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Crockpot Honey Garlic Chicken

I was so productive last weekend. I packed away all the shorts and t shirts and swapped them out for everybody’s jeans and sweaters. It was a cool 50 degrees all weekend and we were cozy and oh-so happy. And damn if I didn’t pat myself on the back for checking that giant task of our seasonal to-do list. Aaaaand then this weeek rolled around bringing us 70 degrees and you’d have thought I was trying to torture my boys.

My bad.

Any who, it may not seem like Winter is coming from the weather, despite what our wardrobe (and the local weatherman) says, but I can tell– especially as we shift from using the grill, and move firmly into oven and crockpot territory.

Crockpot Honey Garlic Chicken

This recipe is easy to throw together, and you let the crockpot do all the heavy lifting. Serve it over a warm bed of freshly cooked white rice, and make sure to ladle a generous scoop of sauce overtop the chicken. Because, this sauce. This sauce will have you smackin’ your lips and licking your plate clean. Shamelessly.

Crockpot Honey Garlic Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup ketchup*
1/2 cup soy sauce*
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp fresh parsley
1/2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Directions

  1. Place the chicken thighs on the bottom of the crockpot.
    2. In a separate, medium sized bowl, combine the minced garlic, honey, ketchup, soy sauce, oregano and parsley, and stir them together until the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
    3. Pour the sauce over the chicken thighs.
    4. Cover the crockpot with its lid, and cook for 6 to 7 hours on LOW, or 4 to 5 hours on HIGH.
    5. Remove the lid and transfer the cooked chicken to a serving plate.
    6. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
    7. Serve the chicken over a bed of white rice.

*Use low-sodium options if diabetic or of you have other health sodium-related health concerns. Similarly, this is just as tasty without the rice, or served over a bed of brown rice or quinoa for healthier options.

Crockpot Crack Chicken Sandwiches

I try to follow the news and stay abreast of current events, and there’s currently articles circulating everywhere on the web over the recent results of a scientific study that found cheese (yes, you read that right, plain old cheese) to be as addictive as hard drugs. Basically, cheese is crack.

This explains so much.

Crockpot Crack Chicken Sandwiches 2

And it makes me feel much better about posting a recipe with the word ‘crack’ in the title.

Crockpot Crack Chicken Sandwiches

This sandwich spread is addictively delicious, both in its simplicity to throw together, and in the few (but mighty) flavors it brings together. Bacon, cheddar, ranch, and chicken all mixed and melded together with a little help from some cream cheese served warm on a fresh, toasted bun. Now that sounds like a problem I wouldn’t mind having. Once in awhile at least.

Crockpot Crack Chicken Sandwiches

Crockpot Crack Chicken Sandwiches 3

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 (8 oz) blocks cream cheese
2 (1 oz) packets dry Ranch seasoning
8 oz bacon, cooked crisply and crumbled
1/2 – 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese + more for sandwiches (if desired)

Directions

 1. Add the chicken, cream cheese, and Ranch seasoning to the bowl of your crockpot or slow cooker.
2. Cook it on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Then shred the cooked chicken, the easy way or by removing it to a plate and pulling it apart with two forks.
3. Return the shredded chicken to the crockpot and use a large spoon or a sturdy spatula to stir until the mixture is evenly combined.
4. Add in the cheese and bacon, stirring until the cheese is melted and everything’s mixed well.
5. Serve the ‘crack’ chicken warm on hamburger buns or sandwich bread, toasted or plain, topped with a sprinkle of shredded cheese (optional).

Crockpot Smothered Pork Chops

As the household ‘chef’, or primary cooker of main meals, you’d usually think you have a general idea of everyone’s palates and tastes and going on that info alone, you’d think you’d have a pretty good idea of what recipes will be a hit or a miss. But even with all that information handy, most pork chop recipes have always been more of a miss than a hit for me in the dinner dept. There’s never been anything particular to lay the finger in, just more of nothing being a show-stopper. And apparently that’s the bar I’ve set. So far they guys have only gone ga-ga for them a few ways, breaded, fried, and topped with caramelized onions,  herbed and soaking in mushroom gravy, or my crispy, baked Italian ranch chops. But especially with the hubs, I am so glad that I hadn’t given up! After all, the hubs IS my picky eater.

While smothered may not typically be something I’d enjoy hearing, when it comes to these pork chops, it is essential. Slow cooked, all day long, in their rich, onion-based gravy they’re fall-apart tender and every bite is dee-vine. Topped with a generous bit of crisp, crumbled bacon and parsley? Ohhhhh, yes. We serve them over a bed of mashed potatoes so we can truly appreciate every single bite of gravy.

Crockpot Smothered Pork Chops

Crockpot Smothered Pork Chops

5 strips of bacon, cut into small pieces
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 tsp brown sugar, divided
4 garlic coves, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water
2 bay leaves
6 pork chops, quality cuts
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
fresh parsley for garnish

Directions

1. In a large skillet or sauce pan, over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp.
2. Place the cooked bacon on paper towels to soak up the excess grease, leaving bacon fat in pan.
3. Discard all but about 2 tbsp of the remaining bacon fat and add in the onions, 2 tsp of the brown sugar, garlic, thyme, and salt. Cook, stirring often until the onions have softened and have begun to caramelize, about 15 minutes.
4. Add in 1 cup of the chicken broth, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any stuck on browned bits. You want those!
5. Place the mixture in crock pot and add on the remaining 2 cups of chicken broth.
6. Add in the remaining 2 tsp brown sugar, soy sauce, and bay leaves. Stir to combine
7. Season the pork chops liberally with salt and pepper and add them into the crock pot, pushing them down into the juices.
8. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 4-5 hours. When there’s only an hour or so left, stir in the cornstarch and water mixture to the gravy.
9. Place pork chops on a serving plate and cover with foil.
10. Remove the bay leaves from the gravy and transfer the ‘gravy’ to a bowl to ‘rest’ for 5 minutes. Scrape off as much fat from the surface as possible.
11. Stir in the vinegar and add any additional salt and pepper, if needed.
12. Serve the finished pork chops over a bed of mashed potatoes, or even cooked rice. Ladle a generous helping of onion gravy over the top of the pork chops and top with bacon and parsley before serving.

Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches

How often does it happen that you can just throw a few things together and have someone else do all the work for you? Who am I kidding? That never happens in the real world. Except in the kitchen it totally can. With your crockpot. And it’s glorious!

Let your crockpot take over and do the all day work of slow simmering a beef chuck roast in beef broth, onion soup, and red wine. Talk about some tasty ‘broth’! Your house is gonna smell oh-so yummy. It’s gonna have mouth’s watering with one whiff, and you may or may not have a neighbor stop by, being drawn in by the scent and all. Good thing this meal makes plenty 🙂

 Crockpot French Dip

Your favorite rolls, toasted and then topped with sliced provolone before being piled high with tender roast beef, dipped in au jus gravy before a bite that’s pure bliss. I seriously suggest making sure you’ve got individual serving bowls for the au jus though. Thankfully, I have enough ramekins for everybody to have their own personal bowl of au jus gravy. Because dip it, dip it, dip it. It’s a must. For every bite. Double dip, shmouble dip. Just make sure you have plenty of napkins handy.

Crockpot French Dip

Crockpot French Dip

beef chuck roast, about 3 1/2 lbs
16 oz beef broth, or about 1 1/2 cans
1 (10.5 oz) can condensed French onion soup
6 oz red wine
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
4-6 French rolls, or other sandwich rolls of your choosing
8-12 slices provolone cheese

Directions

1. Trim any excess fat off of the roast, and liberally season the meat with salt and pepper.
2. Pour the broth, soup, wine, and garlic powder into the crock pot before sitting the roast in the crock pot in the liquid.
3. Cook the roast on low for 6-8 hours, until it’s falling apart tender.
4. Carefully remove the cooked beef from the crock pot to a plate or other serving platter. Loosely cover it with aluminum foil and allow it to ‘rest’ for about 15 minutes.
5. Roughly ‘slice’ the beef or use two forks to shred the meat, then return the beef to the crock pot and let it finish cooking on low for another 30 minutes.
6. Lightly toast the rolls, and distribute the cheese between the rolls. I like to use two slices per sandwich. Top with cooked beef. Spoon the au jus gravy* into ramekins or other small bowls, and serve everything nice and warm.

* If you’re worried about excess fat in your au jus gravy, just transfer the broth from the crock pot into a large measuring cup or bowl and let stand for about 5 minutes, or until the fat separates. Skim the fat off the top, and then pour it into individual serving dishes.

Crockpot Chicken & Dumplings

Chicken & Dumplings. There’s something so Southern sounding about it. Just it’s name, aside from the fact that it is of course a Southern staple. For years though, the hubs and I only had it when we’d visit a restaraunt. Namely, Cracker Barrel who specializes in Southern style fare. This recipe takes all that old-fashioned taste, all that classic dumpling texture, and wraps it up nice and warm in an easy crockpot package.

You guys know all about my love affair with soups. The sons don’t think anything broth-based should be considered a ‘meal’ for a guy, and the hubs likes soup but really only in winter and only if it’s hearty with plenty of toppings, and served with a salad and a hunk of bread. All my guys are meat and potatoes kinda people. And I get that, and appreciate it when they suffer in silence for me.

Wanna know how I know this recipe’s got it going on? Not. one. single. complaint. And everyone came back for seconds. The hubs liked it SO much that he insisted we have it twice in one week, and then acted like a kid at Christmas when he came home one night the next week from work to find out I was making it for him again.

Let the crockpot do all the work, and you just sit back and soak it all in. We’ve even found a perfect dumpling shortcut, keeping the whole thing as simple as can be from start to finish. Refrigerated biscuits, cut into small pieces, plump up and cook in the soup creating yummy, fool-proof dumplings.

Chicken & Dumplings

Chicken & Dumplings

small white onion; diced
2-3 stalked celery, thinly sliced
2 cans cream of chicken soup
3 chicken breasts
2 tubes refrigerated biscuits (not butter flavored or flaky layered), 10 oz each
4 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp garlic salt
1 tbsp parsley
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
1 cup milk
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp water
salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

1. In a skillet over medium high heat, saute the onion and celery in a little bit of olive oil until tender, and then transfer them to the crockpot.
2. Lay your chicken breasts over top the cooked veggies and then season them with salt and pepper.
3. Place the soup, chicken broth, milk, and the additional seasonings in the crockpot. Give the liquids a gentle stir to combine.
4. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or on high heat for 4-6 hours. An hour before it’s done cooking, mix the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl until smooth. Add the mixture. Cut each of the biscuits into 4-6 small pieces and add them into the crockpot as well. At this point give everything a stir and return the lid to the pot to cook for the remaining hour.
5. When the soup’s done cooking, you can either break up the chicken in the crockpot with a spatula or remove the breasts and shred the chicken and then return the shredded chicken to the soup.

Sous Chef Sunday: Crockpot Ham & White Bean Soup

Do any of you other Moms & Dad’s make your kids cook? Because apparently that is listed under to ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ category on Friday nights. Ya know, the weekly fend fo yo-self night. Son # 2 acts like it’s just unconscionable that his mother wouldn’t want to slave over the stove or toil away in the kitchen for him for one evening a week. Because apparently that’s my job. Ha!

So, fend for youself night. Nothing new around these parts, but you’d never know it when listening to the complaining chorus. Anywho, it’s pretty simple make what you want, and leftovers are always divided evenly amongst the boys. Sometimes though, one son will decide that’s not sufficient, or maybe he’s just having a golden child moment, and decides he’s going make dinner for everyone. While years ago that would have been boxed mac and cheese (because that’s where they were at), it’s now an actual meal … something say, like Mom would make 😉 While I’ve always been adamant that my boys know there way around the kitchen and be self sufficient, I wasn’t satisfied with knowing how to follow the directions on a packet of pasta, or scramble a few eggs. (Oh, and to make sure we all know/knew what we were doing we took it back to the stone age by deciding against owning a microwave) Within the past few months or so though, they’ve caught onto a little piece of meal magic though. The CROCKPOT. Turns out I’m not the only one who can throw a few ingredients in that sucker and have dinner ready in a few hours.

It’s Friday? You know where the family recipe books are. Pick one and work together, or there’s always grilled cheese and a can of tomato soup. Or Ramen noodles. I did say it was fend for yourself night, didn’t I?

Behold! The sons won’t did not in fact starve this week!! So we’re here to share their latest creation … crockpot ham and white bean soup. And it’s good you guys.

Want to know what’s even more ironic? I made this for them two weeks ago for supper, and you should have heard the resounding complaining chorus. Because, soup. Of any kind. For dinner.

My, my … how the tables have turned 😉

Crockpot Ham & White Bean Soup

1 lb of dried Great Northern Beans, rinsed and sorted through
about 1 lb of ham, large pieces
6 cups of chicken stock or broth
1 medium white onion, diced
salt and pepper, to taste
parsley, to taste
oregano, to taste

Directions

1. Place all ingredients in crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours.

See? So simple a child can do it. 😉

Crockpot Chicken & Stuffing

Do you like chicken? We sure do. It’s our main meat most days of the week. Do you love stuffing (or ‘dressing’ if you’re feelin fancy)? We definitely love that. Are you looking for an easy crockpot dinner? This one only requires four ingredients. FOUR! It’s super simple to throw together, so there’s no need to feel overwhelmed or under the gun about getting a hot, healthy meal on the table, even on your busiest of days. Pair it with some steamed veggies, or a salad, and you’re in business.

I know, I know. I usually enjoy making these types of things from scratch or at least froofing the box version. And while this isn’t straight from a box, and even though there’s plenty of room for it, there’s minimal froofage. Some days I just need some help with that quick and easy option, and for those days I count on a great crockpot recipe like this one. With one kid down for the count for day two with a headache and fever, and one recovering from the terrifying, traumatizing event of losing his first tooth, I’ve already got this cooking in the crockpot. This is a perfect meal for everyone to enjoy on a rainy Winter day, and it was a breeze to quickly get going so I have more time to get done what I really want to be doing today. Taking care of the sons.I’ll take my serving with a side of sick boy snuggles, please!

Crockpot Chicken & Stuffing

 Crockpot Chicken & Stuffing

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 box chicken flavored stuffing mix (6oz)
1 can cream of chicken soup
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup water

Directions

1. Place chicken breasts in bottom of crockpot.
2. Pour stuffing mix over chicken.
3. In a medium size bowl combine cream of chicken soup, sour cream and water; mix well.
4. Pour on top pf stuffing mix.
5. Place lid on crockpot and cook on low for 4 hours (check it at 3 hours).
6. Fluff and serve.

Crockpot Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Pasta

A few months ago, a friend of mine on Facebook posted that they were making this dish for dinner one night. I immediately headed on over to Pinterest and searched stalked her boards until I found the recipe. Still, it sat all alone and neglected on my own ‘to try’ board for quite some time. I’d almost completely forgotten about it. Lucky for me, I was totally un-inspired for dinner a few weeks ago and went through all 1,283 pins on that board looking for a recipe spoke to me. This didn’t speak so much as shout, ‘EAT ME,’ at me.

That night, after devouring this amazing crockpot pasta, the hubs and sons all looked at me like I was insane for not having made then and I just stared back at them innocently, like “I’m not the only one who can search Pinterest and throw ingredients in the crockpot, little sweeties.”

Simple, totally indulgent, delicious. You need this in your life.

Crockpot Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Creamy Crockpot Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Pasta

recipe originally from Crockpot Gourmet

1 to 1½ pound boneless skinless chicken
3 cups chicken broth
½ cup buffalo wing sauce (1/4 cup now, ¼ cup later)
1 tbsp ranch dressing mix (dried packet kind)
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp celery salt
¼ tsp salt
⅛ tsp pepper
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 tbsp corn starch + 1 tbsp water
16 oz linguine noodles
chopped cilantro for garnish, optional

Directions

1. Place chicken, broth, ¼ cup buffalo sauce, and seasonings into the crockpot.
2. Top with cream cheese and shredded cheese.
3. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8.
4. When chicken is fully cooked remove to separate bowl and shred.
5. Add remaining ¼ cup buffalo sauce to chicken and toss to coat.
6. Set aside the shredded chicken.
7. Whisk together corn starch and water and add to crock.
8. Use a whisk and stir until cheese and cream cheese is all combined and smooth.
9. Break noodles in half and place in crock.
10. Top with chicken and cover.
11. Turn crock on high for 30-60 minutes, stirring occasionally so the noodles don’t stick together, until noodles are fully cooked.
12. Garnish with cilantro if desired and serve immediately

Balsamic Vinegar & Honey Pulled Pork Sliders

Pork that’s slowly roasted in the crock pot until it’s so tender it falls apart, and is then mixed with a sweet and tangy balsamic vinegar & honey barbecue sauce, makes for a crowd-pleasing platter of pulled pork sliders. Not only are they great party appetizers, but the sons tear them up when we have them for either lunch or dinner, and the left overs are just as yummy. I know, I know, the name makes them sound pretty fancy, but they couldn’t be any easier. Let the pork cook during the day and when it’s done it’s a snap to mix in the homemade sauce, making them a perfect option for any day, including those busy weekday meals. Got leftovers? This freezes beautifully to save for a later meal. Or you could always make up an entire batch and freeze that if you’re looking to have meals stocked on stand-by.

Balsamic Vinegar & Honey Pulled Pork Sliders

Balsamic Vinegar & Honey Pulled Pork Sliders

recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

2 1/2 pound boneless pork shoulder roast
1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
3/4 cup chopped green sweet pepper (1 medium)
1 tsp crushed dried thyme
1/2 tsp crushed dried rosemary
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp Worcestershire
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
20 slider buns
coleslaw, optional
sliced sweet or dill pickles, optional

Directions

1. First remove any excess fat from the meat. Place the trimmed meat in the crock pot, cutting to fit if necessary. Add in the onion and pepper, and sprinkle the vegetables and meat with the thyme and rosemary. Pour broth over the meat.
2. Cover and cook on low for 9 to 10 hours or on high for 4 1/2 to 5 hours.
3. Meanwhile, we’ll be making the bbq sauce. Combine vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic, black pepper, and salt in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Let the sauce simmer, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until slightly thickened, while stirring occasionally.
4. Transfer meat to a cutting board. Use two forks to pull meat apart into shreds, discarding any fat, or use a stand mixer to do the job for you. Strain the peppers and onions and discard the liquid. Return shredded meat and vegetables to the crock pot. Stir in barbecue sauce until fully incorporated. Cover and cook for 1 more hour on low.
5. To serve, spoon the bbq onto the slider bun bottoms. Top with coleslaw and pickles, if desired. Cover with bun tops. Eat & enjoy!

Crockpot Rosemary & Olive Oil Bread

During the summer months, we will do anything to not have to turn on the oven!  The extra heat is one thing we just do not need in the house when the temperature outside is in the 100’s! Crock Pot Bread also comes in really handy for holidays, dinner parties, or anytime you need to free up oven space! Enter the crock pot.

Yes, you can cook just about anything in a crock pot these days, but bread?  Absolutely! This recipe is super simple to make!  Honestly? I actually like it better than most oven-baked breads.  Baking the bread in the crock pot keeps all of the moisture inside the bread ensuring it’s nice and fluff, while still giving it a crisp outer crust.

While it is fully cooked after the two hours and pleasantly crisp, the outside will still be a bit pale. I just pop it onto a baking sheet and set it under the broiler for a minute to give it that perfect toasty finish.

Crockpot Rosemary & Olive Oil Bread

4 Sons 'R Us: Crockpot Rosemary & Olive Oil Bread

recipe adapted from Host The Toast

3½ cups all purpose flour
1 packet dry active yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
1¼ cups warm water
4 tsp dried rosemary, divided
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt, divided
Parchment paper
Paper towels or a clean dishcloth

Crockpot Rosemary & Olive Oil Bread 2

Look at that gorgeous ball of dough, soon  to be bread. In. My. Crockpot. <Swoon>

1. In a large bowl, mix together the water, yeast, and sugar. Let sit 10 minutes. The mixture should become bubbly.
2. Stir in half of the salt (1/2 teaspoon), half of the rosemary, the 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and all of the flour. Mix until fully combined. Work it together with your hands, if necessary.
3. Lightly grease a large bowl and place the dough in. Cover it with a kitchen towel/ dish cloth and leave the dough in a warm, draft-free area. Let it sit and rise for 1 hour.
4. Remove the dough from the bowl and gently roll it into a ball on a floured surface. Let it sit for another 20 minutes.
5. Set the crock pot to high. Line the crock pot with two pieces of parchment paper, leaving at least 2 inches hanging out of each side of the crock pot. Place the dough in the crock pot and sprinkle it with the remaining salt and rosemary.
6. Drape paper towels or dish cloth over the top of the crock pot and then place the lid on. This should capture any moisture that would sit on the lid and prevent it from dripping back onto your bread.
7. Cook the bread for 2 hours, and remove from the crock pot. It will most likely still be a bit pale on the outside. It tastes great this way, but I like to put mine on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put it under the broiler for a quick 3 – 5 minutes to get a crunchier, darker crust.
8. Let cool before slicing. Serve with extra olive oil drizzled on top or with dipping oil.

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