Slow Cooker Sunday: Shredded Mexican Chicken

I would like to say Slow Cooker Sunday is back, but, considering I don’t have many slow cooker recipes lined up to try I will say that it will slowing be appearing on Sunday’s. I have been focused on getting recipes together for the holidays, finishing up some craft projects, holiday crafts and a few other things. While I have been trying out new baking recipes when it comes to cooking I have been taking the easy route and making stuff that I am familiar with, can make quickly and require minimal ingredients. Today’s recipe is actually a two-parter. While you can use the chicken for this recipe to make some delicious tacos or burritos, I used it to make a Skillet Tamale Pie. That recipe will come later in the week.

To begin I placed 4 boneless chicken thighs in the insert of my slow cooker. I sprinkled about half of a 1 oz. package on taco seasoning over the chicken and then tossed the two together to coat the chicken. I then poured a 24 oz. jar of salsa over the chicken and gave everything a good stir. I covered the slow cooker and set it to cook on low for 4.5 hours.

After 4.5 hours I removed the chicken from the slow cooker and shredded it using two forks. I placed the cover back on my slow cooker so the sauce in there could remain warm. Without the cover on, slow cookers begin to lose their heat quickly.

Once shredded, I returned the chicken to the slow cooker and added in the remaining taco seasoning. I gave everything a good stir and then covered it and let it continue to cook on the low setting for an additional 30 minutes.

 

Slow Cooker Shredded Mexican Chicken

Ingredients:

28 oz. boneless skinless chicken thighs (4 pieces)

1 package taco seasoning mix*

24 oz. mild salsa*

 

*I used Trader Joe’s Taco Seasoning Mix

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

 

Directions:

Add the chicken to a 4 to 5 qt. slow cooker and toss with half of the taco seasoning mix.

Pour the salsa over the chicken and stir to combine. Cover, and cook on low setting for 4 to 4.5 hours, or until chicken is very tender.

Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and transfer to a cutting board to shred. Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker along with the remaining taco seasoning mix and stir to combine. Cover and continue to cook on the low setting for an additional 30 minutes.

Recipe from Pillsbury

Slow Cooker Sunday: Baked Beans

I usually don’t pull my slow cooker out during the summer months. Which is kind of backwards if you think about it. Summer would be the perfect time to use it since it would mean I don’t have to turn my oven or stove on and inevitably add more heat to my already warm (or sometimes hot) house. I think my avoidance has to do with the type of meals I think of when it comes to slow-cooking… Hearty ones perfect for colder months. But, I decided to use it earlier this month to make Baked Beans. I attempted to make them last summer, but, even after soaking my beans overnight and cooking them in my slow cooker for nearly 10 hours my beans didn’t soften. This year I tried a new recipe and a short-cut to soaking my beans and the finished product was one just as delicious as some of the famous canned ones available at your local supermarket.

To save time, I diced the bacon and onion needed for the recipe the night before. To easily dice the bacon I placed it in the freezer for about an hour so it could firm up.

While most slow-cooker recipes for baked beans call for you to soften your beans by soaking them in water for 10 to 12 hours prior to cooking, I opted to take a short-cut. Instead, I rinsed them and placed them in a covered pot with water and brought them to a boil over medium-high heat. After letting the beans boil for 15 minutes, I removed the pot from the heat and let the beans soak in the water for about an hour. After an hour I drained the beans.

Once the beans were ready I layered the ingredients in the slow cooker. I spread the bacon on the bottom of my slow cooker, I then placed the beans over the bacon and finally I sprinkled the onions over the beans. I turned my slow cooker on to the low setting and covered it while I made the sauce.

To make the sauce, I whisked together water, tomato paste, molasses, brown sugar, vinegar and mustard in a large bowl until smooth. I poured the sauce over my ingredients in the slow cooker and covered it again and let it cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. You do not need to stir your ingredients together for this recipe. As the beans cook the flavors will develop and once the beans are ready you will give everything a good stir then.

At the 6 hour point I tasted the beans to check on the flavor and the doneness. I thought the flavor and tenderness of the beans was perfect. Unfortunately since I made these for my 4th of July BBQ I was crazed with getting things ready so I completely forgot to take a picture of the beans when they were done. But, trust me, they looked and tasted delicious!

 

Slow Cooker Baked Beans

Ingredients:

1 pound dried navy, pinto or great northern beans*

1 pound thick-cut bacon, diced

1 medium yellow onion, diced

3 cups water

1 6 ounce can tomato paste

1/3 cup molasses (not blackstrap)

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

 

*I used pinto beans

 

Directions:

Go through the beans and pick out any debris or broken beans. Transfer the remaining beans to a colander and rinse with cool water. Transfer the beans to a pot and fill with water (a few inches above the beans) and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Let the beans boil for about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let them sit covered for an hour and then drain.

Spread the diced bacon in a single layer in the insert of a slow cooker. Add the drained beans on top of the bacon and then the onions on top of the beans. Cover the slow cooker and set it to low. Do not stir the ingredients.

In a medium bowl combine the water, tomato paste, molasses, brown sugar, vinegar and mustard and whisk together until smooth. Pour the sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker.

Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

At the 6 hour mark check the beans for flavor and doneness. If need be add salt and pepper to taste.

Beans are ready when they are creamy and tender.

Once ready stir all of the ingredients together and enjoy!

Recipe slightly modified from The Kitchn

Slow Cooker Sunday: Corn & Bean Enchilada Bake

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting as many Slow Cooker Sunday recipes. It’s for a few reasons, one of them, I am running low on recipes. Quite a few of the recipes I have shared have been from this cookbook. While I haven’t tried them all, there are some dessert recipes I would like to try, I have tried those that sounded most appealing to me. Another reason, a lot of the recipes I come across are usually for 6- 10 servings, great if you are cooking for 2 or more people, but, since I cook for just myself that’s way too many leftovers. Don’t get me wrong, I love leftovers (especially since it means I don’t have to cook everyday),but, after eating the same thing for lunch & dinner after two or three days it just doesn’t taste the same by the 5th or 6th time eating it. And yes, I could start working on creating my own recipes, but, I am more comfortable creating recipes for stovetop and oven cooking. So, I did some research and came across the answer, a slow cooker cookbook with recipes geared towards 2 people. No more leftovers for days and days and days.

There’s a little bit of everything in this cookbook. A section on poultry, beef, breakfast, desserts and even seafood. Although, I always avoid making seafood in my slow cooker. I feel like since seafood cooks fast enough there’s no reason to slow cook it. Also, seafood odors can linger and cooking it in a slow cooker for hours on end may not be that delightful. So, I am geared with a new cookbook and ready to start using my smaller slow cooker to whip up some delicious meals that won’t be lasting me days on end.

First up, I made a Corn and Bean Enchilada Bake.

In a medium bowl I combined a chopped tomato, chopped onion, minced garlic, a minced jalapeno pepper, a can of black beans and corn.

After spraying the insert of my slow cooker with cooking spray I layered the ingredients for the enchilada.

I poured salsa verde in the bottom of the slow cooker. While the cookbook does include a recipe for homemade salsa verde I decided to go the easier route and used store bought. I then topped the salsa with 3 corn tortillas, overlapping them. I poured half of the bean mixture over the tortillas and topped it with more salsa verde and finally shredded cheese. I repeated the layers once more and then covered the slow cooker and set it to cook on low for 6 hours.

After the six hours the cheese had melted and the tortillas were soft. And I had the perfect sized meal for 2 lunches and 1 dinner.

Corn and Bean Enchilada Bake

Ingredients:

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, minced

1 large tomato, seeded and chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 14oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 8.5oz. can yellow sweet corn

1 1/4 cups salsa verde

6 corn tortillas, taco style

2/3 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese

 

Directions:

In a medium bowl combine the first 6 ingredients.

Spray the insert of a slow cooker with cooking spray.

Pour 1/3 cup of salsa verde in the bottom of the slow cooker.

Place three of the tortillas in the slow cooker overlapping them. Pour half of the bean mixture over the tortillas and the top with half of the remaining salsa and half of the cheese. Repeat the layers, ending with the cheese.

Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

Recipe from The Complete Slow Cooking for Two Cookbook

 

 

 

Slow Cooker Sunday: Cream of Vegetable Soup

When I set out to make this soup I intended it to be a creamy potato soup, but, thanks to the addition of one too many carrots (and some other vegetables) and switching up the recipe I was following a bit this ultimately became a delicious Cream of Vegetable Soup.

In my slow cooker I combined cubed red potatoes, a chopped onion, sliced carrots, sliced celery with chicken broth. I set it to cook on low for 8 hours, until the vegetables were tender.

And then, using my immersion blender I blended all of the ingredients together to create a creamy vegetable soup and then stirred in about 1/4 cup of heavy cream and seasoned it with salt and pepper.

Slow Cooker Cream of Vegetable Soup

Ingredients:

6 red-skinned potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 carrots, peeled and sliced

2 celery ribs, sliced

5 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup heavy cream

Salt& Pepper

 

Directions:

Combine all the vegetables and chicken broth in the slow cooker. Cover and set to cook on low for 8 hours, until the vegetables are tender.

Using an immersion blender, blend all of the ingredients to your desired consistency. Stir in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can blend the soup a little at a time in a food processor or regular blender.

Slow Cooker Sunday: Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups

I’ve made quite a few pasta dishes in my slow cooker, but, I think this Spinach Lasagna Roll-Up dish is the best pasta dish I have made in my slow cooker.

To begin, I boiled a 1lb. box of lasagna noodles until they were barely al dente, about 10 minutes. I rinsed them under cool water and set them aside. I then made the filling by combining ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella, grated parmesan, Italian seasoning, eggs, and chopped spinach. For the spinach I used a 10oz. package of frozen chopped spinach that I thawed overnight and then squeezed the excess water out of.

Next, I poured about 12oz. (1 1/2 cups) of marinara sauce in the bottom of my slow cooker, reserving the remaining marinara sauce. I then laid out a few of the lasagna noodles and cut them in half crosswise and spread a tablespoon of the ricotta mixture across each half. I then rolled them and placed them seam-side down in my slow cooker. I continued this process until I was out of ricotta mixture. I only had about 2 or 3 lasagna noodles remaining. Once the bottom of my slow cooker was filled with the roll-ups, I spread a little sauce on the noodles before placing the remaining roll-ups on top to prevent them from sticking together while cooking.

Finally, I poured an entire jar of marinara sauce over all of the roll-ups and set my slow cooker to cook on high for 3 hours.

After the 3 hours, I poured the remaining 12 oz. of sauce over the roll-ups and left it on high for a few more minutes so the sauce could warm up.

I then carefully removed the roll-ups using a large spoon and transferred them to a dish. Unfortunately this picture doesn’t make them look all that appetizing (I was losing the sunlight), but trust me it was good. Next time I might add some mushrooms to the mixture as well and also, plan on serving this when I am having people over. This made a fair amount and I was eating left-overs for a week (lunch & dinner). Definitely got tired of it by Wednesday… LOL!

Slow Cooker Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups

Ingredients:

1 pound lasagna noodles (not no-boil)

1 16oz. container ricotta cheese*

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

2 large eggs

1 10oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out

2 24oz. jars marinara sauce

*I used whole milk ricotta

 

Directions:

In a large pot of salted boiling water cook the lasagna noodles per the package directions until barely al dente, drain and set aside.

In a large bowl combine the ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, Italian seasoning, eggs and spinach. Stir until well combined.

Pour half a jar of marinara sauce into the bottom of a slow cooker, spreading the sauce evenly. Set the remaining sauce aside.

Cut each of the lasagna noodles in half crosswise and spread a tablespoon of the ricotta mixture across each half. Roll the noodle up and place seam-side down in the slow cooker. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture. Spread a little sauce over the noodles when layering them on top of one another.

Pour 1 jar of sauce over the roll-ups and cover the slow cooker and set to cook on high for 3 hours. Pour the reserved half jar of sauce into the slow cooker and allow to hear through before serving.

Recipe from Slow Cooker Family Favorites

Slow Cooker Sunday: Hawaiian Barbecue Ribs

I can’t remember the last time I had or made ribs. I am pretty sure it’s been over a year, maybe even two. I wasn’t even sure if I still liked them to be honest. Then I came across a recipe for baby back ribs in a slow cooker and they sounded simple (and tasty) enough that I decided it was time to have ribs again.

While the recipe called for 2 small racks of baby back ribs about 2 lbs. a piece, I ended up getting one rack that was 4 lbs. I divided this rack into 4 pieces and then seasoned it with salt and pepper then rubbed them with vegetable oil and sprinkled chile powder over the ribs. Rubbing the chile powder onto the ribs.

In a measuring cup I whisked together teriyaki barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar, minced garlic and ginger and then poured this into the insert of my slow cooker. I then added in the seasoned ribs and coated them in the marinade. To make sure each rack was coated, I added each rack one-at-a-time to coat.

I covered my slow cooker and set it to cook on low for 7 hours. Well, I don’t own a digital slow cooker, so, I actually set it to cook for 8 hours. And intended to take the ribs out at 7 hours, but, I put them to cook overnight so by the time I woke up my slow cooker had already switched to the warm setting… Oops! It was all good though, the meat was thoroughly cooked and thankfully still intact.

I transferred the ribs to a foil-lined baking sheet bone-side down. In a small bowl I whisked together some of the cooking liquid from my slow cooker, teriyaki barbecue sauce, pineapple preserves and ketchup to make a marinade. I then generously brushed it on the ribs.

I then broiled them on high for about 5 minutes, until the sauce was sticky and the ribs were charred in spots.

I’ll definitely be making these again, but, I think next time I will make them with Honey Barbecue Sauce for a sweeter flavor.

 

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Barbecue Ribs

Ingredients:

Small Racks of Baby Back Ribs (1 4lb. rack cut into 4 pieces, or 2 2lb. racks cut in half)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons chile powder

2/3 cup teriyaki-style barbecue sauce*, divided

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup pineapple preserves

2 tablespoons ketchup

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

*I used Sweet Baby Ray’s

Directions:

Season the ribs with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Rub the ribs with the olive oil and then sprinkle with the chile powder. Rub the chile powder onto the ribs so it will adhere.

In a measuring cup whisk together 1/3 cup of the barbecue sauce, the vinegar, ginger and garlic and then pour into a slow cooker. Add the seasoned ribs and turn to coat in the marinade. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, until the ribs are tender.

Preheat the broiler. Transfer the ribs to a foil-lined baking sheet bone side down. Remove 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid from the slow cooker and combine with the remaining 1/3 cup of barbecue sauce and the pineapple preserves and ketchup in a small bowl. Whisk together.

Brush the sauce generously on the ribs. Broil until the sauce is stick and the ribs are charred in spots, 3 to 5 minutes.

Recipe from Food Network

Slow Cooker Sunday: Chicken Enchilada Chili

When it comes to chili the possibilities are endless. I’ve posted quite a few on this blog, traditional, vegetarian, beef and today I am bringing you a chicken one. A Chicken Enchilada Chili that is easily made in a slow cooker. And not surprisingly it’s one of my favorites, set it in the slow cooker and forget it. Lately with these types of recipes I’ve been cooking the recipes overnight in my slow cooker. I am apprehensive to leave my slow cooker on if I’m not home but somehow I am okay with sleeping while it’s on. It’s the best though, I place all of the ingredients in around 12m and by 8am it’s done. I’m an early riser so this actually works out best for me.  My food is done in the morning and I can attend to other things during the day. Since I usually do this on a Saturday night my Sunday then consists of cleaning, laundry and all those other fun Sunday things to do.

One of the great things about this chili is that it gets better each day. I would suggest heating your leftovers on the stove as opposed to the microwave. Because of the cream cheese, which makes this chili super creamy, you may find that your chilled leftovers become quite thick and I personally think heating the chilled leftovers on the stove re-melts the cream cheese perfectly as opposed to the microwave. Either way, make sure to add some toppings before enjoying. I enjoyed mine with avocado and shredded cheddar and it was perfect! Squeeze some fresh lime juice to really bring out the flavors.

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Oh, one more thing. Per the directions it says to cook the chili on low for 6 to 8 hours until the chicken shreds easily, don’t worry about overcooking. As I said, I cooked this overnight and left it for the full 8 eight hours without checking it prior and my chicken was perfect for shredding by then and the rest of my ingredients hadn’t suffered because of the extra time in the slow cooker.

 

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Chili

Ingredients:

1 10 oz. can red enchilada sauce

1 14.5 oz. can of petite dice tomatoes with green chilies*

1 16 oz. can of chili beans in mild chili sauce**

1 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz. can of corn, drained

1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts

2 cups chicken broth or stock

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon ground paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder

1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, at room temperature

Toppings: sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, avocado, lime, cilantro

 

*I used a can of Rotel

**Available from Bush’s beans

 

Directions:

In the insert of your slow cooker add the enchilada sauce, tomatoes, chili beans, black beans, corn and chicken. Add in the chicken broth (or stock) and the seasonings and give everything a good stir.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until the chicken will shred easily.

Remove the chicken and shred using two forks. Set aside.

Cube the softened cream cheese and add to the slow cooker. Stir well and cover. Switch the temperature setting to high and let the chili sit for five minutes. Use a whisk to whisk the cream cheese to melt into the chili.

Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker and cover. Continue cooking on high until the cream cheese has completely melted and then stir again.

Serve with your desired toppings.

Recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron