Break out the slow cooker to make INCREDIBLE shredded chicken! This is one of my go-to recipes when I need a hassle-free recipe that feeds a crowd (especially around the holidays). Throw a few ingredients into your slow cooker, set it, and forget it (do you remember those infomercials?) Then I usually whip up a quick gravy to finish it all off. Your loved ones will thank you for making this for them.
There are many shredded chicken recipes out there, but this recipe calls for beer and butter. It’s worth repeating – Beer AND Butter! What do they say? Butta’ (and beer) make everything betta’. Or something like that.
When it comes to beer, there are a million styles and varieties to choose from, but for this recipe I think it’s best to use any type of light beer. We typically use a can of Miller Lite, but any light lager will do. Don’t be afraid. The beer adds a nice dimension to the meat that’s mild yet tasty. So don’t skip this step! Then we get to glorious, glorious butter. Butter adds a silky richness to the chicken. It’s a scrumptious combination. Trust me, I’m from Wisconsin. I know my beer and butter.
Spray the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray or use a liner. Place chicken breast in 5 quart slow cooker. Add the beer, chicken stock, butter and soup mix. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour, then low for 6-7 hours until meat is tender and shreddable. Shred meat and keep warm while you prepare the gravy.
Melt 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter in a small pot. Add flour and whisk, cooking for 1-2 minutes (it should be paste-like). Use 1 cup of chicken stock from the slow cooker mixture (or your own) and slowly incorporate it into the flour/butter roux while continuously whisking. After all of the liquid is incorporated and no lumps remain, raise the heat to medium/medium high until the gravy simmers. Add pepper, salt, and cayenne. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until the gravy thickens. Add gravy to chicken in slow cooker, mix, and serve on hot, tasted rolls.
You can use any type or any combination of ground meat that tickles your fancy. The fattier your meat, the more tender your meatballs will be. I chose to use turkey because I enjoy leaner meals. If you use turkey like I did in this recipe, your meatballs will cook a bit quicker. Keep a close eye on them to make sure they don’t overcook.
When I followed the recipe in the Tasty video, I found that my meatballs were very wet. I recommend dialing down the whole milk amount by 1/4-cup (the original recipe called for 1/2 cup of liquid). You can always add more if your mixture seems too dry. However, be mindful not to overwork your mixture.
A very important part of making a good meatball is to treat your meat gently. Man, that sounds weird, but believe me, it makes a difference. If you cook like I cook, once you get in that bowl with your bare hands, you want to keep mixing until the end of time. Be mindful – you want your mixture combined but if you mix for too long, your meatballs will be tough.
So try to show some restraint, will ya?
We gobbled these up for National Meatball Day. What a wonderful, glorious (random) holiday. Don’t wait until any sort of national day to make these. They’re awesome and you should make these immediately! This recipe makes about a couple dozen meatballs and fed us for multiple nights.
Slow Cooker Cheese-Stuffed Meatballs and Spaghetti
1 lb Ground Turkey
1 lb Italian Sausage
8-ounces Fresh Mozzarella
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 cup Italian-Flavored Bread Crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan
2 large eggs
1/4 cup Whole Milk
1/2 cup Parsley
64-ounces Tomato Sauce
Cut Mozzarella into 1/2-inch cubes. Set aside.
Using your hands (this is a requirement!, mix all ingredients together except for the Mozzarella, Tomato Sauce, and Pasta.
Line the bottom of your slow cooker with a layer of tomato sauce.
Form meat mixture into 1 1/4-inch meatballs. Stuff each meatball with a cube of mozzarella, reform into a ball, then place in the slow cooker. After you have made a layer of meatballs in your slow cooker, top with tomato sauce and repeat until all meatballs are formed and tomato sauce is used up.
Cook on high for 2 hours. Check meatballs for doneness. Continue cooking for up to 30 more minutes until cooked.
It’s apple season! There are bushels of apples on every corner at farmer stands. You can also pick your own at local orchards. As a senior in high school, my friends and I would leave the campus at lunch and go apple picking at least once or twice every fall. Apple picking is definitely a tradition I missed while I lived in Colorado. Bring on the apple harvest!
This is my favorite applesauce recipe. It’s so easy and simple. You can jar your homemade applesauce or this will keep in the fridge for five days or in the freezer for 3 months.
I usually leave my applesauce a bit chunky, but you can also blend this if you want a smoother applesauce.
And of course, I eat mine with grilled cheese. It’s weird but delicious. Weirdly delicious! This started when I was a kid. I would order grilled cheese and applesauce whenever my family brought me out to any restaurant and dip my sandwich into the applesauce. It’s something I’ve done every since. Try it, you might like it!
At the very least, make this crock pot applesauce. It’s so easy and so yummy!
Colorado never ceases to amaze me. It’s May and we’re still getting snow. Well, we got inches of snow last weekend, but still… SNOW! In MAY! What happened to Spring?
Oh well, before you know it the sun comes out and melts everything away. Plus, snow is an excuse for me to dust off the ol’ crock pot and make something that is warm and makes the entire house smell like awesome.
Like these scalloped potatoes for example. Oh my yum. These are hot, cheesy, and the perfect amount of salty from the ham. Just… drool-worthy. I burnt the roof of my mouth because I couldn’t wait to get this into my mouth.
Totally worth it.
Snow and scalloped potatoes… who needs Spring? Okay I do. But for now, I have these flowers.
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 large yellow onion, cut in half and sliced thin
1-1/4 cups heavy cream
1-1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 garlic gloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (NOT extra-sharp cheddar)
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1-1/2 cups diced thick-cut ham, cooked
Prepare your slow-cooker: Fold a sheet of parchment paper into a 3-inch strip and place inside perimeter of slow-cooker insert (along the sides). Lightly spray parchment paper with cooking spray. This will prevent the potatoes around the edge of the cooker from burning.
Par-cook potatoes: Toss potatoes with 2 tablespoons cream in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave until the edges of potatoes are translucent, 6-8 minutes, shaking bowl (without moving plastic) to redistribute potatoes halfway through cooking.
Whisk broth and cornstarch in large liquid measuring cup until smooth. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth mixture, remaining cream, salt and pepper and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 1 minute. Off heat, add cheeses, whisking until smooth. Add ham and combine.
Pour half of sauce into slow-cooker insert. Arrange potatoes in even layer over sauce and pour remaining sauce over potatoes. Cover and cook on low until potatoes are tender, 5-6 hours. Let cool 20 minutes. Remove parchment and serve.
Tasty Meat Warning: Only make this dish if you enjoy extremely tender, juicy shredded beef. If you’d rather have dry, tough meat, this recipe is not for you.
I began this delicious journey when Mister chose a DIY Nacho Bar for our big Super Bowl entree. I found this recipe for barbacoa on Serious Eats and used it as a guide. Although Serious Eats says to braise the beef for 4 hours at 275, I made my own version of a sauce and braised it in my oven at 250 degrees F for 6 hours instead. The roast was tough and not at all what I expected it should be. I plopped the roast and the sauce with some additional water into a crock pot and let it cook slowly for another 4 hours. The results were unbelievable. The beef was moist and fell apart to the touch.
Now, I’m no food scientist but I don’t think the time my beef braised in the oven vs the time in my crock pot really made a difference overall. At any rate, my beef was slowly braising for a long period of time no matter its location. I think the crock pot would have been just fine.
So this is how I made the best barbacoa I have ever eaten in my lifetime. It’s great for nachos, tacos, burritos or just for eating. This recipe is a new favorite in our household!
3 chipotle chilis packed in adobo, roughly chopped, with 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fish sauce
3.5-4 pounds beef chuck roast
Salt and Pepper
2 whole bay leaves
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Brown all sides of the beef for 3-4 minutes on each side (or until color forms). This will add a ton of flavor to your beef. Remove the beef and place it in your crock pot.
In the same pan, reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and heat along with onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until deep brown in color, about 8 minutes. Add cumin, cloves, and oregano and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chipotle chilis, vinegar, and remaining chicken broth. Scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pan then transfer entire contents to the jar of a blender. Add the fish sauce and start blender on low and slowly increase the speed to high. Puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour into the crock pot.
Add the bay leaves and enough water to mostly cover the beef. Set to high heat for 1 hour, then reduce heat to low for 7-9 more hours, or until the beef can be easily pulled apart with a fork. Make sure to add more water if necessary. Remove the beef and shred in a container, add enough juice from the crock pot to cover the beef and serve. This will keep in the fridge for days. You can also freeze individual bags of the beef too for easy meals later on.
In November, the company I worked for was purchased by a competitor. The employees weren’t given any information on whether or not the changes would be positive or negative for us. The rumors flew but without any solid information, all we could do was prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Yesterday we finally got our answer and the new company held their first round of layoffs. I was a part of the first round of cuts.
I’ve never been unemployed or qualified for unemployment before. I really enjoyed this job until the buyout. My manager was great, the people I worked with were friendly and competent and I really enjoyed my work. Plus I felt like the work I did was appreciated, until recently at least. It was nice to make a difference. Change can be a scary thing but nothing good ever happens until you take a risk, right? I’m taking this opportunity to find another great job where the work I do makes a difference again.
Throughout the last few days I have received so much support from friends and family. Thank you for your kind words, and offering a helping hand, and even asking around if anyone knows if there is a job available. I never expected this much support. It’s absolutely wonderful and makes this transition that much easier. I can’t thank you guys enough. I love you all very much.
Okay, back to the food portion of this post. My fiscal cleanse couldn’t have come at a better time now that I’m unemployed. I went through my pantry and found a ranch packet and some leftover pesto. I tossed those into a slow cooker with chicken thighs as an experiment (why not?). The chicken turned out full-flavored and fall-apart tender. Definitely a new favorite crock pot recipe.
I didn’t have potatoes on hand, but I bet that you can toss them in with everything else and they would turn out just as tender as the carrots did. I also thought the dish was salty enough because of the ranch packet.
About a pound of potatoes, cut into inch-thick chunks
6 ounce jar of pesto
1 package Ranch Dressing Seasoning Mix
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 cup baby carrots
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth, plus extra
1/4 cup white wine
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon paprika
pepper, to taste
Place all ingredients except for the chicken into your slow cooker. Place the chicken on top of the veggies (there should be enough liquid to mostly cover the chicken, add more stock if necessary) and cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Reduce heat to LOW for 6 to 7 hours until the chicken is cooked and the veggies are tender.
I absolutely love chicken tortilla soup and had a craving for it the other night. I only had ground beef in my freezer and decided to try The Country Cook’s Taco Soup recipe out to satisfy my craving. This soup turned out surprisingly tasty. It’s almost like a Mexican take on chili. Plus you just dump everything into your crock pot and forget about it until the smell drives you INSANE and you can’t resist eating a spoonful …or six.
The original recipe calls for ground beef but I think ground turkey is a fine substitute if you are looking to cut down on the fat. The spices will make up for the leanness (and sometimes blandness) of the turkey meat. I’m also tempted to try this with shredded chicken next time too. Yum!
If you’re looking to cut down on the heat, buy canned tomatoes without the green chiles. If you want added heat, add a dash of cayenne or a diced jalapeno to your pot.
In a pan, brown and crumble ground beef or turkey along with diced onion (season with a pinch of salt & pepper). Drain excess grease.
Put meat and onion mixture in slow cooker. Add in diced tomatoes, corn, pinto beans, beef broth and water. Stir in packets of ranch dressing mix and taco seasoning. Give it all a good stir and set on low for 6 to 8 hours.
Serve with toppings such as crushed corn tortilla chips, sour cream, Mexican cheeses and chopped green onion.
That’s right. I, Miss Foodie McBooty, was so intimidated by the IDEA of baking bread that I’ve steered clear of any recipe and given every bread-maker the stink eye. Now, I’ve successfully made denser breads like banana bread before so I’m not sure what I was so afraid of. I guess it’s because I have such a hard time with dough, that I had accepted the fact that bread making wasn’t a part of my DNA… until now.
I discovered the easiest, practically fool-proof loaf of bread recipe that you can make at home. No bread maker necessary! This bread is wonderful in all the right ways in all the right places. The outside is rustic and crusty while the inside is chewy and delicate. Who knew that such a beautiful thing could be created with little elbow grease and some patience? Well, someone knew… I just hadn’t made it myself yet.
All you need for this recipe to work is a dutch oven (or I used the stone pot from my crock pot and covered it with an oven safe lid).
3 cups all-purpose flour (or 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour)
1½ tsp salt
½ tsp active dry yeast
1½ cups warm water (not hot, feels room temperature when touched)
In a large glass bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and yeast. Stir in the water with a wooden spoon until a shaggy looking ball forms. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 12-18 hours on your countertop. Alternatively, you can place the bowl in the oven with only the light turned on. The dough should rise in about 6 to 8 hours like this.
After that time, your dough should look moist, bubbly and almost doubled in size. Take a spatula and plop the dough onto a floured surface. Wet your hands (to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands) and grab the dough and fold over all ends toward the middle. Turn the dough over so you get a nice, smooth, tight surface. Gently move the dough onto a floured towel or parchment paper. Cover loosely and let nap for another 2 hours. It should puff up nicely in size.
A half hour before the nap ends, pre-heat your oven to 450ºF with a rack in the middle position.
Place a large Dutch oven, with the lid on, into the pre-heated oven to warm for 30 minutes. You can also use any large, lidded cast iron or pyrex dish, so long as it can handle 450ºF.
Place the dough ball into the heated Dutch oven, put the lid on, and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid and return to the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown, sounds hollow when knocked on, and an instant-read thermometer registers between 190ºF and 210ºF.
Ever wonder how your favorite BBQ joint makes their pork so dang good? I did too until now. The secret to their recipe? Cook your pork shoulder low and slow. Okay, that might be a very well-known secret but this was the first time that I tried the “low and slow” method in an oven.
Up until now, I had prepared my pork shoulder in my crock pot. Inspired by an episode on Food Network this week (they’ve been airing BBQ madness for a while now) I decided to try my luck with the oven. Now that I have tasted the juicy, tender, all-mighty oven pork, I will never cook pork shoulder in my crock pot again.
My pork turned out absolutely perfect. I feel like if I would place my plate of pork (Subject A) next to that BBQ joint’s plate of pork (Subject B), taste-testers wouldn’t be able to tell the difference! I’m that confident. The catch? You can’t leave your oven on all day unattended like you can with a crock pot. So if you’re going to try this method, do it on your day off (I recommend glasses of cold beer to keep you busy in the mean time).
Note: I updated this recipe based on all of your suggestions. I changed the internal temperature from 170 degrees to 200 degrees. 170 degrees is where a pork roast is cooked and sliceable, but 200 degrees is fall-apart tender. I also added two more hours to the cook time, to accomodate the internal temperature change. Thank you for your comments!
1 (6-pound) pork shoulder or pork butt, bone in preferred
3 tablespoons paprika (I used smoked paprika)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
Preheat your oven or smoker to 225 degrees F. Lightly score your pork with a sharp knife. Mix the dry rub ingredients together and rub the spice blend all over the pork. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to overnight.
Put the pork in a roasting pan and roast for 10-12 hours, uncovered. Check the pork at 10 hours. An instant-read thermometer stuck in the thickest part of the pork should register at least 200 degrees F. Your pork should also pull easily apart. If it isn't done, increase the cook time in increments of 30 minutes.
When the pork is cooked, take it out of the oven and place it on a platter to cool. Allow the meat to rest for at least 30 minutes. Once rested, use 2 forks to shred the meat. Serve as is, on a bun, on a baked potato or combine with your favorite BBQ sauce.
If you wish to use the meat later, wrap the cooked pork in double foil to retain the juices and refrigerate or freeze.
I make corned beef every year for this very occasion. I absolutely loved homemade corned beef – by itself, piled high on sandwiches or in a breakfast hash. Slow-simmered corned beef is extremely (and I mean EXTREMELY) tender and flavorful!
I saw this recipe on Oleander and Palm and knew I had to try it. Man, let me tell you that this recipe is a KEEPER! Jot this one down folks…
If that weren’t convincing enough, I always put beer in my crock pot with corned beef. It is an Irish holiday right? I also don’t bother peeling the carrots if I add them to the pot. They’re in there long enough that I feel like I lose a lot of those carrot nutrients if I do. Plus I’m a fan of the rustic food look.
4 pounds raw corned beef brisket with spice packet
1 cup honey
1 cup whole grain mustard
Rinse your brisket and pat dry. Place the onion, brisket and seasoning packet in a slow cooker, add your beer and cover with water.
Cook the brisket for 8 hours on low. Just before you're ready to eat, heat the broiler to high heat. Trim off any fat on the exterior of brisket. Carefully remove the brisket from the crock pot and place it in a baking dish.
Mix together the honey and mustard and pour directly over the top of the brisket, coating evenly. Broil for 5-7 minutes or until the glaze begins to brown and caramelize. Slice and serve.
Add 1 pound large carrots (cut into 2-inch pieces) and 10 baby red potatoes (quartered) into your crock pot for a delicious side dish. Add 1/2 head cabbage (cut into wedges) about an hour before the brisket is done.
The first time I tried mushrooms like these, I was at the absolutely scrumptious Mediterranean Restaurant in Boulder, CO. I remember the room lit up as my mouth danced in ecstasy. These garlicy little bits are now one of my favorite things to order on their menu. I can eat an entire bowl on my own, but I am usually forced to share. Shucks.
Then I saw the lovely Dee Drummond’s Burgundy Mushrooms recipe (see above picture) on her Pioneer Woman website and the stars aligned. I knew then that I had to make them for myself.
Mister washed all the mushrooms while I readied the crock pot with the flavor goodies. I would like to note that four pounds of mushrooms is A LOT of mushrooms! They didn’t fit in my crock pot at first. I had to slowly add the remaining mushrooms as the simmering ones shrunk in the pot.
Warning: The aroma of simmering mushrooms and garlic will drive you buggy.
We have this local butcher shop where I love to go and browse their case of fresh cut meat. If you’re a carnivore, this place is irresistible. I typically go there with every intention of browsing and find myself shoveling out my week’s allowance to buy beautifully marbled steaks or loins of lamb.
I may be due for an intervention.
During my last trip to the shop I met a very nice gentleman who was waiting for the butcher to cut his selections this way or that. He asked me about my non-existent husband whom I played off as if he were busy working. As we continued waiting for our orders (and my dream of being a stay at home cook rattled in my brain), he pointed out several cuts of meat to me.
“I am in here at LEAST twice a week. My favorite thing over here you ask? Why, the tri tip of course. It’s underrated in my opinion. Slow cook that thing and it’ll be the best thing you’ll ever eat.”
Yes-siree-bob, I added tri tip to my order as well. I had the butcher cut four pounds of the stuff in half, went home, and slow cooked the heck out of ’em. Two ways!
My first method involved browning the outside of the meat, seasoning and roasting it in the oven (on low) over the course of many hours. The tri tip turned out flavorful but tough. I was not satisfied. I readied my second chunk of tri tip for a slow, low simmering bath. I made sure the entire roast was covered in broth and let it do it’s thing while I was at work. Man, do I ever love that smell. You know, the smell where you come home after a long day at work, ready to ice your dogs and kick back and enter a home full of aromas so good that you want to lick the air.
This method of cooking turned out perfect. The meat was tender, moist and super flavorful. This recipe is a new “set it and forget it” favorite for me.
2-3 pounds of tri tip or beef rib meat (leave the bone on during cooking then remove before eating to give your broth a flavor bonus)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon or so of butter
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper, as desired
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
3 or 4 carrots, cut into chunks
2 stalks celery, chopped (optional)
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh sage
3 cups beef or chicken broth
1/2 to 3/4 cup of red wine, reserve for sipping
Pat the meat dry, sprinkle with salt and pepper then dredge in flour. Heat the oil and butter in a large pot. Add the meat and brown on all sides over medium heat. You really don't want to cook your meat. You're just giving it some color. Remove the meat from the pot and place on the side.
Add the onions, carrots and celery (if using) and saute for a couple of minutes while stirring occasionally. You may need to add another tablespoon of oil if your pan seems too dry. Pour in the wine and scrape the yummy browned bits on the bottom of your pan as the wine evaporates. Place your meat back into the pot then add your broth, Worcestershire sauce, more salt and pepper (I recommend more pepper than salt just because the wine has a lot of salt in it already) until your meat is mostly covered. Place your fresh sprigs of herbs lightly on the top. Bring your pot to a boil then allow it to simmer, covered, for at least 3 hours (I prefer to leave mine overnight for a good 6-8 hour simmer - crock pots work great for this).
Make sure you check your roast from time to time. Try not to disturb your roast by doing so (no flipping please) but check to see if there is enough liquid to cover the meat. Add more if there isn't. Remove your sprig twigs and any bones before serving.
The broth is pretty darn good as-is, but if you're an au jus person like I am, I recommend taking some of your broth from the crock pot and placing it in a small pan. Cook the stock over medium heat until it reduces by half. Add more pepper, salt and thyme. Drench your entire plate in it or serve it on the side. Yum!
Please note: The top recipe image does not belong to me. This image belongs to Running Upward. Thank you for taking such a nice picture of your tri tip pot roast where I failed to do so myself. She added feta and sun-dried tomatoes to her pot roast too. Yum!