Monday, November 25, 2013

Crock Pot Lasagna Soup

(Originally posted on on 11-18-13)
This week’s recipe is a new one I tried over the weekend, and WOW! It’s DELICIOUS!! Definitely going to be made again in our house! It’s Crock Pot Lasagna Soup, and you will love it. Lasagna isn’t an ideal weeknight meal because of prep and bake time. Even prepping it ahead of time doesn’t always help because you need 45 minutes to an hour to bake it, which isn’t always possible with busy schedules. Here is the solution! It’s like lasagna in a bowl! Top it with some fresh mozzarella cheese, and you have the perfect meal for your family on a chilly evening.

Crock Pot Lasagna Soup

  • 1- 20oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1 lb ground beef (you can brown it first or just put it in the crock…depends on if you want to drain fat off the meat)
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup V8 vegetable juice
  • 4-5 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 cups uncooked small shell pasta
  • 1 cup water
  • shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)
Combine together diced tomatoes and tomato paste in the crock pot. Add in beef, broth, V8, garlic, parsley, basil, onion, salt & pepper. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-6. After that cooking time, add in the uncooked pasta and cup of water, and cook for an additional 30 minutes. When serving, you can top with shredded mozzarella.  Serves 6-8.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Crock Pot Apple Butter

(originally posted on on 11-12-13)
This recipe was the result of timing working well with two things last week. First, I had too many apples in my pantry from a few orchard trips in October that were going soft. Second, I got a new toy! An immersion blender! I have wanted one for a while and found a great deal for one online, and it came in the mail last week. So, I had the perfect combination to try to make my own apple butter! And let me tell you, it’s REALLY delicious, it turned out better than I expected. And don’t fret if you don’t have an immersion blender. I prefer smooth apple butter, but you can just enjoy it chunkier, or throw it in your blender, too. It tastes awesome on warm biscuits, toast, crackers, english muffins, etc.! And the best part is how this makes your house smell all day! So wonderful!


  • About a dozen medium apples, peeled, cored & diced (I used 18 small-medium, and got about a pint and a half of butter)
  • 1/2 cup water or apple cider (I used cider)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
Place apples in your crock pot, add in all other ingredients. Give it a good stir to coat all the apples with spices. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. The process is similar to making applesauce, except you need to cook it down more to a thicker consistency. After the initial cooking time, put (or keep) the crock on HIGH, and either vent the lid with a wooden spoon, or remover the cover altogether, and cook for another hour or two, checking consistency. It needs to thicken up to become apple butter.
When it cooks down to a thicker consistency than apple sauce, you can give it a good mash if you want it chunkier, or you can take the immersion blender to it to smooth it out. Store it in jars or plastic containers in the fridge.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Slow Cooker Southwest Chicken & Black Bean Soup

*originally posted on on 11-4-13

I just love the blend of Mexican spices in dishes, especially in soups. This soup fits the bill. It is hearty and filling, and you can easily stir in some sour cream and sprinkle with cheese and crushed tortilla chips to make a taco in a bowl. Mmmm yum. Make a double batch and freeze half of it for an easy dinner later in the season. So here you go, Southwest Chicken & Black Bean Soup!

SW chix soup


  • 1 lb. chicken breasts (frozen works fine)
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups no salt added chicken broth
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 2 teaspoons fresh cilantro, chopped (or 4 tsp dried)
Lay chicken on bottom of crock, and add all ingredients on top. Cook on low for about 6 hours, or high for 3. Take chicken out and shred up with 2 forks. Return chicken to crock pot and cook on low for another hour or on high for another half hour.

Serve with sour cream, cheese, etc. 1 cup serving is only about 150 calories! Without the extras on top, of course :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Pumpkin Angel Food Cake with Caramel Sauce

I have to start by saying I was pretty skeptical that this recipe would actually work. I have had it saved on my computer for over a year, and finally decided to try it. I made it while at work on Friday, for two reasons: First, if it didn’t turn out, I knew my co-workers would all still eat it. Radio people love free food, LOL! And second, if it DID work out, I didn’t want an entire pumpkin cake with caramel sauce in my house, haha! Luckily, it turned out! And, it made our office smell awesome. Now, I’m sure a pumpkin cake baked in the oven is a bit better for pretty serving purposes, but the MAGIC of this recipe is the caramel sauce! With this trick, you will wow your kids, spouse, mother-in-law, you name it! When you cook a can of sweetened condensed milk, it turns into a caramel sauce! Well, I’d call it more of a dulce de leche sauce, but it’s amazing! Even if you don’t want to make the pumpkin cake here, you can cook the can of sweetened condensed milk in your crock, too! Place 2 cups of water and the unopened can in your crock, and cook for 4 hours.
The photo shows what it looked like when I put it in the crock to cook, and then the finished product!
pumpkin cake

Pumpkin Angel Food Cake with Caramel Sauce

  • 1 box angel food cake mix
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1-1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1-14oz can sweetened condensed milk
Prepare angel food cake mix as directed on box. In a small bowl, mix together pumpkin, vanilla & pie spice. Fold into angel food cake batter.
SPRAY YOUR CROCK WITH COOKING/BAKING SPRAY! Take the paper off the can of sweetened condensed milk, and place in the middle of your crock (at least a 5.5 quart size oblong oval crock, and I put spray on the can, too). Pour the batter around the can in the crock.
Cook on high for 2 hours, then remove the cake (check with a toothpick for doneness, and it should be pulling away from the sides of the crock). Return the can of sweetened condensed milk to the crock with 2 cups of water, and cook for another 2 hours. Remove can and let cool a bit so you can open it. Give it a stir, and drizzle over pieces of the cake to serve.