crockpot cheeseburgers.

January 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

Ground beef.  It kind of perplexes me.  I hardly ever buy it, cause I don’t really know what to do with it, aside from making traditional beef tacos.  But, Ty came home a few weeks ago with about 15 pounds of frozen ground beef — his share from an auction.  So now I feel challenged to think of how to use it – aside from endless taco nights.

I think I found the answer:  these crockpot cheeseburgers.  Simple?  Yes.  Makes a lot?  Yes, so plenty to eat off of for dinner all week long.  Win!  Plus I love finding another go-to slow cooker recipe.

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Crockpot Cheeseburgers

Recipe from How Sweet Eats

What you need:

  • 3 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons mustard
  • 6 ounces cheddar, cut into small cubes
  • buns
  • other toppings as desired, such as lettuce, tomato, and extra cheese

What to do:

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add a drizzle of olive oil.  Put the diced sweet onion in the skillet and cook for several minutes, until it becomes translucent.  Then add the minced garlic.  Cook for an additional few minutes.  Add the ground beef, salt, and pepper, and cook the beef just until it starts to brown.  This will take about 5 minutes.  Transfer the ground beef into the slow cooker, and add the milk, ketchup, and mustard.  Stir in the cubed cheddar cheese.  Slow cook the beef on low for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

I prepared the sandwiches as sliders on toasted King’s Hawaiian buns, with a heaping spoonful of the beef, a little extra cheddar cheese, and some lettuce.

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I’m obsessed with King’s Hawaiian rolls.  They are the best, in my humble opinion.

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What are your favorite ground beef recipes?  I’d love to know.

slow cooker Big Red soup.

January 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

I am not a Nebraska Cornhusker, aka a “Big Red” fan.  I am 100% a Ohio State Buckeye (and a Kent State Golden Flash every now and then because of my fiancé.)  But I sure do love this Big Red Soup.   The soup may be named for a Nebraska football team, but spoiler alert:  It’s just a simple, tasty slow cooker soup that will keep well in the fridge all week long.

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Slow Cooker Big Red Soup

adapted from Taste of Home magazine

What you need:

  • 2 pounds beef stew meat (cut in 1-inch cubes)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3/4 cup of chopped sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans of tomatoes in sauce (14.5 oz cans)
  • 1 can of low-sodium beef broth (10.5 oz can)
  • 1 can of low-sodium chicken broth (10.5 oz can)
  • 1 can of tomato soup, condensed and undiluted (10.75 oz can)
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup of picante sauce
  • tortilla chips and shredded cheese for topping

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What to do:

Drizzle your olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Cook the beef until it’s browned on the outside.  Then, put the beef in the bottom of your slow cooker.  Add all of the additional ingredients, except for the chips and cheese.  Let the soup cook on low for 8-10 hours, until the beef is tender.  Ladle the soup in bowls.

Top with crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheddar cheese, if you like.

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I definitely like.

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slow cooked beef short ribs.

November 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

A quick story for you:  last month, my boyfriend, Ty, took me on a trip to the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky for my 30th birthday.  It was a wonderful trip, and we ended it at this restaurant in downtown Louisville called Proof on Main.  In typical fashion, I had been stalking the restaurant menu for weeks, planning my meal.  I was either going to order the short rib or the bison burger with truffle fries.  Then, we get there, and at the very last second, I blurt out an order for the gnocchi with duck.  Ty orders the short rib.  I start to panic internally—why in the world did I decide to order duck gnocchi?  I guess I felt compelled to be spontaneous?

Anyway, fast track 10 minutes or so, and they bring out a luscious, gigantic short rib served on a bed of roasted cauliflower to Ty.  And they bring out an odd plate of tiny gnocchi with huge chunks of duck meat to me.  Immediate entrée selection regret.  And at my 30th birthday dinner of all times.  Tears may have been welling in my eyes.  I cannot confirm this.  But no questions asked, Ty swaps our plates.  He takes my odd duck dish and gives me his absolutely divine, melt in your mouth short rib entree.

I am one lucky lady.  (Even though I’m pretty sure he did this only because it was my birthday and I was already kind of emotional about starting a new decade.  We are both pretty possessive of our food. No joke.)

Anyway, back in Ohio, I decided to attempt short ribs at home, for the first time, as a thank-you to him.

I totally delivered.

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The best part about this recipe is—the slow cooker!  I am convinced it is magical.  The meat just gets so tender.

You do need to brown the ribs before they take their extended slow cooker nap.  It really does make a big difference, and only takes a few minutes.  I also know short ribs are on the more expensive side, but they are totally worth it for a special dinner at home.  Definitely much less expensive than ordering them at a restaurant!  Win win.

Recipe adapted from Eat, Live, Run

What you need:

  • 3 pounds of beef chuck short ribs
  • 2 whole shallots, minced
  • 2 ½ cups of Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 C beef broth (I used low-sodium)
  • 3 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 ½ tablespoon of all-purpose flour
  • Black pepper and sea salt, for seasoning

Directions:

The first thing you need to do is brown your short ribs.  To do this, heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat.  Wait until the skillet warms, then add your short ribs.  I seasoned them very lightly with black pepper and sea salt.  Let the short ribs brown on one side for 4 minutes, then use a pair of tongs to flip them.  Brown the other side for 4 minutes.  They should be starting to caramelize.

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Using your tongs again, move the short ribs from the skillet to your slow cooker.  Let the ribs be for a few minutes while you make your sauce!

Allow the skillet to cool for a few minutes, then turn it on medium heat.  Saute your minced shallots for 5 minutes.  Then, add your tomato paste.  Saute for another 4 minutes.

Now the fun part!  Add the wine and the beef broth into the skillet.  Stir with a spatula, mashing the tomato paste into the liquid mixture.

Add your brown sugar and flour.  It will take a few minutes to stir the mixture well and be sure to mash out any clumps of flour.

Let the sauce come to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  This will smell amazing, by the way.  Ladle the sauce over the short ribs already in your slow cooker.  Add another dash of salt and pepper, then close the lid, and set the slow cooker either to cook on high for 7-8 hours or low for 11-12 hours.

I cooked ours on high for 8 hours, and when I removed the lid to check the meat, it was so tender, it slipped right off the bone.  Score!

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I served these over some mashed potatoes and sautéed mushrooms.

I still haven’t fully recovered.  So good.

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slow cooker bourbon chicken sandwiches with apple slaw.

October 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

I have a confession:  Sometimes I get overwhelmed in the kitchen.  There are those moments when it seems I’ve used every spatula and skillet I own to prepare one simple recipe.  There are times when the dish just doesn’t turn out the way I hoped.  But more often than not, the recipe turns out better than I expected–and every messy utensil and dish was so worth it.

This is one of those recipes.  People, these bourbon chicken sandwiches are SO GOOD.  I promise.Image

I saw the recipe on Iowa Girl Eats and adapted it ever so slightly.  What great flavors!  Also, having just returned from the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky, I was looking for an excuse to cook with bourbon.  Mmmmmm.  There are two parts to this recipe:  the slow cooker bourbon chicken, and the apple slaw.  They go so good together!  These measurements will amount to six generous sandwiches.

What you need:

for the bourbon chicken…

  • 2 pounds of chicken breasts, sliced in half
  • 1 C ketchup
  • ½ C bourbon (I used Jim Beam)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (I used low-sodium)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

for the slaw…

  • 3 C thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 2 small apples, thinly chopped (I used honeycrisp!)
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt

to complete the sandwiches…

  • 6 oz. gouda cheese
  • 6-pack of King’s Hawaiian sub rolls (you could use any bread, but these are amazing)

What to do:

Place all of your sauce ingredients into a large slow cooker.  Whisk until blended.

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Put your chicken breast halves into the slow cooker and cover with the sauce.  Cook on low for 4-5 hours, until chicken is tender and pulls apart easily.

After your chicken is done cooking—and before you shred it—remove two cups of the liquid from the slow cooker and bring it to a boil in a small saucepan.  Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer for 20 minutes or so.  It will begin to reduce and thicken.  Set this reduced sauce aside.  Shred your chicken and keep it in the slow cooker with the remaining liquid.

Blend your olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, and lime juice in a large bowl.  Add your sliced cabbage and chopped apple to the bowl and thoroughly coat.  Sprinkle with sea salt.

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Now:  construct your sandwiches!

Line a baking sheet with foil, and lay out your bun tops and bottoms.  Top each bun bottom with shredded chicken and a spoonful of the reduced sauce, then a slice (or 5) of gouda.

Broil for 2-3 minutes, until cheese melts.  Keep a close eye on them so the bread turns golden, but doesn’t burn.

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cheese melting action.

Top each sandwich with a heaping spoonful of the apple slaw.  Then:  EAT ALL THE SANDWICHES!

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slow cooker shredded beef with french fries.

September 23, 2013 § 1 Comment

I’m pretty excited to share this recipe for my shredded beef, which is my Mom’s.  Tender, juicy beef, in a delicious broth.  Serve it up over simple oven-baked french fries and you’ve got pure bliss.  I also credit this meal with preparing me and my boyfriend for our recent half marathon — it was an ideal protein and carb load two nights before the race.

Now, I realize photos of shredded beef aren’t the most appetizing (unless you are me and get really excited about meat).  But I promise this is a no-fail recipe & you will love it.

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Shredded Beef

What you need:

  • 2 and a 1/2 pound boneless beef roast (preferably an English roast, rump roast, or eye of round roast)
  • 1 can French Onion soup (I used Progresso)
  • 2 tsp. beef bouillon granules
  • 1/2 C Ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. black pepper

What to do:

Using a fork, make a dozen or so tiny puncture holes on both sides of the beef roast.  This will help seal in the marinade.

Place your roast in a glass dish.

In a large bowl, blend your beef bouillon granules, Ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, apple cider vinegar, and black pepper.  Pour this mixture over your beef.  Flip the roast over, and make sure both sides are coated with the marinade.  Place the roast in your slow cooker.  Then, pour the can of French Onion soup on top.

Slow cook your beef for 8 hours on low.

When the beef is done, remove the meat from the slow cooker and place in serving dish.  Pour the remaining broth out of the slow cooker into a gravy boat or bowl.

French Fries

What you need:

  • 2 pounds of Russet potatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 Ziploc freezer bag

What to do:

Preheat your oven to 375.

Peel your taters.  Rinse in cold water, then pat dry with a towel.  Using a very sharp knife, slice your potatoes into 1-inch strips.  Place the strips in the freezer bag.  Then, pour 1 tablespoon (or generous glug) of olive oil into the bag.  Drop in your minced garlic cloves.  Now, the fun part:  Seal your bag, then toss it around in your hands to coat all the potatoes with olive oil and garlic.  Pro tip:  If you do this the night before, you can keep the bag of potatoes in your fridge until you are ready to bake them.

When ready to bake your fries, first spray a baking sheet with Pam or non-stick spray.  Then, dump your bag of potato strips on the sheet.  Season liberally with pepper and sea salt.  Bake for 20 minutes, then remove sheet from oven and flip the fries with a spatula.  Bake for another 20 minutes.  If you’d like the fries to be extra crispy, broil them at a low heat for 10 minutes, or until you see the fries start to brown.

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We poured extra beef broth over the fries.  Ohsogood.

chicken makhani (Indian butter chicken).

July 24, 2013 § 1 Comment

Indian cuisine is something that I haven’t really explored.  I think I’ve been hesitant due to the spice and the flavor of curry, something I’m just now getting a taste for.

But then I had this amazing dish – Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken) a few weeks ago at my friends’ house, and loved it!  I decided to try it for myself, and read several different recipes online before settling on this one.  The flavors are mild, and you can easily adjust the spiciness to your liking.

I might add that this dish was officially Boyfriend Approved.  Enjoy!

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What you need:

  •  2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 T butter
  • 1 tsp. curry
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. minced ginger
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 C low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • Handful of washed and dried spinach, sautéed in olive oil

What to do:

In your slow cooker, place the chicken, onion, and garlic, and cover with all of your dry spices.   Then, drop in the butter and tomato paste.  Pour in your coconut milk and lemon juice.  Cook on low for 8 hours (or high for 4), until chicken shreds easily.  Before you serve, stir in your yogurt.  I also seasoned with salt, black pepper, and a generous drizzle of honey, for added sweetness.  Then, I stirred in my sautéed spinach.  Serve over brown rice.

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