Monday, November 24, 2014

Crock Pot Cranberry Applesauce

This week's recipe is a nice treat that uses ingredients of the season, Crock Pot Cranberry Applesauce! I always use my crock pot now for making applesauce, it is so easy, and not as labor intensive when cooking, in my opinion. I'm also a lover of all things cranberry, so I thought I'd give this recipe a whirl this year. I had a bunch of orchard apples in my pantry that were starting to go soft, so that means applesauce time in my house! With this recipe, you add the brown sugar to taste, as it really depends on your preference and the type of apples you use. Cranberries are naturally tart, so some sweetener is likely needed. My apples were a mix of Macintosh and honey crisp, and I used a half cup of packed light brown sugar, and it was perfect. My 2 year old gobbled some up at breakfast this morning, so if she likes it, it's a good recipe, LOL!
cranapplesauce
 

Crock Pot Cranberry Applesauce

  • About 5 lbs apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 bag fresh cranberries (12 oz)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • brown sugar, to taste (add a quarter cup at a time until you get the sweetness you want)
Peel, core & slice apples, and place in your slow cooker. Pour in the bag of fresh cranberries and throw in the cinnamon sticks. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
When done, remove the cinnamon sticks and mash the applesauce in the crock, or use an immersion blender, depending on whether you want a chunky or smooth sauce. Add some brown sugar, 1/4 cup at a time and taste it until you get the desired sweetness you want.
Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can also freeze or can this. I canned it, and got 6 pint jars out of the recipe.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Crock Pot Ham in Cider Gravy

**originally posted on WGLR.com on 11-10-14**

Oh do I have a good one for you this week! Are you like me, and still have some apple cider sitting in your fridge from a trip to an orchard this fall? I came across this recipe a few weeks ago and thought it would be a good one to try to use up the cider. Can’t get much easier than a 3 ingredient recipe! I admit I was a big skeptical, because generally, I am not a fan of fruit and meat together, but let me tell you…the gravy that this dish creates is AMAZING! For real. It’s worth making just to get the gravy. I was expecting sweet, and it wasn’t. It’s a super delicious combination of flavors. I’m so glad I decided to whip up some mashed potatoes to enjoy the gravy even more!
Putting a ham in a crock pot for your holiday celebrations is so easy, and it really helps to juggle other entrees because your oven is free for many other delicious Thanksgiving and Christmas dishes. I used a boneless hickory smoked ham, mainly because I could cut it in half to help it fit into my crock pot! So keep that in mind when choosing a ham, you want it to fit in your pot! Try this recipe this year, you won’t regret it!

crock pot cider ham

Slow-Cooked Ham in Cider Gravy

  • One ham, 1-4 lbs
  • 2 cups unsweetened apple cider
  • 3/4 cup REAL maple syrup (not the fake stuff!)
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
Place ham in the slow cooker and pour cider and syrup over it. Cook on Low for about 6 hours.
Then, remove the ham to a plate. Put liquid into a large 4 cup measuring cup or bowl.
Now, make the gravy. Whisk the cornstarch with 1/2 cup of the cider on the stove-top over low heat until smooth. Turn the heat up to medium, and continue to add the cider a bit at a time, whisking constantly, until all the cider is in the gravy.  Serve with the ham.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Crock Pot Beef Barley Soup

**originally posted on WGLR.com on 11-3-14**

This week's recipe is one of those that will "stick to your gut!" This one is for the beef lovers out there...it's Crock Pot Beef Barley soup! This is a really easy way to make a barley soup. On the stovetop, it takes a long time for barley to cook, and you have to keep an eye on it. For this recipe, the uncooked barley goes in with all the other ingredients at the start, and cooks to perfection, with no babysitting required! Good one to throw in your slow cooker before work, so you can come home to a perfectly cooked soup. It's more like a stew though, as it's quite hearty. Similar to an Irish Stew, but without potatoes.
beefbarleysoup

Crock Pot Beef Barley Soup

2.5 lb. chuck roast - cut into bite size pieces (or just buy stew meat)
1 cup pearl barley
2 medium onions - chopped
1 green pepper - chopped
6 carrots - chopped
1 14oz. can diced tomatoes
48oz. beef stock - more if needed
5 sprigs of fresh thyme - leaves pulled off stem (or 5 teaspoons dried)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
Add all ingredients to a 6-qt crock pot. Stir it all up and cook on low for 6-8 hours. You may want to check for liquid level and add more stock or water if needed, as the barley will absorb a lot of liquid as it cooks.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Harvest Chex Mix

**originally posted on www.WGLR.com on 11-27-14**
Happy Halloween Week! As I have mentioned often, I use my slow cooker year round. But, I do try to do seasonal dishes when called for. This time of year, I love to experiment with fun recipes that involve what I love about fall! One thing I definitely love is the spices in autumn dishes, from pumpkin spice to cinnamon and all that goes with it. I stumbled upon this recipe over the summer, and couldn’t wait for Fall to get here so I could try it. My son is a September baby, so this year, I finally had his birthday party (5th!) at a pumpkin patch, like I had always wanted to do! I made this recipe for guests to snack on at the party, and wow, is it delicious! My husband and I were snitching more of it than we should have when I first made it, because it is quite addicting (especially when warm out of the crock pot!). I almost had to make a second batch for the party, haha! This is a great one to do with your kids or grandkids, because they can help you measure and add all the ingredients easily. With Halloween parties/school events this week, this would be a perfect treat to make and throw in some decorated up small ziploc baggies to give to kids or co-workers. It would also make a really nice thing to set out at your Thanksgiving celebrations, so people can snack on something while waiting for the big meal to hit the table! PLUS, it makes your house smell DELICIOUS when you make it!!!!!
*note: The original recipe calls for mini graham crackers. I don’t think these are made anymore, i couldn’t even find them online. You can just break up larger grahams or omit them from the mix. If you don’t mind shapes in your mix, use Teddy Grahams, or I used Annie’s little graham cracker bunnies in mine!
pumpkin chex mix

SLOW COOKER PUMPKIN HARVEST CHEX MIX
  • 2 cups cinnamon Chex cereal
  • 2 cups Wheat Chex cereal
  • 3 cups Vanilla Chex cereal
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup mini graham crackers* (see note above)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup salted & roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
In a 5-6 quart oval crock pot, stir in cereals, pecans, graham crackers, cranberries & pumpkin seeds. Stir gently so you don’t break up the cereal too much.
In a small bowl, mix together melted butter, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice & vanilla. Pour over mixture in the crock pot, and gently stir until the mixture is evenly coated.
Cook UNCOVERED on HIGH for 2 hours, gently stirring every 15 to 20 minutes. When done, spread mix onto ungreased baking sheet or waxed paper. Let cool for 3-5 minutes (yeah right, I was eating it right out of the crock, YUM!).
Store in an air-tight container!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili

**originally posted on www.WGLR.com on 10-20-14**

It's BACK! Season FOUR of "Julie's Crock of the Week" is here! I just want to say thank you to all the folks who chat with me year 'round about the Crock of the Week. It is so much fun for me! Happy to be kicking off another season here on WGLR!

I'm going to start with a chili I made over the summer. This isn't your typical chili recipe though! This caters to those with a love of heat, specifically, the kind of heat you get when you eat some buffalo wings covered in sauce. My husband LOVED this one, it's definitely a "man-pleasing" meal, haha! I am a fan of dousing buffalo wings in ranch dressing when I eat them to counter the heat. So, this chili was a bit hot for me, BUT I stirred in a few tablespoons of light ranch dressing into my bowl and it gave it a great flavor and helped turn it down a notch for me to enjoy. Leftovers tasted even better with this one. Top with some crumbled blue cheese or mozzarella, and it's a delicious meal in a bowl! Enjoy!
IMG_0782

BUFFALO CHICKEN CHILI

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup diced bell pepper (any color you prefer)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cups diced chicken breast
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cans pinto beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 28 oz chicken broth
  • ¾ cup Buffalo wing sauce (or to taste. I used 1/2 cup of Frank's)
  • Blue cheese or fresh mozzarella for topping (optional)
Throw veggies and garlic with the olive oil into a skillet, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Dump into crock pot. Using the same skillet, salt and cook the diced chicken breast until it is browned up. Add to slow cooker. Stir in remaining ingredients of cumin, paprika, chili powder, oregano, pinto beans, canned tomatoes, and chicken broth. Cook on low for 7.5 hours. THEN add wing sauce, and cook for another half hour on low.  When serving, top with cheese if desired (or stir in some ranch dressing to "cool" it down a bit!).

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Crock Pot Beer Cheese Soup

Well, this is it, folks! The last recipe of Season 3! Thanks for another fun season, I so enjoy chatting with you all about crock pots and recipes :) This week's recipe is from the GRAND PRIZE WINNER of the Crock of the Week contest! Congratulations to Bernadine Mezera from Boscobel! You all need to make her recipe, it's delicious! Crock Pot Beer Cheese Soup! When this recipe was randomly chosen as the winner, I admit that I was a bit afraid because I wasn't confident that a great beer cheese soup could be made by me, but I was so wrong! This is restaurant quality beer cheese soup! Now, neither my husband or I are beer drinkers, but he does like the occasional Blue Moon, which is a wheat beer. So I went with that, since I knew there would be extra to drink up. It worked well, but you can use any beer of your choice, but I suggest not getting a cheap one or using a light beer.  Also, get a block of cheddar and shred it up instead of buying the already shredded stuff, which is more dry and has a chemical on it to keep it from sticking together. Go for the block cheese here. 

Beer Cheese Soup

CROCK POT BEER CHEESE SOUP

(FROM BERNADINE MEZERA)
32 OUNCES CHICKEN BROTH
16 OUNCES BEER
1/2 CUP CORNSTARCH
1/4 cup BUTTER, MELTED
1 CUP CARROT, DICED VERY THIN
1 CUP WHITE ONION DICED VERY FINE
4 OUNCES CREAM CHEESE
8 OUNCES SHARP CHEDDAR CHEESE, GRATED
SEA SALT, ABOUT 1 TEASPOON
BLACK PEPPER TO TASTE

ADD CHICKEN BROTH AND BEER TO SLOW COOKER, AND WHISK IN CORNSTARCH AND BUTTER UNTIL SMOOTH.
ADD CARROTS AND ONIONS TO SLOW COOKER.
COOK ON LOW FOR 8 HOURS.
ADD CREAM CHEESE AND SHREDDED CHEDDAR, AND SEASON WITH SALT, ABOUT A TEASPOON IS WHAT I USED, ADD GRADUALLY TO YOUR TASTE.  ADD PEPPER TO TASTE.
LADLE INTO BOWLS, AND SERVE IMMEDIATELY.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Crock pot baked Potato Soup

I got this recipe on a blog called "Mama Loves Food!" and wow, is it delicious! I have tried a few potato soup recipes in the past, but non were a keeper until this one. I think it's because this recipe uses cream cheese instead of heavy cream or milk. It is delicious! I used the new product from Green Mountain Farms that is a blend of cream cheese/greek yogurt. It works well in any cream cheese recipe, and is less calories. Enjoy!


Crock Pot Baked Potato Soup

  • 5 pounds russet potatoes, washed but NOT peeled. Diced into 1/2 inch(ish) cubes
  • 1 medium/large yellow onion, diced
  • 10 cloves of garlic, minced (if you use jarred, it's a 5 teaspoon equivalent)
  • 64 ounces (8 cups) chicken stock or broth
  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened 
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt 
  • optional garnishes: crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, green onions

  1. Add potatoes, onion, garlic, seasoning, and chicken stock to slow cooker.
  2. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours.
  3. Add the softened cream cheese and puree soup with an immersion blender until the cheese is incorporated and about half the soup is blended. (Alternately you could remove half the soup and the cream cheese to an upright blender, then re-incorporate).
  4. Stir well, top with your choice of garnishes & enjoy!