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.

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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 🙂
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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.

 

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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.

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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

Miniature Turkey & Quinoa Meatballs for the Slow Cooker

I had pinned this recipe a while ago as I’m always on the lookout for healthier stuff to cook in the slow cooker and they didn’t disappoint. They were easy to put together, smelled awesome while browning and I froze half of the meatball mixture in one bag and half of the tomatoes and onion in another bag to use at a later date . Easy peasy! These would be great on a toasted roll with melted provolone or added to other sandwiches. I just ate them plain and I really enjoyed them. They’re smaller than a golf ball, the tomato sauce is just right.  I served them with roasted broccoli.

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Miniature Turkey & Quinoa Meatballs for the Slow Cooker

Ingredients:

  • 1lb 99% lean ground turkey breast
  • 1lb 94% lean ground turkey
  • 2/3 cup cooked quinoa
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (plus more for browning)
  • 2 tbsp pecorino romano cheese, freshly, finely grated
  • 2 tsp italian spices
  • 1/2 tsp granulated onion
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut into rounds
  • 2 28 oz cans crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz can peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp white wine

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl combine all ingredients through and including the white pepper. Mix thoroughly by hand, being careful not to over-mix.
  2. Roll each meatball to just under the size of a golf ball and set aside.
  3. Layer sliced onion on bottom of slow cooker insert, add 1 can of crushed tomatoes and 1/2 the can of peeled tomatoes.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 1/2 tbsp to the pan and, when the oil is shimmering, add a few meatballs to brown-about 1 minute on each side. Be careful not to crowd the pan. When browned snuggle them down into the tomato sauce in the cooker, stacking as more are browned.
  5. When all are browned add the white wine to the pan and deglaze, scraping the brown bits off of the bottom of the pan. Allow the wine to reduce to half then add it to the slow cooker.
  6. Add the remaining crushed and peeled tomatoes to the cooker, making sure that all of the meatballs are covered.
  7. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.

Be sure to brown the meatballs! It adds extra flavor and locks in moisture. Lean turkey dries out easily-browning will help avoid that.

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Adapted from howsweeteats.

Buffalo Chicken-slow cooker

This past Saturday was a very windy chilly day. It was sunny but you could tell that it’s still winter for the most part and hasn’t started the turn to spring. Much to my dismay.

I love buffalo chicken. I found a recipe for it and threw the ingredients in to my slow cooker at noon and was eating a delicious buffalo chicken wrap by 7:30. There is almost no prep-unless you consider twisting the cap off of the buffalo sauce bottle. You can do a lot with the finished product too. I made wraps but you could also wrap it in lettuce to eat or eat it with tortilla chips for a snack, put it on a salad—the list goes on and on.

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Buffalo Chicken-slow cooker

  Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast (not frozen. I used 3-1 lb breast pieces)
  • 12oz bottle of Buffalo Hot Sauce (I used Tobasco brand)
  • 1oz packet of  Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix (the dry stuff)
  • 2 tbsp light butter

Instructions:

 

  1. Place the chicken in the slow cooker. Pour the sauce over it and then sprinkle the dry Ranch Mix over that.
  2. Cook on low for 6 hours.
  3. Remove meat and shred with 2 forks. 
  4. Add the butter to the sauce in the cooker and stir to combine.
  5. Return chicken to the cooker, stir to coat chicken in sauce, and cook for another 30 minutes.

To make the wrap in the photo above I smeared some Ranch dressing on the wrap then piled on some chicken and then some celery.  Then just wrap it up and eat.

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Very slightly adapted from emilybites.com

Stout Corned Beef in the Slow Cooker

I invited my Mom and Grandma over for dinner this past Saturday for a St. Patrick’s Day feast.  We play a mean game of Scrabble and drink a lot of wine at our get togethers-they’re always really fun. Our delicious dinner below. We had the, corned beef,  double roasted potatoes and sformato of carrots along with wine and bread. It was delicious! I will post the recipies for the carrots and potatoes separately.  They will be listed under the ‘holiday’ tab to the right.

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All too often corned beef is served after it’s been boiled to death and the fat sticks to it in a most revolting way. Unfortunately the carrots, potatoes and cabbage that people throw in with it rarely stay crispy or retain any of their original flavor-they are merely vegetables that taste like corned beef and are mushy.  Ew. Really. It turns my stomach just thinking about it.  That’s why I made the potatoes and carrots separately.

 Well I say no more!!! Corned beef can be absolutely delicious if prepared properly. The corned beef recipe makes corned beef the way I always wanted it to be-not mushy, not fatty and after being in the oven the tips of the top layer of meat are actually a bit crispy.  And the recipe is really pretty darn easy! The sauce that goes with it has a clean, slightly sweet, tangy, briny taste that allows you to alleviate the need for additional mustard all together if you want to (but I still had a blob on the side-I can’t get enough mustard). It reheats beautifully.

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Stout Corned Beef in the Slow Cooker

Ingredients:

For the Brisket

  •  2.5-3lb flat cut corned beef brisket with seasoning packet
  • 1 pint Murphy’s stout
  • 1 scallion, sliced thick
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 pinches fennel seeds
  • Splash of cider vinegar
  • A few peppercorns

 For the Glaze

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1&1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Directions 

  1. Remove brisket from wrapping and rinse. Pat dry and place in slow cooker with the fat side down.
  2. Add everything for the brisket above to the slow cooker on top of the beef, set it on low and cook for 6-7 hours.
  3. When it’s cooked and the meat can be easily separated by pushing through it with a wooden spoon remove the brisket and set it aside. Remove all of the fat that you can and discard.
  4. Preheat oven to 400F.
  5. Strain the liquid in the slow cooker and discard the remnants. Place the strained liquid in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the brown sugar, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.  Allow to boil and then simmer a while to reduce slightly.
  6. Place the brisket into a shallow baking dish, pour enough liquid over to cover it half to ¾ of the way and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  7.  Serve immediately.

Santa Fe Chicken in the Slow Cooker

It’s official. I love my slow cooker. I was looking around online for a new recipe and came across a chicken recipe for the slow cooker. I adapted it a bit and the recipe below was born.  Really easy and super tasty.  The chicken in this recipe was really nice and moist, easy to shred and the veggies, herbs and spices are just right for a great balance of taste. 

I like that this can be made in either 6 hours or 10 hours (great for weeknights after work). I would assume it freezes well but we didn’t have enough left to try.

I made a burrito/taco bar including sliced avocado, sliced tomato, lettuce, sour cream, shredded cheese, salsa and large tortillas.  Husband at his like tacos and I made burritos out of mine and put them on the panini press to heat and make the tortilla crunchy.  YUM! I had 2. I was a pig. But  they’re GOOD!  And since it’s pretty low cal and low fat and since I used fat free sour cream and low fat cheddar cheese I didn’t feel so bad.

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Santa Fe Chicken for the Slow Cooker

Chicken Ingredients
  • 1&1/2 lbs boneless and skinless chicken breast
  • 14.4 oz can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies
  • 4 oz can green chilies
  • 10 oz frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 14.4 oz can fat free chicken broth
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • salt to taste

Toppings:

  • Fat free Sour Cream
  • Low Fat Cheddar Cheese, freshly grated
  • Ripe tomatoes, sliced thin
  • Avocado, sliced thin
  • Salsa
  • Cilantro

Instructions:

  1. Place everything except the chicken listed in the ‘chicken ingredients’ in the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  2. Place the chicken on top of the combined ingredients.
  3. Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hours.  30 minutes before serving shred the chicken with 2 forks (you don’t need to remove the chicken from the cooker-just stick your forks in and shred). Stir it all back together and let it all come together for the remaining 30 minutes.
  4. While the chicken is finishing cooking prepare the taco/burrito bar and lay out toppings.
  5. Serve on tortillas with toppings.

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Adapted from skinnytaste.com.

Tuscan Cannellini Bean Soup-slow cooker

Well, 10 days after hurricane Sandy a snowy nor’easter showed up. I was SO glad that I had prepped some of the ingredients for this soup days before and then put it in the slow cooker in the morning before I left for work. Having a delicious soup waiting for me after work on a dark snowy night was great.

I like this recipe for many reasons. 1) it’s from Cook’s Illustrated so you know it will work  2) there aren’t really many ingredients  3) you can prep some of the ingredients days before  and then throw it together in 5 minutes  4) it was really really tasty!!!

Note: if you’re using dried beans you’ll have to soak them overnight.

Tuscan Cannellini Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 ounces pancetta, minced
  • 3 medium onions, minced
  • 8 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 8 teaspoons)
  • Salt
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 pound dried cannellini beans (2 1/4 cups), picked over, rinsed, soaked overnight, and drained
  • 1 Parmesan cheese rind
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • Ground black pepper
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (for serving)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (for serving)

 Instructions

  1. 1. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the pancetta and cook until golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in the onions, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the onions are softened and lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. 2. Transfer the pancetta and onion mixture to the slow cooker insert and stir in the water, broth, beans, Parmesan rind (if using), bay leaves, and pepper flakes until evenly combined. Cover and cook on low until the beans are tender, 10 to 12 hours. (Alternatively, cover and cook on high for 8 to 9 hours.)
  3. 3. Add the rosemary sprig, cover, and continue to cook until lightly fragrant, about 15 minutes longer. Remove and discard the bay leaves, rosemary, and Parmesan rind (if using). Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste, and serve, sprinkling individual portions with the Parmesan and olive oil (if desired).

So the shortcut: cook up the onion and pancetta a few days beforehand (up to 3), put in an airtight container and put it in the fridge until you’re ready to  make the soup.

MMMM parmesan rind.

Chili in the slow cooker

If you can’t already tell i LOVE LOVE LOVE my new slow-cooker.

I’ve made so many chili recpies over the years but wanted to try a new one and I came across Jimmy Fallon’s chili recipe on Martha Stewart’s website. It was for the slow cooker and sounded pretty good. This is my adaptation. It came out great!! My slow cooker is a 5 quart and this was almost to the top rim so any smaller size cooker will not be good to use.  The recpie called for 12 ozs of amber beer so I bought a pint bottle of one of my favorites as you can see below but you could use any amber beer. The benefit of buying a pint bottle-you get to drink the remaining beer that doesn’t go in the  chili.

 

 

Chili in the Slow Cooker

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3.5 lbs ground beef-the leaner the better
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped small
  • 1 large shallot chopped small
  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely minced or put through a press
  • 1/2 serrano chile, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/8-1/4 cup chili powder depending on taste preference
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 28oz cans San Marzano tomatoes-if whole chop them up or use diced, with juices
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 12 ozs amber beer, I used Fullers London Pride
  • 1 15oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 8 oz can corn, drained
  • tortilla chips for serving
  • Grated Cheddar Cheese (grate your own) for serving
  • Sour cream for serving
  • Cilantro-fresh chopped for serving
  • 2 cups white rice, prepared as per package directions, to serve underneath chili (my husband’s idea)

Instructions:

  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary add beef, season with salt and pepper,  and  cook until no longer pink. Transfer beef ot a colander to drain fat. Repeat until all of the beef is cooked.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add remaining tbsp oilve oil to skillet and add the onions, garlic and serrano, season with salt and cook until translucent.
  3. Add the beef and onion mixture to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Then add the spices and stir to combine. Then add the tomatoes, cilantro and beer. Cover and cook on high, stirring occasionally, for 5 hours.
  4. Add the beans and corn, stir to combine, and cook another 30 minutes. Serve in bowl with desired toppings and/or rice.

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Instructions:

  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 🙂

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Instructions:

  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.