Slow Cooker Sunday: Vegetarian Minestrone

While spring may be a few days away the weather is still cold enough for some hearty soup. And while this soup may not have any meat in it, it’s still filling thanks to the array of vegetables. I was a bit intimidated by the amount of ingredients – I tend to avoid recipes that have too many ingredients – but, they are all pretty simple and some I actually had on hand.

I added most of my ingredients to my slow cooker and then set it to cook on low for 8 hours. I began checking on it after 5.5 hours as I didn’t want my vegetables to over-cook and break down, especially the zucchini. Ultimately my soup was ready in 6 hours, my vegetables were tender and still intact.

I then cooked the elbow macaroni in pot of boiling salted water and added it to the soup along with chopped baby spinach. I cooked it on low for an additional 15 minutes and it was done.

The Minestrone was flavorful and as I said earlier hearty and, the leftovers tasted even better the next day and even better the day after that.

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Minestrone


6 cups vegetable broth

1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 large onion, chopped

2 ribs celery, diced

2 large carrots, diced

1 cup frozen green beans

1 small zucchini, cut into quarter moons

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoons thyme

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup elbow macaroni

4 cups chopped fresh spinach

Parmesan Cheese


Combine all ingredients from the broth through the black pepper in a 6-quart slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until vegetable are tender.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the elbow macaroni for about 8 minutes, until cooked through but still firm, drain.

Add the macaroni and spinach to slow cooker and cook for another 15 minutes. Top with parmesan cheese.

Recipe from allrecipes

Chicken Vegetable Ramen Noodle

When I was in college I used to make ramen noodles a few times a week in my trusty electric hot pot. It was one of the few things that was fool proof to make in there, besides heating up a can of soup. Once I graduated though the hot pot was thrown out and I stopped eating ramen noodles. Then last year not long after my Dad passed away I had a sudden craving for ramen noodles. There was such a feeling of comfort and safety in that bowl of noodles. A reminder of when life was easier and the safety of youth made you feel like nothing could ever go wrong or nothing bad could happen. Grief is a funny thing. It can make you remember things you completely forgot and question whether or not they happened and can make you find comfort in the oddest of things, hence the ramen noodles. To this day I still enjoy the occasional bowl of ramen noodle and have a case of it in my cabinet at all times. It got me thinking, why not try to make a traditional ramen bowl as opposed to the instant one I have been enjoying.

I began by prepping my various vegetables to have them ready to add to the pot as I was going…

And once I started it came together pretty quick, the most time consuming part of making this ramen bowl was prepping all of the vegetables. Oh yeah, and finding the miso. I ended up going to a local Oriental grocery market that I’ve known about for years. I did find miso at my local supermarket, but, the recipe called for white miso and the one they had was red and I didn’t want to take any chances with subbing ingredients.

And while it was delicious, I did have a minor mishap. I left the pot covered a little too long with the noodles so I ended up with something more like Lo Mein than ramen soup. I did have enough broth for one bowl, but, not for two.

Oh well… My noodles and veggies were just as delicious.

I’ll definitely make this again, but, I think next time I will omit the eggs and the chicken. It was definitely enough with just the vegetables.


Chicken Vegetable Ramen Bowl


1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder, plus more for seasoning chicken

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided

1 chicken breasts (about 1 pound)

2 eggs

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1-inch piece ginger, finely chopped

3 tablespoons soy sauce

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 tablespoons white miso

8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, de-stemmed and sliced

1 cup baby spinach

4 to 5 mini sweet peppers plus more for garnish, sliced

3 to 4 green onions plus more for garnish, sliced

1 large carrot, thinly sliced into ribbons

6 ounces ramen noodles



Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm the 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil. Sprinkle each chicken breast with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Once hot, add the chicken breasts to the skillet. Brown chicken for 5 minutes on each side.

Transfer the chicken to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until cooked through.

In a small saucepan, place the eggs and cover with water and cover the pan. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat. Keep lid on saucepan for 5 minutes. Drain the hot water and fill with cold water, once cool drain the water and peel the eggs.

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the remaining oil. Once hot, add onion and ginger. Cook for 5 minutes, until onions are translucent.

Add garlic powder, stirring frequently for 1 minute. Whisk in soy sauce, broth and miso. Add mushrooms and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer covered for 15 minutes.

Add the peppers, green onions, spinach and carrots. Continue to simmer covered for 5 minutes. Taste the broth and add salt if necessary.

Finally, add ramen noodles and turn off heat (the heat from the soup will soften the noodles).

Slice chicken breasts and eggs. Divide soup into bowls and serve with chicken and a halved egg.

Recipe from Simply Organic

Slow Cooker Sunday: Spicy Mexican Chicken Stew

So, I personally think that one of the best things to make in a slow cooker is soup / stew. I consider them to be more or less one in the same. And this week I am bringing you a Spicy Mexican Chicken Stew that is the ideal Slow Cooker Meal. The only prep is some dicing, chopping and cutting. No sautéing veggies or heating the aromatics to develop the flavors. You control the level of spice with a jar of salsa. I got this recipe in the cookbook I mentioned last week… Slow Cooker Family Favorites. I’m 2 for 2 with the recipes in this book… Yay!

I began by stirring together salsa, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper in the bowl in my slow cooker.


I then added in diced potatoes, frozen corn, cut celery & carrots, a diced onion and minced garlic.


I gave everything a few good stirs to make sure the vegetables were coated by the salsa mixture.


And finally, I placed 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs on top of the vegetables and poured in a can of chicken broth.


So, according to the directions the stew was to be cooked on high for 4 hours, or until the chicken was cooked through and the vegetable were tender. After 4 hours the chicken was cooked through, so I removed it from the slow cooker and shredded it using two forks. But, my vegetables were still a bit undercooked, so I returned the chicken to the slow cooker and cooked everything for about another 2 hours.


Which I think was the best thing. The end result were vegetables that were perfectly tender, but, better yet, the chicken was really able to absorb the flavors of the stew. YUM!


I packed a bowl for lunch the following day and I must say it was even better then and each subsequent day!


Spicy Chicken Mexican Stew


1 16-oz jar spicy salsa*

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes**

1 16 ounce package frozen corn***

2 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs****

1 14.5-oz chicken broth (approximately 2 cups)


*I used Chi-Chi’s Medium Thick & Chunky Salsa

**I used 2 medium sized potatoes and 1 small one

**The package I used was 12 oz.

****About 1 3/4 pounds of chicken



In the bowl of a slow cooker stir together the salsa, cumin, chili powder, salt and black pepper.

Add the potatoes, corn, celery, carrots, onion and garlic. Toss everything to coat the vegetables.

Place the chicken on top and then pour in the chicken broth.

Set to cook on high for 4-6 hours, until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Once chicken is cooked, remove from the slow cooker and shred with two forks and return to the slow cooker. Season for taste.

Recipe from Slow Cooker Family Favorites

Slow Cooker Sunday: Caribbean Beef Stew

With the cold temperatures outside you may be looking for meals that are hearty, comforting and most important of all… easy to make. This beef stew covers all those bases.

I began by adding my vegetables – potatoes and carrots – along with fresh thyme, ginger and garlic in the bottom of my slow cooker.


Next I topped the vegetables with beef stew meat that dredged in a mixture of flour, allspice, salt and pepper.


I reserved the excess seasoned flour from the beef and whisked it with water and Worcestershire sauce and then poured it over the meat and potatoes along with a can of Mexican-style tomatoes.


I covered my slow cooker and cooked the beef stew on low for 7 hours and this is the deliciousness that resulted.


It was incredibly flavorful, the beef was wonderfully tender and it had just enough kick to it.


Slow-Cooker Caribbean Beef Stew


3 sprigs thyme

1/2 all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered

3 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into thirds

1 1-inch ginger piece, peeled and finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 10-ounce can Mexican-style diced tomatoes with green chiles (Rotel)


Put the potatoes, carrots, 2 thyme sprigs, the ginger and garlic in a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker

Strip the leaves from the remaining thyme sprig and chop; combine with the flour, allspice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Add the beef and toss to coat. Add to the slow cooker on top of the vegetables and reserve the excess flour.

Add 1/2 cup water and the Worcestershire sauce to the reserved flour and whisk everything together, then add to the slow cooker. Pour the tomatoes on top.

Cover and cook on low for 7 hours or high for 4 hours.

Recipe from Food Network

Sausage, Lentil and Kale Soup

There’s nothing like a delicious soup! And while there are plenty of delicious options available in cans, cartons and so forth at your local supermarket, making soup from scratch is such a better option and best of all…. the leftovers! I had this soup for lunch over the course of a week and by end of the week it was even better than the first day I had it.

I began by cooking a 1lb. of sweet Italian sausage meat in my Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it was beginning to brown. If you can find sausage meat in ground form as opposed to actual sausages it will save you some time and just make things easier so you don’t have to remove the meat from the casings. I then added in chopped onion and garlic and continued cooking everything until the onions were soften and the sausage was completed cooked.


Next, I added in chicken stock, stirring and scraping to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. I then added in lentils, whole peeled tomatoes, salt and pepper and brought the whole thing to a boil. I then reduced the heat to medium-low and simmered the soup until the lentils had softened. As the soup simmered the tomatoes began to break down as well.


And finally I added in baby kale leaves, stirring the soup constantly until the leaves had softened.


Sausage, Lentil and Kale Soup


1 lb. sweet Italian sausage meat*

1 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, chopped

4 cups chicken stock

2 cups dried red lentils, rinsed

1 28oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

5 cups loosely packed baby kale leaves

*If using sausages remove casings


Cook the sausage in a Dutch oven (or your preferred pot for making soup) over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the meat crumbles and begins to brown. Add in the onion and garlic and continue cooking until the meat is cooked through and the onions have soften.

Add the stock, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits. Add the lentils, tomatoes, salt and pepper and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the lentils have softened.

Stir in the kale and cook, continue stirring until softened.

Recipe from Real Simple Magazine

Slow Cooker Sunday: Italian Vegetable and Pasta Soup

This is probably the best soup I have ever made and maybe tasted, well, there was this French Onion Soup that I had years ago at a restaurant that I still compare all French Onion Soup’s I have to this day to. Maybe I should try making that soup one day. But anyhoo, I digress, as usual. Back to the soup at hand, an Italian Vegetable and Pasta Soup that best of all is made in a slow cooker. There’s nothing better than dumping everything into your slow cooker, coming back a few hours later and having a great meal waiting for you.

I began by adding all of my vegetables to my slow cooker: corn, chopped onion, chopped carrots, sliced zucchini and garlic. I wasn’t sure if garlic could be considered a vegetable, but, after a little research it turns out can be.


Next, I stirred broth, tomato paste, salt and basil until the tomato paste had completely blended into the broth. I used tomato paste with basil, garlic and oregano. I advise definitely using this blend of tomato paste since it adds more flavor to the soup.


I opted to cook it on the high setting – for about 3 1/2 hours – and then added in dried shell macaroni and a bag of frozen green beans and cooked it for an additional 45 minutes.


Once it was done I served myself some in a bowl and topped it with shredded parmesan. YUM!


Italian Vegetable and Pasta Soup


1 10-ounce package frozen whole kernel corn

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped carrots

1 small zucchini, halved and sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups no-salt vegetable or chicken broth

1 6-ounce can tomato paste with basil, garlic and oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1 9-ounce package frozen green beans

1 cup dried tiny shell macaroni

Shredded parmesan cheese, for topping

*I used regular (not the no-salt one) garden vegetable broth


In a 3 1/2 to 5 quart slow cooker combine the frozen corn, onion, carrots, zucchini and garlic.

Stir in the broth, salt, basil and tomato paste until the tomato paste is completed blended into the broth.

Cover and cook on high for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours. If cooking on low set the heat to high and add in the macaroni and green beans and cook for an additional 45 minutes.

Sprinkle each serving with parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens



Slow Cooker Sunday: Butternut Squash Soup

Slow Cooker Sunday is back! Granted I will put the disclaimer in that I may not be posting every Sunday though. Thankfully I am covered for the next few Sunday’s as I have two recipes in my blog queue that I never posted. It’s a good thing recipes don’t expire! LOL! So, in honor of my first Slow Cooker Sunday post in a quite a few months and since its Fall I bring you a Butternut Squash Soup that’s super easy, super quick and super delicious!

Truthfully this soup couldn’t get any easier… I placed all the ingredients – butternut squash, chicken broth, coconut milk, chopped onion, brown sugar, soy sauce and crushed red pepper – in my slow cooker…


And set it cook on low for 4 hours. Granted the before cooking and after cooking are pretty much the same, but, trust me this was 4 hours later.


I then transferred the soup to a pot and used an immersion blender to blend all the ingredients together until it was smooth. And then finally I stirred in lime juice, which really took the flavor of the soup up another notch. Citrus really does have a way of bringing out and bringing together different flavors. And that was it!



Butternut Squash Soup


2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cups chicken broth

1 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 tablespoon lime juice


In a 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker, combine all ingredients except for the lime juice.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 to 21/2 hours.

Use an immersion blender, food processor or blender to blend soup until smooth. Stir in lime juice and enjoy.

Slightly adapted from Better Homes & Gardens