03/25/13
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crockpot sweet apricot chicken

Good morning!

How was your weekend?  Ours went by pretty quickly (they always do), but was pretty great.  Saturday involved teaching a couple classes in the morning, a long walk with the hubs, kiddo and dog, and then having some friends over for wine + cheese.  Sunday we started the day off with a couple hours of yard work.  It was actually really nice getting out there pulling some weeds and cleaning up the front yard.  Hunter happily sat and watched in the stroller until he needed to go down for a nap.  We ran a couple errands, then finished the day off with a date night, ending with froyo.  Yum.

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Hunter even got put to bed like a champ by my mom.  Pretty nice way to finish off the weekend.

Now it’s back to reality.  I’m working on finishing up my meal planning for the month, but before I share that I owe you all another crockpot recipe.

I am almost caught up on sharing my weekly crockpot recipes, which I definitely got behind on.  I have two to share.  To continue the order (which is how I’m making all 50 of the recipes), it’s time to talk about chicken.  Apricot chicken.  The recipe itself is super simple – gather four ingredients, then cook it low n slow for a few hours.  The thing I didn’t like so much was the onion soup packet and catina dressing.  Since I’m trying my best to make more homemade, real food ingredients, I did the same here.

Online I found a recipe for homemade dry onion soup mix.  I followed the recipe, except for when it called for beef bouillon, which I subbed for my fresh bouillon cubes from the freezer.  For the catalina dressing I followed this recipe.  Simple and tomato-y tasting.

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The only pineapple-apricot jam I found at the grocery store had lots of additives in it, so I went with a more basic apricot jam.

Did you catch all that?  Just four ingredients… and I’ve changed three of them.  Good thing I didn’t change the chicken too!

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Crockpot Sweet Apricot Chicken

from chef in training

Ingredients

  • 6-8 skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup apricot jam
  • 1 cup catalina dressing *
  • 1/4 cup dry onion soup mix *

Directions

  1. Place chicken in the crockpot.  Mix all other ingredients together and pour over chicken.
  2. Cook on low for 4-5 hours. Serve over rice with vegetables.

*follow the links to the recipes above to make your own

Had I not made all those changes, would Jacob have like this one more?  I’m not sure.  Meat + fruit are not really a combo he prefers.  While Jacob wasn’t a fan of this dish, Hunter and I really enjoyed it!  The chicken was a little sweet + very saucy.  We ate it on top of rice and vegetables.  It made for a super simple meal, even with my extra dry soup and dressing preparation.  The next couple days I threw the leftover chicken on top of salads with creamy blue cheese dressing.  I’d highly recommend that!

If you’re a fan of fruit and meat together, give this one a go.  But if you’re like my hubby, I’d try the sesame honey chicken.  Both are saucy, just with different flavor profiles.

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How was your weekend?  Do you like fruit and meat together?  One thing that comes to mind is Thanksgiving turkey and cranberry sauce, mmmmmm.

Heather

02/21/13
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crockpot soup, times two

Crockpots, soup and cold weather.  All things that go hand in hand.  What happens when you take one of them away?

Tuesday was such a beautiful and sunny day.  February is technically supposed to be winter, but I’ll take these spring like days anytime I can get them.

On this sunny day Jacob, Hunter, Joe and I all went to Marine Park and played around a bit at the play ground before setting out for a long walk along the river.

Hunter had the best time swinging for his first time.  He smiled and clapped his hands together.  We both loved pushing him.

He didn’t seem as excited about the slide… kind of no reaction.  The swing was where the fun was at.  After the long walk, it ended with a few drops – typical Washington fashion.

When we arrived back home I wish I could say I had a warm meal waiting for us in the crockpot, but I didn’t.  I didn’t plan that far ahead in the morning.

BUT, with a few minutes in the morning, YOU could have one of these yummy soups waiting for you at the end of the day.

Cold weather not required.

Crockpot Southwestern Beef Stew
from taste of home

The picante sauce give the beef stew a little different flavor from your average beef stew.  A good change though!  We really liked this along with crusty bread and kale chips…. mmm kale chips.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) picante sauce
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Directions

  1. Place beef, picante sauce, potatoes, carrots, onion, chili powder, salt and cumin in a crockpot.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender.
  3. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into stew. Cover and cook on high for 15 minutes or until gravy is thickened.

 

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup
adapted from  chef in training

Super easy and super yummy!  This recipe makes a ton of soup.  We ate it two nights in a row then I froze the rest, which filled 2 quart jars.

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1.5  cups frozen corn
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cans low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1-2 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp chile powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients except the chicken in a crockpot.   Put chicken breasts on top of mixture and make sure they’re at least partly submerged in liquid. Cook on high 6-7 hours or low 8-9 hours. Before serving remove the chicken breasts from soup and shred, if needed, (sometimes they’ll just fall apart on their own, but sometimes they need some help). Return chicken to crockpot, stir to combine.
  2. Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream and cheese – or quesadillas like I did.

** Both recipes were made a couple weeks ago, so while I did get to enjoy them, it just wasn’t on that sunny day.

Do you enjoy soup in all weather, or just when it’s colder?  What’s the weather like in your area?

Heather

02/10/13
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crockpot smothered chili colorado burritos

Happy end of the weekend! Were you up to anything fun the past couple days? I taught total body conditioning and body pump Saturday morning, then Jacob, Hunter and I went on a walk and got coffee, cleaned the house and had a movie night.  Super fun!

We have a bit of safety stuff to do around the house today (put up a gate at the stairs, cover outlets, put latches on doors/drawers) now that Hunter’s on the move. Once he started crawling, the next day it was all about pulling himself up to standing.  Geez, that means walking is next….

A mobile baby means I have to keep an eye on him at every moment. He wants to get into e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g and moves so fast.  The crockpot is even more my friend now, and especially this recipe (one of my year of crockpot recipes!).

Just and few ingredients go into the crockpot with the beef. You let it cook and soften, then put the filling (from the crockpot) into tortillas, smother it was sauce (left over from the crockpot) and cover with cheese. Easy peasy.

I covered mine in lots of guacamole and had a bed of lettuce underneath it all.  It added a nice crunch.

While there is an extra step, filling the burritos, it’s still a super quick meal.  Serve with all your favorite mexican sides!

Smothered Chili Colorado Burritos

Adapted from chef in training

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs stew meat
  • 2 1/2 cups homemade enchilada sauce (or 1 (19 oz) can red enchilada sauce can)
  • 4 frozen or fresh homemade bouillon cubes (or beef bullion cubes)
  • refried beans
  • 5-7 burrito size whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded cheese

Directions

  1. Put beef pieces into crock pot. Top with bouillon and enchilada sauce. Cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until meat is very tender.
  2. When beef is done (very tender and flakes off when stirred), taste and add salt, if desired.
  3. Make sure beans are warmed through. You can use canned refried beans or homemade refried beans.
  4. Smear about 2 heaping spoons worth of beans on to the center of each tortilla. Add about 1/2 cup of beef, give or take, and roll into a burrito.
  5. Place burritos into a greased 9×13 baking pan until it fills the pan. Pour some of extra sauce over the tops of the burritos to smother them. Place cheese on top.
  6. Broil until cheese becomes bubbly, approx. 2-4 minutes.
  7. This recipe makes about 5-7 burritos depending on how big you make them.

Of all the crockpot recipes we’ve been eating it’s definitely one of our favorites!  I’m thinking about doing a round up ranking of the first 10 when we get through them.

With that, enjoy your Sunday!  Look out for something sweeter tomorrow. :)

Heather