Whoever invented the slow cooker is a freaking genius. This kitchen gadget has become my absolute fave, especially since that third kid of ours came into the picture. I love that I can throw a bunch of stuff in, set it to cook and dinner is ready 8 hours later when I am reaching for a glass of wine amidst yelling at someone for spilling Panda Puffs all over the pantry floor (I despise that cereal and the sound of them crunching underneath my shoes will forever be engrained in my mind).
The slow cooker is no doubt a sanity saver, and a healthy one at that. These 4 recipes are my tops- hopefully they bring you the same amount of enjoyment they bring me. Yup. That's what it has come to. Slow cooker meals = joy.
1.5 lbs chicken (I like using thighs and breasts but your call)
2 onions cut in half and then sliced
27 oz can chopped tomatoes
15 oz can black beans (rinsed and drained)
5 cloves garlic (minced)
1 T cumin
1.5 t cayenne pepper
3 c chicken broth
1/2 c cilantro, chopped
Juice of two limes
Salt and Pepper to taste
minced Jalapeno pepper (optional)
Sliced avo for serving
Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Place in the bottom of the slow cooker and add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Set to high and cook for 8 hours. Great by itself or served over rice.
SlOW COOKER SPLIT PEA SOUP
So filling and so good with very minimal effort. Adapted from Emeril.
10 c chicken broth
2 lbs dried green split peas, rinsed
1 yellow or white onion, diced small (I always use the pre-diced onions from Trader Joe's or Jewel in soups)
4 carrots, diced small
2 celery stalks, diced small
Half a red bell pepper, diced small
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 T minced fresh thyme leaves (or 1 t dried)
2 dried bay leaves
2 small ham hocks (1 1/4 lbs total) with skin scored
Sea salt and Pepper
Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker, putting the ham hocks in first. Cook on high for 8 hours, until peas are creamy. Remove bay leaves and ham hocks, discard skin and bones. Dice the meat and return it to slow cooker. Mash the peas with the back of a wooden spoon or an immersion blender if you've got it. Delicious din ready to go!
TURKISH LAMB STEW
Maybe I'm a weirdo, but I love lamb and as long as I don't tell my kids that they're eating it, they do too. Adapted this from a Cooking Light recipe.
1 1/2 lbs boneless leg of lamb cut into 1 1/4 inch pieces. Def have your butcher do this unless you're really into Dexter or something
1 1/4 t salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
2 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t dried oregano
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 large yukon gold potato, diced
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed
1 small eggplant, cut into thin slices
1 medium zucchini, cut into slices
6 bay leaves
3 T fresh chopped parsley
OK. So, the original recipe asks for you to sear the lamb and saute the veg prior to putting in the slow cooker. I don't like cooking that early in the morning so I opted out and it was really good. I just drizzled the lamb with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper and then added that along with all of the veg to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 7 hours.
I love lasagna and it's one of my husband's faves, but I HATE how long it takes to make. Not the case with this guy. Easy, quick and super delicious. Making this one on Friday for sure.
2 24 oz jars of pasta sauce. I think Rao's Homemade is the best store-bought but to each their own.
9 think lasagna noodles (I have used both rice lasagna noodles and wheat)
24 oz riccota cheese
3 c chopped veg of choice (I've used spinach and kale)
2 c shredded Mozzarella
Parm and fresh parsley for topping
Drizzle bottom of crockpot with olive oil. Pour 1/2 of tomato sauce into crock pot. Place one layer of noodles over sauce. You'll have to break them up a bit to fit. Put 1/3 of the cheese/ veggie/ tomato sauce over that and finish with a layer of noodles. Repeat what you just did until you are out of ingredients finishing with a layer of shredded cheese. Set the crockpot to high and cook for 3 hours or on low for 6 hours. Let the lasagna sit for about an hour after cooking otherwise it will be kind of soupy.