Monday, November 26, 2012

Crock Pot Garlic Smashed Potatoes

(This was originally posted on the WGLR website last week, so it WAS Thanksgiving week, LOL!)

Thanksgiving week is here! If you are prepping the big meal for your family, or contributing a dish to pass at your celebration, I am here to help! With the oven full, why not use your crock pot to make one of your side dishes?! Brilliant! Pull it out and make some Garlic Smashed Potatoes! You can mash these and keep them warm in the crock so you don't have to worry about the last minute mashing and prepping of the potatoes while trying to get the dinner to the table. They taste great with or without gravy! Happy Thanksgiving!



3 lb red potatoes (you can choose to peel or leave the skin on, whatever you prefer)
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2/3 cup water
1 cup onion & chive cream cheese (one 8oz tub)
2 Tbsp butter
1/3 to 1/2 cup whole milk or heavy cream (I just used 2% milk)

Cut potatoes in half or quarters to make chunks about the same size. Place potatoes in a 4qt crock or larger. Add garlic, onion, oil, salt, pepper, and water and mix to coat. Cover crock pot and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours until potatoes are tender.

Mash potatoes roughly with a fork or potato masher. Stir in cream cheese and butter until melted and mixed in, then add enough milk or cream for desired consistency.

You can serve this right away, or cover and hold it in the slow cooker up to 2 hours on low/warm. Makes about 14 servings, 1/2 cup each.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Crock Pot Bacon Cheeseburger Soup

This kind of weather begs for soups and stews to be eaten. Crock Pots and soups go together like PB & J. So this week, I am offering an easy-to-throw-together soup for your enjoyment! I took this recipe and tweaked it some by adding a few extra ingredients, to make it more like it's name...Crock Pot Bacon Cheeseburger Soup! Serve this with a chunk of crusty bread, and you are all set.

Crock Pot Bacon Cheeseburger Soup

1 lb ground beef
1 container Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cooking Cream, Original flavor (I used the garlic flavor since the original was sold out, it was good!)
8oz Velveeta (I use the lighter 2% variety)
1-15oz can diced tomatoes
5oz DILL pickle relish
1 small onion diced
6 slices bacon, crumbled (I used the Real Bacon Pieces by the salad dressings to save time...DON'T use the fake pink bacon bits, or you'll get pink soup!)
1 bag frozen shredded hash brown potatoes (about a pound and a half to a 2lb bag)
32oz chicken broth (I used low sodium)

Brown and drain the ground beef. Cook and crumble the bacon. Then add all ingredients into the Crock Pot. The Velveeta will work better if you dice it up instead of throwing in the whole chunk. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6, stirring every hour or so.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Caramel Apple Cider!

I am offering something different this week. I think one of the best treats of autumn and the upcoming holiday season is all the wonderful aromas that swirl around our homes, and especially in our kitchens. The scent of something apple cooking away is at the top of that list. Let me tell you, not only will this week's Crock of the week please your palate and warm your belly, it will make your house smell delicious! This is a nice thing to throw in the crock to feed a mass of kids with runny noses who have been playing outside for hours (or adults enjoying the outdoors, too!), and it makes them feel extra special when you top it with some whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel. It also works great for all of those holiday parties coming up in the next few months. It's a nice change of pace from hot chocolate. I used fresh cider from a local orchard, but with those closing up now, the store bought on the shelf will work too. Don't spend 5 bucks on one of these at Starbucks...make it yourself and save some cash!

This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. A double batch works well in my 5qt Crock Pot.

Crock Pot Hot Caramel Apple Cider

4 cups apple cider (juice will work too if you can't find cider)
3 T caramel sauce (like ice cream topping)
1/2 T ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
whipped cream and caramel (optional)

Combine all ingredients into a 2 qt Crock Pot. Cook on low for 4 hours to let all the spices simmer together. Serve warm with whipped cream and some caramel drizzled on top.

**Tip: Keep the cider container and pour leftovers back into that to refrigerate. Reheats well!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers

This week's recipe is something that you may have prepared before in your oven, but honestly, you should make them in your slow cooker! STUFFED PEPPERS! They made our house smell REALLY good! And everybody feels special with their own little pepper on their own little plate :)

This recipe made 5 peppers and they fit well in my 6 quart crock pot (I took one out to cool down for my 3 year old before I remembered to take a photo, oops!). I probably could have fit a 6th one in too if I had to, but I used all the filling in 5 peppers. Look for wide & fat peppers with straight bottoms, as opposed to tall and skinny ones. The fat ones will sit in the crock better.

***TIP!! Traditionally, stuffed pepper recipes call for COOKED rice, but save yourself some time and use uncooked minute rice in the mixture! Works like a charm and saves you a dirty dish/pan too!


- 5-6 green peppers (yellow or red work too!)
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 cup cooked rice or 3/4 cup uncooked minute rice
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 T ketchup
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
-1/3 cup water

Wash peppers and slice the tops off, save tops. Scrape out the center/seeds. Mix the ground beef, rice, Worcestershire sauce,  ketchup, and salt & pepper together in a medium bowl. Generously fill each pepper with the meat mixture, and place in the crock pot. Set the tops back on each pepper. Pour the water into the bottom of the crock.

Cover and cook for 6-8 hours on low, or 4 hours on high. Serve each pepper whole! Yum!