Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce

 

 

I’m usually leery about crock pot recipes and I rarely search for new ones. Most recipes I have seen (or most that are popular on Pinterest), are full of canned this and packaged that…I have seriously considered creating a new pin board entitled: “Recipes that Scare Me”!  There is nothing questionable in this recipe and it is so good! The aroma greeted me as I walked through the door after picking up my SIL from the air port. This was the perfect meal to come home to and I will make this again. It’s rich, hearty and goes perfectly any thick, tube pasta. I served this with a quick garlic bread, but if I had more time – I would have made this one (always a favorite!) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce – adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

  • 1 lb ground beef (I used 90/10 ground sirloin)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 bay leaf (or 2 small)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter

Directions:

Season ground beef with salt & pepper then brown with minced onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain then add to a large crock pot. Add all the ingredients except for the butter, stir to combine, then cook on low for 5-6 hours. Remove bay leaves, stir in butter, then serve over cooked pasta.

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Baked BBQ Pork Taquitos

Quick Post: These were so good! I have made the recipe that these taquitos were inspired by, and those are amazing too. We all really enjoyed these, and my husband didn’t even mind/notice that there were some things in these he would normally pass on. The flavor compliment each other really well and all my modifications are listed below. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Baked BBQ Pork Taquitos – adapted from Pink Parsley

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature (reduced-fat is fine)
  • 1/3 cup bbq sauce
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 scallions, minced
  • 3-4 Tbs minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded or chopped pork
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 10-15 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas
  • canola oil for brushing
  • BBQ sauce or ranch dressing for dipping
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese with the bbq sauce, paprika, garlic powder, mustard, brown sugar, chile powder, red pepper flakes, cilantro, scallions, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt.  Fold in the pork and cheese.  Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary. Working 3-4 tortillas at a time, stack them on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel.  Cook 30 seconds, or until tortillas are soft and pliable.Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of filling onto the lower third of each tortilla, and roll tightly.  Place seam side-down on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.Brush the taquitos lightly with canola oil, sprinkle with salt.  Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the tortillas are crisp and golden-brown.  Serve with bbq sauce and ranch dressing for dipping.

Pulled Pork Mac n’ Cheese

Why not, right? My husband thought this was too weird to work at first, but I  immediately knew this was destined for our dinner table. I love macaroni and cheese (proof here, here, here, here, here and some here), and I’m always on the lookout for new faves. He’s a little more apprehensive, but in the end is satisfied with the meal. I used this recipe for inspiration, a different one for the pork and this mac n’ cheese sauce. The Pioneer Woman knows her mac and cheese and I have made it several times with different cheese blends.

Verdict: This was amazing – really a pleasant surprise and I will definitely make this again. Even the pickiest kid I know (my girl) ate this up!  Make sure you use a great quality barbecue sauce ( I use this brand) or make your own. The pork is easy to prepare in the crock pot and compliments the mac and cheese really well, and I loved the smokiness that the sauce added to it. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Pulled Pork – adapted from The Redhead’s Adventures

  • 1 pork shoulder
  • 1/2 TBSP Kosher salt per pound of meat
  • 1 TBSP Brown sugar per pound of meat
  • ground black pepper to taste
Directions:

Prepare the night before: Season pork shoulder, wrap and place in the refrigerator

To cook: Unwrap pork shoulder and place in a crock pot. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Macaroni and Cheese – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 1 pound Cavatappi pasta
  • 1 whole Egg Beaten
  • 1/2 stick  butter (1/4 cup)
  • ¼ cups All-purpose Flour
  • 2-½ cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 8 oz. Emmental cheese, shredded
  • 8 0z. sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 oz. Asiago cheese, shredded
  • ½ teaspoons Salt, More To Taste
  • ½ teaspoons Seasoned Salt, More To Taste
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/3 cup (or more to cover the mac n’ cheese) Panko bread crumbs
  • Optional Spices: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups finely chopped pulled pork
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (optional)

Directions:

Cook macaroni until very firm. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain.

In a small bowl, beat egg.

In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn.

Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.

Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth.

Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.

Add in cheese and stir to melt.

Add salt and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed! DO NOT UNDERSALT.

Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.

Toss the pulled pork with the barbecue sauce. Stir the pork and pasta into the cheese sauce.

Serve immediately (very creamy) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, panko bread crumbs and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.

Turkey Roast Dip with Gruyere

Quick Post: So, you don’t like turkey? Well, make this for the people in your life who do, and you’ll score major points!! This is seriously the best turkey meal I have eaten – it comes in second after my favorite Thanksgiving turkey recipe. I cannot put into words how amazing this is – I just accept it; and can’t wait for more people to try this. Using fresh herbs is so important because it’s where most of the flavor comes from.  I used some homemade chicken stock – again, because there isn’t a whole lot going on in this, so use the best ingredients. Thanks for reading, enjoy!!

Turkey Roast Dip with Gruyere – adapted from Kelsey Nixon

for the turkey:

  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock – preferably homemade
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 (3-pound) bone-in turkey breast
 for the sandwiches
  • 6 demi French baguettes, sliced in half (**I used a loaf of this**)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Gruyere cheese
Directions:

For the turkey: In a small mixing bowl, mix together the softened butter and fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.Spread the chopped onions over the bottom of a slow cooker. Pour the chicken stock and Worcestershire sauce into the slow cooker. Sprinkle the turkey with salt and pepper. Slather the turkey breast with herb butter, spreading half under the turkey skin. Place the turkey on top of the onions, breast side up. Cover and cook on high for 4 to 6 hours, checking it after 4 hours to see if the internal temperature has reached 170 degree F. Once the turkey reaches 170 degrees F, remove it from the slow cooker, transfer to a cutting board, tent with aluminum foil and allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing. Reserve any juices from the slow cooker. After the breast has rested, remove the skin and slice very thinly using a sharp knife.

For the sandwich: Preheat the broiler. Brush each side of the sliced bread with the softened butter and place on a baking sheet, buttered side up. Top each buttered baguette with sliced cheese. Place under the broiler until the cheese melts and begins to turn golden brown.

Carefully remove from the oven. Pile the sliced turkey on the bottom half of each sandwich before topping it with the cheesy top. Serve the turkey au jus left over in the slow cooker for dipping.

Tri-Tip Tacos

Yum! This was my first experience preparing and eating tri-tip, and I’m happy to report that it was excellent.  I was inspired by this recipe, but created my own seasonings for this. I’m just guessing on the amounts, but that’s what’s so great about this kind of meal, just throw in what seasonings you prefer and make it as mild or spicy as you like. The flavor was pretty good, but next time I would marinade the meat overnight in the seasonings or just add more seasonings to the meat in the first place if I didn’t plan ahead. We used the leftover meat for bean and beef burritos (but that’s another post). Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Shredded Tri-Tip Tacos – 
  • 2 to 2 1/2 lbs. tri-tip roast
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (4 oz.) mild green chilies
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • corn or flour tortillas
  • optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, diced fresh tomatoes, avocado slices, salsa, lime wedges

Directions

In a small mixing bowl, make taco seasoning rub by combining the kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, ground ginger and cayenne pepper. Mix well.

Rub tri-tip with dry spice rub and place in  crock pot. Cover roast with diced tomatoes,  chillies, onion, and garlic. Place the lid on the crock pot on and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Remove from oven and place tri-tip on cutting board. Discard the smashed garlic. Leave remaining juices, tomatoes, chillies and onion in pot.

Using two forks, shred the tri-tip by holding one fork steady with one hand and slowly scraping the other fork, prongs faced backwards, with your other hand away from the other fork. Transfer the shredded tri-tip to a large bowl and add the reserved cooked vegetables and juices from the Dutch oven. Stir to combine. Serve in warmed tortillas with all your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

Slow-Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos

I  love taco night:) Especially when all the work takes about 10 minutes to prepare and then the crock pot does the rest. I seared the meat and prepared the sauce the night before. I decided that it was best to have it ready to go so I don’t have to stress about it the next day. There is lots of spring cleaning I need to finish…one less thing is just that – one less thing.

The verdict: The meat was so flavorful, tender, juicy and not at all spicy. It just has a wonderful smoky flavor from the chipotles and smoked paprika. I used two chipotles in mine and they weren’t overpowering at all. We ate these tacos with my “orange” rice, this salsa, cilantro and some shredded Colby Monterey jack cheese. I suppose some day I should share my “orange” rice with you all since I have mentioned it in several different posts🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Slow-Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos – adapted from Gimme Some Oven

  • 1-2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds beef (boneless chuck roast)
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin (*cumin is my favorite, so I always use extra)
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Flour tortillas
  • Favorite taco toppings

Method:

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Meanwhile, combine the chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika in a small bowl.

Rub the spice mix into the beef, covering each side evenly. Once the oil is hot (it will shimmer a bit in the skillet), place the beef in the skillet and sear on each side.

Remove the beef from the skillet and place in the bottom of a slow cooker.  Leave the pan on the heat, and add in the beef stock to deglaze, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the tomato paste and minced chipotle and whisk into the pan sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for a few minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.

Add the diced onion and minced garlic on top of the seared beef in the slow cooker.  Pour the pan sauce down over the onions, garlic, and beef.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Remove the beef from the slow cooker and shred with two forks.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the onions from the slow cooker, and mix into the shredded beef.

Serve the beef in the flour tortillas, topped with your favorite taco toppings.

Three Ingredient Crock Pot Dinner…(and it’s good, too!)

Quick Post: Easiest.Dinner.Ever. Crock Pot meals are so convenient and this one is no exception. If you want to use the store bought ingredients, it’s even easier. I had some carrots that I needed to use up so I roasted them in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes seasoned with kosher salt, pepper, and some olive oil. I didn’t roast any garlic for the potatoes described on the blog, so I just mashed my potatoes with Parmesan, some butter, half and half, milk, salt and pepper. They’re really basic, but that’s okay because the pork makes its own gravy – yum! Thank for reading, enjoy!

Ranch House Crock Pot Pork Chops – adapted from Picky Palate

Directions –

Place all ingredients in a crock pot – cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.

Taco Night!

Taco night is everyone’s favorite night:o) I have used this recipe before and it’s always a hit. Whenever it’s taco night, I always make my “orange” rice. It’s something I grew up eating and all the ladies in my family make variations of my Gram’s. It’s so simple and so comforting to me, and I love that my kids both really enjoy eating it, too. I remembered I had some homemade salsa verde in the freezer that was waiting to be used, so that’s what that green sauce is on the taco. I will be sure to post the recipe for that the next time I make chile verde or my husband’s favorite – chicken enchiladas with roasted tomatillo salsa. I haven’t made that meal in so long – it’s a lot of work and it makes so much food, but the flavor is excellent.

Anyway, these turned out great – the two men of the house had seconds. I however refrained from indulging in more carbs (frown). I did eat a nice green salad with lots of extra veggies, though. I am on my annual “health kick”…well, I guess it can’t be called annual if this is my third time this year. The holidays and all the yummy-bad-for-you-food caught up with me, along with the lack of exercise. Basically I have been feeling uber-blah, so in the past when this blah-ness has reared its ugly head I cut out a lot of junk and add in lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains and cut out lots of empty carbs. I feel a difference within a day of these changes so it’s totally worth it and then I wonder why I don’t eat like this all the time. Oh, yeah! It’s because it takes thought, preparation and discipline! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Shredded Tex-Mex Crock-Pot Chicken – adapted from goodLife(eats)

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (*I used 2 pounds)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup (packed) cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 limes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

Heat the oil in a medium sized sauté pan. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the cumin, chili powder, coriander, paprika and garlic and sauté two more minutes. Deglaze the pan with the chicken broth making sure to scrape up any browned bits. Turn off and set aside.

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Add to crock pot. Squeeze the lime on top, add the cilantro, jalapeno, and pour the onion and garlic mixture over top.

Cook on low for 3-5 hours, or until cooked through (different crock-pots cook at varying heats) and tender. Remove chicken breasts from the crock pot, shred and place in a bowl. Scoop out the onions and add to the chicken. Depending on the amount of juices produced, you may want to add some or all of the juice back to the shredded chicken.

For fast and easy soft tacos, add this chicken to taco sized flour tortillas with shredded lettuce, avocado, tomato, cilantro, red onion, and cheese (I like cheddar, pepper jack, or feta best). Add a dollop of sour cream and salsa, too, if you like.