Sunday, February 12, 2012
10 Crockpot Recipes for Stress Free Meals
Thanksgiving is over and after all the effort put into the dishes made, I'm sure many of us can use some easy, stress free meals. In fact, if you have a slow cooker (aka Crockpot) that you want to get more use out of, I have some recipes to share! Unlike many crockpot recipes, I'm not a fan of cream soups so you won't find recipes calling for them below. Here are 10 Crockpot Recipes for Stress Free Meals to give you more time to relax and prepare for the upcoming holidays...
Korean Style Short Ribs
This is one of my all time favorite short rib recipes...
and its so flavorful and falls right off the bone tender.
1 cup soy sauce ( I use Silver Swan, a Filipino brand, but any would do, even low sodium)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons sesame oil
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
I head of garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 lbs beef short ribs, uncut whole ribs
1-2 stalks green onions, sliced thin for garnish
1/2 teaspoon white sesame seeds for garnish
Mix soy sauce, sugar, oil, vinegar, ginger, garlic and red pepper in a small bowl. Place ribs in a 5-quart slow cooker and pour sauce over. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. Remove ribs from crockpot and serve hot over a bed of rice with a garnish of green onions and sesame seeds.
*Alternately, if you don't have a crockpot/slow cooker, simply place the ribs in a foil lined baking sheet and baking in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1-1/2 hours until cooked
An interesting dish involving... a can of Coke?
Believe me, it's the secret ingredient for this dish!
5-6 pound pork roast
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1 onion, diced
water to cover half way
1 tablespoon cumin
1 cup dark brown sugar
12 oz bottle La Victoria taco sauce
20 oz Coke
Place pork roast in a crock pot with the garlic and onion. Add water halfway covering roast. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Drain water and add remaining ingredients. Cook 4-6 more hours on low. Shred pork and serve with tortillas, rice or whatever you'd like.
Best Ever Beef Dip Sandwiches
Ridiculously easy, this recipe transforms a beef chuck roast
into a flavorful, tender dish which gets better as it cooks!
4 pounds beef chuck roast
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
3 bay leaves
1 cup soy sauce
6 cups water
Place roast in slow cooker. Season with garlic, rosemary, and bay leaves. Pour in soy sauce and water. Cook on low setting for 6 to 10 hours. Unlike most roasts, the longer the better.
To serve, place in hamburger buns or split french bread and top with your preferred cheese if desired. Feel free to dip your sandwich in the au jus left in the slow cooker too!
* To make ahead/freezer meal - Place all the ingredients except the water into a gallon sized freezer storage bag; seal and freeze. When ready to prepare, defrost completely. Place contents into your slow cooker and add 6 cups of water. Cook on low setting for 6 to 10 hours. Unlike most roasts, the longer the better
Cheesy Italian Meatballs & Marinara Sauce
Spaghetti and meatballs is never too much effort to make
when you make it in your crockpot!
Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs
Four ingredients is all you need for this super simple recipe...
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped fine
2/3 cup tomato paste (equivalent to one 6 oz can.)
8 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
2 large eggs
1 1/4 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
minced fresh Italian parsley for garnish
Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, tomato paste, 6 garlic cloves, oregano, pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until golden, about 8 minutes.
Transfer half of onion mixture to large bowl; set aside. Add wine to pot with remaining onion mixture and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, then transfer to slow cooker.
Add 1/2 cup Parmesan, mozzarella, sausage, eggs, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining garlic to bowl with reserved onion mixture. Mash with potato masher until smooth. Add beef and cream to bowl and knead with hands until well combined. Form mixture into twelve 2-inch meatballs.
Microwave meatballs on large plate until fat renders and meatballs are firm, 4 to 7 minutes. Nestle meatballs in slow cooker, discarding rendered fat. Cover and cook on low until meatballs are tender and sauce is slightly thickened, 4 to 5 hours. Skim fat. Stir in basil and remaining Parmesan. Season with salt. Serve over pasta and garnish with minced parsley if desired.
* To make ahead/freezer meal - Prepare the directions as noted above for sauce however allow the sauce cool and set aside. Prepare the directions as noted above for the meatballs however nestle meatballs in an oven- and freezer-proof baking dish discarding rendered fat; allow to cool. Alternately, you can cool the meatballs and place in a gallon sized freezer bag. Cover the meatballs with the cooled sauce (either in the baking dish or freezer bag). Cover/seal and freeze. When ready to prepare, defrost.
If making in the oven - Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover baking dish with foil and place baking dish on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir in basil and remaining Parmesan. Season with salt. Serve over pasta and garnish with minced parsley if desired.
If making in the slow cooker/crockpot - Place contents of freezer bag in a slowcooker/crockpot. Cover and cook on low until meatballs are tender and sauce is slightly thickened, 4 to 5 hours. Skim fat. Stir in basil and remaining Parmesan. Season with salt. Serve over pasta and garnish with minced parsley if desired.
Get a taste of some ethnic flavor with this dish and serve it up
with couscous for a super quick side dish.
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
salt and ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 bone in, skin on chicken thighs (about 3 pounds), trimmed of excess fat
1 large onion, halved and sliced thin
2 tablespoons water
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 (2-inch) strip of lemon peel
3 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro leaves
Combine paprika, cumin, ginger, coriander, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl. Pat dry the chicken thighs with paper towels, then place in the bowl with the spices. Coat chicken with the spices.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add half of the chicken thighs, skin side down, and cook without moving until lightly browned. Flip chicken and continue to cook until second side of golden. Transfer browned chicken to a plate and set aside. Repeat with remaining chicken thighs. Place chicken in a slow cooker/crockpot.
Add onion and water to the same skillet and return to medium high heat. Cook, scraping the brown bits on the bottom until the onion has softened and begins to brown. Place the onions in the slow cooker/crockpot.
Add the minced garlic, bay leaves, raisins, lemon peel, olives and chicken broth to the crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 2-4 hours.
To serve, add lemon juice to dish and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with parsley or cilantro.
* To make ahead/freezer meal - Prepare chicken as directed above and allow to cool. Place cooled, cooked chicken in a gallon sized freezer bag. Prepare the onions as directed above and place in the same gallon sized freezer bag. Add the minced garlic, bay leaves, raisins, lemon peel,and olives in the freezer bag; seal and freeze. When ready to prepare, defrost completely. Place contents of freezer bag in a slow cooker/crockpot. Add the chicken broth to the slow cooker/crockpot and cover. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 2-4 hours. To serve, add lemon juice to dish and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with parsley or cilantro.
Roman Style Chicken
Chicken, bell peppers, artichokes, tomatoes, wine and fresh herbs make up this dish.
It's full of flavor and easy to prepare in advance!
4 skinless chicken breast halves, with ribs
2 skinless chicken thighs, with bones
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup olive oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
3 slices bacon, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup artichoke hearts
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. In a heavy, cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken until browned on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Keeping the same pan over medium heat, add the peppers and bacon and cook until the peppers have browned and the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the artichokes, tomatoes, wine, and herbs. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan, add the stock, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes. Just before serving, add the capers and parsley; stir to combine and serve.
* To make ahead/freezer meal - Prepare the chicken as directed above. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and cool completely, then place in a gallon sized freezer bag. Prepare the sauce for the dish as directed above, omitting the stock, capers and parsley (which will be added later). Cool completely before adding the sauce to the gallon sized freezer bag. Freeze the bag. When ready to prepare, defrost the freezer bag completely. Place the contents of the freezer bag into a slow cooker/crockpot. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock and cook on low for 2-3 hours. Just before serving, add the capers and parsley; stir to combine and serve.
Slow Cooked German Short Ribs
These short ribs are slightly sweet, slightly sour and every bit tasty...
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 pounds beef short ribs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 slice onion, sliced
3/4 cup dry red wine
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup frozen peas
In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons flour, salt, and pepper. Coat the short ribs with the flour mixture.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown short ribs in olive oil.
In a slow cooker, combine onions, wine, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and chili powder. Mix thoroughly. Transfer the short ribs from the skillet to the slow cooker.
Cover, and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours.
Remove ribs, and turn the slow cooker control to High. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour and frozen peas; stir into the sauce. Cook for 10 minutes, or until slightly
Maple & Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin
The combination of maple syrup and brown sugar in this dish
makes for a sweet, yet savory flavor that works wonderfully with pork.
2 pork tenderloins, about 1 pound each
salt and pepper
1 small clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard or country-style
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
(I used Champagne Orange vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon dried leaf thyme, crumbled
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or Maple Sugar Seasoning
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water
Wash and trim the pork and pat dry; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place pork in the slow cooker. Combine garlic, mustard, honey, brown sugar, vinegar, thyme and maple syrup; pour over the pork. Turn pork to coat thoroughly. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 9 hours, or on HIGH for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours.
Remove pork to a plate, cover with foil, and keep warm. Pour the juices into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until reduced by about one-third. Combine the cornstarch and cold water; whisk into the reduced juices and cook for 1 minute longer. Serve pork sliced with the thickened juices.
I paired this pork tenderloin with mashed sage sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli.
Shredded BBQ Pork Sandwiches
Forget bottled BBQ sauce, this recipe makes it from scratch
and it's well worth the effort in this sandwich!
3-4 pounds pork shoulder or pork butt
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
8 hamburger buns (toasted if preferred)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 bacon slices, diced
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
3 smashed garlic cloves
2 cups ketchup
1 cup peach preserves
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground paprika
Season your pork shoulder or pork butt with salt, freshly ground pepper and garlic powder.
Heat a 2-count of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the bacon and render the bacon fat. Add the onion, garlic and thyme leaves cooking slowly for 5 minutes.
Add the rest of the sauce ingredients, stir and simmer. Cook slowly for 20 minutes to meld the flavors. Pour BBQ into your crockpot and add your seasoned pork shoulder or pork butt.
Cook in your crockpot covered, on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours.
While in the crockpot, shred the pork with 2 forks. Place the shredded pork in between two hamburger buns and serve hot.