chef one (LOVE) and it looks brand new to this day – it’s at least three years old and has roasted a lot of chickens and turkeys. Not to mention it heats evenly, cleans up like a charm and won’t leech “non-stick” stuff on my food. You are probably looking at spending $100 or so on a pan – for a good one – but you’ll likely only buy one in your lifetime.

Something like this (has good ratings) over on Amazon: Calphalon LRS1805P Contemporary Stainless Special-Value 16-Inch Roaster with Nonstick Roasting Rack or Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick Roaster with Rack, Baster, Injector, and Lifters

Meat thermometer – A valuable and handy tool to have around when cooking. . .well, um, meats! You can buy them with alarms that go off when the meat has reached a certain temperature. We have something like this from Amazon: Taylor 1470 Digital Cooking Thermometer/Timer and it sits outside with the oven, but has a probe that goes into meat.

DIRECTIONS

  1. Remove giblets and insides from chickens.
  2. Wash chickens well (do not use soap, haha) and make sure all feathers are removed. Dry very well with paper towels and set aside.
  3. Prep vegetables – quarter the potatoes, peel the carrots, quarter the celery stalks, peel and quarter the onions, quarter the lemons
  4. Spread out all vegetables in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Add a few whole garlic cloves to the vegetables mix (or if you’re ambitious – mince garlic and mix it in). Reserve 1/2 onion, 1/2 lemon and two garlic cloves for chicken.
  5. Drizzle olive oil over vegetables, sprinkle with rosemary and sweet basil. We also had fresh parsley in the fridge, so we added that.
  6. It’s probably about time to preheat oven to 425 degrees
  7. Now back to the chicken – put a quarter of a lemon, quarter of an onion and a whole garlic clove in each chicken.
  8. Truss chickens with kitchen twine. This is to keep the legs in close to the body to keep them from burning. (Alton Brown does a great video tutorial on trussing turkey – same concept.)
  9. Put both chickens on top of vegetables in roasting pan.
  10. Drizzle olive oil over chickens, sprinkle salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, sage and sweet basil on top. I also rub on minced garlic, but that’s because we LOVE garlic. If you don’t have a seasoning or don’t like one – leave it out, it won’t make too much of a difference.
  11. Pop in the oven at 425 degrees for 60 to 90 minutes (mine took exactly 75 minutes) – basically internal temperature of chicken breasts should read 180 degrees. Rotate pan half way through to help chickens cook evenly. If you need, you can also stir around veggies – but I usually just leave mine alone and they are delish.
  12. When your chickens have reached 180 internal degrees (as taken in the breast) – take chickens out of oven and if you can stand it, let them rest about 10 minutes before cutting (it will keep them more moist).
  13. Enjoy!

Use leftover chicken carcass to make homemade chicken stock (stove top) or Chicken stock in the slow cooker – and leftover chicken can be used for all kinds of meals.

Here are some chicken recipes you could try: 

How do you roast your chickens? Do you have a favorite recipe or technique?

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