Delicata Squash Chili–slow cooker

So we’re coming up on the last weekend of summer. What a fantastic summer it has been-full of outdoor fun, friends, family and baseball.

But I’m ready for fall. It’s such a gorgeous time of year-the colors of the trees, the crisp blue or gloomy grey skies, fall festivals and I can finally pull my boots out again. I miss them all summer.

Even though there’s still summer left last Saturday started cold and rainy. So naturally chili came to mind immediately. The result of pulling different items from my pantry was delicious! Just enough heat, different tastes and textures and it’s very very very good for you.

image

 

 

 

 

If you’re not familiar with Delicata squash it’s shaped like a giant pickle and is green and white striped. You can eat the skins but I prefer to remove them for this recipe. The taste is similar to acorn squash-perhaps a touch sweeter. They’re much easier to cut and peel than butternut or acorn squashes. Here’s a photo of the cap of the squash and the diced pieces. I forgot to take a photo of the complete squash but you get the idea 🙂
image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delicata Squash Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped small
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 tbsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 4 cups (about 2) delicata squash, peeled, seeded and cubed to 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 16oz can low sodium black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 16oz can low sodium red kidney beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 20 oz can fire roasted tomatoes (I used Muir Glen)
  • 8ozs frozen corn or canned corn rinsed and drained
  • 4ozs green chilis
  • 1 & 1/2 cups fat free, low sodium chicken broth
  • fat free feta cheese for garnish
  • sliced avocado for garnish

Instructions:

  1. In a shallow pan over medium high heat melt the coconut oil. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring, to soften.  Add garlic and stir to cook. Add spices and cook for 1 minute to coat and heat.
  2. Place the onion mixture and all ingredients above through and including the chicken broth, into the bowl of the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour then low for 4 hours.
  3. Spoon into bowls and garnish with feta and avocado and serve.

Makes: 12 cups

Serving Size: 1 cup

Reheats and freezes beautifully.

To make vegetarian swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth.

 

Advertisements

Chicken Chili-slow cooker

It seems like this winter just goes on and on and on and on. In the usually average temperature of 40 island I live upon it has been freezing-single digits, tens, teens etc.. and we’ve been introduced to the ‘arctic vortex’ which sounds like some kind of ice cream treat they’d make at Carvel. Sadly it’s not ice cream.  So I’ve had the makings of a lot of soups, chilis, stews around all winter and it was time to clear some of them out of the cabinets to make room for (hopefully soon!!!) spring-time stuff! This chili is great for cleaning out the pantry. Adjust to what you have on hand. It’s delicious!!!

image

Chicken Chili-slow cooker

Ingredients:

  • 24ozs boneless skinless chicken breast (about 2 large)
  • 1 small can diced green chilies (7oz)
  • 1 15oz can sweet corn kernels
  • 1 15oz can black beans
  • 1 15oz can red kidney beans
  • 2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes with green chilies (I used Muir Glen organic)
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce (I used Muir Glen organic)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped small
  • 3 tbsp taco seasoning (or you could use one of the packets)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • Toppings-avocado, grated cheese, sour cream, fresh chopped cilantro etc…

Instructions:

  1. Place chicken in slow cooker insert. Add everything else, stir to cover chicken and combine.
  2. Cook on low for 8.5 hours. Shred chicken with forks, check seasoning and add salt and or pepper if needed. Allow to cook for another 30 minutes on low.
  3. Top with anything you’d like.  Eat!!

Italian Beef Sandwiches-slow cooker

These are delicious! The beef is cooked all day and just falls apart. The very slightly hot peppers, the melty provolone cheese and the tomatoes makes this one tasty hot sandwich. Save some of the juice for dipping if you’d like.  This cooks for 8 hours which makes it ideal for a weeknight dinner also as it can stay on ‘warm’ for a while after cooking.

I put the roast in my slow cooker at about 10am on New Year’s Day. I didn’t really have any plans for the day except catching up on some DVR’d shows and doing some chores around the house and laundry but on a lazy day off it was nice to not have to worry about dinner and have such a delicious sandwich waiting for me.  It also reheats really well. I brought some left-overs to work the next day, put the roll in the toaster oven with a slice of cheese and nuked the beef. It was delicious!

beef

 

 

 

 

 

 

Italian Beef Sandwiches-Slow Cooker

Ingredients:

  • 1 3lb eye round roast (or chuck or rump)
  • 1 2oz packet Italian Dressing mix (dry)
  • 6 small Pepperoncini peppers
  • 1 cup low sodium low fat beef broth
  • 1 14.5 oz can Muir Glen Organic diced tomatoes w/italian herbs
  • Sliced provolone cheese
  • Butter
  • Rolls

Instructions:

  1. Put the roast into the cooker.
  2. In a bowl combine the dressing mix and broth and stir to combine.
  3. Pour the mix over the roast followed by the tomatoes.  Place the peppers into the broth around the roast.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  5. When the cooking is complete remove any pieces of fat from the beef or liquid and discard.
  6. Remove the roast from the liquid and set aside. Strain the liquid to remove any fat that may be left. Retain the strained liquid and tomatoes.
  7. Slice the rolls in half the long way.
  8. Heat a pan over medium/high heat. Melt a tbsp of butter and when foaming place the halves of as many rolls as can fit into the butter (interior side down). Weigh down with something (I used my tea pot) and cook until crisp. Remove from the pan and place provolone onto the bread and then top with some beef and tomatoes and cooking liquid if you’d like.
  9. Serve immediately.

As an alternate serve the cooking liquid in a small bowl along side the sandwich for dipping.

Adapted from thecountrycook.net

Salsa & Sour Cream Chicken-slow cooker

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything for quite a few weeks.  It’s been crazy crazy crazy since the weekend before Thanksgiving. We spent the first 2 weeks of December on vacation in Mexico (and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly) but the weeks before Thanksgiving turned into a ludacris crunch of putting up our Christmas tree, decorating the house, finishing all holiday cards, finishing shopping, getting ready for vacation etc.. By the time we arrived in Mexico I was really ready for a margarita.

But now that Christmas has come and gone it’s time to get back to normality.

After returning from Mexico we hoped to extend the fun and vacation feeling (even if it was just in our mouths) so I pulled out a recipe that I had pinned earlier in the year. Taco Chicken!! And it was delicious! The chicken was moist and just fell apart. The taste is very nice-it has a touch of heat but isn’t spicy and is just really flavorful. I added a bit of hot sauce to my tacos as I prefer them a bit spicier but even plain they were just delicious.

image

Salsa & Sour Cream Chicken-slow cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 & 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 16 oz jar mild salsa (I used Fairway’s brand)
  • 1 taco seasoning packet or homemade taco seasoning spice blend
  • 3 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 cup fat free sour cream

  • 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • soft taco shells

Instructions

  1. Pour 1/3 of the salsa into the bottom of the slow cooker then add the chicken. Pour the taco seasoning onto the chicken then top with the rest of the salsa (make sure it’s all over the chicken and seasoning).  Do not add the other ingredients at this time. They’re for later.
  2. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. Shred the chicken and then add the rice, sour cream and black beans. Stir to combine then cook on low for 30 more minutes.
  4. Serve in warmed tortillas with grated cheese.

Adapted from TheMagicalSlowCooker.com

Butternut Squash Chili with Queso Fresco-slow cooker

This vegetarian chili is a delicious mix of flavors and textures.  It’s a perfect dish to put in the slow cooker in the morning and then have it be ready when you go home after work. I prepped the onion mixture, washed the beans and peeled and cut the squash up the night before while prepping that dinner, kept them all in the fridge overnight and then just put everything in the cooker before I walked out the door in the morning.  So easy. Super delicious.

You could easily add chicken or beef or meatless crumbles or, for a vegan version, use soy cheese.

chili1

Butternut Squash Chili with Queso Fresco-slow cooker

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1&1/2 cups yellow onion, chopped small
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1.5 tbsp chili powder
  • 1.5 tbsp ancho chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 1 lb)
  • 2 16oz cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1&1/2 cups water
  • 1 16oz can sweet corn, drained
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 28oz (or 2 14.5oz) cans diced tomatoes (I used Hunts Fire Roasted)
  • 1 4.5oz can chopped green chilis (not drained)
  • queso fresco
  • scallions

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large, non-stick skillet. Add the onion and garlic, cook for a few minutes until tender. Add the chili powders and cumin and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly.   Set aside.  (If you’re cooking ahead allow to cool completely and place in an airtight container in the fridge.)
  2. Into the slow cooker put the onion mixture, squash, and remaining ingredients through and including green chilis.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  4. Ladle chili into individual bowls and sprinkle with cheese and scallions.
  5. To freeze allow the chili to cool completely. Ladle into quart-sized ziplock bags,  get all of the air out of the bag, seal and freeze.

Adapted from Cooking Light Slow-Cooker Tonight! cookbook (which is very good)

Chicken Parmesan Soup (slow cooker)

Well here we are in November. The weather is chilly and it’s time to start making some of  the recipes for soups, stews etc.. that I’ve collected. 

This one was a recent find but fit perfectly for last Thursday night’s dinner.  A rainy chilly evening. Husband (huge chicken parmesan fan) was home. It was also going to have to be a fast dinner as I had to get to a meeting.

So I put everything in the slow cooker in the morning and in the evening the soup was ready and it smelled and tasted delicious!! I served it over elbow pasta and made some gorgeous crunchy parmesany bread to go with it.  This is a hearty but not heavy soup. The chicken and soup are very light-how much pasta you put in the bowl will determine how heavy a meal it is. Perhaps next time it will go under the broiler with a slice of mozzarella on top…..

parm1

Chicken Parmesan Soup (slow cooker)

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 46oz tomato juice
  • 32oz chicken broth
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus extra for topping
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 8 ozs elbow macaroni (or other small pasta)

Instructions:

  1. Put everything but the pasta into the slow cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
  2. Remove the chicken from the cooker with tongs and set onto a plate and let cook slightly.  Shred with 2 forks or your fingers if cool enough.
  3. Return the chicken to the slow cooker and keep on warm.
  4. Cook the pasta as per the box instructions. Drain pasta.
  5. Put pasta on the bottom of a soup bowl and ladle soup and chicken over the pasta, sprinkle with additional cheese if desired, and serve.  

This makes a lot of soup. The original recipe called for adding the pasta to the slow cooker but, in the interest of left overs, we opted to keep it out that way we could add fresh pasta each time.

Adapted from www.eatathomecooks.com

Best Tasty Shredded Chicken BBQ-slow cooker

Real BBQ people will be rolling their eyes at this name won’t they? It’s not REAL BBQ since 1) I don’t own a smoker (and you really need that for it to be real BBQ right?) and  2) I cooked it in my slow cooker and 3) I used jarred (GASP!!) BBQ sauce.

I will assume though that I will be quickly forgiven for this naming faux pas once those eye-rollers taste this chicken. I didn’t name it what I did because it’s only mediocre.  It’s delicious. It’s also so easy to make it nearly makes itself.

I used a BBQ sauce from my local Fairway Market-it’s their own bbq sauce and was in the middle of the line-not sweet, not hot, just smokey with a fair balance of sweet and spice-but nowhere near hot. In fact, it’s called ‘Schmokey’ which I think is cute. So get yourself a great tasting sauce for this and tuck in for a few hours.  Look at that beauty!!

bbq11

Best Tasty Shredded Chicken BBQ

Ingredients:

  • 1 large yellow onion, cut in half then sliced to 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced, seeds removed
  • 2.5 lbs boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (about 8 breast halves)
  • 1 18oz jar BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup cola (not diet)
  • 3 (+/-) tbsp arrowroot
  • fresh bread that can hold up to the chicken (I used fresh French bread cut thickly), thinly sliced extra sharp cheddar cheese etc.. to assemble sandwiches.

Instructions:

  1. Place onion and lemon in the bottom of the slow cooker pot. Place the chicken on top of that and pour the BBQ sauce and cola over it.
  2. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour and then cook for 4 hours on low or until chicken is cooked through.
  3. Using a slotted spoon or a spider remove the chicken pieces and put them on a platter to cool slightly.  Remove the lemon pieces and discard. Leave the onions and the sauce in the pot and add the arrow-root 1 tbsp at a time, stirring to combine, allowing it to rest for a few minutes and thicken. It might take another tbsp or 2 but be patient-it will thicken eventually.
  4. While you’re dealing with the sauce resting/thickening shred the chicken.  Forget the 2 forks. If it’s cool enough just use your hands and pull it apart. 
  5. When sauce has become thick add the chicken back into it, stir, and let it cook for another few minutes to make sure every little piece has a nice coating of sauce.

As far as serving I made an outstanding, but very simple, sandwich. I also think that this would be great on nachos, baked potatoes or hell just tasty with a fork.

This made 5 sandwiches like you see in the photo and I froze about 4 cups as well.

This was an interesting adaptation. I started off originally with the Chicken Barbecue recipe from the Cooking Light Slow Cooker book.  Everything is the same until the chicken is finished cooking.  The original recipe instructions were to mix flour and water and then add that to the sauce. Disaster. It rolled up into these disgusting globs as soon as it hit the sauce. I had to pick every one of them out of the sauce. Yuck. I’m glad I was able to salvage the recipe at all-even happier that it came out so amazingly delicious.  The original recipe also didn’t shred the chicken or make a sandwich-just served the breast with sauce on it. So I guess this is highly adapted from that recipe.

Homemade Chicken Stock (from left over roast chicken) slow cooker

I have always bought chicken stock at the store. (If you read my roast chicken post you know that this is only about the 4th chicken I’ve ever roasted.) But this time is different.  We picked most of the meat off of the bones and I put the carcass in the fridge in a container for 2 days until I had time to make the stock.  Here it is in the morning before it started cooking. Excuse the green tinge-my flourescent lights do that-but in there you can see celery, carrots, onions, parsley, thyme, peppercorns and just little flashes of what’s left of the chicken.

stock1

Homemade Chicken Stock

Ingredients:

  • 1 carcass (hopefully with a litte meat still on it) from roast chicken
  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered
  • 1 celery stalk cut into one inch pieces
  • 1 carrot cut into one inch pieces
  • some peppercorns (i used about 15 or so)
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • a few sprigs of fresh parsley
  • many cups of water

Instructions:

  1. Place the carcass into the bottom of the cooker–you may have to cut it into a few pieces for it to fit.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients through the parsley. Stick the larger pieces down into the chicken if possible.
  3. Add enough water to cover the carcass by an inch or 2.
  4. Cook on low for 10 hours.
  5. When finished cooking taste and add salt if desired. Let it cool in the cooker until it’s cool enough to handle then strain out everything, just leaving the liquid. Refrigerate until cold, skim off the fat and then freeze in portions to use later.

A tool like this is perfect for skimming the fat off of the top of the stock.

stock3

I carefully ladeled stock into 2 ziplock bags and poured the remaining stock throguh the strainer above into a small container and put everyone in the freezer until I’m ready to make soup or use the stock for cooking.  I opted to NOT add any salt before I froze the stock. I will add it when I use it.

stock2

Adapted from thekitchn.com recipe.

Turkey Taco Soup-slow cooker

I realize that since it’s only September 9th that there are still 2 weeks of summer left. You’d never know that it’s still summer. Everyone apparently times the beginning of fall by when their kids go back to school. Well since my dog doesn’t go to school I go by the real seasonal calendar.

That’s not to say that  I won’t embrace everything fall early. I’m looking forward to making soups and apple this and that and pumpkin this and that. And I did have my first Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks yesterday: non-fat, no foam, 140 degrees, half syrup-and it was perfect.  It’s the PSL’s 10 year anniversary this year. Happy birthday you delicious wonder!!!

So on that note my first soup of the time surrounding the beginning of fall is here. It’s a delicious concoction of ingredients you probably have all of (or most of)in your pantry.fridge.freezer already. If you read my other slow cooker recipes you know that I became quickly enamored with that little machine.  Here’s another recipe to feed that obsession. 

It’s hearty but not heavy, it’s well spiced but not hot, it’s not too thick or too thin.  In other words-it’s just right.  I just served this plain in the bowl but you could always put a dollop of sour cream or green onions or cheese.

taco soup

Turkey Taco Soup-slow cooker

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped small
  • 1 16 oz can kidney beans
  • 1 16 oz can pinto beans
  • 1 15 oz can sweet corn
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 4 oz can diced green chiles
  • 1 package taco seasoning or 2-3 tbsp home-made taco seasoning

Instructions:

  1. In a pan over medium heat brown the turkey, drain it and set it aside.
  2. Place the turkey and onions in the slow cooker, pour everything else in and stir.
  3. Cook on low for 6&1/2 hours.

Adapted from allrecipes.com. The original recipe called for adding 2 cups of water but I didn’t add any and the liquid amount was fine.  The original recipe also called for using ground beef but I changed it to turkey to cut calories and fat and to use up some ground turkey that I had in my freezer. I’m sure you could also omit the meat all together and add tofu to make it vegetarian.

Caprese Chicken

Recently I came across a recipe that I had printed for Balsamic Chicken which was cooked in the slow cooker.  It sounded delicious and very easy-but why stop there? If the chicken would cook for hours in delicious balsamic vinegar why not make it into a caprese chicken dish? In my head I imagined a piece of chicken topped with a slice of melted fresh mozzarella cheese, some toasted breadcrumbs, some tomatoes, fresh basil and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic glaze.  And that’s exactly what happened-although the picture in my head was this neat little package all perfectly balanced on the plate and the plate that I ended up with wasn’t quite so neat.

The flavor. WOW! Delicious!  Drizzling the balsamic glaze and olive oil over the dish at the end really made all of the other flavors pop.

The other fab part of this dish is that the chicken cooks in the slow cooker and you can make that in advance (mine was cooked on Sunday and I made the completed dish on a Tuesday night). The completed dish took no  more than 15 minutes start to finish-so it’s great for a weeknight as well.

I had cherry tomatoes on hand but you can certainly use other larger tomatoes and just cut a few slices-just make sure they’re nice and ripe.

caprese1

Caprese Chicken

Ingredients for slow cooker portion:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 2-2.5 lbs, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced to 1/2 inch rounds and then halved
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped into a few pieces
  • 1/2 cup high-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (do not drain)

Ingredients for oven portion:

  • 3 tsp butter
  • 6 tbsp fresh seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 3-6 slices fresh mozzarella (1-2 slices each-as per your taste)
  • 1/2  pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half or larger tomatoes sliced.
  • fresh basil leaves, sliced thin
  • drizzles of balsamic glaze 
  • drizzles of olive oil 

Instructions for the slow cooker:

  1. Trim any fat from the chicken, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Coat the bottom of the slow cooker insert with the olive oil, snuggle the chicken breasts into the cooker in an even layer, top with the onion and, garlic and herbs.  Pour the vinegar and tomatoes into the cooker.
  3. Cook on low for 6 hours.
  4. If you plan on completing the dish another day allow the chicken and onion/tomato mixture to cool and then store in the refrigerator for a few days—otherwise continue below.

Instructions for oven:

  1. Preheat broiler to low setting.
  2. Place the butter in a small pan on the stove over medium heat. When hot and bubbling add the breadcrumbs.  Stir and cook until toasty brown then set aside.
  3. Reheat chicken and some of the onions/tomato mixture (however you’d like–I used the microwave).
  4. In a dish suitable for the broiler place the chicken and some of the onions/tomato mixture, top with slices of cheese then breadcrumbs and put in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Remove from the oven, place chicken and some of the onions/tomatoes on a plate, arrange tomatoes around it, sprinkle with basil and drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic glaze. Serve immediately.

caprese2

 

Previous Older Entries