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

01/7/13
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crockpot cafe rio sweet pork

I have been gone too long! Between all the holidays and being sick for much longer than I would have wished for, blogging took a back seat. Before getting too behind I wanted to share last week’s crockpot recipe. It was soooo good! So far my favorite.  Not only was the pork amazing, but the creamy tomatillo dressing that went on top of the salad made the dish.

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For Christmas I received these cool tortilla bowl makers. All you have to do is put the tortilla in the mold (you can see part of it in the picture below – upper left).  The tortillas took about 8 minutes in the oven and I had perfect bowls for our tasty dinner.  I added some shredded cheese to the bottom.

This was step 2.

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Step 1: make the pork

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Crockpot Cafe Rio Sweet Pork
Adapted from Chef in Training

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds pork roast
  • 1 can cola (NOT diet)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies
  • 1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce

Directions

  1.  Put the pork in a reclosable bag to marinate, pour in half of the can of cola and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Marinate for a few hours.
  2. Drain marinade and put pork, 1/2 can of cola, water, can of chiles, enchilada sauce and garlic salt in crock pot on low for about 7-8 hours.
  3. Shred pork.  Serve in fun tortilla salad bowls!

Step 3: make the dressing

Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
Adapted from here

Ingredients

  • 1 packet of ranch dressing
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tomatillos husked and diced
  • Garlic powder (just a few shakes)
  • juice from 1 lime
Directions
  1. Put ranch dressing, mayo and buttermilk in a blender and blend until combined.  Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
  2. Keep in sealed container in the fridge.

**I actually halved my batch and it still made a good amount.

Step 4: assemble everything.  Here’s what went into our tortilla bowls:

  • refried beans
  • pork
  • romaine lettuce
  • tomato and avocado
  • tomatillo dressing

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I need to star this recipe.  It was that good!  My pork likely didn’t turn out as sweet as the original recipe since I cut out a lot of the cola and brown sugar, but since my version was amazing, I think I’ll be sticking with it.  Plus the actual process had less steps.  Always a bonus is my book.

Crockpot recipe for week 4: Cafe Rio Chicken

Today was my first day back to teaching/exercising after almost 2 weeks off (being sick kicked my butt :().  I’m excited to get back into the swing of things and into a routine again.

How was your Monday?  Hope it went well!

Heather

 

12/21/12
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a year of crockpot recipes + crockpot honey sesame chicken

Hey there, happy end of the week! I am super excited to share my meal simplifying idea I came up!

I believe I was looking around on Pinterest, or maybe it was Facebook… where ever it was I came across this link to a post on Chef in Training for 50 slow cooker recipes. I browsed through them. They looked tasty and crockpots always mean simple. I started to think about which one I wanted to make. But then I thought, why not all?

With 52 weeks in the year and 50 recipes, that gives me just about enough for one a week. That’s one day a week I don’t have to think about what’s going to be on the table. I’ll just go straight down the list, one at a time, no picking or choosing. Keeping it simple. I like simple.  Quick and simple have become staples around here with my happy little monster here.

So for week 1 here’s  what I made.

crockpot honey sesame chicken

Ingredients

  •  2.5 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (or thigh)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons diced onion
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoon sesame oil (recipe calls for canola)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 6 Tablespoons water
  • Sesame seeds (I forgot this)

Directions

  1. Season both sides of chicken with lightly with salt and pepper, put into crock pot. In a small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic and pepper flakes. Pour over chicken.
  2. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or on high 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours, or just until chicken is cooked through.
  3. Remove chicken from crock pot, leave sauce. Dissolve 4 teaspoons of cornstarch in 6 tablespoons of water and pour into crock pot. Stir to combine with sauce.
  4. Replace lid and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes or until slightly thickened.
  5. Cut chicken into bite size pieces, then return to pot and toss with sauce before serving.
  6. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice or noodles.

Notes

  • I cut the recipe in half since I only had about 1.5 pounds of chicken on hand – cooked on high for 1.5 hours
  • Forgot the sesame seeds, so I’m glad I added the sesame oil for the flavor
  • Served it over bulgar for me – sushi rice for Jacob, with a side of avocado and coleslaw mixed with a little bit of asian dressing + a dab of mayo

What I liked

  • the flavor was amazing
  • chicken with tender
  • all ingredients I already had on hand

What I didn’t like

  • not being able to start the crockpot in the morning with the short cook time – I still had to throw it together after a day of teaching/xmas shopping
  • my sauce didn’t thicken up like I would have liked, and I had it on high for double the time it called to thicken up

I shared the link to the 50 slow cooker recipes on my Facebook page and already my cousin Andrea is following along with one a week as well. I think it would be so much fun if more of you followed along too! I’m planning to share a bit about each recipe, so if you end up making it too you can chime in! And if you don’t want to participate, at least you’ll get to see how a ton of crockpot recipes turn out. :)

Next week it’s onto slow cooker salsa verde pork.

Do you call your crockpot a slow cooker or crockpot? Do you love your crockpot as much as I do?  Want to participate in the 50 crockpot recipes?  One of them is eventually a cake…. :)

Happy Friday!

Heather