Sloppy Joes in the Slow-Cooker

Football season is back and I love making yummy food to have while we watch it. Since I’m now obsessed with my new slow-cooker that works so well I wanted to make Sloppy Joes. I looked all over the internet for a slow-cooker Sloppy Joe recipie for a slow cooker and didn’t find any that sounded right so I came up with my own. They were so delicious!! Just the right amount of sauce and a bit tangy. Perfect for a chilly Sunday evening. The ingredient list is small and they’re very easy to make. I eat mine open-faced as you can see below. They’d be great with some grated cheese on them as well.

Sloppy Joes in the Slow-Cooker


  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped fine
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1 1/2-2 cup ketchup
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a medium skilled over medium-high heat brown the beef until it’s almost done and then drain out the fat. Add the green pepper and onion and cook until the beef is done. Then drain again.
  2. Add the other ingredients and stir to combine. Add everything to the slow cooker and cook for 2 hours on low. Serve on toasted buns.

Note: the ketchup amount is to taste as I like mine a bit more ketchup-y. But do what you like ūüôā


Hearty Beef Stew-Slow Cooker

After making the Enchilada Soup the other day I wanted to use my new pretty slow cooker again so I turned to Cook’s Illustrated.¬† I have a subscription to their online site and this recipe is from them. There’s also a VERY useful tutorial about how to cut a large piece of meat into small ones. Since I bought a 5lb chuck roast for this it was useful to read before I started in on the cutting. I’ll paste that at the end of the recipe.

This stew was good.¬† Tasty, heart, meaty.¬† Since it was the first time I made it I followed the instructions. Next time I’ll put less potatoes and more carrots and peas and perahps some other veggies. I served it over egg noodles.

Hearty Beef Stew-Slow Cooker


  • 5 pounds boneless beef chuck-eye roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes (see illustrations below)
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped medium
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 pounds Red Bliss potatoes (about 6 medium), scrubbed
  • 5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup frozen peas,¬†thawed
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves


  1. Dry the beef thoroughly with paper towels, then season generously with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Distribute half of the beef in the skillet and cook, without stirring, until well browned on one side, about 4 minutes. Stir the meat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until completely browned, 4 to 6 minutes longer. Transfer it to a slow cooker. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and heat 2 more teaspoons oil until just smoking. Brown the remaining beef and transfer it to the slow cooker.
  2. Return the skillet to medium heat and heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil until shimmering. Add the onions and ¬ľ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the red wine; turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, scraping the browned bits off the skillet bottom. Pour into the slow cooker.
  3. Stir the chicken broth, 1¬Ĺ cups of the beef broth, thyme, and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Following the illustrations below, nestle the potatoes and carrots around the edges of the slow cooker. Cover and cook, on either low or high, until the meat is tender, 9 to 10 hours on low or 6 to 7 hours on high.
  4. When the meat is tender, remove the potatoes using a slotted spoon and transfer to a carving board; allow them to cool slightly. Set the slow cooker to high (if necessary). Whisk the flour with the remaining ¬Ĺ cup beef broth until smooth, then stir into the slow cooker. Quarter the potatoes and return them to the slow cooker. Continue to cook on high until the sauce is thickened and no longer tastes of flour, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Stir in the peas and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving

To keep the potatoes from falling apart during the long cooking time, put them into the slow cooker whole and nestle them around the edges of the cooker, where the heating coils reside. This recipe takes 9 to 10 hours on the slow cooker’s low setting or 6 to 7 hours on its high setting.

From  Serves 6-8

And here’s their useful meat-cutting info:


Cutting Stew Meat

For stew meat pieces that are cut from the right part of the animal and regularly shaped, we suggest buying a boneless roast and cutting the meat yourself. A 3-pound roast will yield about 2 1/2 pounds of beef, perfect for searing in two batches.

  • 1. Pull apart the roast at its major seams (delineated by lines of fat and silver skin). Use a knife as necessary.
  • 2. With a knife, trim off excess fat and silver skin.
  • 3. Cut the meat into cubes or chunks as directed in specific recipes.

Recipe Testing

Arranging the Vegetables in a Slow Cooker

  • In recipes where the meat is only in the slow cooker for 4 to 5 hours, it is important to arrange the vegetables around the edges of the slow cooker, nearer the heating elements, so that they will cook evenly. Also, this technique is useful in recipes where potatoes are added whole to the stew.

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

Years ago , I believe it was for my wedding shower (must’ve been 2005), I received a slow cooker.¬† It was from our registry, a Cuisinart 6qt, and it was pretty and shiny. Unfortunately it had the same problems many others had with the same cooker(so I see on the Amazon reviews)-a rattling cover, steam sneaking out and running down the side of the insert into the holder and making the screws rusty. In other words-I didn’t trust it. I used it maybe twice.

So recently I bought a new one–this gorgeous DeLonghi model from Amazon and I fired it up this weekend. It’s wonderful! It cooks evenly, it’s easy to clean and it’s gorgeous looking don’t you agree? I trolled the internet looking for reviews and this one consistently got the highest marks.¬† No rattling, no steam coming out. Just works like it says it will.

Here it is in action. I don’t have a lot of counter space but it still fits really well!!

Yummy Time!!

So anyway I wanted to use the new cooker and I looked all over for a good chicken soup recipe. As always, Gina at SkinnyTaste, came through. This is my adaptation of¬†her recipe. It was delicious!! You can make it spicy or not, up or lower the veggies and beans or use different beans. It’s very versatile. I¬†had a variety of fixings on the side to top it too-tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, cilantro,¬†avocado and chipotle sauce too.

Note: the Salsita, chipotle powder and chili powder are all to individual taste in the recipe below.

Slow Cooker Enchilada Soup


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups low sodium fat-free chicken broth
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp Salsita (chipotle hot sauce). Goya makes it. Or you can use 1 chipotle in adobo-but be careful-they’re hot. I found the Salsita gave a bit more control with the heat.
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (plus more for garnish)
  • ¬†15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2¬†15 oz cans¬†corn
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 2 8 oz skinless chicken breasts (16 oz total)
  • shredded¬†cheddar cheese for topping
  • fat-free sour cream for topping
  • tortilla chips for topping
  • avocado for topping


  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft, 3-4 minutes. Slowly add the chicken broth, tomato sauce and Salsita and bring to a boil. Add cilantro and remove from heat. Pour into crock pot.
  2. To the slow cooker add drained beans, diced tomatoes, corn, cumin, oregano and stir. Add the chicken breasts; cover and cook on low heat for 4 hours.
  3. Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Add chicken back into the soup, adjust salt,  cumin, chili powder, chipotle powder and Salsita to taste. Serve in bowls and top as desired.

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins

Delicious little goodies!! These muffins have the consistancy of a doughnut inside but look like a muffin on the outside. They were SO easy to make and came out great. The original recipe was for mini-muffins but since I didn’t have a mini-muffin pan I made them regular sized. I also¬†lightened up the¬†topping a bit by using less butter and brushing it on rather than¬†dipping them in the butter.¬†

When I was little my Mom always used to make me toast with cinnamon sugar on top and the cinnamon sugar was always in this cute white with orange polka dots shaker.¬† I have that shaker now and since I was born in 1975 it’s got to be over 30 years old. It was a nice memory. ***update: my Mom saw this and reminded me that my grandmother gave her this shaker so it’s at least 50 years old***

Enjoy ūüôā they’re yummy!!!






Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins

Ingredients: Muffins

  • 1&1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 6 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 large egg

Ingredients: topping

  • 1¬†tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar combined with¬†1 teaspoon cinnamon (or adjust to your taste)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put muffin papers in the pan (15 or so).
  2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and baking soda. In another bowl, combine milk and sour cream; stir to combine.
  3. In a mixer bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add the flour mixture alternatively with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until all of the ingredients are incorporated, but don’t overmix.
  4. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full of batter. Bake muffins until they are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 14-17 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then turn them out of the pans. Apply topping while warm.
  5. To apply the topping brush on the melted butter with a silicone brush and then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Makes 15 muffins.

Adapted from Cookies on Friday.

Risotto alla fragola (Strawberry Risotto)

If you’re thinking ‘what the……?’ when you read the name of this dish you’re not alone. I thought the same thing when I first read it. Who puts strawberries in risotto? But you know what-it’s GOOD!! If today is the first time you’re hearing about this then today is your lucky day!!!

The original recipe for this came from one of my favorite cookbooks Twelve.¬† I kept seeing this recipe and I got curiouser¬†and curiouser¬†(yes-like Alice) about it. So I finally made it a few months ago and could’ve¬†kicked myself for waiting so long.¬† So I made it again last night. How delicious. How unique. It’s a touch onion-y from the shallots cooked in butter, a bit nutty from the parmesan, a bit tart and sweet from the strawberries and the brandy adds an underlying flavor that compliments it all and it’s creamy and yummy.¬† I’ve adapted it a bit from the original recipe so here we go…..


Risotto alla fragola


  • 3 cups chicken stock or water (try to use stock)
  • 1 1/2 oz butter
  • 1 medium shallot,¬† chopped very finely
  • 145 g (5oz) or about 6-8 ripe strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered plus 3 more small strawberries (or 2 medium ones) cut into smaller pieces (into 8ths) for garnish
  • 3 tbsp good quality brandy
  • 1/2 lb aborio (risotto) rice
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan plus extra for garnish


  1. Heat the stock in a large saucepan and keep it on a gentle simmer.
  2. Heat half of the butter in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, saute the shallot on low heat until it has softened and then add half of the strawberries. Cook gently for a couple of minutes and then add the brandy.  When it has evaporated add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon to coat all the rice.   Season with salt and pepper and add a ladleful of stock, stirring almost continuously to prevent the rice from sticking.
  3. When the rice has absorbed almost all of the liquid add another ladleful and continue stirring.  Make sure you move all of the rice at the bottom of the pan.  Continue stirring and adding stock for about 20-25 minutes or until the rice is soft yet firm and the texture is creamy and slightly liquid. 
  4. Add the remaining strawberries, the butter and the parmesan cheese and stir. Ladle into a bowl, top with extra parmesan and a few of the strawberries you set aside for the garnish.
  5. Helpful hints: don’t make this when you will have to stop stirring to attend to something else. Give yourself a full 30 minutes to make this from start to finish. Don’t worry if you have one more or less strawberry, it will still turn out fantastic. It’s pretty simple really.¬† Just ladle and stir ladle and stir. Fear not the risotto!!!

This recipe was included in a great list of fresh strawberry recipies. See the list from What’s Cookin’ Chicago here.