Posts Tagged ‘crock pot’

I realize I haven’t posted since the last time I won my office chili cookoff, which has been a few years.  Yikes!

But, I won again!  I pretty much used the recipe I did before but I had a few tweaks.  I also thought I had a jar of jalapenos but I didn’t.  So I tossed in a can of chipotle peppers w/adobo sauce which added a nice smokiness.  I want to do this version and add a bit of carrot along with the onion and green pepper to up the veggies and add to the flavor – but I didn’t have carrots at home and didn’t want to run out just for carrots.  So, this version is sans carrot.


Not a super picture – but it’s what I was able to snap at work before my hungry coworkers descended.



  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion (I used frozen diced onion)
  • 1 large bell pepper chopped
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 lb ground pork sausage
  • 1 lb beef sirloin (small cubes)
  • 1 (14 1/2 oz) can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 cup strong coffee
  • 2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
  • 1 small can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 12 – 24 fl oz of beef broth
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 1 (15-oz) cans cannellini (white kidney) beans
  • 1 (15-oz) cans dark red kidney beans


  1. Drain the canned beans and rinse them well.
  2. Brown meat, onions and bell pepper.
  3. Add tomatoes, coffee, broth and tomato paste.
  4. Add spices, beans and canned peppers.
  5. Simmer for 2 hours (or longer on low in a crock pot – my preferred method).

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So, my workplace decided to have their first annual chili cook-off today.  And I got 1st place!  Yay!

I used to help my family when I was a teen when my Dad’s chiropractic office entered a local chili cook-off (we were the Spine Tinglers).  So I figured this would be fun.

I couldn’t find any of our old chili recipes (they were always a work-in-progress anyways) so I based my recipe from “The Best Chili You Will Ever Taste” recipe from food.com.  I did tweak it a bit because that’s fun to do.  My version came out about a medium heat (nice and warming but without scorching out your mouth flesh).

2013 Chili Cook-off Recipe


  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion (I used frozen diced onion)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb beef sirloin (small cubes)
  • 1 (14 1/2 oz) can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 cup strong coffee
  • 2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
  • 1 small can chopped jalepenos
  • 12 – 24 fl oz of beef broth (you can also add a can of dark beer and reduce the amount of broth)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • 2 (15-oz) cans light red kidney beans
  • 2 (15-oz) cans dark red kidney beans


  1. Drain the canned beans and rinse them well.
  2. Brown meat and onions.
  3. Add tomatoes, coffee, broth (and beer, if using) and tomato paste.
  4. Add spices, beans and peppers.
  5. Simmer for 2 hours (or longer on low in a crock pot – my preferred method).

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I love the autumn.  I love the colors and the cooler temperatures.  I love the foods associated with autumn: apples and pumpkin, turkey and potatoes and the warm spices cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.  I love comfort foods and this time of year is just perfect since you just want to curl up with a big bowl of yumminess and then hibernate.

Last night I tried out a new soup recipe and was very happy with it.  I probably needed to add a bit more salt and pepper but that is easily remedied.  The original recipe came from http://www.pillsbury.com.  I didn’t add the celery called for in the original recipe because 1) I didn’t have celery on hand and I didn’t want to buy a bunch only to use 1 stalk and 2) I’m not a huge celery fan anyways.  I used a blend of cheddar and colby jack instead of cheddar/american as called for in the original.  I also didn’t saute the onions in bacon fat because I already had some pre-cooked bacon and I was lazy and didn’t want to dirty a pan just to saute the onions so I just put the diced onions in the crock pot.  Sauteing the onions in bacon fat would increase the flavor but it was good skipping this step as well.

Cheesy Potato Soup (see original recipe here)


  • 4 slices of bacon (I used more – because bacon is awesome, but this is optional if you don’t eat bacon)
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 5 cups diced, peeled potatoes
  • 32 oz chicken broth (I used low sodium)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (you might want to increase if you are using lower sodium broth)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper (I recommend increasing this amount)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups half & half
  • 1 cup shredded colby jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar


  1. Cook bacon over medium heat until crispy.  Remove and drain and refrigerate.
  2. Using reserved bacon fat, saute the onions until tender.
  3. Add cooked onions, potato, broth, salt & pepper to crock pot.  Cook on low for 6-7 hours.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the half & half and flour.  Add to crock pot.  Cook on high for 30 minutes.
  5. Stir in cheeses until melted.
  6. Garnish soup with crumbled cooked bacon.

This is a lovely warm soup to eat on a chilly evening.  I baked up a batch of rolls to eat along with it so the carb-loading qualities of this meal were complete.  😉

I also love crock pot meals.  I love the simplicity of dumping a bunch of ingredients in a pot and having a dinner made later without a whole lot of fuss.  So, enjoy!

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My mother has asked for this recipe and so I figured I’d share it here as well.  It is one of my go to crockpot recipes because it is super easy and super tasty.  I actually took the leftovers of this and put over tortilla chips (instead of rice) and made some rockin’ Salsa Chicken nachos.

The original recipe is from SparkRecipes but I have tweaked it a bit from the original recipe found here: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=672711.  The original recipe calls for cream of mushroom soup but I prefer the cream of chicken.  They also leave the chicken breasts whole and I prefer to shred it.  Both are personal preferences on my part.  I’m sure it’s tasty either way.  🙂

Salsa Chicken


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (depending on the size, I only used 2 the last time I made this because the chicken breasts were HUGE)
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup (I use the low sodium/low fat version)
  • 1-2 Tbsp taco seasoning (or 1 packet)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (I use the low fat version)
  • Shredded cheese (Mexican blend) – optional
  • Rice


  1. Mix salsa, soup and seasoning in the crock pot.  Add chicken.  Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours.
  2. Take chicken out and shred it.  Mix chicken back into crock pot and add sour cream.
  3. Serve over cooked rice and sprinkle with shredded cheese if wanted.

The next time I fix this I’ll try to take a picture.

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Tonight I wanted to try my broccoli a bit differently.  I wanted to roast it.

I’ve roasted lots of other veggies but I had yet to try broccoli and I have to say it was pretty tasty.  Since it was going along with my Crockpot Salsa Chicken I wanted to pep it up a bit which I did with some cumin and red pepper flakes.  But, roasting the broccoli gave it a nice texture and a slightly different flavor.  I think next time it needs a bit of garlic, didn’t think to add it when I was tossing it together but I think it will add a lot to the flavor.

So, here is what I did for my roasted broccoli:

Pepped Up Roasted Broccoli


1 large head of broccoli, cut the florets into bite size pieces

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp chopped garlic

salt & pepper to taste

Instructions: Toss it all together, spread on a sheet pan.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

I found the recipe for the Crockpot Salsa Chicken earlier this year on SparkRecipes. I’ve again tweaked the original recipe a bit to fit my tastes but it is seriously good eats.  The first time I made it I think my husband and I were fighting over the crockpot for seconds.  And given that it has been a bit chilly today, it should hit the spot!

Crockpot Salsa Chicken


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 cup salsa

1 package of reduced sodium taco seasoning

1 can reduced fat/reduced sodium condensed cream of chicken soup

1 cup reduced fat sour cream

Shredded cheese blend (I usually use colby jack or a mexican blend)


Mix salsa, soup and taco seasoning in the crockpot.  Add the chicken.  Cook on low for 6 – 8 hours.  Right before serving, take the chicken out and shred and add back to sauce.  Add the sour cream and stir to combine.  Serve over rice and sprinkler with shredded cheese.

Like most things out of a crock pot, it’s not going to win any beauty contests – but it sure is tasty!

And for dessert: apple-cranberry crisp.  I don’t normally fix desserts during the week but I had some apples that were starting to look a bit sad and really needed to be used.  This isn’t the first time I’ve made this recipe.  The first time was over Thanksgiving where it got rave reviews.  And I LOVE apple crisps.  And the lovely thing about crisps is they are darned easy to make.

Again, with most recipes, I tweaked the original recipe I found on tasteofhome.com.  I took out the nuts and added cinnamon.  Because I LOVE cinnamon!

FYI, I think this is about the best cinnamon ever.  Well, technically Cassia, but it is made of AWESOME!

Apple-Cranberry Crisp


4 cups chopped, peeled tart apples

2 cups fresh cranberries

1 cup sugar

3 Tbsp. all purpose flour

1 tsp. cinnamon


1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup butter, melted


Mix together the apples, cranberries, sugar, cinnamon and 3 T of flour.  Place in baking dish.

Combine oats, 1/2 cup flour, cinnamon, brown sugar.  Pour melted butter over oat mixture and stir to combine.  Sprinkle this mixture over crisp.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

I prefer to eat it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I certainly don’t think that this is too shabby for a weeknight meal and it honestly didn’t take me long to prepare.


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