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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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!

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

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Spicy Chicken Mexican Stew

Ingredients:

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

 

Directions:

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

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.

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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.

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

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Sausage, Lentil and Kale Soup

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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: Moroccan Spiced Butternut Squash and Beef Stew

For this week’s Slow Cooker Sunday meal I’m bringing you a dish with flavors from North Africa, specifically Morocco. Spices are used extensively in Moroccan food… Hence bringing together a multitude of wonderful flavors. So, it’s no surprise that this week’s Moroccan Spiced Butternut Squash and Beef Stew is full of flavor.

To begin I placed 2lbs. of cubed beef chuck in the bottom of my slow cooker.

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After mixing together ground ginger, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, salt and pepper in a small bowl, I sprinkled it over the beef and tossed it to coat the meat.

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Next I added in a small diced onion and a can of peeled whole tomatoes (with the liquid) and crushed the tomatoes with my hands.

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And finally I put butternut squash chunks on top of everything and sprinkled salt over it and added water. If you cannot find fresh butternut squash use frozen instead.

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I cooked it on low for 7 hours and the aroma was amazing when I uncovered it.

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I served it over white rice and while it was delicious the first day it was even more so the following day as the flavors continued to develop.

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Slow Cooker Moroccan Spiced Butternut Squash and Beef Stew

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes

1 small onion, diced

1 28oz. can peeled whole tomatoes (with liquid)

1 butternut squash (about 2lbs.) peeled and cut unto 1 1/2 cubes

 

Directions:

Place the beef in the slow cooker.

In a small bowl mix together the ginger, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, 1 tablespoon salt, and black pepper. Sprinkle over the beef and toss to coat well.

Add the onion and tomatoes with their liquid and crush the tomatoes with your hand.

Place the butternut squash chunks on top and sprinkle with remaining teaspoon of salt and 1 1/2 cups water.

Cover and cook on low for about 7 hours, until the beef is tender. Serve over rice.

 

From Food Network Magazine, October 2015. Reynolds Slow-Cooker Favorites

Slow Cooker Sunday: Chicken and Hominy Stew

Hey Everyone! For this week’s Slow Cooker Sunday I am bringing you a stew that those of you who are sensitive to spiciness may find too spicy and those of you on the other end of the spectrum will say “Where’s the spice?” I’m on the latter side of that statement. I truthfully didn’t think the stew had any kick to it but others who tried it did, but, not so much that they weren’t able to enjoy it. So, what is this stew? Well, it’s a Chicken and Hominy Stew.

Once again, this is another of my favorite types of slow cooker meals… Just chop, drain then add to the slow cooker and let the machine work its magic. After cutting boneless skinless chicken thighs into approximately 1-inch pieces I placed them in the bottom of my slow cooker. Next I added in 2 seeded and chopped poblano chile peppers, half a bunch of cilantro that I roughly chopped and two cans of hominy that I rinsed and drained. If you are wondering what exactly is hominy check out this link.

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I then added in my liquids… low-sodium chicken broth and a jar of mild salsa verde.

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And finally I added in two corn tortillas that I tore into small pieces. I then covered it and set it to cook on low for 7 hours. Now, if you have a programmable slow cooker you need not worry about your start time, but, if you have a slow cooker like mine – I have one that has a 4 and 6 hour cook setting for high and a 8 and 10 hour cook setting for low, and a separate warm setting – make sure you take note of your start time. You don’t want to “overcook” the soup and end up with chicken that’s on the verge of shredding. You want a bit of bite to this soup since it is a stew.

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And after 7 hours it was time to enjoy a bowl. I topped it with some chopped avocado and enjoyed it with an extra corn tortilla on the side. Overall there’s not one thing about this stew I would change. The flavors all worked well together and like I said earlier I definitely didn’t feel like it was too spicy, it was just right!

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Slow Cooker Chicken and Hominy Stew

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 15-ounce cans hominy, drained and rinsed

2 poblano chile peppers, seeded and chopped

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 16-ounce jar salsa verde

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 6-inch corn tortilla

Kosher salt

Options for topping:

sour cream

avocado, diced

cilantro, chopped

romaine lettuce heart, shredded

corn tortillas, warmed

Directions:

Add the chicken, hominy, peppers and cilantro to the slow cooker. Add the broth, salsa verde and salt and stir to combine. Next, tear the 2 corn tortillas into small pieces and add to the slow cooker. Give everything a good stir, cover and cook on low for 7 hours.

If serving with the tortillas, warm them according to the package directions. Top each serving of the stew with your favorite topping and enjoy. Serve with the warmed tortillas on the side.

*Please note I use a 5 1/2-quart slow cooker.

Recipe modified from The Food Network

A Slow Cooker Hit And Half Miss

The cold days of winter call for warm and hearty soups (or stews) to help keep you feeling warm and toasty to beat the winter chill. In a recent issue of Rachael Ray Magazine I came across one such soup that had the added bonus of being made in a slow cooker. A kitchen item I do enjoy using but don’t use often enough.

This stew – a Sausage, Bean & Spinach Stew  – was a cinch to make and was ready in about four hours. I began by adding white beans, chopped onions, carrots & celery, garlic, bay leaves and chicken broth to my slow cooker and cooking it on high heat for three and a half hours. I then added sausage meatballs and let them cook in the soup for about twenty-five minutes. Finally, I added in the spinach for the final ten minutes.

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Final verdict… The stew was delicious. I’ll definitely be it making again. But, I think next time I’ll cook the meatballs a little before adding them to the soup.

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Since I had my slow cooker out from obscurity I figured I would finally try making a dessert in it – a Triple Chocolate Brownie recipe I came across from Martha Stewart.

To begin I whisked together my dry ingredients: flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

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To get started on my wet ingredients I melted butter and bittersweet chocolate together.

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After giving it a few good stirs I added in sugar and eggs.

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I then folded it into the dry mixture along with walnuts and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

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I then poured it into my slow cooker, which I sprayed with cooking spray and lined the bottom of with parchment paper.

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I cooked it on low for four hours, the final half hour uncovered.

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After letting it cool in the insert for two hours I flipped out the brownies to sadly discover that the edges were quite burnt and definitely not edible.

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All was not lost though… After some clever cutting I was left with six, albeit irregularly shaped, brownies that were quite tasty and definitely not lacking in chocolate flavor.

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Baking in a slow cooker… definitely not my first choice for delicious desserts, but, I wouldn’t rule out trying it again, just not brownies though!

Sausage, Bean & Spinach Stew

Ingredients

1 pound dried large white beans, such as great northern, rinsed and picked through

8 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

2 ribs celery, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

8 sprigs fresh thyme*

1 bay leaf**

Parmesan rind (optional)*

1 pound sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed, shaped into 1/2-inch meatballs

1 bunch spinach, trimmed

Juice of 1/2 lemon*

Crusty bread, for serving

Directions

In a large slow cooker, stir together the beans, chicken broth, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and Parmesan rind, if using. Cover and cook on high heat until the beans are nearly tender, about 3 1/2 hours.

Place the sausage meatballs on top of the beans. Cover; cook until the meatballs are no longer pink in the center, about 25 minutes.

Discard the thyme sprigs, bay leaf and Parmesan rind. Stir in the spinach, then cover and let stand until the spinach wilts, 10 minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice; season. Serve with crusty bread.

*I omitted these ingredients when I made my soup

**I added in two bay leaves as opposed to just one

Slow-Cooker Triple Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup walnut halves, coarsely chopped

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 ounces)

Directions

Lightly coat a 5-quart slow-cooker insert with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment paper and lightly coat with spray. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.

Place butter and chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until chocolate is melted. Add sugar; stir to combine. Stir in eggs. Add flour mixture, walnuts, and chocolate chips and stir just until moistened (do not overmix). Transfer to slow cooker and smooth top.

Cover and cook on low, 3 1/2 hours. Uncover and cook 30 minutes. Remove insert from slow cooker and run a knife around edge to loosen brownies. Let cool completely in insert on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Turn out onto a work surface and cut into 14 brownies.