Tag Archives: slow cooker

Meals: Past & Future

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I pinned  this recipe for a Slow Cooker Apple Cider Pulled Pork over a year ago. I finally made it last weekend. What made me finally take action? I had few extra Honeycrisp apples in need of some transformation. The Sunday night Packer game on TV last weekend meant we could eat in. Rob was game. Plus, my crockpot broke and I needed a reason to use my new one. This one has a timer and I found it for a steal at only $29.99 at Costco!

Here are some thoughts about the recipe:

  • It’s very easy.
  • That is a lot of cider to add to your Slow Cooker! My Crockpot manual says to fill it 1/2 – 3/4 full. After adding all that cider, mine was almost full. But the water I added didn’t cover the pork fully as the recipe suggests. (It still turned out just fine.)

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I served it with an super easy and delicious Blue Cheese Cole Slaw{Note to self: Only make 1/2 next time. This makes more than I can eat in a week before it gets soggy.}

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I also broke out my box of Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit Mix that I bought specifically for Rob. He’d heard about these biscuits, but had never been to Red Lobster because he’s allergic to seafood.

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For the record, they weren’t all that great. Not nearly as good as I remember them from 15 years ago. They were too biscuit-y and did not as much flavor as I remember. There’s a copycat recipe to make your own here.

Here was my plate:

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See those sauces? The recipe suggested serving this with barbecue sauce. You may or may not know how I feel about barbecue sauce. Or the fact that I found one I liked while in Charlotte. I think it was mustard-based, so I picked one up at Trader Joe’s and put it right along our Pig Polish from Charlotte for a little taste test.

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I actually liked them both; while Rob preferred the Carolina Gold.  What can I say? I didn’t mind them at all. After a couple of days of leftovers though, I was done. Rob commented that the pork really didn’t have any flavor before putting the barbecue sauce on it.

I probably wouldn’t make this again. I’d rather drink my hard cider than use up four bottles in my slow cooker. I can make pulled pork other ways.

Last week, I also tried Running with Racheal’s husband Dan’s Spinach and Feta Turkey Burgers! Mmmm… Yes, I kept eating that coleslaw all week…

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Because I don’t usually like my burgers reheated, I kind of repurposed the leftovers throughout the week. For breakfast, I sliced a turkey burger in half and added it to my 90-second Breakfast Sandwich, slathering on a bit of leftover Jalapeno Cilantro Hummus from Ansari’s.

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For lunch, I made a Greek Turkey Burger Salad with spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, feta and chopped tomatoes. I could have also added kalamata olives and red onion. Here it is before adding my Tzatziki Sauce:

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I may just add the spinach and feta and Dan’s seasoning blend to ground turkey or beef without making patties and using it to top some Power Bowls soon!

Let’s move on to this week!

planning

Food

Dinners:

  • Monday – Since Rob and I are still on the eat-on-our-own kick, I’m finally going to try Biz’s award-winning Buffalo Chicken Chili! I’ll have leftovers all week for lunch!
  • Tuesday – Last week, I didn’t make the Roasted Butternut Squash, Onions and Red Potatoes that I had planned because I had so much leftover blue cheese coleslaw. Luckily, those are all vegetables that keep well so that I can make the dish this week to accompany my last two Chicken Thighs I need to cook up.
  • Wednesday – Leftover Chicken Thigh & Roasted Veg
    Thursday –  Breakfast for dinner – Eggs with Asparagus and Pesto, perhaps? I have eggs on hand, some asparagus I chopped up and froze to keep it from going bad and a jar of pesto in the fridge.
  • Friday – Poker Night. I wonder who will win the Koala this month?
  • Saturday – Rob’s Birthday – I think he’s finally chosen Borough, but that could still change!
  • Sunday – Packers v. Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. I’d love to go to this game because I’ve never been to this UofM Golden Gopher Stadium yet and this would be the perfect opportunity before the new Vikings Dome is built. But alas, more Vikings’ Season Ticket Holders would rather gouge Packer fans coming across the border than go to the game themselves. 😦

Lunch:

  • Leftover Buffalo Chicken Chili
  • Snacks – the usual fruit, nuts or string cheese and dark chocolate

Breakfasts:

Fitness

  • Basically what I’ve been doing is 5 days of run-walk intervals (more walking than running to apease my back) and this 30-day Arm Challenge. I’ve unintentionally added some additional rest days. But at least I’m doing it!

What does your menu look like this week?

Cheers~
Carrie

 

Back at It {Food & Fitness Link-Up}

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Was anyone else all messed up with the the holidays in the middle of week somewhere? I can tell you one thing, I don’t mind working just two days at a time!

It’s that time of year, where the cliché is to get back on track… And since I’m finally no longer on “vacation“, I thought I’d take the opportunity to make some plans for the week.

Since my surgery in March, I became discouraged, lost my Not on a Diet / healthy living mentality and gained back about 20 lbs of the 36 I lost. Ouch. Time to find a new way to adapt without running. Or at least build up my strength again. No more pouting, Carrie.

So here’s this week’s plan. One day at a time…

planning

The last time I checked, today’s high was supposed to be -12 degrees.

That’s right, -12.

And that’s before any windchill factored in…

Sounds like a night for chili!

Food:

MondayChocolate Chili
TuesdayCrockpot Carnitas topped with shredded cheese, tomatoes, onions and guacamole
Wednesday – Leftovers
ThursdayChipotle Black Bean Burger with guacamole and tomato
Friday – Poker Night – Happy Hour at Mediterranean Cruise Cafe. I like the Chicken Kabob Munchies. They are all veg and protein and just 5 bucks during Happy Hour.
Saturday – Dinner Out
Sunday – TBD

Lunches – Leftovers from the weekend, leftover chili, leftover carnitas + one piece dark chocolate + one piece fruit

BreakfastsSlow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Fitness:

Walking 45 minutes on the treadmill every day except Friday. I have also uncovered my exercises I was given when I was in physical therapy. Back at it!

What are you making this week?

Cheers~
Carrie

The Easiest Two Ingredient Crockpot Recipe {Food & Fitness Link-Up}

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Last week, I made the easiest Crockpot Recipe ever. {That sounds a little redundent, though, doesn’t it?} But the best part about it?

ROB LOVED IT!

I found it on this Facebook post link by Katie from Runs for Cookies. There are a lot of great ideas there; so just go grab a few!

But for now, I’m going to type out directions for the simplest Crockpot recipe you’ll ever make. Seriously. I’m going to list directions as if it was an actual recipe.

Carnitas

(Makes 4 – 6 servings)

Ingredients:

  • Pork Tenderloin (I used 1.5 lbs)
  • Jar of Salsa Verde (I used a 12 oz Trader Joe’s jar)

Method:

  • Put pork loin in Crockpot
  • Pour jar of salsa over loin
  • Cover
  • Put setting on low and let simmer all day

I let ours simmer from 7am to 4:30pm. Then I shred the meat and put it on warm until we were ready to eat, which was somewhere between 6 and 6:30pm.

It was perfect! This meat is so versatile. You can eat as is. But here is what we did:

  • I put it on a plate for Rob and topped with shredded cheese and dollop of sour cream. He raved over it.
  • I made mine into quesadillas by heating a corn tortilla in a pan spritzed with olive oil, removing it to a plate, heating another corn tortilla, topping with a little cheese, then the pork and the previously heated tortilla. Once the cheese is melted and the tortilla slightly crunchy, remove and cut into triangles. I served mine with a little Spicy Wholly Guacomole.

BUT… There are so many other ways to enjoy. Here are a few ideas:

    • Wrap in tortilla.
    • Put in tacos.
    • Make a plate of nachos.
    • Serve over rice.
    • Use red salsa instead of green.
    • Add black beans for even more protein
    • Use a can of tomatoes with garlic, onions and other seasonings to make it Italian.

I forgot to take a photo when I cooked it, but here are the leftovers I brought to work, topped with shredded cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream. I enjoyed it with some black bean chips that came in one of my Food Boxes.

Carnitas

I’ve been trying to turn many chicken recipes into pork ones since Rob is allergic to poultry. I get nervous when I try new ones, not being sure if the pork will dry out. But this one worked with pork chops. And after the success with the above recipe, I’m thinking I can do these Slow Cooker Chicken recipes with pork, too!

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Last week was a strange one. I cooked {if you call that Crockpot recipe cooking!} only that one day. Then we sustained on leftovers, some easy eats, and dinners out with family in town! It was wonderful. But my fitness was minimal, too.

But here’s what’s in store for this week!

planningIt’s going to be another strange week with appointments and such after work. So these are my ideas for the week. I have all of the ingredients, it’s just a matter of choosing each day which one is easiest depending on how I’m feeling.

Dinners:

Lunches:

  • Leftover Meatballs from the weekend
  • Any leftovers we may have this week
  • Soup

Snacks:

  • Piece of fruit, applesauce, piece of dark chocolate, almonds

Breakfasts:

Fitness:

  • Walking. Lots of Walking. Since it’s going to be a strange play-it-by-ear week, let’s say at least 30 minutes 5 out of 7 days.

What’s your favorite Crockpot recipe?

Please share it in the comments!

Cheers~
Carrie

Two (Similar) Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes

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When I was inquiring about what foods to have on hand after my surgery, a friend recommended throwing together this Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken to have a bunch of leftovers on hand. I didn’t have time or energy to get things together that quickly, but decided that it still looked easy enough to put together after surgery. {Well, as long as I had everything in reach and had Rob pull out the crock pot!}

The recipe reminded me of this Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken that I’ve made in the past. However, I think the only real difference is that the Santa Fe Chicken recipe requires more ingredients than the Salsa Chicken recipe does.

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup salsa, homemade or purchased
  • 1 cup petite diced canned tomatoes ( low-sodium)
  • 2 tablespoons Taco Seasoning
  • 1 cup onions, diced fine
  • 1/2 cup celery diced fine
  • 1/2 cup carrots, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream, reduced fat

*This recipe is easy because these are ingredients that I have on hand most of the time. And when making leftovers, I can add anything else I’d like, including black beans, corn and any toppings such as cheese, sour cream or guacamole. Every time I eat it, it can be different.

Slow Cooker Santa Fe Chicken Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs chicken breast
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 8 oz frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 14.5 oz can fat free chicken broth
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • salt to taste

*This recipe has more substance. The additional ingredients are easy enough that you can just empty everything into the slow cooker, turn it on and in 6 to 10 hours, dinner is served.

In my Santa Fe Chicken, I  used these cans to change things up a bit and add extra flavor:

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Here is a what my Santa Fe Chicken looked like after it was cooked and shredded:

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken

I think it could have used a little more flavor and more tomatoes! {But you know how I love tomatoes.} Truth be told, these two recipes are pretty interchangeable. You can add more or less of one element to your liking. It’s just the amount of seasoning that you’ll have to decide for yourself.

Basically, you are making your own 

Chipotle Burrito Bowl or Taco Bell Cantina Bowl!

Either of these dishes can be served alone, over rice, in a tortilla, atop a salad or with tortilla chips. I didn’t think he would, but Rob said he’d even eat it if I made it with shredded pork instead of chicken.

And with that, here is my Monday Food Journal. Warning: I felt binge-y all day.

Breakfast

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Grapes and 90-second Egg Sandwich with cheese and spinach

Snacks

This is where the binge-y feelings began…

Weight Watchers Coffee Cake (individual sized)

South Beach Whipped Chocolate Almond Snack Bar – For the record, these aren’t that great. I got them because I had a coupon and thought they’d be a nice snack to tide me over. They taste a little bit like a Three Muskateers candy bar. However, this 100-calorie bar didn’t satisfy me like a piece of Dove Dark Chocolate would.

2/3 cup Neapolitan ice cream

Lunch

Poor Man's Caprese

Poor Man’s Caprese

Just like Sunday, I enjoyed grape tomatoes atop cottage cheeze with a drizzle of Italian extra virgin olive oil, reduced balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. However, my tomatoes were getting a little too ripe and I needed to finish them up. Therefore, my Monday portion size was about twice the size you see here.

Snack

It must be that I’m not at work. I felt a little binge-y in the afternoon, too. Sure, I didn’t have a big lunch, but I had already eaten a bunch of morning snacks! For the afternoon…

First I had an apple along with this fruit dip:

Mon-Fruit Dip

Fruit Dip made with 2 oz greek yogurt, 1 tsp honey peanut butter and a shake or two of cinnamon

Another handful of grapes

2 Dove Dark Chocolates (almond variety)

Another South Beach Whipped Choc Almond Snack Bar

Dinner

Just as Biz would do, I put my Santa Fe Chicken atop a bed of spinach:

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There is some brown rice under the mixture, too. Then I added some extra toppings: salsa, a little cheese, half of a Wholly Guacamole 100-calorie pack and a dollop of Greek Yogurt (added at the last second and not pictured):Mon-Toppings

Snack

1/2 cup Neapolitan Ice Cream

Well, then I finished off the carton of Neapolitan Ice Cream. Okay, so there’s a reason I can’t keep ice cream in the house. I think this post of Katie’s came just in time! 😉

I also found another reason why I shouldn’t be eating ice cream everyday. I woke up craving (and have been craving) sweets. And it’s obvious that my sweet snacks aren’t satisfying that. Good news, I woke up this morning, ate a clementine and put that craving to bed!

What is your favorite Slow Cooker Recipe?

Cheers~
Carrie