Category Archives: Slow Cooker

CSA Week 1: Rice Bowl with Slow Cooker Short Ribs, Snap Peas and Pickled Carrots

This is one of those recipes where you can mix and match components according to whatever you have on hand. I really like the pickled carrots (or radishes, daikon, cucumber) for an extra tangy crunch on top. It ties it all together and adds a great zip of flavor to balance the salty, rich ribs and sweet peas.

In my CSA box this week (see my post here) there were A LOT of snow peas and sugar snap peas. If you’ve bought those before you know they are delicious but they don’t have a long shelf life. So I wanted to use a bunch of them quickly and this was the perfect place to stick them. I cooked a little extra just for snacking the next day or throwing in a salad.

You could probably use just about any kind of meat for this. I happened to have some short ribs and they cooked up beautifully in the crock pot, but chicken or pork would work equally well. You could even use leftovers if you have some or leave out the meat altogether for a vegetarian option.

Rice bowl with Slow Cooker Short Ribs, Pickled Carrots and Snap Peas

Rice bowl with Slow Cooker Short Ribs, Pickled Carrots and Snap Peas

Rice Bowls with Slow Cooker Short Ribs, Snap Peas and Pickled Carrots

1 package short ribs
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup brown rice
5-6 carrots, julienned
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp. mirin
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups snap peas or snow peas (I used a bit of both)
1 clove garlic
Pinch of crushed red pepper

Combine teriyaki and soy sauce. Put short ribs in the crock pot and pour teriyaki mixture over the top. Cook 6-8 hours until tender. Remove from crock pot and pull meat apart using two forks. Set aside.

In a zip lock bag or shallow bowl combine vinegar, mirin, sugar and salt. Add carrots and toss. Set aside and stir or turn every once in a while.

Cook rice according to package directions.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add a bit of oil and stir fry veggies, garlic and crushed red pepper, until crisp-tender.

Build your bowl with a bed of rice, topped with short ribs, pickled carrots and snap peas. If desired, drizzle with a bit of rice vinegar, soy sauce or sriracha.

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Roasted Pepper Black Bean Chili

I know, I know. It’s 80 degrees and I’m making chili. You might think I’m odd, but for me, chili is not just a winter food. One reason is I like it too much to confine it to just one season. The other is that I planted ten pepper plants and I have to find ways to use them, assuming I don’t kill them off before they produce anything. Besides, this is a recipe for the crock pot, which means no heating up the house with the oven!

The basic recipe for this is actually quite similar to my regular chili, but this time I used dried beans and roasted peppers and wow! it tastes completely different. Deeper, smokier, wonderful! You can use whatever combination of peppers you like or happen to have. I’ll list the combo I used, which resulted in a fairly mild but flavorful batch. Feel free to toss in some hotter ones if you are a five-alarm sort of person.

Plan ahead and soak your beans the night before to ensure they get done in the slow cooker. Or you can use canned beans in a pinch. This works well as a vegetarian recipe too, just leave out the ground beef.

Roasted Pepper Chili

Roasted Pepper Chili

Roasted Pepper Chili

2 cups dried black beans
4 cups water
2 poblano peppers
3 anaheim chiles
1 red bell pepper
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans fire-roasted tomatoes
1 pound ground beef
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2-3 tbsp. chili powder
2-3 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. oregano
Salt & pepper

The night before, rinse dried beans. Place in a bowl with at least six cups of water. Let soak overnight. In the morning, drain beans and put in crock pot. In a skillet, brown ground beef and add to crock pot.

Remove seeds and stems from peppers and lay skin-side up on a large cookie sheet. Place under broiler 4-5 minutes, until skin turns black. Remove and put in a paper or plastic bag to cool.

Add onion, garlic, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, oregano and cumin to crock pot.

Remove peppers from their bag, chop and add to the crock pot. Cover with about 4 cups of water, give it a stir. Cook on high for 6-8 hours until beans are soft. Add salt & pepper to taste.

This was even better the next day!

So good.

So good.

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Pork-a-Palooza! Ten things you can make with leftover pork roast.

I have to say that as far as cooking on a budget goes, the big prize recently goes to the pork roast.  I picked a couple of these up when they were on sale and boy did I get my money’s worth and then some!  I’ve posted most of these recipes already, but there were so many, and they were so spaced out (since we didn’t feel like eating pork every day for weeks) that I thought I would consolidate them all in one porky place for easy reference.  Just click on the recipe you want to get all the details.

The method that works best for me is to cook the roast up ahead of time in the oven or crock pot (my basic recipe is included in all of the blog posts below), shred all the meat, and portion it out into freezer bags or containers.  Simply pull one out for an easy meal with most of the work done already.

Works for breakfast…

Lunch…

Or Dinner…

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Going Green…Chili Style!

Just when I thought I had used up all my shredded pork, a gift came in the form of a gallon bag of shredded smoked pork from my uncle.  Not one to look a gift pig in the mouth, I divided it into a few containers and stuck it in the freezer to be doled out to my family at a later date.  Of course I had to cook some of it right away.  And it tastes amazing!  If you aren’t lucky enough to have people giving you pork, you can use leftovers from my basic pork roast recipe, or simply throw in a small pork roast or some chops.  Since this is a crock pot recipe they will cook up just fine over the course of the day.

When I went to school in Denver, I discovered the best Mexican food I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.  The general thinking there is to smother just about everything in green chili.  And I am okay with that!  And if you don’t feel like eating it over the top of a burrito, a nice bowl of it works just fine.  As opposed to most other places I’ve lived, in that style of cooking the green sauce is more spicy; the red sauce is the mild stuff.  I didn’t have a recipe for green chili, so I just winged it and was very pleased with the results!  Since we were planning to eat this as a soup/stew, I made this version chunkier than I remember, and added some black beans.  Not that that will stop me from using the leftovers to smother something – like a breakfast burrito!  Serve with rice and warm tortillas.

That's what I'm talkin' about!

That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Pork Green Chili

5-6 Anaheim Chiles
3-4 Poblano or Padilla Peppers
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or minced
3-4 cups shredded or chopped pork*
1 onion, diced
1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husked and quartered
4 cups chicken broth
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Salt to taste
2-3 tsp. ground cumin
Rice & tortillas for serving if desired

Looking yummy already!  Tomatillos and peppers.

Looking yummy already! Tomatillos and peppers.

Seed peppers.  You can do this to the small ones by cutting of the top, turning upside down and rolling between your hands or shaking out the seeds.  Or you can cut them in half and remove the seeds that way.

All ready to roast.

All ready to roast.

Lay out on a baking sheet and broil for 4-5 minutes per side until skin is blackened.

Leave them in there until the skin is nice and black.  It will peel right off once it is cool.

Leave them in there until the skin is nice and black. It will peel right off once it is cool.

Place in a paper or plastic bag to steam and cool.  When cool enough to handle, remove skins and coarsely chop peppers.

Add all ingredients to crock pot.  Turn on high for a 2-3 hours, then turn down to low and cook until dinner time.  Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

* If you don’t have a bunch of leftover shredded pork in your freezer, feel free to use a small pork roast, or pork chops.  Just put the meat on the bottom of the crock pot and pile everything else on top.  At the end of the day, take a couple of forks and pull the meat apart into shreds or chunks and remove any bones before serving.

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Shredded Pork Tostada “Salad”

Another entry in my “what to do with that giant pork roast” series, these started out as tostadas but I piled so many veggies on top that it ended up being more of a salad in my opinion.  Whatever it was, it was delicious.  Feel free to sub veggies you like for those you don’t.  Instead of salad dressing, we just used a liberal drizzle of salsa over the whole thing.  Wonderful.  And pretty too!

Shredded Pork Tostada "Salad"

Shredded Pork Tostada “Salad”

Shredded Pork Tostada “Salad”

Crunchy tostadas (I used 2 per person)
1-2 cups shredded pork (see below for the basic pork roast recipe)
Cheddar cheese
Mixed salad greens
Tomatoes, diced
Avocado, sliced or diced
Black olives, sliced
Salsa

If your pork roast is not hot, heat it up in the microwave or toss in a skillet for a few minutes to heat.  Since I typically use leftovers to make these that is what I did.

Top with cheese and pile on the other toppings to suit your tastes.  Drizzle salsa over the whole thing and eat!

Basic Pork Roast

Pork Butt or Shoulder Roast
1 onion, sliced or diced
2 cloves garlic
1 8 oz. can diced green chiles
Salt & pepper

Rinse pork roast and place fat side up in a dutch oven.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper, top with onion, chopped garlic and green chiles.  Put a lid on and roast at 350˚ for 3-4 hours, until tender and falling apart.  Pull apart with two forks to shred.

Alternatively you can do this in the crock pot (mine was too big this time, so I did it in the oven instead).  When I cook it in the crock pot, I turn it on high for the first hour, then down to low to cook the rest of the day.

Ready to pop into the oven or crock pot.

Ready to pop into the oven or crock pot.

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One Pork Roast, Many Meals – Pineapple Pork Wraps

I hadn’t planned to buy a roast.  The weather is warm, I’m trying to eat lighter, and really, comfort food wasn’t really what was on my menu this week.  But there it was on sale at a great price and it made me think, why not?  Cook once and eat for several days?  Sure.  And why does pork roast have to mean heavy and unhealthy?  It doesn’t.

I let the roast cook in the morning while it was still nice and cool, drained off the fat, shredded the meat and put it all away.  I was going to cook it in the crock pot but it was too big to fit!  This mammoth thing will easily make three or four meals for us.  I decided on quickie sandwich wraps for dinner #1.  I love pork and fruit together and this combo made for a delicious, light dinner.  For these wraps, you can use the pork warm or cold, whichever you prefer.

For the basic pork roast, scroll down for the recipe. I keep it fairly simple so it will work in a lot of different recipes.

Need other ideas for using up leftover pork roast?  Check out BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Shredded Pork Tacos, or Shepherd’s Pie!

Pineapple Pork Wraps

Pineapple Pork Wraps

Pineapple Pork Wraps

Shredded pork (about 1/2 cup per wrap)
1/2 cup thinly sliced pineapple
Mixed greens
Large wraps (we used the spinach herb wraps)

Pile the ingredients in the middle of the wrap, fold in the ends, roll up and slice in half.  Secure with toothpicks if needed.

Pineapple Pork Wraps

Pineapple Pork Wraps

Basic Pork Roast

Pork Butt or Shoulder Roast
1 onion, sliced or diced
2 cloves garlic
1 8 oz. can diced green chiles
Salt & pepper

Rinse pork roast and place fat side up in a dutch oven.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper, top with onion, chopped garlic and green chiles.  Put a lid on and roast at 350˚ for 3-4 hours, until tender and falling apart.  Pull apart with two forks to shred.

Alternatively you can do this in the crock pot (mine was too big this time, so I did it in the oven instead).  When I cook it in the crock pot, I turn it on high for the first hour, then down to low to cook the rest of the day.

Ready to pop into the oven or crock pot.

Ready to pop into the oven or crock pot.

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One Pork Roast, 3 Dinners. Day 2: Shredded Pork & Black Bean Tacos

For my second installment of the Pork Roast saga, I give you tacos.  Now yes, you can make tacos out of just about anything, but boy were these yummy.  Pulled pork is not something I usually have lying around, so it was a treat.  And these particular tacos had the added benefit of using pretty much all ingredients in my cupboards so I didn’t have to go to the store.

If you missed chapter one of my pork roast week, click here to see directions for the basic pork recipe and BBQ pork sandwiches.  Or skip ahead to part 3 for Shepherd’s Pie.

porkroast-burritos

Shredded Pork and Black Bean Tacos

2 cups (approx.) Basic Pulled Pork
1 can diced green chiles
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
Salt & pepper to taste
Flour or corn tortillas
Lettuce, cheese or other taco toppings (optional)

In a skillet on medium heat, add pulled pork, green chiles, black beans and seasonings.  Stir and cook until well combined and heated through.  Warm tortillas in the oven, pile filling in the tortilla, top with lettuce or whatever else you like on your taco and eat!

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One Pork Roast, 3 Dinners. Day 1: BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

I don’t usually think of kitchen equipment as seasonal, but it’s a fact that during the summer my crock pot is seldom, if ever, used but come winter, that baby is out of hibernation and parked on my kitchen counter.  I’m not really sure why that is but there you have it.

Taking the laziness (or brilliance!) of crock pot cooking one step further, I made a pork roast one day and turned it into three completely separate meals last week.  It worked out so well I think this will be part of my regular winter rotation from now on.  I see no reason you couldn’t replicate any or all of these recipes using a beef roast instead of pork if you have a preference.

porkroast3

Basic Pulled Pork

Basic Pulled Pork Recipe

One 2-3 pound pork butt or shoulder roast
Sea salt & coarsely ground pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 onion, chopped

Rub seasonings all over roast.

porkroast

Pork shoulder roast, all rubbed down and ready to go. (Mine came with a little meat thermometer already in it, but you are going to cook it til it’s falling apart so it’s not really necessary.)

Cover with onions.

porkroast2

Turn slow cooker on high for an hour, and then reduce to low and cook until dinnertime (I cooked mine about 6-7 hours total).  When tender, use two forks to pull pork apart into shreds (…and that’s where you get the whole “pulled” pork thing).

porkroast-BBQ2

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich. Simple and delicious!

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Pulled pork (about 2 cups)
1/2 – 3/4 cup of bottled BBQ sauce
1 tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. pepper
Swiss cheese
Kaiser rolls

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together barbecue sauce, honey and pepper.  Add pork and toss until all the pork is well coated.

porkroast-BBQ

BBQ Pulled Pork

Toast buns under the broiler, adding the cheese right before you take them out so it melts.  Pile on the BBQ pork and eat.  This is awesome served with a crisp coleslaw or green salad.

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Not Quite My Grandma’s Pot Roast

Sunday dinners at my Grandpa & Grandma Percival’s house when I was growing up almost always followed the same menu.  Pot roast with potatoes, corn, salad and a weird jello and fruit concoction that still shows up at every family dinner even though no one seems to actually like it.  My grandma was never really known for her cooking, but I always loved this meal.  To this day, pot roast is one of my favorite foods.

What my grandma is really known for is her frugality.  I wish I had absorbed a little more of that, but one thing I did learn from her was how to make the most of inexpensive ingredients in the kitchen.  She could take what was probably the cheapest, toughest piece of meat and turn it into something wonderful.  Her secret?  Give it a good sear on the stovetop, then in the oven for a nice, slow cook at a low temperature.  It doesn’t seem to matter what kind of roast you start out with, the results are always perfectly tender and flavorful.

Grandma usually just used a little water or broth for cooking liquid.  I’m sure she would gasp in horror at wasting wine in this manner, but I love the extra flavor it lends to the meat and veggies and it makes it all even more tender.  The meat just falls apart and melts in your mouth.  I love the way carrots taste when they are cooked with it, and it seems like we always fought over the carrots so I put in a lot.  You can add potatoes too if you have room in your cooking pot, or just cook them separately.  I wanted garlic smashed potatoes to go with this to make the most of the gravy, so I did them on the stovetop by themselves while everything else cooked in the oven.

By the way, this also cooks nicely in a slow cooker if you don’t have time for this method.  I still sear the meat on the stove, then add all ingredients to the crock pot (cut cooking liquid in half).  Cook on low all day.

Not Quite My Grandma’s Pot Roast

Not Quite My Grandma’s Pot Roast

Chuck roast (or any kind of beef roast, whatever size you want, I usually use a 1-2 pound roast for my little family)
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. dried rosemary
2 tbsp. butter
1 cup red wine
1 onion, sliced
2-4 cups baby carrots

Sprinkle roast with salt, pepper and rosemary and rub all over.

Pot Roast, rubbed with spices and searing in melted butter on the stove.

Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat and add butter to pan.  Swirl around to coat the pan and add the roast.  Cook 2-3 minutes until there is a good sear on the bottom, then using tongs or a fork, turn roast over and sear the other side for 2-3 minutes.

Seared to perfection.

Heat oven to 350˚.  Sprinkle onion slices on top of the roast and pour wine over the whole thing.

Ready to go in the oven.

Cover and place in oven.  Cook for 1 hour.  Add carrots (and potatoes, if you want) to the pan and cover again. Reduce heat to 250˚.  Cook another 2 hours at least.

Remove roast and veggies and put on a serving platter, reserving juice in the pan.

To make gravy:  In a small bowl or cup mix 1 cup water or milk (I usually use half of each) with 1 tbsp. cornstarch using a fork or whisk until there are no lumps.  Bring reserved roast juices to a boil, scraping any bits of stuff off the bottom and sides of the pan as well.  Add cornstarch mixture and stir constantly with a whisk until thickened.  Taste and add salt & pepper if needed.  Serve with roast and veggies.

One of my favorite dinners of all time. Pot roast with carrots and garlic smashed potatoes & gravy.

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Green Chile Chicken & Green Rice

I had someone ask me recently if I had any good slow cooker recipes.  And that reminded me – oh yeah! – I have one of those!  I decided to dust it off and take it for a long overdue spin.  So…this morning I took a look at the supplies I had and threw something in the magic pot to see what it would make me for dinner.  I have to say…the magic pot treated us very well.  Frozen chicken breasts and a couple other things transformed into a savory, spicy concoction over the course of a few hours.

Now you could serve this over regular rice, or just wrap it in a tortilla.  I decided to ramp it up and make some “green rice” to go with it.  I have to say, that stuff was so good I could eat it all by itself.  But why do that when you have some yummy chicken with which to smother it?  Sprinkle on some diced red pepper or tomatoes for a little touch of color, and dig in!

Green Chile Chicken & Rice

Green Chile Chicken

3 chicken breasts
2 cans of diced green chiles
1 onion, diced
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt

Put all ingredients in a crock pot.  Cook 4-6 hours.  Using two forks, pull the chicken apart into shreds.  Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Green Chile Chicken, all ready to eat.

Green Rice.  Well, it’s sort of green.  And definitely delicious!

Green Rice

2 tbsp. oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 1/4 cup rice, uncooked
1/2 cup cilantro
1 tbsp. lime juice
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 jalapeno
1/2 tsp. salt

In a blender combine cilantro, lime juice, garlic, cumin, jalapeno and salt, and 1/4 cup water (or liquid from the green chile chicken).  Puree.  Heat oil in a medium-sized sauce pan.  Saute onion for a minute or two.  Add rice.  Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes.  Add 2 1/2 cups of water or chicken broth and pureed cilantro mixture.  Stir to combine. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or so until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

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