Slow Cooker Corned Beef

20140405-211748.jpg
While St. Patrick’s Day is long past and Easter is just around the corner, I recently searched the freezer to see what kind of inventory I had available in the way of meat products for the coming holiday. (I often have a supply of ground beef, ham, pork, or prime rib roast left from thrifty bulk purchases when I find a great deal at the supermarket.) To my surprise, I had several corned beef roasts set on the top shelf. I quickly remembered that I had bought a boat load of corned beef around St. Patrick’s Day because the price was too good to pass up. Five roasted were neatly stacked in the freezer so I put one in the fridge to thaw for Monday’s dinner.
Before I headed to work on Monday morning, I lined the bottom of my crockpot with potatoes, carrots, and onions, then laid the roast among the vegetables.

20140405-212048.jpg

20140405-212237.jpg
I sprinkled the seasoning packet over the corned beef and poured in some water and a half can of beer before shutting the lid and setting the dial to low.

20140405-212436.jpg
I arrived home to the delicious aroma of the complete dinner. There is nothing quite so wonderful as having dinner ready when walking in the door after a long day at work. I have quite a few recipes to successfully cook corned beef. I often bake it or boil it, but this is one of my favorites…very little time or effort produce a magnificent meal. If you like Reuben sandwiches, add thousand island dressing and sour kraut to some toasted rye bread and you have quite a sandwich.

Slow Cooker Corned Beef

2 1/2 cups baby carrots
3 potatoes, diced
1 onion, peeled and rough cut
4 cups water
1 (4-5 pound) corned beef brisket with spice packet
6 ounces beer

Place the carrots, potatoes, and onion into the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the brisket on top of the vegetables. Pour the water and beer over the brisket. Sprinkle on the spices packet, cover, and set the cooker on High.
Cook the brisket for about 8 hours. Cool slightly before cutting into thin slices.

Yummy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

20140206-061536.jpg
There is nothing like walking in the door after a long day of work knowing that dinner has been simmering in the crock pot all day and the aroma of barbecue fills the air.
These past few weeks, I’ve been working long hours and the unbelievable weather has made for some long, white-knuckled travel, here in the Midwest. Coming home, realizing that dinner is nearly ready is a saving grace.
Pork roast can be found at your local grocer, usually at a decent price, when it’s on sale. I try to stock up on the long, lean roast by slicing it in chunks about 6-8″ long; enough to fit comfortably into the crock pot. I wrap the meat well and pop it into freezer bags to be stored in the freezer for satisfying crock pot recipes. Use your favorite barbecue sauce for this recipe. We like Sweet Baby Ray ‘s. It seems to be just the right flavor to suit my family.
Stay warm everyone!

Yummy Crock Pot Pulled Pork

1 (4 pound) pork roast
2 cups barbecue sauce ( reserve 1 cup)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup chicken or beef broth
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 extra large onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoons dried thyme

Spray bottom of slow cooker with cooking spray. Put the roast in the cooker and pour in 1 cup barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar and broth. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on High for 5 to 6 hours.
Remove the roast from the slow cooker, and shred the meat using two forks. Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker, and stir the meat into the juices. Add reserved barbecue sauce for extra flavor.

Slow Cooker Breakfast Granola

20130730-175600.jpg
My kids seem to be addicted to granola. If I had to buy it pre-packaged every week, I’d be bankrupt. Thankfully, I have several recipes for this crunchy, delicious and versatile treat. We use it to top yogurt or ice cream, add milk (cold or hot) to eat it as a breakfast cereal, and mix it with sweet and salty treats to make a trail mix. What I like about this recipe is that you can set it in the crockpot and let it cook for a few hours without heating up the house with the conventional oven during the summer months. The key is to slightly prop the crockpot open with a wooden skewer. This tiny opening lets the moisture out but keeps the heat inside the liner. Stirring the mixture every 30-35 minutes is also the key to success.

Slow Cooker Breakfast Granola

4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins (optional)

Spray the liner of the slow cooker with cooking spray. In a separate bowl, mix oats, vanilla, honey, syrup, and canola oil. Pour into prepared slow cooker.
Cook the granola on low for 2 1/2-3 hours, venting the lid slightly. ( I use a wooden skewer.) Stir mixture well every 30-35 minutes. Cook until golden brown and quite dry.
Pour the finished granola onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and allow to cool completely. Add pecans, cranberries, or raisins if desired. Store in an airtight container.

20130930-065925.jpg

Easy Crockpot Chicken Tacos

20130702-150810.jpg
Oh, how I love when I find a time-saving trick to help me prepare a week-night meal! Last week, I started a new job that takes me into a different time zone in the wee hours of the day and back into my own time zone as I head home from a long day at the office. I am realizing that I will have to stock my fridge and freezer with lots of pre-made items and do lots of cooking on the weekends to keep up with things. The crock pot will probably continue to be my “go to” appliance when preparing easy meals for my clan..
Easy Crock-Pot Chicken Tacos can be popped into the slow cooker in the morning and be ready when the family is looking for something yummy for dinner. A good friend recently shared a variation of this recipe with me, I have added a few things to give the meal a little more kick. The first time I made the dish, I followed the recipe exactly as it was written. My children thought my initial attempt was too bland, so I changed a few ingredients to suit the family. This ooey-gooey meal tastes great packed into tortilla shells or it can be served with tortilla chips as a fun dip. Either way, it’s chocked with lots of vegetables and lean meat. Great for a light summer snack dip of served with beans and rice as a hearty cold weather meal.

East Crock-Pot Chicken Tacos

2 pounds chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1 cup chunky salsa
1 cup Rotel diced canned tomatoes, drained
1 packet taco seasoning
1 cup onions, diced fine
1/2 cup celery, diced fine
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese
3 tablespoons sour cream (optional)

Place the chicken in a slow cooker. Sprinkle the taco seasoning over the meat then layer in the vegetables and the salsa. Pour a half cup water over the mixture, set on low and cook for 6-8 hours. Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Pour shredded chicken back into the salsa mixture; mix we to incorporate. When ready to serve, sprinkle with cheese and top with a dollop of sour cream.

20130702-151111.jpg

Crock Pot Italian Grinder

20130607-102642.jpg
I saw this recipe as I was searching for an interesting sub recipe last week. This one caught my eye because it looked so unique. On Saturday, I loaded up the crock pot with a variety of similar ingredients to make a mighty tasty sandwich.
There were a few things that I might rethink next time, though. First off, I have to figure out a way to add more ingredients to each of the sandwich sections. While I packed in as much as would fit, the sandwiches seemed a bit skimpy when I separated them from the loaf. Other than that, this thing was great! I am going to try it again today now that I have finished my trial run.
Below, I have printed my recipe for the ingredients to be used for the crock pot grinder.

20130607-102825.jpg

20130607-102856.jpg

20130607-102913.jpg
Crock Pot Italian Grinder

1 loaf of Italian Bread, unsliced
1/2 lb. sliced provolone cheese
1/2 lb. hard salami, thinly sliced
1/2 lb. Virginia ham, thinly sliced
1/2 lb. turkey pastrami, thinly sliced
Sliced onions
Sliced tomatoes
Sliced pepper rings, patted dry
1/2 tsp. oregano
Partially slice Italian loaf to resemble sandwich slices. (Do not cut through the bottom of the loaf). Layer sandwich meat, cheese, onions, tomatoes and peppers in individual piles.Sprinkle with oregano. On a cutting board, carefully pack each pile of ingredients into the sliced loaf making sure to fill only every other opening.
Double wrap the loaf in aluminum foil; making sure to fold and close edges firmly. Pour 1/2 cup water in the bottom of the crockpot. Place a heat proof bowl in the bottom of the pot to keep the sandwich above the waterline. The water will steam the sandwich as it cooks. Place the sandwich into the crockpot. Cover and cook on LOW temperature for 4 hours.

UPDATE:
Here’s another great combination

1/2 lb. provolone cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 lb. hard salami, thinly sliced
1/2 lb. Virginia Ham, thinly sliced
1/2 lb. pepperoni, thinly sliced
6 tablespoons Chicago style mild giardiniera, to spread over bread

I just finished making the grinder a second time and boy it turned out great! I added pepperoni to the sandwich meat slices and used mild, Chicago style giardiniera to spread on the bread instead of the onions and peppers…ooey, gooey, melted cheese and lots of Italian flavor.

20130607-165402.jpg

Tender Three-Packet Beef

20130526-091646.jpg

While Memorial Day weekend is usually all about grilling and opening up the pool for the summer, it seems the weather doesn’t necessarily feel like cooperating this year. After a beautiful morning sunrise, yesterday’s weather turned cloudy and a bit chilly. Instead of grilling, as I had planned, I popped a roast into the crock pot and headed outdoors to spruce up the backyard. This recipe couldn’t be any easier to prepare. I always keep these seasoning packets in the pantry for when I’m in the mood for a no-hassle meal. This is one of the most tender and flavorful roast recipes that I have ever tasted.

Tender Three-Packet Beef

3-5 lb. beef roast
2 cups of water
1 packet brown gravy mix
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1 packet Italian seasoning mix

In a mixing bowl, combine water with the three seasoning packets. In a lightly sprayed crock pot*, place roast beef. Pour seasoning mixture over the roast and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

* I use a 6 quart crock pot for a 5 lb. roast.

Spicy Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

20130524-064724.jpg
Three simple ingredients, one delicious sandwich! If you like spicy, this sandwich is for you. On chilly fall mornings, when we head off to the Northwestern or Purdue University football games, this is one of our favorite take-alongs. I just unplug the crock pot and pack this deliciousness into the back of the car.
Yesterday, after days of warmer than usual weather, the skies turned gray, the heavens opened up, and the strong winds brought a stiff chill to the air. It reminded me so much of a fall morning, I pulled out a few chicken breasts and plugged in the crock pot. By the time the kids came home from swim practice, the chicken was done and the sandwiches were ready. That’s my kinda meal!

Spicy Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

6 chicken breasts, boneless/skinless
1 stick of butter or margarine
1 12 oz. bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce

Place the stick of margarine or butter in the bottom of a 4-6 quart crock pot. Then add the chicken breasts. Cook on low setting for 6-8 hours, covered.
When chicken is thoroughly cooked and quite tender. Shred the chicken with two forks. Pour in the bottle of Frank’s Red Hot sauce and combine well. Serve on your favorite sandwich rolls.