Friday, January 31, 2014

Slow Cooked: Baked Apples

This dish doesn't take too long and is a really nice desert to serve on a cold day. Pair with ice cream for a really divine finish.

Slow Cooked Baked Apples

3-6 apples

Dry fit the apples into your slow cooker. I could fit 3 large apples nicely in the bottom of my cooker. If you wrap them in foil after packing the centers, you could make 2 layers and feed a crowd. It only takes a little longer to cook.

For each apple:
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp chopped walnuts or pecans
1 tbsp dried cranberries
1 tbsp Cinnamon Pear Balsamic

Core the apples and put them in the cooker, centers facing up. Stir the filling ingredients together in a large bowl and pack into the centers. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours.

If you are wrapping them in foil and cooking a bunch, cook for around 2 1/2 hours.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Slow Cooked: Pork Chops and Spinach

I've cooked a pork loin in the crock pot before, but I never even thought about it for pork chops until my sister-in-law gave me this recipe. Thank you!

The best thing about this, is the leftovers. For 4-6 pork chops, there is still way more spinach and broth than you need to serve with this. Don't throw it out, don't even take it out of the crock pot. There is a recipe below that will give you the easiest overnight soup ever, and my lunch today. Go leftovers!

Slow Cooked: Pork Chops and Spinach

4-6 pork chops, thick
1 10oz package frozen spinach
2 tbsp Garlic Olive Oil
2 cups vegetable broth
1 apple, peeled and minced
2 onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup flour

Pour the flour into a shallow plate or wide bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the pork chops and dredge them in the flour.

Add the broth, apple, and onions to the crock pot. Lay the pork chops on top and cover. Cook for 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.

When you turn the slow cooker on in the morning, set the package of spinach out to thaw. At the end of the cooking time remove the pork chops to a plate. Break open the spinach and stir it it to the crock pot. Let it cook for about 5-10 minutes so that it is fully heated through.

Serve the pork chops with a few spoonfuls of the spinach mixture over it.

Leftover: Spinach and Potato Soup

2 cups vegetable broth
10 chopped small potatoes
Leftover spinach broth

Add the vegetable broth and potatoes to the leftover spinach broth from above. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low. 

Put it in some jars and you have your lunch! Add another swirl of Garlic Olive Oil to really punch it up.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Slow Cooked: Sausage Dip Pasta

I mentioned in yesterday's blog post that I was left with a whole bunch of Sausage dip after the cancelled football party this weekend. I have been enjoying it on crackers for lunch since then, but I thought that this would be a great time to show you what we did with it last night for dinner.

As a pasta, this might just go into regular rotation. It's really great!

Sausage Dip Pasta

2 cups Sausage Dip
4 cups cooked pasta shells

Save a little of the pasta water if you think this will be too thick. But basically just stir it all together and eat!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Slow Cooked: Spicy Sausage Dip

I made this dish over the weekend. We were supposed to all hang out and watch football. That did not happen and my husband and I were left with all this food to eat. What a shame!

Spicy Sausage Dip

2 16oz packs of spicy italian sausage
2 15oz cans diced tomatoes with chilies
4 8oz packs cream cheese
Zesty Onion, Chipotle or Citrus Habanero Olive Oil

Slit open the sausage casing and crumble the sausage into a large pan. If needed, add a little olive oil. Brown the meat, stirring frequently. Should be about 10 minutes. Drain out the fat and toss the meat in the crock pot.

Stir in the tomatoes with chilies and cube the cream cheese and add that too. Drizzle in some of the olive oil, 1-2 tbsp at first and stir to coat everything well.

Turn the crock pot to low and let cook for 1 hour. Stir occasionally to really mix in the cream cheese. Taste for spice and add a little more olive oil if desired.

Cook for 1 more hour and serve. Great with crackers, or veggies, dip away!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mini Black and White Marble Cakes

Happy Martin Luther King Jr Day! He may have had a dream about equality, but I dream about food. Because I've never had to dream about equality. Thank you to Dr. King for being an inspirational person!

And a big thanks to Brett Bara's blog for providing me with a teeny tiny cake recipe! Because sometimes you really just need 2 cupcakes. Or, in this case, 4.

I could have followed the recipe faithfully and just added white chocolate chips at the end, but where is the fun? Truthfully, this recipe tastes almost exactly like cocoa puff cereal. I like that. It's very childhood-reminiscing....

Black and White Marble Cupcakes
makes 4 cupcakes

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Get out 2 large soup bowls, and a little whisk. In each bowl put:

3 tbsp flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp baking soda
a pinch of salt

In one of the bowls:

1 1/2 tsp cocoa powder

Now whisk each bowl separately. Just get everything nicely combined.

Time for the wet ingredients. In each bowl whisk in:

2 tbsp cold water or milk (I like milk)
1 tbsp Olive Oil
(Vanilla Olive Oil for the white cake, Blood Orange Olive Oil for the cocoa cake.)

Now comes the tricky part. Spoon the batter evenly between 4 cupcake liners. One color on the bottom and another on the top. Now take a small spoon and attempt to swirl the batter. Not mix it, just give it a bit of a swirl. Top with chocolate chips if desired.

Bake for 16-18 minutes. Frost if desired once cool.

Mine did not come out all fluffy like the other bloggers, but they were perfect with a cup of hot chocolate for breakfast!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Slow Cooked: Potatoes

I'm discovering you can slow cook almost anything. It just takes a little ingredient alteration and of course, time.

I never would have thought to put whole potatoes in a slow cooker. But thanks to the wonders of the internet, someone's idea floated around long enough to make it to me. I don't know who you are original person, but you are brilliant. Thank you.

This recipe is really for one potato. You just scale it around how many potatoes your crock pot can hold.

Crock Pot Baked Potatoes

1 tbsp Olive Oil per potato

Scrub your potatoes clean and poke them with a fork several times all around. Cut squares of tinfoil to wrap them in. 

Oil your potato on all sides. Wrap up.

Place in the crock pot on low for 5-8 hours or high for 2-3.

Break open and serve with your choice of toppings.

The Double Bacon and Cheese
Rubbed with Bacon Olive Oil and topped
 with crumbled bacon and shredded cheddar

The White Truffle Garlic
 and topped with sauteed mushrooms and a

And the Zesty Onion!
Rubbed with the Zesty Onion Olive Oil and 
topped with sour cream and pickled jalapenos. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Slow Cooked: Candy Sausage Bites

This is a very different kind of crock pot meal. It's not even much of a meal. It's party food. And it's the fasted slow cooker recipe I've ever made. It only take 1-3 hours, but you can have it on warm for much longer. If you use precooked sausage, it can be ready in 30 minutes.

This is football food!

Candy Sausage Bites

2 lbs sausage, spicy or mild is up to you
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup horseradish
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp Zesty Onion Olive Oil
2 tbsp Vanilla Balsamic

Chop the sausage into small bite sized pieces. It is easier to slice if you put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Or you can use precooked sausage. That slices nicely. Put the sausage and the onions into your crock pot.

Mix together all the sauce ingredients in another bowl. Whisk well until smoothly combined. Pour over the sausage and onions and stir to coat everything well.

Cover and turn the crock pot on to high about 30 minutes, or until boiling. If using precooked sausage, you can reduce the heat to low and start serving now. If you are using raw sausage, reduce the heat to low and let simmer at least one hour.

The longer this sits, the thicker the sauce will get. If you want it really thick, remove the lid once you reduce the heat to low.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Lemon Onion Chicken

I love the Zesty Lemon Balsamic on roast chicken. I thought it would be just as good on a slow cooked chicken. And it is! It just needs a little bit of something else. I thought why not mint!

Lemon Onion Chicken

6 boneless chicken thighs
3 tbsp Zesty Lemon Balsamic
2 medium onions, quartered
1 tbsp Garlic Olive Oil
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp fresh chopped mint
     or 1 tsp dried
1/2 medium lemon
1 tbsp Basiks Hunter's Blend

Add the chicken broth and the onions to the slow cooker. Rub the chicken with the olive oil and sprinkle with the Hunter's Blend and mint. Spread any extra spices around with the onions. Juice the 1/2 lemon and stir it in as well, but don't throw out the rest of the lemon! Nestle it down at the very bottom of the pot.

Put the chicken in with the onions and mix it all up. Coat everything with a layer of balsamic. Use a pastry brush for the best coverage, or just drizzle it in and stir well.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Pulled Apple Chicken

Pulled chicken is the easiest thing in the world. You can leave a tupperware full of it in the fridge and use it in so many ways. I like it on sandwiches, but toss some sweet pepper slices with it and chopped lettuce and cheese and you have taco fillings!

I used thighs and legs, but you can use any chicken bits you want. I think they are easier to debone at the end of a day. If you use boneless, it doesn't take as long to cook, and you don't have to do that extra step, but I think bone in adds a little extra something.

Pulled Apple Chicken

2 lbs chicken, bone in, any cut you like
2 large red apples, minced
2 onions, sliced
1 cup chicken broth, or water
2 tbsp Red Apple Balsamic
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp Basil Olive Oil

Put the onions and apples in the slow cooker first. Add the chicken broth or water, and the garlic. Layer the chicken pieces over the top.  Swirl the oil and the balsamic over everything.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. If you want chicken that doesn't fall apart as much, put it on for only 5 hours.

Take out the chicken and shred it using 2 forks. Stir the leftover mixture in the slow cooker and turn it up to high. Let that simmer, uncovered for about half an hour. It should become a little thicker.

Spoon the thickened liquid over the chicken and serve as you like.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Slow Cooked: Honey Date Apple Butter

Welcome to the month of slow cooked foods! Cousin Jen asked for more slow cooker food. I can't promise that everything will take 8 hours to make. Sometimes, a slow cooker is just a great way to make soup! And there will be a few deviations along the way. I already have two things planned that are most certainly not made in a slow cooker.

But this was!

Honey Date Apple Butter

5 lbs of apples
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp powdered ginger
2-4 tbsp Honey Date Balsamic
2 1/2 cups white sugar

Peel, core and dice the apples finely. The smaller you chop them, the smoother your end product will be, so it is up to you.

Place the apples in your slow cooker. Mix the sugar, balsamic and spices together in a large bowl. Pour over the apples, stir to combine and turn it on.

Cover and cook on high for an hour or so then turn it to low and let it go for 9 hours or so. It should be thickened and a dark brown in color. It will probably be a bit watery yet, so remove the lid and cook on low for another hour.

Stir it up and put it in some jars. Store in the refrigerator. Can also be frozen. Plan on using it within two weeks though.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Too much!

If it was just snowing, this would be a fine day. If it was just cold, no one would want to come out, but it would be okay.

Put them both together and we are staying closed today! Stay home where it's warm everyone!

Cook up something awesome!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Balsamic Swirled Shortbread

Shortbread is considered lucky. I have no idea why, and can't find out in a casual internet search. It has been a staple of my childhood new years eve's. If you know why it's lucky, please comment and let me know. It's baffling.

Maybe because it's golden and coin shaped?

I have made olive oil shortbreads before. They were spectacular. But I can't make them the same way twice! So this time I started with a standard shortbread and swirled some fun inside.

So what is your New Year's lucky tradition?

Balsamic Swirled Shortbread

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
2 tbsp Tangerine Balsamic

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the flour in gradually and mix until the dough sticks together nicely.

Make a well in the center of the dough and sprinkle the balsamic in. Stir around, but not too well.

Break off pieces in tablespoon sized chunks and flatten into discs.

Bake for 11-13 minutes.