Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Beef Stew--Perfect dinner for cold & windy October evening!

I'm still in my sweats, sitting here thinking, what the heck am I gonna make for dinner??  After scouring the fridge, freezer and cabinets, I discovered that I have all I need to make beef stew!

I've adapted this recipe from one I found on Food Network's Website: Sam's Beef Stew

Here's my version:
Beef Stew:
1/2 C or so of Flour
1 to 1.5 lbs stew beef
3 or 4 celery stalks-chopped
1/2 to 3/4 bag baby carrots-chopped in 1/2
32 oz beef broth
2 large potatoes-chopped

Frozen corn, peas, or green beans (optional)*

Cut the stew beef into smaller pieces.  Toss them in a bowl with the flour; make sure all the pieces are covered.  In a soup pot, cook the stew beef & flour in veggie oil until no longer pink. (Coating in flour is what's going to make the stew nice and thick)  Add in the chopped carrots and celery.  I use the baby carrots, because they are already peeled & cut.  I use them out of sheer laziness!  I do cut them in half before adding. Let that cook for about 5 minutes, stirring, and scraping the bottom of the pan.  That's how you get all those yummy bits up!  Then add the potatoes and the broth.  Give it a big stir, then let it get to a boil.  Once it's boiling, turn it down and let it simmer for about a half hour; stirring occasionally.  If you think it's not thick enough, add a few drops of Gravy Master, or stir in some Wondra gravy flour. (Be careful though; a little goes a long way!) 
This is when you can also add in the corn, etc if you want.  Cook another 5 minutes or so.

Serve with some nice warm bread and dinner is done.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chicken Taco Soup & Apple Crisp...Fall is HERE!

Well, I think it's officially fall.  It was a little chilly today- I LOVE this weather!  It was a perfect day for this soup and the apple crisp.  

Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup
1 (16 ounce) can chili beans (drained & rinsed)
1 (15 ounce) can black beans (drained & rinsed)
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
16-20 oz chicken broth
2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning 
3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts

I put everything in the crock except for the corn (I find that if it cooks too long, it gets mushy).  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  I had to improvise a little today--we didn't have any chili/kidney beans, so I used pinto beans.  I also didn't have 3 whole chicken breasts, I had chicken tenderloins leftover from another recipe, so I used those.  And the last thing I changed was that I used 1 can of the diced tomatoes with chiles, and 1 can of regular diced tomatoes. That also makes it less spicy, so the kids can eat it.  (That's why you grocery shop BEFORE you cook....LOL).  That's what's so great about this recipe.  It's so versatile; you can change it up in so many ways!
About 30-45 minutes before you want to eat, take the chicken out and shred it all with 2 forks.  Add it back to the crock, along with the corn.  Serve with a nice big sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream!  

I really need to get some nicer looking plates and bowls.  White is SO boring!  

And now to the best part: DESSERT!!!  And I totally take the easy way out and use apple pie filling for this.  Peeling apples is too much work!

Apple Crisp in the Crock:
2 cans apple pie filling

For the topping:

2/3 C oats
2/3 C flour
1/4 C packed lt. brown sugar
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1/2 t cinnamon
3/4 C margarine-cut into chunks

Spread the apple filling in the bottom of the crock. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, then add the margarine.  Using a fork, make a crumbly mixture.  Spread that over the apples.  I cooked this on high for about 2 hours, then turned it down to low until we were ready to eat....maybe 3 more hours?  The topping gets a little crispy, not too crunchy, and oh SO good! Maybe some of you would consider this a cobbler?  Top with vanilla ice cream.  

I've also tried this with cherry pie filling before and that was really good too!  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Beef tips with Gravy-Easiest recipe ever!

I'm telling you, this is like THE easiest crock pot recipe ever! There are 4 ingredients! (including water).  Ooops, there are 5 ingredients.  The fifth is LOVE....LOL!  

Beef Tips with Gravy:

1 lb. stew beef (I always cut the pieces smaller than they come in the pkg)
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 pkg. onion soup mix
1/2 or 3/4 soup can of water

I mix everything together in a bowl, then put in the crock. I'm gonna tell you ahead of time, it looks YUCKY, but tastes YUMMY when it's done!
Cook on low 6-8 hours.  I serve this over egg noodles (or bow ties, as that's what I had on hand).  I also double the recipe, so I can freeze half!

The verdict?

Jack gives it 2 thumbs up!  I tried to crop this pic, without success.  I promise I'll clean the kitchen....tomorrow!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mexican Chicken Dinner

I got this recipe from my friend Kelly.  It's so yummy and easy to make.  

Mexican Chicken Dinner:

1 box chicken stuffing mix
1 small jar salsa (I used mild)
4 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
Shredded cheddar cheese

Make the stuffing according to the directions.  Once that's done, spread it in the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass dish.  Put the cut up chicken over that, then cover that with the salsa.  Use as much cheddar as you like (I used a whole 10 oz bag!)

Cook at 375 for 35-40 minutes uncovered.  I enjoyed an ice cold beer while this was cooking.  

There's no pic for this post, Gary dug into it before I could get my camera!  We had this with a salad, and it was great! 

Tomorrow on the menu: Easiest Beef Tips ever!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Tonight's dinner: Italian Tortellini Soup

While this isn't a crockpot recipe, it's quick and easy to make.  Perfect for a chilly Friday night in October!

Italian Tortellini Soup

1 lb. ground sausage (I use sweet)
2 C. water
32 oz. chicken broth
13 oz. bag frozen cheese tortellini
14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes
3/4 t. dried basil
Salt & pepper

Cook the sausage until it's no longer pink, drain fat if necessary.  Add sausage, tomatoes, water, & spices to a large pot.  Bring to a boil; add the tortellini, cooking on medium heat for 7-8 minutes.  Then add the spinach.  Usually I chop it, but tonight I'm too crabby, so I just dumped the whole bag in there. Cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the spinach is wilted. Serve with bread & butter; dinner is done!
I've also tried this with some red pepper flakes sprinkled in, and it gives it a great kick!  The leftovers (if there are any), are even better the next day!

Next week's menu

So far for next week, I have the following recipes in mind:

Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup 
Beef tips in the crock
Mexican Chicken dinner (didn't get to make it this week)
Jamaican Jerk Chicken 

We'll see what actually gets made, though.....

I'm new at this.....

Welcome to my new blog- the Crock Star Chronicles!  I'm so excited to share all my recipes with you!  While most of them will be made in the crock pot, I also have some other great "regular" recipes.  
I had a great time getting name ideas from some of you on Facebook for this blog.  My stomach still hurts from laughing so much!
I still have a lot to learn about blogging, so be patient with me.  I'm going to try and post as much as possible.  I have some really great recipes to share.
Happy Friday everyone!